I had a lie in this morning, something I very rarely do, dreaming about camping and women – unsure which I miss most, it being about 9 months since my last relationship fizzled, and a couple of years since I was able to head for the hills.
Am I, by the way, the only person with ME who finds it hard to get a relationship off the ground, or even meet suitable people? “Normal” people are active in the evenings while I’m at my peak (and I use that work extremely loosely), in the late morning-early afternoon (no, I’m not ruling out other people with disabilities – I just don’t meet any).
Anyway, I digress – back to the script. I don’t like Christmas – I don’t dislike it, it just doesn’t do anything for me. It’s a time for families and/or children, as available, and I have neither. Also, as an atheist, the religious component is lost on me (as, indeed, it is on many Christians, in this season of conspicuous consumption!). It’s also the time of year when my local pub is usurped by people who hardly ever darken its doorstep for the rest of the year, except for New Year’s Eve, so the regulars are marginalised. Nevertheless, there’s a restless feeling that I should do something and, this morning, I had a flash of inspiration.
Next year – it’s way too late for this year – I’ll save up for a couple of nights B&B in a favourite location during the run-up to Christmas, probably somewhere in the Peak District, spend a convivial evening evening in a local pub (roaring fire essential, smelly old dog mooching crisps optional), and tuck in to a really good dinner. If, by next year, there’s a person of the female persuasion to share it with, it’d be very nice, if not, sod it, I’ll go on my own!
This may, of course, require some research, after all, I don’t want to pitch up somewhere with poor beer – that would never do. Mind you, if I waive the roaring fire requirement, the Ladybower Inn, at Bamford, in the Peak District has excellent beer and food – plus accommodation. Sounds good to me.
It’ll have to be in November (as the run-up to Christmas starts in early September, this counts!), I suppose as, in many pubs in December, festive lunches must be pre-booked (if you just drop in for a normal lunch, you face a hell of a wait), and I don’t know whether that extends to dinners too. Booking, of course, due to the exigencies of ME, is just not possible, but in November, getting a room at very short notice, especially midweek, shouldn’t be too difficult.
The main reason, by the way, that I won’t actually be doing this over Christmas, is one of cost. A decent pub dinner or lunch can be had for under £20 (a lot under, in many cases), and B&B for about £40 per person per night in November – over the two days of Christmas you can double or triple that (Christmas Day lunch in my local, for example, where if it’s not deep fried, it’s microwaved, will be £44!!), plus the fact that every hostelry in the land will be packed to the rafters with people I’d normally cross the road to avoid. So, November it is.
Mind you, back in the mid nineties I decided on a camping trip at Christmas, to Ashford-in-the-Water, in the Peak District. This was something I’d tried 15 years earlier, to the Cotswolds, with great success – but I didn’t have ME then.
After the stress of the horrendous Christmas Eve train journey, followed by putting up my tent in a downpour that would have shamed a monsoon, I collapsed into my very damp sleeping bag completely wiped out, to wake next morning to a raging blizzard and and tent in which everything that had been damp had frozen solid!
I thought Sod it! and decamped to the local hotel, where I ended up staying for three weeks until I felt well enough to go home, and very enjoyable it was, even if it did do severe damage to my credit card. I did get my first – and, so far, only – white Christmas, though, which made it all worthwhile.
Back to the present, and one difficulty, when going away for a few days, is the problem of stairs – stairs and I don’t get on, so I try to avoid them, and this may rule out the Ladybower. However, not far away is the village of Castleton, which is amply supplied with good pubs with fires/dogs/good beer and food and, if memory serves, a pretty decent B&B which caters for disabled customers with a downstairs bedroom. That’s probably better. It involves a little more walking, which could be difficult, but that may be preferable to stairs – it needs thinking about.
Come November next year, watch this space…