This is my final week in the UK and this has been an emotional roller coaster. First giving up my corporate job that I have been in for nearly seven years, I’m probably not going to miss the early morning starts or the pressure to deliver, but I will certainly miss my colleagues, some of which have become life-long friends and many of which will just look on curiously to watch what we do…or at least I hope they do!

DSCF1994Then of course there’s my family and my friends and as I grew up in the Lake District we set off up North firstly stopping off at Fran’s, who lives in a beautiful spot on the estuary with a backdrop of the fells. We worked out that we have been friends for 45 years, which made us both feel so youthful (not) and spent a lovely couple of hours (not long enough) catching up, reminiscing and looking to the future before saying our farewells.

The start of our climb - Liz, Rachel, Katherine, Me, Jane & Cally
The start of our climb – Liz, Rachel, Katherine, Me, Jane & Cally

I had turned to social media to try and get everyone else together, a little nervous that no-one would turn up! But at 10am on a very cloudy and windy Saturday morning a group of us gathered at the base of Black Combe in Cumbria, some people I hadn’t seen since I left school, but they came anyway and I’m so glad they did.



Huddled at the top of Black Combe sharing some of Cally's 1967 Damson Gin
Huddled at the top of Black Combe sharing some of Cally’s 1967 Damson Gin

We climbed the mountain despite a collective lack of fitness (one or two exceptions to this) in just under two hours and huddled behind the cairn at the top to shelter from the blustering and biting winds. We shared soup, passed between us by a stranger, sandwiches, gloves, crisps and best of all our memories. We toasted my leaving and raised a glass of champagne to my Mum whose ashes were scattered here back in 1988, I couldn’t wish for a better group of friends, even though I’m sure (like me) they had wished I’d scattered her ashes on the beach or somewhere a bit more accessible 🙂

On the way back home we called into my sister’s for dinner and to say our goodbyes, again we know they find it hard to see us go but I also know they understand why we are doing what we are doing and I thank them all for not making it any more difficult than it needs to be!

Next is Dan’s family, including his Grandma’s funeral, the most final of goodbyes so the emotion is not over yet, but the focus remains on the end game, Bulgaria here we come.

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