Hello, I’m back (although I haven’t really been away). I hope you’ve had a good summer and feel ready to get back to normal life, in as far as it can be called normal at the moment.
Beforehand, I imagined myself during my Summer Break like the sculpture above, only slightly more curvy and with a pair of knitting needles in my hands. No plan, just lazing about.
Except… I’m not the lazing-about-type (I must have been an ant in a previous life or something). I soon realized that staying at home with a husband working through the summer, there was the danger of my two precious weeks becoming two very ordinary weeks. I still didn’t feel like making a plan, but I needed something to give me some sort of direction. So, I got out a notebook and made a list.
A list of things that make a summer holiday into a summer holiday for me. It included:
- No alarm clock
- Simple, orderly environment (tent or cottage)
- Read a foreign magazine
- No newspaper, no tv
- Grocery shopping in an unfamiliar shop (I love those huge French Hypermarchés, and the aisles with dozens of different types of muesli and honey in German supermarkets)
- Spend as much time outdoors as possible
- Lots of exercise (cycling, walking)
- Lots and lots and lots of time for crafting and reading
- Simple food, try a few new things
- Sightseeing, visit a town, city, museum
- Some pocket money to spend on frivolous things
- Send postcards
- Eat or drink something somewhere
- Several new books to read
- Take photographs
- Keep a diary
Most of the items seemed doable, although some would require a little imagination. I didn’t want it to be a to-do-list with items to check off, just something I could use as a kind of compass. I didn’t do everything on it. One of the things I did do, was take photographs. Loads of them.
Photographs of landscapes…
… lovely houses…
… flowering heather…
… and many, many more.
I didn’t go grocery shopping in one of those big French or German supermarkets, but I did visit a health food shop close by that I’d never been to. They had a display of deliciously fresh looking vegetable plants outside…
… and some lovely honey and other nice things inside.
I did send a few postcards, but I didn’t keep to the ‘no newspaper, no tv’ item on my list. I felt the need to stay informed, and especially the publication of the IPCC climate report felt too important to not read about.
So scary! But the hopeful thing about it is that it seems to have conveyed a sense of urgency. I often struggle with the bad news from around the world. How can I enjoy a Summer Break and blog about small pleasures when so much is going wrong?
This is one of the books I have been reading during my Summer Break:
It is set in an imaginary place in Ireland (travel!), far removed from the real world. In it I found a nugget of wisdom that applies to our everyday world as well: ‘… even in times of death, destruction and ignorance, there are still good people who can make a difference.’ (p. 90)
That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Trying to be a good person making a difference. And to be able to do that, we need a break from time to time. Knitting isn’t going to save the world, but at least it isn’t making things worse either. So, I’ve sat knitting and reading on our veranda, behind the flowering dill, quite a bit.
And although the weather was unreliable, I’ve also been walking for hours and cycling for miles and miles.
I didn’t keep a diary, but I’d like to write about a few of the things I’ve seen along the way and thought I’d do that here over the next couple of weeks. It’s far too much for one or two blog posts, so there’ll be a few more than my usual Friday ones. Hope you don’t mind.
What I would have liked to do as well, was visit a few yarn shops in the area, but most of them were having a Summer Break just like me. The only one I visited did have some nice yarns…
… but otherwise was such a mess…
… that I beat a quick retreat and won’t even tell you where it was. But not to worry – there will be a few other crafts-related things to share.
Bye for now, and see you again soon!
(This isn’t my bicycle, but a purely ornamental one in a neighbour’s garden.)