Woolgathering, a delicious word, although it doesn’t necessarily mean to gather sheep’s wool, but, also, to ‘indulge in idle fantasies’. Something often done in the depths of winter, dreaming of some kind-hearted old Granny knitting a beautiful thick woolen polo-neck, or a classical fat wooly hat with a giant pom-pom perched on top, long thick scarves and super sexy socks…
Contrary to popular belief thrift, second-hand, vintage, hand-me-downs, loft-love-ins, jumble-rumblings are not grubby ferreting amongst a lot of old crap, but rather a refined art of discovery, the revelation of treasure, a freeing of riches personal to just you. And on top of that, hopefully, a bargain to boot.
Why is it that in the 21st century people just cannot cope with parenting in the same way as their own folks? I mean what is it with children and travelling – just why does one cancel out the other? What is the matter with jumping in the motor and driving for three-four or even eight hours. Or flying through the skies. What are people so afraid of, that their child might get bored, be sick or actually learn to enjoy being on the road? What is wrong with the education of freedom, of watching the world go by, of meeting new people, listening to new languages, eating weird and wonderful food and map reading?
What is with it with these 21st century parent comrades of mine that they have to have TV injected into every facet of their child’s life – I mean in the bloody car? What is wrong with I Spy, stories, magazines, singing songs or listening to the radio. It is the same as stuffing a dummy into your child’s mouth to keep it from crying out. As long as these children cannot communicate with you then you don’t have to deal with the scary reality of life – the fear that they may utter those fateful words: “are we nearly there yet?”
We have spent the last five years, since having twins Fealte & Rosebud and latterly baby Betty-Blanche, trawling all over Europe in various old motors in our bid to find a hidden paradise. We have fed and changed our twin babies bottoms in fields, in dirty garages, we have fed them milk from all corners of the branding world, we have sung to them, slept with them in lay-bys, we have found camping spots on the top of cool mountains and in the midst of lashing rainy valleys. We have flown 11 hours with them screaming to reach Africa. We have driven non-stop from the bottom of Blighty to the beautiful wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. We have supped with them late in Spanish squares, dined on hot croissants before dawn in French boulangeries and driven eight hours non-stop with our seven day old baby just to make it to a friends wedding in deepest French France. We had children to add to the joy of life not to take away from it. Bring on whining, travel-sickness and a bid for the open road. For to take your offspring on your continuing adventures in life is to make it spangled, complex and original.
You know when you have one of those arguments with your old man, you know the ones which last several days and sees you straddling the edge of the marital bed in a bid to get as far away as possible from your betrothed. When, the same argument gets regurgitated round and round and you wonder how long this will endure before one of you will a) file for divorce or b) say sorry.
Alcohol can work in mysterious ways; effectively fueling the angst and danger of stubborn cupboard love. Or, just days later, oiling the wheels of coherent apologies and civilised behavior.
And in the sweet cold light of morning to maintain this new state of grace with your love make him some pancakes and coffee…freshly flipped, steaming with hot butter, maple syrup and remorse.