This adventure

Caring responsibilities have somewhat dampened this year’s summer holidays. My wife keeps feeling compelled to apologise. She’s finding looking after her elderly mother trying, to say the least.

Our daughter, meanwhile, protests that the holiday is half gone. They’re finding their grandmother’s presence even more difficult, though they won’t say the same about the arrival of the English grandparents in two weeks’ time, anticipating cakes and treats.

Our eldest was expecting to spend days at the beach, sightseeing and going places. Instead, they’ve had to make their own entertainment, visiting the neighbours to live the village life.

Yesterday our daughter helped them harvest four large sacks of hazelnuts, which by now should have been sold into the global supply chain. Perhaps a nut picked by her own hands will appear in a chocolate bar in just weeks.

Daily, they have both been walking the neighbour’s cow, and enjoying sütlaç (rice pudding) made with the fresh milk they’ve brought home. It sounds quite idyllic to me, but really they just want to do typical teenage things: to go to town, go shopping, hang about, eat icecream, have lunch by the sea.

But by necessity, this year had to be a different kind of holiday. We’ve been away four years. So much has changed in that time. We’ve lost loved ones. Others have fallen sick. New life has been born. Whole societies are falling into crisis. Our return couldn’t possibly be normal.

Still, we have this house, a place to rest. We have this land and those views. Perhaps it’s not quite the holiday we all imagined, but it is some kind of adventure. Just like life itself.

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