Sunday, 12 July 2020

An Urge brings Blusbell

It was 5 o'clock yesterday morning, and I was woken up by An Urge. I often have Urges, when I am led by an instinct to do some task which has no prior thought or plan. An Urge arrives as its own self, so no Saturday morning lie in for me as as The Urge said "Go look at cars for sale on the Internet" ...and thus it was that an adventure was born.

We need to change our French van to an English car because it has a left hand drive and English cars have a right hand drive, and there is an urgency to this change because the MOT will be non valid in August and to renew it we shall had to take the van back to France to have it done. We love our van. It has served us well both as our farm car and then on our journey up to England, we are sad to see it come to its end in our lives.

We have decided on a Citroen Berlingo, because it has room for Maz in the back of it. It is a boxy looking car, rather like a van but with windows all the way round it, which is a relief because our Renault van has dreadful visibility. This is Lester's project, and he has spent many happy hours searching for a Citroen Berlingo on the Internet. So why, now, did I an urge come upon me to do a search myself....... anyway when An Urge arrives it is best to obey it otherwise it will stay on my mind until it is satisfied, and I found a Citroen at a 35 mile radius, thought that would satisfy the urge, went on to do other more interesting things relevant to myself as a woman, time to wake Lester up, said that there was a Citroen Berlingo quite close by, he sprang out of bed (which he never does), asked where the car was, "somewhere in Cheshire (which is north of Shropshire )" I said,  he looked at the car on the internet, said it looked alright, by which time I had gone right off the car as I had seen where it was on the map and it was in Stoke on Trent which meant town driving which meant lots of navigating and possible disaster as wrong turnings were inevitable taken, but Lester was now being governed by his own urge and that was to work out a route to go see the car, by which time I was thoroughly off the idea.

Then into my head came the words " Confront your fears". Over and over it kept coming. Now I have other Projects which I thought these words were relevant to, so I pondered on which of these Projects they were applicable to while we started driving. Lovely countryside ....... but near to the towns lots of navigating of roundabouts,  queueing at loads  of traffic lights, and the general mayhem of Saturday morning shoppers all out in their cars. Quelle horreurs, not a place for us.

"Park by the church" had been the instruction from the garage man, so did as instructed. Walking along the path to the garage. Out front was the car. It was duck egg blue, but it was the number plate that had me transfixed, it being ' PE55 FVM ' . 'VM' being my first and second names of 'Vera May', the '55' being the numbers of three houses in succession all of which carried the number '55', and 'PE' and 'F' being given to me but which I am too embarassed to say, just that they are relevant to my spiritual pathway.

Into the garage man's office, Lester not looking too sure about the car, me knowing that it was the one because of the number plate signpost, onward with the sale....... and the garage man was a gentleman, did all the insurances, road tax, etc, ....I listened with half an ear, but "You can take the car now" was being said, and me saying " Are you going to take the Citroen to Shropshire for us while we follow you in our car", "No" the garage man and Lester said in unison, "You are"..........

And thus it was that Lester was sitting in the Citroen, I was sitting in our van, and I was supposed to be to follow Lester through all that chaos of Saturday morning traffic, ....... so what would you do if you were me, and this was going to be a sticky experience and one which might end in disaster.... well, all you can do is put a prayer upwards to the Universe (God) for save travel to you, Lester, and anyone else who might come your way on the road on the road. You then visualize a ribbon of road ahead, and bless it. You then take hold of yourself and remember the morning message of "Take hold of your fears" which must have surely been meant for this experience, and to see it as another of your adventures in life, and be brave. 

Lester pulled out onto the road, and I followed. I never name cars, but 'Bluebell' came to me as her name. I don't want to make an drama out of this, but.........
- having to hurry to make sure that I got through the traffic lights which were at green for Lester but might be at red by the time I got to them. There were a several times when I went through the lights when they were just about to turn red.
- to follow him on roundabouts I had to push in to the traffic flow when I shouldn't have, but I had to keep him in my sights. I must admit to having to raise my hand in apology to several drivers, and sent a blessing out to them hoping that I did not cause them an irritation.
- and going round and round a very busy roundabout because Lester could not find the right turning off, with him switching lanes hither and thither, with me doing the same as per his signals. It was manic.
- of having to pull out onto a very busy slipway to keep up with Lester, and really, really, having to be very apologetic to the driver who had to be inconvenienced big time. A huge blessing to that driver.
- of going down a steep hill in a huge snarl up of traffic because temporary traffic lights were in place,  and it was now the afternoon so the boy racers seemed to be out and about weaving in and out of the traffic. Then having to go back up the hill again as Lester took a wrong turning. Then having to come back down the hill again as he realised he hadn't.
- and then the long lane which had speed bumps every few yards, which had the van jolting from side to side, and me starting to feel sick. By now I wanted the loo, needed a coffee, and was generally not wanting to be doing this adventure any more. But the message on that number plate kept me going, as did the name 'Bluebell'. She didn't seem like a car, she seemed more like a friend.

And then the joy of less busy roads, and the town traffic now behind us. Home. With Lester saying that he felt silly driving a duck egg blue car, and that he thought that it was not a manly colour, and me pointing out the number plate signpost and that she was called Bluebell, that it was the morning urge with found her, and that she was meant to come home with us. Bless him, he copes well with me.

No  other driver was harmed by my efforts to keep up with Lester and Bluebell, and neither did Lester and Bluebell receive a bump to their rear when I had to race to catch up when the traffic lights changing from green to red, or when Lester had to brake sharply when he didn't notice a speed bump in the road.

Signposts, Urges, all these are useful for giving me direction in life. They can also be called 'intuition', and if listened to can produce marvellous experiences some of which can sometimes stretch me beyond what I think is my limit..... 

Will do some photos when I find out how to use my camera phone. My other photographic equipment is still in France.

So bye for now, hope you have a happy Sunday....


Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Only as old as you feel.......

The Cottage....... it is small, as is the manner of most cottages. It is not an ancient cottage, but nevertheless quite old, and built for long ago people who were much smaller in stature than us folk of today, and therein lies a difficulty with certain parts of the house.

We have stairs in the cottage. I haven't 'done' stairs for thirteen years, because the French farmhouse we were renovating remained unrenovated upstairs because the downstairs was big enough to live in. A loo, of course, was the first thing we included in the renovation. But over the years my legs forgot that they could climb stairs, and became lazy.

The loo is upstairs in the cottage.  We don't have a handy downstairs loo, for when things are of an urgent nature. Instead we have to climb quite steep stairs, therefore we can't linger until the last moment but must be alert to the warning signals of an imminent 'call of nature'.

So......what would you do if you were me, and your legs have become lazy?

Well, you could always get a porta potty and put it in the downstairs larder, but it is quite a small space, and the brooms and boots underfoot, and the coats hanging over head, would make it impossible to be comfortable.
Or you could see the stairs as a challenge, and put it to your legs that this is something which will benefit them, even if at first they don't agree, after all it is easier to be lazy is it not?

The good thing is that the stairs have two hand rails, one each side of the staircase, therefore the arms can also be put into use, which is a good thing as the upper arms in particular also need to be pulled out of their laziness and put to useful purpose. 

My legs, my arms, and myself, were not much of a team in the beginning, and if had not been for the need of that loo I would have probably let the Stair Project be put on hold until my next lifetime came around. It was the call of that loo, and even the urgency when I had dallied too long downstairs that kept me engaged with the Stair Project.

Four weeks on and today I have just managed to go up those stairs with a good stride, and no need to hold on to the banisters, and with not much heavy breathing.  Coming down, I still hold on because of the steepness of the stairs but my legs feel more secure in themselves.

Hooray! I'm on the move again! Now the next Project is getting me walking again. I have just had a look at the 'Shropshire's Great Outdoors'  and the 'Ordnance Survey Maps' websites and I have been filled with an enthusiasm to get some walking boots and 'let's go do'........ France doesn't have footpath trails, and they were the first things I missed when I arrived at the farm.

But I wouldn't be able to do much mileage on my legs as they are at the moment, but I can do a 'round the village' circuit, although I do have to stop now and again when my body complains. I have only just started the 'Walk the Village Project' because I needed the Stair Project to get my legs moving again. I also have another project on the go, which is getting up and down off the floor, but that is for another day.

France was a lovely place to live in, and the experience of living a farm life for a while was the best ever, but after the 2017 health blip I had I seemed to not have recovered as much as I should have. It would seem that changing my life direction has woken me up to the fact that you are as old as you feel, no matter how old you actually are.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Off we go........

And so it came to be the evening of the day It had been hot, so hot that we had been reduced to bundles of sweaty tiredness and a grumpiness of temper which we were trying hard to ignore......jousting spouses squashed up in the confines of a little white van loaded up with computer equipment, bedding, a change of clothing, sundry other items, and a dog, would  not bode well for a happy travelling experience as we navigated our way out of France. The miles were waiting to be travelled.

From SW France to the West Midlands of England via the Channel Tunnel, that was the plan according to the route I had copied from the Internet. It seemed like a good plan, very straight forward, staying on the tolled motorways which would hopefully have services which might be open, it still being the time of the Covid lock down so  we didn't know what to expect. Would there be fuel? What about toilets? Would we be prevented from travelling by the French police? Would our travel papers be acceptable? Would we be turned back and prevented from leaving France at all? So many stories abounded, so many worries nestled in our minds.

We were done with the house. Everything was packed in boxes and stacked neatly in the Half Barn because no removal company could take it to the UK because of the Covid lock down, so it had to stay.  Time to lock up, and go. Too tired to think about anything other than the long drive ahead, we were more relieved than sad as we drove out of the courtyard and locked the gates behind us.

Twenty seven hours of driving were ahead of us. Why so long? Well......
- there was Maz to consider. She had to stretch her legs and do her toilets, so we stopped every two hours or so.
- then there was exhausted by the heat of the day and the effort of it all, I kept getting faint and sick, but not dreadfully so, just enough to need to get out of the car fairly frequently for some fresh air.
- and then there was the route planning which I had downloaded from the Michelin web site. Almost as soon as we were on the motorway it proved useless. We thought we knew the route from when we first travelled to France, but everything had changed and new junctions had been made, and we ended up taking a detour which cost us time and miles. Not to worry, thank goodness that all the services were open so Lester bought a map book and we found the route again. We don't 'do' SatNav. We like to see the route on paper because it's in our control and we know where we are. I don't trust voices coming to me from out of a box on the dashboard.
- and our little van is not a speed machine, so everyone over took us, and that included big monster trucks of which there were many.

Hooray! And finally the Channel Tunnel. What a relief! We were out of France. No one had stopped us along the way to say that we did not have the right travel papers, and even at the French part of the border crossing the Frenchman in the booth only cast a cursory glance at our passports and then threw them back at me, as if to say 'we don't want you English here anyway'.

Sitting in our van, loaded on the train. It was mid afternoon of the following day.  Then through into  daylight and we were in England, but we did not feel 'Oh we were home'. At no time through this process of transition did we feel that we were 'going back' to what we knew before we went to France, it was always that we were 'going forward' into new experiences. new challenges. This is what you have to do if you are going to be a Life Traveller,..... which is someone who does not necessarily travel to far distant places on this planet, but someone who travels through the days of their life embracing and accepting  whatever challenges life brings to them, with a hopeful optimism that everything will come out alright in the end, even if there are a few tears,  grumbles and tempers  along the way.

Managing the UK motorways was a doddle. We were familiar with them, at least up until the end of the M40. But then there was the Birmingham area to get through. We bought another map book. It was getting late. We plunged into the tangle of  junctions, an error of judgement kept us on the wrong road, but then that road suddenly magicked into the right road, and hooray.....we were on to Telford, and then to Shrewsbury, and then  round and round a big roundabout we went as we searched for the right exit but couldn't find it, so we headed off into the Shropshire countryside hoping that somehow our destination would appear in front of us. It did eventually. 

We would have preferred to stay in a hotel but the Covid lock down had shut them all, so we slept in the van. It was nearly midnight, twenty seven hours after we left SW France.

And in the morning, a cheery young lady, pristine and blonde, arrived at the cottage and gave us the keys to our new, but temporary, home. It did not disappoint. The cottage is a black and white traditional English cottage, with hanging baskets, and an English flower garden surrounding it. And it is set in a picture perfect English country village, which also has it's own typical English village pub just a few steps away, which opens again next weekend after being closed because of the lock down.

We feel very blessed.

Bye for now,