We were only two months into 2018, but it felt longer. It seemed an age since Phil and I had welcomed in the new year with our friends. For the last eight weeks we’d been living life on a roller-coaster. Ups and downs and ups and downs… and even the odd loop-the-loop. We were ready for a break.
The start of my year is normally quiet, uneventful, calm. The emptiest time in my diary. Days of staying in the warmth, sneaky afternoon snoozes, listening to the rain pound the window. Weekends of Netflix binges, board game marathons and eating too much food. A mini hibernation maybe. A chance to recharge batteries. A few weeks of not much… before the hustle, bustle, excitement and exertion of Spring and Summer. Except this year. This year has seemed crazy! 🙂 January was devoted to the Spine Race. Nerves and preparation beforehand, worry and exhaustion during, and a long recovery afterwards. February saw my place on the transplant list questioned. Medical appointments at three different hospitals, tests and procedures and investigations, a week stay at the Brompton. For the last two months we’d both experienced the full smorgasbord of emotions. Stress and pride and anxiety and relief and frustration and wonder and confusion and happiness. Life had felt like a roller-coaster. We’d zoomed between big highs and big lows: extreme worry one minute, extreme elation the next. We’d darted and raced at too fast a speed: running through life, running to keep up with life. We’d felt repeatedly unsure about where our roller-coaster ride was heading, what obstacles lay ahead, how it was going to end. We’d even made a complete loop-the-loop about our view on me being removed from the transplant list. We needed a break from the roller-coaster. Luckily we had one waiting in the wings. 🙂
Over the years, some of my favourite presents have been ones that I’d never have thought to buy myself. Something alien or unusual. A treat. For my birthday present last September, my best friends grouped together to buy me one such wonderful gift. Hotel vouchers! Phil and I were very excited. We’re campervan, slumming it, kind of people. Rarely have we stayed in nice hotels, never have we stayed in ones of the cute boutique variety. Until now that is. A fortnight ago we enjoyed a wonderful night at ‘The Pig On The Beach’ in Dorset.
The hotel was fabulous. A real get-away. A mellow yellow country house, overlooking the sandy beach of peaceful and beautiful Studland. Our large downstairs room had it’s own front garden, and a bathroom the size of our current living room! Think enormous bed and roll topped bath and heated floors. Think wooden sculptures and herb pots and stuffed animals. Think cosy bar and open fires and leather armchairs. But the real pièce de résistance was the food. Describing itself as a restaurant with rooms, it didn’t disappoint. The produce was largely homegrown on their monster vegetable patch, and rare breed pigs playing in mud were the providers of some of their meat. We shared and sampled each other’s meals, to allow us to try more of their offerings. Everything was delicious, scrumptious, yummy. But the crab bake and black pudding were particularly incredible!
The weather was amazing. We were so lucky. Blue skies and bright sunshine, but oh so very cold. The long stretch of sandy beach looked perfect for a long walk- but sadly unsuitable for a scooter. So instead we found a wonderful heated summerhouse in the grounds which overlooked the sea, so we could drink tea and play games and admire the view whilst staying in the warmth! We loved wandering around the hotel’s enormous vegetable patch (I had serious veg patch envy!); comparing their growing crops to ours. When darkness came, we got dressed up and treated ourselves to cocktails (or ‘mock-tails’ for me 🙂 ) in the cosy dark bar. Very romantic. Before dinner in the candle lit orangery. It was a perfect stay. Just the break we longed for.
The next day we took the ferry back to Bournemouth, and stayed the night with my brother. Reunited with Lottie, who’d been spoilt by her dog-obsessed uncle. Twenty-four hours of beach walks and promenade scoots and board games. And more amazing food. 🙂
We’re hoping that March will be calmer. A chance to hibernate, recharge our batteries, prepare for the hustle and bustle of Spring and Summer. We’re hoping that the roller-coaster of our recent life has now slowed down, is now running along a straight section without any ups and downs. And we’re definitely hoping that there’s no more loop-the-loops for a while! But if there is, we know where to go for a wonderful break from it all.