For various reasons, I'm a bit fed up at the moment.
I've been working hard on my next walking holiday. I'm going to North Cyprus, which I don't know very well, for a couple of weeks. Today I am supposed (according to my arbitrary timetable) to sort out my backpack. Where are my essential bits and pieces? All put away safely somewhere no doubt. I have to go through my first aid kit; I can't believe it's all still in date. And I suspect I've nearly run out of blister plasters! Then there's the clothing. All this winter I've been mooching around in sweaters and fleeces. Now I need lightweight T's (I've just checked the weather in Kyrenia and it seems to be in the 20s at the moment : ) ). And lots of hiking socks; I know I put those somewhere sensible last autumn. And what about water bottles, torch, spork, etc.
But I haven't quite got round to that yet. I have a good idea of where I want to go while I'm there and what I want to see, but I have no maps. They just don't make them. I think the area has remained a little sensitive ever since the Turkish invasion of 1974. You try Google maps for Cyprus and see what I mean; the whole of the north is one big green blob. Perhaps it is just grass with no roads or buildings? But it's a shame, isn't it. I have absolutely no interest in military activities; they can conduct war games underneath my hotel window all night if they like and I'll just stay in bed and, during the day, I'll go somewhere else. Actually, Cyprus is so small and accessible to tourists and Turkey so vast that I can't believe they'd choose to do anything sensitive militarily on the island. But, on the other hand, one thing they desperately want is tourism. So why not make it more tourist-friendly? All I want is to know that I'm walking towards the Crow's Nest Pub and won't get lost and stumble into a minefield or a tank trap.
I've ordered my currency. I don't think, by the way, before you say, that N Cyprus is at all affected by the problems with Greek banks in Cyprus. Anyway, nothing I can do. I just have to take cash and hope it isn't suddenly devalued to toilet paper while I'm there or that Germany doesn't invade to impose on the spot taxes. I've drawn up my timetable for walking. I've made a list of variables to check out while I'm there, pub opening times, nearest fish restaurant, receptionist's phone number, etc. So I ought now to be ready. But still I feel unsettled. It's all wasted if I don't find the footpath.
Then - bridge. Something has happened. I have been reading up on safety plays and leads, because I am weak in that area. At least I always seem to help the opposition with my play. But the more I study, the worse I seem to get. I have heard of golfers (like Rory McIlroy at the moment) losing their technique, or footballers (like Fernando Torres over the last 2 years) having off periods, perhaps it's like that. And one day I will storm back. Or perhaps I should switch to canasta? But it's depressing at the moment.
Then there's the weather . . . No need to say any more about how miserable that is. Actually the sun came out a bit today and I have just been out the garden planting some new shrubs. Last autumn we became so fed up with some ground cover plant that the previous house owner had put in that we dug it all up. We had seemed to spend most of our time in the garden during the summer trying to control this bloody thing. It spread all over the flower bed like warts. So two back-breaking days later, we had dug up several trugs of plants and several more of roots. The roots were like a sponge all over the flower bed to a depth of about a foot. The bed then needed a few extra inches of earth to compensate, then we left it fallow for the winter. But of course the neighbourhood cats thought it was wonderful. So I have just spent a most exciting afternoon burying several tons of cats' poo and turning the soil for planting. I did get a few small shrubs in though and even a few daffodils. None of my bulbs came up this year - killed or delayed by the cold I suppose - so I stuck in some ready sprouted plants. But all that effort has just made me think I should have been sorting out my walking gear instead.
So I suppose I'd better get off now and stop putting off sorting out my kit. I'll just go and have a cup of tea first. Then maybe I'll go and watch television for a little while and listen to the discussion on today's budget announcements. That should cheer me up.