As some of you may know (if you follow me on Twitter) one of my cousins from Canada visited last week, she came to surprise her Nan (my Aunt) who lives next door to us (yeah I get nagged at a lot). It has been nine years since her last visit, she was only fifteen then and spent the summer here, it was a lovely time and we became very close, this time she was here for just ten days and she has a husband and two children!
Anyway back on track, one of the things she really wanted to do while here was visit Hastings, the town where most of our family were born and lived (well technically St Leonards-on-sea but it’s next door). I hadn’t been to Hastings since my panic attacks got really bad, over ten years ago, it’s also a 170 mile journey each way, I haven’t done a trip anywhere near that length since I’ve been up and about again, it was going to really challenge me, but it’s been one of my final goals and Chelsea really wanted to go, so I decided to go for it.
We arranged for her husband to be put on the insurance so he could drive back, driving the whole distance would have been too much for Mum, I arranged for my PA to get me up early and we set off at 10:30 am on Sunday the 16th, I had Brielle my cousin’s seven month old sitting next to me, Chelsea and her three year old Alexis in front along with my Goddaughter.
The trip was good although it took four hours! I felt a little nervous and nauseous at one point on the way but the anxiety didn’t take hold, the children were great, Brielle cried a little but me baby singing to her seemed to help.
We arrived in Hastings at about half two, it was a beautiful sunny day, if a tad cold, we were intending to do lots while there but time was short and some things closed, we still had a good time though, some of our relatives met us on the sea front and we walked from Rock a Nore to Bottle Alley and back again.
I was surprised at how happy they were to see me, and proud too, that’s something I’m not really used to, but it’s a very pleasant feeling, maybe I can make them proud more often?
After the long walk and my hands ending up so cold I could barely drive my chair it was time to head home, we drove up the West Hill first so Chelsea could see where her Nan used to live, then down Kings Road and up Southwater Road, past my old house the only place I’ve felt of as my home, it’s not my home anymore but it was nice to see it was still there.
Then it was back up the A21 and onto the motorway, at this pount Cody took over driving, he’s Canadian, barely driven a stick shift and never been to England before, so his driving was….interesting, he did really well to be fair and didn’t complain at all, we stopped once on the way home and I actually had a Cappuccino while sitting in my chair, I don’t drink while out of bed and it’s extremely rare for me to have a warm drink, another achievement to tick off my list.
We got back just before midnight, I was totally exhausted and aching, but I did it! And I didn’t have a panic attack! I’m pushing my new limits, but I haven’t found them yet, it will be an interesting year I think.
More photos on Flickr