Preparing for Camino

It’s been a long time since I posted. Lots of reasons but the long dark cold winter meant that my mood felt dark and cold and that too lasted longer than I wanted. And I didn’t want to inflict that on anyone else.

There have been bright moments of course. Here’s one:Image


And there’s another.

Two small people full of colour, ideas and energy: rascals both and I love them for it. They add those qualities to my middle aged life. I’ve written before about my need for shape structure and this winter has felt a bit flabby. Rather dull and lacklustre. Held together by dinners with family and friends – yum always, a few films – Cloud Atlas stands out in my memory, a half hearted attempt at the 5:2 diet  but frankly it’s been too darn cold to miss meals. There’s been a long wait for spring, but it’s coming, they tell us temperatures will reach double figures this weekend and not a moment too soon.

Anyhow, anyhow my point is that there has been nothing in the pipeline, on the horizon, nothing to aim for. I have completed a few small projects. I nursed some geranium cuttings through a blastingy cold wInter – have I mentioned how cold it’s been? I knitted my grandson a hat, but Lydia told me it made him look like a window cleaner because I’d left the bobble off. And I have been completely outgrannied in the knitting department by the other very competent Nana who can do cables and patchwork and line blackout curtains and suchlike.

Other fun? I have been to an arty lady and experimented in her workshop with paint and ink and tearing up bits of paper (not all in one session). What art I did at school was nothing like this. As I remember it I mostly washed out jam jars and tried to retrieve my paintings from the dirty brown shapes that descended on them. Much prefer this way, but I do have a fixation with brown. My work heads almost unerringly that way.

Fitness has gone by the by, what with the small dog dying and only having a doddery, deaf hound to take out. He’s not silly. He puts his nose outside and gauges the level of activity required for the day. Anything below 5 degrees or in a easterly wind means a very short out and back walk. So what I needed was a challenge, a focus.  And here it is.

My friend Helen and I often walk together. It started when our kids were small and we both had dogs which needed exercise. We met several times a week and stomped round the streets of Rochester or the Kings’ School playing fields, the so called Alps. We talked a lot and once one dog, Billy who lives on, got bored walking round and round the rugby pitches being ignored by the two yattering women, and decided to take himself home. We found him twenty minutes later on my door step when we came back for second breakfast.

Walking progressed and we walked and talked our way through the kids’ adolescence, their exams and experiments, broken hearts and marriages, (theirs, not ours) and and into young adulthood. We found a book of Kentish walks and we’ve done 10 out of 15 or so of them. We walked the Jurassic Coast and round the Isle of Wight and other such coastal delights, and this year we wondered about Northumbria and maybe incorporating a retreat.

And then came a quantum leap: Helen said, “You know Verity, we could do this when we’re 60, 70, 80 even – (here’s hoping) – why don’t we look at something we won’t be able to manage then?” It wasn’t that  – it was much more punchy and clever, but that was the gist of it.

And we did. Somehow, we came up with the idea of walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. To be continued. Ha!