Spend happy few days staying with sister and family. Have offered to Make Myself Useful while sister Juggles children, work, mother-in-law, imminent house move and organising the Church Fête, and hope that my talking to her incessantly while she continues to do all the above will have made All The Difference.
House sale proceeding rather faster than anticipated, and sister’s family will be renting for some time until new house is found; this does not stop us making forays into surrounding villages and towns in hope that Perfect House will somehow magically appear, but succeed only in realising how beautiful everywhere looks on a sunny June day.
Leave sister making prototypes of jungle animals for monthly Children’s Activity Morning in village library, and return home in time for lunch party organised by friend in honour of her son’s 21st. Relieved on his behalf to confirm that this forms only part of his birthday celebrations and have merry time sitting in rose-filled garden, talking about Network Rail, children’s names and cat cafés, and trying to ignore his rather Loud second cousin at next table explaining at length to his companion why the bottle of wine I brought was Not Great.
Weather continues to be sunny and bright, poppies are blooming in garden, and daughter’s exams finish at lunchtime. Feel that housework today may be rather Cursory.
Start reading through rather daunting pile of Prospectuses brought home by daughter after recent University Admissions Information Day. Pleased to note that every single university in United Kingdom is a) World-Class b) Cutting-Edge c) held in particular regard by prospective employers and d) situated in or near the best city in the country for students. (Though only one apparently Provides You With Everything That Allows You To Be All That You Can Be, rather in style of Bleu de Chanel advertisement that has unreasonably infuriated me for last few Christmases.)
Weather warm, sunny and spring-like (though all forecast to change in time for sons’ first cricket match of new season tomorrow); hang out washing in happy consciousness of its great literary tradition, admire emerging tulips, think about making a birthday cake, and vow to be much more diligent Diarist from now on.
Deeply-ingrained habit of starting weekdays with Today programme rarely has positive impact on mood or outlook, but am intrigued amongst all the sadness this morning to hear about survey linking personalities to geographical regions, and decide to try out Personality Quiz myself. Am awarded lowest score on Agreeableness and highest on Neuroticism, and advised that I might be suited to living in Oxford; forced to conclude that a) online quizzes are harder to manipulate than magazine versions of youth, in which I always emerged as Ideal Friend or Perfect Partner and b) I should probably not apply for any jobs which involve Psychometric Testing.
Am however ideally qualified for unpaid village roles by combination of availability and guilt, and find myself yesterday as new trustee at Board Meeting of local Almshouses charity. The Vicar chairs with the crisp efficiency of someone who a) attends lots of meetings and b) wants to get home and see her baby granddaughter; other trustees talk knowledgeably about charity rules, social need and accessible stopcocks; while own contribution is limited to excusing myself from Grand Opening of new almshouses as it clashes with Horticultural Association coffee morning.
Have mounting piles of Deskwork so spend morning cleaning kitchen and thinking about Twitter, cooking, E Nesbit, and why it doesn’t at all feel as though it will be Easter next week.
Spend much of day in determined effort to improve both house and self by listening to War and Peace while stripping layers of paint off younger son’s bedroom door (project started some time in 2011). Find myself soon quite Immersed, and have difficulty dragging myself away from Battle of Borodino and Prince Andrei to make children’s tea.
Bump into friend at village shop and agree that we will get to grips properly with new term Next Week.
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.
Weather still hot and sunny. Husband has taken daughter off for post-GCSE tour of England and relations, so am in sole charge of dog, tortoise and sons. End of term still some time away, but sons’ school days now seem to consist almost entirely of various sporting events, and even I have stopped worrying about homework.
Decide (for various reasons – some possibly honourable) that do not want to take part in new initiative at village nursery and steel myself to tell kindly couple who are organising it; feel that this would be ideal occasion for cowardly and self-justifying e-mail or text, but couple even less technologically advanced than me, so have to make Old School telephone call. At least they do have an answerphone.
Vaguely consider various projects around house but manage to convince myself that it is a) not worth starting anything new before the summer holidays, and b) my duty to make the most of the weather before it Breaks. Spend happy afternoon communing with dog and tortoise in garden.
Am taking part in a book blogger’s Meme. Still not entirely sure what a Meme is (find Wikipedia entry on subject quite baffling and normally reliable children not much better), but feel should Try Something New – and this particular exercise looks reassuringly like Victorian parlour game; participants have to list favourite book, author, song, film and object beginning with randomly assigned letter. Decide that this will be ideal way of Using My Brain while doing Monday housework.
Am assigned E. Start off very confidently:
Favourite Book – Emma by Jane Austen. One of my very favourite books anyway, funny, warm and wise, with excellent cast of characters, including quite awful Mrs Elton and quite lovely Mr Knightley.
Favourite Author – E. Nesbit, E.M. Delafield and E.M. Forster all favourites, but suspect disallowed under Meme Rules so go for George Eliot. (Would undoubtedly have chosen Middlemarch as favourite novel if assigned M.)
Cannot then think of any song, film or object whatsoever beginning with E, but after some hoovering and laundry come up with:
Favourite Song – Everybody’s Talkin’ , in version by Harry Nilsson; wistful, memorable and slightly unsettling.
Favourite Film – am probably not allowed Emma again, though do like 1996 version with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam; so choose E.T.
Favourite Object – find this the hardest one of all. Have certain fondness for eggcups and espresso cups, but finally settle on Envelopes; always, still, hope that post will bring Something Exciting (unspecified).