Ah yes, the freedom of Travel with a capital T: being ready for anything, meeting anyone, changing plans in an instant. No work commitments, no diary appointments, no regular routines getting in the way of spontaneous adventure…
When we first arrived in the Barn, I was finishing a 2-month ‘cleanse’ of no sugar, almost no wheat, minimal carbs, and various herb concoctions before and after eating (on the advice of both a doctor and naturopath, trying to deal with a water-borne parasite I’d picked up somewhere- Hello Blasto 😦 ). Within a week I was having fresh bread spread with unsalted butter and homemade jam for breakfast, or croissants and pain au chocolat; incredibly rich and varied omelets for lunch followed by more cheese and bread; chicken or fish with garlic potatoes for dinner, finished with more cheese of course. The other day I even drank a glass of champagne in the afternoon, which honestly for me is the equivalent of Keith Richards going on a three-week bender.
So we can say I’m letting loose here. We can say I’m throwing caution to the winds. We can say I’m embracing my incredible, once-in-a-lifetime holiday with my son ‘15’… Apart from all the nagging I’m doing about all the usual stuff!
‘Have you cleaned your teeth?’
‘Do you have any washing?’
‘Please rinse your cereal bowl.’
‘Can you do some wiping up and put away?’
I’m so boring, annoying, boring, I’m annoying myself. But all that stuff still has to happen, right? It still has to get done. Dishes need washing, clothes need cleaning, bodies need feeding.
The first few days here were glorious: other people inspired to cook and wash up, enough clean clothes in our suitcases to just grab another shirt, no big drama if teeth went unscrubbed. I felt so free, and I’m sure so did ‘15’.
Last week I realized how quickly I’d reestablished familiar routines, or made new ones that were fast becoming cozy to wear. As I washed a huge pile of dishes, facing out of the kitchen window towards the last of the sunset, I noticed that this was my new evening pattern. Sure, it came after fun badminton games, and before lighting the fire, (definitely NOT what I usually do in Australia), but still, a habit nevertheless.
And as the night time temperature sinks below 10 degrees, and now below 5, we have new habits together: cook an early dinner, leave the washing up till morning, eat huddled round the fire, add more layers every hour or so, then fill our hot water bottles by 9.30 and potter upstairs to bed to read. We’ve moved up to the mezzanine, in theory because it’s warmer up there… But I’m not really sure about that.
Can you see those dots of light in the roof? That’s between the tiles; it’s Sky. Which is not such a good thing at 2am in 2 degrees… Although kinda pretty from the warmth of bed at 8am:
We’re on a countdown now, leaving in 8 days. Off to Barcelona, then London; home to Oz in a month. My European routines are still young, but comforting. Such creatures of habit we are/I am. I’m already whining to ‘15’ about how I’ll miss his attention and interaction, once we return to the Land of School Friends, Wifi and Sleepovers. It’ll be back to just me and the cat [Of course I have a cat- I’m a single woman over 45- what else did you expect?? And yes, I’m thinking about getting another one. Or even two].
He rolls his eyes at me, and smirks. That routine hasn’t changed: he’s still incredibly cool, and I’m still a prize idiot. But this trip has given us a unique chance to bond and expand our relationship, habits and all. For that, I am incredibly grateful.
But he still has to clean his teeth, dammit.