Countdown to Kathmandu: A Break in Transmission

The time has come ….

2-everest-base-campIn a little over 24 hours I’ll be heading off into the great unknown on my way to Everst Base Camp and I’ve been deliberating and cogitating and mulling over a dilemma that I have.

Should I or shouldn’t I?

Do some blog posts while I’m trekking in the Himalayas that is.

Several of you have asked if I will. There are internet cafes in Kathmandu and even some half way up the trail at Namche Bazaar, or so I’ve heard, so it should be possible to get something onto this blog.

In a way I feel I owe it to all of you out there who have been diligently following my preparations and encouraging me every step of the way, it’s been great to have you behind me. And those of you who’ve very kindly responded to my pleas and donated to the Because I’m a Girl campaign, again I feel that I should at least keep you updated as I go along.

But!

This is a journey that I initially planned simply for myself. It wasn’t something that I was doing so that I would have something to put on the blog, it wasn’t something that I needed anyone else to understand. It was just for me.

I know why I’m doing it and yet it’s something that I find very hard to articulate. How do I explain why, in my 60th year, I want to head for a country that I’ve never before been interested in visiting, fly into one of the most dangerous airports in the world in a tiny plane and walk in an uphill direction for ten days, sleeping in tents with no regular toilets, risking exhaustion and altitude sickness just to reach a remote, cold place at 5500 metres above sea level, and then turn around and walk back again?

I don’t think family and friends really understand why I’ve made such a madcap decision, why, at my age I don’t stick to the comfort of hotels and resorts, some came out and said as much, others humoured me and possibly didn’t think I’d go through with it.

Anyway, I’m on this trek to breathe in the experience and to wonder at the majesty of the landscape, so …

I’ve made the decision not to do any blog posts while I’m away. I don’t want to get stressed out feeling that I have to write something or struggle with technology in far flung places (technology is not my strong point at the best of times). I want to be able to relax and reflect and just take in my surroundings. Time for sharing with everyone else when I get back.

But you will all be with me, there on that mountain.

My grandchildren will be there, in my heart, as will my daughters and my dad and I’m sure mum will be watching over me. Friends I’ve made recently, both on line and in real life, friends I’m no longer in touch with and those that I’ve known for many years, anyone who has touched my life and got me to where I am today, will be right there with me.

Thanks for all your good wishes and encouragement and I’ll see you when I get back 🙂 xx

 

 

Crystal Goes East

The inner child in me emerged recently, encouraged by the incorrigible inner child of my daughter. There is this child within all of us that we tend to keep well hidden but, just occasionally, it pops out and surprises us. So it was when my granddaughter’s teddy bear Crystal needed restorative surgery. Now, to say that the said granddaughter is extremely fond of Crystal would be an understatement. Dramatic as it may sound, life for this just turned nine year old has no meaning without her. Three years ago Crystal was a present from her aunty and cousin who live in Melbourne, Crystal had a recorded message implanted in her and when her paw is squeezed, as it is on regular occasions, she miraculously talks to E in B’s voice. She is E’s constant companion and sleep is elusive if Crystal is not there in bed with her. So, we had a problem, tears were shed and life became devoid of meaning. Would Crystal never talk again?

Ready for take off

My daughter had a fiddle (it’s a bear remember) with Crystal, tried changing the batteries – no luck, she remained silent. Perth did not have the facilities necessary to restore this bear to her former health so, she would need to go back to Melbourne for a message transplant. And so it was that my daughter dressed Crystal in her finest and solemnly handed her over to my safe keeping for the plane trip to Melbourne. At least Crystal’s timing was spot on, I was going to Melbourne anyway so the expense of a special mercy dash across the country was avoided.

Unfortunately for Crystal, Virgin Airlines do not provide suitable seating for small purple bears. The staff, however, were very accommodating and, after Crystal had tried out my seat, they did not object to her making herself comfortable in the magazine holder. It meant that she was flying backwards but it didn’t seem to worry her and, in fact, I believe she managed to sleep most of the way (well, it was an early flight and we’d both been up since 4.00am).

Now, I would like to say that she was whisked straight from the aircraft to the bear shop for immediate surgery. But, I can’t tell fibs and I must admit there was a slight delay of a couple of days while I saw a few of the sights and did a bit of shopping, but I don’t think Crystal was adversely affected. The creation and insertion of a new message was accomplished without the need for anaesthetic and Crystal came through it all with a minimum of fuss. As a reward for her bravery she was even treated to a new winter outfit. An enjoyable few days were then spent lounging around in B’s bedroom making herself familiar with her surroundings. All too soon it was time to leave but Crystal was looking forward to her return to E with all trace of her malfunction erased.

 

Enjoying a treat at the airport

As we know purple bears are tough little things and not much fazes them. Crystal was in high spirits on the return leg of our journey and none the worse for her bout of laryngitis and subsequent implant.

Tonight Crystal and E will be reunited and I know of one nine year old and her mum who will have smiles all over their faces.

the Seaside

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I have always loved the seaside. I say seaside not beach because they are two very different things.Australia has the beach,England has the seaside. Most summers when I was young and we lived in the north of England, my parents would bundle my brother and myself into the car and, come rain or shine, transport us to a world of fun. Sometimes it was only an hour away to Cleethorpes or Skegness but there were the years, several of them, when we headed to the south coast.

The summer holiday was a time to relax, a time for family fun. Simple pleasures that meant so much. Sandcastles at the beach with little paper flags in their turrets, turrets made by packing wet sand into our plastic buckets and upending them on the castle. Boats fashioned out of sand by the men, my dad, my uncle and my grandfather, large enough for us to sit in and make believe. Skimming stones over the waves and collecting as many different shells as possible in our buckets. There always seemed so much to do. Visits to amusement arcades, fun fairs and boating lakes, rides on steam trains and donkeys, walks along the pier or over the rocks with their never ending array of minute life in the hidden pools. The parents seemed to enjoy it as much as the children did. They too shrieked with delight on their way down the helter skelter, dug with ceaseless energy to create sand sculptures and were overawed with the finds from the rock pools. They seemed to think nothing of walking miles to find just the shell that was missing from the collection or to stumble along the beach with ice creams dripping down their hands as a treat for the children.

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The sounds of the holiday makers were of fun times. There was the excited babble of the children, squeals of delight, laughter and the occasional raised voice of a parent admonishing a child who, once reprimanded, would be back at play, none the worse for the telling off. It wasn’t only the children who were having fun. The adults had thrown off the personas they carried around with them for eleven months of the year. Their annual summer holiday transformed them and endowed them with a carefree and easy going attitude. They would worry again when they returned home but for that short time they relaxed. The older generation also were not forgotten. Grandparents, younger than I am now, could be seen in their deckchairs overseeing the family group. They would be kept supplied with sandwiches and ice creams and the occasional bottle of stout. The grandfathers would sometimes be seen with their trousers rolled up and their handkerchiefs knotted on their heads paddling with the grandchildren or fossicking in the rock pools for crabs.

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It was a carefree time. A time to cherish. All too soon things changed, we grew up, we acquired responsibilities, we became adults. Expectations changed. Oh …. And technology got in the way.