Abbs has always done her own thing, and has never taken the easy route. When she moved from London to Liverpool I thought it was pretty brave, as in those days Liverpool was bandit country, and she just launched herself at it.
Having made a success of Liverpool over the last 20 years, she has now launched herself across Europe to a remote village in Transylvania. She has found a very beautiful corner of the world and is obviously loving every minute of it. I can see exactly why it reminds her so much of our childhood home in West Sussex – her family and mine lived across the river from each other, and we played in the woods and orchards between. Abbs’s home today has the same peace and warmth and friendliness of Sussex 50 years ago.
Even so, Abbs’s ability to live and work on her own is something I admire, since I very much dislike the solitary life. How she does it without being incredibly lonely, I can’t imagine.
It’s true that some of the expeditions I’ve been on have meant long weeks of solitude, but I’ve never felt alone because I’ve always felt linked to my loved ones.
When my first wife Ginny – Abbs’s sister – died in 2004, that link was broken for the first time in forty years, and it was devastating. I would have given anything to bring my Ginny back. My second wife and our children have forged new links, making me a very fortunate man. But I will never forget that dark dark void.
To live with that feeling of loneliness for years must be crippling. I imagine that people would pay almost any price to ‘escape’.
Curing loneliness could do much to heal our fractured modern society; so Abbs’s ability to explain how she has conquered loneliness and teach people to do the same is a wonderful thing to share.