All we have is each other. And kindness. I do say that and check myself – because of course there are some people who don’t seem to need anyone.

Even those people, I expect, do crave kindness – although it may not be their priority to seek it. I think the rest of us seek it and aim to give kindness more or less constantly. Kindness drives us. The encounters we have; these are the foods we eat. They nourish us and allow us to reciprocate. We get equal well-being too from nourishing others.

The happiness derived through kindness is deep and mysterious. For me, it is the most satisfying thing I know. I don’t say it to be sanctimonious. I say it because it’s always surprising to me. Duh. The cynic is still in there – somewhere. The only consolation is that even if I don’t understand it, it gets closer the older I get. Age counts for something! Or wait. It’s probably experience. Yeah. Experience counts for something.

You really feel it then, when it goes wrong. For us this can hang on a knife-edge on Quest. In this small space, kindness – or the lack of it – can dictate the swing of the boat as much as any wind direction.

It feels as intense as any storm. The inability to see matters from any other point of view except your own. The lack of kindness when someone onboard needs it. Literally sweating the small stuff when what is needed is the big picture. I wish I could say that we didn’t suffer with these things on Questie.

Add uncertainty, Coronavirus, and school to the mix. Close the majority of countries around you so we can’t easily go anywhere, and see if that takes its toll. Oh, and the occasional teenager chaos, which as everyone tells us and we hope is right – because we’re one of the suckers who have never done this before, is a completely normal phenomenon.

I want to say that we ended the day as positively as we started it. That the three exams which Lulu endured – and eventually triumphed over with the weight of her work and the grit she’s put in mostly by herself, was properly rewarded. Again, it’s the kindness factor – or not, which tends to call it. I don’t care about any of the rest of it. Kindness wins the day. Nothing else.

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