Last summer I spent my summer holidays in hospital or in bed. I didn’t even have the consolation of being able to watch the Olympics as the stimulation and noise of TV was just too much for my battered and recently invaded brain, in fact the opening ceremony spectacle almost did me in…all those flashing lights and drama…and There was no escaping it on the general ward. You would’ve thought a neuro hospital would have realised that this was unwelcome sensory overload but I guess they were caught up in the excitement like everyone else. I did at least get to see the Red Arrows speed over the hospital on their way to the opening ceremony which brought a much needed smile to me and hubby.
Our entire summer was a write off, interspersed with the odd drama of blue light trips to London ( 35 minutes in rush hour traffic if you are interested) and lightened by the promise of relief that James Shunt was intended and did eventually bring. The weather even joined in and it was thoroughly miserable and pretty tough going.
Foward onto this year and the holiday season has arrived witness to a much improved body and mind thank goodness and that all too rare occurrence; a sunny British summer. My events from last year has left me determined to enjoy as many moments as I can but it's all a little gentler than the olden days but I'm loving it all the same. Interestly I am probably the family member in least need of a holiday as I have spent so much time of late focussing on me, resting up,generally being kind to myself and I am in no rush to holiday abroad yet and test how the gerbils react to cabin air pressure but that's a goal for next year I think.
I do find life bumps along for me more comfortably when it's taken at a slower pace these days and it’s a case of weighing up what can be done against how much effort it will take me to do it. The ferryman will always take his toll. I know if I plan a day out that I will have to exercise judgement of how many of the activities I should actually join in with and when to sit things out; literally I park my bum down. This summer has seen me sat in hat, sunglasses and earplugs in many different places whilst the world whirls past me but it is a happy state I sit in. Ok, so it’s a little frustrated but primarily happy state I sit in and here are just a few of my top moments from this summer , each of them representing a huge improvement on just a short 12 months ago and although after each day out I then have a rubbish few days they are definitely a fair price to pay..
1. Trip to the Tower of London. Yes, it was busy. Yes, it was hot, but I think it’s one of those places in London where you can always find a peaceful and quiet corner which is strange considering its violent and dark history really. We loved this day out and whilst sitting quietly having my usual rest in my invisibility cloak of glasses and hat a blooming raven hopped up on the bench next to me. ‘Caw, Caw’ shattering my peaceful private meditation. Cue every tourist in vicinity completely surrounding me and the bird and taking numerous pictures. I am tickled that I'm probably in so many holiday pictures. The girls and MIL returned from their trip to one of the Towers to find me chatting to a very nice founder of commune in Indiana… pre SAH I am sure I would never have stopped long enough to experience all that.
2. ‘StephFest’. Last year I turned 40 but I was too feeble and poorly to celebrate at all so we deferred celebrations to this year; the Big 41! Actually it was still a very gentle and low key celebration compared to events from yesteryear but the normalcy of having friends and family over, coping with the constant hum of background noise and just managing to be present for it was a HUGE thing and a lovely time was had by all.
3. Blackberry picking. I love the therapy of picking blackberries and there are loads and loads of them this year thanks to the sunshine although i didnt realise the highland cattle had been moved back into the field which was interesting. That said we have had a great haul which then allows me to indulge in another pastime I like; making jam. I do it in small batches so as not to overload myself but my cupboards are beginning to show the fruits of our labour and hopefully there will be more to come, the apples are ripening nicely now, then green guages ...can’t wait.
4. Swimming in the sea. If I can forget for moment the awful journey to and from our coastal destination then I can savour instead the sweetness ( and coldness) of dipping my body into the sea for the first time in ages. I have always enjoyed swimming and it was glorious to be splashing around with the girls although I didn’t half ache the next day.
All in all this summer has involved plenty of nicer moments which are gradually crowding out the awfulness of the last year and a half and brought with it new moments, new memories that all help me heal.