It’s been a funny old week really. All of a sudden after what seems like an eternity in limbo, I’m on the move again and ready for the off. For the last few weeks I’ve been waiting to leave for my placement, champing at the bit, but unable to finish my preparations until the last minute.
I’ve sold the car and found a tenant for my bungalow, but couldn’t pack up my life in Kirkbymoorside until I was just about to leave. So for the last couple of days it has been a mad rush to pack up my personal possessions for storage – fortunately a friend of mine is moving in, so I can leave most of the contents in situ and only need to move personal possessions into the roof. It has been a struggle – so much to do in so little time, and meanwhile fond farewells to be had with friends and family.
I’ve said jokingly that I should go away more often – the last ten days seems to have been a round of dinner parties with friends keen to have a “Last Supper” with me before I go, and as a result I must have put on half a stone! I’ve enjoyed the nights out in good company, but was glad to have one evening to myself last week – all this socialising is quite exhausting! Last Friday and Saturday I was working at an auction in Barnsley (my old firm) after which we had another farewell supper – sausage rolls and some delicious cakes baked by the girls in the office, all washed down by a glass or two of fizz. Another enjoyable evening but left me a little flat in the knowledge that I’ll not be seeing good friends for over a year. The same thought occurred today as I sat in the sun at Malton railway station waiting for my train, having said yet more farewells. It was a good run down to London followed by supper at the Betjeman Arms, St Pancras, with my cousin and a glass or two before retiring to a small hotel near King’s Cross for the night. I’m conscious that I haven’t seen everybody that I intended before leaving, but hope that those of you I’ve missed out will be forgiving!
At present I’m sitting in the Departure Lounge at Heathrow waiting to board the flight for Casablanca (three and a half hours), then change for a long six hours to Banjul arriving at half past three in the morning. It seems a long flight, but apparently we’re going the pretty way (well a stop at Conakry in Guinea – which I can’t understand because that will be south of Gambia and then have we have to fly North again to Banjul). It’s a bit like the country bus back home, going round all the little villages on the way to York!
So here I go at last, with mixed emotions – excitement at the prospect before us, but also trepidation at stepping out into the unknown, and wondering how I’ll cope with the loss of friends and unfamiliar surroundings. I’m sure it will be a big adventure and as soon as I have set up my communications I’ll keep you posted.