November 19, 2011

Everybody Needs a Cubby

I'm not sure how well the term translates outside Australia, so first let me explain that a cubby house can be any sort of fully enclosed, private play area for a child, usually involving make-believe games.

It can be as simple as a large cardboard box or an assortment of blankets draped over a table and chairs, although some parents buy astonishingly elaborate constructions which serve exactly the same purpose.

Unfortunately, as we grow older and more cynical, many simple pleasures lose their magic, and the humble (or even grandiose) cubby house usually stops being special.
I think that's a great shame.

A cubby provides you with a  private, safe and secure place in which to play, relax, plan, daydream, and spend time alone or with friends (real or imaginary). Doesn't that sound appealing?
In fact it is so appealing a concept that we have devised all sorts of more sophisticated substitutes.
  • Some of us find physical seclusion in places like the "man cave", the study, the sewing room, the garden or the workshop.
  • Others look for metaphysical seclusion through prayer, meditation, yoga, music, books or exercise.
I am lucky enough to have a mobile cubby. 

It was bought many years ago with the intention of taking joint holidays into remote areas, but after only a couple of such trips (although not because of them), my co-traveller became a less significant part of my life, and the idea of solitary camping was a bit daunting. However, last week on my birthday I decided to celebrate by undertaking a very non-adventurous (but therefore non-stressful) expedition ... to a coastal town less than an hour's drive away.

Feeling unjustifiably intrepid, I loaded the dogs and a very few supplies into the car and set off with my cubby in tow. To my immense personal satisfaction I managed the drive, the reversing into the caravan park site, and the setting up without too much difficulty, despite the wind and rain. Yes, of course it was wet and windy - we seasoned campers expect such tribulations.

After an afternoon dodging showers to walk along the beach (a rare pleasure for those of us who don't live near the sea), I prepared my birthday feast: fish 'n' chips 'n' champagne. The entertainment was provided by a UK crime show played on my laptop, the canvas proved entirely waterproof, and to put it simply, I was as happy as a clam.

Get a cubby, or if you already have one, whatever form it takes - use it.
It's good for the soul.

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