Pedro Almodovar has a lot to answer for – the journey part 1
Washed up in Spain having watched one too many Almodovar movies.
The day of leaving the UK was complete comedy.
I mean it was funny in a black humour kind of way when we were racing around the house frantically cleaning the floors and the skirting boards just 3 hours before we were due to float away from those chalky shores.
Complete comedy if you’re a sadistic saddo who finds it hilarious to watch people run in circles the way flies do when they’ve lost a wing. Maybe it would be more apt to say that it was a comedic nightmare. We had said goodbye to two true friends who had come to our rescue 36 hours before when it was clear that we had underestimated just what it would take to pack and clear a house, tie up loose ends with a business and say adieu to our old lives. One held me close saying simply ‘give me two weeks notice next time’ while the other clucked over us and pressed two plastic containers of pasta and salad into our hands and made a self-deprecating joke – telling us not to worry about the cutlery – she had got them free with a magazine.
Standing on the ferry deck at midnight finally bidding farewell to old Blightie was a huge relief. We stood in the grotty old clothes that had been our constant companions for the best part of three days. Washed out, washed up, but definitely not clean – the pair of us were done out, but happy. Our new adventure was just beginning and there was nowhere else we wanted to be but on that ferry, heading out of port, by each other’s side.
Let me introduce us.
We are Jane and Ed. Two queer types who, after many years of living and working in the (relatively) comfortable corporate world, have decided, one way or another, to live a different life.
Gone are the big houses and cars, the boxes in the attic, the glorious garden, the steady jobs and the routine of 9-5. And, standing there in the cool night air, it felt as if we were the sum total of us – two people with a car and a baggage trailer and a new place to head to in Spain. And that was that. Liberating and empowering, and also scary.
To be fair, we had left behind some unfinished business of which we were less than proud: there was the storage unit of shame right enough; and then there was also the pile of things in one friend’s garage that couldn’t quite be squeezed in amongst the suitcases – yes, it was the one who made the pasta. For two former consultants were we absolutely horrified at the prospect of having misjudged what could actually fit in a car and trailer – and there was a long look in the hall of mirrors moment to be had…more on that later in our story.
And, if this were some TV show, all of this moment of drama would appear to have happened in the blink of an eye: one minute we decide to change our lives and the next minute we are on the ferry. It never quite happens like that does it? Our transformation from people who had worked worldwide for corporate bosses to people who stood with nothing virtually but our clothes had taken its own journey through years and months and weeks and finally days and hours. The story of how it all began is for another time and place to tell. Suffice to say, that at some quite advanced point in this transformation, once we had made the decision to move to Spain, we were on the ferry a mere four months later, with almost nothing but our hopes, our brains, a deeper understanding of what true friends are, and our resilience to keep us going.
To those reading this who have already been there, you will hopefully read our blog with a wry and knowing smile. To those who never want to be in our shoes, please keep your duvet close and your whiskey closer. And to those who want to do what we are doing but can see the pitfalls a mile off – remember: humility is the better part of grace.