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Tripping Hither, Tripping Thither

'Where shall we take your mum this year?’ asks Tom. After the success of our Isle of Skye trip last year, we warm to our theme and pick another island but one - given Ma’s recent trials and tribulations - a bit closer to home and which comes with added ferry trips, namely the Isle of Wight. Ma has to put up with lots of ‘do you remember whens’ on the way out as Tom and I fondly reminisce about our sailing days in the Solent (see Sailing Kind , but once we’ve disembarked it’s only a short drive to our holiday accommodation which comes - rather splendidly - with its own private beach and occasional flashes of red squirrels in the garden. Our holiday home is very comfortable and decorated in a slightly chintzy style which - as Tom points out - would have delighted his mum. It’s ‘Peak Rita’ but we’ve chosen it because there’s a large downstairs bedroom with an ensuite and walk-in shower which is perfect for Ma. We don’t discover the hidden drawback until the next morning when I take a
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A 'Diff full of Memories

The pavements in Cardiff are packed - of course they are; there are some 27,500 runners, plus supporters, in the Welsh capital to mark the 20th anniversary of the Cardiff Half Marathon. Even though Tom always drops me off in plenty of time to get to my starting pen, just moving through the crowd is a challenge. Although this is my 10th time of running this race and I should be used to it, I feel a bit tearful and lonely at this point. I know a dozen or so runners who’ll be here and a few of the spectators, but with that many participants there’s almost no chance of me meeting anyone en route. I resign myself to feeling a bit Billy No-Mates and look up to see my dear running buddy, Helen, who’s queuing for the loos! We have a joyful hug before going to our separate pens, where I meet a lovely group of women who are running to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK. I think of my dad and start crying again. Thank you, ladies for supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK Before I can get too morose

Everything Will Be Okay In The End

The early autumn sky has been filled with the movement and sound of house martins swooping over the house, resting on the roof and sitting on the wires, chattering and clicking to each other. And now silence. Suddenly they’ve left, on their way back to sunnier climes. We, however, are not on our way. We reduce the asking price of our house which piques a smattering of interest, but not the deluge we’re hoping for. It’s even more soul-destroying than I expected when we started this process. ‘Everything will be okay in the end,’ I keep telling myself and even though I know there is no point in getting worked up about something that’s completely beyond my control, it’s hard to find acceptance. Sailing opportunities have been few and far between this year, but with an ideal combination of weather and tide, Tom and I set off to the boat with the aim of dropping anchor in the Pembroke River for an overnight stay. There’s just one problem; the engine won’t start and resists every effort to c

Black Holes and Bright Lights

Our plans to move closer to family have fallen flat, along with the market. Despite what feels like an endless round of cleaning, tidying and leaving the place in showroom condition every time we go away, there are no takers for our lovely house looking out across Cardigan Bay. We’ll have to be patient. Ma’s needed a lengthy round of radiotherapy for a treatable skin cancer. My sister and her family take care of her for the first half and Tom and I takeover for the remainder. The Royal Marsden Hospital holds difficult memories for all of us; Tom was successfully treated there, but it was already too late for Dad when his pancreatic cancer was discovered. But it’s the unlikeliest of sights which brings sudden tears to my eyes when, as we walk past the hospital shop, I remember buying papers and small treats there for Dad when he was having his chemotherapy. Ma, however, whilst trepidatious about her treatment, puts on a brave face for the entire week; she looks fab, either matching


I hadn't realised it until now , but it’s probably no coincidence that my last post was about our trip to Norwich, a city I’ve loved since studying at UEA. I wrote, then, that coming home was a hard landing, a feeling that took me completely by surprise as it’s been such a privilege to live in this beautiful, remote spot on the very edge of the west Wales coast. A trip to Skye at the end of October - Tom’s choice - with Ma, was a truly lovely holiday. The weather was kind, the colours of those breathtaking seascapes will stay with me, as will all the happy memories we made that week. And, because our small cottage had been so beautifully modernised and worked so well for the three of us, it was easy to imagine what it might be like to live somewhere different. If travel doesn’t broaden the mind, it certainly brings a new perspective. By the end of the year, Tom and I had decided that it was time for a change, time to move closer to a town (we are neither of us, as they say, getting

Out and Back

  2022 has been an especially difficult and painful year for so many reasons and it won’t help to air them here. Besides, as my neighbour wisely says, ‘we are, all of us, in the shit, but some of us are in deeper than others.’ Still, the strain of the last nine months has been almost unbearable, so when - at last - we have some respite, we decide to take some proper time out and book not one, but two breaks. His and her choices, if you like. Our first trip is to Norwich, and UEA where I studied. It’s Freshers’ Week when we arrive and it’s a delight to see the campus filled with eager young faces - they all look so poised and confident to me. It’s a far cry from when I arrived in what I thought was a very cool fake fur coat and my one suitcase. I spent much of that first week in a state of constant anxiety or close to tears, but there seems to be far more help and support for these young people which must be a good thing! We visit the Sainsbury Centre, where I catch up on some favo

Chasing Lost Time

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