I know I’ve said it before but it feels like 2022 was the toughest year in a while, wasn’t it? Far from being the release we all thought it would be, we emerged from two years of Covid chaos... into different chaos. The party was pretty much over before it started – and it was a lot more expensive than we thought it would be.
I’ve long felt the global trauma caused by the pandemic was the closest thing to World War II in a few generations, and in some ways, the historical analogy continues. The late 1940s were a difficult time economically and socially, with food and housing shortages exacerbated by an exhausted population returning to everyday life and somehow expecting everything to be normal again.
Do two years of lockdowns compare? Maybe not. But there is uncertainty about and it seems to me everyone is feeling a little frazzled right now. I won’t repeat the litany of things to worry about, but I did feel that we needed some time over the summer – take a deep breath, turn off the news, sit in the sun, listen to music.
I’m writing this on December 1, and the summer break is in sight. We’ll have 10 days where our biggest concerns will be – in order – how to keep the wine cold, whether to site the tent in the usual spot and how to find a bit of shade around midday. There’s a release in that – time spent finding sun, warming up, slowing down.
It’s our first camping trip in a couple of years – we demurred last year in the face of the Delta variant, which seems pretty ludicrous now.
We tried in April, when we made it through two nights of rain and wind before giving up and going home in torrential rain. I realised I am a summer camper one night when I went to cook dinner and found that none of the lighting we possess is geared up to actually light a space in a functional manner, because we don’t usually cook in the dark. It’s romantic lighting only, designed for long evenings sitting outside in the still air.
Similarly, this issue of Here is designed around taking time. Our houses are in a variety of locations, at the beach and in the bush, opposite an estuary and in rolling wine country – but they all reduce things down to their essence and provide a place to sit in the sun.
And, for the second year, our friend Charlotte Ryan has made a playlist to accompany each house. So grab the magazine, settle into a favourite chair, and have a listen. I know I will.