Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

2019 a year in review

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2019

In March 2019 I got to Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a trip I'd been hoping to do for more than a decade after I'd worked out the carnival dates in advance and realised that the main parade that year would fall on my birthday and that I was born on a Shrove Tuesday. Sadly, the trip was not without it's negatives: when we'd boarded the plane at Exeter, we were sat in our seats for 20 minutes while they fixed a problem with the air conditioning. Whether you believe this or not, I felt like I'd caught something in that time and lo and behold, a couple of days later I came down with one of the worst bouts of flu I've ever had. Despite crawling along to all the events I had planned and got as many photos as I could, that was all I did: go out for a short time, then collapse back into bed in the hotel, while I sent 'him indoors' out to get food and medicines from the farmacia. It was so bad by the Wednesday that I seriously doubted I would be well enough to travel home on the Friday. When I got home, I spent the next three months trying to recover, literally confined to bed and so ill that most of the time I couldn't even sit up.

Eastern Kings Battery, Stonehouse, Plymouth

Not until June, finally, I made a trip to Plymouth to accept an invitation to tour the Royal Marines Barracks at Stonehouse where my grandfather had been stationed and my father had been brought up. Even then, I stayed overnight because I wouldn't have been able to manage the travel and the tour in the same day and, I'd got discount first class travel on the train to make that bearable.

The view from Lynton to Lynmouth

In July we visited Lynton & Lynmouth and I went on excursions to Bristol Harbour Festival and Looe & Polperro. In August, I went on another family history digging expedition to Plymouth and excursions to Totnes & Dartmouth and Minehead. And I could only do these because they were mostly by coach, where I was picked up and put down door-to-door and because I found places to sit once I arrived. 

It looks like I did a lot in this year and, compared to normal for me for a couple of decades, it was, but was actually only a couple of outings a month during two of the warmest months of the year. The rest of the time, I was flat on my back or reclining in bed, often getting over something. Being able to leave the house, on average, four to six times a year and only in good weather, is the reality.

And none of this would have been possible at all without the help I was getting from carers with all aspects of my personal care, preparing meals and drinks and household chores such as changing beds, doing laundry, hoovering and cleaning, which meant that between excursions I could do nothing whatsoever.

Fort Tigné (St. Andrew's Bastion), Malta, another family history digging trip

In September, I went to Malta, got attacked and came home early.

Playa de Bil Bil in Benalmádena

Which is why I had a break in Benalmádena in October - and yet again, managed to catch a cold, which meant I spent two of the seven days in bed and a further three doing the absolute least possible: only undertaking 'passive' excursions where I could, for example, sit on a bus and watch the sights come to me. 

That cold or flu kept easing, then coming back worse, at least three times over the following weeks. That year wasn't the first time I went down with something when attempting to travel either and after that it happened pretty much every time I went to a public place, once even just to the local post office when someone in the queue behind me sneezed. That time too, I felt an immediate tickle in my nose and yet again, within two days, I'd gone down with flu!

After that, I stopped going out. It's almost like I saw 2020 coming!