A little preoccupied this morning, I was a touch snappy with my kids. I drove three of them to school in somewhat of a haze.
Descending from our hilltop town, we emerged from the wooded road to see the Weald of Kent opening up in front of us. A low, thin mist hovered, with trees and hills above it alight in the Spring sunshine. Lingering just a short while, the mist was soon spirited away by the warming rays of the sun.
We had to take a detour through some country lanes. No. 3 remarked how similar to Normandy – a recent holiday destination – it seemed. By this time my snappy barking at the kids had quietened, and we enjoyed the prettiness of the narrow roads together.
My aim for today (and the last few days) was to get to grips with a post on my impressions of Normandy’s Côte d’Albatre – the white coastline that so inspired Claude Monet (amongst other artists). Another task was to summon up sufficient bravery to enter a writing competition (which I think is targeted at adventurous backpackers, and wholly unsuitable for someone like me … but hey-ho).
The practicalities and complications of life have pushed those impressions to the sidelines, and courage into a corner.
But a few things – this morning’s unexpectedly sweet scenery, followed by a short headspace run in a beautifully empty Knole Park …
… plus quick quality time with a friend at the imaginatively wonderful Riverhill Himalayan Gardens – have put a little spring back in my step.
Perhaps too much of a spring. But I’m determined to ignore the less than lovely fox poo that I enthusiastically leapt onto (with an audible splat) to capture the glorious Japanese cherry blossom that my neighbour’s garden is generously sharing with mine.
So while my soiled left shoe is spinning in the washing machine (the rest of the laundry waiting patiently at a distance), I focus my gaze on our magnificent new World Map Wallpaper (awkward joins and all) …
… read national treasure Michael Palin’s thoughts in an interview he gave Lonely Planet, whilst eating the Russian eggs that No. 3 prepared for me …
.. and remember what she said (unprompted, I promise) just before heading into school this morning: I think I understand why it’s important to travel.
Now most likely this was a robust reaction to arriving at the school gates, after a drive through countryside that had evoked fond memories of the freedom of a holiday’s chalky cliff walks and the pleasures of plentiful pizza:
I had neither the time nor inclination to probe further and smash the smugly romantic notion of my travel-loving daughter. And I may not delve too deeply (if at all) when she returns from school with her bag heavy with homework, ready to complain.
I liked what she said, and what matters is that when the fox returns, I won’t bark at him (or my kids). For a bit.
More on the Weald of Kent here: http://www.visittheweald.co.uk
If you didn’t already click on Michael Palin’s name above, here’s the link to his interview (lovely to read): https://www.lonelyplanet.com/americas/travel-tips-and-articles/meet-a-traveller-michael-palin-national-treasure-on-loan-to-the-world
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens: http://www.riverhillgardens.co.uk
More on urban foxes in the UK here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24563919