As Michaelmas term started our life changed beyond all recognition as the kids started school, and I got to take the photos on the walk to school and see their excited faces as they entered for the first time. I could barely contain my joy and excitement, it’s an epic milestone in my children’s life’s that I was here to share.

I also began my new job coaching at a Business school and I’ve worked on Bosom Buddies; planning exercise classes, holding support walks, all whilst recovering from my own recent surgery. It’s been wonderfilled and action packed and on one night we even found ourselves racing to two events on the same night! Adjusting to the busy schedule of kids to school, returning to work has been amazing and exhausting in equal measure so to celebrate reaching half term I booked us a few days break in Pugli, to celebrate reaching these epic milestone.

Our last trip away, a night in Edinburgh celebrating a friends wedding, was all a bit last minute as I’d booked late (waiting for my surgery to heal), resulting in chaotic travel plans. So this time, as promised to himself, I booked the flights in good time, gave him the reassuring booking reference numbers and flight details. I booked a driver to collect us, planned the excursions and booked activities. I’m delighted with my newly acquired organisation (in my personal life that is, my working life has always required a high degree of organisation and somehow that comes easy!) especially as I’ve hardly had a minute to myself.At last we can relax as we arrive in Puglia the land of the ancient olive trees (over 50 million of them) with over a thousand years of history. They look like whimsical caricatures, or ghostly figures, old men and women held in tender embraces. They have stories to tell and they appear to whisper to each other although what they’re saying is a mystery to me and everyone else. As the sun sets over them, they’re enigmatic presence becomes even more powerful as lit up they look like statues, with a deep sense of purpose. It’s autumn and the trees are laden with fruits and olives.

The Masseria is preparing for its winter rest. We’re the last guests of the year and there’s a feeling of rushing around and a ring of sadness as the hotel will be under new management in spring and the owners will concentrate on their equally stunning sister Masseria nearby.We’ve enjoyed use of the beautiful spa facilities, walks through stunning orchards of lemons, oranges, limes and melons, the air is heavy with jasmine, orange scent so tangy you can taste the citrus in the air, making your mouth fill with water, in anticipation. We’ve also had some fun taking photos that I can use for breast awareness posts.The beach is beyond stunning, miles of wild crashing waves, brave kite surfers dancing into the air on the horizon… the kids take huge delight in digging in the sand and chasing each other around the golden sandy beach as wildly as a pair of lion cubs, without any need to be restrained. I take the immense enthusiasm in their task of digging as an opportunity to leave them with himself and attempt my first post-surgery run.Under surgeons orders I’ve had six weeks rest for the wounds to heal. I’ve tried to eat really well post surgery; daily mixed nuts ( walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds) plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, oily fish and protein like chicken breast and pulses. I’ve also moisturised and massaged the lines well, and I don’t know if it’s psychosomatic but I think the scar lines look amazing.

As for the run, it felt great to be back in my running gear. I started with some good stretches and set off, into the wild Adriatic winds, bare foot with the waves lapping around my feet and splashing up my legs. Can you possibly feel more alive and fresh than that?… it’s the end of the tourist session so within 2 minutes I was out of sight of the beach club and the other guests and could run with my arms opened wide and my face to the autumn sunshine and let out a woohoo… as in “I’m here and thank you universe for my tiny and humble place, on this magnificent planet we call earth…”The burn hit me, my chest burnt so I slowed the pace, drank some water and plodded a bit. On my return down the deserted beach the kids saw me coming and to my surprise they ran to me open armed and laughing, even at their tender age it felt like they knew the significance these baby steps had for me. We landed in a sandy heap on the floor and they kicked sand into my face, ha the dream ends there. The beach club has a wonderful restaurant serving seafood and pasta and we enjoyed a lazy afternoon wrapped up but in the fresh Adriatic air eating Puglia’s orecchiette pasta and seared tuna.

We woke the next morning to a downpour so decided to visit the UNESCO site of Alberobello, to explore the trulli whitewashed houses and we had hoped the weather would improve but it actually got worse. The heavens opened, the water rushing down the steps like a waterfall.

We still enjoyed seeing such a beautiful place but quickly retreated back to the masseria to warm up and chill out at the spa, enjoying some treatments and using the Turkish baths as the kids were entertained for a couple of hours, absolute bliss. Thee three nights went in a flash of playing hide and seek inside and amongst the olive trees, making up stories of dragons and castles and playing in the sand. We may have arrived stressed and battle weary but we left with smiles and sunshine in our hearts.

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