I will never forget the first time my two daughters went away on holiday with their dad, I was still recovering from a difficult divorce and I had never spent an extended time away from my kids. The tense relationship between me and my ex meant that it was difficult to get in touch with my daughters. My girls missed me and often cried and wanted to come back home when they heard my voice and my ex got angry when I called. At the time my girls were five and seven and they were going to fly to Antigua for a fortnight. Even before they left I found myself having nightmares about them drowning and was worried sick and hoped that my ex-husband would watch them around the swimming pool.
The first morning they were away I woke up at 3 AM in the morning, I had never experienced pain like this before. The pain of the divorce had been bad, but the forced separation from my kids was worse than any other type of pain I had experienced before. I was desperate. I kept checking my phone hoping there is a message. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I also realized that I was not fit to work. There was no way I could face going to my bank and doing my usual job as senior banker in the City. In my desperation, I sent an email to my boss asking for time off, then I packed a small tent. Asking for time off without advance notice was not common practice at my work; however, I was desperate. Divorce or any type of personal problems was not something anybody talked about and emotions or my emotional state was a tabu subject in my work place. A senior banker was expected to perform 150 percent in all circumstances and my supervisor assumed that getting divorced meant that I could work longer hours.
Back then I had a cabriole BMW. When I called my giant German shepherd to the car and asked him to jump onto the back seat, my faithful dog jumped into the tiny car with such an enthusiasm, I had to smile for the first time. My dog Mickey is the best friend anybody going through a divorce should have.
We drove 5 hours, to Low Wray campsite in the Lake District, a campsite at Lake Windemere I had been with my kids. I pitched my tiny tent right at the water. Mickey and I went hiking and I had to walk for several hours to calm down my anxieties sufficiently so that I could sit down at a pub. I had taught my older daughter how to use What’s App before she left and I had bought her a cell phone so that she can call me if she wants to. There was a large time-difference with Antigua but when I checked my messages I saw a message from my daughter with many emojis, that said: “Can’t sleep. Can you tell me a story?”
All my life, I had told my daughters stories at bed time, little stories that I had made up and my girls loved my stories. I was so happy to hear something from my little angel and I immediately started texting her on Whats App a magical story about a witch and her daughter. I typed the story paragraph by paragraph but didn’t receive another message from my daughter that day.
That night I struggled to fall asleep and I squished my giant dog into the tent with me and I hugged my dog and cried myself to sleep. The next morning, I was up again at 3 in the morning and I put my hiking boots on and holding a torch I started hiking with my dog in the dark. I was in so much pain and I was so worried about my kids, I didn’t know what else to do. I walked as if I was trying to walk away from my troubles. I was hungry and desperately waited for the camp shop to open. They opened at 8:30 am and I gulped down their bacon baguette. That’s when I noticed another message from my daughter. The message had again a huge number of emojis including a thumbs up sign and said ”tell me more…” I was over the moon to hear from my daughter and spend the rest of the day hiking in the Lake District. I brainstormed on a story line while I was walking and every now and then I stopped to write another paragraph to my daughter. Writing a story for my daughter calmed me down and it gave me something to do. I kept writing to my daughter for the next two weeks until they returned home.
These text messages later became the first draft of the first children’s book I ever wrote.
About the author: Living in Billericay, Essex with her two daughters Sibel Beadle previously worked as a senior banker for the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development in Central London before becoming a full time children’s author. Previous titles in her Witchy Travel Talesseries include;The Seven Sisters andSleepless in Stonehenge (Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd 2017). The third, The Golden Bunny of the Lake Districtis published by Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd March 2018. All three books are available to purchase in paperback RRP £6.99 from online retailers including amazon.co.uk. For more information please visit: www.witchytraveltales.com