We’ve just been away for a few days, we being me and youngest son. We’ve been to Edinburgh, seen a few shows on the fringe and been to the zoo.
When I first booked the tickets I thought this would be a great big adventure, not just going to Edinburgh Fringe for the first time but actually driving there, driving north of the border into another country.
OK so it’s not a huge thing but Andrew rarely let me do the driving and I’ve not even been to Scotland since he died. It’s significant because he used to work off Aberdeen on a gas platform; driving up and down the A1 was second nature to him and he complained just how monotonous it was.
There were occasions when we had gone with him. Four years ago he was working in the office because of a medical condition keeping him on-shore and we spent some days in Aberdeen with him. He rented an apartment for the week and the boys and I would meet him from work after our days filled with sightseeing.
We’ve always had these strange little holidays, a few days here and there; to be honest as Andrew worked away he was never happy to be away from home for too long.
Our holiday patterns now he is gone have stayed much the same. Short excursions are both manageable and familiar.
So I planned this trip with some trepidation. As I said it is the first time we’d ever been to the Fringe and the first time youngest son and I had been away together without staying with friends who have other children to keep him amused.
We set off from home, calling en route at WHSmiths to pick up a copy of the Daily Mail who this week are giving away free Lego. Only a small model but enough to keep youngest quiet for all of 2 minutes on the long journey and add to his already vast collection.
Then I decided I should program the SatNav.
It was dead. It wouldn’t work at all. Turning on the ignition didn’t spark it into life. I pressed the only button on it and took the lead out and plugged it back in again.
|A working SatNav!|
Finally I resorted to the reset button underneath. This can only be pressed by use of a pin but in dire needs such as this when you have no pin to hand I have employed an earring and it has done the trick – oh how amazed was Andrew with me the day I did that – well actually not very much but I was impressed by my ingenuity!
On Monday however this didn’t work. With some misguided determination I fiddled about a bit more, whilst driving, not a great plan, I do remember swerving ever so slightly to avoid a parked car – then I decided I really should focus on the matter at hand so I discarded the Sat Nav completely saying “God, it’s up to you and whatever I can remember of the route.” After all this was supposed to be an adventure!
Of course getting to Edinburgh itself is reasonably straight forward – get to the A1 and keep driving north.
The problem I knew would be once we hit the outskirts of the city but fortunately I had looked at Google maps enough times in my preparation to have some idea of where I was headed and our accommodation was along the same road as the zoo, so I knew if I followed signs in that direction I should make it. Once in the area I could always ask if absolutely necessary, I am a girl, it’s not beyond me!
There was one little wobble where I decided to change lanes last minute at a set of traffic lights at a junction, which I hasten to add I did entirely safely although technically maybe not totally legally, but dotted lines mean you can cross them right? I’m sure they weren’t solid! Thank goodness I didn’t have my almost 17 year old, soon to be learner driver with me!
Anyway a little bit further along the road I spotted the place just like the picture I’d seen on the internet. Our home from home for the next three nights. We had reached out destination with very little hassle and certainly no drama, tears or tantrums.
Now I am pleased with myself, our few days away all went to plan – well OK maybe not all to plan, some bits weren’t so successful, like the show we walked out of it was so rude. But other things happened that were way above my expectations – I might just write about those another day!
But the truth is I’m not sure if the trip really stretched me. I have more belief in myself than I have ever had before and I want to try something more adventurous next time. Even driving back home through the Tyne Tunnel, another first for me, didn’t make me think “WOW I am so clever!”
Sometimes I wonder just how far I have travelled down this road called grief, there are bits of me that will never be the same but I have never wanted my bereavement to debilitate me. It is like travelling without a SatNav, a little bit scary as you have no idea what’s just up ahead.
However these few days away have shown me that I am stronger than I think, smarter that I often give myself credit for and even when things don’t go completely to plan I am capable of calmly working out a solution – who knew?