Have suspended normal domestic service in experiment to see whether extensive daily efforts to create Nurturing and Supportive Home Environment will a) be missed and therefore at last Appreciated by children or b) prove A Complete Waste Of Time.
Use hours now liberated from baking and tidying to read every internet comment about Scotland Referendum and latest books from village library. Forced to admit that now have practically nothing in common with Bridget Jones , who remember fondly from 1990s before she became Global Cultural Phenomenon; decide that it all started to Go Wrong with the films, and take somewhat cold comfort in thought that same fate unlikely to befall Mrs Ford’s Diary. Find myself rather more in sympathy with servants in Longbourn.
In burst of new-term enthusiasm, decide to tackle Paperwork, and draw up Family Budget for year; hope that have overlooked hidden source of income and rifle through old files in hopes of finding some long-forgotten Post Office book. Spend happy afternoon tearing up payslips from last millennium and correspondence about taking maternity leave in 2000.
Manage brief discussions with children about schoolwork. Elder son already complaining about Mark Schemes, and suspect that own enthusiasm for To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men may not survive another GCSE course.
All watch Educating The East End. Am currently planning to be exactly like Ms Hillman.
Sons return to school tomorrow; have clearly decided not to let this trouble them, and concentrate on playing football and watching cricket until RE holiday work on Liberation Theology, Aid Agencies and Holy Wars can no longer be ignored. Seem unimpressed by my suggestion that they might Get More Out Of Their Schoolwork If They Put More Effort Into It, though younger son offers to make more effort if significant financial reward promised in return (it is not).
Consider own autumn plans, which so far comprise bulb planting, dental appointments, Harvest Craft Morning, Village Jumble Sale and repainting interior woodwork. Wonder whether should aspire to something a little more exciting.
Distinct lack of personal triumph at Late Summer Horticultural Show on Saturday; mulberries unplaced in Any Other Fruit, Posy In A Wine Cup judged not to be a posy at all, and find myself taking home most of the apple cake I donated to refreshment stall. Visions of becoming late-flowering Domestic Goddess rapidly fading. But show more generally a great success, and village honour maintained with prizewinning onions, pronounced by judge to be The Best Onions He’d Seen Anywhere This Year.
Meet brother and family at county cricket match. Weather forecast rather gloomy, crowd rather sparse, and game steady rather than thrilling; but all have very happy day watching and chatting until announcement that play is suspended because of Bad Light; unimpressed crowd gesticulates at glaring floodlights on which club have apparently Spent A Fortune, but eventually give up as rain starts to fall steadily.
Must now all confront the reality of the fast-approaching New Term.
Rather struggling to maintain Holiday Spirit in face of relentless rain, mountains of undryable washing and nagging awareness that have yet to organise children’s bus passes for new school year or refreshments for Horticultural Show on Saturday. Domestic, village and family duties all seem peculiarly unappealing, and fantasise briefly about getting self glamorous and highly paid job (unspecified) in order to escape them all.
Reassured to find friends and other bloggers in similar gloomy mood, and realise that It Will Pass; decide to abandon any attempt to be constructive or efficient for time being and spend happy evening watching DVDs with children. Feel quite Christmassy.
Usual mixture of excitement and pointless anxiety as make final preparations for start of annual family holiday tomorrow. Fortunately, packing for fortnight abroad proves considerably less demanding than for two nights’ camping in England, and after filling own suitcase with too many books and not quite enough clothes, as usual, find I have plenty of time to check tickets, route-maps and passports – several times. Dog despatched to kindly carer in nearby village, and house – despite presence of three children – immediately feels rather empty.
Normal life and diary now suspended until last week in August, but will resume both in time for the Late Summer Horticultural Show.
Realise that have been very poor diarist recently; decide to blame unusually high levels of activity, sociability and sunshine over recent days.
Friends, family and sunshine all now departed, so spend day doing various errands in readiness for fast-approaching family holiday. Head off to village library in search of suitable reading material, and find younger son’s six-year-old twin admirers giggling away and dressed, as usual, as though going to Royal Ball. Am invited to try out their Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge Fortune Teller and am quite unreasonably pleased to be told that I should become an author.
Turn off lights and watch First World War Vigil from Westminster Abbey; cope quite well until The Lark Ascending.
Am currently luxuriating in Home Comforts after returning from surprisingly successful Family Camping Trip.
Outward journey very Hot and quickly abandon attempts to interest children in beauties and historic significance of passing countryside; but general mood improves after arrival in eccentric wooded campsite, and manage tent, fire and food in reasonable harmony.
Appear to have packed for expedition lasting several months, but trip in fact limited to two days and two nights; enjoy days (spent exploring, talking and playing French cricket) rather more than nights (spent cursing inadequate sleeping mat and ever-alert dog), but am glad to have done it all and feel that we are now all in proper Holiday Mood.
Hottest Day Of The Year So Far, and boys have all-day sports tournament at school; stern warnings about perils of over-exertion duly ignored as they set off in more than usually potent clouds of Lynx.
Take dog for early walk through hazy countryside, admiring butterflies and doing best not to notice already harvested fields and blackberries appearing in hedgerows – though am not entirely clear why own increasing sense of Time Slipping Away always seems so much more intense in summer.
Am getting vicariously excited about daughter’s approaching festival trip; have sorted out tickets, travel and tent, so she can devote day to much more challenging task of deciding What To Wear.
Daughter is going on first solo trip to London tomorrow; am quite sure that she will cope perfectly well, but nonetheless find myself going repeatedly through itinerary, contacts and contingency plans as though briefing her for particularly dangerous undercover mission.
Have recently become Deputy Verger so am invited to evening wedding rehearsal in order to Learn The Ropes. Arrive early but find church already full of over-excited children and slightly anxious adults, all apparently from London; do best to Make Them Feel At Home and discuss church (lovely), village (lovely) and weather (currently foul but Definitely Better Tomorrow). One tiny bridesmaid tells me proudly that she is Hyper and swiftly finds herself seated in corner with paper, pen and instructions to draw pictures of entire wedding party.
Rehearsal goes well, everyone eventually disperses, and Verger and I are just about to go home when The Musicians (also from London) arrive and ask if they can just have A Quick Run-Through. Verger replies that she has been there two hours and Has Not Yet Had Her Tea, and that Tom is about to have his organ lesson and then it will be Choir Practice; but eventually softens under singer’s relentless charm offensive, and we all enjoy five minutes of songs from Oklahoma while rain falls steadily outside.