2 June – 25 days later in London

ImageI thought my next blog would be a significant date – like a week later – or 2 weeks later – or a calendar month later – or something. But it’s a chilly sunny Sunday morning and I’m drinking the last of my Peet’s coffee – that San Francisco brew which is a must for anyone visiting the city. Yes! walk on by Starbys and find a Peets. You’ll never look back.

I deliberately left May pretty free of work – just drama session Thursday mornings with the Bolder group. Plenty of time to process the amazing 5 weeks of the journey, keep in touch, make contacts over here, tell people to apply for this amazing opportunity, process, process, process…….

But it didn’t turn out like that……..

In 25 days I have…… Imagebeen to Prague for a weekend singing with one choir, been to rehearsals with other choirs in Staines Camden and Kentish Town, been to Leeds for a wedding, run taster sessions for work that starts next week, setup rehearsals that start  next week, Saturday workshop in Redbridge, chaired a meeting, appointments with osteopath, hairdresser, dentist, neurologist, helped my son study for his Game Theory exam, had a co-mentoring day, wrote two songs, wrote two scenes, saw friends saw friends saw friends  and cooked and cooked and cooked……

What I discovered when I was away that over 5 weeks I cooked ONLY  TWICE. What happens during the fellowship trip is you slip out of your life – not entirely – but it’s not a holiday (no matter how often my sister urged me to go to Alcatraz, who can be bothered?) and it’s not work (you can see 1 session a day, or 2 or 3 or nothing – have a walk, have an adventure, and process it). And you are responsible for no one but yourself. You’re not trying to make anyone happy. 

Then back you go and life hits you in the face and of course so does cooking and your family and all the stuff you put on hold 5 weeks ago. WHAM.

So here’s what I know.

My life is good. 5 weeks gives you that distance to look at friends and family and work and see that. I’m very very lucky.

And I’m hoping that I can connect the dots and some of the amazing people I’ve met and the projects I’ve seen, who I’m still communicating with, will inform the Bolder project and help shape its future. I’m saying hoping cause I’m lucky but if I don’t say “hoping” it’s too much like tempting fate.

And just to finish off my trip….. if anyone is following my story about me and The Coat, I didn’t need it all the was through San Fran when it was really hot, dragged it onto the plane, dragged it through the airport, was met by my son, dragged it onto the train to Paddington, hopped into a cab and…… haven’t seen it since.



5 thoughts on “2 June – 25 days later in London

  1. lucylinesucy

    Wow, Clare, What an experience. I’ve been following you on and off and I’m really inspired by your journey. Your last tips have helped me balance my states of panic; Am I leaving my kids for too long? (4 weeks) What the hell am I doing?
    I’ve still got loads of networking to do as I am building up my contacts from nothing. I’m hoping when i’m out there the face to face contact will make a difference in how quickly people respond to me!
    Anyway its good to know your safely back and that you can apply everything you’ve learnt. Thanks

    1. Singing Seniors Post author

      Lucy – what a lovely comment to receive! I really remember all those feelings where you have your whole life on your shoulders here and somehow there’s this whole new adventure you have to put together from miles away – plus the inevitable mum guilt.I didn’t have the latter as my son is 22 and he was delighted I was away for 5 weeks so he could use my office and desktop computer to do his dissertation for uni! He did miss me but not as he would have when he was smaller.

      One thing I’m really pleased I did was the blog. It made me think about the trip differently. So by the end of the trip, someone would say to me “I really love singing in this choir because it makes me feel like it’s worth getting up in the morning” I’d think: TAKE HER PICTURE. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HER. WHY DOES SHE FEEL LIKE THIS? HOW IS THE MUSIC AFFECTING HER. And then I’d put it on the blog. Rather than letting things wash over me it felt as though everything was part of a jigsaw puzzle.

      People will love to meet you – everyone is happy to have someone who is curious and positive about their work. I’d love to know about your project. When are you going?

  2. Enid Irving

    That is such a wonderful picture of you Clair! I shall print it off at once…I’ve been inspecting care homes (two in a week is too much) plus writing reports – for the first time I found it deeply depressing – when the time comes please push me under an express train! (Like Anna Karenina)! Love E

  3. lucylines

    Sorry Clair, I’ve only just seen this reply! Where have I been?
    Ah, do you miss your travels? Bet it feels like ages ago now.
    I’m going to spend 4 weeks in New York. I’m visiting lots of family centres working with parents and children helping to build stronger links and partnerships and prevent isolation in socially deprived areas. It feels like the more I network this side and read up on things the subject gets massive.
    I remember someone saying at one of the community seminars warning us to stay away from getting carried away and keeping a focus on the original idea. I think I’ll remember that with the blog as you said getting peoples thoughts and feelings down is just as important.
    I travel out on 15th September until 17th October. Then i’m going to Brazil next March for three weeks. I will be visiting charities working children and families in more intense situations, like reintegrating children who’s rights have been violated back with their families.
    I don’t feel so bad about doing this. I felt better after I read the article in this week Guardian (Family section) A mum of three left her family to do 100 nights as a stand up comedian. She said she had to do it to see if it was possible and to prove she could do it. The pressures of being a mother!
    Anyway keep up the good work. Let me know when you get your report done, i’d like to read it.
    I didn’t mention but I do a bit of singing myself!
    Take care


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