Sunday, 4 September 2011

Here goes for a biggie....

This sporadic blogging is more difficult as I have to remember stuff but I have had a busy few days.

On Wednesday last week a friend arrived and stayed for a few days which is nice. It's good to sit and chat with no agenda.

On Thursday we had a few things to do. I called in to work to show someone else around the centre to show how it can be used for fundraising for other charities. On Thursday evening we went to see some other friends and were treated to a Jamaican banquet, it was lovely and the evening just ran away with us before we knew it, it was approaching midnight.

On Friday I packed up the car for my road trip to Scotland, it was full to bursting with all sorts including a sewing machine and fabric as I have been roped in to a bedroom makeover whilst away. It will be nice though to help with that.

We set off from home at 13.30 but we were still quite local at 16.30 as we did a bit of shopping en route, the traffic reports were rubbish so we were in no rush however, by the time we got to wherever the jams were, they had cleared so it was nice to have a clear run.

We stayed in Carlisle on Friday night and after a lovely dinner we sat and chatted for quite some time. Of course Steve Featured greatly in the conversation.

On Saturday we were in Glasgow, we called in to a Scottish national trust property but there was no parking available within any reasonable distance so we drove on. Travelling with a disabled friend really does make you see how difficult the simplest of things can be. It was similar travelling with Steve, simple things like parking a little closer to wherever we needed to be or taking the lift instead of the stairs really made a difference to how long Steve could spend out and about before becoming incredibly tired, ah the joys of cancer treatments eh.

We did go for a short walk though along the river just to meddle with the camera and take some pictures, it was too windy to stay out for long though.

On Sunday we made our way north to Oban where we boarded the ferry for Mull. The crossing was a little choppy but nothing too bad. It was quite nice to sit back and let someone else 'drive' for a bit.

When we got to Mull I really did get a bit of a surprise. Most of the roads there are single track, not usually a bad thing but the condition of the roads are such that not only are you watching out for the availability of passing places for the oncoming cars but also watching out for huge potholes, (think the vicar of dibley disappearing in the puddle), and it's not even like you can just drive a little off the road as there is often a 12 inch (or more) drop either side of the road or in some cases a cliff! It certainly was a different driving experience but, by the time I was leaving the island I had got used to a different style of driving and actually enjoyed the trip back to the ferry.

The friend I stayed with has a lovely little cottage, it really is little but, more than big enough for one or for a couple, I was surprised to learn the previous occupants had been a family of four. Dervaig is a tiny little village but has a little shop, a post office and a pub so what else do you need? It's on the main bus route to Tobermory (Balamory) too so it's quite convenient.

On Sunday evening we visited the local pub for dinner, it was lovely and extremely busy, surprisingly so actually, the Belachroy is apparently the oldest continually inhabited building on the island dating back to the 1600's. As well as being a locals pub it is also a hotel and restaurant and have a lovely menu on offer.

On Monday we went to Tobermory, it is so picturesque and just like you see in many a postcard etc. We had a lovely afternoon wandering around the shops there, as it's the islands main shopping area they have everything from a bookshop to a chandlery a hardware store to a distillery. They seem to cram a huge amount of stuff in to each shop. I guess the main difference is that the selection is limited. By that I mean when you go to your local supermarket you may get several choices of brand for the same product, on the island there may only be one brand or at most two so, choice is limited and, because there is no competition, they can charge way over the odds, in some cases two or three times as much as on the mainland. I am sure there are other factors that influence that too but it really is noticeable, as an example petrol is around 20p per litre more than on the mainland.... As a minimum! In fact even in Oban which is on the mainland the fuel was 12p per litre more expensive than it was nearer to Glasgow.

We stayed in Tobermory for a late lunch too, at the side of the harbour there is a fish and chip van. The fish they sell comes in straight from the fishermans boat first thing in the morning and is then prepped and sold the same afternoon. It was lovely and, it had a lovely and different taste, the fish really tasted fresh and you could taste the sea.... I am not sure that makes sense but I know what I mean, slightly salty but delicious and the chips were lovely too. We sat at the harbour with our lunch and chatted a little. It was difficult though.

Every mouthful seemed difficult to swallow. All I could think about was Steve. When our friend has posted in her blog about sitting at the harbour with fish and chips many months ago Steve commented that he was looking forward to doing the very same thing. A simple pleasure but, that was Steve, he didn't need flash restaurants etc he just appreciated good food. I miss him and I miss cooking for him too, I loved experimenting with food and he was always keen to try whatever I had concocted. I've never made fish and chips as nice as that though and I know Steve would have thoroughly enjoyed sitting there with us.

On Tuesday we headed back in to Tobermory briefly to pick something up then went for a drive. We drove to Calgary, a beach on the island with lovely light sand and a beautiful view out to sea. On the way we saw some highland cows so stopped for some pictures. They really are quite something but, they are quite scary too. When they are stood in the middle of the road those big and pointy horns sort of stop you getting impatient and blasting your horn at them as their horns can do more damage than mine!

At the beach there is a small campsite there and it is where Steve and I were supposed to be camping when we visited the island. It was the last trip we planned together and we had finalised details just the week before he died. He was so looking forward to it, we even went to look at a new tent for the trip on the Saturday before he died. It was such a lovely place and it was difficult not being able to share what I was seeing with Steve, even though I know many will say "he was there with you", it's not the same as being able to turn to him and see the look on his face or feel his hand in mine as we walk along the beach.

The beach really was lovely though and I took some pictures, I wrote in the sand for Steve, it was difficult being there. There were just a few people around, my friend was there too but I had wandered off alone up the beach to be with my thoughts. I'd have given anything to have Steve with me there and then, I still would.

On Wednesday we had a chilled out day and did very little, it was nice to relax and, it was also nice not to have a phone signal, oddly it was nice to feel that little bit of freedom of being away from it all. Steve used to like that too, just knowing that the phone wouldn't ring at all. I know we could turn the phone off but, that feels different. Being in an area which means you are not contactable is different to choosing to turn the phone off. Perhaps it was just us, (and me now), but I think I will have to start doing that, ditching the phone and having time out away from it all.

On Thursday I headed back to the mainland. I got the ferry to Oban and had a wander around. Even though it is on the mainland it is still stupidly overpriced, I guess just because I live in the city where everything is so accessible I don't always appreciate what it takes to get goods etc to these remote places.

Thursday was a particularly tough day though. Leaving Mull and driving alone I just cried. There was so much lovely scenery, driving along the lochs, the mountains, and just lovely scenery but nobody there to share it with. The ferry journey was difficult too, looking out to sea all I could think of was Steve, he had not been far from my thoughts throughout the whole time as it was something he and I were supposed to do together which is why I went. I am glad I did and I knew it would be difficult but it was tougher than I imagined.

When I got the the mainland my messages came though, I have still not read most but I received an email from work, a shitty horrible email which annoyed me and upset me in equal measure. It is clear they have no idea and no appreciation of how I may be feeling right now. They are putting a lot of pressure on me telling me how urgent it is that I go back to work because they need me. It's nice to feel wanted but they really are making me feel worse. I am going back tom work on Thursday and I have told them this so that's another reason why I find the pressure difficult tom cope with.

I replied to the email explaining how I am feeling pressured and stressed by them and got another back on Friday which had the same insensitive, demanding and slightly menacing tone. I wouldn't wish how I feel on anyone as it is horrible but I just wish they could understand. It seems the only people who do understand are those who have also lost their partner, husband or wife.

On Friday night I stayed in Glasgow, I did venture out but ended up in my room with a bottle of wine for company and the TV, I had had a shitty day so it was what I needed.

On Saturday I had a wander around Glasgow, nothing exciting to report there. I then made my way toward Kilmarnock which was supposed to be the next stopping point on Steve and my road trip. As it was early I drove further on to Prestwick and parked up. I made a few phone calls I had been meaning to do for a while and had a wander through the town. After that I decided to walk along the esplanade and down on to the beach again, more thinking time listening to the sea crashing on the rocks.

I walked along the beach and took a few pictures. On my way back I spoke to a friend I was due to stay with on Sunday night. To cut a long story short he convinced me I should make my way over to his a little earlier than planned. I don't think I needed a lot of convincing so, instead of driving the. 10 miles to my hotel I drove 180 miles to his house. Again it's somewhere Steve liked as there is no phone signal so we can legitimately switch off from the world.

On arrival I was greeted by a Martini, very much needed and appreciated. Prepared in the same way as taught by Dean Martin, 2 parts gin, 1 part martini and a splash of vodka, it was the perfect way to wind down after such a long drive. It was followed by a lovely meal and of course wine.

After a relaxing night on Saturday we headed out to Richmond to have a wander about the town. There were a few nice shops there but I didn't buy anything. Every time I pick something up I imagine what Steve would be saying, I won't say here what he would say as some people have got in to the habit of quoting Steve's sayings at me, inappropriately. I don't mind that so much but I hate it when they get it wrong or take it out of context so by keeping quiet I will not be providing tools with which to annoy me!

Anyway we headed home and had a lovely lunch, it was a late lunch or early dinner really but whichever it was it was lovely then, my friend had to go to work, so I tagged along.

I spent the evening sat in the bar of the hotel he works at. I only had a few drinks but was thoroughly entertained by some of the locals, one of the older ladies in particular had my sides aching with laughter. The first time I have properly laughed in many many months.

Today I set off at a reasonable time but, as I get quite tired of driving quite quickly I stopped off at two separate villages on the way home and had a wander around. Some lovely shops but again, I didn't buy anything, some lovely stuff there though but I guess in the main, most of my hesitation is down to us selling this place, I want new stuff in my new place, or at least new to me as I have seen some second hand or antique stuff I quite like the look of, not heirloom antiques though, just the sort I can modify, paint, tweak or adjust to suit my home.

I got home this evening and have chilled out a little. I feel drained from the journey but also emotionally drained because all I have done for the last week or so is think about Steve and churn things over and over and over again in my mind. I'm not complaining though, that's all I have of Steve now, my thoughts and memories. I said weeks ago I seem to miss him more each hour of each day, I thought there would be a point of saturation, I've not reached it yet, I still miss him more and more and more.

Well, I guess thats me done for now, the rest of the night will be spent relaxing and catching up.

Bye for now,

Sent from my iPad


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