Suffolk December 30th

Another day at home with Mum. Everything is slowed down. Sarah came over just now to chat. She seems edgy about how we’re behaving during the latest restrictions. I feel the need to protect Mum otherwise I wouldn’t be so tight about it. I think this makes her a bit anxious because they haven’t been so strict but we really need to be right now to stop an explosion of cases.

To begin with I was getting bored being here but I’m making plans for 2021. Walking is a huge relief and release, something I’ve always loved doing and preferably alone, which suits the situation even better. I will continue the Cotswold Way walking once I’m back in the West but also there is no limits to where else I can go. I am almost half way round the SWCP so that must continue but I could also start doing hikes in Wales, which is close to home, but the big one is to try and travel across Europe (if I’m allowed) in the Summer. I doubt this will be a walk in the style of PLF – there isn’t the time – but a train journey would be magnificent and hopefully with my good pal Toby L-J, who has become such a great friend since moving back from Vietnam earlier this year. Like me he is an adventurer but also he’s uncomplicated and single and he’s so big hearted and funny. I love him. A trip would be a real cracker. Planning, planning.

Yesterday I walked from Manningtree to Harwich, a pretty drab, featureless walk on a drab, grey day through villages like Mistley and Wrabness (‘Drabness’). As I walked I slipped into a great mind journey about my life and realised what a great point I’m at. I’m fit and healthy (as far as I know), I’m solvent, I have a regular job which I enjoy but which allows a lot of other free time to pursue those other great passions of mine: exploring, travelling, meeting people BUT – and this is what is fantastic – is that these loves, these interests can also become, will become the basis for my work: for writing. There is a syncronicity, a coming together of strands of my life into a situation where I can be happy, satisfied and, I hope eventually, successful. What a great thing. What luck. And even when we are going through a torrid time of it with a global pandemic I can carry on with this dream, this adventure even if it has to stay local. Everyday anywhere there is a story worth discovering and I can do this: it might be people like Mohamod the asylum seeker or Duncan the eccentric taxidermy fan or many of the other characters that are sitting around in Bristol waiting to tell me their stories or it might just be an adventure: a walk around the ‘Thankful villages’ of Gloucs, the county with the highest amount of villages which didn’t lose a son during WW1 or a visit to Cold Slad, the home place of Laurie Lee to see how it has changed since he lived there or just my own walks and thoughts and observations. There is so much to be hopeful for in 2021. Lunch!

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