If? What would Kipling write now?

13 Dec 2018

Some time ago I was flattered, by Lex, I think, saying that I epitomised the 'If' in Kipling's poem.

In the 9 weeks since my husband's death I have written, to me, the 'stages' of grief. The last was 'I know where I'm going' illustrated by a long, straight, French road. Now, the Hindu god epitomises my current state. It looks as though I may be out of my 'cage' that of being a carer, and rooted to the spot from lack of money.

Now, my caring responsibilities are over, and it looks as though the unsold house, source of many of my problems, is finished with. So, why do I feel like a caged bird, who, although the door is open, is scared of getting out?

Age, naturally, is against many flights of fancy – Club Med off the coast of Malaya being dream world. But I find my mind has stopped exploring possibilities – and now, in retrospect, I wonder (not worry) that I may have presented a closed mind to the mass of advice I have received in the last 5 years.

No TV, lovely music and some good St Emilion wine have generated analysis of the advice, and a questioning if ANY of it was practical. It was not. To the adviser, it was SO simple. There was a large, historic house, in good order, lovely garden, famous tourist area, let it, long let or week-ends. Selling it was the urgent need, a long let would have caused legal problems, and hassle, besides; I'd nicked most of the furniture for the new house. Also – as I am sure many have found to their cost, a house which may seem a luxury family abode becomes a slum when you try to let it (or sell it on a market in the doldrums). It is quite likely you have to spend to bring it up to 'letting' standards. By the time you have paid taxes, income, local, and possibly VAT, plus the percentage demanded by Booking.com, Airb&b etc you are out of pocket.

Most of my life I have had to get up early: large family, farming, lots of animals, sick husband – no way do I want to get up and provide breakfast for PG's. And I CANNOT change big duvets, I'd have to pay somebody, who would have to be reliable, to do it. Anyway, door shut on that lot.

Travel ideas open – had some super trips with the Ramblers' association and the local diocese. But I have to get to point of departure. Stalemate. However, there is a system here 'blah-blah' cars. If I can be driven to the Gare du Nord I can get to Geneva, and thence to the Alps. So, as is necessary in modern parlance, to 'think outside the box' I am beginning to feel that getting out of the cage may not be so scary after all!

The Gardener

A Moodscope member.

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