It was tough seeing our kids head off back to USA with just Dave and I remaining in Wales for a while longer. But it quickly hit us that we spend so much time interacting with other people that we almost never have time ‘just for us’. So curling up together in an armchair in front of a blazing log fire in a Welsh farmhouse Cefn Derwen which means so much to us, with thick stone walls keeping out the January winds and cold, has been something special.
Not just toasting the feet, either! Its amazing how much heat you can generate if you keep throwing the wood on, so before long it was just underwear for the both of us. Feet stroking feet, my hand on Dave’s back smoothing the tiny scars left where we threw darts at each other during our recent ‘fakir’ shows with Karen and Clare and Pete plus the kids… yes, I have them too, but they’ll soon vanish. We’re too body conscious to do too much of that – we like to show off what we believe to be our “fine muscular bodies” during our acrobatic shows and we ordinarily leave the more gruesome feats like suspensions to Clare and Karen…
Just being together, enjoying every moment. It’s dawning on us slowly that this really is our house – our investment, because we don’t own property in the US, merely living (along with Dave’s brother Pete and his partner Ivo) in their dad’s home. So we’re making the most of that ‘comfortable’ feeling of being at a place where all the decisions we take are ours alone to make.
We even took ourselves off across the hills today for a long hike – climbing up out of the fog which surrounded the house and finding bright sunshine higher up. Just us and a scattering of sheep and red kites (large birds of prey). Not a breath of wind either, although that’s not set to last. Brilliant.
Of course, being us, this is a Welsh farmhouse with its barn converted into its own gym, which the local Young Farmers can use to work up a sweat (yep, the girls too) and which is looked after for us by our mate Neil. He’s done wonders getting it together for us, buying up every weight he ever sees advertised in the local newspapers, and I hope we reward him sufficiently. He seems happy anyway, and his mum keeps the house straight for us and for summer holiday visitors. She has a practically full reservation book for 2013! So everything makes us a little money, and perhaps the gym equipment is an ‘added attraction’ for any wet days during people’s holidays. Rain is a common event in Wales.
OK, some of the equipment is pretty basic and we only have free weights and benches/mats there at present, but it will serve:
…others have to manage with some pretty basic stuff and still get excellent results:
In the summer, guys can just pull the benches out of the barn and work out in the sun:
…and anyway, you often only need a partner to enable a great exercise:
Ah yes, a partner. My beloved and faithful Dave. I owe him so much but, about five years ago, I learned something about myself which I’ve kept from him.
Until now. I kept it from him because I was slightly scared but, last summer, when I was sitting in the sun here in Wales and finishing off this third and final book about our adventures, I suddenly decided to add it. Right at the end. It clears up something which otherwise would have been a loose end, and I decided that I just had to. So, whilst Dave has read most of this third book, and helped with the proof reading, he hasn’t seen the final page.
Before Christmas I wrote here that I would take him to a special place and tell him something he didn’t know. This is it, Dave. At the weekend we’re going up north for a final visit with his Mum in Keswick before we organise ourselves to head back to USA. And I’m taking him one more time to our ‘special’ place, where we received so much ‘spiritual’ advice and help through our travails – Bassenthwaite. Here, I shall tell him what our guardian angels decided to tell me – something about myself. What could have been but, thanks to them, hopefully now will never be. Which means that I shall not be a burden on him.
On the back cover of ‘Against All Odds’ is a photo of this magical place which I took myself, but here is an aerial view – at least, one taken from high up on the ridge leading to Skiddaw mountain.
It shows the amazing St Bega’s church in the centre by the lake – the larger building nearer to the viewer is Mirehouse Farm which owns the surrounding land – and, to the right, a circle of ancient trees which seems to hold some extraordinary power, at least for me and for some of my colleagues.
Here we received inspiration and support, and there I shall have Dave sit under the same tree, and finally tell him what our ‘guardian angels’ told me, some time after the adventure concluded in ‘Against All Odds’ was over. It’s good news, Dave, but the thought of what might have been, and what it could have meant for you – for both of us – is just too horrible to contemplate.
God bless you, Dave. I love you so much. And God bless the ‘guardian angels’, whoever you were…
I invite any reader here to go sit in that circle, let your mind empty, listen to the strange stillness broken only by the bleat of an uninterested sheep and by occasional faint traffic noise from the highway on the opposite shore (which doesn’t really intrude). See what happens. You never know. If some folks come into your mind, just tell them that Tony Cavanagh sent you, and he says ‘hi and thanks again’. Sadly, he no longer can thank them himself…