October 2015 was a mad one workwise. I had a hectic and fun few weeks at work travelling quite literally the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and also getting my case studies up for my reflexology training. David, as always has been brilliant being my rock at home and keeping the house running.  He has also relished me being away as he could indulge in his guilty food pleasure of Fray Bentos pies and limitless sport on TV.

Not one to wish my life away, but since the start of October I was on a countdown to the last weekend of the month, that would be when I would be able to stop reflect, regroup and recharge.

Regrouping & Recharging

As you know, I am a massive fan of a bit of downward dog to bring me back to me and to centre myself.  Regrouping and recharging can come about in other ways, not just through yoga. It can also come about by spending time with people you love, a change of scenery; reminiscing and creating new memories. For me, the perfect way to say goodbye to October and all the new exciting opportunities and friendship that she brought with her was just that; a change of scenery and catch up with a great girlfriend and to spend hours sitting chatting over good food and drinks in a great location.

Location, Location, Location

I live in Northamptonshire, and my friend lives in Royal Berkshire, so to make the most of the day we opted for somewhere in between both hometowns.  Oxford was the obvious choice, yet to get to Oxford and find parking whereby you don’t have to take out a second mortgage can prove at times maybe even a challenge too far for Aneka. Our Modi Operandi for the day was all about relaxing. Ms. RB suggested Henley- on-Thames.  Perfect, easy access for both of us and just the right size to meet and mooch.

Off I headed down the M40, smiling to myself as it was less the 24 hours since I had been travelling the other way up the same road the day before on my way back from Brighton.  The M40 and I were becoming great friends. The sun was shining, and I wondered how many of my fellow travellers were heading down the same road to watch the All Blacks vs. The Wallabies in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham. I arrived at Henley in a great time, the Autumn sun was out and shining bright, and it seemed that everyone else had had the same idea as Ms. RB and myself.

Food & Friendship not Facebook

Arriving at HoT Mrs. RB pointed me to parking at Waitrose, everyone else, seemed to have the same idea and were rushing around to get their weekly shop complete before kick off.  I met up with Ms. RB, and we set off in search of food and a spot to chat, people watch and while away the afternoon.  Too often in this day and age, spending an afternoon as we had planned together like this can be deemed as being selfish, a waste of time, or a luxury. This, we watched as people rushed their lunch, took their coffee on the go and hurried back to get to where they “should” be doing something.  All the while not connecting with the person they were sat with, or looking where they were going. Here they were on this beautiful Autumn Saturday, in a lovely part of England, would the world spin off its axis if just for 30 minutes these people rushing about stopped?

We all need to be a little selfish from time to time, by selfish I don’t mean stealing from others and not sharing,  I mean coming back to ourselves, giving ourselves the time and space we need. Frequently we are giving ourselves out to others and projecting an image and our energy out there and not countering this through taking the time to put it back into us. No wonder everyone is always tired. It’s exhausting; you can’t run a car without petrol

Ease over Effort

We’ve all been there, trying to lock a door when the key jams.  The more we try to force it, the harder it is to lock or unlock the door.  If you take a moment, breathe and step away for a second, then go back to lock or unlock calmly and gently the key and lock work with you. I frequently use this metaphor in my daily life and one that was pertinent to our lovely afternoon in Henley.  Ms. RB and I  placed our order sensed the waiter was keen to rush and bring our orders as quickly as humanly possible.  We both put him at ease and advised we were on no particular time restraints or agenda, we appreciated his customer service skills and attentiveness to our needs there was a direct shift in his energy once he came onto our plain of no rush and no expectation.  His professionalism did not waiver, yet his manner seemed to lighten as he settled into our rhythm and equally appreciated that we were there for a quality time. The food and drink arrived, the conversation flowed.  So much so that we had whiled away over 3 hours sitting luxuriating over a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc each and Dover Sole with sides.

Want over need

I’m a sucker for (in no particular order) a statement pair of shoes, a soft leather bag, statement scarves or necklaces and clothing that feels soft, allows your skin to breathe and makes you feel and look amazing and great food and drink. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on which way you look at it) Henley on Thames has a wealth of shops that accommodate my tastes. My mother always said I had champagne taste on lemonade money. As Ms. Rb and I roamed the High Street, I was introduced to the wonder that is Mint Velvet.  Cashmere, cotton, brushed jersey feminine loveliness.  So many beautiful items and temptations and this are all they remained.  For on that day, while I may have wanted them I did not need them and had I purchased any of the lovely items, I may have been full of guilt on my journey home as to whether  I could truly afford the items as well as truly needed them. Instead, on my journey back home up the M40, I was rich with the experience. With the days growing longer and Summer just around the corner, a return trip to HoT is most definitely on the cards. This time, around though a physical souvenir or two may be brought home……….