Return to Homepage

Debbie Flint

my boy is 33! Train travels. And a long look at what made 2019 so strange
5 March 2020

my son Brad's 33rd birthday lunch my son Brad's 33rd birthday lunch
First, happy birthday to my adorable son and before you say it, yes he does look like 'that bloke out of 50 Shades films' and yes, it one hundred per cent RUINED the movies for me!! For obvious reasons. Had a super get together with him and the two year old, who said 'silly nan-nan' and laughed, when I tickled her under the table on her knee. Growing up so fast. Both of them. Am sure you've had that in your life!
And secondly, Pretty Woman was amaaaazing. Brad was just THREE when Pretty Woman the movie first came out and over the years I've had pretty much every edit of the film, from VHS to DVD to BluRay. Well the theatre production was true to the film and I loved it. Hope to see it again, and highly recommended. Have been feeling a lot happier of late, partly due to all the exercise now I'm 'training it' as my family would say. And the reasons why are all tied up with why last year was such a weird time for me... more of that below.
Well I have completed about three weeks now of almost entirely train journeys and left the car in Devon. There is a reason why - bear with me.
After three years of lonnnng journeys in the car to and from my new home in Devon, I accumulated one too many points after late night journeys on empty motorways and sudden changes of speed limit.
I needed to get lots more steps done more regularly, and obviously lose weight. Mind you, the health scan I have regularly - as part of my work package - at the Nuffield, was okay. Apart from the usual recommendation to drop some pounds, cholesterol was good - really good - blood pressure good, blood measurements good (a couple had had some question marks in years gone by,) Airflow in my lungs, good (despite having had a bit of diary the day before, stupidly! It always makes my chest a little wheezy.) Heart indicators all good.But with my big holiday cruise coming up in May, and everything else going so well, it’s about time I got this in check.
One of the things I have to do is make sure I switch off (missus juggler here finds that very hard. I just completed a 'debbie day' as my pal Craig would call it, which consisted of lunch with Brad, in Stratford, then coffee and admin work in Waterstones cafe in Chiswick, then a brilliant film, Dark Waters, then ... work.) So a bit of reflexology never goes amiss. And I must get back to meditation which always helped me no end, from 1991 till around 2005, when I had an awful f***wit boyfriend and lost my confidence a bit, and had a b it of depression. And de-prioritised my me-time. Not a lot of people know about that era - well, social media wasn't around so why would most people know. I recovered and got back my mojo and have been pretty much ok till last year. Without realising it, I'd slipped into a concealed state that I can only now look back and label as some version of depression. Hence, lack of blogs on here. 
Looking back at last year, it’s interesting to see how things mounted up and I ended up being a little rundown and a lot under the weather. When I eat sugar I feel blue. Simple as that. And running a tea room/cakes/late night drive is where I need sugar to keep me awake/eating pudding is when the guests are at the retreat… It all led to too much sugar for too long. I had a little mini meltdown late November, and had a few days sick off work. That’s so rare for me. The last time was January 2017! And before that, I can’t actually remember being off for an unplanned sickness absence (operation not included.)
I knew something was wrong. And now I see that too many hours in the car, eating rubbish, and not enough sleep, made for a difficult combination. Not paying attention on late-night journeys is an absolute no-no of course. So as my points mounted up, I got precariously close to needing to stop driving. Facing six months without a car, I felt panicky. Then I checked myself.
I began picturing life where the train took the strain. I would have so much more time to do stuff, loads of stuff, on long journeys to Devon and to see Lauren in Wales. With nothing to prevent me from tap tapping away. I may even finish my book! Getting around in London is a doddle, mainly, since public transport might take longer on the whole but it’s quicker compared to going by car to QVC in Chiswick from South Croydon! So I've started leaving the car in Devon and going places mostly by train. It's an hour to QVC, door-to-door. And we have a company cab after hours to take us home. I’ve been on buses and trams and more trains in the last month then I have in the last 10 years, I think. And it really has taken the strain away.
I do updates regularly on my Facebook page et cetera, with the vlogs called 'let the train take the strain' – visit Facebook page to see more and read the regular trip reports! Some funny things happen when you are on the train journey. Some lovely things as well, like the Dawlish train route I took to a conference in Torquay, with the waves barely feet away from the train line. Then I got picked up in Carmarthen in Wales by my daughter, which felt lovely. And family and friends have been marvellous in Devon. By the way Lauren's holiday accommodation cabin which they've just finished is called The Hiveaway and is like a little hobbitses haven high up in a field in Wales - anyone looking for an alternative to travelling near people, please consider this!
Instagram Pic - The Hiveaway Glamping
Devon is obviously the problem, but there is a very tame taxi firm whom we have an arrangement with for my retreat, so failing all else, that’s what I use. Plus as the weather improves I will use my electric bike. Plus from March onwards there will be someone is living at my place on a trial basis, which will help enormously. On so many levels.
Over the past 3 to 4 weeks I have Walked 10,000 steps a day more often than not. One of the measurements of the hill scan was that my waistline was smaller than last year, which I did not expect! And drinking more water means that, with a splash of lemon juice in it, I find myself not having such a sweet tooth. And long late journeys mean I don’t have sweets to rely on.
Recently I met my lovely friend Antthony who is fashions we sell on QVC. He said he had been sugar free for three months. We talked about it, me having given up sugar for January, considering my sister was giving up alcohol. We did it together. And I reckon that was a lot to do with why my bloods were as good come February‘s health scan.
Finally I have been a lot more cheerful in myself. The perennial, perpetual, paralysing tightness in my Solar plexus, was released, ( having been there, I realised, for a couple of years.) But when had it started?
Anxiety over grandbabies, yes. Till my daughter told me off one summer and I let go the responsibility for ALL of their lives! It’s difficult isn’t it, once a mother always a mother, but when your children turn into parents, being a grandparent doesn’t mean you have an extra child, it’s a grandchild. So it should be easier. I’m sure I’m not the only one who got that wrong! And now it’s all great as my kids are fantastic parents.
Anxiety over being so far away from people, yes, a bit. Including the anxiety over travelling. Long hours on long journeys alone late at night in the car, when originally I loved it, just got too much for me once I started considering an alternative. My driving muscle (automatic car = numb bum!) always killed me, no matter how many exercises I did. Now I drive so little, it barely registers a twinge! And yes, another signal has been given to me by the universe, prompting me to casually explore other locations for a writing retreat.
Thatched house insurance is getting ridiculous – only one insurer will do it for a guesthouse, and we have a wood burning stove. Apparently that is a problem this year, they’ve decided. So if I can’t get insurance for a guesthouse with a thatched roof, I will be forced to relocate anyway. Now there are lots of other places very nearby, affordable as well. Some, like mansions, not that far away either from where I am now. But if I was to relocate, I would be looking at somewhere closer to transport. Exeter/Taunton possibly.
I actually fantasised for a bit about the idea of a beautiful old courthouse which literally was a courthouse, dating back to the 1600s, on the market somewhere near Bristol, with bedrooms which used to be jail cells. Apparently It was on '4 in a bed' once. But that would mean a whole new environment and I’m not sure I want to do that right now. So we will see. But for now the train seems to be taking the strain and pulley for me. And life is so much better.
I had not realised how I felt so constricted all the time. That’s the only word for it. Not just my solar plexus, but in my daily routine. I actually Watched a programme about being in prison, and that’s how I felt! And freedom is probably my most valuable life attribute, so something had to change.
Fortunately for me, the universe generally intervenes and makes things right. And I definitely feel on a better keel now. Regular reflexology is also helping, drinking lots more water is to, and avoiding sugar as much as I can :-).
New life/new era/new tearoom lady!
Regulars will know that I set up a tearoom in our wonderful place in Devon, but it is only open on Wednesdays at the moment, because I’m building up resources. Last year I had a lovely lady called Pat but she became ill this year and needed to take a break so could not do it. Since I am in Devon three weeks out of four, I figured I could probably do it myself and lovely helper pixie Sian would chip in including when I wasn’t there. So we opened anyway. And lo and behold on the very first day Wendy Green turned up. Well, I've never tasted lemon drizzle like it! Victoria sponge reminds me of the one my Nan used to make, and her carrot cake is to die for. So we are up and running with a lovely new tearoom lady – for now anyway! Thank you universe. And thank you, her hubby Rob, who tends to pop by regularly as well. We will now continue with the original plan to alert people that it is on, and spread the word around Beaworthy in Devon, that we are now open on Wednesdays one till five, with plans to open on weekends from one till five after Easter. Oh and a special opening for Mothers' Day - at Wendy G's suggestion! Possibly if all goes well, she will also help me on Thursdays and Fridays during the summer. So might the new lodger! So that’s that one sorted. Phew.
Another part of the new era is my politics. I have just gained a position in the local Association for whom I love fundraising, and have many plans to contribute over the next few years. More on my politics blog. That makes me very happy and is another reason why I would not move too far from where I am now, for the time being.
But, long-term, I can Foresee a time when I would possibly end up somewhere around the M4/M5 junction. Bristol, Bath? I bloody love bath. And how much closer would it be to QVC! I could probably end up getting to Lauren within two hours if I’m lucky, depending on the trains. Which is a lot better than the four hours it takes me at the moment. Anyway that’s for the future.
Do feel free to keep up-to-date with my shenanigans, via my blogs on my Facebook page mainly. 
 And I do my best to post fun pictures on my Instagram too.
Plus there's lots of info on my Retreat social media too. @retreatsforyou on all platforms and website. Recently we had a big occasion that needed shouting about on social media – two fab literary agents from big agencies in London came down to my retreat for a very special 'ask an agent' weekend. It meant that I was able to offer a whole day session with these experts, for six authors who are unpublished and needed tips and guidance. It was so successful they all contributed afterwards with a list of the Most important things they learned. Go here to my retreats for you blog, to find out more.
I’m also delighted that a top memoirs tutor got in touch and wanted to run a memoirs week as well. So that has now been added to the schedule here. In fact our schedule for retreats with a tutor, is getting pretty full - and they are selling out fast! Our 'Just Write' weeks alternate most of the year, with extras in the summer. Plus I have some yoga retreats coming up as well. It is nice to have a full house.
So everything is working out well. And it’s not long until my big retreat holiday in France assuming nothing happens with coronavirus! Followed by our self Caribbean cruise in May, again assuming nothing happens to stop it. To be honest, I'm thinking it will all be cancelled with every new development and update in the news, but what will be will be. (edited 12th March). And our retreats will remain on until further notice.
I have taken the big step of postponing my Women in Business event in Exeter though - March 28th is not good timing considering all that's going on with advice about crowds. It'll now be September 13th if possible. If any of you are near Exeter then, come along and hear my talk about How to Sell on video. More will be here - we will be changing the Eventbrite date soon as new date is confirmed.
For those of you who are QVC followers, our new blogs seem to have a fresh look, but have caused a few glitches! But you will find them all here each week on the QVC website 'Stories' pages.
Finally, Ziggy the dog is creating quite a stir - and it's always a pleasure to mention him - here's one example, posted on my Facebook page (cos that's where it's easiest to get things quickly.) I love him! He is an Australian Shepherd - a cross between a sheepdog and a german shepherd, and soooo intelligent! Great to see him when I stay with my brother's family in Croydon.
Anyway, am off to see my two kids and their kids on Sunday for our early Mother's Day celebrations, so fingers crossed all goes well and no cancellations. Well, life has to go on on some level, doesn't it!
Best wishes

Social media all listed here, both QVC ones and personal ones – keep in touch! including

 my Facebook page 

my Instagram

my Twitter

Here is the new location for my QVC blogs -

And here on Amazon you will find my four novels, two anthologies of short stories (with other authors) , novellas and non-fiction - go here.

Read 2242 times

Related items

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.