All by Myself

I’ve been fancying a solo retreat for months. Pouring over the pictures of mountain top retreats; imagining healthy tasty food served up by top notch chefs; fantasising about long walks along a sunkissed beach; beauty treatments that will reveal a younger more beautiful me; yoga perhaps to bring a state of stillness and calm to my monkey mind.

I saw an article with the beautiful Amanda Holden returning from a Jason Vale Juicing retreat just looking so gorgeous and it inspired me to look further. SIX GRAND!! Are you kidding me?? SIX GRAND!!! My car isn’t even worth that.

I check my bank balance and can just about afford £35.46.

I share my plight with a friend – and he has a great suggestion – I can have his caravan by the sea if he can use our house for the weekend. Houseswap. Not quite a Portugese coastal Health Spa but more in my price range ie free!

So off I go – alone. But not lonely. In fact can’t wait for some feckin peace! spend my £35.46 on ready made juices as cannot be fucked cleaning the juicer out five times a day. I also get two face masks and an intensive oil treatment for my hair. I find a lush bath bomb in the bathroom cabinet – a Christmas present I had forgotten about til now. I decide I will also have 2 days break from all social media as I noticed one of the retreats offer that. (have a feeling they are maybe just too tight to pay for wifi). But a digital detox sounds the way to go.

I get to the caravan and load my stuff out, I have never been in a caravan before. Caravans are small. I am tall. I throw my bag on the bed and as I fall forward I headbutt the side of a shelf. I fall forward and clutch my head rolling on the bed in a way that would make an English footballer proud. FFS!!. I lie there in agony literally seeing stars before I get up and look cautiously in the mirror. A tiny tiny red dent. How is that possible? I feel really sick – but cannot be sick due to my bodys determination to hang onto every single calorie it possibly can.

My clumsiness has certainly increased since hitting menopause. A ‘funny’ birthday present from my partner was a ‘Mr Bump’ book. How I fucking laughed!! Though I do seem particularly talented in sustaining head injuries. And am furious at whatever idiot decided to put door handles at hip height. Changes in estrogen levels causes loss of co-ordination and clumsiness advises my Menopause guide book. No shit Sherlock!! I so admire women who can still wear heels at this age – I can trip over my own feet in sketchers! I am quite literally an accident waiting to happen! I have been wondering about pitching the idea of a Ms Menopause book to the Mister Men franchise.

I have one of my juices and head to bed still feeling a bit sick. I am determined to have a nice 8 hour sleep. After ten mins I am wide awake – menopausal anxiety has kicked in. What if I am concussed? What if there is no mark on my head because I have internal brain damage?. I feel my head – it is sore to the touch. I go back to the bathroom and examine my head in the mirror – still nothing. I debate getting my phone from the car (left their to keep out of temptation) to ask all on social media if I should head to the nearest a&e. But fall asleep before I can decide

Fortunately I wake up and am alive. I head to the bathroom and gasp in horror. There is a purple lump the size of half an egg between my eyebrows and a massive black eye is forming. I stare in morbid fascination. Fuck it – I have to get my phone and take photos and send to my nurse friends who are totally unsympathetic and say it will be fine. I toddle out for my phone and the couple in the next caravan stare at me and give me a kindly smile – I smile back. ‘you ok love’ the husband says – ‘yes I say’ – how lovely caravaners are! I try to google concussion but there is feck all wifi.

It is odd to be alone but I carry on with my plan – five mile hike today. I decide that a juice won’t cut it so will have a full breakfast at the caravan park pub – as the pub also has wifi. The waitress in there is so kind and keeps putting her hand on my arm and asking how I am. I am attracting kindly yet pitying looks from all others. I wonder if I have dropped beans down my top. Nope. Then I go to the loo and the penny drops. I come out and I swear everyone is looking at me and it isn’t just menopausal paranoia. Everyone in the caravan park thinks I am a domestic abuse victim – I am sure of it. Like Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy but fatter and spottier.

I start my hike and the wind whips up – typical after months of sun it is now a gale force wind. I struggle through then something – I think a bird – bashes across the back of my head. I scream and turn round. No-one. Nothing. I keep going and it happens again. WTF? Then I realise – it is my bloody rucksack – the clicky buttons to hold the top down aren’t working so the wind is whipping it up against my head. Am getting annoyed now and resist the temptation to take it off and do a Basil Fawlty on it with one of the many sticks lying around. I do a mile more and think Fuck it – take a few selfies and lie on the beach reading my book for a bit. A completely gorgeous deserted beach. I could get used to this.

Finally get back at 5pm. And realise it was hot today. Very hot – but the bastarding wind had hidden that fact. I am burnt to bits – face, ears, shoulders all in pain.

I want to have a cool bath with my Lush Bath Bomb but I did the bath is about 2 foot square – so have to settle for cool shower. I am on fire!!

Next day I am more than ready to go home but decide to sit out and enjoy the sun for just a little while (keeping burnt bits covered). I realise the stones that are holding the awning bit down are hot. Very hot. And have a great idea. I pour some olive oil on them and wait for it to heat up. I rub the resulting hot oily stones on my legs (arms too burnt from yesterday) and it is heavenly. And completely free.

Last cool shower and I head for home. Looking less Amanda Holden and more like a Burns Victim that has just done 3 rounds with Mike Tyson. Not exactly the image I was aiming for.

Being alone is very good for the menopausal soul. Though being alone in a Portugese spa for a couple fo months would be even better!

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