As well as meeting each month, once a year in October, our Boys Book Club goes away for the weekend, usually to a Mediterranean town or city. Our thinking being that before we have to hunker down on our cold wet island for a few months of winter it’s fantastic to go somewhere you can sit outside, enjoy your food and wine and soak up what, for us, will be the last genuine rays of warmth for a while. Last weekend our yearly trip saw us head to Palma and it was slightly different as we’ve had a couple of changes in personnel over the last year so it was the first trip with us for a couple of the newer guys which was going to change the dynamics a bit.
I’m always interested in the group dynamics as we are such a different collection of people with totally different personalities from the fantastically organised to the shambolically chaotic; the gung-ho immersion into anything to the more reserved steady as she goes but binding us all together is our love for the rigour of the book club. There is no grand plan when we visit a city, guide books and over researching options are not really the done thing, one of us will book the flights, one the accommodation then we pitch up and see what happens. The result is a laid back haphazard approach to experiencing whatever city we happen to be in so sometimes we see very little, other times lots but always have a good time no matter what. No one person dominates, egos are pushed firmly into the background and decisions are made by a weird osmosis whereby if someone suggests something that someone else may not fancy, without them having to say anything we’ll know and the suggestion is instantly shelved and we move onto something else. I’ve no idea how it works but it does and the newbies quickly fell into the scheme of things this year.
We managed to take in the modern art gallery (the best I think I’ve been in) together with a smaller sculpture exhibition, a soiree round the cathedral and the amazing Gaudi alter that seriously puts the Goth into Gothic, took the train out to Soller and had a mooch about there but in reality we mooched and soaking it all up was very much the all round approach. We had a couple of focal points, Friday night saw us discuss our own writing ! We had decided to try and do something creative around the theme of Marked which was a really interesting experience that will be explored via another post but I’m going to be brave and publish my short story on here soon. Saturday night the focus was the discussion of this months book, War of the Worlds and again this will be via another post.
What interests me though is often how we experience things and a city is a great example of this, do you rush around trying to pack as much in as possible in the time you have or do you take a more relaxed approach so you’ll experience less ‘stuff’ but perhaps get more of an actual feel for the place. Our first port of call was a lovely bar overlooking the harbour and as we sat there relaxing one member began to discuss what he had coming up the following week….. woah down there, never mind next week what about now, cold wine, hot sun, friends etc etc. This brought about a good conversation on mindfulness the ability to savour the now the moment and not focus on the past or the future. We all had different views on this but having this conversation early I think really heightened our enjoyment as for the most part the theme for the weekend become The Moment – art, food, drink, laughter, politics, friendship, conversation, bikes, hats, children, change, trains, religion, relationships, engineering, spacial awareness, music, writing, books, language, culture, humour and wit were all encapsulated in a whole collection of moments each one special in it’s own right but when stitched together created something magical.
None of us took a camera but the photos accompanying this piece are from our various phones, each picture in its own right illustrates many of these moments as after all that is exactly what photography is so good at, capturing the moment and I have no doubt that when my fellow book club members see them it will bring a smile and a memory. Roll on next year but only after many more moments have been experienced.