Today, August 10th was supposed to be the day we walked into Rome. Two of us, hopefully still friends after a very long talk. 2700 km of talk.
The pre-pandemic plan was to walk from Manchester to Rome. Our departure date was going to be April Fools Day. The idea was to walk an average of 25 km, six days per week. We’d have made 114 hikes over 131 days. We still don’t know where we’d have washed, slept or eaten but we’re pretty sure we would have done quite a lot of each.
I started this journal on March 1st as practice for the walk. Had we been walking, I intended to post regular updates on our trekking experiences and observations. I’d done this kind of thing before while training and fund-raising for several charity events.
However, I had never posted something every single day. Things change, we adapt. I have posted every day for 163 consecutive days in case you lost count. I just counted the words. The average journal post is close to 900 and I’ve tried to include some eye-candy each day. I had expected to publish 3 to 4 minute-reads each day so I’ve pretty much done that.
I admit that I had not expected to spend quite so much time developing photographs for publication. I just counted and can see that I’ve included over 350. Dear reader, you have no idea how significant this number is. I have not published many photos over the years and those that I have published have mostly been from mobile phones. I think it’s a mark of the development of mobile phone cameras that I’m less prone to protect my SLR camera photos by keeping them hidden. Of course, that’s what Simonscarves was about; I was trying to find ways to share my enthusiasms.
I am exhausted after the virtual journey and wonder whether I can keep going. Coming up with the daily words may well have been harder than taking the strides towards Rome.
And yet there are crumbs of ideas for journals as yet incomplete. Bird migration. Isaac’s Storm. A gnome maker in Argentina. Nastic movements. Getting laid-off. An unusual Orca story. And I’m amazed to say, several more.
Some think a weekly effort is sufficient henceforth. I’m unsure because I’ve enjoyed the distraction while we’ve had to remain extra vigilant during the pandemic.
We, as a family, have extra vulnerabilities that need protection. So I think I’ll carry on because that will discourage me from going out and about. ‘The 14-day incidence of the disease in the Republic has increased sevenfold in the space of three weeks, to reach 15.8 cases per 100,000 of population, according to an update from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control yesterday’ according to The Irish Times today.
And besides, the Harry Mathews 20 lines-a-day discipline has been good for me. As an aside, I was reading about Mathews earlier and stumbled over a very interesting interview in The Paris Review. There is reference George Perec who wrote a novel using words with no ‘e’ and then, Raymond Roussel who drove Mathews to prose. I’ve been seeking to rediscover that Roussel name for years remembering a work I read by him in my university blur. There’s a nice article here in The New Yorker. It reminded me I had to chose which chapter to read first in Impressions of Africa when I had that brief interest in avant-garde and surrealist forms of writing.
Which reminded me of an email I sent a few years ago. It went to over fifty people in our office after I learned:
‘The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.’
Will we be able to start walking on April Fools Day in 2021? Yuor gsues is no wsroe tahn mnie.