Our life in a car.
Taz 6.5 years, Sam 19 (going on 6) Michelle (never mention a ladies age) and I (2 years older than Michelle). 4 maxed up suitcases and hand luggage. Behind us, an empty house, an echo of parties and laughter, arguments and screaming. We’ve watched 7 series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, all of ’24’ and ‘The West Wing’. Eaten over 100 hundred take aways, recycled a thousand bottles of alcohol both in the green bin and the big white telephone. Watched England fail to win the World Cup with footballing friends 4 times: our so called golden generation. Made friends and lost them, grown deeper roots with those most like us. We had the very best times and the very worst. We took telephone calls telling us of family members that have passed, spoken long distance to parents you’d sooner hug. We have done it all. And now? How do we feel?
For the last few weeks, the relentless organising has taken its toll. The cash has dribbled away like a leak we can never fix, this is a whole new experience. All my work friends wanted to know if I felt better after resigning. I did and I didn’t. The last year at work was the best and the worst. A team mostly united, set sail on the good ship ‘determined’ over rough seas trying to change attitudes and drive improvement but I’ve got to mention one extraordinary person who not only was a joy to work with but a great source of unknown strength. I’ll explain. Working closely with anyone can be full of banana skins. It’s easy to say the wrong thing and an atmosphere can form that is impossible to retrieve, so you find yourself over compensating making the false divide even more flimsy, but I didn’t have any of that. Not a single cross word. How can that be? It’s simple. Understand the person, compromise, listen and talk through what you feel most passionately about, laugh, vent and cover for each other. This wasn’t a manager and a member of staff, it was a growing friendship that was halved by my selfish desire to stop poisoning my system. Maybe I thought I was coping with all the daily nonsense but I was just feeding a corrupt file. When she discovered the truth, she treated me the same way but began to shoulder a little more. Jedi mind tricks were cast over many visitors and where my resolve was loosening she tightened the knots and laughed heartily through it all, I cannot tell you what a quality this is: Happy Christmas, Mrs Steph Gill. I’ve only ever seen it in one other person. The most amazing women I’ve ever known: Michelle.
The seed of our journey (no, not the journey that celebs go on for a few weeks on ‘I’m a celeb’ or ‘Strictly’) started in February 2014 when she resigned her job. She strode into her bosses office and outlined our plans ( I only told one person at work). When all plans were iced in May after news of yet another operation for me, she once again dug in and battled on. She became both ships, steered us through quite a few storms and tonight, yes tonight as the rain washes us up to Birmingham, I find myself in awe at what she has achieved. At my lowest, she placed her hand on my forehead and told me not to worry. As I recovered, she used the inflation to assist the realisation of a dream. We have a dog called Tazmania but the real whirlwind in our lives sleeps beside me every night.
I say one thing to you all, shipmates. Control is an illusion. Find yourself a good strong boat with a decisive captain and take a sail into the horizon. If you’re lucky to get a good crew, never forget them and hope that you get a chance to journey with them again one day.