This week's Sepia Saturday prompt is a small village in England, Clovelly. I visited Clovelly a long time ago. I went out of my way to find it after having seen photos in a UK brochure.
The year of my trip was approximately eighteen months after an auto accident on Hollywood Boulevard. I'd spent ten months in physical therapy and was in the midst of a lawsuit to try and receive compensation for my losses. I was also on the verge of going nuts. My stress level was as high as it could go and I needed to leave everything behind. Find a place where for a short time I could shake out the cobwebs and feel free of everything. Yeah, so…the trip sort of worked.
The three months before my trip I'd spent fighting walking pneumonia. By the time I got to England the worst of it had passed, but I still had a horrible sounding cough that would shake the rafters in many old English hotels. So the reality was that Clovelly was not the best choice for me being that no vehicles are allowed and it's a walk down a steep cobblestone street from the car park followed by an even more stressful walk back up the same cobblestone street to the welcoming front seat of my rental car.
The cat as I went downhill.
The night before venturing to Clovelly I'd stayed in Bude and had gone to a local bakery in the morning to buy a meat pie for a "picnic" in Clovelly. When I travel I'm cheap; otherwise I could never afford to travel.
So meat pie in my purse, camera in my hand, I began my descent into Clovelly. The going down was easy. No problems. No coughing or lungs heaving. I stopped into a shop to buy a 7-UP. I stupidly assumed 7-UP would be available in England. I was wrong. I always got sold some weird concoction that wasn't lemonade or 7-UP. Generally it was pretty dreadful, but it's what they had so I bought it. As I wandered around the shop, eyeing ice cream bars, the owner asked, "Are you here for the job?" I turned and looked at him wondering if he was actually talking to me. I'm figuring I look like a tourist. I reek of tourist. Apparently not. I looked like a local and he wanted to know if I wanted a job. I told him no and he said, "Pity." Now I'm not a person used to compliments, but I took that as one and it made me smile and walk a little straighter down the hill. (I was not walking straight coming back up.)
I got to the bottom of the hill and heard people having a grand time in the Red Lion Hotel, probably very nice meals. But that was not my destination. I was heading for the beach for my picnic. Ummmmm…this is the beach. Not what a girl from California is used to. But I settled down on the stones with my lunch and my can of soda. It took a bit of work to move the stones around just right so my soda would sit level enough to not spill. Everything was going along fine and dandy until a hornet decided it wanted my soda. Let's just say it looked like a mad comedy routine with me battling the hornet for possession of the soda. Some people leave their hearts in San Francisco. I left my soda in Clovelly.
It just screams picnic!
The same cat as I climbed uphill. She'd seen all of this before.
Having had enough of my picnic I headed uphill. It was a slow and very painful climb. I was leaning on posts, buildings, bushes…anything to keep me upright and moving uphill. Eventually I crash landed on a curb conveniently just outside the doctor's office. I was sitting there gasping for air when he came out with his black medical bag heading for an appointment. He was not expecting to find someone doing heavy breathing at his front door.
"Are you okay."
I could manage a nod and a wave of my hand.
"Are you sure?"
A smile, a wave, and a thumbs up. I think I probably got out "Yes, thank you" but I can't be sure.
The donkeys who kept whispering to each other and laughing at me.
And the nice lady who let the wild haired heavy breathing woman take her picture. Bless her.
Eventually I made it back to the car park and the rental car with the worst automatic transmission in the world. I sat for awhile just breathing before thinking, "Okay, now where?" In a little while I was back on the road to my next destination.
I'd like to say my health improved as the weeks passed, but the reality is a few days after visiting Clovelly I was staying with a friend at her digs in Oxford where I got a concussion on a low pitched ceiling. So the rest of my trip was cough two, moan two, and try to not die in any hotel rooms.
I'm late getting my post in this Saturday, but I finally found the slides and decided to share my story. It's rare I share anything from my life more than a few odd bits and pieces. This is just a slightly longer bit and piece.