What a year it’s been! I’ve been trying to settle into a new life on my own. Thought it would be easy, as I’m a loner by nature, but I was in for a shock.
In an effort to take my eyes off the past, I’d decided to set an objective. I would try and rise one step higher on the British Dressage judges list. I survived the initial one-to-one assessment and was considered a suitable candidate to embark on the prolonged journey of tests.
Next came the mock exam. There was a series of videos to assess – very different from previous experience. I thought I’d got the hang of it, so registered for two technical tests early in January. The first – a multiple choice paper on rules – was easy. But the second….. it wasn’t like me, I was stressed, I couldn’t see properly, I blinked an eye and missed vital clues flashing across the video clips.
Back in Nairobi I treated myself to a bird walk at the racecourse with Fleur Ngweno. We had a hilarious trip to the Nairobi Game Park, when the roof of Dennis’s new car wouldn’t close in the middle of a thunderstorm. He popped an umbrella over us, which proved quite effective, but we didn’t see many animals. My final days were spent in a special place, Maanzoni, where we laid Roy’s ashes to rest under a thorn bush. Over them, Anthea had commissioned the map of Kenya in heavy slate, inscribed with the words: “Dad, this is your holiday camp…”
Back to earth in Eastbourne. Rounds of bridge, walks, dressage judging, and going through the agonies of editing my new book – Going It Alone – a handbook for those who want to start their own business; Mentoring new business start-ups at People Matter, my local charity, where I’m also Trustee; as well as marking IGCSE exam papers twice a year, a necessary top up to my income.
I started playing tennis again! My sciatica suddenly disappeared when on the suggestion of a physio, I stopped doing my early morning exercises. Amazing. I now rejoice in twice-weekly games with other geriatrics on the astra-turf of my local club. Just two sets, with a rest in between. Whenever the Masters tennis is on the telly, all else is abandoned.
And now I’m preparing for another treat – three months in Australia basking in the bosom of my family, spread from west to east. And we’re taking a trip to Tasmania as well.
I must say, it will be nice to get away from all mention of Brexit, as well as the British winter.