Thursday, 20 October 2016

Holidays - a change is as good...

I am definitely not a big holiday girl. It doesn't matter whether I get away once or twice a year to the same old, same old resort, just to drink sangria and bask in sun-shine.  Most of my childhood, my parents were too busy to take holidays for more than a few days.  We had a few, very pleasant short breaks but never more than a week. They had a pub to run, four of us to provide for and Summer was the busiest time of year, after Christmas, Easter and Spring Bank.

From being young, I had a list.  A list of places that I would like to see and things that I would like to do. It is over fifty years since I began the list and there are still things outstanding but for the most part, they have been seen, visited, attempted, mastered and ticked off.  I am very determined and hate to give up on anything, as anyone who knows me well, will confirm.

I have always achieved my goals, sometimes after a failed first attempt. Here are a few of the highlights so far.  I danced for my country in Switzerland at the age of ten and that same year danced in the Royal Albert Hall. I was the youngest Imperial Society Associate at 16 and began teaching dance the same year. I sang to a Steinway piano at the Glasgow School of Dramatic Art and Music aged 45 and won a photographic competition the same year. I swan with dolphins in Florida in 1997 and dropped 26 floors on the Terror Tower.  I have had close encounters with Red squirrels, badgers and have flown a Harris Hawk and a Barn owl.

I took my children to South Africa to see the big five and shook hands with a Zulu warrior, fulfilling a promise to my cousin made when I was 13. I took them to the Valley of The Kings, Karnack and Luxor - a promise I made to myself at eleven. I took them to Pompeii - another promise from my own school days.  I took them to see the Roman City of Ephesus - although this was really a lucky accident. I sailed round the Canaries in an ocean-going yacht, I flew over the Alps, I saw Courtney Pine perform live and I threw my own pottery. I gained a degree in English at 50, had a poem carved into a stone memorial in 2014. I performed in operetta on real theatre stage for the first time the same year.

Earlier this year I went to Crete for the first time and fulfilled one of the last biggies on the list.  The Palace at Knossos was everything that I had hoped it would be, from the description in Homer's Odyssey. The trip was the ultimate in wish-fulfilment and yet it had a depressive effect.  The list is almost completed.  There may be no more firsts to aim for.  I am not saying that there are no places left to go or things to accomplish. I have just done most of what I set out to do. The trouble is the highs are so great that the times in between seem a little low. 

Oh but then again, there is still India (a promise that I made to my father) and The Bolshoi to visit, La Scala in Milan, (not to sing - just to see) and I hope to learn to play an instrument some day, perhaps sing in a band. I might try to get a painting hung in the Royal Academy or fly a light aircraft.  I still haven't been to Cornwall or been up in helicopter - so watch this space. And like all writers there are still books I want to have published. Like I said at the beginning, I am not much of a holiday person but just, "to live would be a really big adventure". JM Barrie. Peter Pan.

I must say that though - I am sure the onset of this season is why holidays were invented...

Summer’s End  

Season of drips and sodden wetness, 
as sudden bursts cloud over
seeping down our trench coat necks
and torrents wash from
overflowing gutter pipes.

Wipers beat a frantic rhythm,
swishing to swipe clear
cascading curtains that blur
the blinded dashers,  
umbrellas turned to face the wind.

There is persistent drumming
on the hatchback roof  
but on the high street,
a beacon beckons,
selling sunshine and blue skies.

Windows offer Canarias,
or Caribbean cruises,
as super-moon high-tides
smash and swamp the promenade,
retreating with a foaming swill.

Next day the wind is gone,
the sky is clear, the soft sun shines
and switched off chlorophyl
displays deep red hues of jasmine
left clinging to the garden fence.

Ah, we are in England
now that Autumn’s here.
Conkers shine in leaf falls,
fire smokes over garden walls,
berries burst to ripe.

And before we go to sleep
we store away for Winter’s keep,
shake out the struggle rugs
and snuggle up to ear-mark
kinder shores in glossy brochures.

Happy Holiday Planning Season everyone.  Thanks for reading.  Adele