It’s not from a desire to deny all that is happening or to be adopting a head in the sands approach, for we deliberated a fair amount before going ahead with this trip away. Having booked it at the start of the year, to celebrate a special anniversary, we were indeed torn and in somewhat of a quandary about the wisdom of proceeding. August this year will mark 30 years of marriage for us and this break was partly in recognition of that fact and partly planned for the two of us to grab some time together ‘far from the maddening crowd’ to quote Thomas Hardy - a most eloquent expression of how it feels right now.
To focus on each other and the inner calm that is blossoming as we settle into our temporary surroundings, is just what is needed for both of us. I have actively put my phone to one side in an attempt to disengage from the world, albeit for just a few short days. I have not had the space to focus like this for a while and I think this ‘centering’ process can only ultimately be positive. There’s jazz playing now - we have moved to the lounge bar. There’s an abundance of plush armchairs and soft lighting. I have closed my eyes to allow it all to be absorbed - the ambience of a touch of decadence. Oh how I wish I could bottle it and take a sip in times of stress and worry. Right now, that feels like a much more attractive proposition than the failed quest for hand sanitiser.
The world seems a particularly scary place and yet, simultaneously, this insidious threat has highlighted how interconnected we actually are. Sure, we can focus on the statistics and the selfishness of those who seem to have adopted a’first come, first served’ attitude, but fear is obviously the driving force behind it all. A fear of what might happen next, who may fall ill and of loosing control of all that was previously taken for granted in our lives. Our routines, our work and home life, our social activities. I can not control any of that and so I guess, a few days attempting not to confront it, makes little difference in the grand scheme of things. Instead, I am writing and imagining characters, plots and scenarios.
The hotel has a long and varied history and is surrounded by vast parklands. Scattered throughout the building are little nods to its history: artefacts, pictures, fixtures and fittings to conjure up the past. A costume drama or murder mystery would not be out of place here. I find myself wondering how the plot would play out, if I began to write one.
When pen is put to paper, it often has no clear objective or ending in sight and I trust that the flow of words will fulfill both. Sadly our time within this bubble will soon end but it will have achieved a few objectives - those of relaxation, celebration and appreciation. As a bonus offshoot, it has given me a chance to channel energy into writing and to regain some perspective as to where else that may take me. Whatever else may be ahead for us all is too scary and too vast to dwell upon, so perhaps for me, it is best to write. We can all only take one day at a time at the moment and I’ll just write my story one page at a time.