Sunday, September 18, 2005


I had a book idea today. Sixteen Walkers - looking at the lives led by sixteen people who turn up each Sunday to walk with a walking club. We were members of the Ramblers in Harrogate for the time we lived there (1998-2003) and have been members of the Weskahagen Trail Association here in Edmonton since our return.

Walking clubs are full of characters. In Harrogate we have Ted, the best dressed man who would do a 15 mile hike in a sports jacket, waistcote, shirt and tie with improvised leggins made from old socks. There is Sally, a complete fruit cake in our current club who harasses everyone about the big ideas of the world - Iraq, Iran, Germany - and then forgets her lunch. Stan, who is 80, and always has a chain saw with him in case he comes across a fallen tree.

These people - full of richness and texture - lead lives which are very diverse - a shop worker from Sobeys mixing with a family therapist and a University of Alberta Professor (who is shown up time and time again by the guy from Sobey's) or the prison educator who could charm a duck out of water.

I dont think Sixteen Walkers would be a best seller, but it keeps me coming back for 10-15km walks, such as the one we finished today.

Concert last night with our new conductor with the Edmonton Symphony - largely enjoyable Respeighi and Beethoven, but a dreadful piece by Copeland - Symphony for Organ and Orchestra.

Edmonton symphony goers stand up to applaud everything. We dont. We get dissed for not standing up to celebrate excellence. This concert, for example, was OK - nothing outstanding about it, good playing of the Beethoven (except for the Principal violinist of the orchestra, who was timid when he needed to be bold and is awkward as a solo performer), but the rest was avereage. Why we should leap to our feet every time anyone just tries, I dont know.

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