Three nights before departure. It’s 9pm, and my husband offers me a drink.
A few minutes to unwind in the mess that is our untamed garden.
We think about the 30 hour ferry trip to Spain – a long time for hungry kids. I propose cramming our family-sized cool box with rations, to save us from spending a fortune on the boat.
My husband wonders whether we really need the cool box, having in mind a minimalistic packing style this year. Couldn’t we just make do?
I ask if we are taking a travel guitar with us? Yes – plus a ukulele.
So – it’s cool box versus ukulele?
The ukulele is so much more conveniently smaller, advocates my husband.
I conclude that my husband has been working too hard and has lost the packing plot.
Let’s focus on the garden instead. I point out how well the luffa plants are doing, and wonder how best we can prolong their lives in our absence.
My husband suggests they come with us.
I look at him. He looks at me: Why not?
This is the man who thinks my taking paprika everywhere is whacky.
I think the ship has sailed with this relaxed chat.
By contrast, my children have been surprisingly helpful.
Occasional errands to the shops have been undertaken with enthusiasm by my able assistants … once offered the incentive of an Otto’s milkshake in an old-fashioned milk bottle.
Especially when they sweet-talk Jack into letting them share a slice of triple chocolate brownie – or is it the other way round?
Of course, I had to check it out with No. 2 first …
And again with my husband for a BYO night plated high with sensational charcuterie (the paprika and thyme cheddar was divine).
We are all loving Otto’s high quality, locally sourced food, and vintage recycled vibe.
How easy it is to become distracted from packing.
So here am in full chaotic mode, just 10 hours away from setting sail, pleading with my (high as kites) kids to Please go to sleep – it’s the last one!
They seem to have other plans.
So do I. The cool box is ready, the ukulele is nowhere to be seen. And a very kind friend has agreed to plant sit the luffa plants.
Which means we’re sticking with Have Paprika, Will Travel (just as well – Have Ukulele, Have Luffa Plants, Have Paprika, Will Travel just doesn’t seem quite right).
See you in España.
FYO the BYO at Otto’s is excellent (Tues and Thurs) – £12 pp with a little extra for pudding and coffee. I can recommend the triple chocolate brownie. For more moreish photos, feast your eyes on Otto’s instagram feed.