I’m getting blogging withdrawal symptoms. Perhaps, to be honest, the symptoms have more to do with the fact that I’m no longer on a 10-week, 4,440-mile non-stop bike ride than the actual writing. But I have to say that although writing the blog wasn’t always a welcome chore at the end of a long day, it was – on the whole – a lot of fun and very satisfying.
Now I’ve been home nearly six weeks. It took a long time to get straight (who am I kidding? I’m not straight yet, but I’m probably as near as I’m ever going to get) and I still have a lot of work to do before I’ve finished organising all my photos and reminiscences. But I’m frustrated, because I want to get out and about again and I can’t.
There are lots of reasons for this. Family – Val’s mother needs constant care and so she can’t get away when we’d like. Whatever the sceptics say, this country has a fantastic welfare service: we get vouchers for 42 days’ respite care per year – i.e. accommodation in a nursing home so that Val and her dad can have a rest now and again – but that’s 323 days a year when Val, her dad, (and I) have to look after her – I’ll spare you the details but she needs help to do things that most readers take for granted, plus frequent trips to hospital – and again the health service is brilliant, but we can be kept waiting for hours sometimes and it gets more than a little frustrating!
Then there are other commitments. Due to my disappointingly low level of intelligence I seem to have collected lots of responsibilities, despite having semi-retired from my main job – which for those of you who don’t know me is… wait for it… an estate agent. I still do a few routine and non-routine tasks for the office – sorting out some of the admin, advising on one-off problems, and – like yesterday – applying for a licence to play music in the office!
I’m a Trustee of the Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation, a charity which supports the school, its pupils and parents. An interesting job which keeps me in touch with my old school.
The Daily Mail had an article a few weeks ago on “20 things that tell you you’re getting old”. At number 15 was “you become a Parish Councillor”. In May this year I became a parish councillor for West Bradford – which isn’t anywhere near Bradford but is just outside Clitheroe. It’s a lovely village if you don’t mind driving past the cement works and over a very narrow bridge to get here. It’s one car at a time on the bridge, which works OK except when someone can’t reverse. Then it’s really hilarious or deeply frustrating, depending on how much time you’ve got.
And finally, I’m pleased to say I’m in demand as a speaker for various groups – I’ve got bookings from organisations like W.I.s, Helmshore Ladies’ Group, Grindleton ‘Time Out’, Great Harwood Mothers’ Club, Clitheroe 41 Club… the list goes on. I usually receive a speaker’s fee which always goes to a cancer charity.
Did I say finally? Oops – I forgot the Rotary Club of Clitheroe, where I’m in charge of fund-raising (can’t imagine why!) - there are various events to organise, including two ‘supermarket collections’ before the end of this year, a dance next May (Saturday 5th if you’re interested, with the superb Swing Commanders, at the St Mary’s Centre, Clitheroe) and hopefully a Pendle Witch fund-raising race later next year.
Whoah! That’s enough for one blog. I haven’t even got on my soapbox yet. I’ll get writing again shortly, perhaps with a bit more news and some opinions. If you like the blog, post a comment. If you don’t, post a comment too – I can take it!