May travelling again

Roquetas del Mar beckoned as it was a place Dad liked before and after his stroke. Mum returned for the tenth time and for me it was a first. Five star hotel good in many ways with a spa, which I took full advantage of, but buffets need to be avoided at all costs as Luke warm, yuk! Luckily there were two chefs to grill either fish or meat and stir fry so I could have really hot food. It was hard not to have cava all the time and gin and tonics and Amaretto but I managed to pace myself! The only trip I wanted to go on was cancelled as no-one else booked- it was to a biological and waterbased farm. We explored using the local buses to the port, old town, shopping centre and a superb lively market (with some bonkers traders trying to out shout each other about their bargains). The evening entertainment was just awful, though they worked hard it was like Butlins. The beach and prom were superb – miles and miles long with a nature reserve at one end. The beach at that end was desolate with oases of Palm trees and regularly spaced rubbish bins blowing in the wind. From a distance they looked like people. Mirage. In the hotel I have never been surrounded by so many obese people. Staggering! Worrying…

Walking on the beach of tiny pebbles gave me time to think through a few plans trying to work out what to do next with my life. Isn’t there a support group or something out there for me? A group for retired art teachers who loved their jobs? Just when I need one I can’t find it.  I think I’ll join more clubs.


April – no traveling

Back home for April.

Garden sorting, swimming, lunching and Meg gazing. Went to two art exhibition openings, enjoyed Brecon Group.

Visited my pupils and saw their artwork – pulled at my heart. Helped where I could. It still feels like home so I have mixed emotions when I return, kids were great so welcoming. It would be easy to be drawn back.! So many cutbacks and revisit of ESTYN next year..,no no no. At least I am content that I have left the Art department in good hands K will strengthen and develop what I have built up. No worries there she’s brilliant.

Thinking about red landscapes, winter trees, warm colours, desolation.

March – month three – travelling to Dublin and Estepona, Spain

Dublin – tagged along when hubby taking part in a conference at Maynooth – University of Ireland – stayed in the seminary in a gorgeous room and breakfasted with the trainee priests – interesting. The kitchen ladies were great – told me where to get the best soda farls. Spent the day in Dublin after a lovely train ride into the city along a canal. Revisited places I last saw in 1976 when we came here as students, those days long gone but still clear in my memory : Trinity College and the glorious Book of Kells ( they had moved it from the Long Reading Room – note to me…..must draw some more Celtic art when I get home); Grafton Street – had lunch in Bewleys ( no white aprons on the waitress just stylish black, goats cheese salad wonderful); The Temple and Halfpenny Bridge ( now full of lovers locks); found two bakeries hunting for the best soda farls; walked by the Liffy River then back to the train. The evening was spent eating and drinking in an Italian Restaurant (fab Prosecco) and a pub with musicians playing (fab Guinness – I think!). Met some great academics and writers – Lizzie and Dan in particular. Early start for flight home – I regretted the Guinness.

Estepona – extra hol when flights a bit cheaper to Malaga, staying in a friend’s apartment. Amazingly all went well. Mum came too. Even my worries about keys not working and the place not being as I remembered it were all displaced when we got there in one piece. Began to relax more – think I’m beginning to cut away from working. Had long lie ins drinking blackcurrant and ginger tea, reading novels, talking about Dad with Mum and her memories about growing up in Northern Ireland. Special moments. We both miss Dad but we can talk to each other about him without being sad. He’s left a huge hole in our lives. Time has not healed my wounds. We walked every day on the prom in the morning and to the beach in the afternoon. Gorgeous weather for the first week – mixed in the second week. I loved sitting in the sun looking out to see from the Lighthouse garden. Felt at peace with myself. Played a Tai Chi form on the beach disregarding the funny looks. Introduced mum to the shop Cash China – like an old fashioned Emporium – has everything. Found good places to eat tapas in the Plaza de Flores and on the seafront and in the marina. UKIP were on the British news…..tried to avoid it. Managed a tan instead.

MegDays – missed two as away travelling, missed her too – didn’t expect to. She was so independent when I got back but still happy and pointing her finger confidently at what she wanted, getting it and then swiftly moving on…. Her dancing to the guitar playing fills us all with sheer delight. Wish I could dance with such freedom. The garden continues to provide a great deal of curiosity and adventure along with Tiger the cat who has adopted us. She has begun to make marks and shapes with a pen and some of the jumbo crayons I brought back from Berlin. She sorts continually – pegs from the pegbag, pens from one container to another – never tires and find the process interesting each time – I am just mesmerized by her concentration.