I have a confession to make; I’m not very well-travelled. I’ve been to France a few times, both from Ramsgate when the Sally Line operated (remember that?), and from Dover. Those visits to France only went as far as Calais or Dunkirk, so even those adventures didn’t take me very far inland – but, indeed, they were adventures to someone like me.
Other than that, I’ve never been abroad. I visited Scotland once, for less than a day; I went with a couple of friends to a Richard Ashcroft event at the Glasgow O2. We travelled up on an overnight coach (where my plans to sleep were rudely interrupted by a woman who insisted on talking for the ENTIRE JOURNEY) and arrived at about 5am in Glasgow. We then spent a lovely day in the city, went to the concert in the evening, and caught the last train back that evening to London, getting in at some god-forsaken time of the morning. I did enjoy that experience; being pushed out of my comfort zone is something I should be always grateful for. Being a dad was a huge shift out of my comfort zone, but that’s another story.
So, I am not a big traveller, but I would like to introduce Bryan to other cultures – even to the other countries. When I was in the process of adopting Bryan, I travelled quite a distance on a regular basis to see him, attend meetings, do paperwork, and so on; that became comfortable pretty quickly, so I’m confident I would adjust. My goal for this year is to get our passports sorted at the very least, so we can have some flexibility in the future. I’ll keep you posted on that score.
As I write this, sunshine is pouring in through my front room window. I’d almost forgotten what the sun looked like; when I mentioned to Bryan this morning that it was going to be sunny, he refused to believe me until I showed him the weather app. It makes me appreciate how much the weather can impact my mood; it’s beautiful to think that we have these moments of joy when the weather turns for the better. I’m conscious that the weather’s not going to be like this for the entirety of the weekend, so I’m savouring it even more. I can’t wait for Winter to give way to warmer times.
Something I’m going to be looking at in the next few weeks is a hobby for me; an exciting prospect, but also daunting, as I don’t yet know what I want to do. It dawned on me recently that time set aside for me is limited; quite rightly, my role as a father takes absolute priority, but that’s been at the risk of losing touch with things I’m interested in. I don’t say that with any intent whatsoever of feeling sorry for myself; I continue to love being a father and relish the simple opportunities I have with my amazing son. But I’d also like to find something to do that’s just for me. My mum (blessings be upon her) has offered to be “on duty” one evening a week (although it’s not a duty – she and my dad love being grandparents so, so much), allowing me the opportunity to explore a new hobby.
The only question is; what shall I do? I used to do yoga, and that’s flitting round at the back of my mind, but I’m not sure I’m quite ready to get back into that yet. I want to find something – a Writer’s Group, perhaps, or a general Meet Up group, or … something else – that engages my brain and allows me to contribute. That said, I can’t sing, can’t dance (if you asked Bryan, he would agree), and I don’t really want to start running on a weekly basis.
I mention this here in my column because I know local people will have a lot of useful local ideas about things that interest them; there’s a lot going on in this beautiful area of Kent, and I would very much like to explore my options. I can, of course, use Google and the local libraries, but I also wanted to see what peoples’ experiences of hobbies and activities were – I like to think that personal recommendations can be just as useful.
Being a dad is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, I should say; it is a genuine joy and a privilege, and most definitely not one I would swap for anything.