A country drive…

A country drive…

Hi there.
Thanks for making the time to pop in.
Mindful Wednesday today….
Let me tell you about my day yesterday, 
because it is quite pertinent.
In fact, let me tell you the day’s story.
I shall pretend I was an observer, just watching, if that’s ok.
She showered and put on her best dress.
Dark one, quite sombre. Fitting for the occasion.
She hunted around for Sally SatNav to help her,
 because she had made a decision:
to take the scenic route alone, 
and enjoy the trip to Barham, outside Canterbury.

It was a one and a half hour trip according to Sally.
So she gave herself two and a half hours.
She had made a decision to enjoy the journey, 
not flap if she missed a turning.

A friend had called her the evening before,
 and invited her to ride with the others.
“Thanks, but I’ll make my own way.”

So she settled in behind the wheel of her little car, 
and programmed the SatNav to take her to Barham.

The machine wanted to take her there via 
the M2, the M20, the M25 
– all the M’s!
But she wanted to take the A roads and the B roads. 
She was adamant. 
Once she had finally convinced Sally SatNav that she didn’t want to go via Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone, and that the country lane through Frant was precisely where she needed to direct her journey,
the rest of the drive was delightful.

As soon as she trusted that Sally knew the route, and more importantly, knew to stay away from the motorways, 
she settled into driving mode and simply listened for instructions.

No music, no radio. Just her SatNav Co-Pilot helping her whenever there was a junction.

It was lovely. 

She was able to think about dear Ingrid, 
the woman she was going to say goodbye to.

 The little villages she passed through were picture postcard perfect. Goudhurst, Sissinghurst, Biddenden.
Quaint tea-rooms, beamed and beautifully old.
Dog-walkers ambling along the country paths. 
An old man trimming his garden hedge.
A young mother pushing a pram
 and a toddler holding his dad’s hand tightly.
She pretended Ingrid was with her, pointing things out to her. 
This made her focus even more on the details, 
the hollyhocks and the flowerbeds.

The sun was peeping through the tree tunnels 
and the shadows danced on her hands, which were planted quite comfortably on the steering wheel. 
Missed a junction or two, nearly took the Hastings road,
went a little off piste, but her trusted navigator co-pilot 
re-connected with the destination without any fuss whatsoever. 

She arrived in good time at the Crematorium, 
parked up and sat alone in the car for a few minutes.
This was a sad not sad kind of occasion;
sad she was gone, but glad to have known her.
She wanted to let her old English teacher know just how much she had loved and admired her always.
Quite simply that.
And by the time she got to where the others were gathering 
in front of the chapel, she already had.  
Yesterday’s car drive was one of the most calming, pleasant ever.
It was about just handing over the directions to my electronic 
Co-pilot and trusting it would land me where I needed to get to.
It was like going on a Treasure Hunt, just following instructions;
left, right, second exit, right again, first exit.
And because I had no idea where I was,
 I just had to have faith.
I liked the solitude too; it was like being in a noiseless bubble,
poodling through Sussex and Kent.
Just going with the flow, 
instead of trying to contradict or control.
It was the perfect exercise in letting go. 

Irony of ironies, 
Ingrid picked this last song for her funeral farewell,
The Fool on the Hill

I’ve been singing it all day today.

I spent a very pleasant afternoon with Ingrid’s friends and family,
made all the lovelier by being able to catch up with my old art teacher, Jenny.  
My old school friends, who also attended, flew up the motorway and got there in a fraction of the time, bang on time. 
Thanks for reading.
Love and hugs,

73 thoughts on “A country drive…

  1. Well done, Barbara. I bet your lovely teacher appreciated you going to her send off. And clearly your journey was much better for not being on the mad motorways. God bless Ingrid.

  2. We all have to have faith in something….otherwise what's the point? I call my satnav Sally too, and I apologise to her if I take a wrong turn, but she's very forgiving and non-judgemental, just what you need these days!

    PS who won the French card?

  3. Sorry to hear your friend has passed away Barbara, I think you made the right choice for your travels, I love the way you recount your day to us, sending a hug your way xxx

  4. Hi Barb,
    It was good of you to go all that way on your own ( apart from Sally of course) and I'm sure Ingrid would be looking down on you and smiling, knowing that she had made such a lasting impression on one of her lovely students. Rest In Peace Ingrid. Love Alison xxx

  5. Beautifully written and the right route chosen Barbara. Choosing that you wouldn't get stressed getting there and taking time to notice everything really makes you see life in a different way. Take care x

  6. Sorry you had to say goodbye to a valued friend Barbara , but glad that your day was filled with a calm and beauty as you said farewell.
    It really is all about the journey and living in the moment …each one a gift.
    Thank you for sharing , God Bless,

  7. Such a pleasant read today almost felt like I was with you going through the little villages. People live life at such a fast pace these days . Not much scenery on the motorways ! Driving so fast as well! Maybe we should all take a leaf out of your book and get back to seeing the beautiful country side x

  8. I know just what you were experiencing on that drive. I have started doing something similar, setting off across country, avoiding motorways and choosing the quieter, more beautiful routes. That is almost what I was doing on the Monday morning of the July Retreat week. I set off from Tunbridge Wells and took any road I fancied the look of, trusting to my Jane to get me back when I wanted. I have done it in Wiltshire as well, with no idea of where I was going or what I would find, but actually seeing some really beautiful places not really on the tourist map. Then, if I find somewhere I like, I just stop and watch the world go by, birds, animals, beautiful wild flowers, clouds in the sky. I have found a glorious viewpoint in Wiltshire with a fabulous view and such a calm peaceful atmosphere. I would never have found that without having faith in Jane to get me home again later. It is good to feel that I do not have to rush at 70 with everyone else, but can find the time to breathe and relax a bit. I used to go to Maria in Shrewsbury along the manic M5/M6, arriving stressed and tired. The last time, I went across country and felt so much better for it. We all try to fit too much in, and need to just slow down a bit and calm our minds, a much better way to think of your lovely teacher. Love to both you and Dave. xxx Maggie

    1. We have only recently used a sat nav and I did wonder on our return journey from retreat whether we could programme it to just take quieter roads. I gather from your story and Barbara's that we probably can, will have to try that out. xx

  9. Thank you for sharing your journey with us Barbara I almost felt I was with you as it was described so beautifully. It was a lovely way to say goodbye to your good friend. That is an interesting choice for a last song. She must have been a very special lady. Take care. Hugs Jackie

  10. What an amazing read today and a perfect example of mindfulness and putting your trust in something or someone else! I am not so good at that being the vehemently independent being that I am. I have arguments with Sally Satnav sometimes, maybe I should give her another chance! A beautiful day to be mindful and say fond farewells too. Have a lovely evening back home!. Love Vanessa

  11. A lovely blog Barbara, I'm sure Ingrid appreciated you being there. What a lovely way to drive too, having time to observe the minutiae of daily life that a motorway journey would never offer you. You arrive calm and stress free, in the right mind to celebrate the life of a special person, as well as meet up with others who have influenced you. Hugs xx

  12. I had an unintentional similar situation a couple of weeks ago travelling down to Somerset on holiday. We set out on the "M" route, but there were lots of bad crashes and "severe delays" so we struck out across country. I had no idea where we were going, hubby was in the back with the baby and phone, directing me. We had virtually no traffic, so nice calm driving, with lots of green and little villages, and I really enjoyed it. Although the trip took 5 1/2 hours in all, instead of the 3 hours it "should" have, I arrived feeling great, refreshed, and like we were already on holiday.

    A beautiful way to send off your old teacher and friend.

  13. Hello Barbara, mindful Wednesday, very much in the moment with you. Thank you for sharing your journey, I feel quite calm now about events which are in the process of coming to a sad conclusion but I know that I too will take the scenic route to be able to gather my thoughts and say my farewells in peace. Thinking of you and your friend. Hugs x

  14. Brave to go on your own, brave to trust the sat nav. Sometimes you just have to put your faith in something and trust the outcome will turn out for the best. It sounds like you all gave Ingrid a lovely send off, which at the end of day is all anyone can hope for. Xx

  15. Hi Barbara, thank you for a very moving, very visual account of your private and sad day yesterday. I could almost picture and feel your journey as if I were sitting next to you. I do seem to be in a pretty noiseless solitude bubble these days too, when not totally off the scale stressed /distressed, seems with nothing in between. But my bubble doesn't keep me in the now, doesn't let me see or feel what's going on around, unfortunately. I'm trying hard to focus on things like my garden, the blackbirds singing etc. when I realise I'm not here. So I am working at it, even if I don't seem to be getting anywhere. Trust /faith in someone /something else, never a strong point or any other level of point of mine! And it seems every time I dip my toe in that pool I live to regret it greatly as I'm always discovering at some point along the way that I was foolish to trust /have faith! I'm glad you managed to have the day the way you wanted it to be, good for your soul as well as saying goodbye to your English teacher in your way. Sounds like you've got lots of Mindfulness photos of your day too. Hope it helped you to calm down a bit and have a total break from the pressures on you just now.

    I said I'd let you know how it went with the new guy being introduced today. Didn't happen, some huge mix up with times, that even Nicola can't understand and needs to question him more. She was more concerned about me, coming to give me my garden visit and the effect it would have on me, especially with everything else that has been going on with workers over the past couple of years and some huge not good revelations about my service and how I am being treated, inadvertently discovered some things and inadvertently given some proof of another very serious one, in only the past few weeks. So Nicola was worried about what this one today would do on top of that. I don't think my head has got the reality of it yet, my reaction was to kind of laugh, I mean what does /is going right for me – nothing, so why should I expect anything else! The positive side of it all I got Nicola for a garden visit, no stress, no pressure, and a smile on my face for once, once we were out there having normal chat (something I never get other than on here) and ticking off a few jobs, and Nicola admiring my gardens. The sun even came out to say hi, it was meant to be really cloudy today. I didn't have cream on so I had to keep covered up in my jumper and a hat on to protect me from it, but it was nice to feel it, even though I did stew a bit with all those clothes on! And I'm sure my body is grateful for the vitamin D!!!! Nicola is away to find out what happened and try to work out two garden visits for me next week, one with her and the new guy and then my normal one with the worker and the new one later. that's why the pressure was off me today, knowing I'm getting out twice next week, so I could focus on paying attention to and enjoying the time I had with Nicola. Watch out for next week's instalment!!!!!

    Hope you're doing ok Barbara, and that Dave is making improvement, love and big hugs Brenda xx

    Dot, I'm getting really worried that something is wrong for you my friend, thinking about you often big hugs, love Brenda xx

    1. How annoying for Brenda. To get yourself all prepared for a visit and for it not too happen is so sad. At least you got a visit with Nicola and some time outside soaking up the sun. Xx

    2. Och it's fine Donna, I'm not feeling anything about it, not yet anyway. Nicola's been telling me she thinks I'm coping incredibly well considering the magnitude of what I've discovered recently but like this today, it's much more that my head has just shut off from it most of the time, won't go there, even when I need it to! Guess that's one way of coping with it all!!! Not the best way though, not the way that's going to try make any sense of it, or think of any options of what I do, and no one else is, already tried those options! Just had a proper look at the photos I took when I went to the local Country park last month, and a few I took from the craft room window, got some good ones 🙂 (they must be if I think they are!!!!). I was worried I'd lose whatever gift it is I've got with not having the opportunity to take any these days. What have you been up to /got planned? I might have a wee go with something parchment in a bit, I feel I need some Mindfulness, and I want to try draw my own heart thing I drew recently onto the parchment, see what I can up with. Definitely in need of some Mindfulness now, a load of fireworks have just gone off with no warning across the road, and my windows are open, while I was paying attention to the nice silence outside,so you can imaging the fright I got!!! xx

    3. Oh Brenda what a disappointing day for you loose yourself in your groovi mindfulness Wednesday and know you have friends on this blog who care big hugs xxx

    4. Brenda what a shame the new worker didn't turn up but how lovely you got to spend time with Nicola and got some sunshine too – what a bonus! It does annoy me people letting fireworks off any time of the year, sometimes quite late at night. Do you think you will see any of the shooting stars tonight from where you are? They have been talking about it on the weather forecast this week but it's been too cloudy ( and too much light pollution!) down here. Enjoy playing with your parchment tomorrow , I'm looking forward to hearing what you get up to. Big hugs xxx

    5. Thank you Sheila for your lovely words:-) xx

      I've been trying to see the meteor shower as we've got clear skies and the back of my cottage faces north. Been sitting in the dark at the open kitchen window but unfortunately seeing nothing :-(. I think it's because the council put up new street lights 2 weeks ago, they're white light and LED I think. I've got one right outside my living room window and right outside my bedroom window. It was a bonus because I'm scared of the dark, but with the old yellow ones I could lie in bed and watch the stars, now with these white ones I can't see any stars or anything at any point 🙁 The hard frustrating thing is, if I had anyone, just one person, I could have gone to the farm literally at the top of my street, a few minutes walk and watched the meteors in the proper dark and got some photos. I once saw the night time sky in the proper dark, it was on a night time walk up in the hills with the school. Most of those walks happened when away with the school in summer, June and the skies don't get proper dark. But one was later in the year and wow, huge numbers of stars in the sky, you don't realise just how many there are, and I saw one shooting star far away then too. So I can't see any because of the street lights tonight, but I did get to see one once :-). Some people don't get to see even that.

      Maybe the fireworks were some parents celebrating only one week to go until they can send their kids back to school!!! 😉
      Thank you Diane xx

      I'm going back for one more look, maybe there'll be one bright enough for me to see

    6. Funny, I've just come in after sitting in my garden watching for them too! Cloud cover here though with moments of clear sky. I saw one bright streak across the sky so made my wish and accepted that my chances were over. If only I was there with you we could have gone up to the farm together and got some great pics! Xx

    7. I give up too, getting too sore a neck trying to hang upside down out my kitchen window to look at a darker bit of sky where I can see a few stars. Nay meteors at all :-(. But I did get another thought for Nicola. She's getting married next year. I had wanted to offer if she'd like me to make her wedding stationery but I didn't want to impose and thought she'd ask if she wanted me to. Turns out she didn't want to ask in case it put more pressure on me. One of them situations!!! But a couple of months ago she mentioned she'd been to wedding fayres to look for stationery and only saw one she liked but it was expensive and outwith her budget. So I took that opportunity to ask if I could help her out. We're not allowed to give gifts to staff, but I get round it by making things, a bit of card and ink or fabric and thread only costs a few pennies doesn't it, it's the time, effort and thought I put into it that is the real gift. So I had thought of offering if she pays for the materials (then it's not a gift) I'll make them for free and my time and effort would be her gift. She was happy with that, went off to talk to her mum, but by the time she did her mum had just gone and ordered the expensive ones for her. How lovely is that eh. So she asked me if I'd make her thank you cards for her, which I'll happily do, as long a I can get them how she wants. Anyway she was saying today she's got some ideas she was going to send me to look at, and that reminded me to say to her about her favours, if she needs wee boxes or organza bags or whatever I'm sure the materials to make them will work a lot cheaper than buying the actual thing and I could make them for her for free. So while watching for meteors I've thought of another idea for her 🙂 I already sent her lots of random general possibilities to help her think and see that she doesn't need to be conventional, she can literally have anything she wants, if I'm able to do it. I don't know what wedding stuff is supposed to look like anyway. So I'm waiting to see what ideas she's come up with so I can start thinking about what I can offer her, what's available etc. I just hope I can come up with something good enough. I have told her that if I can't do what she wants I'll tell her and if she doesn't like what I come up with I won't be offended, I don't want her feeling she has to go along with something that's not what she wants. That's a big deal to me that someone wants me to make something as important as this for them, a big privilege, isn't it :-).

      I don't know if you'd still be saying that if you were here, it's a long hill to push my wheelchair up to get to the farm!!!! But then you could chicken out and drive us there instead!!! xx

    8. Wedding stationary is a huge compliment I'm sure you will come up with something together that will look great. Hmmmmm it may be a long push up but think of the fun ride back down! Weeeeeeeeee 😉

  16. Hi Barbara and thank you for a very pleasant and stress free journey, I really enjoyed all that you could see and I felt as if I was your passenger.
    It must have been a pleasant change of pace for your after the last few weeks! I'm sorry that it wasn't for a happier journey you were taken but so so good of you to take the time out (what with the worry of Dave) of your hectic life to go and say good buy to ingrid, I'm sure her family appreciated it.
    How did it go on Monday with Dave? Love and hugs for you both Xx

  17. Thank you for sharing your day with us Barbara! It's a very fitting tribute to Ingrid. saying goodbye to our friends is never an easy thing to do but staying calm and having a meaningful journey all helps to ease the pain and upset!
    Love and hugs to you as always! Xxx

  18. A lovely story, it reminded me of my dear Aunt's funeral, and the final song she chose: Sunshine On my Shoulder, by John Denver, a beautiful sentiment to leave to her friends.

  19. Thank you Barbara for mindfulness Wednesday your blog today felt like I was on your journey wonderful that you make the time to say goodbye to your dear teacher .hope Dave is feeling brighter each day and gets to know what is wrong soon thinking of you both xxx

  20. What a lovely journey you took us on and so pleased that you made the effort and had a sad/not sad day. You certainly have a creative spirit with art and words.
    I must also add that you are a wonderful captain of your Clarity ship. I telephoned for help today over and order and spoke to a very helpful, and pleasant gentleman – Stephen. Thank you for all you do and please pass on my message to your ship mates.
    Love and best wishes
    Anne (Reading)

  21. I'm glad you had a good journey with Sally sat nav. I rarely go outside the ringroad here! I have driven home from Cornwall a couple of times though and feel I'd be able to get there and back without hubby sat by my side! Good to meet up with old friends and a teacher – she must be proud of you!

    We went to the pictures this afternoon, first time in at least 32 years (since we've been married)! xx

  22. Hi Barbara
    Thank you for sharing today. It is sad to say goodbye to a dear friend, but lovely to see other friends and share memories of the person with those who new them best.I am so pleased that Sally sat av cooperated with you. Our outdated one only knows how to get places on motorways. Have tried to alter settings to avoid the M's if possible but no luck.
    X Chris

  23. Don't know if you will read this . But your story and the song were very inspiring . I received my goodies that I ordered today and also the August stamp and letter . It takes awhile to get to the USA . I'm going to have fun . Hope they are checking out Daves cervical vertebrae because that could be the cause . of headaches ., a chiropractor or DO or physical,therapist might be able to help . Hope he is healing .,love and peace .

  24. A peaceful way to reflect and remember and very fitting for Mindful Wednesday. We get caught up in the process, the getting there as quickly as possible and not giving ourselves the space to think on a bit. Had a distressing week at work, one of our families (we have two mum and sons working for us) are facing a long and painful time after the other son was involved in a tragic accident and is now in hospital fighting for his life. Another member of staff is in complete denial about suffering from depression and stress after a series of events. All this is having an effect on the rest of the staff. We are but a small unit, so one person down is difficult to cope with, two down extremely stressful and three just plain impossible. My role is to work out how I can help those not able to work, keep things going at work and support the remaining staff. A tightrope to walk. So on Friday, we will have cake, coffee and chill session, one where we can come together as a group, take just 10 minutes or so to chat, have a bit of downtime to just help us through this difficult week or two. I will remember your blog today and remember to take my time to get into the right space, think on our two colleagues sitting vigil at their son's/brother's bedside, send them all our hope for better news and generally be thankful for what I have. Everyone has some sadness in their lives, some problems, worries or concerns and I just need to rejoice in the good things, the time I've had with friends and family. Karen xxx

    1. What a lovely boss /colleague you are. How it should be in workplaces, but often isn't. I hope your thoughts and efforts are well appreciated and helps everyone. Hoping the people get well soon too xx

    2. I am so touched by your thoughts, what a lovely start to my morning. People are lovely to send these to complete strangers. You pay forward, so I hope you all reap your just rewards from your kindness. Have a great day and thank you for making mine. Karen xxx

    3. Hi Karen
      Just had to add to all those comments, you sound as though you have got it exactly right. I have just retired from managing a small team too and I know how much they always appreciate that you 'get what they need' and can support them through it all, you sound lovely. Just make sure you also get some support for you as it can be very emotionally exhausting. Good luck and do hope all your staff will come through.
      Take care x x x x x x

  25. Hi Barbara what a lovely journey, good old Sally Sat Nav – ours is called Doris! My husband told me to have faith in Doris as we drove home from London at the weekend avoiding the M's. I was worried when we headed into kent when our destination was hampshire but she got us there in the end. I'm so glad you were able to take time out to say goodbye to Ingrid and how lovely to see your art teacher too – I hope she is proud of you. What a lovely way to say goodbye to your friend and teacher. I hope Dave is behaving himself. Love and hugs to you both. Diane xxx

  26. How much nicer to let Sally take you down the quiet country roads to your English teacher's funeral Barbara to give you the space to think about her and what her great teaching did for you, and also to see and chat with your art teacher who I'm sure enjoyed seeing you too. My music teacher was the one that left a huge and lasting impression on me and encouraged me and helped me to have more self confidence and I often think about her and wonder what has happened to her. Ingrid was obviously a lovely lady may she rest in peace. x

  27. Hello Barb, thank you for sharing such a personal and lovely post. It is hard to say goodbye, but glad you got to meet up with old friends too. take care. Bx

  28. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful journey even though the occasion was a sad one. I felt like I was in the car with you.

    I had a similar experience this morning walking up to the bus stop, as I don't drive, by leaving the house a couple of minutes earlier and walking slowly on my normal route. The number of sparrows and starlings I saw was amazing, a lot more than I normally see. It was also nice to see the front gardens, but the number which are now paved to allow room for more cars is disturbing.

    I look forward to reading more tales of where Sally Sat Nav takes you!

  29. Hi Barbara,
    eine Beerdigung ist immer sehr schwer…
    Du hast aber die Fahrt zu einem ruhigen Ausflug gemacht, dem Anlass entsprechend, und hast absichtlich die Hektik und den Stress (der Autobahnen) hinter Dir gelassen.
    Rolf xxx

  30. Thanks Barbara,
    your calmness and enjoyment of your journey came through as the story unfolded. It sounds as though your friend had a good send off and it must have been lovely to catch up with old friends, thanks for sharing with us. X x x x x x

  31. It's always hard to say goodbye to someone, so thank you for sharing how you made your day and your journey into an experience to remember, rather than just a drive to a difficult and sad occasion. Susan x

  32. Dear Barbara, I've been watching you on YouTube and quite enjoying it! I just found you by accident and I'm so glad I did. Today I decided to visit your blog and again I'm so happy I did!
    By reading your post I was taken along with you on your trip! It was a lovely one, I must say. You are such a remarkable writer on top of being a awesome crafter. I have so enjoyed meeting you and looking forward to a long friendship. God Bless You Dearly ❤️

  33. I did write on weds evening but my reply disappeared and I just couldn't manage it again , so back again 2 days later!
    This blog post was the most moving a yet calming post I have read on here since I started reading your blog (day 1!). You teacher was blessed to be so loved and the blessing was spread to all who knew her, is what I get from your descriptive writing. It is truly a great piece of prose and a privilege to read. Thank you for sharing your special day.

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