I have a proper break

I had a fabulous holiday in Portugal, followed by a fun weekend in London and then a couple of days here on my own getting the carpet cleaned and other chores I can’t do while mum is here. That was over 2 weeks ago. Since then I’ve been catching up, not just with the backlog of stuff that had accumulated over those three weeks – but a back log that’s been building up over several months – since before my niece’s wedding, when I was being ground down by stress.

Mum stays in a care home that’s about a 20 minute walk away. Before I went on holiday, I dropped mum off there then I walked back – but plodded might be a better description. I was so tired I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I spent my first afternoon of freedom watching a Swedish crime drama on the i-player. I never watch day time TV, but I knew there was absolutely no point in trying to do anything else. However, two days later I flew off to Lisbon, still tired but in better spirits.

It wasn’t a relaxing holiday. We visited four different cities in 10 days and all on public transport – but it was stimulating: full of variety and interesting encounters. My travelling companion, a friend from California, had done most of the research and found us some marvellously quirky places to stay. And by the end of the trip, I felt more like my old self. I no longer had a permanent headache; I found my brain, when not being continually interrupted by mum, could still follow a train of thought.  This was all a tremendous relief!

I flew back home on my birthday. The plane was delayed because of early morning fog which led to a whole string of missed connections and general hassles as I attempted to get back here, grab some warmer clothes and head off to London. But the waiting and hanging around was mitigated by the fact that I had an excellent novel to read. (Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh – the first of a trilogy, which is very exciting!). So the day seemed, in some strange way, symbolic of my life!

And I did, finally, arrive at my friends’ house. The poor things had prepared a birthday feast and they nobly waited for me, finally eating at 9pm! The weekend continued: friends, cake, whiskey and laughter. I did get a little down in the mouth when mum came home and the old routine started up once again. But I can still feel the benefits of this extended break. And somehow I must try to hang on to my renewed sense of self.

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