I see people around town; mothers from school whom I haven’t set eyes on since we broke up and they say they’ve had ‘the most amazing summer.’ My mind whirls back, trying to place the most amazing summer I have had. I struggle. Summers have been pretty good on occasion, but rarely do I use a word like ‘amazing’ to describe an entire season. I respond; ‘it’s been a funny old summer.’ That’s as close to the truth as I can get. Emergency dental surgery, one holiday laced with noro-virus, house move upon house move, more close-quartered family time than we know what to do with. Various logistical challenges. An impending sense of anxiety as September looms with my new life direction – a Masters degree. Not enough writing. A teenager and a ten year old. And did I mention the house moves?!
We left for Jersey in July, returned to a summer rental in a waterside village. We then moved home to our beleaguered house for a few nights whilst my husband criss-crossed the globe to do a three day trip to Hawaii (yea, really). We swiftly realised our house was indeed uninhabitable. There’s nothing like lying in bed and imagining an abyss of dark, damp rubble beneath you (spider-infested). We went to Portugal to escape, to the place where we often spend our summer holidays, for nearly three weeks.
Now I type this, we are ‘home’ but sitting in another rental, this time in another outlying village, not waterside but inland. There is still a week before school starts, not that I am counting. I think it’s been the longest hiatus in my blogging career that has spanned over five years. Absence makes the heart grow stronger? Or indeed my small legion of readers might have simply given up and gone home.
So Portugal was an interesting experiment. Having been so many times before, we were forced to look at it with new eyes and try different activities to keep us entertained. My daughter took a friend for some of it and my Mum joined us too. The weather was characteristically lovely and hot; unlike England which has been shrouded in rain and cloud all summer. A major topic of conversation amongst all inhabitants.
I injured my wrist sea kayaking. I read ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North‘. I felt awe at the power of words. My biggest daily decision was which bikini to wear. My husband and I endlessly discussed tiles and wall colours (white) for the house that is not yet built. My hair went crazy-blonde. We got the train to Lisbon and spent a day or two. We missed the puppy (who remains very confused due to multiple changes of location). We had deep family discussions about all sorts of random matters. We dissected what makes the perfect holiday. We reminisced and laughed and ate lots of grilled fish. We fought about the usual stuff; unreasonable demands and snappy moments. I considered again how parents who home-school must come from a different planet to me. We bonded. We fell out. We laughed about it after.
And so here I am. It’s nearly the end of August, the evenings are drawing in and a whole new chapter is about to start.
I’ve missed you. Hello.