On the road again

Before my Stage IV diagnosis I hadn’t been away for years other than to visit my Aunt.  It was one of those things that I would do sometime in the future, but I’ve never been a high earner, and I didn’t feel that I could justify spending money on myself.  That changed.  Why was I sitting on my life’s savings until a rainy day when in January 2008 it started to pour outside?

There are many places I would like to see but I have decided to concentrate on the ones in my own country.  I don’t want the hassle to International Travel, of getting a passport, getting through the sort of security that is in place at airports these days, the potential delays and all the other things that makes International Travel so unattractive.  I prefer the idea of just getting in the car and going somewhere.  I have the week off work because it is half term so I have come down to Kent.  I don’t really have any plans, except to meet a friend on Tuesday in the town of Tunbridge Wells, and I am flirting with the idea of going to Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill which is not too far away.  One advantage of being here is having a reliable internet connection at the hotel.

I suppose that we all have things we have long wanted to do, and places we have wanted to go.  One of my ambitions has always been to visit the great medieval cathedrals and great churches in this country.  Some have been a disappointment, like Lincoln Cathedral, and others have been a surprise like the Chapter House at Southwell Cathedral in Nottinghamshire.  The carving is exquitite.  In some of them you can feel the spirit of those who have worshipped there over centuries, and others seem to feel more secular, or maybe it is just me.  Tewkesbury Abbey is one of my favourite of the great churches.

Near here there is a church where all the windows were replaced in the memory of the daughter of some parishioners who was drowned at sea at quite a young age.  The windows are amazing and they are all by Marc Chagall.  I can’t claim to be a great fan of modern art, but the colours and forms he used were wonderful.  There is also a window by him in Chichester Cathedral which may be very modern, but is also very medieval.

I go where I want to because my diagnosis has made me realise that I should just get on and do some of the things that I have always wanted to do.  Of course there are some things that I will never be able to do, and some things are best left as dreams.  After all not everything lives up to the image that we have in our mind and are best left that way.  But maybe that is what dreams should always be, something that is perfect and unobtainable.  Reality can sometimes spoil dreams and hopes.  After all in my dreams I can be beautiful and slim and all the things that I am not in real life.  I can go anywhere and do anything.  Sometimes places are best left unvisited, or as a memory from long ago because to visit them now would not to as enjoyable.  I find it difficult to walk too far these days, and standing can be a problem, so to be stuck on an organised trip might mean that I would spoil not only my own enjoyment, but that of others.

Why do we leave things so late?  Why haven’t I done so many of these things that I always wanted to do?  Why have I been so scared of the future?  Now my future is gone, but then it never really existed.  It was a mirage, it is the present that matters.


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