I am still clearing out 'rubbish' - old jig-saws we will never do again, old books etc. It is such a good feeling when yet another space has been cleared and the carpet sees the light of day for the first time in a year or two.
In the days before digital photography I always kept a diary to go along with the countless photographs I took. As soon as we returned home I would dash to the chemist to get the films developed and then, while it was still fresh in my mind, I would mount the best snaps into albums, type up the diary and store them away.
I have enjoyed several holidays over the last few days - most enjoyable has to be the journey up the coast of Norway round to the Russian border at Kirkenes on the Hurtigruten Kong Harald Ferry.
I don't mean I have been; I mean I have sat down with a coffee and read the diary and looked at the photographs. So many of the incidents I had forgotten and so many memories have been revived (without a horrible bout of seasickness which overtook me on the three hours of open sea out to the Lofoten Islands in a Force 8 Gale). In that respect I enjoyed reading about it rather than experiencing it!
When I think of the queuing at the airports these days, all the hullabaloo of getting through to the Departure Gate, the rotten food on the flight, my lack of mobility and the packing, unpacking and washing afterwards, I am beginning to agree that it is maybe better to travel hopefully than it is to arrive.
Maybe this is because the only two places I still wish I had been to and obviously will now never go, are Alaska and India.
I first went abroad in 1953 staying in the Hotel St. Petersburg in the Rue Ceaumartin. It is ingrained on my memory because I was only 21 and every experience was so new. During my clearing out session today I came across this photograph of me, sitting in a cafe in Montmartre - with the waiter standing by my side. Ah - those were the days. It's a tatty old photograph, but you get the idea and maybe pick up a bit of my excitement at the adventure (when I could walk quickly - or even run if I so wished).