We’d been planning it for months. I wanted to go – to take what might be my last chance to visit with my Danish family. But I was still – infuriatingly – feeling weak and vulnerable.

Just not so weak (at least in my opinion) that I couldn’t handle my own baggage and take it to the plane…

And that was (probably) my first and worst mistake.

The first part of our journey was smooth enough. Picked up by my good friend Mike Drain and whisked away to Stansted with no need to drive ourselves. No need to check in, because we’d done that online. Slight hiccup at security as they failed to find whatever Rosemary had about her person that could have triggered their alarm. Unnecessarily long walk to the gate as everyone in the world tried to sell us things we didn’t need, while we looked for the things we did need. (Two adapters so we could charge our electronics – and presents for our Danish hosts…)

And – yes – I was already starting to feel very, very tired.

We had no problems getting on the plane but the cabin crew, seeing Rosemary’s difficulty getting up the steps, very kindly took our bags and stowed them for us. A short and easy flight to Billund, where we knew my cousin Steen would be waiting for us. Down the steps with the bags. And then…

Something happened. I’m still not sure what. A muscular spasm? Followed by a sharp pain half way up my back, and a ring of pain around the base of my ribcage.

Which didn’t go away for the rest of the trip.

We’d been almost the last off the plane, and Steen had evidently been getting worried. He called me. Luckily my phone was a) charged and b) safely connected to the local network, so I was able to reassure him. An hour’s drive into Esbjerg where we met his delightful partner, Jytte, and then I could rest.


After a good rest I joined Steen, Jytte and Rosemary for conversation and afternoon coffee (a splendid Danish institution) – and rather overdid the excellent coffee. (Five trips to the loo during the night were my punishment – luckily the loo was just opposite our bedroom…)

And so ended our first day…