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WHILE writing these memoirs, my interest in
each chapter has been stimulated by the fact
that I nearly always saw myself engaged in doing
something for the first time. Even if it was only
"going back to Butley", I wasn't quite the same as
when I'd last left it, so one hoped that monotony was
being avoided. All this, I suspect, has been little more
than the operation known as the pilgrimage from the
cradle to the grave, but I have had a comfortable
feeling that, however ordinary my enterprises may
have been, they had at any rate the advantage of
containing, for me, an element of sustained unfamili-
arity. I am one of those persons who begin life by
exclaiming that they've "never seen anything like it
before53 and die in the hope that they may say the
same of heaven.

Time has taught me that this talent for experienc-
ing everyday life with ever-renewed freshness and
intensity is the best qualification for making one's
memoirs readable. Professional ruminator though I
admittedly am, I cannot accuse myself of lacking
interest in life, and my main difficulty has been that
I absorb so much that I am continually asking to be
allowed to sit still and digest the good (and bad)
things which life has offered me. A ruminator really
needs two lives; one for experiencing and another for
thinking it over. Knowing that I need two lives and
am only allowed one, I do my best to lead two lives;
with the inevitable consequence that I am told by
the world's busybodies that I am "turning my back
on the contemporary situation". Such people are
usually so busy trying to crowd the whole of life into
their daily existence that they get very little of it