The philosophy of country roads

My desktop wallpaper is essentially country roads:

Whenever choosing either a wallpaper or a blog header, it comes down to open or closed, far-seeing or navel-gazing. Case in point is choosing between two current headers. The one you see before you has these elements:

1. A definite enclosure within a safe, pleasant, accessible private space … and then a window or door onto the wide blue yonder. It’s more than a picture, it’s a philosophy. My default header has exactly that aspect.

Baden-Powell wrote of it when he said the bushman never roughs it – he creates a liveable space anywhere he finds himself. But the lure of the yonder is always there, the eyes are always half out there.

2. While he always feels he can escape to that yonder, just as people escape to films, he observes minutiae inside his safe space such as dill pickle bottles – never lose sight of your next meal or the woman in your arms [or your equivalent, ladies].

3. Then there is the principle of the road, the journey, the long and winding road, country roads taking me home, whatever – we are agreeing to go where that roadmaker wants us to go, we’re really not striking out on our own.

And we’re going in a civilised and orderly manner.

But there is always adventure around that next bend.

[And no, I refuse to play Denver.]

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17 comments for “The philosophy of country roads

  1. June 12, 2018 at 14:30

    desktop; wallpaper: I’m ‘philosophical’ about modern meaning(s) of words.

    Best regards

  2. The Blocked Dwarf
    June 12, 2018 at 14:46

    You have obviously never had the misfortune to dwell (I won’t say ‘live) in Norfolk (or Suffolk I am told)! Here abouts, country roads are actually wormholes in the space-time continuum, R’lyehian gateways to other dimensions.

    The length of each road is variable depending on season, dimension and century; the maths of which are a matter for quantum physicists. The sign might say “2” or even specify “Upper Nosebleed Magna 2 miles” but only an ignorant fool or an English tourist would assume that in three and a half thousand yards he will at least see the perpendicular spire of the ‘small’ parish church of that fair hamlet.

    The roads here were laid out back when chariots had bloody great knives on the wheel hubs and were purposely designed in rejection of the Oppressors almost anal mania for straight roads. Accordingly every country road here is cat’s craddle of blind bends, a Gordon’s knot. Around each you enter a realm best described as ‘the twilight zone’. If you’re lucky it will just be a tractor coming the other way in the middle of the road. Sometimes a traction engine or shire horses. It could be penny farthing cycling ladies in Edwardian garb (kind tongues maintain they weren’t lost time travelling gentle folk but actually some local re-enactment society but I don’t believe a word of it.) I personally have witnessed all manner of wildfowl (it was a Dodo I swear) ,wildlife and livestock; rutting human (well Norfolk anyways) couples, schooners (yes really), parked cars and those taken short…so short they couldn’t get to the verge. And even,on one memorable occasion, the fabled Norfolk Panther.

    • FoS
      June 12, 2018 at 15:13

      Sehr gut, BD – recht lustig. M.E. könnte diese Website noch ein paar dichterische Seele wie Sie gut verkraften.

      Aber was zum Teufel ist ein ‘Gordon’s knot’? Der Denkzustand nach übermässigem Gin-Konsum?

      The roads themselves usually seem rather uninteresting to me; what is at the side of them a bit more.

      • The Blocked Dwarf
        June 12, 2018 at 15:39

        Sollte eigentlich “GordIan” heissen. My Bad.

  3. Distant Relative
    June 12, 2018 at 15:52

    Thought the philosophy was “Take me home”? Works for me. 🙂

    • The Blocked Dwarf
      June 12, 2018 at 16:02

      Big tractor wheels keep on turning, carryin’ me home to sleep with my kin. Singing songs about the Flatlands, I did Mistress “Barmy” once again and I think its a sin.

      • Distant Relative
        June 12, 2018 at 16:15

        \_0_/ Me no speaky Dwarfese.

        • The Blocked Dwarf
          June 12, 2018 at 16:22

          Don’t worry…my mind…..the doctors tell me….(your mention of ‘Take me home country roads’ led me to muse about a Norfolk version of Sweet Home Alabama….)

  4. FoS
    June 12, 2018 at 18:13

    This is an attempt to wrest from BD’s Norfolk the country roads theme and give it to its rightful owner – Switzerland (aka God’s Own European Country).

    I don’t know how to post images in the comments here so I put them onto a private page on my website:

    NB: the page won’t be there for ever…

    • Distant Relative
      June 12, 2018 at 18:20

      Is that yodelling I hear in the distance…? 🙂

      • Fos
        June 12, 2018 at 18:30

        Since you mention it, DR:

        Yodelling was invented by the British

        A young British climber got caught in a storm in the high alps and took shelter in a farmer’s cottage. The farmer was out, but his beautiful daughter and his beautiful wife looked after the climber with traditional Swiss hospitality.

        When the farmer returned the climber had already left, but it was clear from the flushed cheeks of his daughter the sort of hospitality he had received.

        The farmer rushed out and saw the climber on the opposite hillside: ‘You f****d my daughter, you British bastard!’ he shouted. ‘And youroldladytooooo’, the climber shouted back.

        • Distant Relative
          June 13, 2018 at 09:05


          Beautiful dogs, btw.
          Bureaucrats at their worst again. 🙁

    • The Blocked Dwarf
      June 12, 2018 at 18:30

      Ahhh die Schweiz… *colour me jealous, when I win the lottery I shall retire to an alm, grow a long white beard and smoke my pipe all day watching the purple cows graze while your gnomes take care of my money and my Frau prepares the fondue for the evening’s debauchery*

      • FoS
        June 12, 2018 at 19:21
        • The Blocked Dwarf
          June 12, 2018 at 19:29

          Yep, surrounded by purple cows and blond madels in dirndls, smoking my loooooong alpine pipe , blowing smoke rings at the tourists and hill walkers before setting my *insert whatever LARGE Swiss dog breed* on them with a cheery ‘gerrooff mein Land!” .

          • FoS
            June 12, 2018 at 19:39

            Large Swiss dogs – lovely!


            I’m very – very – sorry to say that the money men, the PTB and the wuzzies have other ideas about that. The world is going to pot. It makes me really sad. For a time I had a number of good friends who were summer shepherds and these dogs were absolutely wonderful.

            In Switzerland – perhaps its the same in the UK – they have managed to get a generation of townie children totally terrifed of dogs – pathologically so. It’s actually quite sick.


  5. June 13, 2018 at 02:35

    Oh yes, FoS:

    “By the end of that fifty years the Swiss Army realized that its bunkers and its encampments in the mountains – historically part of the central mountainous reduit of the Second World War – were now, after the end of the Cold War, military anachronisms. It began its hesitating retreat from these useless and expensive positions, of which the Andermatt camp was one.

    The cosy economic rug was pulled from under the locals and they were left sitting on the hard rock of commercial reality.

    Twenty years ago Andermatt was a place hardly anyone wanted to visit. It still mowed its high alpine meadows, still made milk and cheese (excellent and memorable, according to Goethe, who liked his grub), but it was an economically backward area in modern terms. The army base had kept it going, but who wants to holiday next to a military camp?”

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