Those were the days when I could please myself, go where I wanted to and do what I wanted to do. Just take a bus or a train, or even sit in the car and make a decision to go places and do things. This was in the far past where I had cast my cares to the winds. The East End of London was not actually the be all and end all of life’s experiences. Once a year you would leave the dirt and smell of bricks (especially after the rain) and go on holiday. You broke out and went to the seaside, a privilege of the working classe to get unmoored once a year on their annual holiday, usually to the seaside.
One day I decided this was not for me and so I searched for work in another country. I did not even care where. It could have been Mongolia, but just somewhere else. Mongolia did not seem to want me but I found Switzerland. I spent two years in Zürich footloose and fancy free. Sometimes the fancies were perhaps a little too free, but I had to go there and do it.
Another shift to Solothurn, meeting Mr. Swiss and annual holidays arrived again. However, the non holidays were in Switzerland, no brick dust, just cows and clean streets with no waste, like we said in the East end you could eat your dinner off the streets: not quite, but it was less unhygenic than eating it on a Bethnal Green street.
And then the kids arrive, one after the other. Just two, I inherited two by marrying Mr. Swiss and there were four, but there was no more being unmoored. I was gradually becoming firmly tethered to a home with all the trimmings. I exchange my world of doing what I wanted to do for the world of doing what you have to do. Now and again I could still break out, but had to organise it and not just decide.
And today, after 48 years of marriage and bringing up the kids. Your would seriously think that I was now compeltely unmoored. At the age of 70 you can now do it. Belive me it is easier said than done. My boat has now found its moorings in the harbour. I do not even want to go anywhere. Even a doctor’s appointment or a dental adventure is a bother. I had to visit London once a year, until dad passed away last year. I did it on my own as I knew my other half was also finding his moorings and did not really want to become unmoored. There was an emphasis on the “had to” when going to London.
I am physically no longer able to get unmoored, a half hour walk does it nicely for me and shopping trips are in the car. My days of wandering are now gone. Am I sorry about that? Not really, although sometimes I wish I could throw my walking stick into the river and walk like everyone else, without discovering that my feet are no longer attached to my legs like they used to be.
Something must be wrong somewhere. How comes the so-called president of the States can do a sword dance with a bunch of Saudis at the age of 70 and I cannot even manage to leave my bed without thinking about how to do it?
Me, aged 16 with dad, not quite unmoored but thinking about it.