Despite the pain-in-the-arse journey encompassing 3 train changes and a bloody bus journey, the day itself was just what I needed. Even the walk from the small Hever station to the castle was pretty – picture big country houses, sprawling gardens and horses (and the odd alpaca) dotted around each corner. Hever Castle is set in beautiful grounds with award winning gardens, a lake and multiple mini-bridges over tiny rivers. We went on a Saturday so it was quite busy, but even then there were plenty of spots to escape and pester Joe into taking some photos for the blog (see, even got some work done haha!).
As soon as we arrived we headed straight for the castle, so Joe could soak up as much of Anne Boleyn’s presence as possible. He loves Tudor history and is obsessed with Anne Boleyn, so visiting her childhood home was the main reason he wanted to go. I, on the other hand, spent the whole time trying to decide if I was the type of person to churn through six husbands, and ultimately decided that I probably would kill my partner in the heat of the moment if I could do it and get away with it (I’ve based this on the fact that I try and make very dramatic exits when I’m drunk and annoyed, so undoubtedly I’d go straight to beheading if somebody didn’t give me enough attention).
Hever Castle is truly beautiful, but I was so ready to take a guilt-free day off that I think a lap of my local park would have done it. I think we punish ourselves too readily for wanting a break from work when there’s always so much to be done, but there’s only so far we can push ourselves before we just burn out. We also need to cater to the specific way that we work, and not the way that others do. I work in bulk; when I write my dissertation, I do 1000+ words at a time and then wander off for a couple of days to get my other shit done. As much as I try to break it down into more digestible and less stressful ‘400 words a day’ chunks, this just doesn’t work for me. It isn’t my style.
Don’t be afraid to give yourself a guilt-free day off. This doesn’t mean a day where you don’t get anything done but you’re constantly worried about how you’ll factor everything in, this means a day spent decompressing, turning off your bloody emails and appreciating that you need to calm the fuck down sometimes without feeling like you’re on the path to eternal damnation. Maybe you need to go to a spa, maybe you need to go to a castle, or maybe you need to go nowhere at all – whatever you do, just clear your mind, remain guilt-free and give your head a break. And if all else fails, just be grateful that you weren’t born to be one of King Henner’s doomed wives. Sure you got to be queen, but I’m not even sure if he was a great shag tbh.
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