Steve Boggan: Slowing down is harder than it looks

As someone with permanently itchy feet - perhaps caused by ants falling from my pants - I feel indebted this morning to the Right Rev Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading, as I reach for my alarm clock and, with a clear conscience, hit the snooze button. In fact, what the hell, I'll switch the damned thing off.

The bishop has written a book, Do Nothing to Change Your Life, in which he says we should all slow down. Find time simply to sit and think. To make tea with leaves instead of bags. To brew coffee with beans we have ground ourselves. Even to make our own bread. Life, he says, will be better that way.

And it's the smell of the bread I'm imagining as I get out of bed and follow another of his teachings - using an egg-timer to sit still and silently for three minutes. What a great idea. Just time to think about how I have to cancel an interview in order to bake bread today. God, those grains of sand are soooo slow. OK, I'll skip that bit while I grind my coffee.

Here the bishop is right. Why don't I do this every day? Already I feel better - if a little hungry - as I gather the ingredients for the bread that will become my morning toast. Even though it's pushing noon. I reach for Delia. Water, flour, sugar, salt, yeast - yeast?

The bishop probably has someone to fetch his yeast for him, but I have to go to my local supermarket - and no rushing; rushing is bad. So I walk as if I have a bad back, and I smile at people to let them know I have time for them. I shuffle funereally past the bakery and on to the supermarket. Where they don't sell yeast. So I sprint back to the bakery for a piping-hot loaf and run home to pop it in the toaster - don't dare suggest it would taste better toasted over a fire with logs I chopped myself.

And as I munch my toast and sip my coffee it occurs to me that the bishop means well, but nothing would get done at his pace. For a kick-off, it would have taken God more than six days to create the universe, and what would that have meant? He wouldn't have got Sunday off, that's what.

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