I made it! I got through the holiday. I started the week very nervous, I do hate coming out of my comfort zone, staying in a strange place, sleeping in a strange bed, coping with strange food. OK it was only Dorset but it was still stressful. The apartment was very nice, although I flooded the bathroom a few times. The bed I felt was a little rickety but I had a very nice room which was very good. I suppose the thing about holidays for me is being able to lose myself in interesting things and not constantly thinking stressful and nervous thoughts. And you know what this holiday achieved it! I do feel safe when my parents are around but it’s also been great to get back to my own flat and my own bed – that feels safe in a different way.
I think the highlight of the trip was finding myself on a windy morning at 9.30 on a Sunday on a guided fossil tour. We had a brief talk on fossils and what to look for and then headed for the beach at Charmouth. I was promised I would find a fossil however dad and I had to rely on mum to find a small Ammonite. We searched for about an hour and half with Mum’s find as our only success. Me, I tried to have a conversation with one of the guides about the stratigraphy of the cliff face in the hope of learning about different events which laid down layers of sediment. Although she was brilliant on the fossils, she seemed a little confused about this – but it is amazing how far GCSE geography and reading National Geographic can get you. I must say the whole trip was great and we then went for a lovely Sunday lunch after wards in a small hotel which was also hosting a get together of the local vintage Porsche owners! Fabulous cars but it did make parking a bit stressful!
One of my true passions in life is anything BC – Greeks, Romans, Mesopotamia, and everything Stone, Iron, and Bronze Age. Thus I found myself surrounded by sheep at the top of an Iron Age hillfort on a Monday. I was really surprised that Maiden Castle didn’t have a visitor centre or loo, but the actual site was amazing. Really I should be an archaeologist but can’t because of my OCD, but I do love History, usually Ancient History with an occasional dip into Romanov ruled Russia.
We also met up with some friends of my parents from Uni days, one of whom is my Godmother and believe it or not we went to a Swannery. Now you may say Rachel you and bird droppings don’t really go together but I actually had a really good time. And this was another of those times when I managed to lose myself completely in an activity. In fact, here’s a photo of me totally absorbed in cygnet watching. I refused to help at feeding time but there were loads of newly-hatched cygnets and the swans were very tame so you could get right up close. I felt a little contaminated after it all but I thought I coped really well. One bonus I almost forget is that I got in free cos my dad said I had autism. Well done dad, rock on autism!!! Always worth asking and it helps to raise awareness. I must say I was worried about conversation with our friends and saying the wrong thing but I think I did ok. My parents reassured me I did.
It was very nice being with my parents for a week although I know that my constant anxiety does wear them down a bit. In the end the holiday flew by. I managed the anxiety well, although “the fear” was never far from my mind. I get very anxious about eating in case I choke. This means I eat really fast to get through it. I did manage quite a few meals out which I was very impressed with myself for. We didn’t rush round trying to fit everything in, we took it very gently. I listened to a lot of music on the ipod which was useful to distract from stress. All in all though, a good holiday had by all. We’ve actually started to think about next year!!!!