Daughter decides that she wants to do a City Internship next summer, and spends hours at laptop a) completing psychometric tests b) explaining why her recent work experience in village pub and on organic farm in Norway make her ideally placed to advise major international corporations on M&A, corporate restructuring and capital markets c) trying to find out what M&A, corporate restructuring and capital markets might conceivably entail. Do best to help by buying weekend Financial Times from admirably unphased village shop owner, and reminiscing about own short-lived and somewhat improbable City career at tail end of 1980s. Am confidently informed that it is All Very Different Now.
Put aside rather fond memories of pinstriped suits, champagne bars and inappropriate office behaviour, and accompany husband on thoroughly satisfying outing to local tip.
Head reluctantly to town for long overdue eye test. Am so relieved that a) testing now almost entirely based on machines rather than own flustered responses to squiggles on red and green patches b) eyesight has not deteriorated as much as feared over past few years c) am not pressed too hard on number of hours per day I spend on screens – that can even manage rather thin smile when handsome young optician tells me that my long sight is because I am getting older and that he feels quite relaxed using this language to me because I am in my fifties and not my forties.
Kind friends invite me to watch new Mamma Mia film with them at local cinema. Can think of nothing nicer than watching films with friends, and thoroughly enjoy spending the evening with them; but unfortunately can’t prevent myself from sharing a small selection of my Thoughts on the film afterwards and now cannot see any reason why they would ever ask me to join them again.
Return from remarkably relaxing Package Holiday with husband and younger son in Mallorca. Flights undelayed, hotel very comfortable, food plentiful and not cooked by me; spend days swimming, sunbathing and reading rather eclectic selection of books without interruption. Try to convince self that this lifestyle would eventually pall.
Younger son so delighted to be on a holiday Like Normal People that almost forgets to be embarrassed in our company – at least until final evening, when we decide to sample hotel’s poolside Entertainment and, in sympathy for multilingual Italian singer (former contestant in The Voice Croatia) doing her best to rouse somewhat inert clientele, find ourselves singing along to chorus of Take Me Home, Country Roads rather more loudly than strictly advisable.
Pouring rain that greeted us on return yesterday afternoon now replaced with bright sunshine. Take dogs for long walk in freshly washed golden fields; collect garden harvest of plums, mulberries and runner beans; and decide to draft intercessions for tomorrow’s Family Service at some later stage.
Find myself suddenly overwhelmed by urge to Write. Contemplate a) great Victorian-style novel as cathartic response to gloomy events of last twelve months b) becoming Voice of Reason on Twitter and c) (briefly) catching up with overdue correspondence on village almshouses. Reject all, and, with some trepidation, decide to resume Diary.
Not entirely sure what Diary will record; after loss of father, and in contemplation of second child heading to university in the autumn, have decided to embark on New Life in nearby university city, and have put house On The Market. House-selling process so far proving good for Light Social Comedy but poor for actual Results, so may well be chronicling the ins and outs of Village Life for some time yet.
Looking forward to The Next Stage.
To London on Friday to meet a) internationally acclaimed fashion designer at opening of her new exhibition b) daughter in search of dress for end-of-term ball. Sons insist that I Actually Blow-Dry My Fringe For Once in honour of occasion; feel that unaccustomed effort was entirely worthwhile when two separate people at museum ask whether I too am fashion designer. (Feel grateful that they do not see me afterwards, puffing in increasingly crumpled fashion around hot streets of central London, or battling to eat healthy takeaway oriental salad box with chopsticks on park bench.) Dress-buying mission unexpectedly straightfoward, and have time for good discussion with daughter about Manchester, Cicero and Romania before we head home in separate directions; am surprised at how normal this seems.
Son playing cricket for village Second XI on Saturday; team quickly dismissed by superior opposition, and whole match over by time tea is normally served, but nobody seems unduly worried, and have pleasant time chatting to former village postmistress about beards, childbirth, and changes in village since 1953.
Weather continues to be warm and sunny so head for sandy beach yesterday; husband swims, I paddle, everyone eats chips and generally Makes The Most Of It just in case. Read delightful “Miss Buncle’s Book”, and see that sunshine is forecast all week.
Wake from most unsettling dream, in which other family members have done all the chores and shower me with spontaneous gifts of Exactly What I Wanted. Am unable to judge whether this represents auspicious portent as other family members all currently away a) piloting Ukrainian ship on Thames b) waitressing at pub next door c) doing Engineering Taster Course in Shropshire d) at sleepover with unsuitable friend.
Spend some time researching Inspiring Women to interview for new website ; try not to feel too disheartened by article about successful stylish fund manager with several children who spends her spare time baking cakes, doing Pilates and organising national charity campaigns. Own morning not entirely unproductive, however; arrange Rotary Club’s inspection of garden in readiness for summer’s Garden Safari, speak to neighbouring almslady about her broken outside light, and collect particularly impressive pile of dirty washing from children’s bedrooms.
Return from lunchtime walk and realise that have dropped house key somewhere En Route. Retrace footsteps, find key, and feel as intense a sense of achievement as if had just closed a multi-million pound deal.
Glorious spring morning. Puppy has yet to grasp concept of weekend lie-in, so have chance to enjoy it several hours before everyone else; stomp round deserted fields, reflecting on value of Parliamentary democracy, resilience of fundamental goodness in face of tragedy and hate, and whether can cook chicken curry for supper again.
Own week has in fact been full of joys, including day in London at fabric painting workshop (birthday present from lovely sister), revival of village friends’ walking group, and Film Night in village hall (Bridget Jones’s Baby – loud cheers from audience as sound and vision eventually coincide, and noticeably raucous laughter at very rudest jokes from WI members behind us). Birds are beginning to nest, children are showing distinct signs of remembering Mothering Sunday tomorrow, and our summer holiday is booked.
Have long believed that best of world is found in everyday actions of ordinary people; recording these in Diary now feels like own small gesture of defiance.
Weather has recently taken welcome turn for the better, so venture into garden for first proper Inspection of the year. Border filled with green shoots, pond filled with frogspawn, lawn filled with holes and half-chewed stalks from last year’s hollyhocks. Puppy chases tail in distinctly unrepentant manner.
Daughter returns from second term at university. Am of course delighted to see her home again, but after quick chat about parties, money, and gender archetypes in classical literature, have to head off for rare Night Out at friend’s 60th birthday celebrations in local cathedral city. Evening is mild and still, and feel strangely young and optimistic as group wanders through Saturday night crowds and into packed cocktail bar. Mood dented only slightly when friend whispers that we have instantly doubled the average age.
Wake up this morning feeling ready for A New Challenge. Unsure a) what b) when c) why.
In the midst of conversation about Instagram filters, identity politics and Sunday’s tea and cake fundraiser in Scout Hut, friend asks whether I was planning ever to resume Mrs Ford’s Diary. Explain that recent “Best Picture” Debacle at Oscars had reminded me of very similar incident at village Tennis Club’s Annual Wine and Wisdom Evening a couple of years ago, and that worldwide interest in former might well indicate unmet appetite to read about latter. Am worried that diary resumption might put me under pressure to be Funny on regular basis, but after friend reassures me that she frequently did not laugh at previous entries, decide that I Will Do It.
(If all else fails, will just copy lines from relevant day in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4. 7 March 1981: “Finished War and Peace. It was quite good.”)
Begin to regret earlier insistence that daughter should Relish Her Independence at university and not worry too much about contacting us. Finally send rather terse text saying she could actually worry a little, and am rewarded with lengthy Sunday afternoon telephone conversation discussing Club Nights, Latin love poetry and vital importance of separating whites from coloureds.
Own life currently dominated by new puppy, acquired two weeks ago in transparent attempt to plug daughter-shaped hole in home life. Am regularly reminded of children’s toddler years in daily mix of joy, frustration and liking her best when she’s asleep.
Delighted to resume diary after long absence and look forward to renewing blog friendships over coming months.