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my new spoon

Leaving my morning camp, it is not long before I come across another provincial camp-ground a mere fifty kilometres down the road. I turn in for a lunch break, beguiled by the fast flowing clear, rocky stream.

A family are sitting at the prime table, next to the river, so I ride to the next one which is separated by a screen of bushes and trees and unload my food and cooking panniers. Fishing rods lie next to the family’s rented camper-van which is still in view. I have eternal hopes of a fish for tea. “Catching lots of fish,” I cry to the family at large, who are hidden behind some brush. “No!” It is the end of the conversation but later when they have finished eating the father approaches to make the usual enquiries about my trip – how long, how far, where.

The boys return to their fishing, his wife joins us, and we talk while I cook my lunch-time noodles. They are German and like camping, canoeing holidays – Sweden, Finland and Alaska are their favourite destinations.

My cooking successfully accomplished, I am hindered in actually eating by the sad state of my Sea to Summit plastic spoon which has accompanied me on a few bike trips now. A crack has been developing over the past week and it has emerged from the pannier in two pieces. It is my only piece of cutlery. I am unsure how to proceed. The fact of an audience precludes sucking the noodles straight out of the pot and they are far too hot to use fingers.

I point out my problem to the couple and the woman rushes to the van – she has just the thing for me. She returns with a stylishly moulded fork/spoon/knife combo implement. I am extremely pleased with it and happily address myself to the business of eating.

My new spoon.

The boys lope past with their fishing rods – tall and good-looking, with all the awkward charm and grace of youth. The woman follows the boys to the river. They are the kind of family you ache to belong to; love, affection and respect tangible between them. They are comfortable in each other presence, deriving clear pleasure from each others company.

The boys are grown up but young enough to not be able to contain their excitement when they finally catch a fish, a little grayling. They younger boy bounds to where I and his father are still sitting at the table and announces the catch and his father hurries to view it. The older brother is cleaning the fish and displays it me: the pride is collective.

As I collect drinking water from the stream, I ask the woman her name: Renate. I have already learnt that her husband is a baker and that they live near Frankfurt. I wish we were all staying at the campsite for the night so that I could bask a while longer in their warmth but I leave them fishing still by the calm, clear river.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Lucie | August 13, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful characteristics of this family Anna! Your posts make me not want to miss a single line!

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