Portsmouth for the first time this year. It was not as bad as I thought it would be, turned it into a mini-day trip. My lovely companion drove us down there, taking a completely different route than I have been used to. I have been driving and have been driven to Portsmouth for over 20 years – so this was a surprising and refreshing change.
Once I had completed all the things that I needed to do – I was free to relax and show him all my all old haunts.
Gunwharf Quays was a place I used to frequent when I was not working in my senior house officer days. It is a mass of outlet stores, restaurants, bars, cinema and home to the Spinnaker tower. I learned to Tango dance in Portsmouth, cannot say that I remember any of the moves now! I spent hours watching boats sail into and out of the harbour. I was hypnotised by the bobbing of the boats on the water. Yes – I do cherish some of the memories from my time in this naval city.
As ever, a place is not truly discovered and enjoyed without exploring the local cuisine. I took my lovely companion to an Italian restaurant that I once ate at, many many years ago on a sunny summer evening. At that time I was single and somewhat lonely but still had the presence of mind to enjoy my own company. This time it was nice to share this lovely place with somebody special and create a new set of memories. It goes without saying that the food was delicious.
All in all, I had a better time than expected. Yes, my heart starting racing when we passed some all too familiar landmarks. Yes a deep sense of sadness will always be there but I managed to keep it together. We had to call out the RAC on the way back but apart from that it was a pleasant journey back home. This time the same route but a different narrative. A sense of heading towards something more positive.
It’s funny, on the car on the way there I was on the phone to my sister. She told me that she could not go yet to Portsmouth because of the memories. I responded that that I had no choice and I would have to put the bad memories aside and get on with things. I felt that I did not really have the luxury of being distressed. But I guess that is somehow not completely true, instead I took the opportunity to take a new path and create new memories. It is part of moving on. It is part of trying to accept and live with what has happened. Onwards. Upwards. Forwards.