My beloved husband, Kent, died in January 2012, 3 years after diagnosis of a brain tumour. Our son was 2 1/2 and our daughter 3 months old. He and I were far too young. I am now hurtling through the black space of life without him.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Kent and I bought a campervan when living in London, and took it round various corners of the UK to have some practice runs and iron out any problems before spending 6 weeks in Europe. And boy did we do a lot of ironing! Everywhere we went numerous problems occurred (there was an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and a Welshman... and every one of them had to come to our rescue!). When we left for Europe Kent's workmates were starting a sweepstake on how far we would get, and noone betted beyond Dover. The amazing thing was that we got round our whole 6 week Western Europe trip and not a single thing went wrong except a little overheating on the Swiss Alps - which I always thought was pretty reasonable, it would happen to the best of us.

But our earlier trip to Ireland was particularly bad. We got a puncture and needed help replacing the tyre. And we broke an axle. Various helpful men who looked underneath to try and figure out what was going on would swear and then say "someone up above was looking after you." Fortunately by this time we were at the end of our journey, in Dublin, and we were not far from the port where we were to get on a ferry back to Wales. After many phone calls and much discussion with local mechanics, our only option due to time constraints (we had to get back to work) was to get the van taken back to London for us and have it fixed there.

So we were towed to the ferry and left at the very front of the queue nice and early, where we planned to limp our poor van very carefully on to the ferry, limp delicately off on the other side and then get ourselves on to a truck for the long haul home.

After quite a wait for the ferry to arrive, and vehicles queuing up behind us and beside us, it was eventually time to get on. Kent turned the key. Nothing happened. He tried again. Nothing. We got the attention of the staff, cars were waved past us, and we kept trying. The engine wouldn't start. The wonderful staff, who we were soon to develop a long-term relationship with, went and got their battery pack to give us a jump start. It didn't work.

And that was that. Seriously. How could the engine not start even with a jump start? We were completely broken. Not only was the axle stuffed, we couldn't even limp on to the ferry. Helpful staff floated away to get more important things done, and we just sat, completely out of solutions. The ferry that was to take us home roared off in front of us, and we watched as it sailed in to the distance leaving us behind. Stranded, broken, confused and far from home. I'm not sure if I can remember another time in our lives together when neither one of us could come up with any kind of possible solution to a problem. We were all out.

And now here I am. Stranded, broken, confused and so very far from the one who was my home. My hope and my dreams have disappeared somewhere beyond the waves and there is no solution.

The great thing about last time - which we didn't realise then because it was just normal - was that we were in it together. We were towed out to the street to get out of the way, we went out to buy dinner and we tucked in to bed for the night, desolate, unsure what to do, but together.


  1. If I was sitting with you and you told me this story, I would come and sit a little closer by you and thank you for sharing this story with at least an arm around you. I am sorry that the feeling of being stuck has come around again. It's a wall when you want windows and doors. Remember, you did make it around Europe to create a trip and a blog of a lifetime. Times of being stuck pass. If we can help to unstick you, please let us know how. Maybe a game of snap with Reuben would be a start. :o) Love always.

  2. Oh it's so good to have MB's words around. Ditto. xoxt

  3. Indeed it is. The next best thing to at least an arm.

  4. I can't unstick this time, as he is not coming back. I guess I have to learn to live in a foreign country.