Tuesday, 21 October 2008

It's just the way we feel

I'm easily fascinated. The pigeons that land outside my window, the London bus system, flight: all these things and many more I find incomprehensible and delightful. When experiencing these things, I usually have a moment where I'm filled with delight -- this is wonderful! -- and confusion -- how did I end up here? My latest fascinating moment? Last Sunday, watching the sun break through the clouds as I stood on the hilltop overlooking Oxford with a dozen women old enough to be my grandmother.

It all started on Hampstead Heath a week before. I was traipsing about there with Greg, his wife, and her mother's friend Liz, a fellow South African expatriate. While we all enjoyed the sunny skies from Parliament Hill and some pub-hopping, Liz told me about the Ramblers' Association and invited me to join her on one of their hikes.

So there I was, early Sunday morning, shaking hands with a dozen grandmothers sporting titanium walking sticks and hiking boots. We went over and up nine miles worth of hills around the city while I heard about Margret's twin grandchildren, a Scottish woman explained the logistics of cross-country skiing in Norway, and I learned how to make a delicious borscht.

After a tour of the city's colleges, we sipped tea in the crypt of a church in the city center. Sitting there, exhausted from the hike, I couldn't believe that I had ended up there, of all places, with this random assortment of people. I love the unexpectedly delightful and fascinating. I can't wait to see what happens next week.

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