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*Freelance Traveller

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#52: A Break

I write this sitting beside a small lake; or a large pond. In fact, I think it’s an old mining hole or something. There are three rectangular ponds in a row. It’s favoured by geese – lots of them, ducks, two black swans with their cygnet, and a fabulous heron that sits high in the willow trees surrounding the pond or in the water margins under the elms. I’ve even seen two small mink – which I’ve learned are imports from the U.S. They frolicked briefly on the green sward right outside the window and then disappeared into the undergrowth never to be seen again. A robin has popped by to see what’s happening a few times and reminded me they’re a sedentary (mostly non-migratory) bird.

There’s no one else in sight and for a week this has been a refuge of calm and quiet; peace and privacy. The wildlife patiently puts up with my forays into the water for a short swim around a tiny island. In an otherwise marginal August, with high pressure but cloud cover the order of the day, even the sun has come out this morning in short patches of warmth. I’m tempted to get back in the water for another dip and see if the geese will tolerate me at a distance or decamp for a short while. But perhaps not, the heron has just stalked around the corner and she’s a bit shy so I’d hate to disturb her.

All this is by way of saying I’m on holiday. My summer break just a couple of hours drive from the densely populated south coast of England. A “secret island” yurt with its own hot tub to warm up in and chill out in after I’ve stayed in the lake too long and got chilled in the old sense. No TV, no wifi; just a pile of books and the beauty of the Cotswolds if I can drag myself away from relaxing. It’s bliss, a slice of heaven here on Earth.

All this by way of also saying that I had planned on doing some Traveller writing. I have managed a little and I have managed to get back ‘into’ a project I’d put aside for a while. But after 18 months of working from home and pretty much everything being mediated through a small screen or two, from work, to training, to meetings, to social, even Traveller games, I’ve just been happy to turn off the laptop and read or swim or watch the wildlife. It’s no bad thing. I know it might appear that I live and breathe Traveller – I even brought Solomani Front with me to read a subsector a day – but it’s healthy to take a break and switch off entirely. It must be a sign of my last day that means I’m starting to think about the weeks ahead and have actually turned on the laptop for the first time in days. Back to the real world. Or the far future!