Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Carry On Planning.




Here I go again, with some measure of luck.

My offspring are so good to and for me.
When I had children in my middle age (or even a bit more, as I was 39 and 42 at the time) people said they would keep me young. I never believed that, and still don't.
What they do is to give me a good shaking out of old age.

There are a few roubles here, and a passport with a Russian visa, but I don't know if they will be heading anywhere with me in a few days time.
Over the years I've done a fair bit of travelling, and I like to be sort-of organised. Now, in fact, I like to be really quite organised.
But my sons, one of them in particular, catch planes with the same sort of nonchalance that I nip down to Morrison's. They are citizens of the world, as are so many young people these days.

Their father made just the one journey by air in his lifetime, and that was to travel to Moscow to see our elder son when he was working there.
I have travelled a lot more, but always in a pre-planned way, usually to work somewhere involving visas and complicated travel  that had taken some time to arrange.

Holidays in my childhood involved such complex issues as sending luggage in advance by rail (and it actually used to arrive, can you imagine?) and booking first sitting in the restaurant car (Brown Windsor soup, a roast with lashings of gravy, apple pie with custard or trifle, also with custard). Packing meant layers of tissue paper and things washed and specially folded weeks in advance. ("No, you can't wear that, it's ready for packing - wear your school uniform instead.")

Holidays for my children meant the caravan in Wales, crab-fishing, messing about in a dinghy, interminable board games and building dens with all the cushions while the rain drummed steadily on the roof.

Whereas this holiday, now..........
In a very few days I may be travelling with my elder son to visit his lovely Russian girlfriend and her family in Southern Russia..
May be, because the decision-making goes down to the last possible minute, in a manner only  made possible by modern technology.
There are problems, of course. Passport and visa problems, of course. Weather problems, also of course. The area we are visiting made a fleeting appearance in the British news a week or so ago. There have been terrible floods and a great loss of life there. Then the news disappears from our sometimes parochial-seeming  British service, and it is difficult to find any sort of up-dated account.
But could there be problems for young international travellers having to cope with ageing  parent anxious about being abandoned in the departure lounge ? 
No, not allowed.


Without my sons I would probably vegetate quietly in the garden, visiting friends and being visited, baking for visitors, feeding the birds, the badgers and the foxes, pottering round a bit, doing my voluntary work and my daily writing and drawing.
As it is now I have bags packed for a quick exit, a twelve hour journey and a few hours time-shift. I also have the freezer packed, the beds made, everything organised for the influx of visitors that will result if this trip is postponed at the very last minute.
The very, very last minute.


I thank my sons for towing me into their fast-moving lives, for including me, for making me believe I can easily keep up with them.
But have they kept me young?
I think they are preventing me from being old, which is not quite the same thing.

16 comments:

gz said...

good for them!

Jane said...

Wondered if you'd already gone? Busy here with visitors (aged 3mnths and 15mnths plus parents so a bit hectic) If it keeps raining like this you might come back to jungle in the garden - have a great time.

Zhoen said...

Both versions sound pretty good to me, pottering and traveling.

PB said...

wishing you safe adventures...

Relatively Retiring said...

gz: yes, i agree!

Jane: the garden is a jungle now, so I dread to think what it will be like when I return.

Zhoen: both versions are good, but the uncertainty becomes a bit uncomfortable.

PB: thank you for visiting and leaving a kind comment.

Annette said...

Bon voyage (maybe)! I had my kids late as well (32 and 34) and I have to agree with you: they do keep me from getting old, although I do not feel young at all.

pohanginapete said...

But have they kept me young?
I think they are preventing me from being old, which is not quite the same thing.


I'm tempted to say, "I don't disagree."

I do like uncertainty. Or possibility. Are they the same thing? In some way they seem to differ — perhaps possibility has a more positive feel than uncertainty?

Relatively Retiring said...

Annette: thank you. It's an interesting distinction, between not getting old and feeling young, isn't it?

Relatively Retiring said...

P.Pete: another interesting distinction, the difference between uncertainty and possibility. It seems to me that possibility is hopeful, and uncertainty is hedged with doubt.
(If I were not likely to be to travelling into floods and then returning through London in the midst of these blankety-blank games I would feel more positive - I think!)

Leslee said...

Well, good for you - being all packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. It does get harder with age, even at middle age. I'm sure your kids are keeping you from aging. I read somewhere that challenging the mind with new things, new perspectives, is really good for the brain's nerve cells, making them make new connections and keeping the brain healthy.

Relatively Retiring said...

Leslee: Well, I'm certainly doing my best - and they don't allow any lack of effort!

Isabelle said...

Have a lovely time... if you go...

Relatively Retiring said...

Isabelle: thank you - the uncertainty continues for a few more hours.

Anne said...

I do hope your trip happens smoothly and without any sudden changes or emergencies. How true it is that travel when we were young seemed so much more complex, and yet so much more comfortable and authentic. On a train you feel the distance and progress toward a destination. Airplanes, besides being dreadfully uncomfortable, seem like black magic.

How fortunate you are in your sons. And I do think old is a state of mind as well as of body.

Relatively Retiring said...

Anne: thank you - but you may see from my recent posting that things did not go smoothly. The floods in the area were so much worse that the reports here indicated, but it was a last-minute paper-work failure which made it impossible for us to go.

Molly said...

Long may they continue to do so! Sorry to hear your exciting-sounding trip is on hold....Hope it happens eventually!