Living the Dream

Love Eat Live
30th June 2015


Create unexpected joy in all that you do. Live the life you have imagined. Live with Passion.

These were the words on the cover of a notebook that Hannah my daughter bought me for this trip. a great motto by which to live your life.

Julie and I have always appreciated life and we can honestly sat that we have lived.

After I was diagnosed with cancer in January this year I was glad that we had already lived a life full of joy and passion. If it was going to be the end then I would have already had a wonderful life.

Don’t get me wrong, I was still “raging against the dying of the light”. I still have plenty of life left to live.

Being off work ill and with time on my hands I had plenty of time to work on my bucket list. Focusing on the future, filling my head with dreams to chase, really helped me through the tough times.

So with that in mind we didn't hesitate booking a trip to Matera and Puglia which had long been on my "places to visit before I die" list.

Then, only three weeks ago, I received the news that gave us the greatest joy of all. The results of a PET scan was all clear! So it was with a clean bill of health and a dramatically cranked up excitement we began our most eagerly anticipated holiday ever.

We dropped Sylvester (our dog) in the safe hands of Pauline, his doggy-sitter and hurtled our way down the motorways to Gatwick singing our favourite rock songs at the top of our voices. We were in high spirits!

At the end of the M40 at the Beaconsfield Services we stopped for a late lunch. We checked the traffic news and to our dismay found that the M25 was closed between junctions 8 to 9. We weren't as jovial after that!

We decided to work out an alternative route. We switched on our Tom Tom satellite navigation system and keyed in a few towns avoiding the M25. We took in the delights of Slough, Windsor (which was an actual delightful to see "the castle"), Ascot, Woking and Guildford. We were never on the same road for too long. It seemed that all the major roads led to London and the Sat Nav kept on trying to send us back towards the blocked M25. The only route across the country Eastwards was to travel down a never ending string of country roads. It wasn't at all straightforward. What would have taken us 45 minutes on a clear London ring road took us two and a half hours! To make matters it worse we were melting in the 30C heat of the hottest day of the year in the UK so far!

But arrive we finally did, albeit exhausted and dehydrated.

We were staying at our usual home before a Gatwick flight, the Hilton South Terminal. However a change to our routine was a Meet & Greet service we had booked with a car park provider called Manor Park. There was someone in a high viz jacket and plethora of ID cards, name badges and a clipboard to meet us. He was a nice guy, originally from Kenya. After some small talk we off loaded our luggage and locked our valuables in the glove compartment, then handed the same keys over to him and waved goodbye to our VW Transporter.

“Do you think we’ll ever see it again?” asked Julie.

We had a quick drink at the hotel bar before taking our suitcase over to the North Terminal to drop it off ready for tomorrow morning's flight courtesy of Gatwick's excellent "twilight check-in" service. Then it was back to the South Terminal for something to eat.

We ended up in a restaurant called Giraffe. Their brightly coloured display of "Love Eat Live" enticed us in more than their menu! Having said that the food was really tasty.

I had a Lakhsa and Julie ordered a Tuna Melt which we couldn't fault.

Fed and watered we returned to our room for an early night, although by the time we settled down to sleep it was 11pm. The alarm was set to wake us up in only four hours time!

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