On the Kennet and Avon Canal near where I live, at occasional intervals along the picturesque towpath, there is the odd bench to sit on. Not generally provided by British Waterways, but by relatives who wanted to provide a memorial to their late departed loved one. You know that, because they generally have engraved brass plates on them. ‘TO ALAN BROWN, WHO LOVED THIS CANAL’, ‘IN MEMORY OF ALAN BROWN, WHO LOVED THIS PARTICULAR SPOT’. Or even, in one uninspired case, ‘TO ALAN BROWN’.
These benches are quite useful. I have often myself used them as a place to do up my shoes on, or to sit on and write notes of stuff going round in my head during a bike ride. I have often found that the mind goes into free wheel more easily on a bike ride than anywhere else in the world, and you get some really good thoughts up there on the saddle. Indeed, some of the ideas in these letters first saw the light of scribble on one of those benches.
So, if there is any money accruing from any of the books which I may have written as a consequence of any of these letters which I have written to you, between now and my death, I would like you to arrange for a bench to be bought and dedicated to me along the canal.
And I would like the following wording to be carved on the bench, or, better put on that small plaque:
‘IN FOND MEMORY OF MILES KINGTON, WHO HATED THIS SPOT, BECAUSE THERE WAS NEVER ANYWHERE TO SIT DOWN AND ENJOY IT FROM.’
It doesn’t matter where you put the bench, as long as there isn’t one there already.
I’m afraid this isn’t an idea for a book, only an idea on how to spend the royalties. Oh, well.