Well, my mum's retirement flat is now on the market, thanks to this little piggy, who worked her hooves off to empty the flat and part-decorate it ready for the sale. All that is now needed is for the blimmin thing to sell. According to the estate agent, this is not a good time. Is it ever? I have never found moving house anything other than stressful. Buyers or vendor change their minds and drop out like flies. Mortgages are unobtainable or surveys spread gloom and doom. I have never met anyone who didn't have problems of one sort or another. The last time Greg and I moved it was so stressful we never moved again - that was thirty years ago and I still don't feel tempted to try it again! Fortunately with this case, I have nothing to buy, so can sit back and wait, but I'm sure I'll have some tales to tell before it sells.
Poor old Ant's in the news again. It's no surprise to me. Addiction is a roller-coaster. One
minute you're down in the depths and the next minute you've recovered
and on a high again. Being in the public eye makes it a thousand times
worse, I am sure, but it is no different to the ordinary man in the
street really. Every one including the addict hopes rehab will solve the
problem, but it's not usually the case. Nine in ten people will succumb
to the demon again. Up, down, up, down.
does not make Ant or any other addict a bad person. They would give
anything not to be like that. It's an illness, a mental illness, that
they don't have a lot of control over, although many who have never been
in that situation will disagree. I am sure he will be mortified that a
young child's life was put in danger. Many's the time Greg wanted to go
out in the car to get more whisky, whilst ten times over the
drink-drive limit. Instead I "enabled" him by doing the driving myself
to get his supplies. It did not sit easily with me that I was fueling
his addiction. But his addiction meant that I could not have someone's life endangered or on my conscience.
I mentioned in my last post that Kay is away for six weeks. That is only half true. She's away for five months. Five months of discovering the world and its beauty for her. Five nail-biting, grey-hair-turning months for me. When does being a mum ever involve less worrying? I bite my lips and keep mum while she enthuses about what she is going to do, offering the odd bit of helpful advice about avoiding crocodiles and sheer precipices.
Last August Kay took a year out of her career ladder. She'd done the two foundation years after university, needed to cement her training as a young doctor. The next stage was to sign up to two years' Core Medical Training - placements in hospital that would lead to her becoming a Registrar. But she's younger than the majority of her cohort and she wanted to see the world. So............ she took a year out. First she worked as a locum for the last seven months in hospitals in London and Kent, earning far more as a locum than she would as permanent staff, AND she moved back to live with me. Both those moves enabled her to save vast sums of money which she squirreled away to fund her travels for the remaining five months. Last Wednesday her adventure began.
She is doing what a lot of youngsters do these days - backpacking around Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. In my 1960s head these are war zones. Places to avoid. It's like a future generation getting excited about a fortnight in Afghanistan or Syria. The world is a much smaller place, now it has cheaper flights and internet. But it doesn't stop me worrying. Thankfully Whatsapp, Messenger and Skype keep us linked. But it doesn't stop me worrying. I worry for England. She's with her boyfriend, but, even so, did I mention I worry for England?
She's home for a mere few days in April before Phase 2 of her travels - to South America. I guess I'm going to need a shed-load of hair dye by then. Those hairs are turning grey by the second.
When dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a student, I stayed in youth hostels around Europe, which were pretty basic. The dorms were like prison cells with bunk beds so hard and decor limited to bed and cupboard. You shared with strangers and had gruel for breakfast. You showered communally. They were not attractive in the slightest. It's hard to think of it now, but I used to hitch-hike too as far afield as Vienna. I wouldn't recommend that now, but students in those days were made of strong stuff, the world was a different place, and we coped.
Kay and boyfriend departed from Heathrow two days ago for Bangkok on a two decker Airbus, every luxury at their fingertips. They're on a six-week backpacking tour of Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam. This is the room they've got in a hostel for the next five days in Bangkok. Ok, it's a bit minimalist, but has TV and attractive lighting AND an ensuite shower. AND privacy. Oh my word, what we would have given for that in my day.