'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a'flying.
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying' Robert Herrick
An old friend came to see me yesterday.Although we live only six or so miles apart, I can no longer go to her (can no longer walk or drive) and she is in many ways more handicapped physically than I but can still drive.
So after a gap of three years or so she rang and came to see me yesterday. Although a little younger than me (early eighties) her health - which has been poor since early middle age when she had to retire - is far worse than mine. We both have carers and we both 'soldier on'.
We are both well-travelled -she adores Shetland and has been every year for I believe fifty years or so - finally having to stop because her health would not allow her the long journey. But she has many friends there and is in touch with them regularly. The same goes for South Africa and Namibia where she has travelled extensively and has friends who are in regular contact and also The Netherlands.
We are both great believers in travel and have spent any spare money on it.
Now of course we are past it so what have we got to show for it? a) a much wider knowlege of the world. We can look at our photographs. At the weekend I got out the Atlas and sat with my Grandson and together with our fingers we explored where he had been and where I had been.|Now I can get out my Atlas any day I wish and look up! b). wide circle of friends of many nationalities - we learn their customs, bits of their language (ni hao, Hallo, Zdravstvuyte - Chinese, Dutch and Russian for hello). And most of all we see the world - the people, the places, the customs - we gain a wider knowledge of the world and what goes on in it. There is no better thing than ending up like this - although the information we gain and the understanding die with us.
Now in my case I can add to this the fact that I blog with all of you. I can 'walk' round the countryside with John and his brother (by Stargoose and Hanglands), visit Trelawnyd with John and 'meet' some of the village characters, (Going Gently), look at the countryside in Germany or USA and various other countries thanks to you all). And even meet people I blog with or welcome them to my home when they travel near. Some years ago the farmer and I met Elizabeth when we went to New York and she took us out for coffee in Manhattan. My whole world has opened up with all the travel I have done (both physically and virtually).
Listening to my friend yesterday talking about friends she has made while travelling in South Africa, looking at photographs they have sent her of their family as they grow up. And listening to her talk of the wild life she has seen and made contact with (she has stroked a cheetah)'.
Now all that is left is memories, photographs and chats with friends (not talking to and boring our friends with the details) -and same applies to you dear readers. I have gone on long enough so will leave you with just a couple of memories that I treasure and think of often:
Flying over the 'bottom' of Iceland on our way to US and seeing a glacier as it met the sea; and standing on the Athabasca glacier drinking a whisky as our coach waited for us. Timeless memories especially now that my dear farmer has gone and all his memories with him.