When I was leaving I thought that, of the four repeat stays I was on so far, this was the second best (after my very first one) – and that the same applied to the community in which I found myself.
I was pondering about it now.
And I still think it true.
Anyway, as regards some particular features:
Relapsers &c: Admittedly I’m partly prejudiced in comparing these four stays, as Seòras, my only real Reid Yaird love, was there the first time round, and Silas was there now. Come to think of it, even overall I met there more people I already knew than on the previous two occasions. Yet I doubt this entirely blurred my perception.
Myself: I was more relaxed than ever before. For the first time I felt fully as a repeater. Even the sketches and final rounds didn’t make me twitchy, nor was I strained each time I had to talk about myself. On the other hand I felt more intensely than usual (whether at the Yaird or outside) how unpleasantly older I am than so many of the others.
Concerning my own addiction: The biggest surprise apart from meeting Silas was this: I’d been aware I hadn’t known all the solutions, but I’d thought I’d known all the dangers. Nevertheless, at Tuesday’s Tribune the chairman pointed out to me that simply realising the danger of growing complacent probably wouldn’t work in the long run any more than pure determination does. That I should make out some way of not slipping into treating this danger too routinely – and, consequently, inefficiently. I’ll have to work on this one yet.
My beloved Park: True, I admit I hoped it would be a wee bit more colourful still, but I’d never seen it looking better even as it was. True, only one occupational involved getting deep enough inside to really make it a “park” one – but it was the better for that, being of the good old “riding behind the tractor on a dray of leaves” kind. And we found out why the Beaver Pond was almost empty, so they will fix it. Also, I had my usual on-my-own rambles around it (from the Detox to the Rock Pond to the Obelisk to the Mauritshuis to the Beaver Pond to the Culvert to the Fire Ring to the Manor) three times, and each one was as good as they always are.
Special endearing features: Let’s just call the facts that during this stay there were no warm-ups and that I was staying for the first time in a single room the icing on the cake. More importantly, I was eventually lucky enough to be there for another day trip, which is one of the best things any Yaird stay can offer. (Quite unsurprisingly I was among the vanguard that got as far ahead of the main body as to almost get into a real scrape – rules-wise, that is.)
The current community: As I was saying, just as this was my second best repeat stay to date, the crowd seemed to be the second best of the four. (You can’t compare between people you only know for a week and a community you’re a part of for three months – the more so as it changes all over the time so that the one you come to from the detox is quite different from the one you’re leaving for the so-called real life.) Not that the individual persons were better – but the impression was that of a group of people definitely sticking together more, for all the inevitable antagonisms, than the preceding two bands.
Guys I took particular interest in: The current Mice’s chieftain – sometimes it occurred to me that maybe there was a much more serious (and possibly depressed) man under that happy-go-lucky boyish face; the first guy I ever met to mention the Pogues earlier than me when talking music; the one who resembled to me a strange mixture of Kirk and Pokič in more aspects than one; I’ve already mentioned the chairman; and Silas goes wihout saying. (Funny thing is that somebody who doesn’t turn me on is usually an exception to the rule in such lists, while here the ratio is 2 to 3 – as much as 40%.)
Final words? Nothing new under the sun: I’m looking forward to my next stay – and hope to meet some of the guys again some time. Course I was singing (as is my wont) within those park rambles, among other favourite songs of mine, the Waterboys’ one beginning with “How long will I love you? As long as stars are above you – and longer if I can…”