Family journeys for you
The moment our family zips up the suitcases, life in the UK becomes ever more attractive. This post is by Nicola.
Friends want to see us for a last drink (pic shows the cousin send-off with strawberry icecream), the garden is gorgeous and even our hens seem unusually affectionate as I took them on the back of my bike to their temporary home at Freightliners Farm (pics show Nell waving off Romana, Liz who runs the farm, and Violet happy in the field).
This is how travel goes – you anticipate and plan; get excited; get regretful and hug everyone goodbye; and then you look to a different horizon and daily life changes. Yes, there’s still washing up, bedtime squabbles and a hunt for tea bags (perhaps) but the focus is bigger. You’re a stranger looking with interest/pleasure/amusement and obvious admiration at what you see, at the same time better understanding the paths of your own culture.
Well, let’s not worry about that. Instead here are two invites that you could enjoy. I’m still at the stage of regretting we’ll miss them, but maybe you could go instead?
Read all about French islands
Bonnes Vacances: A crazy family journey in the French territories – around the world, without leaving France comes out on 6 June. It looks to be an hilarious book about family travel written by Rosie Millard (remember her on the BBC, she’s also a prolific interviewer and newspaper columnist). Two years ago Rosie and film maker husband Pip took all four of their kids around some of the remaining French colonies, filming (and writing) as they went, you might have seen Croissants in the Jungle on Travel TV, see the link here. And now there’s a book:
‘Looks like not many tourists visit St Pierre et Miquelon,’ I mutter excitedly to Pip. ‘That is why this trip is going to be so brilliant.’ He looks at me questioningly. I am distracted by Gabriel’s unusually pallid face. ‘Oh my God, he’s going to be sick.’ Rosie set out on a tour of the French Overseas Departments and Territories (the Dom-Toms ) with her husband and four young children, partly to make a documentary series but also to show the children it is possible to survive twelve weeks without Hannah Montana. From Martinique to Réunion, crossing five continents, they eat stewed iguana, 400 croissants and since the budget is small copious amounts of Campbell’s soup. Candid, darkly humorous and slightly mad, cut with a dash of French history, this memoir offers insights, amusement and hope for anyone who has ever travelled en famille.
Through a chance meeting in a music shop, our mobs ended up looking after their family’s cute dog, Disney. I think we passed the good-enough-to-be a dog minder because both Pip and Pete are West Ham fans (ie, can cope with disappointment…). We loved their dog so much that when we handed him back, it wasn’t long before we found our own mini-Disney (in a different colour-way!).
Come to a feast
Or how about trying out a Pacific Island feast in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire on Saturday 18 June from 1-10pm? I think you many need to join the Pacific Islands Society of the UK and Ireland (ie, so its acronym is PISUKI not PIS) first, but that gives you the chance to dress up (grass skirts, big hats, shorts), eat the roast pig, watch island-style dancing, admire the arts and crafts and generally get a taste of Pacific good times… and all before our small party of Pete, Nicola, Lola and Nell have actually set foot in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Here’s a map, nearest train station is Marylebone.
That Pacific party would definitely be a good chance to talk about the astonishing, New Zealand-made, prize-winning film There Once Was An Island which follows three Pacific islanders from Takuu Atoll (25okm north east of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea) as they try to cope with climate change. Their island is sinking into the Pacific ocean. No island, means no home.
When the sea level rises, it’s pretty rubbish for anyone living on an island. The Pacific atolls may be the fontline, but the UK is an island too – that’s why the flat counties of Norfolk and Lincolnshire look set to change fast as their coastline moves inland.
Rather sobering thought, even for travellers. Now, back to the now. Just where are the tea bags?