Thursday, 9 March 2006
I find myself sitting in a room in Queens' College Cambridge, almost 20 years after I first sat there in 1986. It's as if I've been off on an adventure, but now I'm back home in my simple student room after half a lifetime of experiences.
It feels like a journey straight out of Sebald's groundbreaking book 'Rings of Saturn', the story of his walk down the Suffolk coast from Lowestoft to Southwold, in which he regularly stops to reflect on history, philosophy, biology, music and more.
At one point he sits on a bench to eat a sandwich, and looking out to sea, muses on the history and decline of the European herring industry, and the folly of war. Some 87 pages later we're back on the bench after a wonderful imaginary adventure.
When I wander into the packed college bar for a beer, the students look at me like a man from another planet.