On the whole, holidays are thought to be a good and beneficial thing. For a week, or more, you take yourself off to somewhere different, to either relax completely, or explore, visit new lands and even put yourself through dangerous thrills (those so-called ‘activity sports’ like bungy-jumping, or para-gliding, or swimming with sharks). Even if I were able to be more active, the latter would not be for me. I prefer a gentler relaxation, sitting by a pool, in the sun with a good book, swimming in warm waters and testing the local food and wine.
I have had two short holidays recently. The first on my own in Croatia and the second with the family in a farmhouse in Umbria. Both were lovely and perfectly relaxing and I feel better for both of them.
However, holidays come with a health warning. Maybe I am at odds with the rest of mankind, but the week before any holiday I find I go into a mild panic. Have I had the right injections, have I packed the right clothes, will my luggage be too heavy, is my passport out of date, do I have travel insurance, how much money should I change, will I get to the airport on time, etc. etc.
This shows that I am basically someone who panics and this panic does not leave me until I arrive at my destination.
Inevitably some holidays turn out to be disastrous – for all sorts of reasons – I can only say that my two weeks in June were everything I could have wished for.
However – there is then the problem of the return. The day of the travelling back brings back all those panics that had been so happily left behind. On my second trip to Italy I left on the day of the EU Referendum result. There was a slight feeling of madness as we sat in perfect isolation, being cut off from all the momentous happenings that were taking place in the UK. So the arrival back was not just to the usual mounds of post and the unanswered calls and emails. This time it was the matter of facing a different country, and a country that seemed to have got itself into a deep mess. At first I was hit by waves of depression and pessimism. But a week in politics, even such a momentous week as has just occurred with collapse of parties, resignation of leaders and the collapse of the financial markets, is really a very short time in the history of things. I am prepared to give this crisis time to resolve – not too long – to see if those that have got us into this mess can get us out of it. This is a historic change – but in a typically British way – life seems to be going on just the same. Andy Murray has won the tennis, we are playing Pakistan in the Tests, the first night of the Proms took place and the summer weather is as changeable as ever. So on the surface all is normal – which of course – it isn’t.
We have a new Prime Minister, Theresa May – but I have hopes of her because like me, she is a vicar’s daughter. A vicarage upbringing is not the same as other upbringings, there are many disadvantages but a few great advantages. I think you learn to live with being something of an outsider which toughens you up for a life ahead, and perhaps best of all, you are left with a strong moral compass which is a vital asset if you are a leader of your country.
Theresa May is also lucky not to have an opposition for her start as leader. The Labour Party seems to be determined on destroying itself, just at the moment when they are needed most.
I think I will come back to egos in politics in a later blog.
On a final note – the second edition of PARALLEL LINES – the first book in my Three Lives Trilogy – has now been published with a new cover designed by Green Door Designs. All three books are available on Amazon and would make excellent HOLIDAY reading!