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.
Garden beginning to reach its June peak, and friend who writes proper blog with actual photos comes round to take pictures. Dog, tortoise and self all much excited by brief moment of Blogland celebrity, and discuss possible relaunch of diary in autumn. Hope readers enjoy pictures in the meantime.
Realise that this is hardly Headline News, especially in context of everything else at the moment, but just wanted to inform regular readers that have decided For Various Reasons (none bad) to stop diary, at least for time being. May resume later in the year, but very best wishes to everyone in the meantime.
Spend much of weekend in cricket pavilion, helping with pre-season Revamp. Plans for Total Transformation limited slightly by a) Budget b) time c) reality, but make quite impressive impact through two-pronged strategy of a) discarding everything that does not Spark Joy and b) covering remainder with white paint. Under-15s show particular aptitude for removal and destruction of furniture and fittings; local decorator and carpenter add welcome dose of professionalism; and time flies by as we discuss soap-making, Oompah Bands, American supermarkets, and everyone who isn’t there.
Sense of elation at Job Well Done slightly dampened on return home by sight of own photo in organiser’s Facebook update, though children say it’s only my hair, clothes and facial expressions that look really bad.
Daughter becoming anxious about participation in forthcoming School Quiz so watch University Challenge together in preparation. Explain that they may well ask the wrong questions in her quiz as well.
Am instructed at yesterday’s Mothering Sunday Crafts Morning to produce collage on theme of Love. Not sure what it says about me that mind immediately goes completely blank. Eventually settle on random mixture of flowers, hearts and smiley faces, with LOVE spelled out in large letters in rather desperate attempt to prove that brief has been met. Church seems particularly chilly, and participating children and parents younger than ever, but have happy time discussing names, Derbyshire, and left-handedness.
Daughter has Sunday shift at local pub today but indoor cricket nets are cancelled, so after annual breakfast in bed have unexpected pleasure of both sons’ company at Mothering Sunday service. Five-year-old Jasper takes advantage of Vicar’s brave determination to Involve The Children during sermon, and gives congregation full benefit of his views on The Meaning Of The Cross as well as on his mum, his nan and the best way to make cheesy pasta. All the women are given a bunch of flowers, Simnel Cake is shared out, and everyone tells me how much the boys have grown. Return home in cold spring sunshine, fully satisfied that all the day’s obligations have been fulfilled and normal family relations can now resume.
Leave children on sofa watching The Smurfs 2 and head to village hall for Rotary Club Shuffleboard Evening. Familiar gloom at prospect of any form of competitive games lifted slightly by team-mates’ repeated and possibly genuine assurances that they definitely have no ambitions to win anything, but can’t help slightly regretting self-imposed Lenten abstinence from drink.
While 11th Birthday Party Disco thumps away in next door room, organisers explain rules and emphasise that The Most Important Thing Is To Have Fun. Suspect that my appearances at shuffleboard table offer more fun to bystanders and competitors than to my bravely-smiling team-mates, but we persevere enthusiastically and do not come last in every round.
Plans for 2016 already somewhat behind schedule, but am excited by thought of bonus Leap Day tomorrow. Hope that it will allow me to set up new website, finish War and Peace, and write story that will win me £7,500.
Am moving chairs and tables in village hall in readiness for afternoon talk on Rose Growing when two well-dressed women come in and ask for directions to village tea-rooms. On realising that they have already passed it, remark that It Didn’t Look Very Lively; can’t help feeling that their experience of villages on cold February afternoons may be rather limited.
Guest speaker arrives in hall and announces to waiting committee members that a) our village is Very Far Away b) he doesn’t like gardens, gardening, the place where lives, most of the places he has lived previously, or community-based pub quiz evenings c) he has had to borrow a projector which will probably not work. Things fortunately begin to look up when after several minutes of determined conversation I discover a shared fondness for Northumberland and that one of his daughters used to live in the same town as my sister, and his talk turns out to be very good; though there is some distinct Muttering when he observes that in his experience women tend to struggle with pruning as they are Naturally Nurturing.
Go home, make special tea for children to mark the beginning of half-term, light fire and begin to wonder whether I may in fact be the very epitome of Naturally Nurturing womanhood. Plan to prune roses tomorrow.