I am in downsizing mode in relation to my home (a significant birthday is just around the corner) and de-cluttering the house is a part of the process. On a wet day last week I grasped the nettle again and hoovered up another pile of books and another bundle of clothes to take to the charity shop.
The books contained the usual selection of waste paper used as bookmarks, often revealing they were bought for holidays or some other kind of travel – and as their final purpose before being recycled, a few got turned into a blog post.
The Thalys ticket is a puzzle. The fare is for people under 26, but the ticket is in my name. Maybe my son was with me.
The Air France/Delta stuff is from a holiday in 2010 to New York City, Long Island, Baltimore, Washington DC, Fredericksburg in Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains somewhere near Roanoke. We must have covered a lot of miles in 12 days.
The trip was a reward to myself at the end of a very difficult 18 months starting with my dad going into hospital, followed by rehab/assessment for whether he could go home, then into a care home when it was clear he couldn’t. He died about halfway into those 18 months.
Meantime, My Old Ma was going downhill fast with dementia, but living alone and refusing all help. As so often happens, she fell down the stairs eventually and left the house in an ambulance. Hospital was followed by rehab/assessment for whether she could go home, then into a care home etc…
From a purely selfish point of view, at least once she was in the care home I could take a holiday knowing she was being cared for.
The next day while I was getting ready to leave the house with my books etc for the charity shop, I noticed one still had a bookmark in it and I removed it. It turned out to be a postcard of the place I stayed when I visited Mostar. I think that would have been 2009.
My son visited Dubrovnik last week, and the day before he left he was asking me for my thoughts about him taking in Mostar as a day trip. Life is strange.
That hotel was fantastic, and it was a pity I only stayed one night. It is a “national monument” which I guess makes it a bit like a parador in Spain or pousada in Portugal. It gives a real flavour of the Ottoman history of that part of Europe.
Some days these memories of adventures in the distant past are a positive experience. On other days…
ⓒ iain taylor, 2022