The Sustaining Scent of the Sea. And Memories.


It’s almost over.

My escape.

 Soon the shackles of responsibility will anchor me back in the Outpost and all that will remain of three weeks away will be peeling shoulders and the smell of salt and sea that linger for a while somewhere in the dark recess of a suitcase.

I wish. I wish that I could harness the memories, of long drives and laughter and raucous card games and heated family debate, of snorkeling with my daughter to spot sea anemones which deliver softly suckered kisses to finger tips, blossoming in the depths and festooned with a flotilla of clown fish; of close-up knees-touching, shared mugs of tea with my son; of Hat’s jostling for space and voice as she pitches herself against bigger, louder siblings. Of haggling with fishermen and subsequent deliciously too-late, too-long fish and chip lunches doused in lime and tomato sauce; of sunbaked, salt-slaked skin and a mind that is suddenly soothed.

I wish. I wish that I could distill all of that and bottle it and draw it out and inhale deeply on the scent or dab it on my wrists so that the memories might sustain through lonelier days.

I said to Husband as we drove back from a night of pizza and wine and political argument so that I was left light headed with the euphoria of being out-talked by my older children who winded me with their considered, articulate opinions – sometimes being a mother takes your breath clean away – I said, ‘I am happy: this is the best holiday’.

Because soon fullfatfivefamily holidays will be rare, because children grow up and spread wings and take flight to different destinations. And then you need to breathe deep and look at the pictures and smile wide.

26 Responses to “The Sustaining Scent of the Sea. And Memories.”

  1. Linda Says:

    wow, what lovely photos, and you told your story in such a relaxed way that I don’t feel so hurried today! Thank you for that.

  2. Iota Says:


  3. Mud Says:

    Stunning descriptions of delicious but fleeting moments.

  4. paula Says:

    wow, is that the tanga coast or south of dar – beautiful.

  5. Miss Welcome Says:

    I know – isn’t that the worst thinking that the family will one day not vacation all together?

  6. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Linda, and I’m glad you could stop a while …

    Precisely Iota, Mmmm. I long for the next one already …

    Thank you Mud, delicious moments indeed, so simple, so special.

    Paula – it’s in Kenya, south coast, isn’t it pretty?

    It is Miss W, quite the worst, I don’t know if knowing that makes it better or worse? will i then squeeze every last drop of every single occassion. I think so.

  7. TheMadHouse Says:

    Learning to hold on to the fleeting precious moments is a gift in itself. Enjoy

  8. nuttycow Says:

    Yes, we grow up but, believe me, we still love coming back home again.

  9. R. Sherman Says:

    I remember realizing that our time for full family vacations was essentially past. It was a melancholy experience, but fortunately, or last such vacation was one of the best.


  10. Mwa Says:

    That made me melancholy. Must remember to treasure more of the moments.

  11. Muddling along mummy Says:

    It sounds perfect. Enjoy the rest of your time together

  12. Jo Says:

    That was so beautifully written.
    I remember my childhood hols with huge fondness.
    Stunning photos to help remember in future times.

  13. nappyvalleygirl Says:

    You evoke the time and place so strongly.

    Your children will have beautiful memories of these holidays…..

  14. Tattie Weasle Says:

    Bottle it, record the sounds, linger over the photographs and write about it. A heavenly post!

  15. Voyager Says:

    What a beautiful memory in a spectacular place. I love the henna on your daughter’s hands, it reminds me of having it done on the beach in Zanzibar so long ago.

  16. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Madhouse; i think that will be one of the Outpost’s greatest and most suprising gifts to me: teaching me to enjoy the fleeting.

    thanks nutty! assuming i stay somewhere where the sun shines and the sea is warm …? or do we all need to go home irrespective of where home is to get our laundry done properly and enjoy a meal of memories? I think perhaps I do.

  17. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Mr S; the realization that there won’t be many more as my son goes off to Uni this year is bitter sweet certainly, I shall miss him dreadfully when he takes off on his own adventures, but similarly i shall look forward to hearing about them.

    thank you Mwa.

    Muddling – thank you, it was. and with my son back at school for his final four weeks, the girls and I are doing what girls do: having hair done, shopping and giggling …

  18. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Jo, and the photos are a useful prompt to memories aren’t they? triggering the tiny things we thought had forgotten; pictures winkle them from the darkest recesses of our minds.

    thank you Nappy, it has become such a familiar holiday destination – the children’s grandmother’s home and their father’s for most of his growing up years so that when we arrived my eldest stretched her long frame after being cooped up in a plane and a car for almost 24 hours and sighed, ‘home at last’.

  19. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Tattie, i think that’s one of the great personal joys of blogging: my diaries tend to record the mundane and there are no pictures and the resolve to write every day dissipates early in the year: a blog is a wonderful and illustrated record of what went before.

    Hello V – isn’t the henna lovely? My daughters had hand and feet ornately adorned by a lady who sat painting with such elegant speed in the shade of a palm by the sea’s edge; she had a sweet baby daughter who took great interest without being the least trouble to her mother’s careful art; she must have witnessed lots of holiday makers being similarly adorned by her mum?

  20. 3limes Says:

    I too have just returned from the bliss that is the sea and we also went to Kenya. I still feel restored by the wonderful trip and to give you hope about future family vacations: there were 10 of us ranging from my London family including my mother, sister’s family, including delightful nieces and nephew and my own family who flew in from Uganda. So despite the fact the we all grow up and move on, we still meet every year by the sea.
    I am really enjoying your posts from the Outpost.

  21. ali la loca Says:

    beautiful sentiments.

  22. carol Says:

    Fab photos – looks like you all had a fantastic time. I’m sad that we weren’t able to join you – but family hols should sometimes be just that – immediate family. Take care and enjoy the extended time with Melie.

  23. blog love - the reluctant memsahib | LittleStuff's Blog Says:

    […] that mix of pride, joy and sadness as they grow and mature right before my eyes. In ten years time, this post “The sustaining scent of the sea. And memories.” could be written by me, I can see it […]

  24. Laura Says:

    Such a beautiful post – thank you. So few words have created an enormous and evocative image of your holiday, and the photography as always is so lovely.
    (I loved it so much I made you our Blog Love of the week –

  25. Alcoholic Daze (Addy) Says:

    So glad you had a good break. Hold fast to those memories.

  26. Mapesbury Mum Says:

    I can see you had a fab time – you will always remember it, even if you need a little trigger to remind you. Your photos brought back fun memories to me – I could smell the sea! Welcome back…XX

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: