The UK during late November really up to Christmas is a dark land and the mood of people one meets or passes by on the underground or in the street often appears to reflect that darkness.
Yet the Guardian today has an interesting report of a decision taken by Monsieur Gauthier Toulemonde a French businessman who c. 12 months ago became depressed by his commute from Lille to Paris and the prevailing darkness in the French capital. Presumably the daylight or lack of it is not too dis-similar in Northern France to that in Southern England at this time of year?
In any event he decided he had had enough and moved to a sunny, bright and unoccupied Indonesian Island with his windmill, internet connections, lap top computer, a couple of tents and a dog and continued with his publishing business work.
All seemed wonderful at first but reality began to set in when snakes and rats made themselves known. Nonetheless his dog provided protection against those creatures for him and he was able according to the newspaper report, to complete his monthly work for his French company based in Paris, some 10,000 miles away, quite normally. Yet loneliness and the lack of any human contact began to make themselves felt or in the latter case increasingly not.
After 40 days he decamped and returned to France which was presumably by then only slightly lighter and no doubt much colder. His comment to the Guardian:
"...I'd say 40 days is about the limit. But it's not the same as physically meeting someone. Nothing can replace human contact."
That report makes one admire the hermits of old but even the few hermits that there still are today in England at least, have some human contact. Likewise Carmelite sisters who usually pray for the rest of us in physical isolation from others still usually share their lives together in community.
Reading accounts like the one above makes for sudden appreciation of the routines of one's own life - the daily walk to the underground commute, coffee making, gossip even sometimes with strangers, work (though I appreciate that sadly these days especially for the young that is not so routine for many in the Common Market) ordinary family ups and downs and brings ones thoughts quite positively to the whys, whats, hows and ultimately, the purpose of life itself.