Following his own advice to “live real, people”, Middle Child departs once more to his organic farm in the Algarve. I load him up with antiseptic, diarrhoea calmers, paracetamol, books (Yann Martel’s High Mountains of Portugal, and Nick Frost’s Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies), condoms, teabags and a hot water bottle, wave him off, then wait.
As much as people laud today’s ease of communication, trilling “Oh, we Face/Time all the time”, there are still some sanctuaries in the back of beyond and straight on till morning where you’re off the grid.
Witness Middle’s directions for a visit. “Catch a plane, take the bus into town, catch another bus for an hour, walk along a road for 40 minutes, then up a track and you’re there.”
I run it by Youngest, “Would you like to visit? Sun, food, animals…”
“Not really,” she says. “Basically, I like to stay here. In my room, with Biggie Smalls asleep on my bed.” A sigh of assent emits from somewhere in her faux fur throw.
“But travel’s in our blood!” I tell her. “Your great-grandfather was on whalers from Dundee to the Arctic when he was your age. Then he was in Montevideo when he got the telegram saying your great-grandmother had died in childbirth.” No response. She hates my “history stories”.
I try Eldest instead. “Would you like to visit your brother – a bit of sun?”
“Yeah! Aw... band’s touring. Can’t.”
I go back to waiting for word. To be fair, it’s only been a few hours. Then it lands: “Made it. Love you xx”.
And a couple of days later, “Found a perfect place, the cabin of a waffle bar truck. The roof is rusty so it dripped a bit but me and a friend fixed it with a tent cover. Warm, got my hot water bottle. Love you xx”
Sounds lovely. But…
“Don’t worry,” says the BoyF, “Says he’s fine. What more do you need?”
How about a sleeping space in the cabin of a truck? To wake to the smell of waffles in my nostrils? The open road?
The back of beyond sounds like my kind of place.