We spent six weeks in England, Scotland, and France in August and September - walking miles to ruined castles, riding bikes through Paris, climbing Munros, hiking through hidden valleys, reading good books, exploring pilgrim's paths and spiral staircases, swimming in the sparkling Mediterranean. We would return to our own cottage each night to create wonderful thoughtful meals (and eat those French desserts!) It was slow travel at its best!
The families in France gave us such joy. New fathers with babies in buddha wraps, a toddler in hand, laughing. Families standing by the trunk of the car, then pulling out, a la Mary Poppins, tables, chairs, cookers, and setting up a full dining space in a field. Two hours later, we would see the children and parents still sitting at the table in the field, chattering together, laughing, eating, sharing...
There were Madonnas, mothers, babies everywhere - in sculptures, watercolours, Renaissance oils, tapestries, and Iron Age figurines.
I am home, but I will be sifting through all these experiences for a long time - especially late at night, in a dark steamy bathroom, holding the space with a woman in labour.