Thoughts from a Small Island

Random words from my mind

A Tentative Start

This is going to be used by me as a means of escape from what is currently whizzing round my head.

I have no idea how often I will be updating it but I hope that by posting what I feel about things it may encourage others to speak up or seek help in their own way. It might not be easy to read for some and I offer no apologies for that but my intention is to help open doors and people’s thinking toward mental illness and how it affect not just the ‘patient’ but also those around them.

Stay safe

Featured post

A House is Not a Home

Today has been the day that I knew was coming but still hit me hard when it did. A bit like when you see yourself falling off a skateboard, it hurts but you knew it would happen eventually (I’ve done that many times)

Over the weekend we have been looking at houses to buy here on the small island. Our budget isn’t huge but it’s enough for what we need.

It started off pretty badly though as the first property we looked at just needed too much fixing before it would be comfortable. The size of rooms was great but the damp in the kitchen, repaired (badly) flashing on the lean-to roof and rotten wooden fascia boards kind of put all that in to the background. We don’t mind doing a bit of work to a property but nothing too strenuous as we both work full-time and don’t want to spend every waking minute we have left doing renovations.

Property two showed a little more promise as my wife had looked it before and fallen in love with it. However,  me being the voice of practicality and reason had a different opinion. Everything downstairs was fantastic including the garden and little courtyard bit for seating. Upstairs was a different matter though as the bathroom was only accessed through the second bedroom (which will be our daughter’s room). It’s easily fixable to put in a separate entrance for it but this would leave the bedroom just a tad bugger than the box room she is currently in.

Feeling dejected we went for a cup of tea (tea makes everything better doesn’t it?) and discussed one final option we had. We had been made aware of a house not yet on the market but an absolute steal. We agreed to have a look at it and thought it had definite potential. It’s got 3 bedrooms, a garden, garage and parking space. To have a garage is awesome as it means we can store stuff we don’t need in it and the car will still be parked outside. Inside is a bit of a mix of style. The style is mainly 1970’s but there is a hint of early 1980’s in there too. Carpets need changed. There’s an avocado bath suite and vinyl on the wall of the bathroom to make it look like it’s tiled and the wallpaper in the rest of the house is decidedly stained from years of the previous resident smoking. Thankfully it doesn’t smell of cigarette smoke but there are clean spots on the wallpaper where pictures have been so a painting party might be required when (or if) we move in to it. But this is all easily doable. The price is right at the top of our budget but the house is worth so much more.

At the moment it is just a house but it has the potential to be a great family home. It’s not going to be something we will fall out of love with in a few years as I can genuinely see myself living in it for many, many years to come. We have a chance to put our stamp on this pile of bricks and bring out its character again if only we can get the money to add up.

My anxieties caused me to panic this morning as it dawned on me that this is actually happening and I am becoming a grown up (I’m 40 yrs old but only now am I starting to be an adult) and will have to do grown up things like be responsible.

The day today has ended with an offer being put in to the seller and we will just have to wait for the response to it. Waiting for answers and anxiety do not go hand in hand but I know I have to be patient and just accept this for what it is.

Exciting times lay ahead……………

It’s Time to be a Grown Up

These last couple of days I have had little energy to do anything other than go to work. For some unknown reason I have lost all my ‘get up and go’ and it has ‘got up and gone’. I know it’ll come back but it frustrates me that it has gone just in an instant.

Many factors have played a part in this (I think) but the main one has been the onset of change. To an anxious mind like mine, change is never a good thing but there is one way around it that I have learnt from various sources and that is to turn it into something useful.

The change that is coming is that our family is moving. We have an awesome housemate (who I know is subscribed to this very blog) who has lived with us for a good number of years but it is now time to start out on our own. Sadly in recent months my wife has come into some money through the passing of some of her elderly relatives. This has been set aside for us to use as a deposit for our very first house.

It is at this point that I now realise I have to put on my big boy pants and become a grown up.

We have registered with various estate agents in town and my wife has even been to look at a property already. I haven’t seen it yet but considering I never saw the last 2 houses we have rented I consider her a pretty good judge (she married me so she must be pretty good at making decisions). We are going to look at the same place tomorrow afternoon and a different one in the morning. Both of these houses are of a similar style but it has made us think about how much ‘stuff’ we have that we just don’t need. We have a pretty good idea of how much we can take with us and I’m going to brutal about what we don’t take with us, right down to my ever decreasing CD collection.

The most important thing I will take with me is memories. Stuff is just material things to help us remember but the actual memories will last forever. I am looking at this as challenge that I will win and it will lead to a new future for us all. My daughter starts high school in September, we will be moving by the end of this year and next year and my wife has started a new role where she works. It feels scary but exciting all at once and I am pleasantly terrified.

This week has also taught me the true value of friendship. A good friend of mine has recently been through some hard times and today was a day when she needed a shoulder. I was sat in the catering unit at work and I heard a voice call my name. When I turned around I could see my friend in distress so immediately put my things down and went to help. A panic attack was starting and my friend was scared she couldn’t breathe so I sat her down and stayed with her until it passed. We had a good chat, talked a few things over and laughed at some very inappropriate things. The end result was that I was able to give back some of the love and support that had been afforded to me through my troubles and it felt good. The other thing that came out of it was that I also came to see how much I am loved by people. Apparently when I was with my friend helping her to calm down my colleagues were looking for me as they were worried I had relapsed and was on my own. It made me incredibly grateful to have the people I do in my life and I know that I will never be able to say thank you enough to all of them.

Whatever you all get up to this weekend may the sun shine on you and if it doesn’t then just remember that there’s no such thing as bad weather………just the wrong type of clothes

The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

Recently I have seen a glimmer of the person I used to be. It hasn’t upset me or triggered me but it has made me realise that if I want to, I can get back to that person again. Maybe not exactly the same but I have figured out that there is room in my head for both anxiety and outgoingness (is that even a word?).

I am, by Winnie the Pooh’s own admission,  a bear of very little brain but I am happy. I enjoy my own company and I am happiest when I am sitting on a riverside or a harbour just watching the daily grind pass me by without the constraints of work, social media or home life. I have an amazingly supportive family, somewhere to live and food to eat. But there is a part of me that would like to be a little bit more Tigger and a little less Eeyore and I am unsure how to get there without trailing around the whole of hundred acre wood.

In the last couple of weeks I have begun to get out more with my camera and watch the sunset. There are a couple of places on the small island that are fantastic for doing this as they give a completely unbroken view to the west with the added advantage of having a few bits of photogenic scenery thrown in to the pot for added artistic effect.

I won’t subject you to all of the pictures I took but there is one in particular that I am VERY proud of. I had been playing around with a neutral density filter on my lens to go for that ‘misty water’ effect where it looks like the movement stops and goes all blurred. I got a couple of pictures of waves breaking over stones and, after a small amount of editing, they have come out better than I expected. But these are not the ones I am proud of. That title belongs to the picture below:DSCN6439

It happened purely by accident as I forgot to take the filter off the lens. I had intended to get the boat going through the shimmer but when I realised I had left the filter on and then looked at the result on my camera I just thought “wow”. In a way I have used the picture as a way to remind me that there is beauty in darkness and loneliness. Although I may feel like I’m on my own sometimes I know there is always a light shining on me to lead me back to reality. The lights that shine on me are usually in the form of friends and family just being there to listen to me and provide me with shelter from stormy days. I’m usually very critical of my photography and often when people comment I find it hard to take compliments as I don’t know how to react to it. Various friends and family have told me I should sell it, put it on a canvas, print it up and frame it but to me that just feels like I’m showing off and that’s not me.

What it has led me to think about though is whether I should leave the filter on my life now as it could lead me to a completely view. I apply my own filter and take myself away from situations that may cause my anxiety to wake up but there have been times when I’ve forgotten to remove the filter, done the thing I’m scared of and actually ended up enjoying it. There are challenges every day for me to deal with but sometimes I wonder if by limiting my exposure to what is out there will I miss it all or am I content to accept that what I have is already amazing. The answer to that is that everything I have, I have worked hard for and I appreciate and respect it. Just because something is there it doesn’t mean I HAVE to go and seek it out just so I can say “I did it”. It takes a strong person to admit they are happy with what they have but I can honestly say that I am happy. I don’t want or need for much. Love and friendship mean more to me than money and ‘stuff’.

By accepting this I can navigate my way through the wood without running into a woozle or a heffalump

It also reminds me that the wonderful thing about tiggers is I’m the only one……………….


Be Prepared

Generally I have been on a bit of an ‘up’ this week compared to last week and I have begun to accept the bad days of last week as just that……….bad days. I even ventured out on public transport on my own the other day so I could get to the western end of the small island to look for photography opportunities. I found some great places to go for sunset shots overlooking a little bay with some big chalk cliffs framing the background and then decided to follow a little path between a pub and a church (is it just me or is there nearly always a pub next to a village church?) toward the northern side of the island where I caught another bus to go home. The experience of public transport felt comfortable again and I was quite proud of myself for doing on my own without my little anxiety crutch (my awesome daughter) to make sure I was ok all the time. The only downside was I forgot to take my iPod (*other makes of musical playback devices are available*) so I had to endure an elderly couple sitting behind me commenting on EVERYTHING they saw on the way back. It was quite painful having to hear them mention every sign, village name and odd-looking thing they saw but I managed to stay looking forward and resist the urge to ask them to be quiet.

Today however has been one of those days where I’m not sure whether I should laugh or cry.

There have been 2 events which have made me consider doing both of these things.

The first of these may not sound like much to the average person but to me it was quite important. While walking in to town on my way to work one of my hearing aid batteries decided to die without any prior warning. This in itself is not so much of a disaster but when I’m trying to cross the road and have to turn my head to one side to listen out for anything coming it becomes a bit of an issue. It also makes me look quite funny having my head constantly turned to the side. I have spare batteries with me all the time but it’s a bit hard to change them while you’re walking and trying to pay attention to things you can’t hear properly. Thus I refrained from crying about the fact I couldn’t hear fully out of one ear and laughed about the fact I looked like I had probably ignored my mums advice about making faces and the wind changing to make me stay like that.

The second of these events happened when I got to work. I was quite happily sipping on a cup of chamomile and lavender tea and reading my book (funnily enough about a small island) when it was announced that the auditors had arrived in store. Cue bouts of panic, followed by the realisation that I have no control over what will happen today. I could have cried as the last time I was asked a question by the auditors I felt like I was a teenager stood outside the headmasters office awaiting a telling off (this didn’t happen at school but it’s what I imagine it would feel like). Then I just thought I’d laugh about it and think that whatever happens will happen. I went down to the shop floor to find everyone in a tense mood and checking paperwork, looking at dates on packets and cleaning everything that didn’t move. When the auditors did arrive in our little area  decided to remove myself from harms way and stayed on the floor clearing tables. This way I could escape if needed and I could also keep myself busy and lessen the risk of being asked any questions. I know the answers but when I’m put on the spot I can turn in to a 6ft 1in high piece of jelly. In the end I escaped the inquisition and managed to carry on with my day unharmed. The store passed the audit and it was all good.

However today taught me a valuable lesson. Always check your batteries and know where the exits are in the event of an emergency (fair enough, an audit isn’t an emergency but it’s still scary when it happens).

Until next time……………..

Read All About It

This has been a troublesome week for me and I have struggled with my emotions at times. Most of this centers around a recent news event which I am sure you will have all heard about.

This event was the truly shocking attack on the crowd after Ariana Grande had played her concert at the Manchester Arena. While people were leaving there was an explosion in the foyer resulting in many injured and sadly 22 persons being killed. What was more shocking (to me and probably many others) was the fact the attack was directed at children and families just out having fun. I have close family who live in Manchester and it is hard to believe that any of my nieces could have been at that concert, or any of their friends could have been there. Terrorist events are awful and in the world we live in there are many more happening every day that affect many walks of life in many countries around the world. It is because of this that I no longer read a daily newspaper or follow news websites on my iPad as all I ever seem to be force-fed is bad news stories. Papers sell fear and a population in fear of something is easier to control.

How does this all affect me though?

The problem is, when you suffer from anxiety you begin to question yourself and look at the worst case scenario for everyday tasks. A news event such as this throws added pressure in to the mix and you begin to be fearful of going out again. I have had 3 panic attacks this week. 2 of these have been at home but I have been able to calm myself down and get my breathing back to normality to stop it escalating further. The other happened at work in front of my colleagues who saw me shaking, crying and generally in a mess. I had to leave the sales floor almost as soon as I started my shift and return upstairs to a quiet office until I could regain my composure and breathe again. I have beaten myself up about this happening as I have been making huge leaps forward in my recovery and this felt like I’d failed and gone back to the start again.

The reality is it is just a setback. Nothing more, nothing less. I haven’t had to rely on the mental health crisis team for support this time. I have been able to calm myself down and return to ‘normal’ working duties within a reasonable amount of time. If this had happened 3 or 4 months ago I would have turned around, gone home and shut myself away from everybody. I am incredibly proud of how far I’ve come and I am beginning to accept how far I still have to go. My manager came to me in the afternoon and said to me he was proud of me too and this meant the world to me. I even shed another tear but it was a happy one this time.

A large part of my anxieties are caused by over-thinking. I have got myself in to a state this week by thinking that everywhere I go is going to be dangerous. Now, I know in my heart that this is not the case but my head tells me otherwise. I start eyeing people in the street suspiciously and wondering who they might really be. I have been looking at things and thinking “something could be stored in there to hurt someone” or “what if something happens to put me in danger?” . My head is playing games and it has been winning until now.

Anyone who has ever been to my small island (it’s not really mine, I don’t own it or anything) for a holiday or at her majesty’s pleasure will know that it is a very quaint place. The people who live here value the pace of life and it is sometimes for this reason that it is often thought of as being stuck in the 1950’s. In all fairness there are still areas of the small island that still look the same as they did in the 50’s but they have progressed a little and now have broadband internet instead of dial-up (remember the stress trying to open an attachment in an email while on dial-up?). The chances of anything remotely terror related are very slim, but for anyone like me who worries, there is still a chance.

I cannot change what has already happened and I cannot change what has not yet happened so all I can do is try to life my life each day at a time.

If you have people close to you, regularly tell them that you love them. Look after yourself and each other. Smile at strangers, do a good deed for someone or just generally be kind to each other. That way we can try to overcome some of the fear and hatred and make our world a better place for our children to grow up in.


BBQ not B&Q*

*Other D.I.Y. establishments are available (this particular brand name suits the title better)

Good evening and welcome. I have been wondering what to write this evening and I had the title in my head but no more words to follow.

Here on the small island things are hotting up (literally – it’s been at least 17c at times) and it is getting to that time of year when weekends are filled up with one of two things. Trawling around D.I.Y. stores looking for things you’ll never use but ‘might’ be a good idea or useless twinkly things to hang on the fence / shed in the garden is one of these things. The other is consuming an ungodly amount of chargrilled meat and salad outdoors (because although you’ll eat your body weight in burgers and sausages the salad is healthy right?)

This weekend I did one of those things, but before I get to that part of the story I shall digress a little. On Saturday my wife and daughter were helping at an event for Rainbows (little versions of brownies, who are little versions of guides) at a local campsite. This gave me the opportunity to take my camera and tripod, have 4 and a half hours all to myself and see some beautiful areas of the small island. Having been dropped off at the campsite gates I walked for about a mile before the village I was heading to came in to sight. The sun was out, there were bright, white fluffy clouds and it was all looking very photogenic. I headed toward the harbour and across the wooden walkway which has been photographed millions (possibly) of times so I had to take another photo for myself just to be sure.

I made my way to the boathouse and then the rain came. Sheltering from the rain I got my coat on and waited until it passed. Out came the tripod, on went the camera and I went in to David Bailey mode. Every angle was covered, panoramas were attempted and I was enjoying the peace and quiet. I took some photos that I am extremely proud of and some not so but I consider it all a learning curve. Having exhausted the photo opportunities at this place I made my way to another little quay about 2 miles walk away and carried on taking more pictures. It felt great to be out in the sun and I even made it to a pub by myself for a crisp pint of ale before meeting my wife and daughter again to go home. It was a good day (as I had told myself in the morning in my usual mantra like way – see previous blog somewhere about that).

Sunday was spent swimming with my daughter at the local pool in the morning and then heading to my parents house for lunch and a BBQ later on in the afternoon. My cousin, her partner and their baby son were visiting so it was going to be good to catch up with them as I think the last time they came down I was in the middle of a major meltdown and refused to see them.

And for no obvious reason that’s when the old familiar feelings raised their head again.

Like a burger that looks cooked on the outside but is still pink and raw in the middle this is how I was feeling (see what I did there?). My outward appearance was one of calm and being well but my insides were screaming at me to go home. My head told me I should be on my own but my heart told me this would be another positive step forward. I sat outside with the family, made conversation and felt good.I managed 2 burgers and a helping of salad washed down by a lovely cool drink.

But there was something wrong.

I was hot and bothered. I was agitated. I was angry. I was short-tempered.

But I didn’t know why. There didn’t seem to be a specific trigger. It wasn’t a particularly social event, it was my family who I’ve been with countless times before.

I made my excuses and sat in the living room and then felt overwhelmingly tired. I could barely keep my eyes open and just wanted to sleep. My wife came in and could see something wasn’t right so we decided to say our goodbyes and went home. I ran a bath for myself, threw in a ‘man grenade’ bath bomb and just lay there in warm blue water listening to a fantastic playlist on Spotify (Lost in the Woods if anyone is interested).

It would seem that this weekend has taught me a valuable lesson. I am not as well as I think I am sometimes but that is alright. Each time I push myself I feel uncomfortable but I feel like I have to make myself do these things or I will be forever scared to try them. If it hurts this time and makes me anxious afterwards then I have to keep that feeling in my head to be used as a positive for me next time. If I get scared next time I can always remind myself that I have done it before and I CAN do it again.

Maybe next time I should leave out the salad though……….

If you Don’t Pay……

It’s not often I write my posts so close together as I never usually have that much to  think about but something this weekend has troubled me. It’s not my anxiety (although that does trouble me every day) and it’s not work related.

What could it be I hear you ask? (if I could hear you properly without my hearing aids in)

The thing that has been troubling me is people’s lack of respect for each other and their property. Over this weekend there has been a great deal on the news about computer systems that are used by our lovely NHS (National Health Service for any of my international readers) being hacked and held to ransom unless people pay up in bitcoins (whatever they are) to release their own software. This is a system used by healthcare professionals in hospitals and GP practices up and down the country to access patient notes and records. If someone needs to have an operation or is going in for a specific treatment to help cure an illness then the specialists can access detailed information regarding past medical history, allergic issues and family history. This is incredibly sensitive and important information and, without being too dramatic about it, could be needed in a life or death situation.

Now, hacking in general is just a nuisance. Spam emails asking for your bank details. Someone claiming to be a distant relative from Nigeria with an inheritance to share with you. Pharmaceutical ‘enhancements’ for men. You get the idea. Personally I find them mostly amusing and have a little chuckle to myself while I add them to the ever-growing list of blocked senders.

But while I despise any form of hacking, I consider this type to be one step too far. Generally caused by opening an offending email such as the ones mentioned above, this type of virus effectively locks down your computer until you agree to follow the instructions and pay the criminal bodies behind the virus an unspecified amount of money. It can probably be worked around by someone with enough knowledge of computing but the majority of people (myself included) don’t have such knowledge and would therefore get scared, pay the money and regain control of their computer. However I would hazard a guess that since you have then paid it once, the hackers will then know you will pay up in future so undoubtedly try again. To do this to a personal computer is bad enough but to do it to a computer system used to help potentially keep people alive (again being a little over dramatic but it’s true) I find shocking and despicable. Along the lines of stealing from a charity shop I consider this to be completely unnecessary in a supposedly ‘modern’ society.

What has gone so wrong in our lives to make someone think that these ransom tactics are needed? Do people really hate each other that much? Are they trying to bring an end to the modern corporate fat cats holding our country in a financial stranglehold? Or are they just desperate, greedy people with no regard for humankind in general?

I don’t profess to know the answers to any of these questions and I might never know but I find it hard to believe that people can be so cruel sometimes.

Right through into my adult life I have always tried to life my life kindly. I have treated people in the way I have wished to be treated and I have remembered the words my grandparents always said to me that ‘…if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ It really is that simple.

Surely if everybody thought like this the world would be in a better place or is that just me living in my own little fantasy world?

You never know, dreams can come true……………

Pop Quiz Hotshot

This has been one of those weeks that have just felt like I have no idea what has just happened. My mind has been over thinking again and I have been trying to keep it a certain speed to stop it from crashing (a bit like Keanu Reeves in the film Speed but without the explosives or Dennis Hopper telling me what to do).

I began the week in relative comfort after a weekend off. I’d had the trauma (not exactly trauma but still worrying) of an engine failure on the ferry on Saturday when I took my daughter to the big island for a shopping spree but this was made better by a Sunday spent with my parents. Monday was a return to work and ‘normality’ again. However, the week was to contain a visit to my work from a regional manager on Thursday and night out for a charity quiz on the Wednesday night. Store visits do not usually bother me as I tend to just get on with my job of running my little section and stay away from all the quoting of figures and best-selling lines. However, this one had me in a bit of a state as I have never met this particular man before. He seems like a genuinely good guy but what will he think of me? Will he hate my beard? Will he think my shoes need polished? (they do but that is besides the point) Should I have had a haircut? None of these things have any bearing on how well I can do my job but at this point in time it made me question how fast I should go. I was tempted to speed up my thinking but I knew this would lead me down the wrong path. If I thought too slowly about things then the world would pass me by and I would be left wondering what I could have done to catch up. The only answer left was to maintain my current speed of thought and direction.

However, this was all thrown into chaos after the night out on Wednesday. I had agreed to be part of a team for my workmates for a charity quiz that had been organized by my colleagues for a breast cancer charity. The night itself went well. I answered well, had fun with my teammates and even won some prizes in the raffle at the end of the night. The next day (Thursday, the day of the managerial visit) was when my mind began to start telling me I needed to slow down.

So I did.

And I crashed.

I got into work at my usual time and read my book for a bit before going downstairs. I met my friend who was one of the quiz organizers as she works in the backstage area. She told me she had wanted to message me after the quiz but felt it better to tell me in person that she was proud of me. She was proud of how I have been recovering since my illness made itself known to everyone. She was proud of me for being part of the winning team (oh, sorry I forgot to mention my team won) and she was proud of me for making it out for the evening. And then it hit me. That night was the first time I had been out socially with anyone other than my family and a few close friends since late last year. It was one of those sort of ‘Holy s**t’ moments when I realised that I had done it all by myself. I went out, I stayed for the whole quiz and raffle and even joined in with the team and I was proud of myself. I had ticked another thing off of the ‘to do’ list (which for some reason never seems to get any smaller) and made myself believe in my ability again

So why did I feel so bad?

Did I not engage enough? Did people see me feeling anxious? Was I kidding myself in thinking I was well enough to go out? I almost felt guilty for having fun again. I had longed for a night out with friends for ages and now that I had done it I felt awful but didn’t really know why.

Answers on a postcard please………………



Ladies and Gentlemen…this is your captain speaking

Today has been a day that I spent some time thinking over every detail before tackling it head on. I decided that as my wife was busy all day with appointments and getting her hair done (she has a lot more hair to style than me) I was going to take our daughter on a shopping trip to the big island. I had planned everything. The time we would leave the house to get in to town in time to take money out (very important if you go shopping apparently). The time we would catch the bus so that we would make the hi speed service in time. The only thing I didn’t do was tell my daughter were going until this morning because I would have never heard the end of it and would have talked myself out of going thus disappointing myself and, more importantly, her.

All was well in my little world and I was looking forward to what could be a great day out and another thing to tick off the ‘making progress’ list (if I had actually made one which I haven’t).

On arrival at the ferry we were a bit early so we made our way down the gangway and waited patiently in line along with the other passengers. If there’s one thing we are good at in Britain it is queuing patiently. It arrived a little late and the passengers filed off in single file. There’s always an awkward silence in the tunnel as you try to look for someone you might know coming off the boat but you don’t want to make it look like you’re stalking people. My daughter and I made our way on to the boat and took up some seats right at the front so I could see where I was going and we settled down. That’s when it all went wrong.

The tannoy came into life and the message was announced that there was a slight delay in leaving due to engine trouble but we would be leaving shortly.

What if we get halfway across and the engine fails? What if we lose power and sink? These were some of the questions my mind began to ponder and I started getting nervous. We all sat there unconcerned (except for me obviously) and hoped the engines would be fixed quickly and normal service would resume. Then the message came on again that they were having trouble locating the fault but they assured us we would leave soon. One of the crew came around the seats and explained to us that if we wanted to stay on the boat it would be leaving soon but only travelling between 6 and 12 knots (not very fast). We had the option of getting off the stricken vessel and catching the next one which was coming in as this would be reaching the big island well before the broken boat. I must have looked a little bit too eager to get off as I leapt out my seat, grabbed my daughter and started making our way back off the boat. It would appear that everyone else soon had the same idea and they all disembarked too.

The next boat arrived and we sailed off into the haze reaching our destination just a little later than planned. My daughter and I spent a good 4 hours wandering around shops and she came out armed with bath bombs from Lush, clothes from Primark and some food. I came away with a Jack Skellington notebook. A successful day out done, we headed back for the hi speed boat home to the small island.

To our dismay we found out the boat we had rushed down for was cancelled (it was still broken and coughing out black smoke. I’m no expert but it didn’t look good) so we had to wait another half hour for the next one. We got on, grabbed a seat by the front again and settled.

Then…….someone came and sat next to me. Out of over a dozen empty rows of seats they chose to sit next to me. Why? Did they not want to sit on their own private row of seats with plenty of room for their bags?

This was not quite the day I had hoped for when I did my planning throughout the week. My anxiety levels had been tested to the limit with the first announcement of a broken engine, then tested at various times through the day as we navigated through crowds of people in tightly packed shops and then again on the way home with an unwelcome visitor on my seat (well, not quite on my seat but close enough to my personal space) but you know what? I tackled each event head on, questioned myself on the right way to deal with it and made a decision. Fortunately they proved to be good decisions and my day went by without a hint of shortness of breath and wobbly legs. I did however wear out a hairband that I have wrapped around my fingers to fiddle with so there was one casualty from the day 😦

Until next time…………………….

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