For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to visit New York.
Given that my husband had never stepped on a plane up until October 23 this year, it seemed a remote wish.
At the risk of sounding utterly cheesy, if you have a dream, then chase it
But the ‘until October 23’ bit is the only clue you need.
Achieving the travel ambition of a lifetime, alone with my partner and kids being safely looked after by grandma, was an experience that was beyond words.
The Empire State Building at sunset, the Top of the Rock at dawn, the 9/11 memorial and cycling around Central Park at 8.30am were all I’d hoped and then some.
New York is a city in which you never want to sleep and we didn’t waste a second.
There are things in everybody’s life that seem like dreams.
Things we would love to do but feel we will never achieve.
But, every so often, you have to grab that dream by the horns and bite the proverbial bullet.
We will all only be here experiencing this life once, an honest cliché, and one that should serve to remind us that, sometimes, you just have to go for it.
We timed our NYC trip to coincide with my upcoming 40th and our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary.
It was years, literally, in the planning, and it was worth every single, hard-earned penny.
It transpires that there really is steam pouring up from the pavements in New York.
There really are yellow cabs beeping their horns 24/7 and my husband – after a lifetime of no planes – rather enjoys air travel.
The emotion of actually achieving this long-held dream caused me to get quite choked up on occasion whilst we were in NY.
It’s given me pause for thought about other wants and ambitions that people foster.
To many people, our personal dreams may appear small fry – it’s all relative, after all – but to those who hold them they are monumental.
At the risk of sounding utterly cheesy, if you have a dream, then chase it. Realise it, work hard for it, and go after it.
DO YOU RECKON OUR TRADITIONS ARE JUST A LITTLE BIT TWISTED?
Halloween is over for another year.
That night when we actively encourage our kids to go out in the dark, pester and knock on the door of strangers and accept whatever junk food they happen to offer them.
It got me thinking that it’s right up there with Christmas, when a fat man in a red suit will creep into their bedrooms after dark.
Then there’s Easter, when a giant rabbit will bounce into their homes and scatter pastel-shaded confectionery around the place.
This is followed by the concept of the tooth fairy, a winged individual who collects the teeth of strangers, swiping them from underneath your head as you sleep and replacing them with coins.
IN POMPEY, I SUSPECT DISPLAYS WOULDN’T HAVE LASTED THE NIGHT
Whilst in New York, it was incredible to see just how clean the city is in comparison to ours.
As well as seeing myriad people cleaning the streets, we were also struck by the outdoor displays.
Ready for autumn and Halloween, there were hundreds of pumpkins, bales of straw and corns on the cob strung about the trees and street corners.
Had these been in Pompey, I suspect they would have lasted less than a night.
There’s no way that displays such as these wouldn’t have been dismantled, kicked around like footballs and scattered across the streets by morning.
But in NYC, there they were, day in, day out.
The public funding – and our lack of it – was plain to see.