The common theme was travel. There was a murmur of approval when I said that Gail's a travel writer. The night before I'd watched Tim (who I've known since we were 10) present the first in his travel series on BBC4. (If you thought the sheep's brains and ram's testicles looked indigestible, he tells me there's worse to come when he reaches China.)
It's strange, then, that I'm no longer much of a traveller - at least in the first of its dimensions:
- Distance. (Time zones, borders, geography, weather etc.)
- Time. (My stone farmhouse isn't that old, but 1771 is prehistoric in the context of modern Australia or America).
- Empathy/imagination. (Even the simplest form of communication - such as a lecture - involves surmounting barriers of age, gender, language, interest, culture. Travellers are forced to build bridges and make connections, even to improvise communication.)