For me a holiday ( vacation) is a time to unwind, to slow down, a time to simplify, to eat well, get plenty of rest, play, spend time in nature and above all to spend lots of good quality time with loved ones with no agenda except just to be together and relax. We were fortunate to have just such a break in Normandy last week.
We were staying in an old mill cottage with a series of outdoor spaces to play in and a stream running all the way around the property. It was very rustic in places but that made it all the more relaxing somehow; a real change of scene. My daughters spent a lot of time paddling in the stream.
and most mornings they would go out to look for the coypus who live in the river bank ( they are about the size of our guinea pigs and brown with a long tail). The girls were captivated by them and on many a morning they dragged their duvets and a picnic blanket down to the river to sit and watch for them. They were richly rewarded for their patience. I tried to take some pictures but they are rather unclear as they are fast swimmers and my reaction time was less so! …all that slowing down… 🙂
I managed to do quite a bit of reading and knitting which was lovely. We established a quiet time after lunch for an hour and a half, when the girls ventured off around the large grounds of the property to explore and go on “spy missions” and my husband and I could read and relax. Bliss!
I have decided to try to keep this rhythm of an hour of quiet time after lunch for the rest of the school holiday as our daughters really respected our need for some time to ourselves. Fingers crossed!
After this quiet time, we reconvened for our afternoon tea, which was usually tea and tasty french biscuits and pastries. Yum!
One day a good friend of mine visited and I put a tablecloth and cushions on the rather worn looking picnic bench to pretty things up and from that day on, the girls decided they would like that to be their job; to lay the table daily for teatime.
They clearly delighted in their role, getting everything ready for us and put a lot of love and attention into presenting things beautifully. I remember, as a child, really enjoying the sense of occasion of laying the table for Kaffee und Kuchen ( German for coffee and cake – a marvellous tradition! ) when staying with my German grandparents every summer, so it was lovely to see our girls enjoying it too.
After tea, we usually played games together. There was a badminton set and net and we got to know a new board game Wildcraft which I had been saving for our holiday and is a current favourite. We subscribed to the Herb Fairies series in May and are really enjoying learning all about wild plants and their uses, so it was great to use our new knowledge in the game and to learn a lot more besides. I highly recommend the game and the series. We are learning so much and see the natural world with even more fascination for its healing powers.
We also went on a couple of excursions; to the staggering majesty of Mont St Michel,
and to the beach on a glorious sunny day.
We found these lovely shells at the beach, which the girls made into a sweet mandala around the candle on our dining table. We are never without some form of nature table and a mealtime candle 🙂
But mainly we stayed around our cottage, just playing together and taking things gently.
As for Keeping Calm and Crafting on, I am just about to start the border on my shawl. I had to do some ripping back as a stitch count revealed that I had dropped a stitch some rows back 😦 I was knitting in the dark whilst camping with family at the beginning of the trip and wasn’t really concentrating as the pattern is easy to memorise. It was a bit of a painful experience as the alpaca wool tends to felt together a bit and tear. Sob! Anyway, I took a few deep breaths and rescued it. I am looking forward to finishing it very soon.
I also finished all the squares for my crotchet cushion. Now I just have to sew them up – any ideas about techniques for that are welcome!
I started crocheting another cushion on our long journey home from France. As I mentioned in a previous post, I usually feel quite nauseous when looking down in the car, so I thought crotchet was out of the question , but this time I was wearing anti-nausea wrist bands (to help with sea sickness for the ferry journey) and they amazingly allowed me to crotchet quite happily – an unexpected bonus! It is another granny square number, using the same colours but this time crocheted in one piece. I have really begun to appreciate crotchet now and its portability and think I may be making a few more crotchet items for around the house. I might be hooked 🙂
My daughters were also creative on holiday. Almost every morning on rising – before seeing the coypu – they each made a little Ojos de Dios. Here are two, but we have a quite collection at home now!
They also took a lot of photos for memories – taking after their mother 🙂
Here is one my eldest daughter took of a butterfly that I thought was beautiful.
and they made all kinds of things out of paper, glue and cellotape with those craft materials I brought along 🙂
It was a lovely break. Now we have a camping trip to plan…
I do hope your summer is allowing you plenty of moments to relax, unwind and enjoy the now.