My life during the first five months of this year has been in a state of complete and utter turmoil. In that time I have completed what was probably the hardest journey of my life. In terms of distance it was only eleven miles but in terms of stress, anxiety, fatigue, cardboard boxes, fighting on the phone with admin imbeciles at a variety of utility companies, de-cluttering a lifetime’s accumulation of clutter, emotion and cheap red wine I feel like I have been twice round the world in just my flip-flops.
But now I am in my new home and I am happy. I’d be a lot happier if it was in Bolivia instead of Devizes but I’ve accepted that I’ve got to make these big changes to my life gradually and although I’m not in Bolivia it has at least appeared on the horizon. My new house is much nicer than the old one, my new town is much nicer than dreary old Chippenham and my new life is beginning to take shape and should eventually be much nicer than it has been too.
All of my children (well at least the ones I know about) have visited the new abode and each has given it their seal of approval. Our Rose’s exact words were, “This place shits on Wicks Drive (i.e. the old house)” so no ambiguity there. It’s old and full of character on the outside and modern and full of character on the inside (just like me I suppose) and it’s the sort of house I’ve always yearned for.
Devizes is a charming little traditional market town, nowhere near as tarted up and run down at the same time as most small Wiltshire towns tend to be. It oozes history, culture and good taste but without being pretentious or twee. And it’s got several thousand very good and relatively unspoilt pubs which make it better than heaven, a place where I suspect there are no pubs at all.
My life is still awash with far more work than the most hopelessly addicted workaholic could cope with but I am taking steps to correct my habit. It’s very hard for self-employed people to give up any part of a successful business as in the backs of our minds the words ‘failure, food bank and driven to a life of prostitution’ are always lurking about, but this week I have made great leaps forward in my plan to reduce my workload and increase the time I have available to do something more interesting than hacking lumps off old girls’ feet while they tell me about their hospital appointments, their medication, their blood test results and the lumps that need hacking off other parts of their bodies.
So now my life is almost back on track. I haven’t been out of Britain since November last year and my withdrawal symptoms are intense. I go into spasms every time I look at the life size framed photograph of the intrepid explorer, Judith Chalmers, on the wall above my bed. This time last year I was just embarking on my third overseas sortie of the year so for months I have been looking back and pining for the rest of the world. The heartache is coming to an end though as I now find myself in the thick of preparations for three upcoming and very exciting trips.
My website currently looks more bare and neglected than Bognor Regis seafront as the time and facilities for blogging have just not been available during my period of flux. However, in the new base camp from which a thousand adventures will be embarked upon, I also have a new desk by a window which opens wide to fill my lungs with fresh country air, my ears with the song of the tit, the chough and the turdus, and my eyes with the sight of the nearby Kennet & Avon Canal and the distant Salisbury Plain. Here I have everything I need to inspire me to crack on with my travels and my travel tales.
So I will!
It’s nice to be back, I’ve missed you and I will try to go back and fill in some of the gaps with some of the significant events of the past few months for anyone who’s been wondering what I’ve been up to.
Mission Control, Devizes.