Janey’s April Letter – My Holiday, and Why I’m Planning the Great Sussex Breakaway…

Here I sit contemplating the last few weeks of my life,  and the journey I began exactly a month ago.

Buoyed on by Penicillin, new eyebrows, huge excitement..and not much common sense frankly I made my way to Heathrow, to board a plane to Bali – for three weeks, alone.

I realise now that I was actually raising my middle finger to age, flu, being single; and certainly, MS!

This decision was made after chatting with a friend who was in a particularly bad mood.  Clearly irritated by my “I normally go to Bali at this time..really going to miss it” throwaway comment she took me to task:

“ Don’t be so silly, if you want to go, then go, there’s nothing stopping you” *tut snarl!

This of course to somebody like me is a red rag to a bull.  Knowing that by accepting her statement I’d really annoy her, I agreed:  “Yes, of course, you’re right – it’s a great idea, thank you” and I booked it.

But in the middle of the night, as reality dawned, my childish satisfaction was short-lived.

I began justifying my actions by belligerently refusing to accept that I was maybe unwise in making this decision, I realise now that I was actually raising my middle finger to age, flu, being single; and certainly, MS!

Travelling to the other side of the world to a wonderful much-loved country is desirable of course – but I knew underneath that my Gung Ho attitude was a bit rash.

We’ve all reached a certain age and learned certain lessons I’m sure.  One of them I believe is that we mustn’t give in.  We’ve had a few knocks – been around the block a bit and – with any luck have come out the other side, strong, determined to survive and not be beaten by anybody or anything.

I was in the right place for my state of mind (and body).

Anyway; My flight was divine and non-stop.  I ate and drank far too much, and all fear subsided – I was on a roll! Arriving after 17 hours, it was bliss to be back in what I regard as my sanctuary… or at least, it was.

The first thing I noticed the next morning was that I could barely walk.  I had conveniently overlooked the advice that extreme heat can have an adverse effect on MS.  Really annoyed by now that my condition had clearly deteriorated, I had two weeks alone to berate myself.

None of this mattered much, as I quickly recovered.  I’m not big on giving myself a hard time, and as I had booked into the most exquisite boutique hotel in the centre of Ubud – regarded by the Balinese as the heart of spirituality – I was in the right place for my state of mind (and body).

With my terrace five steps to the ornamental pool, surrounded by jungle plants and buddhas, what’s not to love? I’m really good at room service, and, as I’d taken armful’s  of books (a few, very worthy, remained unread)  I settled into enjoying pure, indulgent peace.

For one lovely night.

The next morning  three families with ten children between them arrived. The poor kids, clearly horrified by all the ‘peaceful spirituality’ set about cramming the ornamental pool with lilos and playing very noisy Volleyball. Meanwhile, the parents ordered take-out Pizza and crates of beer.

Sadly, they seemed unaware of the children’s boredom and hatred of all things spiritual, (for I’m certain, the rest of their lives) because they stayed for the whole two weeks!

By the end of day three, I had become Dame Maggi Smith at her worst!  Forget spirituality – I was now more into Witchcraft.

I shall not elaborate further – as I can’t face distressing myself.  Suffice to say I somehow survived and incredibly found a wonderful upside to the interruption.  I wobbled out and found the nearest Taxi Driver (there’s a multitude in Ubud) and booked him for the whole trip.

He took me to butterfly houses and over the beautiful rice fields. To beaches I’d never heard of and restaurants I’d never have eaten in.  Without ‘fellow guests’ I’d wouldn’t be bothered to leave my comfort zone and discover a culture rich in diversity and colour.

So now, I’m exploring Kabbalah. It’s ancient wisdom that explains why difficult situations arise in life and how to deal with them, preventing them from continually re-occuring.  More on that at a later date…

On the final day as I was packing I had a call from the airline telling me my direct flight home had been cancelled – but that I had been ‘ rebooked’.

So – Four flights – 29 hours travelling – four different countries – I arrived at Heathrow, and, very Pope like, fell to my knees. kissing the ground.  Thank heavens for wheelchair assistance – because without those long suffering souls I’d still be somewhere in the back streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Anyway; Long story short and lessons learned – I’m thinking Sussex might be a jolly nice place for a summer holiday – and I’m busily researching blow up pools – and Buddha importations..

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