Last night when my head finally hit another plastic covered pillow I couldn’t help but smile. I was cocooned in my sleeping bag staring out the window at a moon that seemingly positioned itself at the top of the church spike where it balanced ever so gently in its spot of glory. I’d secured myself a bed next to the window which is the ultimate gem of a find and I had the great fortune of cold air flowing over my face. At that moment all I could think was that I had hit the jackpot. Here in this little yellow town in the middle of nowhere Spain, I had found the recipe to extreme bliss.
When was the last time you really noticed the vibrant colours around you?
I know for me it’s been a while. This could be due to the general greyness of living in a place like London and the months of endless winter, or on the other hand it could be due to the fact that I simply stopped noticing.
Realistically I think as life goes on and as it fills with complexity, intricacies and routine you inevitably lose the vibrancy of colours around you. It’s never by choice but at one point the bright colours on the tube just don’t seem to look so yellow, blue and green anymore.
Walking into Roncesvalles on day one was magical but tough. We walked down a steep hill with the impressive image of a monastery ahead, my knees were not happy with this decline. I was feeling an overwhelming sense of achievement as I had completed my first day of the Camino yet some things did not go as planned. I did for example not get up at 6am and walk in the dark early morning hours and so this was my main aim for day two.
Day one started in the dark of my rather large private room at around 5am. My goal was to be out the door by 6am for the first steps on my Camino. I imagined myself wizzing up the steepest part of the Pyrenees in the early morning fresh air listening to some loud Led Zeppelin or maybe it was going to be Bob Marley, either way I wanted one of the greats to accompany me. The music would be essential because the day before I walked to the starting point and looked up that hill and let me tell you, I was going to need some intense artistic encouragement to conquer it.
I think there is something magical about the days before a big life event. The mixture of excitement and nerves associated with these times have always had a certain appeal to me. In some ways I am almost more drawn to this slow clock ticking time than the actual event and I have to admit that I have a habit of making it a bit of an occasion in itself.
Life CV…I like using this term when referring to my experiences in life and it is a term I use often. My personal goal is for my own life CV to be filled with experiences that help me discover, grow and sample the variety that is present in life.
Truthfully there are some unwanted items on my life CV, things that even with the backing of good intentions still turned out to be a bad idea. Things that make me wonder, “What was I meant to learn from that one?”
Grief is a fickle thing, it creeps up on you right at the moment when you are convinced you finally bid this old unwelcome visitor farewell. I was never keen on this visitor joining any of my dinner parties, yet there he was, showing up uninvited, sitting at the head of the table spoiling the mood, nurturing miserableness. I expected his arrival initially, of course I would, but never did I expect his perseverance. This bugger had endless energy, night or day, he had something to contribute.
My grandmother was a fantastic storyteller with a particular knack for inventing ghost stories on the spot. Her fantasy creations bought to life worlds where men kept solid gold legs, skulls and other bizarre things under their beds and lived in long forgotten farmhouses in deserted corners of the Kalahari Desert.
Sleepovers at my grandparents’ house always involved me and my brother climbing into their bed, after agreeing the appropriate payment which usually involved making tea, and then listening to these stories that would make the trip back to our own beds a bit of a challenge.
I don’t have a particular belief in the ability of others to foresee the future however this was, on one specific occasion in my life, put into question. It happened on one of my absolute favourite holidays of all time and one I shared with my mother and brother.
It was a holiday idea on a whim. In late 2007 I received a call from my mother and she simply said:
“Laura, we are going to India this December, I’m booking!”
I’d never before heard her mention India, not once.
Random acts of kindness are all around me lately. I seem to be pulling them in and so I would like to thank the woman who paid for my coffee the other morning when the card machine wasn’t working, the man who helped me carry my bags home and all the friends of friends of friends who have followed, liked and shared links to Conversations with Rose.
I love the uplifting power of a smile from a stranger on the train, or any other small gesture of kindness that fill the normality of our lives. One of my absolute favourite stories of stranger kindness happened to a friend of mine.