Just when you think it’s all going swimmingly, life tends to throw a curveball your way to keep you on your toes. Even those little surprises, simply because you weren’t expecting them, can rejuvenate or ruin your mood for the day. I don’t believe in ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’ but ‘karma’ has a funny way of proving to be true no matter how much I deny its implausible existence.
The first of these little surprises happened in the morning after my visit to Portland Castle. The castle is actually one of Henry VIII’s device forts, designed strategically to protect the English coastline from European invasion.
My mood was positively chipper as I headed back to Groggy the campervan to whip up some brunch. Just as I lit the gas hob, the heavens opened, and all those poor people I saw arrive at Portland Castle after me were caught in the rain and getting drenched. I, however, was warm and dry #smug.
I turned around to face the sink and felt a big drop of water hit my back. Then another. And another. The sun roof had sprung a leak, and as I turned back to the hob, another leak appeared in the top corner of the back door.
I hadn’t known Groggy to leak like this before because I normally park on flat ground (makes for a more comfortable night’s sleep!) but this time I was on an incline – and the rain was gushing in. Not only was I gutted that Groggy was leaking, I fell even harder because my mood had been so high all morning.
Surprise number two came during a heavy evening session in the pub. I had been made to feel very welcome by the locals and we were all having a great time talking, playing pool and even singing. Nobody was getting too drunk and there was a generally happy atmosphere which was completely of its time and in its own moment.
After a while, one of the men in our happy band of boozers invited me outside to get some fresh air. Just as we reached the door, he lunged at me and tried to kiss me. Life’s little surprises come in all shapes and sizes! It is such a shame how one drunken misjudgement can mar your memory of an otherwise happy place or time when it need not have happened at all.
However, not all of life’s little surprises are negative. My first stop on Becky Jo’s Great British Tour in Groggy brought me to Pevensey. I invited an old friend along for the first few days and it was brilliant to catch up and to simply spend some time together. I truly believe that time is the most important asset we all own and we are not always as generous with it as we like to think.
The third surprise came in the form of exceeded expectations: My friend Simon and I went to Pevensey Castle and he believed it to be nothing more than the Roman fort you can see from the road. Once we were inside, however, we were met with the stunning ruins of a medieval castle, its inner bailey still largely intact.
We spent hours exploring the castle and learning how it was adapted for different uses over the years, including a camouflaged pillbox built into one of the towers in the 1940s. Even when it started to rain, nothing could dampen our spirits because what we found was so much greater than what we had expected.
There is no way of controlling life’s little surprises and you can’t prepare for any curveball or every eventuality; all you can do is try to manage your expectations (that way, you’ll rarely be disappointed with what you find) and remember that for all of the bad fortune life slings your way, there will always be those golden surprises which can keep you smiling for days on end.