This is my original blog for all our non-caravanning trips since 2009 and more recently posts about coming to terms with being single again having been widowed in 2018. And anything else too really!

My caravanning blog is (Get Your) Legs Down and all our trips in the caravan are there. My grog blog is The Ale Archive where I list every beer I’ve ever tried.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

65 today

65 today. I wish.

Not me of course but someone would have been - should have been - celebrating his 65th birthday today. The day when finally he was rewarded for lifetime of graft with a state pension - although he would have actually have had to wait a little longer for that. I remember him saying many times – “65 years, 6 months and 21 days”.

The day he could sit back and think “I've done my bit” and start enjoying his retirement. I doubt he'd have given up work entirely but was certainly looking forward to easing up. Gawd knows he’d earned the right yet he's been denied all that. It's so unfair.

Unfair to those of us that loved him dearly, unfair to those lucky enough to have him as a friend, unfair to those to whom he was an Uncle or Brother.

But most of all it's unfair to him.

65 today. I so, so wish.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Guest Blog Post | Life & Mindfulness

After writing the piece on Contentment, I started to think more about how one might achieve and equally importantly, maintain the contented state of mind. Of course, as we discussed before, it is different things to different people and is mainly a constantly moving feast. I reflected upon how I manage this and one of the main ways, although not exclusively so, is Mindfulness.

I first came across mindfulness about 6 years ago; have to say at first I was somewhat sceptical, fearing it was yet another ‘fix/cure’ imported from elsewhere. Life was, at that time extremely challenging, both from historical issues and more current ones. So, with little or no expectations, I enrolled on a 12 week course, feeling I had nothing to lose.

Perhaps, I fell lucky on this occasion, the tutor was exceptionally good and made the journey far more easier than it might have been. That is not to say that it was an easy time but tried to keep the focus on the saying, “if it’s worth doing, you have to give it your best”.

I do not propose to describe the details of what mindfulness is or isn’t, I will attach a link at the end for people to look at if they wish to.

There are, however, a couple of important issues which need to be explained. Mindfulness is not just for people with mental health issues. Although it can seem like it is, given the close links there are in papers, websites etc. I strongly recommend that if you read something online, in a book, try and ignore the words mental health, you can then see the wider relevance to today’s busy lives. It can be for everyone, regardless of background, ethnicity etc. Some tutors link their mindfulness teaching and practice to different religious viewpoints but many do not do this. Indeed, that had been one of my initial reservations. I quickly learnt that the process can and is run on completely secular lines, as was the course and follow up sessions I attend.

Mindfulness is also of equal importance to people who do not consider themselves unwell, for whatever reason. It has something to offer most people.

So, what does Mindfulness give me? It makes me feel better, I can control things like anxiety or panic quite successfully most of the time. It calms me and gives me a framework within which I have learnt to appreciate things around me and to be able to recognise something approaching contentment at any given time for example. There are many other benefits but I wanted to focus on following up on the piece on Contentment. That is my personal journey and everyone is different.

All to often, sadly, mainstream media and organisations are ready to denounce different ways of doing things. Perhaps we owe it to each other to explore ways that have stood the test of time and in doing so we may find some contentment we all too often struggle to achieve and keep.

Mindfulness in UK, (I have no affiliation to this site, nor is this a recommendation)

Friday, 1 March 2019

7 Months

So, the balance of time has tipped I feel and the countdown to the 1st year anniversary has begun. Hmm.

It’s been a funny old month - away in Patsy for half-term and although overall it was good I had a bad morning on the last full day. Clearing up ready for an early departure I was overcome with such an intense feeling of loneliness - something I’d never experienced in Patsy since  I’ve been touring on my own. It passed of course and I had a very enjoyable afternoon meeting up with friends from Brighton for football in the evening but it returned again in the pub before the match and during the match itself. I contemplated leaving early but again, as always, it passed.

The weekend saw me head up to Cambridge for a birthday party which was really good fun, although there was the inevitable twinge of sadness as Trev would have enjoyed it so much. The floodgates opened again the evening I got home, like having to endure some hideous emotional version of a bush tucker trial, almost as if I was being punished for having a good time,

I was back in Cambridge on Tuesday for the funeral of Trev’s sister Maggie, who had passed away after a long illness, but still far too young at 62. I debated going - it was at the Crem and I feared a reaction, but I wanted to go and it was important to do so, not least because it’s what Trev would have wanted. I did find my mind wandering though to the last time I was there - where I sat, the photos, the words, the music and the people. I’m aware that there now often seems to be a delayed emotional reaction to things like this but so far, none has come.

Right, to this months photo - Trev of course, being watched over by Teddy. Teddy was a Christmas present from Trev’s elder sister Rosemary when we moved into our first home together - so at 17 he’s getting on a bit too! Trev had two Labradors - one after the other, both called Teddy - and we talked lots about getting a dog ourselves.

The photo was taken at Christmas and was at the Cherry Hinton club site in Cambridge but I can’t place the year - 2014 to 2017 is the nearest I can get.