Enough Is Enough

It was almost warm enough for shorts today; nothing’s really warmed up yet but the temperature was in the high 60s. In the shade it’s cooler than it would be if it were a summer day, but even so, that’s nicely warm. What was perhaps more notable is the dryness; a couple of times today I was tasting dust after lorries passed me. It seems a bit early for that. The prospect of drought gets ever more real.

Twice today, near Christmas Common and then on the outskirts of Henley, the birds that caught my eye were buzzards rather than red kites; they’re a very distinctive shape and they often seem to be flying higher than the kites do. In a first for me, the kites near Stonor caught me out by calling their distinctive call but being nowhere to be seen – until I noticed three of them on the ground, several yards apart in a field. I’ve never before been aware of them calling to each other when they’re on the ground.

I guess because of the combination of the foliage not being out much yet but the weather being good enough to encourage looking around, today I noticed a few obviously expensive houses that I’d either not seen before or hadn’t really registered. Most of them are the old stately pile type of place but not all – there are some more modern ones in amongst them. What I wasn’t sure about was how they made me feel.

Jealous? Not really. Angry? No, again not really. Some of them will probably be the result of old money being handed down. So it goes – that’s not going to change overnight. Some will probably be owned by people who’ve made a packet by doing something anyone would call honest and decent. I’m not going to carp at that. And some, probably, will be owned by grotty, greedy individuals who’ve climbed the greasy pole grabbing whatever they can, crapping on anyone they can, and not giving a damn along the way, and I wouldn’t want to be like that.

And there’s the question of sufficiency too. Even if I was behaving thoroughly decently throughout, I don’t want to put the time in to earn more to just buy more – more rooms, more garden or whatever. I’ve a roof over my head already. It’s a long way from great but it’s sufficient. I’d rather be able to take advantage of a decent day like today, go for a bike ride and pass the gates of these places than be bogged down in earning more money to buy a ‘better’ house.

I think I’m just becoming more aware that time is far too finite to waste on acquiring possessions I don’t really need. I’m not preaching a life of sack cloth and ashes – far from it. I’ve plenty of luxuries in my life, by any sane measure. I hope I know what constitutes enough though, and I can’t help but suspect a lot of people would ultimately benefit – be happier – if they assessed what’s sufficient more rigorously. It’s easy to get sucked in to buying more for buying more’s sake.