The Eye magazine (Huddersfield) October 2012 – The joy of doing nothing

Me & Floyd fishing 2

How often do you take time out to do nothing? It’s easy to forget the importance of making time for ourselves, away from job, partner, family or whatever demands we face on our time.

The poem Leisure by William Henry Davies famously begins: “What is this life, if full of care / We have no time to stand and stare.” Of course it could be argued that part of a poet’s job is to stand and stare, but as this was written in 1911, it just goes to show that rushing about is not unique to the information age.

I’ve always loved that blissful moment at the end of an exercise or dance class, when you stretch out and take a minute or two to relax before heading home – or to the pub, depending on how virtuous you’re feeling. Sitting in the garden or reading in the bath work for me too.

Since the addition of Floyd, a dogue de Bordeaux puppy, to our household, I’ve been taking time out to walk him every day. As he gets bigger, the walks have got longer to make sure he falls asleep when we get back, rather than bouncing Tigger-like round my office. The walks are good exercise, but more than that, they get me out from behind my desk and give me a mental break, so that I get back to my work with renewed energy

Being a puppy, Floyd will chew anything he gets hold of and, with the best will in the world, we can’t watch him 24/7. In no particular order, the things he has eaten or destroyed in the past few months include: a sheet, a duvet cover, a sleeping bag, my shoes, my underwear, the cat’s bed, his own bed and finally – and perhaps most impressively – the cat flap.

When we first got him, he was small enough to use the cat flap, which caused some concern to the cat. Now he just sticks his big wrinkled head through the hole and bangs the plastic flap around to get our attention – no surprise it finally broke. A friend advised getting a water gun. It proved a really good deterrent to naughty behaviour – until he ate it. Of course he has such an innocent expression he always gets forgiven in the end.

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