Better than ice cream, better than sunshine, better than beer and sausages and Erdbeer Ritter Sport, better than waking up on the shore of a lake to a swim before breakfast, the very best thing about travelling was the being together, just us five.
What with being away for two weeks, and working a few days at home before we went, and then working three days and going straight into a long bank holiday weekend, it feels as though I’ve spent almost all of August at home with the family, wherever that home happened to be. We had a wonderful time on our adventures, and I have so many photos to share and stories to tell that will have to wait for just a little while longer. Suffice to say that it was brilliant (again!).
Travelling like we do, even with the car loaded to the gunwales with camping kit, strips away all the distractions of everyday life; there’s little housework to do beyond the washing up, and there’s only one room so we’re always together. It isn’t always easy, you’d never believe me if I claimed that the children were angelic cherubs 24/7, especially when they’re tired, but in the way that it helped them to reconnect as a trio, and find their places within the family, I think it also strengthens the bonds that hold us together as a five.
A crazy, slightly scruffy, adventurous five, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Being together gives me time to do the little things for the children that usually fall to Daddy, and to give John as much of a break as I can, to have the time to listen to what the children want to do with their days, and then try to make it happen, and time to share the both the things that we plan and the things that we just happen to come across.
People say that your holidays are supposed to be a chance to relax and rest and rejuvenate but lets be honest here, holidays with a five, three and one year old are never going to be restful in the same way that lying by a pool in the sunshine and falling asleep under a paperback would be. But while I came home from our holiday physically tired it feels like I’m topped up in love. For a whole month it feels as if I’ve been there for all the important moments, shared in all the cuddles and the memories, and been there to meet their needs. It’s been brilliant.
Our first photos this month were taken in the Black Forest, up on the top of a hill above Bad Wilbard. It’s a stunning spot and we tucked in among the trees to have our picnic before doing a bit more exploring and then setting off back down the hill to the town below. There’s no room in the car for the tripod so family photos rely on there being a convenient rock/tree trunk and if you’re after a tree trunk, the Black Forest is the place to find it. Looking back I can smell the bouncy carpet of needles as they were crushed under our feet, the whir as the occasional bike whistled past in a blur of downhill lycra, and the chatter from other people on other trails around us.
The second set were taken with the camera precariously balanced on a rock on the shores of the Walchensee in the Bavarian Alps. This is what our August portrait last year would have looked like in Annecy if it hadn’t kept raining all the time!
I’d been thinking of taking a photo the whole time we were there but we were all having far too much fun in and out of the lake that it came down to our last morning. Our tent, which had been no more than 10 metres from the water’s edge, was all packed up, and just behind the camera the car sat filled with badly packed camping kit and damp swimsuits and towels as we took our first turn towards home. We were ready to continue the adventure but oh how we wished we could have picked up the lake and brought it with us.
Yes it was as hot as it looks, yes the water is that clear (and that deep out in the middle) and the mountains tower up all around. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.
And as we stare September in the face, and real life returns with the working week and school starting for Kitty and nursery for Elma, these are the memories I’m holding onto; shared memories of sunny afternoons and ice cold water, and my family, in August: