Chores

8 August 2012, Edenderry

Lily shelling peas for dinner

One evening last week I met my aunt Liz and uncle Dave for a drink at Mary Ann’s pub in Castletownshend in west Cork. Julian, Katie and I had sailed from Glandore that morning, and Lily was spending a few days visiting Granny in Edenderry. It had been a fun sail, big seas and amazing craggy cliffs, and the spectacular Stags with turquoise water churning around them. Anchoring in Castletownshend proved tricky and took some time. After that I made lunch of soup and my own home baked bread. Then tidying up, getting Katie and myself ready to go ashore, and somehow two or three hours had passed since we’d dropped anchor.

My aunt Liz asked ‘What do you do every evening?’ At the time I couldn’t really answer her. Much like any parents of small children, our days are busy, and once the girls have gone to bed at night there are dishes to be washed, toys and clothes to be tidied away, sometimes laundry to be done. If we have internet access one or other of us will take the time to check emails, write, browse. Julian spends time most evenings planning where we’ll go to next, studying the pilot book, the charts, waiting for the next weather forecast. If there’s enough light he might do some minor repairs or maintenance work. Very occasionally we’ll watch some TV via the internet…we became a bit addicted to the BBC comedy Episodes for a while. We drink tea and chat and make plans, and before long it’s midnight and time for bed.

I’m not suggesting that life’s the same as it would be on dry land. Many of our chores are different, and we have considerations related to often being moored or anchored away from shore, to not owning a car, to not having mains electricity, to having a limited supply of water. Those last few don’t make us so different to most people in the world, just not most people in the part of the world where we currently live. But both Julian and I have lived with combinations of these considerations in the past, through our professional lives and through the life choices we’ve made, so these things aren’t quite so alien to us.

And though our chores may be different, they are still the chores to keep our home functioning. When we lived in a house we had lawns to mow, a vegetable patch to tend, hedges to cut, rooms decorated, floors cleaned, toys put away. Living life, wherever we are.

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