Iggy the Hymer is sitting in the station car park in a grey and wet Gorebridge, as I snuggle by the heater, and finally resume writing on the blog. The rain is teeming it down outside and its maybe not the best of places to spend a late August day in Scotland. But its free, Jay is working just around the corner, and we want to leave for Fife tonight as soon as he finishes.
Marley’s great, white, shaggy form lies sprawled across the dashboard, licking her own condensing breath from the windscreen. She watches in fascination as the trains pull in and out of the station. Moulting dog hair floats, in dandelion tuffets, at every turn of her head, or lift of a paw. I blow fur off the keyboard, and contemplate stopping for a quick clean up, remembering the good old days when we weren’t sharing our space with one, wilful, Greek mountain dog.
I glance to one side at the remains of the light cover she crunched earlier while I was in the loo. My punishment for closing the door on her when she wanted to play! Though how she managed to get hold of it I do not know!! There are, worryingly, possibly, not enough pieces to make a whole lightshade. And as I decide to make time for a quick de-fluff, I’m fervently hoping a missing shard of plastic is not currently slipping it’s jagged way into the great dustbin of Marley’s stomach!
Back at the keyboard, I’m delighted with my newly cleaned van. The last four weeks have been fairly vicious, with combined migraine/sinusitis, and Iggy has been feeling dreadfully neglected. It’s been a bit of a recurring theme this year, these bouts of severe migraine that seem to knock me back, again and again, before I have a chance to fully recover. The blog has been put on hold time after time, and I’m shocked to discover it has been six months since my last post.
Six months! How did that happen? A new puppy. A headache that never quite goes away. And never stays away when it does. Cold days and dark nights. A short bout with a virus. And a trip back across the Channel to England’s cold March shores. A month of shaking and vomiting and leaving the bed for just long enough to stagger round the park with Marley dog.
Crying with the pain, then laughing at myself through the tears as I run a quick stroke check in the mirror. My particular form of migraine mimics the effects of a minor stroke. Numbness, weakness and tingling in my face, neck, body and arm – often down one side of my body. Slurred speech and difficulty talking. A brain that goes blank in conversation. Words that fly, laughingly, away from my grasping thoughts. Blurred, smoky vision. Nausea. Vertigo. Tiredness, lethargy, and a basketful of aches and pains. And top it all off with blocked sinuses, and the odd excruciating head pain.
The consultant I saw thinks they will stop in a year or two. Thank goodness! But in the meantime I am looking at the date of my last blog post and thinking “Six months!!”
It’s been a difficult six months. With Marley to look after I didn’t return to my old job and have been training to teach English online instead. Jay has been working hard bless him, but I’m not used to not having an income of my own. Between that, the migraine syndrome, and a big dose of “Hello 53!” fluctuating hormones, I suddenly found myself not really knowing what I wanted to do anymore.
Afloat in a big sea of what if’s I contemplated the blog from afar. Did I really want to do it? Was it really worth the time? What was the point anyway? And wasn’t I lucky to have the luxury of being able to ask myself such questions?
Time and again I would reach the point of thinking yes, it was something I wanted to do, and I would start again tomorrow. Only to wake up into a tomorrow of vertigo that sent me staggering across the van like a drunk. The nip, nip, nip of the sinus headache burrowing it’s way into my skull. Fail. Doubt. Sleep. Repeat.
But through those six months something strange began to happen. Bit by bit along the way I began to get what I shall call a chrysalis feeling. The migraines were definitely melting me into a primordial soup! Of that there was no doubt. But as time went by I could feel a certain firmness starting to form in the gloop. The shadowy shapes of an outline maybe. A Fiona beyond the pain and negative, hormone induced negativity.
It took a while before this new Fiona gained enough substance to face the challenge of the new data protection rules for websites. Before her fingers grew solid enough to spend an hour or two tapping on keys. Before she did a little Peter Pan hop and a grin through the fading walls of the chrysalis. Before she remembered just how much she loved to write.
The migraines haven’t stopped yet, but I hope that maybe I have. Stopped waiting for them to go away. Stopped waiting to feel better. Stopped waiting to know what I’m doing. Stopped waiting to know it will work. This moment, this one little moment here, is all that we ever really have. I think maybe we just need to work with what we’ve got.
So I’m back in the saddle and raring to go. I hope you’ll forgive me for leaving you all for all this time. I have so much to catch up on!
There’s the rest of our journey home with Marley! Our trip last year through France and Spain to Portugal! Our jaunt to Cornwall in June! The day Marley ate the cruise control! Our upcoming trip to Shetland!
So for today I will write. Tomorrow I may not be able to look at a screen to type, but today I can. And writing is what I love more than anything except travelling. I do so love to look beyond the next bend. Won’t you come too?
p.s. Here’s a little Marley clip for you all. Hasn’t she grown!!