‘We flew home straight away and he died two months later,’ she says sadly.
‘My whole world went grey and I cried enough tears to sink a battleship.
She took one look and rushed him off to the doctor.’ Mary was shocked to learn that Phil was suffering from pancreatic cancer and had only a few months to live.
Nothing held any joy for me any more.’ Mary remembers sitting in a chair in a dressing gown at home in Twickenham, South-West London, for three whole days, unable to move or engage with the world in any way.
She knew she was sinking into depression and feared she’d never recover. ‘I realised my kids had lost one parent and didn’t want to lose another. I was hurting all over, but I knew I had to pull myself together,’ she says.
‘Travel has been my way of coping with grief and learning to enjoy life on my own,’ says Mary, who has charmingly nicknamed herself the Roving Wrinkly.
She and Phil, who was an accountant, had a very happy relationship. Money was tight when their children were growing up, and family holidays were spent in France in a camper van.