When you travel, you can wheel around with distractions, ideas, comparisons, flavours. Being home is easier and more comfortable than being somewhere unfamiliar. It can be harder too. We are living the difference right now. We are feeling our way through.
In some ways it’s easier for us to be on Questie than in our bungalow in Wales. Why? Well, firstly on our boat, we have three bedrooms. Ok, cabins but that’s splitting hairs. We each have a clearly defined room. In our bungalow at home, we have one. One bedroom. ‘Where do you all sleep?’ we often get. Our answer? Start with interesting cough.. then, ‘Well.. the girls have one bedroom to themselves. Jack and I sleep on a sofa bed in the living room.’
I sometimes have to stop myself from kicking myself in the head. I love the bungalow. Even with our furry friends, the water voles behind the boiler. It gives us a base in the UK, we are safe here, we live in a clearly defined and affectionate Welsh community. I know! Who would have thought.. but we do. Our village and surrounding town in Mid-Wales has never denied us anything. Community is so strong and supportive here. For example, both girls dance at Aberystwyth University. They have danced here at the Arts Centre Dance School since they were three-years old in their little purple tutus. Last year, coming from Quest, they went straight back to class.
Even so, Delphine would probably not pass an exam with the Royal Academy of Dance, the syllabus the dance school teach. I am told the RAD aren’t big on making concessions for disability.
‘Don’t worry,’ Miss Gilbert, the lead teacher said with her eyes glinting, ‘we’ve already thought of it. We will make Delphine our own exam.’
Last week, I passed her door. It was open. The ballet pupils were pirouetting across the floor. As I walked past, Miss Hannah, Delphine’s teacher, stepped forward when it was Delphine’s turn and held her arm for support. In this way, Delph could make a full turn. I caught it and stopped, almost shocked by Miss Hannah’s kindness. But there was no patronising look on Miss Hannah’s face. You could see it wasn’t the first time she’d done it. Or the last. It was no big deal. Except it was.
I am not native to this place. That position falls to Jack. We live behind his dad’s house. His dad gave us the bungalow at the back of his house. In doing so, he gave us the opportunity to sail on Quest whilst still retaining a base here. To say that he was totally supportive is an understatement. And yet I understand more and more, since we’ve returned that there was no lightness in his decision. For him, it was about life and that we could live it. So one bedroom? Is this a real problem? I’ve got to go. The girls have dance class.