I wrote this from a room with a view. A room in which various national and international ‘artists in residence’ have used to relax , sleep, or work.
I am supposed to be blogging about diabetes and weight .. but that all seems boring: nevertheless I can happily report - after 7 weeks - my blood pressure is normal and I have lost over 5% of my body weight. Now back to writing a blog, or rather re-publishng a column I wrote when I was travel editor for a local newspaper.
As I sit and await the muse to visit (surely there must be some residual energy from those other writers) I gaze out the window at the view.
The Peacock Fountain, set in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, was built in cast iron in 1911, and is the background to many photographs travelling to all points of the compass. As people pose, it sprays it’s water regularly from the dolphins, and is well decorated with herons, lily leaves, and other undefined foliage.
I think of other views, other places: some from on high, others just a glimpse through a door or window.
- A palm-roofed hut, just large enough to place a double-sized bed and still walk around it, produced a romantic view of white sands, palm trees, and blue skies. Idyllic - a genuine travel brochure scene.
- The view from my downtown Manhattan hostel window - taxis abandoned in the middle of the street and only the top of the yellow-cabs roof showing through the snow.
- The view from a tower in Istanbul may have been amazing but I was too busy clinging to the building to appreciate it. It is hard to be a tourist/traveller with a fear of heights. Nevertheless I do recall seeing the busy Bosphorus and the skyline of minarets through adrenaline-impaired-vision.
With these confessions of fears, you will be surprised to know that I have done a bungee jump - right in the heart of Wellington. I was really fearful as they tied my ankles, the soft towel to prevent ropeburn did not reassure me. I must be crazy I think. Ropes tied and tested I am under starters orders.
“Move to the edge of the platform” he tells me and I shuffle forward, “A little more” I move almost imperceptibly more, my heart beating at an uncontrollable speed. The view is now clearly in front of me, the water is fast, cold looking and a long long way down. I still have time to back out of this but my pride won’t allow it. The countdown starts. Three. Two. One. Bungee! Over the edge I go, plummeting downwards, waterwards, my heart undecided if to climb out my throat or smash through my ribs, I’m screaming. I bounce, up and down, down and up again swinging side-ways and slowly come to a gentle halt.
They untie my legs as I wonder did I wet my pants? I slowly walk away, my legs shaking. That may have only been virtual bungee at Te Papa but it was real enough for me!
- Another memorable view from the top was in Scotland. Inveraray, a village built by the head of the powerful Campbell Clan in 1745, has a bell-tower built, on top of a hill, as a memorial to the Campbell’s who have died in battle. I climbed, sometimes crawling on my knees, to the top for a fantastic view of the village below, the Clan Campbell castle (Inveraray Castle) and the beautiful Loch Fyne and the tiny village. It seems amazing that such a calm, peaceful setting was the training ground for some half a million troops prior to the D-Day landings in WW2.
Maybe the muse that was left in this room is a reflective one. One that looks out windows and wonders what’s it all about. I certainly don’t know, all I know is the more I know, the less I know, the less I need to know.