I'm lying on the couch, in the sun, next to a steaming bowl of tea while the frost melts outside and a stray dog barks far away.
Late last night, with the electric blanket on 'three', I finished reading Orhan Pamuk's unusual chronicle of his life in the city, Istanbul: Memories and the City. I was introduced to him by Paul Theroux, who dedicates almost an entire chapter to the writer in his own Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. I am now adamant to visit Turkey.
Theroux writes that he'd been invited to give a talk in Ankara, and it was hinted to him that the setting would be formal. "That meant I'd need a necktie, an article I did not possess. I bought one for a few dollars, and that night, to the invited guests, I enlarged on my theme of the return journey, how it reveals the way the world works, and makes fools of pundits and predictors. How it showed, too, the sort of traveller I'd been, what I'd seen, what I'd missed the first time.
"I was not in search of news - had never been, I said. I wanted to know more about the world, about people's lives. I wasn't a hawk in my travels; more a butterfly. But revelation was granted to the most aimless traveller, who was happier and more receptive to impressions. 'An aimless joy is pure joy,' I said, quoting Yeats.
'And wisdom is a butterfly
And not a gloomy bird of prey.'