In my past post I mused about where I might go next winter? To the Eastern sun? Fly Westerly?
But I was asked how well I know my own country? Why jet cross the world when Britain (and I include Scotland for now - I hope we don't lose it in September) - is so diverse and interesting?
She's right. This is a wonderful, exciting, and fascinating place. But I don't travel round it in the winter any more than I can help. Cold, wet stations or buses swishing along motorways with a view of misty wet fields don't excite me. Cities can be inviting, but on bad days can still be a battle with the weather. I'm not good at winters in the UK - my knees and I object to the cold and wet, and I hate the long dark days. Which is why I try to head for the sun after Christmas.
I know these winter wanderings can't on for ever. I might have to retire the rucksack some time between now and my ninetieth birthday. When long-distance travel begins to feel like and endurance test, I shall spend more time closer to home.
Having said all that, I know the place reasonably well - though there are gaps. I've never been to the north-east - and have heard it's beautiful. But, one way or another (holidays as a child or with my own children, and then work investigations that could send me anywhere) I've visited most of the rest of it at some time. That's not to say I know it all well, nor that there are places I don't long to revisit.
But I've not written about the UK. When I go walkabout from home (which I do occasionally) I rarely comment on it here. I think of it as escaping rather than travelling. I can sit by the harbour in Dartmouth and listen to the rattle of lanyards on the masts and not wonder how to shape that into a blogpost. I can puff up Pen-y-Fan in the Brecons without a word in my head. I can wander round the colleges in Oxford with nothing but memories of my days there in my head.
For sometimes I go to places and don't write about them. I have time off. And I don't tell you about it!! But maybe, sometimes, I need to think that differently. For there are stories wherever we look, and wherever we are, and next time one stares me in the face, I'll try to remember it and tell you.
By the way, I'm going to Ireland in the autumn. Just so you know.