The summer days travelling have been a mix of slow living and fast moving. We wake up with the sun, or later, we cook breakfast and drink a couple of cups of tea while waiting for the kids to emerge from their tents. We watch the sunrise, listen to the early morning birds and the sounds of the surf smashing on the beach. We check emails, do some early morning writing. Then think about our day ahead. A lazy day of hanging around or a day trip somewhere? Nearby caves, or maybe jetty diving, or possibly a city excursion to a museum. Invariably the beach wins out.
We slowly wash the dishes. First we have to collect water, boil the water and then hand wash and dry and tidy away our little campsite. We sweep the sand from our tent floor, we gather up the dirty laundry and warm some more water to wash a few of our smelly clothes. We tie up a rope to some trees and hang out our washing to wash in the breeze and the sun while we gather our towels, hats and sunscreen and head to the beach for our daily swim and wash. We practice our body surfing, we give ourselves a salty body scrub, and then when we are getting cold and a little tired we head to shore and stand in the breeze to dry off. We walk along the sand, looking for interesting bits of washed up treasure. We make some impromptu ephemeral collections, sometimes take a souvenir with us, but mostly let the surf reclaim its treasure.
Time for lunch, we head back to our campsite, we eat cheese and salami and crackers and cucumber. We make some soda water with our old fashioned soda stream — or maybe a hot chocolate. We get out the chess board, or backgammon or maybe cards. Some of us read a book, others do some sketching or writing or even take a nap. We think about the afternoon, plan to go fishing at dusk, or a walk along the cliffs, or maybe an afternoon swim if it is really hot. We might go treasure hunting later, or do some odd jobs around the campsite. After a while we get a little peckish again and make more tea, and think about dinner.
Later, after our afternoon activities, we’ll once again gather, sometimes exhilarated and eager to discuss our day, sometimes tired and sunburnt and sandy and happy to sit for a while. We get out our family read-aloud novel and read a chapter or two while someone prepares dinner, we eat, and once again wash the dishes, and continue reading for a while accompanied by a hot chocolate or maybe a warming whiskey. We feel close, we feel connected. Spending this time together, becoming more patient with each other, learning to ignore outbursts of temper or sudden mood swings. We are learning about each other.