I had my first holiday and first flight since March 2020. I had forgotten so much about traveling in the last three years. Simple things, like where were my plug adapters to tricks like remembering where to hide in Philly airport before my plane boarded.
This was also my first trip to visit family since Dad died in 2021 and ended up being a bit of a memorial of sorts.
The first four days were wet. On the last day, heading to the first train of three to take me to the Lake District, I wondered if I would ever be warm and dry again. Thoughts of trench food hovered in the corner of my mind. I was just wet.
In those four days, I took no photos despite celebrating my birthday and meeting up with a few writers from London Writers Salon in London.
Fortunately, over the weekend the weather cleared. This gave us the chance to explore the woods in Johnby and then visit Ullswater and walk to visit Aira Force Waterfall. This was in between long chats with my friend and great meals cooked by her husband.
Fortunately, the pleasant weather stayed with me as I headed back to St Albans and then to Malvern. This was partly in memory of Dad who loved to walk those hills as they were a day trip from Birmingham. We had spectacular views both east and west.
Finally, I spent a day revisiting Birmingham with my friends Benny and Jo. After some online sleuthing we discovered where mum’s ashes had been strewn and visited the crematorium.
We had tickets for the Grayson Perry exhibit at the MAC. This was a central part of both Benny’s and my childhood. Benny did pottery classes, and I took woodworking and drama classes there. We drove past my parents’ old home; actually both Benny’s and my childhood homes are on the same street.
The exhibit was amazing, funny and crazy. Just what we needed. Definitely cheered me up. In particular, I enjoyed the knitted reproduction of Sandringham, the queen’s home. It was very inspiring and a reminder that knitting doesn’t have to be garments and afghans.
Walking around Town, as I call Birmingham city centre, was fascinating. A mixture of still the same and “what, what happened to…?”. I spent my teenage years hanging around town with friends from school and home.
My childhood library is no more, as they opened a new improved library a few years ago. I feel nostalgic for the hours I spent studying in the ugly 1970s building for my A-Levels. Also, my childhood bookstore is now a Ladbrooke’s betting shop!
We spent most of the afternoon walking around Digbeth, an area of town that was a bit shady when I was a teen. It is still a mixture of gentrification and old run down warehouses but obviously heading in the redevelopment stage, especially as land was cleared for the Commonwealth Games.
It was interesting remembering with Benny as some things overlapped; we both remembered Druckers and their delectable Florentines and other things were very different.
An unpleasant drive back to my brother and sister-in-law: two accidents and two stranded vehicles. And the bad weather returned that evening with a terrific storm. So much for my plans to have a last-minute exploration of St Albans.
The holiday was really relaxing and enjoyable. I feel rejuvenated and glad I made the time to remember Mum and Dad and hang out with family and friends.
What a very special trip! Thank you for sharing.