I fill the radiator up with water, take out the list of scribbled town names and road numbers that make up the itinerary I concocted and this is one of few the road trips of the Summer which when I am done will have led me to the southern edge, the northeastern edge, the western edge, the eastern edge. A small car and a small island country.
I have become someone who enjoys taking the smallest and longest road and getting lost. I bring things to chew on as I drive, cheese, bread, carrots, and as I stop, a flask of hot water, a mug and tea bags (I was long ago taught by elderly neighbours to do it that way rather than aim to travel with sad made-up tea and a flask to wash later). I bring some made-up victuals for the friends I am visiting. I bring a camera but do not take any photographs, I do open my eyes, I trust that I can take it all in and bring it with me, in feelings and impressions.
I am not gone too long but when I come back—with gifts, hand-me-down-clothes, plants, fabric, books—poppies have invaded a bed, between the hyssop, the chives and the pimprenelle (Sanguisorba minor). The runner beans have weighed down their willow canes and collapsed gracefully and thankfully within my reach. Pretty much every decision about how to train the peas and beans was ill-judged this year. Instead of starting a hundred sentences with “I should have…” I proclaim : “This is something I never have to do again this way.”
My teenagers are away for a couple of weeks as I settle into the start of a glut of green things. I do enjoy being home sitting alone and chuffed, eating food I grew from bowls I have made.