Acts of normality

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.

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City of light

Sister has booked Bargain Short Break in holiday village not far from Paris and asks if I would like to join her. Tussle with conscience about abandoning domestic duties in pursuit of own selfish pleasure proves mercifully brief, and soon find ourselves on suburban bus amongst tired Parisian commuters on cold and dark Friday evening, in search of New Experiences. Have both decided to Travel Light, and in our black coats fondly imagine that we blend in seamlessly – though can’t help noticing how young all French people are these days.

Holiday village proves almost empty and luxuriously comfortable; are both so entranced by unimaginable ease of life where have only ourselves to worry about that spend weekend doing little but talking and reading, venturing only to local supermarket and pool complex for occasional swim (brief) and sauna (lengthy); by the time we head to city yesterday morning are in almost unprecedented state of relaxation.  Paris beautiful as ever in pale winter sunshine, and joys of walking alone Seine and through endless lovely streets made all the sweeter by thoughts of normal Monday morning routines. Visit Pompidou Centre for required dose of culture and Merci to make us feel Hip, and indulge happily in perennial fantasy of new life as intellectual but stylish Parisienne nipping out from chic city-centre apartment for animated philosophical discussions with polo-necked neighbours at local café.

Arrive home late and am touched by definite signs that children have Missed me. Realise that own actual life is really Not Bad At All.

Days of wine and roses

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.