Escape from the country

Spend yesterday avoiding wretched weather and accumulated emails about Church Telecoms Mast with completely delightful day of Culture and friends in London.

Go first to new John Ruskin exhibition with regular group of favourite ex-colleagues. Own prior knowledge of John Ruskin rather more limited than it should be, but am quickly impressed by his beautiful drawings and his extremely Strong Views on everything from lawyers to railway stations (very much against both). Balance one hour of exhibition-viewing with three hours in the coffee shop; discuss personality disorders, camper vans, Marie Kondo and more or less everything else. All feel much better.

Head to V & A to meet American friend and husband who have decided to celebrate wedding anniversary in London. Friend arrives looking exactly the same as when we first met more than 35 years ago, though wetter.  Leave  husband to wander around the Cast Galleries and medieval silver, and immerse ourselves in absolutely spectacular Dior exhibition . Feel slightly underdressed in utilitarian raincoat and comfortable shoes. Retrieve husband and head to charming restaurant in Notting Hill for dinner; discuss children, parents, monkfish, the polarisation of politics, and whether academics or business people have happier lives.

Reflect on journey home home that life of ex-lawyer with older children, access to London, and a fine collection of friends, must be the happiest of all.




Happy days

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.


We Cater for Pleasure

Not sure that I can blame recent hopelessness of diary-keeping entirely on school holidays, which children now seem to manage very well without noticeable maternal involvement – though do somehow still feel that normal life is On Hold until new term begins.

Have recently returned from second trip away with family; eschew more obviously teenage-friendly destinations in favour of remote cottage in North Yorkshire surrounded by sheep and cattle, and six miles from nearest shop, and am relieved that after surprisingly sunny week of walking, throwing stones in rivers and visiting Yves St Laurent exhibition holiday is pronounced Better Than We Thought It Would Be. Younger son fortunately avoids public use of what he fondly considers to be a Northern accent and confines his mimicry urge to rather unsettlingly accurate versions of my own musings on What Family Holidays Were Like When I Was Young.

Back home to find farmers already ploughing the fields, garden looking distinctly faded, and evenings undeniably Drawing In. Feel overwhelming desire to visit Dreamland.