Tag Archives: “One should never travel without one’s diary”

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

I am at home “under the doctor” after coming down with a chest infection. I blame being coughed on by a small child but it might also just be the inevitable consequence of trying to do everything.

Since I have no energy to ride, I have been doing a little time travel instead. Like @HerLifeStory, I am an enthusiastic diary-keeper. When they’re full, I chuck them in a box, and very rarely open it.

Many people tell me the past should be left in peace. Like dogs, we should kick over the shit and move on. But I think that, maybe, if I could retrace my steps, I could avoid the detour through the woods which ends in the guts of the bad wolf awaiting rescue from the woodcutter. As a good feminist, I believe that I must stand on my own two feet, and then the involvement of a man who is good with a chopper can only be a bonus.

So I look back, to the days when I was taking on the world and having a brilliant time. And some things at least haven’t changed. On New Year’s Day 1987 I was working out how many shifts at £7.70 for 10 hours it would take before I could afford a bike.

“In two years it might get me a second-hand one. And if I get one I’m off. There’s loads I want to see. The Orkneys. Hadrian’s Wall. Bath. Stonehenge. York, London. Cornwall, Glastonbury, Silverstone, Herstmonceux, Nottingham. 
Paris. Venice, Corsica, Greece. The Parthenon. Crete, Ypres, Romania, Red Square, The Steppes, Denmark, Iceland, The Orient Express. 
Houston, NASA, Brazil, Kenya, Egypt, the Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Great Wall of China.
Singapore. Tokyo. The Grand Canyon.
Australia.”

When I did get 700 quid together I bought a car. So there’s one step down the wrong path! But I have my bikes now, and when I look at that (incredibly random) list, I’ve already covered a third of it. Some on a bike, some on the train, some in a Ford Capri and one on a yacht.

Though I’m really not sure why I wanted to go to Kenya, or Singapore. Maybe I need to go and look, then I might remember.

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