If I may conclude with a personal hint for increasing the enjoyment of walks—it would be to develop a hobby. One of the best and the most obvious is to train your eye to watching birds, to make at least some mental note of all the species that you see and where you see them ; with longer practice to discover how to recognise them by their songs and calls ; to notice the dates upon which the migrants arrive in the spring. Birds are an endless amusement.
If you have a taste for “records”, the same game can be played with trees and flowers, observing in each year when you first see this flower in bloom, that tree in leaf.
Crops are another entertaining study, especially if from time to time you cross familiar ground and can remember what was grown in each field last year. At the end of a 12-mile walk in summer, have you ever tried to recall what fields of barley, wheat and oats you passed—and not been sure of any? It would be much more amusing to know. There are several kinds of barley, too, each with different uses. It would be much more fun if you knew what they were. Not a case for looking it up in a book. Get a farm-worker to show you.
It doesn’t really matter what subject you choose as your hobby. There must be fifty different kind of fastenings used on farm gates. Some of them are very odd ; some are very silly. Most of them are peculiar to some particular district. They might be a comic collection of devices to observe. Perhaps you don’t think so. Well, windmills may interest you more. But anyway the great thing is not to go for a walk in the country and see nothing at all.
London, July, 1933.
Quite right. I think you’re channelling the King of Hobbies here
“Hobbies are real. They do not exist in some false metaphysical pixelated computer plane. They are in the real world of the real living realm!”
email: chris is at anti-mega.com