It’s 10am, 35°C outside and rising. That’s 95°F in old money. That’s pretty hot for the UK, where anything above 28°C is greeted in the tabloids with the headline, “Phew – What a Scorcher!” In Cambridgeshire, where I live, it’s expected to reach to 42°C (104°F), the highest temperature ever recorded. We are advised to stay indoors, with the windows shut, the curtains drawn and a bowl of ice in front of a fan. And only travel if it’s essential.
I have just returned from taking my elder daughter to Bedford Railway Station to meet up with three friends. They are going on holiday to Cornwall.
All the trains have been cancelled owing to the heat: it’s just not safe to run them. Not to be daunted, the friends have hired a taxi to take them all the way to Paddington, where the West Line service is reported to be running. Running now, that is. There’s no saying if it will still be running at midday when their train is scheduled.
Yes, it would have been far more sensible to have delayed their journey and to have resigned themselves to losing a day’s holiday. At twenty, however, which of us would have accepted that? The risk is an adventure.
Would you consider yourself to be a risktaker?
There are all sorts of risks. My daughter risks getting stranded in London on the hottest day ever. At the other end of the spectrum, going on a skiing holiday risks a broken leg; starting your own business is a financial risk; asking someone out or applying for a new job is running the risk of rejection; starting a new project is risking failure; being the first to say, “I love you,” is perhaps the biggest risk of all.
Staying safe is usually the most comfortable option but we then run the risk of doing nothing, of stultifying into a drab and grey existence. We need some excitement in our lives.
Yesterday, Val wrote about the freedom to say “No” to social invitations. I agree that refusing to attend a party you know you will hate is immensely liberating. So too, however, is giving yourself the freedom to do something you would like. This morning my husband mentioned he would love to explore the Norfolk Broads. The best way to do that is by water. I intend tonight to sit down with him and put a date in the diary. I will book accommodation and we will paddle a canoe around the waters for a weekend. It might pour with rain; it might be so hot we get sunburnt; we might fall in. Any number of things could go wrong but if we don’t do it, we will never know.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at my daughter. We encouraged her to climb trees and swim in the sea; to be independent as early as possible. I would have preferred her to have delayed her travel by a day, but the risk must be her choice.
A Moodscope member.