The contractions of this long journey will be protracted for it will be a week before I arrive in Orkney. I am headed for Leeds and a weekend away with highly impressionable and inquisitive four year old Poppy. Nicola will be in Cologne running a marathon and Poppy and I will head for London on the train for a weekend of adventure. I hope she won’t be disappointed. The London Eye has been on her agenda for a long time but I fear it will not offer the white knuckle thrill of the Roller Coaster ride we took back at Easter time and I think she may anticipate that it will.
This time my journey has been punctuated by a faceless Blyth Services and iced tea. Smooth Xtra have continued to ply me with appropriate old favourites like He Ain’t Heavy, Don’t Worry Bout a Thing until I grew wearyof them. I have no CD player and want to choose my music but despite having transferred music to my phone I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t know how to connect it to the onboard music system to play! New technology! Ive not had this capacity before.
Having been clear about not bringing my wetsuit I made a last minute decision to pack it… just in case but it was not meant to be. I have done so much clearing and sorting that it no longer lives in the home it has had in the past two years since I have worn it. I look in two other places but it is not to be found. I suspect it is skulking under the bed of one of my Lodger’s, not meant to be, it is good that it is so.
I played chicken at the roundabouts on the A17, often selecting the wrong lane and taking care to be determined but safe on exit. Not chicken at all really, just assertive but it feels a bit like chicken and gives me a small thrill to beat unmoving queues. Reminds me of my friend Cindy. When contemplating my choices, Art Course at City College or a job on Orkney she said, the greater the risk, the greater the chance of something good happening. I’m sure she is right and much has moved for me internally since the day I surprised myself by accepting this job. Of course, I still have to actually start and there is a tiny option in my mind that says I may not do so, that it may have served it’s purpose just by getting me moving. A zero hours contract of 7 hours a week, likely to be spread over three days and netting me £73 a week, offers little unless it becomes a damn good adventure!
I think Aristotle is my favourite person at the moment. “True happiness comes from gaining insight and growing into your best possible self. Otherwise all you’re having is immediate gratification pleasure, which is fleeting and doesn’t grow you as a person.” I think this sums up the issues I’ve been having with retirement, there’s been no growth or challenge in my life and everything was becoming staid. I need challenge and movement. Few people may actually know I was leaving, I’m not one for announcing big plans or goodbyes. Within the Gypsy and Traveller communities there are only hellos, just continual forward movement and the knowledge that things go round. Such is this for me, I will be gone a while and then I will return. Last year I made a list, ‘sixty in my sixties’, thoughts about things I might do, Ive not looked back at that list but think it might be an opportune time to do so while away, see where I am at.
Once I hit the A1 there was little room in my head for extraneous thought, the lorries were back to back, traffic heavy. For many miles a double trailerload of bales and a combine on a trailer (not quiet wide enough for it) monopolise both lanes and cause the rest of the traffic to sit behind them at around 40mph. I decided it was time to pull off and let them go on by. The empty miles and never never land have taken their toll, my brain has dried up in the mass of cars. One more hour, one last push and I will arrive at the beginning.