Life Should Be Lived In Shorts And Sandals

When all these boxes are ticked off, I reckon we’ll have finished Series 4 of Foiled.

Happy 2020!

Three days in and the nights are drawing out. We're rushing headlong into summer (in the northern hemisphere at least). Salve!

There isn't an awful lot of serendipity built into my writing process, but occasionally I accidentally dig up something worthwhile that I’d completely forgotten about.

As I’ve mentioned before, I use the last few days of the year to peer back at the past and to throw forward to the next. While hacking through the state of my existence, I decided to search my writing archive for the word 'life' - and was surprised to rediscover the following unpublished poem from 2015:

Life should be lived wearing shorts and sandals

Life should be lived wearing shorts and sandals
Dinner should be littered with corks and candles

Life is a matter of taking your chances
Making the most of your circumstances
Taking up hands at dinner-dances
Falling in love with the merest of glances

Life should be lived as much in the sea
Entwined in a hammock, or under a tree
Vows should be made down on one knee
In the dark, in a church, in Tennessee

Write your own doggerel verses
Sprinkle your talk with Shakespearean curses
Pocket your change and don't pinch purses
Petition the government to hire more nurses

Don't be afraid to spend time alone
Enter outdoors and exit your phone
Listen closely, you can still hear the silence
Traffic and television are an odd sort of violence

The sky is a constantly changing companion
Instead of a down, it's an up sort of canyon
Every breath is there for exploring
Forget all I'm saying and take up drawing!

But pepper your life with shocks and scandals
Life should be lived wearing shorts and sandals

2020: The Future

My 2020 is - absurdly - already mapped out.

The fourth series of Foiled will take about three months for us to write, starting with the plotlines over the next couple of weeks, and finishing at a sprint in early summer.

The next six months are also stuffed full of Thighs of Steel. We’ll have to work harder than ever to fill 108 saddle spaces and meet our target of raising another £60,000+ for grassroots refugee organisations. (Let me know if you want in!)

Come the summer, I'll hopefully be on the London-Athens ride for five weeks and I'll probably stick around in Greece and Turkey, as I have for the past two years, to work on my Bikes + Borders book.

So it’ll be deep September before I have time for anything radically new. Already, then, January 2020 is about planning for 2021 and beyond.

It's good to have plans, but it's easy to forget to take care of the long term, particularly as a freelancer. It's easy to miss that we're constantly putting down bedrock.

Your neck of the woods?

I'm up in London tomorrow for the Hogarth exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum. William Hogarth was a ‘pictorial satirist’ of the eighteenth century, whose bleak eye on society and politics either reminds us that, in most domains, daily life is on an upward trajectory, or that humanity suffers the same despicable vices as ever.

Above: Hogarth’s Election series. The canvassing looks familiar.

Other than that, there’s not much in the diary. I should fill it with sea swims.

Much love,


David Charles wrote this newsletter. He also publishes a reading newsletter called Books Make Books. David is co-writer of BBC Radio Wales sitcom Foiled, and writes for The Bike Project, Forests News, Global Landscape Forum, Elevate and Thighs of Steel. Reply to this email, or read more at Thank you for subscribing!