The thing about summer holidays is that WEEKS whizz by and suddenly it’s nearly Time To Go Home and you realise that the thing which has been niggling at your brain – apart from your children, who don’t so much niggle at it as CHEW AWAY AT IT DAY AND NIGHT – is that you haven’t updated your blog in months. (Practically.)
So here, a précis.
Fresh Irish air. Although I’m the first to admit that there is a very fine line between fresh air and fucking freezing air. (It’s a line I’ve been walking for 6 weeks now.)
Empty, windswept, beaches. (Alas empty because rain is being swept along them by the wind. Nothing however that an umbrella and a bonfire can’t sort.)
Friends, and their spare beds. And their spare gin. (Thank you all.)
Parents and sisters who swoop up children and mind them, without expecting too much anything in return.
This book, which distracted me from London Shopping.
This conversation with the Boy, re Vikings:
“What is plundering?”
“Stealing everything you can. Including people.”
“Really? You can steal people? Why would you want to steal people?”
“For slaves. You steal them then you own them. But usually the Vikings only stole women.”
“Why? Men would be much better slaves than women.”
“You think? I think men would complain too much. But they stole them to make them have their babies.”
“You mean they sexed them?”
“Yes. They sexed them.”
“But the women didn’t want to be sexed!”
“No, they didn’t.”
“But how can you sex someone who doesn’t want to be sexed?”
“I suppose if you’re much bigger you just force yourself.”
“But... That’s terrible! Why would you want to sex someone who doesn’t want it?”
The Girl on roller skates. A baby giraffe on ice. (Hilarious for me – for her, not so much.)
FOUR WEEKS OF 24/7 CHILDCARE. (I did get a week alone in London, which redressed the imbalance somewhat, but next year I’m negotiating two weeks AND heavy-duty tranquilisers AND minimum wage.)
My sister’s dog – incredibly sweet and ADORED by the children, but once you’ve seen a creature gobble up a bowl of your child’s sick, you never quite see it in the same light again.
A migraine. On the Girl’s birthday. (Thank you to my sister who rescued me from where I was kneeling in a puddle of my own tears, whispering at the children to pleasekeepthenoisedown, then helped me de-package the 27kgs of Cadbury’s assortment, light six candles, and call it a Birthday Party.)
Nits. On the Girl’s birthday. (Also On the Girl’s Head.) Discovered more or less at the exact time as I was thinking that I could FINALLY slope off to bed. Instead I sloped to the shop, bought E100 of Agent Orange and spent the evening nuking the fuckers.
Rats. Apparently we’re getting our money’s worth from the pest control people in Singapore.
Cats. I get daily updates from our helper about the latest feline frolics – none of them sweet or funny or amusing, WHICH WASN’T THE CAT-OWNERSHIP DEAL AT ALL. Yesterday’s missive – “cats fighting with a stray in the kitchen, what should I do?” (Tempted to say “lock the doors and leave them to it” but fear she might take me literally, and we’ll arrive home in a few days to a rancid smell and rotten clumps of fur wedging the kitchen door shut.)
Middle age. This summer I found self gravitating towards hideous (BUT SO COMFY! LIKE WALKING ON AIR!) granny sandals on at least three occasions. (Ok. I didn’t so much gravitate towards them as actually buy them. I got home the first time and the Baby asked me if they belonged to our helper. Which should have been the warning I needed, but did I heed it? Did I hell. (LIKE STEPPING IN TO A CLOUD! MY FEET SING FOR JOY!))
This Coming Thursday. Which of course might not be a summer down, but I suspect the worst. Me. Three children. Two 8-hour flights. Back of the bus. A four-hour layover at midnight.
But! I will not be downhearted. I have my lezzer sandals to keep me strong, and cats and rats to look forward to.