Oh, to go on holiday again, and soon. I’ve only been back from my nine/ten days in Mallorca, but I can already feel the yearn for a certain kind of freedom which only a holiday brings. (I say nine/ten days because it was nominally a ten-day break - and ten nights at the hotel), but because I didn’t fly out until the Thursday evening and didn’t arrive at the hotel until gone 1am, that was one ‘day’ already out of the window. I shan’t make that mistake again.)
The first thing I noticed when I got back about three weeks ago was just how silly our British weather essentially is. Since then we have had one or two ‘fine’ days, but even though the weather in Port d’Alcudia, Mallorca, wasn’t hot, at least it was consistently warmer.
Here in Britain it is pretty much hit or miss, and the TV forecaster warning, even in June, of the threat of a slight ground frost on higher ground is rather too often for my liking. The other thing I miss is a lack what I mean by freedom, and when using that word I am very conscious that a great many folk around the world would envy me my apparent ‘lack of freedom’.
I don’t mean to come across as some bleeding heart liberal, but I as I get older, the more I am conscious of how bloody lucky we are in the ‘civilised world’ and just how much we take for granted - food, the ability to speak our minds however critical we are, within limits more or less doing what we like irrespective of gender or religion. Try being a woman in Saudi Arabia who still isn’t allowed to
But that wasn’t the tack I was going to go on, so having made my point, I shall move on.
The one thing I enjoy about being away alone is the lack of obligation: I can do as I please. I don’t indulge myself in any particular way, it’s just that here at home or going away and staying with someone, there is still some kind of timetable to be adhered to. It irks me, and it was feeling that irksomeness just a few minutes ago which brought be back to a laptop and the posting of another blog entry.
I work from Sundays to Wednesdays and I am then nominally ‘off’ on Thursdays to Saturdays. I never really quite relax on the Saturday as know the following day I have to be up early and off on a four-hour drive from Cornwall to London.
Once at work, there’s the usual routine and Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays each have their own routine.
Back home in Cornwall, after another four-hour drive on the Wednesday night - the routine being getting away as soon as possible after my nominal shift end at 6pm to get the bloody journey over and done with, with a two-hour stop off at the Brewers Arms in South Petherton for two pints of cider and a few La Pax cigars - I wake early, cos my wife wakes at 6.30 and although she is not in the slightest bit noisy or disruptive, and once awake I am one of those who might try to get back to sleep again, but can’t. So it is up and about.
On Thursdays I call in on my stepmother just down the road who is more or less housebound after her stroke eight years ago to pick up her shopping list to do her shopping. After the shopping it is back to do ‘the puzzles’, drop in on her again to drop off the shopping and sit with her for a while, and then it is just counting down till bedtime because after my commute home and late night - I don’t get in till 1am on the Thursday morning and stay away surfing the net or listening to the radio till gone 2 - I am knackered.
Fridays are given over to doing very little but it is one of those days when I am conscious I could - and should - be using my time far more constructively, for example getting on with the two radio plays I have started writing and reading. I do a little, but feeling constrained by some kind of harness - the week’s routine feels like that - I don’t do a great deal at all. Then it’s Saturday again.
On holiday, though, and I am talking about being away somewhere all on my own I find I do write, quite substantially, and do read. Oh well, whinge over. Time I should remind myself that despite it all I am a comparatively bloody lucky guy.
I do have time off planned, though.
On July 9, I am off to Germany for three days for my brother-in-laws 60th birthday party - and as the Germans are a sociable bunch it should be an enjoyable time. Then, on July 23, I am off to Bordeaux for a week’s worth of classical concerts, the same routine I have followed for the past four years. My aunt, with whom I stay is having quite a serious ‘woman’s’ operation and as she is now over 80, I have offered to do all the donkey work in the kitchen which she would normally do.
Then, on September 3, it is off to see my potter friend in the back of beyond north of Valencia for a week. That, too, should be enjoyable.
So don’t pity me too much, but I do look forward to getting away on my own again. As I turned 65 last November, I can ‘retire’ at any time I like, but I have decided to carry on working for a while to build up my pension a little more. What with one child in her second year of university and a son starting uni in two years time, money might still be a little tight.
For the second time, whinge over.