Wednesday, 2 September 2015

"Going on a holiday?"

someone asked me. 
We were in the queue in the Post Office. These days the Post Office is a "shop". It sells all sorts of things -  books, toys, stationery, CDs, DVDs, boxes for packing things. It will do your passport photographs too.
But this was a display of "travel" items - passport holders, neck pillows and the like.
I shook my head. I had merely been reading the label on something that claimed to be a collapsible cup - an item somebody else had bought recently.
We now have two sets of neighbours away on holiday. The Little Drummer Boy's family went away several weeks ago. Now some of our neighbour's across the street will be away for six weeks. 
As their next door neighbour is an anaesthetist who works odd hours we will be responsible for making sure the place looks "lived in" - any stray papers will be removed. Any mail will be collected and so on. 
I know more people "away","going on holiday", and "planning a holiday" too. Many of them are older people who simply go off to the north of Downunder for winter. They take their caravans and join the caravan-train of grey nomads.
They don't have sheds and their gardens are non-productive "easy care". All I need to do is water a few pot plants and collect their mail  - those of them on my regular tricycle route that is.
But, a holiday? I am not sure what a holiday is any more. The last time I went away - some years ago now - I went with the Senior Cat and Middle Cat. We had a "long weekend" in the neighbouring state because Senior Cat and Middle Cat wanted to go to a gardening weekend.  I  haven't been away since.
People ask why. The answer is that the Senior Cat is not safe on his own. Have someone else stay with him people tell me. 
It sounds like a simple solution but it really wouldn't work. He would hate it. The Senior Cat is easy to live with but he's old. He is set in his ways. I accommodate that. I provide his meals at regular intervals. I know what he likes to eat. I know how he likes his tea made. I know all sorts of little things that matter. I can straighten his shirt collar and remind him he needs his hair cut. 
And, he worries. He worries every time I go out. He has always been a worrier. His mother, my beloved paternal grandmother who taught me so much, was a worrier. Perhaps there is an inherited genetic disposition for worry. The Senior Cat would be worried all the time I was absent.
I wouldn't enjoy myself knowing that. And yes, I would worry about him.
So when people ask if I am going on holiday the answer is "not yet". I hope they understand. 

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