I am looking back at the journeys where my life suddenly changed quite radically.
1. From Romford Road to Epping Forest
I was born on the Romford Road but very quickly, my mother decided she did not want me in her life. I was taken to a convent in Epping Forest. So you could say I became a convent girl at a very early age. As a child, very occasionally we would travel through Epping Forest and I would get the strangest feeling. It was only in my forties that I discovered that once it was home.
2. From Epping Forest to Dewsbury
I was fostered at the age of 11 months and by the people who would eventually become my adoptive parents. They were older than the norm so it was felt they would make a good fit with a child who was also that bit older. So unusually, I was adopted outside of the local area and found myself as a Yorkshire lass. Mum and Dad took me home on Bonfire Night so I have two birthdays like the Queen. Mum said it was so exciting taking their first daughter home and how it felt like all the fireworks were marking a new chapter for all of us.
3. From Dewbury to Cambridge – Stage 1
This is the first life-changing journey that I remember. My Dad drove me to my interview for entrance to Cambridge University. It was my very first interview for anything and very daunting. I remember babbling all the way down about war poetry and all the things I would say depending on what questions I was asked. I will never forget walking through the arch and seeing college for the first time.
4. From Dewsbury to Cambridge – Stage 2
It was a glorious day as we set off to get me settled in at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University. My parents wanted to make it a lovely day so we stopped for a picnic on the way down. Dad had bought a copy of the good university guide to reassure me that Cambridge really was good enough for me lol. We arrived and the magic began and continued for 3 lovely years.
5. From Cambridge to Dewsbury
I don’t think I had ever quite believed Cambridge would end. I remember travelling home and it felt like my whole world had ended. Goodbye to wonderful friends, lovely architecture and parties most nights of the week. I remember feeling bleak and also wondering how on earth I was going to tell my parents that actually I had decided I did not want to be a lawyer after all.
6. From Dewsbury to Carlisle
It took me a long time to work out what to do next. I ended up getting a job in an advice agency in Carlisle. This was the journey with Mum and Dad where I had to face the rather uncomfy fact that , like it or not, I was an adult and had better start making my way in the world. I remember thinking what a beautiful county I was moving to and Mum saying about a zillion times that I would be OK and it would all be amazing. I was in Carlisle for 3 years and apart from meeting the man who would hurt me most in the world, it was a good time.
7. From Dewsbury to Exeter and Back Again
My Dad drove me down to collect my things after I was told by my then partner that he had moved a girl in whilst I was away for the weekend. I remember Dad saying that if I let said fella con me again, it would be the end of my relationship with Mum and Dad. Of course, when someone decides they don’t want you and you still think you love them, things are not simple. I remember feeling sad and tearful all the way down. We collected my things and headed North so that at the age of 29 I could start all over again.
8. Back to Convent Girl
My college friends decided to start to repair my broken heart. We went on a sunny weekend to Wales where one of them had surprised us all by becoming a nun in an enclosed order. I remember meeting up with my friends at Birmingham New Street and suddenly feeling like me and realising that when you are part of a couple, some of that gets lost somewhere. We laughed, we had fun and one of my friends remembers me talking on and on about the man who is now my husband.
9. The Journey to Motherhood
When I went into my labour with my first child, I got into our car and within minutes it broke down. It was the middle of the night and we lived in the countryside so it was hours before a taxi turned up for us. I remember the driver was playing Beatles music and told me to scream along as much as I wanted. I took the poor bloke at his world. This definitely qualifies as the noisiest journey of my life and the one with the best prize at the end of it.
10. BritMums Live
I am going to BritMums Live this year having missed out last time round. I have a feeling it is going to change my life in ways I cannot imagine yet. It feels significant. So right from the moment I set off, I am going to savour every moment. Time away from family responsibilities, time to maybe discover how to let my hair down and time to travel to the next chapter.