Why everyone needs a joint 60th

I’ve always been a firm believer in time away from relationships and life as you know it.  In the same way that when I moved to London I needed a weekend in the country every month or I’d explode, in the same way I need time away from Mr K and away from my job.  Need it.  This has nothing to do with him, or the civil service, and everything to do with me and my need for moderation, for time spent alone or in a situation polar opposite to my marriage and life as business as usual.  Without it, I feel caged.

Repetition leads, in my book, to exhaustion.  No matter how much you love London, life here takes more effort than in most places, and it can chip away at your soul.  To give your best to it, you need to come away now and then.  It can be alone, it can be with a friend.  It can be a day, a weekend, a month.  Anything goes.  What it does need to be, is different.

It’s hard to describe this to people who aren’t married or in 9-5 jobs.  It sounds flighty, I suppose, the need to “get away”.  But it applies in all aspects of life.  If you’re overworked, you need time off.  If you’re dieting, you need a dirty burger on a Thursday night.

In April, I went away with my best friend Cat. We dubbed it our 60th – sixty years of Anna and Cat.

We stayed in a log cabin just off the Cornish coastal path.  It smelt of pine.

 

My Mum’s Cornish, and grew up on a farm opposite St Michael’s Mount.  It’s a beautiful part of the world, and there’s still so much of it for me to discover (next up, the moors of Jamaica Inn).

I’d never walked along the coastal path before, and I knew it was time.  After the last year, my insides were screaming out for some restoring, recalibrating, resetting.

(This is starting to sound like a Blair speech.  I’ll stop with grouping things into threes).

And walk we did.  And talk we did.  It’s a landscape that lends itself to remembering who you are, and what’s important.  It lends itself to dreaming (London can take the dream away, sometimes, because commuting is so relentless).

Because it was April, and because the coastal path was quiet, it felt like we had that corner of the world to ourselves.   And when you feel like there’s no-one else around to hear, it’s like something clicks open inside your chest and it all comes tumbling out.  Everything you were holding together so well.  And then you’re left with the bare bones of your thoughts, and you try to rebuild.

I used to do this, so I understand why people do it, but it still saddens me that people jump on a plane at the first mention of a holiday.  The UK coast is an incredible, beautiful, dramatic and haunting place to be; drenched in history and stories.  I like wet and windy beaches though; fish and chips and your hair blowing in your face and the sense of being miniscule when you look up at the clouds chasing across the sky.  I appreciate this is not the stuff for which you save your Boots Advantage card points over the course of the year.

I also taught myself something new – how to read an OS map.  You can pick out the hardcore walkers a mile off, because they’re carrying proper walking paraphernalia and not just Lonely Planets with pull-out maps.  I will not claim for a second that I’m a proper walker (although I go about walking enthusiastically, like a child, running up onto rocky outcrops and jumping in the shallows) but it was good to feel like one, for a moment.

Things I learnt on this holiday include:

- Don’t be persuaded into doing sun salutations on a rocky outcrop.  Pictures may end up on the Internet.

- Don’t “smell the air”.  Same risk as above.  (But the air smelt sooooo good)

What do you do to escape, readers?  Do you even need to?

 

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience, Travel, Uncategorized
15 interesting thoughts on this

15 Comments

  1. Posted June 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    THIS is why we went on our honeymoon to Cornwall. Cornwall, with its rugged coastline and hidden bays, with pasties and cream teas and cider, and fish and chips on cliff-tops, with the sea air and the surfers and the endless stunning scenery is good for the soul. There is nowhere in the world more restorative, to me. All the photos of our honeymoon involve us eating or walking along cliffpaths. After a very difficult 6 months, it brought us back to being us.

    In a more individual sense, I also need time away from my marriage*, and my everyday life, but I would rather take it alone than with a friend, even a best friend. Sometimes I need time where I’m the only person I have to communicate with.

    K x

    *Eeek, first time I’ve been able to comment on my marriage rather than my relationship! It’s the little things…

    • Abi Lady HarHar
      Posted June 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Ditto a lot of what you said. We also had a week in Cornwall (only 2 weeks ago but feels like a while ago now back in work) We ate, we drank, we walked, we snuggled in our cottage and it was the perfect post-wedding break in my eyes.

      With regards to time away… I am definately on the extroverted end of the spectrum and I tend to be reinvgorated by spending time with friends or with my husband…its the change of scenery or change of pace that help me to relax not time alone, time alone and I am eager for company! :)

  2. Posted June 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    We frequently need to escape! In fact right now I’m craving fresh air which luckily I’ll get next weekend at Robin Hood’s Bay for James’s sisters wedding. The city really does take it’s toll on you. We’ve now got a good routine of day tripable places, week long retreats (usually my parents’ cottage in north yorks or somewhere in Cornwall), and trips away in Bertie our campervan.

  3. Posted June 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    This looks like an amazing place – I’ve never been to Cornwall. I do intend on taking some time out though soon, on my own. I’ve always wanted to travel on my own and this September I’ll be going to Belgium for 10 days – partially work related so not able to dictate location but I’m excited to travel and explore in my own time, sit and eat in restaurants on my own and wander aimlessly :) I want time with my own thoughts and my own ideas, much like Katielase!

    x

  4. Posted June 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m somebody who needs frequent escape! Unfortunately my job only allows me about a week off a year, so my escape is my friends. Festivals, nights out clubbing, playing in the band… as long as I’m with my closest buds then I can actually switch off the work side of my brain and be the real me for a bit. I’m terrible for never wanting it to end though – always the last man standing on a night out!

    Px

  5. Frances
    Posted June 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I love the UK – whether it’s hills and countryside or lakes or coastal paths and secluded beaches. Cornwall is the only place I’ve ever seen a dog chasing its own tail (literally – round and round in circles, it was hilarious). We’re going to Devon for a few days as a sort of mini-moon after our wedding next year and cannot wait for pub lunches, cream teas and a lack of phone reception. I miss hills commuting into London so it’s lovely to get away every so often.

  6. Posted June 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Have only been to Cornwall once with work but I really really want to go back. If only for the immense cream teas!
    I think everyone should have a little bit of time apart, makes you have more things to speak about. My husband does quite a physical job so often he’s too knackered to go out at nights so we spend a lot of time together in our flat. We also commute together since March, so far we’ve not killed each other in the car! So when I get the opportunity I love having a Saturday to myself, maybe wander into the shops, have a cup of tea with my book or a trip to the library. I really like this little bit of time on my own.

  7. Esme
    Posted June 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Even though we’ve recently been on holiday, I feel like we need an escape. You’ve inspired me again Mrs K…

    xxx

    P.S. this sounds WONDERFUL.

  8. Emily
    Posted June 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I love Cornwall too – all that Daphne as an impressionable teenager I think so yay for Jamacia Inn! I also need escape often but for me it is hills – they really put things into perspective somehow. I get lost embarrassingly easily but with a hill you can navigate so I don’t worry so much about wandering off. I wanted to go somewhere remote and hilly in Scotland for our honeymoon (we got engaged somewhere remote in Ireland last year) but that was vetoed so we ended up getting soaked in France instead! Because we live apart for part of the week, my escapes are always with Keith rather than without but when we live together I can imagine us needing time to ourselves.

  9. Zan
    Posted June 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t been to Cornwall for years – now I want to go back! Pictures look amazing :)

    We live somewhere quite rural but it’s still good to ‘get away’. Best escape from that perspective was a week on a remote island in Western Scotland. No roads (car left on mainland), no shops, no TV or phone reception, no street lights. Actual bliss, I’ve never been so relaxed in my life.

    And I’m def someone who needs some time to myself, love the occasional day at home alone or weekend away with friends.

  10. Fee
    Posted June 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    This has made me VERY excited about next week when my husband and I are heading to Dorset (where we got married) for a week of lazing, strolling and eating cream teas.

    And erm, in my case, finshing the 3 unfinished posts I have promised are en route….

  11. Posted June 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Am a big UK holiday fan too. Just planning our next trip to Cornwall later in the summer – can’t wait.
    X

  12. Posted June 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Yay for UK holidays (our honeymoon on the Isle of Skye being the ultimate one in my book) and yes to time away. I like a day out or trip away with friends. I even just like going out on my own, I used to go to the cinema and museums on my own when I lived in Paris. And then there is one of those really great catch up conversations with an old friend…where you laugh (who am I kidding? I mean snort) and through the course of the conversation you are reminded of all the things about you that other people like, and who you like being, apart from who you are in your job or to your husband. Does that make sense?

  13. Sandra C
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I’m the reverse geographically, I live in the country but every so often need a trip up to London to see friends. It’s got an amazing vibe about it and I love to just go there and do normal stuff. With the promise of food and drink at somewhere glam, of course! Husband doesn’t like London so I don’t even have the guilt thing-he’s pleased I don’t make him take me!
    We like to holiday in the UK too, there are indeed some amazing places-our most recent was Christmas week in a cottage in Dorset. I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

  14. Peridot
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I love Cornwall. We used to go every year but living in East London, we normally go to Suffolk now. Cornwall has my most favourite tearoom EVER (and I’m, ahem, a bit of a conoisseur). And the coastal path is breathtaking. Gorgeous pics – really reminds me what I’m missing.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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