We are home. On the journey back from the South to the North, we leave dry Aragon and the deep Spanish lakes; an arid red land patched with blue. We drive up and through the Pyrennes, with black smoke steaming from the back of our van. We slip into the tunnel that goes under the mountains. We stop in France, eat melon, cheese and chips, sat on a wall in the sun. We fall down the slopes into rolling countryside. The Gers makes us think of soft English landscapes. A man drives a silver rolls Royce in the summer sun. We stop in a town and buy blue sandals for two euros and a toy parrot, which my daughter calls Sky. We sleep that night in a municipal campsite near a man travelling with a tent the size of his body. He has walker's calf muscles and a sturdy face. Yesterday, tired in the white stone of the Charentes region, we find ourselves stuck in a leisure park with country-dancing, giant barbecues and far too many people. Too many people.
Today, we are home, sucking up the bits of the voyage. There is the washing, the answerphone, the emails, the post and the smiles of the courtyard neighbours. The emptying of bags. Crumbs of the holidays falling on our floor. Packets of tortes are arranged on a shelf. The flat feels big after the space of the van. There are the seagulls and the iodine smell of the sea. The small, quiet sadness that a trip is over. The happiness of the return.