After several years of voluntary and freelance work, have acquired actual paid job at local university. Job is admittedly a) writing minutes of management meetings rather than carrying out ground-breaking intellectual research and b) for grand total of two days per month, but am nonetheless quite excited by the novelty as I head off early yesterday morning. Kind friend offers me lift from village, along with her colleague who lectures in plumbing and electrics; spend journey discussing amateur dramatics, secondhand cars, and the number of females on his course (five out of 180).
Gender balance appears rather better among university management team. Shuffle into my allotted place in board room and do best to follow several hours of detailed discussions on wide range of Confidential Matters. Academics all tap away at laptops while eating bananas; I scribble in notebook while eating biscuits. Am not entirely sure what they make of me.
Write up minutes at home despite dogs’ best efforts to distract me in manner of particularly demanding children. Reward myself for hard day’s work with Endeavour on catch-up and the Great British Sewing Bee.
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.
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.
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.
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.