It is more than ten months since I last filed a report from the Settee of Sickness, but here I am again, so maybe it's time to do an update on how I fared in my jaunting plans for 2014.
I listed roughly ten places I wanted to see and set myself a target of visiting four of them by the end of the year. I doubt I'll get much more jaunting in before Christmas, though, so now's as good a time as any to see how I did.
1. 12th century Lullington Church on the Somerset/Wiltshire border, famed for its Norman carvings, which I'd failed to get into on an earlier jaunt.
Well, actually, I ended up visiting the very next day while engaged in a chauffeuring job for Son the Elder, and as luck would have it, I didn't even have to go hunting for the key as one of the stewards was there showing a prospective bride and groom around.
And even if I had, it would have been well worth the effort. Such a beautiful, light-filled place, even on a dank January afternoon.
2. Zennor in Cornwall - I wanted to see the carved mermaid on the pew in St Senara's Church and have a wander around the coast.
To be honest, I'd forgotten this was on my list till after I'd been there. My companion had wanted to visit Land's End, so we'd had a wander there instead, and the Mynack Theatre. I squeezed in a quick dash to St Senara's on the way back to Devon. I must have heard a snatch of that siren song.
Having fallen unexpectedly in love with Penwith, I'd like to go back but I still think I can cross this one off the list.
I also visited St Michael's Mount and Mousehole from down there, which could equally have been on my list. Taking the new service station on the A30 with its Cornish signs on the toilets into account as well, I think Cornwall did me proud this year.
3. Part a of 3 was going to see Another Place, Antony Gormley's installation at Crosby Beach, and yes, I managed to get there too. Had no idea that I would be in that part of the world when I put it on a list, but a visit to Manchester and Liverpool in May meant that it was too close not to see.
Part b - the Angel of the North - is far further flung and remains to be seen.
4. This item involved Dorset and quite a few places that would take more than one day to see. We ended up making a couple of trips there, and from my list I crossed off Thomas Hardy's cottage at Higher Bockhampton, Stinsford Church and churchyard where he, both wives, and Cecil Day Lewis are buried
and beachcombing at Burton Bradstock where I found a fossil.
I did try to get to Fleet, where the novel 'Moonfleet' by J Meade Falkner is set but couldn't seem to find it apart from maybe the church, which we hurtled past, by then in search of an emergency pub. I was envisaging a fishing village scattered along Chesil beach but there just seemed to be a rather upmarket holiday gulag there. Will have to do some proper googling and return. Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door await another day.
5. A trip to St Cadoc's in Llancarfan with its wonderful wall paintings fell at the final hurdle when one of our party had to drop out last minute. Can't remember what I did instead.
6. Oh and I didn't get to Laugharne in the year of Dylan Thomas's centenary or St David's either.
7. I have still never been to Lundy. In fact, I didn't visit any islands this year at all unless you count St Michael's Mount. And the one I live on.
8. Mother Shipton's Cave closed for the winter the day before I hoped to go there. But we went to Bolton Abbey and saw the Strid instead and I know there's a poem down there somewhere. In fact, Yorkshire has been good to me this year, with visits to Filey and Holmfirth too. Though that's enough with the yellow bikes now.
9. The White Horses of Wiltshire have generally cantered off in the opposite direction this year. I did get to photograph the one at Alton Barnes, but as I said before, I think I need to treat them as a pilgrimage and go on foot, so I don't think this really counts.
10. Radstock Museum. It was mentioned and a trip plotted but in the end I didn't get there.
I think that's definitely more than four crossed off a list of rather more than ten so mission accomplished ... for now.
I have a big life thingy coming up in 2015 and am not sure how much spare time I will have for gallivanting. That said, drawing up a list of potential destinations and setting a target does seem to sharpen the will to get out - and however busy I am, I find jaunting a sustaining thing. So I shall have a think while I'm holed up over winter about a new list for a new year.