Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Home and Away

I've always suffered from wanderlust.   as a child i was a sleepwalker,  still am when stressed, and would be found at the corner sweet shop in my nighty.   apparently all i  remembered  would be a vivid dream.  

As a teenager,  in the sixties,  i  hit the road to hitchhike round the country and lived on campsites and in squats, on the beach and in hostels and one time in a police station cell  at Dunfermline.    A couple of weeks were spent sleeping  UNDER  the beds of two lads in Cornwall.   their landlady  would burst into the  room in the middle of the night to make sure they didn't have "young ladies" in bed with them.   they could say, with all  honesty, hand on heart,  that  there  was  nobody IN  their beds.

For a while i was resident  in the cab of a lorry with a cat,  traveling  up and down the country on the few motorways that existed at the time........didn't enjoy that so hopped out at Bath and stayed in it's beautiful old houses for a few years.    i had a coffin shaped flat in the building pictured.

The cheapest flats were always in the basements because of the damp and the rats, or in the attics because of the interminable stairs.   the pay-off for five flights of the steepest steps in the galaxy was the view over the backs of the houses, much more idiosyncratic than Nash's sweeping crescents beloved of the lesser spotted tourist.    there were families of cats  on the roofs.    they lived, mated, had kittens and died up there, probably the descendents of  cats who had escaped out of the windows of the flats and never made it home.   a steady supply of rodents  made them   fat  cat  flat ratters  !!!

When children came, and "settling down" was delivered along with the placenta i had to find a different way of meeting the gypsy feet need.    for a while i would fold the pushchair down onto piles of nappies and clothes and take a coach to visit friends in different parts of the country, but a few small child, travel sick disasters took the shine off that experience.......for other travelers  too,  not just  me.

There's a certain light at dawn some mornings along with a smell and feel to the air that says move, move, move !!  and i have to move.    so instead of packing my backpack and stepping out onto the road with thumb extended  i would move all the furniture around.    my poor husband would come home to find every room in a different place.   i had to promise never to touch his study as the shock would have sent him into a major decline.   i'm sure this need for change was part of the reason i made a lousy wife,  perhaps polygamy has it's benefits for us waifs and strays. 

Disability has finally caught up with me and often i'm confined to my little cul-de-sac, not seeing the big wide world for weeks at a time.    some may see that as pitiable or expect resentment and anger at having freedom denied, but i can't see it that way.    we have been gifted with imagination and memory, nobody can take that away, even those with dementia remember times  long past as  though it were yesterday........it's yesterday they  struggle with.     the choice we all face,  sooner or later,  is to lament what's lost, or laud what's been experienced.    following the former leads to depression,  choosing the latter leads to warm reminiscence of times past.   i know which i would choose.



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