We’d originally planned an active week in Norfolk staying in the Bumblebee. It was to be our longest trip so far in the campervan. We’d booked the campsites, joined the Camping & Caravanning Club, arranged two oxygen deliveries. We’d researched dog friendly beaches for Lottie, read up on nearby English Heritage sites to visit, googled beautiful coastal villages to saunter around. I’d even written a vague menu plan! 😛 But all of our exciting plans and hopes and dreams about our first touring campervan holiday were based on the idea that I would make a full recovery from my latest blip. We’d spent the last couple of months optimistic that I’d improve, hopeful that I’d bounce back quickly, confident that we’d be able to go ahead as planned. But mere days before leaving, I was still unwell. In fact I was considerably worse- my latest blood tests showed a high white blood cell count. I was fighting an infection on top of everything else. Our much anticipated trip wasn’t going to work. 😦
Breathless and weak: I wouldn’t manage the extra effort required to clamber around in a van. Exhausted from little activity: I would never survive a whole week away. Continually cold from the lousy ‘summer’ weather (electric blanket on in September!): I’d be shivering living the outdoor life. So we sensibly, but tearfully, changed our plans. Although we were full of disappointment and sadness, we knew we needed to prioritise my health over following the dream. In my current medical condition, the best holiday would be to instead swap my living room… for a different living room. A cottage seemed much more workable, enjoyable and warmer! Shortening the stay to five days, would make it more manageable for me, yet still be long enough to feel like we’d holidayed. And by banning trips and visits, and instead planning a holiday of complete rest and relaxation; I’d not get increasingly more ill, but it would allow my body the chance to recover and recuperate. So with only a few days before we were due to go, we crossed our fingers and hoped a suitable cottage would be available at the last minute! And wonderfully, happily, amazingly… some lucky stars must have been shining on us… as we found a cracker of a place to stay! 🙂We’ve just spent a fabulous few days in a really beautiful and quirky cottage near Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire. Crafted by hand only five years ago, the building was a thing of beauty. Elegant curved beams, ornate wooden hooks, chunky heavy timber- everything was hand crafted wood. There was a large open plan living area downstairs (with an Aga for Phil to play with) and a cosy and romantic bedroom on a mezzanine floor. But the only toilet was downstairs, so I had to pack a wee bucket for the night! 🙂 . As there were so many windows, it felt like we were camping! Pretty stained glass and leaded windows overlooked the sheep baaaaing in the field behind, and large patio doors opened up on to the private front garden with views over the Kyre valley. Unusual and quirky- it was the perfect place to just hang out!
And I did absolutely nothing all week. It was fabulous. I didn’t look at my phone or the internet once; enjoying the break from being continually connected and buzzing. Instead we filled our days with games and dog walks and food… my kind of perfect! 🙂 Each day Phil wandered to the local town, returning with a feast to cook and wine to drink. Each day we spent hours learning then playing strategy games (five new games were bought especially for the holiday!). Each day Lottie ran around excitedly off the lead as we explored the immediate country lanes. Each day we sat in the garden to watch the buzzards overhead, whilst eating apples picked from the orchard. And then at the end of each day, we snuggled on the sofa and watched the flickering log burner. Aside from an exciting trip to the chocolate shop in town, I spent the whole five days in that little cottage and grounds. I swapped my living room for their living room. It was the R&R I needed.
It would have been a 100% perfect week, except… just as we were leaving, Lottie got startled and accidentally knocked over a dusty old clay lamp! Turns out, it was a valuable antique… made by a famous potter… who exhibits his work! Aaggh! We were mortified! Especially as the owner then went through our bins to retrieve the pieces to have the lamp mended! Like I say… mortified! I don’t think we’ll ever be allowed back now!
Since getting ill with Pulmonary Hypertension, holidays have become more important and significant to me. A chance to escape the same four walls, and make exciting memories. For the last few years, whenever we go away, I do far far more activity, and use far far more energy, than normal. As I’m continually spending more coins than my body has each day, I live in my energy reserves; so feel permanently sick and symptomatic as my body struggles to cope. Illness on holiday is my normality. Except this time. This was the first trip where most days I felt ok. Despite being in a medical blip, as I was not overdoing it but only using minimum energy… my body managed. Yes I was tired and breathless like normal, but my symptoms were not exaggerated every day. It was actually wonderful to be away and not feeling ill. And when I returned, I knew I hadn’t made my condition worse, or increased the rate of deterioration… instead my condition felt stable. An R&R holiday was the right choice.
It was a reminder that there is no point ploughing ahead with plans, that are only going to make me significantly worse. No point sticking to the original dream, if it’s going to hurt me in the long run. Sometimes cancelling or changing plans is the right thing to do- even if it is sad and disappointing at the time, even if it is more hassle or costs money. Sometimes, just sometimes, health has to be prioritised over memories. It was also a reminder that quiet and uneventful holidays can be a lot of fun! 🙂
Maybe now that my illness has stepped up a gear, these quieter holidays will become our new norm. Maybe staying in and hanging out will be the way we need to vacate in future. Who knows. But I’m happy with that. A holiday is still a holiday even if you only move from one living room to another.