I leave my house, it’s only three short streets and I can have my almost daily walk in the park. Like most, we have been confined to this little bubble around our home for the past few months now. In the distance, the sharp cries of some seagulls. It brings an instant feeling homesickness or a strong longing for something I will miss this year. Like the sharp and raw sounds they make are mirroring my inner landscape.
The date on our ferry ticket is only five days away, but today we canceled the whole trip. For 19 years we packed carefully and made our gear ready to travel with the limiting space in our two kayaks. So all the stuff was already neatly packed in boxes, ready to go.
Scotland is reasonably Covid save. Especially the way we travel, where social distancing is already the norm, and the Highland and islands have very few cases. England on the other hand, where we arrive with the ferry, is a bigger worry. The Tory government of Boris Jonson makes quite a mess of things. Combine the possibilities of renewed lockdowns with a family situation that might require us to return early and we have to conclude that it is not wise to go to our beloved Scotland.
So we repack for mini camper cruising and cycling in France. In a way this is not new to us. We like to boost our stamina and physical condition in the spring break and autumn in a similar fashion. In 2000, when we were still too inexperienced to take to sea kayaking on our own, we cycled from Maastricht in the Netherlands to Santiago the Compostela in Spain. So we experienced the French heat. For me that is not a problem, but Charlotte calls herself a climate refugee and that makes Scotland her favourite destination.
Peace and quiet we will find by parking our mini camper on the side of little dirt tracks. Normally that is not a problem after some searching. In the worst case scenario we end up at ‘Camping le tas de fumier’, the manure depot.
Yes, we will miss the raw sounds of guillemots and gulls, but it is melodically replaced by the chorus of the larks above the French fields of golden grain and shining sunflowers.
Alexander & Charlotte Gannet