Summer Holiday

The ideas are really flowing this week. I ask myself a lot what will I do when my debts are finally clear and my money is my own (it’s close now so the question pops up a lot) and there are a lot of big ticket things that I need to save for such as a new boiler but after struggling with fun stuff for so long it’s nice to turn my thinking to more enjoyable matters.

I want a holiday. I thought I needed to pack my bags and get on a plane and go somewhere. I do have bigger plans for Australia and China. I was going to say ‘someday’ holiday or that they’re for post-retirement but who knows if those days will ever come so they are not straight away holidays.

So I’ve been pondering where I can go. I’ll get my passport back (it ran out at Xmas and I’m waiting until this Brexit issue is resolved to get another one – although I could be waiting a while for that one….) and then I’ll fly away somewhere amazing.

This lunch though I had a different thought. The writer in the book I’m reading and is the inspiration behind all this activity talks about her Year of Water and taking off just doing something fun. For her she talks about the joy of driving American roads to get to the destinations and that not everyone is set in stone. I don’t drive but that doesn’t mean I can’t go anywhere although if you listen to some drivers it does.

Anyway, what popped into my head wasn’t abroad but the South East of England. I was annoyed earlier that my boss hasn’t got us SE England as part of our assurance work so hey I’ll go visit myself! At least this way I don’t have work getting in the way.

My plan then, formed while walking about on my lunch break, is to get the coach to Bristol (the difference between that and the train can be up to £200) and then decide what to do next. I really want to go back to the town of Glastonbury and visit the Tor again. I’m sad that when I was there last time I didn’t get to visit Wincanton so that’s on my list. I haven’t been to St Austell and Cornwall since 1990 so they’re on my list and while I’m there I’ve never been to Lands’ End so boom…another one for the list. I am making no plans beyond Day 1 travel and hotel stay. I want it to be as spontaneous as possible.

One of my favourite memories is my first ever holiday abroad where I was in a shop with my son (9 at the time) who was wearing a wrestling baseball cap. The shop owner asked him some questions about his favourite wrestlers then dropped the information that the WWE were in town the next day for a show. If I’d made lots of firm plans for that trip we may never have found out about the show or got to go to it. My son saw one of his idols at the event and was absolutely thrilled as it was a surprise showing.

That holiday I had booked a week in San Francisco and a week in Anaheim and didn’t bother to book the travel in between from getting from one place to the other. The result being we had a 13 hour Amtrak/coach journey that took us through cities, towns, a farmers’ field and the Californian mountains that I would never have seen if I’d booked a flight.

So I want to do the same but here in England. No plans, no itineries – just me, a suitcase and a vague idea. I can’t wait 🙂


Weekly Gratitude – #Viking Edition #York #Jorvik

By Friday I was struggling to think what I could put in the blog for this week. I seemed to have had a week of terrible customer service, I’ve already thanked my bosses for being kind while I’m ill and my friends know I love them but then yesterday we had a day out in York.

My friend unfortunately is ill but part of being ill means she gets a disability bus pass and with that comes a free companion pass so the trip up to York was free so there’s my first bit of gratitude.

I’ve debated a few times about going up to the Viking festival run by the Jorvik centre mistakenly thinking it would cost me a fortune but doing some actual research this year year I could see that there were a lot of events taking place outside with no cost. It’s not that I wouldn’t pay good money to see things but if you’ve read enough of my posts you’ll know that there are still 11 months on my debt plan so I have to be sensible.

Anyway… the sun was shining all day, we had free transport and a list of events we wanted to see. In the end we missed the best beard competition but caught a battle re-enactment that wasn’t on the list.

The Strongest Viking competition was so much fun. Taking place outside the viking teams squared off in several competitions to find a winner. Much amusement, tests of strength and a fair bit of cheating took place before we had our winners. It was a packed out event and the kids in the front seemed to be having a great time heckling the cheaters. I love it when children can immerse themselves in a fun event that doesn’t revolve around mobile phones. On top of that we had a genuine strongman attempting to break his own personal bests in dead lifts and bench presses. Sadly he didn’t but seeing as he was trying to lift over 3 times the size of me (and I’m not small) I think he did pretty well considering. Again people’s children seemed to love it especially being able to cheer him on.

We stopped for some overpriced (but ok) sausage inna bun (for the Pratchett fans…) and and to watch a band play some period music. So much energy and with something that was apparent in everything we saw, so much enjoyment of what they did.

We then enjoyed the viking parade as they marched down to the big green outside the castle museum for the re-enactment. Again so many people, so much involvement from spectators. Possibly my favourite bit was the too cool for school couple who abandoned their posing and selfies to really get into what they were watching with the lad begging a wandering viking to let him know his favourite side would win.

By then we were tired out so back to Leeds, a stop off for food and putting the world to rights and finally home.

So my gratitude this week is for free bus passes, quality bus connections, the sunshine and the hundreds of people who volunteer their time doing something they love and sharing that with other people. They inspire me to want to do so much more. Life is about experiences and building memories and I definitely got to do that yesterday.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 180 Meaningful May: People #365daychallenge

According to tomorrow’s Action for Happiness Meaningful May calendar the action is to spend some face to face time with people who matter. Tomorrow is also the royal wedding and some big boxing event and the FA Cup football finals so I intend to avoid all social media where possible (except for writing this blog) and go hide in the woods or somewhere peaceful. So I did tomorrow’s action today.

My friend became a grandma 8 months ago. She invited myself and another friend to come and have a coffee and lunch with her and her daughters and the lovely baby. We all met in the coffee shop and just had a couple of hours with no intrusions from the real world. Lots of talk about the new baby and our grown up babies. Catching up on life.

Sometimes it’s good to switch off for a while, let go of life’s daily stresses and strains and focus on the good or in our case the little boy who is wanting to stand up and move and see everything with his innocent eyes.

So I’m totally at peace today. I’ve had a meaningful afternoon and am nice and chilled out. All fired up for ignoring the TV tomorrow 🙂

365 Day Blog challenge Day 171 Time Off #365daychallenge

This week we had a bank holiday followed by two days of working. I’m now off for another 5 days, will work 2 more then off for 3 days! The week of the 21st will be the only week I work a full week this month. I love May!

I was meant to be in Ibiza, Spain this weekend after winning a competition but with money being so tight this year I couldn’t afford to put the money away. We’re waiting at work to see if we get any bonuses paid this year (it’s complicated. We took a pay deal after a 5 year freeze and so the bonus is up for a re-negotiation every year until 2020). If we get a bonus I’ll be able to book a long weekend away somewhere.

If not I really need to try and re-start my day trips away even if I don;t spend any money except on lunch. I need to work something into my budget. I’m a bit fed up of only seeing work and my house at the minute.

I’ve got these 5 days off them with no real plans. I do have to finish my end of module assignment for Open University. It’s done except for the referencing so it won;t take long. And I’d promised myself I would finally after 18 months paint the downstairs cupboard (glamourous life eh??) but I need to think about the rest of my time. Whatever I decide will be cheap and cheerful but I do want to go somewhere. I need to get my thinking cap on and see where I can go.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 167 Revery #365daychallenge

I went for a walk in the park with a good friend yesterday and came across a stone pillar with a quote from Emily Browning. It started a conversation off about how we thought we knew who she was but was it one of those names that we think we know but don’t? Anyway for me I’d seen the name in passing on one of my courses but as she was a poet I didn’t really pay much attention. Something I will rectify as I love the words below.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,— 
One clover, and a bee, 
And revery. 
The revery alone will do 
If bees are few.
– Emily Dickinson

Enjoy some photos from yesterday. It’s a bank holiday in the UK and for once the weather is expected to be lovely so I am going to make the most of it and get outside.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 140 Inner Child #365daychallenge

Last day off before I go back to work and I went to meet up with my friend. We had planned a day going to the donkey sanctuary but as non drivers it turned into a logistical nightmare trying to get there so we went for coffee instead. This prompted the idea to go up to a local museum attached to the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey.

Once inside we ended up going round the museum but also messing around in the kids area, we tried on some of the (bigger) dressing up clothes and had ourselves a tea party. But most of all we had fun.

Sometimes we need to release our inner child. It’s something I often forget to do and I think it’s actually a good way to give ourselves some self care. It’s so exhausting sometimes being an adult. Just messing around, playing dress up and laughing is so good for the soul. Below are some pictures from today:

365 Day Blog challenge Day 136 Getting Lost #365daychallenge

‘It’s a straight line’

‘You’ve got lost walking in a straight line before….’

That was a conversation I had with my son earlier and it’s true I have absolutely no sense of direction. I’ve lived on my estate on and off for 40 years and I still couldn’t give you directions to anyone’s house. Apart from my dad’s which is simply leave my house and walk up the hill!

A few years ago I used to suffer big anxiety attacks when I didn’t know where I was going. As my job at the time involved constant travel around my city I developed coping techniques by not only have google maps on my phone but printing paper copies of routes as well. Eventually though I was able to ditch a lot of that as my anxiety levels reduced.

These days I travel less but go further often having to go to different cities. The potential for getting lost is bigger but over the last 18 months it stopped bothering me. I see it as an adventure now. You never know what you’ll find if you go off the beaten track, or wander down the wrong path. As long as you find a bus or train stop along the way you’ll always work your way home.