Continuing my reflections on the 2019 Pen and Voice Tour.
The live launch of ‘As If’ had screened. Despite a few technical problems and a stressful count down, we had pulled off a trans-global livestream event. Now, with a deep breath of relief taken, a more private stage of the journey ensued.
Once my children had disembarked, we travelled through the Atherstone flight towards Nuneaton. Having enjoyed one night’s mooring at Marston Junction we took a short journey to Coventry station where we picked up my best friend since 2005. Julie accompanied us for the remaining four days of the tour. Like Phil, she had been practising on a canal navigation app game in the hope she would take to the tiller like a pro!
But first, coffee at The Big Comfy Bookshop and the surprise find of Sgt Bilko’s Vintage Emporium in Fargo Village added a further touch of culture to our travels.
I was especially looking forward to seeing the baptistry window of abstract design. It occupies the full height of one wall, which Wikipedia tells us “comprises 195 panes, ranging from white to deep colours. …Spence’s concept for these Nave windows was that the opposite pairs would represent a pattern of growth from birth to old age, culminating in heavenly glory nearest the altar”. I recall being impressed by these as a visiting child in the 1970’s, as they cast a diffuse blend of coloured light pools on the polished floor.
Children are keenly sensitive to the spiritual, don’t you think?
In writing ‘As If’, one of the emerging themes I almost watched unfolding was the strong thread of generational continuity. By the time I had completed it, mention had been made of my own grandparents, stretching across six generations to visit my relationships with both parents and children, to those I anticipated having with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In this account, I spanned a family line of over 150 years. Approximately the equivalent of the canal era’s industrial revolution heyday. Over time, the canals transitioned from being highly economical and commercial transportation routes. Through their decline and inability to compete with the rise of the railway, now they offer gentle respite. Enjoyed as natural beauty attractions they offer connection with the countryside, our memories and a slower, recreational form of creating new ones.
How strong a thread is the connection you have with your past?
Could it be just as important for you to imagine what continuity between your heritage and future legacy might look like?
Or even to become the start of a new thread?