My mum has had a pretty grim time these last eighteen months so as a little (big, actually) pick-me-up, she and I went on our very first Mother Daughter Trip. We escaped to Bali for a week and took in the Ubud Writers Festival, together with a dose of sunshine, relaxation and respite from caring duties (hers, not mine unless you count feeding and watering three able-bodied lads and a husband, which I don't because these days they can feed and water themselves. Mostly).
I was a bit nervous about how Mum would fare, but we took things slowly and apart from one or two hitches (long queues in airports which proved tricky but were resolved by Mum nearly collapsing and me requesting a wheelchair which means you then get fasttracked through all the checks and desks - note to self for next time: book wheelchair right from the start) things went swimmingly.
The festival was excellent with lots of interesting authors and essayists and playwrights (Val McDermid is a hoot, Fiona McFarlane is funny and eloquent, Eimear McBride is quite simply brilliant), great panel discussions and stunning locations and venues (but the steps! oh so many steps and stairs are hard work for an 82 year old)and an outstanding Women of Letters evening which was my personal highlight.
There was also quite a lot of reading of books by the pool (I read The Signature of All Things and can highly recommend it) and the odd DVD watched while Mum went to bed early (The Railway Man, and The Dallas Buyers Club).
Beautiful sunsets and sunrises, always.
Wildlife on steroids.
It feels a bit like a stolen dream time now I'm back at my desk, cleaning the kitty litter tray, trying to come up with yet another dinner and wrangling the boychildren here there and everywhere.
But it was a wonderful and special thing to do together, just my mum and I. My only regret is that we waited until we are in our fifties and eighties to do it.