Apparently, holidaying is very stressful. Most of us realise that the last few days before shooting off on our well deserved break is a mad scramble. I had written about that a few months ago.
But this time I had the added bonus of a minor breakdown, unscheduled networking, defeating a phobia, a speedy handover and a brutal murder. No, I am not just beating dramatic. The the three days before leaving for my hometown in the Czech Republic (visiting relatives alone is a cardio workout) everything happened.
First I realised that my already busy husband (no, not the farming, but the play rehearsals) had to master the logistics of lamb feeding. They are still on three bottles a day at least and are becoming very hungry and demanding. Neighbours and relatives popped in to offer their help while I was ‘gallivanting’. Strangely, they don’t rate my husband capable enough to manage on his own. Well, what can I say to that?
Then two days before leaving I suddenly couldn’t find my beautiful chestnut brown cockerel and the brown hen. I called and I shook the box with corn until even the crows and magpies sat on the fence waiting to be fed. However I only managed to attract two very scared hens (Grey and White). I walked into the field where my chickens had been enjoying almost a year of completely free range. No clucking anywhere. And then. And then.
A big brown fox was sitting half way down the row of blackcurrant bushes, eating my cockerel. I never found the hen…
‘I can’t possibly leave my hens in this state and go away just for a school reunion,’ I thought. ‘I must get another cockerel,’ I said. They poor creatures were huddled together by the gate, waiting for their leader to show them where and what to eat. I even had to put them to bed that night because they were quite lost. Not a great example of feminism really.
As luck would have it, all the poultry farms I knew about were only opened at the weekends. And I was leaving on Thursday. Mission seemed impossible. And then I mentioned my problem to a lady in a garden centre, who phoned her friend in a nearby village. Who had a small bantam cockerel who needed home. And he was GIVEN to me. I introduced him to his new ladies and he immediately took the shocked hens under his white speckled wing. I could relax.
Except I couldn’t. All this was happening while in the back of my mind I was panicking. For the first time I would have to drive myself to the airport (I never drive on motorways due to a pathetic but entirely encompassing fear of – well, driving on motorways) and what more, later I would spend an hour travelling around night Prague to meet up with a friend.
Living in the country really makes one into a nervous city visitor. I very slightly broke down at lunchtime and my husband offered to come with me if I drove. The £60 pre-paid parking would be a collateral. I had a good old cry. I had a pep talk from a friend. I tried to ‘snap out of it’. And then it was over. I said, ‘This is stupid. I will go on my own. But I can’t sit here and wait and think. I have to go now.’ I jumped into the car and went. And guess what? I survived the motorway and even the night city. And it wasn’t too bad either.
I felt great and even the idea of staying four days in what our celebrated president Václav Havel once called ‘rabbit hatches’ couldn’t dampen my spirit. After all, the town is my hometown..
I urge you to pick a fear and work on getting rid of it. Let me know how it went!
But must dash now. I have a school reunion in an hour.
PS: and while still gallivanting, I missed Fred the Dog’s third birthday…