Friday 9 March 2012


I’m feeling retrospective.
Just out of curiosity I wondered what I was doing at this time last year.  How lucky I am that this time last year I was blogging regularly about my real life and so it’s easy to look back and see what was happening. Coincidentally I found that this day a year ago was a major day of change for me.
In the rush of the early morning, while the kids were having breakfast, I had a phone call from Cambodia, from a guy I’d never met before. He was very upset and at first it was hard to make sense of what he was saying. He said he was a friend of my brother’s and he thought my 35 year old brother has had a stroke.  He was panicking because the staff at the small rural hospital where they were had not seemed to have acknowledged that this had happened.  He took my brother on a four hour taxi ride to Phnom Penh to a better hospital. That phone call was the beginning of a three week roller coaster of coordinating emails and phone calls between family and friends, embassy officials and trying to get information out of Cambodian hospitals. I spoke to my brother a few times; he could speak but he was quite vague. Everybody was doing all they could to try to get him flown back to England as soon as it was safe to do so. Several of us were on standby considering flying to Cambodia.
That same day, the purchase went through for our 70 foot narrowboat and we became owners of what is now our new home. This photograph shows the urban scene local to my child-minder in London last year. We now live in rural Hertfordshire on a bigger narrowboat. My brother has made a miraculous recovery and continues to recover somewhere beautifully rural in Devon.  Because we bought that boat I met Phil, the broker at Boatshed Grand Union and later began working for Boatshed: a job that I love.

This time last year all I wrote was that “Big changes are happening in my real life right now. Today we bought a new home. It is beautiful. I will write a proper post about that soon. Today I found out someone close to me is pretty ill. I will not blog about that today. But I am thinking about that.”

“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it and think how different its course would have been. Pause, you who read this, and think for a long moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on that memorable day.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


PS. Because of the madness of March I will be taking a brief blogging break until April. 
Therefore this personal blog will feature articles that I'm writing for Boatshed Grand Union and Canal Voyagers until I can get my work/life/blog/family balance back on track!

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