Living the dream

What can beat a week in the sun? It’s what we all dream of – an escape, rest, time to ourselves away from the daily slog of life. We think of paradise islands with white sandy beaches and blue sea, lying on the sand watching seabirds gliding on the gentle breeze overhead, skin warmed by the sun, total relaxation… Maybe the Caribbean, Mauritius, the Maldives, Florida – somewhere far away from it all.  Bliss.


We’ve just come back from our annual pilgrimage to our own dream island and it had all those elements – but it’s in Britain! 😉 We are in love with the Isles of Scilly – as are most people who go there – for all the right reasons.  The east wind was cold but we didn’t catch the rain that fell on the ‘mainland’ – as islanders call the rest of the country – except for one night that left everything green and sparkling.  It’s the perfect rural setting for spring with beautiful views on all sides.


We never want to come home.  We want to live there! On a tiny island of less than 100 residents and isolated, stormy winters which can cut off the supply ship for weeks at a time.  We dream to be found among the winter narcissi, the sheep and old boats, to hide like the abandoned tractors covered in bracken, blinded by thick pearlescent fog.  We yearn for days of silence, waves splashing gently, swallows darting over the long beaches – stepping into a boat and pushing offshore to cross the channel to the next island.  We frequent the island pub, talk to the locals and listen out for news of houses for sale.  Soon, soon – but not yet…

It’s a dream.  It’s a distraction. It was a wonderful week, as always, but it’s done my headIMGP4148 in. I come ‘back to reality’ – back to work – and I can’t remember where I was, what I was doing.  Did someone say they were going to write a book? It was me.  Have I made any progress? Not really.

And yet… in the middle of that week away came Sunday 12th May and that would have been Sam’s 32nd birthday. It was a beautiful Sunday, the wind had dropped and it was like summer.  We went to the island church for the morning service and found encouragement in the words and promises of faith.  We’d booked lunch at the Karma hotel, where it was warm enough to sit outside and enjoy IMGP4087crab salad – roast beef just seemed wrong in the heat. Although the underlying sadness, the hole left by our lost son, was and is always there, I felt really happy that afternoon, just sitting looking at that view, wanting for nothing.  What a gift.

However, anniversaries have repercussions and the emotions run deep.  Despite – even because of – the visit to our dream island we’ve both been quite up and down.  I guess my flirtation with antidepressant withdrawal syndrome has also had a physical effect.  I am hitting levels of anxiety and doubting that I have the wherewithal to excavate our history of trauma and ultimate tragedy – whether it is wise, whether I am pushing myself too much…?  But how will it ever get done unless I set a goal and work? How do I find the balance between taking care of myself (rest, take it easy, be gentle) and GETTING ON WITH IT!?  Haven’t I been through all this before?

Despite the interruption to my writing progress, being outside the situation did actually help provide a more objective view.  As well as remembering Sam’s birthday we started thinking about previous years in Scilly, our family history there through the decades, the progress of the years – I realised I need to look at the big picture and set the context in my own mind before plunging into the old blog posts.  Usually we do this by looking back at photos to pin down what order things happened in, but I have a big hole in my documentation since the loss of my old MacBook (and back up) in a burglary in May 2017 which happened while we were in Scilly!  I’m going to need to do some work on the years of 2009-2015 before homing in on Sam’s story, a bit of background research to set the scene. That’s what writers do, isn’t it? 😉

Ha ha – the crazy cliff-edge balancing act of self-motivated deadlines: I can set ’em and I can knock ’em down and no-one will end up dead.  However, I am going to stick to my plan of setting aside mornings to focus on this project, starting on Monday.  Today is Sunday, so that’s tomorrow morning 🙂

Wish me luck!




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