Serendipitously my erstwhile physician telephoned mid-morning today just as we were returning from a nearby grocery shopping expedition. We three rallied at the apartment shortly thereafter for a brief visit (his first) and tour (sic). My erstwhile physician, like so many others approaching advanced age, is on the cusp of considering alternatives to the perpetual maintenance of one’s existing real property holdings, whether a country estate, house, cottage or vacation rental. It is an arduous contemplation. Having just moved into this new apartment building (where the predominant demographic is seniors) I am familiar with the variety of surrogates encircling what is for some people a quelling and moderately unsettling scutiny of downsizing to an apartment. Fortunately for me I haven’t a disturbing love of lakes or fishing which might be at risk of contaminating my purity of thought or reversing preconceived notions. Nor am I consumed by anything but the most pragmatic ingredients of personal accessories and furnishings. Size is not an issue! As I have always quipped (hearkening to my boarding school days), I was raised a cave dweller.
When my erstwhile physician recovered from the absorpbing view of the river and burgeoning meadow nearby, he invited us to his country seat for a swim. Having been there only yesterday or the day before, I was acquainted with the improving effects of the swim. Accordingly I unhesitatingly accepted the bidding.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
When I landed on the property, apart from his dog Finn, his housekeeper Nataliya was there to greet me. We immediately engaged in an analysis of the current enmity between Ukraine and Russia. This bracing conversation was however but a sobering introduction to the healthful and relaxing swim that followed. And when later I was departing from the estate, Nataliya further sweetened my impromptu visit by picking a basket of red currants which she then gave to me.