I’ve never really been anywhere far from home. When we were children we had cottage holidays in Cornwall, Wales, Northumberland or Yorkshire. Beautiful places, but never seemed nearly as exotic as the holidays people at school had – France, Spain, Greece …. America!
The first time I crossed sea was to Paris for 4 days with my husband – I was pregnant and sick and stayed in a hotel room for the better part of that time. The second time was Disneyland Paris with our son – he was sick and we spent the better part of 4 days in a hotel room again!
I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. Well actually, I’ve always wanted to go to lots of places and the favourite places have changed, and continue to change, over time. But this year we thought we might go to Italy. This was looked into as a possibility of a villa with my Mum, who would also love to go – but wants to see the whole of Italy in a fortnight, despite the fact that she has osteoarthritis and osteoporosis and walks, extremely slowly, with 2 sticks and is on morphine for the pain – so no big deal there then! Also my parents-in-law who are the only part of the family really with any experience of travelling abroad at all.
Part of the problem with this plan, other than my mother, was that we also have a canal boat. Obviously there are not inconsiderable costs associated with this that have had us spend all our holidays for the last 6 years on the boat and not anywhere else. It has been increasingly difficult for me in recent years getting on and off the boat too.
We had now got to the point of thinking of all those years we have never been abroad for a holiday and that we have left it too late. Now I could manage a villa perhaps, but not go anywhere, or a short city break but not able to walk around. It was difficult for me to tell anyone that I could not plan to go anywhere or fit into plans because I feared when I got there I couldn’t actually get around.
This year is clearly going to be different. All plans for Italy are ditched – as are any thoughts of spending time on the boat. Holidays this year will be spent with me doing what I always do – sitting at home (I work from home too) and my husband taking intermittent time, rather than the full fortnight we’d intended finally this year, looking after me in between trying to catch up on his own work.
However, next year is quite different! It will be my 5oth birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary – and I will have 2 shiny, sparkly new hips and 1 or 2 sparkly and shiny new knees.