I was in pain when I woke up. My hips were throbbing and the Endometriosis ache was surging through my sides. Shifting on my back, I wondered if it was too late to cancel our plans? I couldn't guarantee I wasn't going to be sick again.
My husband peered around the bedroom door, "How are you feeling? If you want to cancel we'd better do it soon..."
Bright, beautiful sunshine was streaming through the window, and knowing how rare it has been this summer, I responded with, 'No, I'm OK'.
I wanted to be up, out and taking photos of a church we hadn't been to yet. It might seem a strange hobby (especially for an Atheist) but I love taking photos of churches almost as much as I love taking photos of derelict buildings!
Besides, I knew I needed a break from things. Campaigning can take over your life if you let it, and I’d recently began to realise that that is exactly what was happening to me.
Another day of dealing with the problems and pain this government was causing, and I’d end up in tears. Sometimes the very thought of it made (and makes) me feel tired.
It was my husband who made me stop and think. He said, ‘you are entitled to a life you know. You’ve spent every day fighting against this government, and whether you realise it or not, they’ve already taken part of your life away – because it’s all about the fight now’.
Something jolted in me, and I realised he was right. Since we started ‘Radical Spirit Radio’ on top of all the other campaigning as well, I had let it take over. I was at the point where I felt guilty if I took the day off. I think maybe, I’m still there now, but after that conversation, I’m trying to be better.
We have a battle on our hands and it’s a battle that we shouldn’t have to fight. We deal with illness, disability, pain and exhaustion one way or another. If this government had their way, they would make us feel like we don’t deserve a life – but we do. Every single one of us!
We all need a rest sometimes – otherwise we’ll burn out. I want better than that for all of us, and I decided to put myself first.
Churches and the graveyards that surround them are special to me. It's the architecture, the history, but most importantly it's the peace and the stillness. There is a calming effect whether you believe in 'anything else' or not.
Churches rarely change so the feeling of timelessness is another thing that attracts me. Imagine all those people for all those generations, that have pushed open that heavy door...
I didn't bother with breakfast - I rarely do. The 'Endo' makes me feel to sick in the mornings. Instead I swallowed a painkiller and sipped a cup of tea. Tea is my 'starter fuel' and feeling sick or not, I find I don't function well without it!
Marian, (my husband's sister) arrived and gave me a hug. We watched our husband's load my wheelchair into the back of their new car. "I hope it fits" she said, smiling at me, "Me too" I replied as another pain shot through my hip and down to my toes.
Mells church, (the church of St Andrew) is especially pretty. I loved the porch with its window, that you can see above the outer door, and the interior is especially ornate, so much detail and unique memorials - one if which was designed by Edwin Lutyens.
The graveyard has several notable burials, perhaps the most notable is Siegfried Sassoon (1886 - 1967) -the war poet and soldier.
With my wheelchair parked beside his grave (the church yard is too bumpy to push the wheelchair over and I definitely was not in a fit state to walk even a little way on my crutches), I wondered about all the things he must have seen. That has to change a person.
The writer in me wondered about his writing process, and if he had a desk! I don't have one - usually it's the dining room table or my notebook comes to bed with me...
I shivered a bit as the pain ran through me again...but nothing compared to what people involved in war must experience. I felt lucky.
Mells is quite close to us. It's a beautiful village with old cottages, a post office, pub and a few tea rooms.
The place is riddled with history, and I believe the nursery rhyme 'Little Jack Horner' has its origins there. The Horner's being local wealthy landowners, and responsible for bringing many 'arty types' to the village.
The sunshine made my pain seem less important, and as I sat on the wooden outdoor chairs of 'The Walled Garden' with the warmth on my back, I knew I'd done the right thing in forcing myself to go out. It is a case of forcing myself sometimes - what with the pain, nausea and depression, it can be easy to just stay at home with my husband and let the days slip by.
The lemon drizzle cake sweet on my tongue, the sunshine, and my husband's hand in mine made me so glad this one hadn't.