We go to the isle of Wight a couple of times a year, mostly to catch up with friends and family but also to reconnect with the memories of the past. Living on an island is different, there is a love-hate relationship with the ferries, for a start. There is a love-hate relationship with the tourists, too, but that is common to all seaside/holiday resorts. For me, it's the extra cars on the roads, which are potholed and tatty.
So we try and go in June or September. The weather is usually lovely, the tourists are at a sensible level, and everything is open and flourishing. then we remember why we love the Island (I can't help capitalising it) and why we miss it. We also have a lot of happy memories, especially with friends who shared our choice to home educate our children. there are sad memories too. We usually fit in a visit to the woodland cemetery where Maya, Russell's wife and my friend, is buried amongst newly planted trees.
Then there will be favourite places (Culver Down, Bembridge foreshore, Compton and too many more to name) to visit, a few shops we like in Newport or Yarmouth. But my favourite thing to do is still the ferry. I get a huge rush of affection for it - now I don't have to do it all the time - and a sense of 'going home'. Only now, I get the same feeling each way, which is lovely, because North Devon is also home.
Meanwhile, my publishing career wanders on. The Secrets of Time and Fate is out and I will be at the Winchester Writers' Festival on Saturday and Sunday. I have two different books being read and commented on by different editors, with one delightfully complimentary refusal so far. Who minds someone coming back to you and saying sorry we can't take your book but uses the word knockout? Not me.