Despite the uncertain weather forecast and the fact that it was Friday 13th, when an opportunity for a road trip presents itself when you have a day off work, it would be churlish to turn down the offer, which is how I ended up in a lovely old town with a quayside looking at gorgeous boaty things.
It’s great exploring shops with your mates because you can simply relax and be yourself, and nobody judges you when you sniff an incense stick a little too hard and end up with a runny nose. Despite a distinctly fresh breeze it remained dry for the most part, which led to numerous photo opportunities in close proximity to churches, wildlife and rather large statues.
Lunch was very welcome and really tasty. I scoffed down a rather delicious veggie chilli, returning a couple of hours later to stuff my face with a gloriously indulgent and scrumptious scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam! Some folk may be a tad wary of such an ominous date, however, if today was anything to go by, Friday 13th is actually extremely lucky for me.
Well, not me (obviously) but King of the Jungle Carl Fogarty. The superbike champion was the special guest at a local classic car and motorbike event I went to at the weekend and I have to say he was utterly charming; spending lots of time chatting to fans and signing the obligatory endless autographs.
I’d attended the previous two events put on by a nearby bike dealership, and had enjoyed those, so I’d already decided I was going to pop down there even before the ‘star attraction’ was announced. The weather in the morning was decidedly ‘pants‘ but after lunch the sun came out and off I went – all dressed up in my favourite leather jacket and new skinny jeans! Everywhere you looked was row upon row of shiny 2-wheelers and renovated classic cars. The stage hosted interviews with a variety of speedway riders, stunt bikers and (of course) Mr Fogarty. There was also a live band to keep the crowds entertained and for the kiddies there were ice creams and a bouncy castle. Stalls included fundraisers from Help for Heroes, Air Ambulance and the Fire Brigade along with a variety of meat and beer outlets.
The whole event was a huge success for everyone involved, and from my own point of view I had a fabulous afternoon surrounded by chrome, leather and uniforms. Sometimes you just have to pinch yourself…
For the past couple of years I’ve been involved in a local litter picking project. I say ‘involved’… I don’t actually pick up dog poop and rusty old beer cans I just take photos of the area and maintain a blog. There’s a very small team of dedicated volunteer ‘Wombles’ who do all of the proper hard work and it would appear that the local ‘In Bloom’ judging panel, have just given the group not one but TWO Royal Horticultural Society Neighbourhood Awards!
This has been extremely exciting news for all involved, culminating in an official ceremony and being given our prizes by the Deputy Mayor no less. We wore our Sunday best and schmoozed with the hoy paloy of gardening circles whist indulging in tea and home-made cakes – Hyacinth “Bouquet” would’ve loved it.
The project was never created in order to gain any form of personal recognition, but to try to make the local green spaces and woodland a nicer environment for local people to enjoy. While it was, indeed, a great honour to be publicly thanked for simply being ‘good neighbours’ the real satisfaction comes from knowing that you’ve made a positive difference to your community. Kinda makes you feel all warm and squishy inside…
With your new single status and fresh enthusiasm for being ‘whoever you want to be’, try not to be too much all at once. While it’s a really positive sign that you’re focussing on moving forward with your life, and being pro-active regarding your new social life, additional work commitments, recently acquired hobbies and so forth, do bear in mind that there is still only ONE of you and unless you have a time machine stashed away in your loft there are STILL only 24 hours in any given day.
Just because you made a ‘to do’ list it doesn’t mean that you have to ‘do’ it all at once, no matter how much you want to. Try to reign it in a little and actually enjoy yourself rather than indulging in some manic, whirlwind of activities that can only realistically end with you holed up in bed suffering from exhaustion a couple of months down the line.
I know it’s all new and scary and exciting and that once you get to a certain age, when you have more birthdays behind you than potentially ahead of you, it’s tempting to make the most of every second of every minute, of every hour…. But do try to take a moment or two out of your jam-packed schedule to savour these new experiences. You’ll get far more pleasure out of it if you do.