The first time we went to Southwold, we fell in love....our perfect seaside town. We had just got both girls in school, I'd just landed myself a brilliant job, and we had money in our pockets for the first time since starting our family. We could eat at the lovely restaurants, I could shop in the lovely shops....no penny pinching, life felt good. Very good.
We discovered the cafe by the boathouse which served the most delicious cakes, and I just adored the battered, mismatched vintage decor. We sat on the beach, watching the girls in the sea, talking about paying off our mortgage early, then travelling the world we them. Yes, very good.
I knew my little family was complex, I knew we were a bit quirky. I could handle this, I felt I could take on the world......bring it on.
The next year, once again we found ourselves sat on the beach, watching the girls in the sea. This time however, things were very different. Someone had turned my life upside down, sprinkled its contents all over the floor, and I was scrabbling about, desperately trying to make sense of things.
The year had been difficult, my mums behaviour had changed dramatically, we had watched her disappear bit by bit. It had been hard, looking after her as well has holding down a full on stressful job, and caring for the girls.
I had become increasingly tired, unwell, one virus after the other, refusing to take any time off work, refusing to appear weak. Everything however changed in a second, suddenly I couldn't move my body. I felt the change. I knew it was serious. I was forced to take time off work.....my body was making sure of that!
Just a few days before our holiday, I'd been sat with my neurologist who told me I had Multiple Sclerosis. He offered me no hope. No plan. No treatment. I just needed to 'look after' myself. Not everyone who has MS ends up in a wheelchair, so just live your life, don't think about the future too much, try not to worry, the stress will have an adverse affect on the MS.
So that was the holiday where I wanted to walk. I had an overwhelming urge to walk, and walk, and walk. I not sure what I thought was going to happen. Perhaps I thought I would wake up one day and not be able to get out of bed, it can happen that way with MS, after all I had woken up one morning and I'd lost most of my sight. I was very scared.
I now know that things don't usually happen like that, many people have no real mobility issues, some very quickly need to use wheelchairs. Some, like me, progress slowly. I might not get any worse than I am now. But at the time I didn't know this. I wanted to walk, so I did.
My poor family, no sooner had we got back to the cottage I would be dragging them back out again...,let's just walk along the beach again, let's just have a stroll around the town....
Our next trip to Southwold was a couple of years later, we were camping in Norfolk and I decided a day trip to Southwold was in order......I hadn't figured on how long the traffic jams would be! We did however enjoy a lovely few hours, on the beach, on the pier. Sadly the boathouse cafe had been revamped and for me, lost its charm, the cakes I'm told are still delicious.
I was in a much happier place, I'd returned to work part time, and adopted lifestyle and diet changes that gave me hope in managing my MS. Mum was being cared for in a lovely Nursing Home. Things were different, but good.
Last year I visited Southwold with my friend, we were having a girly weekend away. I didn't walk far this time.....but we did enjoy the sun, the sea and a couple of glasses of wine.
This was a sitting and putting the world to right break, not much walking required! It felt strange being there without my family. Wrong somehow...
And this time, well that was perfect. I strolled around, camera in hand, snapping away. There was a little warmth in the sun, the girls really wanted to get in the sea, we had a great time on the pier, and a lovely dinner.
We stayed on the beach until the sun was setting and it got too cold to endure. And I walked, yes much slower, but there were plenty of benches to rest on when needed. We updated our mandatory picture of the girls sat on the cannons. We didn't eat ice cream.
I really need to live by the sea, it does me good........
Amanda :) xxx
Next post I shall review the cottage we stayed in.....if that's ok! ;) xxx