• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 09

packing unpacking

Those sunny summer Sundays
when we’d pack the car by nine
and unpack it all again by eleven
in a quiet woodland glade
where massive trees and fresh green leaves
shed shade on our scene.
Folding chairs for the parents
and one for grandma,
if she wasn’t roaming on her travels again.
A blanket for us, spread over pine needles.
Paper plates and cups
pork pie, hard boiled eggs.
Always fresh tomatoes from Dad’s garden
and Mum made sandwiches with ham and cress.
Packets of crisps still had a twist of salt in blue paper
back then.
We were free in our little world among the trees
we’d run and hide and actually get lost,
really lost, in the forest.
Suddenly we’d find each other again
to collapse in laughter and exhaustion on the blanket.
The centrepiece of these so long ago days
was always Dad’s travelling gas hob
where he’d set the kettle with pride.
It made him happy to wait
to let it whistle a while
before he brewed the tea.


packing unpacking

A mobile hearth at the centre of our picnic days.
And as the sun went down
light refracted through trees turned gold
and we’d scatter food scraps for the night creatures,
empty the cups
make sure the kettle was cool
and the camping stove stowed safely,
fold the chairs and the blanket, all tidy,
gather all our rubbish into a bag
and fit everything back into the car again
for the drive home
and the final unpacking.