Sunday, 25 November 2012

Woop Woop - Daddy-o-Cleary Writes for FOTGAHITC!

I'm not teaching you anything new by telling you that Mamas and Papas are different.  On our trip the obvious differences are right in your face (see Mamas last naked post).  Partners should have differences because together they become greater.  It is the the emotional difference between Mama and I that assisted me today.

The following account is based on true events...

In hindsight I should have known it would have come to this.  As Mama washed the blood from her hands, as her heart became heavy with the loss of life, as a tear rolled down her cheek, I swear I heard it.  I know that I did.  It was like a whisper on the wind, a voice in my mind.  My destiny was to be entwined with these small six legged insects.

In our absence of the bus the ants had regrouped, they had sought council with their elders and the survives from the squirmish with Mama. The battle ground had been chosen, scouts had been sent to all corners of the fridge area.  Lines of ants were posted, not just soldier ants but all creeds were to join in the defence of their home.

Today it happened.  It was not planned or expected.  Today was like any other - the sun shone, the wind blew. I was unaware of the council, the plans, the tactics.  Lumbering into the bus I chanced to open the door to the fridge.  I then saw them, lined up, awaiting orders.  I was unprepared but my training took over, without thinking I unpeeled the gaffer tape that held the door tight and without remorse squashed a whole platoon of guard ants posted in the egg tray.  I continued my assault with random attack points.  Squishing and sticking helpless ants.  The colony ran in all directions, soon I had stuck over a hundred ants to my gaffer tape weapon and with satisfaction I closed the door with the knowledge that I would return.
The day resumed as normal for me.  My heart was devoid of feelings for the ants, the injured ones that had been left behind.  I boxed my feelings of love, remorse, compassion and hid them deep inside.  I meditated after lunch and remembered the teachings of my master.

He told me "Love is all you need".
He said to "feel it in my fingers".
He asked "war, what is it good for?"
He taught me that they can torture me, break my bones, but if they take my sandwiches....

I was ready to finish this.  I journeyed back to the bus and sought my new weapon.  With lemon multi surface cleaner in hand I opened the door to the fridge.  The ants had regrouped in unfathomable numbers.  I sprayed and sprayed until my hands blistered and blood covered the trigger.  No ant was spared, the onslaught didn't last long but the effect was terminal.  Swathes of motionless ants floated in puddles of lemon scented water.  Some twitched as their last breath of life left their soaked bodies   I even killed the tiny red cross ants as they scrambled across the battle field to save any survivors.

Silence fell upon the fridge.  All was motionless.  I placed my weapon down and sunk back in the chair surveying the carnage.  After some time I regained my senses and cleaned down the fridge.  Washing the lifeless bodies of my foe down the sink until the fridge was once again suitable for purpose.

I know that I have done wrong.  I tell myself there was no other option.  I had tried to negotiate, offering them a peaceful resolution.  I offered free passage to the bus door.  But something has changed in me.  I felt the dark side. My feelings have been boxed up and will not be released as I do not feel bad for what I have done.  I feel happy and joyous that I have a clean fridge to keep my beer and sandwiches in.

As I left the bus I heard it.  A whisper on the wind, a thought in my mind.  This is not the end.....

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Naked parking instructors....

Yes, you read that correctly!

But before I get to THE MOST HILARIOUS PARKING MOMENT EVER, I'll tell you a little about what we've been up to since I last wrote.

Where was I up to in our trip. Oh yeah - MOZZIES.

That was a particularly grim chapter of the Cleary family roadtrip so far. Between the mozzies and the ants and also staying in a few duff places back-to-back, we felt a little like we'd lost our happy happy way. Everyone was covered in itches, the weather was iffy, I had a frozen shoulder which meant Pete had to do all the 'big' jobs on the bus so he was getting tired too, and we were all kind of getting crabby with each other....

..... and then......

everything kind of got a bit happier again as we drove to Grenada. 


Look at that!

How can you stay grumpy with a view like this out of the bus window? Snow capped mountains! Just an hour inland from the sunny beaches not so far from there.... It just kind of blew away all the crap we'd been feeling, and we felt alive! Glad to be in our bus! Saying 'Wow' every two minutes as we drove round each new bend or up above the clouds!

Woo hoo! We definitely got over our hump, and it felt so good.  

As beautiful as it was, we ended up making a surprising decision not to go the Alhambra.... it was really drizzly and rainy and would be for a few days more, and it didn't feel good to be camped up there at that time - wet weather means everything in the van double-stinks because Martha gets smelly and I don't know if you've ever smelt a damp dog but in the bus it's extra, totally, gross, plus there's always mud that ends up everywhere from everyones shoes. And the boys need to be running about and active every day else we all pay for it by bedtime...

The weather forecast for the coast said 'Sun!' so that's where we headed. I was kind of gutted that the Alhambra didn't work out because it's one of the places I'd said I really wanted to visit this whole trip. It was sooo beautiful from afar - I'm definitely coming back!

Anyway..... that night we free-camped on a perfect spot which just made everything double-alright again. Oh my god, what a spot!

Ok now the next bit is hilarious. Because we wanted to do practical stuff with the van the next day, boring stuff like empty the poo tank and all that, we decided that we'd go to a campsite, where we could do that, re-fill our water tank, get electric hook up to cook a hot meal etc....

So we pulled into a campsite, doing the usual thing of parking up first and doing the reception thing. All seemed pretty normal..... Pete came back.... and then we saw him. Oooh there's a naked guy! Is this? No, surely? Oh my god, we have pulled up into a nudist camp-site! And they wore clothes on the desk and everything!

Where better you might ask, to try and squeeze into the smallest camping spot ever, and scrape our exhaust pipe on a bollard as we go in, only to get completely stuck diagonally...... when we notice that there are a crown of butt-naked elderly people all gathering around our bus, to see the idiots who got stuck!

Ja, you need to come zis vey! Left a bit. Ja!Ja! (Naked man number one is now waving his arms in a frantic circles). Now he's doing diagonal motions with his arms. JA JA JA JA JA!

More naked people come to stare. And help. I don't know how Pete is keeping a straight face.

Meanwhile the kids are all hanging out the back window laughing their heads off going NUDIES!!! Hahahahahaha!!! NUDIES!!! Starting to strip off. "Yay!"  they shout, inbetween giggle-fits.

One of the nudies, an elderly german lady, has realised the innuendo comedy factor as as Pete says "I'm TOO BIG TO FIT!". I think she is trying not to giggle.

Eventually after a 20 point turn scene like the one in Austin Powers, we back out of the space and have to reverse the entire length of the campsite back  to the main entrance, with the lovely naked folk waving at us. And laughing amongst themselves.

Pete just said to me "I probably could have got in that parking space you know....... "

I haven't laughed this much in ages!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Massacre in the 'Bago

Tonight I have blood on my hands. Oh holy mother of god. I have sinned.
I have committed mass murder.
It's my own fault as well, which makes it even worse.
All I did was leave a packet of cake. I'd opened it at one end, then tucked the packet back over it. 
This morning, hungry for something mmmmmmmm, I went to said packet of cake....and quickly dropped it again.
Bugger! Bugger! Bugger!
Hundreds of ants. On the packet. In the packet. Scuttling to and fro in all directions. Climbing up and down the lead from and into the stereo. All over the dashboard. Crawling out of different places from the front of the bus. About 50cm from the boys feet where they lay asleep, already ravaged with over a hundred mozzy bites between them.
I'd seen a few here and there in the bus in the last few days and ignored them. There had been a few on the jam and honey jars in the cupboard the entire week leading up to MITB day.
How could I be so silly?
What the hell can you do with red ants all over your bus?
I noticed them in other places too. Crawling in a line from the cupboard where the fridge is. Next to my bedside.
After spending a horrible few nights spasmodically lashing out at mozzies in the dark, and the kids looking like they've been in a fight with their poor swollen bite-covered faces, this momma turned into a serial killer.
The ants got sprayed with Dettol, which killed them pretty instantly, thankfully. Any others that were running about, got squished.
I cleaned off the blood from the mosquito splats on the ceiling too, feeling grim.
I am a murderer plain and simple.
I've got blood on my hands.
Ironically - some of it is probably mine!!!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Bored yet? No? Here's some more pics!

No pictures can capture just how magical Carcassonne is. 

Can you tell we're having a grand time? :-)

The lady at the gates

We took a look round the church at Carcassonne....

where Finn very sweetly wanted to light a candle in the church to pay homage to his great grandfather 
who he never got to meet, and his great granny too. Bless him.

Outside one of the mediaeval shops. This might be the one where Herb bought a Lord of The Rings engraved ring on a chain. Only 30 euros! (Gulp!)

Here's a two minute supacheesy looksy at Carcassonne on youtube

There are add-on sets of all kinds to the basic board game. Might look into extending ours this Christmas. 
Apparently there's a PC version too :-)

I pinched this pic off the web but it gives you an idea of the different add-ons.....

Ok enough photo-dumping now! It's raining today but need to move my butt and get on with some jobs, like the huge stinkin' laundry pile - ho hum.

This trip isn't all sightseeing and fun trips - still gotta do the boring stuff too!

Will do some Spanish pics next time. Adios!


More roadtrippin' pics

On top of the world....2km up in the air - weeeeeeee!!!!!!!! Above the clouds....
round and round and up and down the mountains in the Auvergne

A woodland walk high up in the mountains....

Fly agarics were all around us - magic!!!

Indie the geologist was in 7th heaven :-)

More rocks for his collection....
Autumn beauty at the Pont Du Gard....

Isn't it amazing? Been standing for 2000 years.

And a lovely place to cool your feet after all that walking!

Ice creams in Arles

Van Gogh lived here. Pretty cool joining the dots for the kids after we saw his paintings in the Musee D'Orsay

A Roman amphitheatre - lion fighting anyone?

Thumbs up or down?

The view from on top

 Real actual flamingoes. In a nature spot in the Camargue, right next to our camping site.

Lifes a beach!
(Sorry couldn't resist the cheesy pun)


Roadtrippin' pics....

Setting off....

First morning....

A pousse-pousse ride from Musee D'orsay to Tour Montparnasse.....

The views from floor 57 of Tour Montparnasse - wowzas!

Herb thought it was great that the waiter brought his water in a wine bottle and served it with a little dance!

Alf and Ind at the foot of the ET.... before it chucked it down!

Ooh la la!

Swimming at the Paris Aquarium

Look out for part deux!


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Learning in the little big classroom of our bus and the world

I decided tonight that I need to write more often about this trip and my thoughts on stuff generally. That last post was eye-wateringly long and probably asking a bit much of anyone to read all the way through. If you read every single word then thanks, it's nice to know somebody does!

I'll make it easier for y'all from now on though - promise!

Just quickly - we headed up north a bit again 'cos we got itchy feet and wanted to make a trip to figueres since it had been chucking it down on the day we were going to go, and were rewarded with the wonderfully surreal theatru museu de salvador dali. It's a pretty bonkers museum hand-made by the moustachiod weirdmeister himself.... what a playful, random, slightly disturbing, breath-taking, eye-brow quivering, eye-ball popping place. Well worth a detour back towards France. Due to an all-day faff  we wound up being camped up in a cheesy seaside town called Roses, which the kids think is brilliant. Today I build a proper motte 'n' bailey mega sandcastle on the beach with Alf and we had a blast. Ignoring the cheesy appartment blocks I sat on the beach and squinted past them taking in the beauty instead of the absolutely beautiful mountains behind the monstrous 80's concrete mess, and marvelled at the huge fluffy simpsons cloudy blue perfect sky and made my made peace with the fact it's naffsville. We had sun and a sandy beach. Ok for a night and a day. And as I said - the kids think this campsite is fab! I'm not sure the elderly german people in the immaculate caravan next to us are quite so thrilled with having us lot here with our illicit washing line, barky dog, and the other four mental bundles of energy with their dirty faces and wild hair. They look at us like we're the scum of the earth. Maybe we are. I tried to smile and say hey but they remain stony faced in their caravan with no curtains. Ach some people are no fun. Oh well - we're outta here in the morning with freshly laundered clothes to boot. Back to Barca - woop woop!

So anyway, I wanted to write a bit about how the kids are learning and some cool stuff that has tied everything together nicely.

Before we left I packed a bunch of books n stuff for the kids to do/to play with whilst we were away. I didn't bring any workbooks. Instead we brought things which we thought would be interesting, inspiring and would feel natural. Strewing on the road if you like.

I packed them

Asterix in Spain - cunning, eh?
Aquila mag - March 2012 issue all about.... Spain!
Carcassonne board game
Asterix and Cleopatra DVD (Did I mention already how brilliant this is?)
Asterix and Obelix take on Caesar DVD (Annoying voiceovers but the kids insist its funny)
The girl with the pony tale -Laurence Anholt
Camille and the sunflowers - Lawrence Anholt

As well as a bunch of other board-games.
They packed their own stuff too.

I am astonished by the leaps and bounds the kids have come on they've come on since they got phones. Finn and Herbie got them for their birthdays this year since they go off to the park nowadays to play and they cost the same as an mp3 - Pete being the techie that he is decided there was no point buying something as singularly useful as an mp3 player - why buy that when you can do so many other things with a phone? Everywhere we go, the boys suss out the wifi status and compatibility...which can be a bit annoying as we are now we are into plug wars, lead wars, whose charging what where wars! But on the upside they're taking pictures a lot with them and enjoying playing things together where they link up their phones so I don't actually mind it too much. They're outdoors running around a lot playing in the sunshine and being dragged around a bunch of cultural sights so it all balances up.

Herb has spontaneously taken to writing whole paragraphs up in the 'notes' section of his phone, on games ideas. He surprised me the other day by showing me this great long thing he'd written with only one or two spelling mistakes. Wow! He's barely written more than a sentence or two in succession before. Never really needed to or wanted to I guess. But now he had a need, and so it came easy peasy, with only  little help. How do you spell this word mum? Is this how you spell pyramid? Do I need an apostrophe thingy here?  Finn is enjoying texting people back home......whatever happened to postcards, eh? The phones are a blessing and a curse!

One thing that has impressed me has been the kids ease with working out how much moolah they have in euros, from one lot of pocket-money to the next, calculating things on the hoof in different combos. Sometimes playing out as many as five or six spending scenarios between them. Pocket-money spending becomes a communal affair between them with much debating, reckoning, persuading each other to buy this or that. They've gotten into the habit of working things out so easily it's quite reassuring that their mental arithmatic has seamlessy adapted to the whole euros thing.

Same with language. We're in France? No problem. We'll speak French to whoever we meet! Oooh we're in Spain now? Hola amigos!

They see mama having conversations with others in French, English, bits of Spanish, bits of German, Bits of Polish. They don't bat an eyelid. This evening we went out for Tapas in a bar run by a Franco Spaniard and his Latvian wife, with whom I spoke a mish-mash of French and Polish, with the international language of smiling, arm-waving, eye-brow wiggling and laughter. If you want to be understood, you make it work. The kids are seeing that in action.

So much of what they're learning is that we're interdependant. We're a team in a small space. That nobody's perfect. That no place is perfect. That problems arise, which we solve.... mostly with gaffa tape! Hahaha.

They're learning that the world is a big wide place, all from the tiny hub of our family's tiny bus. It's a funny old world and wherever you are, people are nice, some not so nice, some places are nice, some not so nice, some days are good, some are bad, some foods are good, some are bad. That where there's water and warm weather there's mosquitos and ants. No good without bad.

Yin and yang.

We could of course learn all this at home. But this place is fun for now, and it's as good a place as any.

Wherever we go, we're learning all the time :-)

Adios for now!

haha - just remembered my promise not to write anything eye-wateringly long - oh well.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Our first 'Big' Adventure! Part 1: Gaffa tape, croissants, Volcanoes....and lots of rain!

Well hey.

How you doing? Have you missed me?

I’m sorry it’s been ages, I know.

To be honest I’ve been in a very can’t-be-arsed mood with the blog since Pete finished his job.  At first because there was so much to do to get ready for the trip and then because we’ve been on a very exciting adventure!

After months of planning and plotting and praying and stressing, when Pete’s last day of work came along it was actually just a really boring quiet work day. No big fireworks. No carriage clocks, or teary-eyed speeches or last day pranks. Just "That's it. It's over!" To be honest we didn't have time to sit around thinking it over all that much because the very next day we set off on a big adventure in the ‘bago, just like I said we would. Until we’d actually left, I didn’t believe it was going to happen. There was so much to do and pack and plan on top of the usual stuff. 

And here we are!

So what’s it like living in a bus?

Well we loved being in her from the off, even on those first few mornings when it was so cold we could see our own breath in the morning! I love her interior a whole lot less now thanks to the detritus of having four stinky boys and a dog slowly turning her into a slightly...interesting smelling vessel (!) in spite of constant vaccuuming and more eco fabric fresheners than you could fill a swimming pool with.... but no matter. Now the van just smells of dog and cleaner - in a delicious two-layer effect. Barf. But it's ok. Now we're having sunny days and windows open and we're outside more anyways so we don't care!

When she purrs and kicks into life it’s as if she were human, our good ship. You can tell she's from Florida, 'cos she drives like a dream when it's sunny and bitches n moans when it's damp - that's my girl!

She has lots of quirks that we’ve been getting used to, and we now know all the tricks of how to run her smoothly. She’s taken a pounding from the inside, having four boys in her, and Pete has done a great job today of gaffer taping drawers back together again, tape the fridge door shut so it doesn’t fly open when we’re driving along (We learnt this the hard way), and there are places that leak, squeak, need pressing just so. All praise the wonderful gaffa tape that holds everything together!!!

Our LPG ran out in the first week because someone left a water heater on for two days and our connector doesn’t fit any in France – no-one sells the adapter- we tried so many places and have now given up! So instead we bought a cheap two-ring cooker stove top thingy from Carrefour, which we can cook pasta and heat up soups etc. It took us two weeks to do this though, so we tried using our microwave, which was crap, and eating out, which was expensive, or eating baguettes, which we got a tiny bit sick of. I am a really happy mama now we have a cooker again, so long as we have an electric hook up. I rather love the fact that our lives are so simple, and that electricity has become a luxury, to be excited about. I feel myself appreciating water and other basic neccessities in a whole new way. Coming from a comfortable home with a cleaner, here we now do everything ourselves, and have a few routines down pat. No matter how much laudry we do though, there's always a pile left over. Oh well. We’re mostly sticking to staying at campsites with electric hook-up at the moment, or aires. We’ve stayed in some fab places so far!

In Paris we stayed in a woodland campsite near Versailles, where we could go for forest walks with our doggy Martha  and pick chestnuts in the crisp autumn air, but hop on the metro and be in the centre of Paris in 20 minutes! I had a fab day with the boys going to the Musee D’Orsay where we saw paintings by Van Gogh and Gaugin, amongst others. Finn and Herb, who got turned onto Van Gogh through Doctor Who, were really excited to see the familiar picture of Van Gogh’s bedroom, of his starry nights, and those haunting self-portraits. We took a pousse-pousse  ride to Tour Montparnasse and saw the panorama of Paris from 57 floors up, including the Eiffel Tower. It was a half sunny half rainy day so we didn’t bother with the ET itself – but no need, Tour Montparnasse was so fab we didn’t mind! We had a slap-up dinner in one of those restaurants that you think will turn out to be an over-priced tourist rip-off, but turned out to be one of the most delicious meals we ever ate.
Pete ventured in with the young’uns the following day and they went to the Eiffel Tower and an aquarium. His day rained more than ours though!

Moving on from there we headed south and got as far as Clermont Ferrand for the night. Pretty boring campsite but by a fab stream which the boys enjoyed dare-devilishly crossing and a park, and a good place to get to our next destination – Vulcania. On a day that was blowing a gale we visited this really fab place. It’s part modernist designer building, part eden project, part natural history museum, part imax type cinema, with a few simulators. We loved it and the boys loved the fact we were in a real actual (dormant) volcano!
After that we had a crazy day driving up and down and round and round the beautiful mountains of the Auvergne. Eating our way through more delicious pastries. What had looked do-able in a half-day turned into a day and a half, but we didn’t mind too much. We were getting into winging it with the bus, following our noses and finding places to stay on the wing. Being 2,000m up a mountain in our bus was shit-scary, exhilarating, breath-taking and magical, all at once! By the time we arrived way down south in Nimes, we had missed our horse-riding lessons in the Camargue and broke down as we pulled into the campsite! 


A phone call to the AA and some fiddling with the bus and we were all set to sleep in the car-park just a tantalising, agonising, 20 metres from the campsite, without leccy. But by some miracle, after turning the key for half an hour on and off and her being completely dead, Pete started her up and so we just made it into our camping spot and so were hooked up to electrics – phew. Good old ‘Bago! Next morning – dead again. Then she started! Turned out we needed a new battery so a day of fiddling round getting that sorted, but by late avo we were ready to roll again, so we headed off to the Pont Du Gard.
If you have never heard of this, it is a perfectly preserved and imposing Roman Aqueduct which you can walk across and is surrounded by beautiful walking paths, with a little river flowing underneath. It’s a breath-taking and magnificent bit of engineering and in the fading sunlight looked especially pretty. I especially loved reading all the Victorian graffiti…. Reminded me of the time we went to Shakespeare’s birthplace and I loved the old graffiti there too– Charles Dicken’s  woz ere…. And that typa thing :-)

We didn’t really spend all that much time in Nimes because we were so charmed by Arles, our next stop, that we ended up mucking around there instead. After lots of swearing and driving down too-narrow streets we eventually found somewhere to put our thirty foot baby and walked into town, playing in a beautiful park and visiting the Roman Amphitheatre. Again, it was pretty impressive. I know the Romans could be real shitbags, but they really did know how to build stuff that lasts! And sitting on those benches looking down onto the arena and the surrounding rooftops you can’t help but feel a little impressed with those lion-fighting lunatics.

After Arles we headed to the coast and drove through the eerie marshlands of the camargue, where it seems every fifty metres or so, was a smallholding with the famous white horses. I was disappointed not to see them wild, but hey ho. We rocked up at the sweet little town of Sainte-Marie-Sur-Mer and found the campsite, and indeed town, were really laid back.  The kids went swimming on the first day, at the pool on site and made friends with some other kids camped up near us. There was a fair share of tourist tat shops but also a nice cafĂ© culture. This is no Nice or Cannes  though – this place doesn’t take itself too seriously and it was a lovely few days. Pete and the boys went for a walk on the lagoon behind our campsite and and they saw wild flamingos – wow! I wanted to see them the next day. That night it blew a gale and we had almost no sleep and when we realised the next day would be no better, we decided it was time to move on. Oh well I did at least get a fab pair of purple high-heels shoes - the only high heels that I ever tried on in my life that I felt I could wear every day. If they weren't so funky I would but they're a bit flash to wear every day so I'm saving them.
Next stop,  Narbonne.  Very pretty riverside. A pretty town but the weather was wiiiiiiinnnndy. And cold. And wet.  This was a place we farted around on the outskirts of a lot. Including two time-warp visits to Carrefour - anyone whose been to one of these will know exactly what I mean!!! We did have a lovely diner in Narbonne one evening though and went to a watercolour art exhibition which the kids enjoyed.

Oh the magic of our next place – we arrived late on a blowy night at the aire in Carcassonne, hoping for a better morning. An aire is basically a glorified car-park for buses n vans like ours. Some have electric hook-up points, some don't. This one didn't - boo! Oh well. We woke up all excited about the day ahead and it was a sunny day, though cold. Carcassonne is quite simply the most magical fairytale place to find yourself – like walking round on a film set for robin hood, or the three muskateers. I loved it here and Pete and the boys were enchanted and thought it was the best castle they’d ever been to as well. From the foot of the hill it just looks like any national trust castle, but when you get up there, it’s a whole citadel, a whole wee medieval-y town, with real lives being lived out up there. It’s a maze of little streets and cafes and shops selling things like the lord of the rings ring that herbie bought, and all things medieval. Fabulous!

That night we stayed back in Narbonne then woke up and our thoughts turned to warmer climes – we’re truly sick of being cold and damp and blown to bits by now. So we went swimming and the woman on the desk said no shorts - arse!!! So Pete and the boys had to buy Speedos costing 37 euros, which was a big expense. But the pool was fab, and te kids got clean!!!

After the swim, we drove on to Collioure  for another windy wet night atop a positively beautiful little town with a fab arts scene and history – I can see why. From our hilltop aire I was charmed and tantalised but we woke up in the morning and decide to head for Barcelona…..which is where I write this now, the sound of crashing waves rolling over and over onto the beach, camped up by the patch of blue sky we had followed all day as we drove into a rainy spain and mourned the loss of patisseries which we have become addicted to and which we miss even now.  It's not a bad trade off though - at last I think we have some sun!

I write this on the terrace  beach, after a day trip into Barcelona to the Picasso museum, walking through La Ramblas and Park Ciutadella. Pete's going to see Barca football team play on Saturday night with Indie which they're both very excited about. The we may head back north to Figueres for a bit. And then on, further south, where we are hoping to really kick back and stay for longer.

Our van, our clothes and us, may stink, we may be cramped, living on top of each other, with a long list of petty logistical hiccups, petty arguments and complaints. But then we get clean, we get out, it's a glorious day, or we see something amazing that reminds us of how lucky we are to be doing this amazing trip.

We’re playing more together. Learning together. Watching  Asterix movies (The one with Cleopatra is fucking hilarious!). Loving walks with our dog. Listening to audios….Lord of The Rings….Kensuke’s Kingdom….Alone on a wide wide sea. Pete’s been reading to the boys every night….which I find myself listening to. The kids are speaking bits of french and spanish as if it were the most natural thing in the world. How cool is that?

 I lay in Pete’s arms at the end of each day happy to have lived closer to the elements, closer to each other, winging it.

What a fabulous trip. 

What bliss!