River Thames in Kingston - copyright Julia Barnickle

For the past few weeks, Paul and I have been going for daily walks in our neighbourhood, to try to improve my balance. This gets the job done, but it has to be said that it gets a bit boring – whilst our neighbourhood is okay, it’s not the most picturesque place to go for a walk.

We are fortunate enough to live fairly close to both Richmond Park and the River Thames in Kingston-upon-Thames – but it’s roughly a 15 minute car journey to either, which makes it more of a commitment than simply wandering round the local streets.

So I was pleased when Paul suggested we go for a walk by the river for a change, on a sunny autumn morning. It was so much more fun, and I took a couple of photos while we were there. The following morning was also sunny, so we headed off again, and this time I did some filming.

It’s quite a milestone, not only to be walking by the river again, but to be filming for the first time since the end of May – since before I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in the brain.

boat on the River Thames in Kingston - copyright Julia Barnickle

I haven’t written much about the brain tumour, because I’ve been focusing on recovering, and I wasn’t sure what to say. Suffice to say, it’s been a tough summer.

The tumour affected my ability to balance, which in turn affected my ability to walk and stand – but I’ve stayed positive throughout, and I have always been convinced, to my core, that I will get my balance back.

Although I’m not completely recovered yet, I’m feeling so much better – able to walk without having to cling to Paul’s arm all the time to prevent myself from veering off a straight course, or falling over. I still feel nervous when there are other people around, though, in case someone bumps in to me – but hopefully it won’t be too long before I feel confident enough to get about on my own.

I find it ironic that both times when I’ve been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer (in my spine in 2014, and in my brain in 2016) it’s stopped me from walking.

I love walking – I could walk for hours – and yet during the summers of 2014 and 2016 I’ve had to spend several months stuck indoors or limit myself to short walks while I recover.

It’s made me question whether I’ve been running away from myself – and whether the illness has been a way of getting me to stay put long enough to figure out who I really am and make changes in my life accordingly.

River Thames in Kingston - copyright Julia Barnickle

One of the things I’ve been planning over the past four months was to get rid of the clutter from my old life / career(s) that was no longer relevant.

So the past couple of weeks I’ve been decluttering my home office to make space for a wider desk, where I can paint bigger canvases – or multiple canvases at once. I also want desk space to take photographs and do some stop-motion filming, and anything else that takes my creative fancy.

During the process of decluttering, I’ve cleared out a lot of stuff from the past which was taking up too much space – both physically and emotionally – to make way for the next stage of my life.

The details of that next stage might not be totally clear yet, but I’m used to that! At least now I’m listening to my intuition, and it feels good. And I’m back to making films – and that feels good too!

2 thoughts on “Decluttering, and Kingston-upon-Thames Riverside Walk, London / Surrey

  1. Tracey Rissik

    Dear Julia, it’s good to hear that you’re on the mend and becoming more mobile … good luck with your continued improvement, and with creating more photos, videos etc. for us to enjoy with you .
    All the best, Tracey xx

  2. Julia Barnickle

    Thank you Tracey – my mobility still varies from day to day, but it’s wonderful to be able to get out more. xx

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