The beginning of a holiday can sometimes feel like being in a badly landing plane.

Whether ‘piloted’ by day to day work, family or other responsibilities, it can take a while to adjust to the change of pace and other aspects of being on holiday. Whether or not we like or enjoy them, the temporary absence of those ‘normal’ routines can give rise to a range of unsettling questions and expectations.

How long will it take to get there? What will the accommodation be like? What do we do if it rains (or it’s too hot)?

It may take a few days to switch off: so we feel guilty that we’re not immediately ‘having a good time’. If we’re fortunate, we might then have some good days: and then spend the last ones thinking about going back to work or whatever our ‘normal’ looks like. And then there’s the inevitable ‘Did you have a nice holiday?’ questions – and the socially acceptable answer one feels honour bound to give, even when it may not be true.

I write this in the place where Jane and I had planned to go to a couple of years ago. We were on the brink of booking a self-catering cottage in the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales when Covid Lockdown put a stop to anything anyone considered to be normal routines.

It took us a while to get here. It took a while to switch off. Post-covid fatigue messed with my mind  in the first couple of days. The accommodation is clean and comfortable (we’ve stayed in better, we’ve stayed in worse). It’s been hot but manageable (rain has never bothered us, by the way).

The beauty of the surroundings is stunning – from the rugged mountains of Snowdonia to the calm seas of Caernarfon Bay. It’s good to get away.

Seaside rockWhere we are staying is 10 minutes’ walk from the aforementioned sea and its view over to Anglesey (it was good to know I could manage that walk too…). Years of cliff edge erosion has left rocks of all shapes and sizes among the pebbles and shingle from the never-ending tides and, no doubt, storms too. To get to the water’s edge requires both careful clambering over the rocks and walking on the fine, slippery shingle, watching one’s step carefully in all respects. There are rocks to sit on and places to simply stand and stare. To listen to the sea, the wind and the birds (no seals today, though).

The comparison is obvious, isn’t it. The rocks and shingle of life can be obstacles or cause us to slip up in our desire to reach the calmer places. We all want to find stability in times of change and difficulty (and yes, that was a deliberate plug for my new book.)

Yet, at the end of the day (literally, with the beach at Clynnog Fawr), while some may shift (or be joined by others) the rocks and the shingle remains. Those aspects of life which cause us difficulty or make us slip up may always be with us in some form or other.

And, at the end of the same day, the path to the calmer waters also remains. It often depends how we negotiate the rocks.

You may like to think about which rocks you clamber over and which you sit on – and where you simply stand and stare.



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In August, my new book Finding Stability in Times of Change will be published by a brand new, traditional publishing house, Endulini Publishing. If you would like to receive an advance copy and be able to write a review for Amazon and Good Reads, please click this link. Do also take a look at my new website at