Brian, R.I.P.

He was a bushy bearded urban countryman, a Walt Whitman lookalike. He told me once, how he would walk from his terraced suburbia to the city bus station, check what buses were going to where, and then, in a calculated or at times instinctive moment, hop on one, to begin his mini ‘adventure’. Most of the bus drivers knew him well and I could so easily imagine the question, ‘Well, Brian, where will I let you off this time?”

Adventure is just thinking or doing outside the box-of-the-norm, that’s all, and that was Brian. For him it usually didn’t matter where the bus was going. He decided how far he wished to walk that day and then got on with it. He’d get off, ten, fifteen or more kilometres along a country road, for he always chose buses servicing the villages. By a farm gate or in a field he’d sup tea from a flask, nibble a biscuit, look at the weather, look at his compass, look over the field to check for any bull… then pack up and strike-off in a beeline across the agricultural countryside back to city suburbia.

Through fields and farmyards, around or over hills, over styles and streams, through gaps, down lanes, wherever the compass directed. Chats with farmers were inevitable and being in Irish countryside that meant, at the very least, a cup of tea in the hand and perhaps another biscuit! Getting actually ‘lost’ was a high point! A simple but grand adventure. Familiar places from different angles and always home for tea. That was Brian.