A gorgeous Sunday after a lovely weekend of pavement café drinks and chatty teenagers. And now, peace. The sun cracking the flags and the lane quiet except for the buzz of lawnmowers and bees. I have made cheese and rosemary scones and juiced oranges, laid the garden table with a checked cloth and flung up a pink parasol so light it is apt to fly away to pastures new at any given moment.
Life feels calm now the sun is shining and I am learning to go gently with myself all over again, peeling back the layers of gloom and surrounding myself constantly with family and friends so that I remain in the now, not destined to squirrel too deep into the cavernous corridors of my head. Sitting with both mine and Mum’s most precious friends in turn, sipping lattes, telling stories and holding on to much needed hope.
Now. In the garden I am amazed to see that what looked like the most feeble of climbing plants has suddenly sprawled and flung her white flowered self all over the fence. The remains of last night’s cosy round the fire-pit is still to be cleared and the wild fronds of who knows what that have wound themselves in and out of the frame of the white metal bench under the kitchen window must be cut back before I can settle into my wicker chair and type the afternoon away.
Ste and Stevie (Or “The Steves” as they are collectively referred to by Finn!) have packed a picnic of cold sausages and tangerines and gone for a hike through a much anticipated trail, and somewhere in the house, Finn and Alana will be wrapped around each other watching American Horror Story as if the glorious sun didn’t exist.
I am quite alone and I like it.
I like listening to the kids next door screeching with delight in the paddling pool. I like tipping my head back and letting the sun dapple my face for a moment, watching as the pale grey doves discuss their domestic lives on the lawn, while I nibble at plump raspberries and drink iced hibiscus tea. I like the wisdom I am discovering in the book I pick up and put down in-between tapping at my laptop and the constant flash of my always silent phone as the women who have wrapped their protective arms around me, check in. I like the quiet of my own head, with no need to provide for anyone else if only for the afternoon. I like today.
Tonight, Ste will drive Stevie home and I will lay the garden-table with a picnic of cheese fondue, warm garlic bread, a radish and purple onion salad, rose lemonade and blackcurrant cider poured into huge jugs, with only the wasps to ruin the fun. Then I will slip away for an early night, for a tepid, salty bath and fairy-lit, incense scented yoga nidra in the breeze of the two windows in my room. A room so warm it rather feels like sleeping in a pond, despite my best middle-aged lady efforts with fans and peppermint oil, damp cloths and iced water. Hell yeah, I am as dramatic as I have ever been. How would I survive if I ever found myself living in a hot climate? I do believe I might get a little stabby with a stick of frankincense incense.
This week: coffee first thing in the morning, tomorrow with my oldest friend, more muddling through some blog stuff and then a mammoth effort to make the house as lovely as can be because the landlady is visiting on Friday for the first time in over eighteen months and though she is a darling, it always sends me into a complete quiver, worrying that my homemaking efforts might not be up to scratch or that she has again decided to sell. Though it is only a figment of my oh too fertile imagination, I do so often feel as though the rug could be yanked from under us at anytime. And I can no longer imagine what security feels like, though it is a terror I try to keep firmly subdued.
But now. Wafting at a fly with my yellow fly wafter (In the same way that horses, not women sweat, I waft, not swat) and looking for all the world as if I have gone quite mad as I bash at the air and screech dramatically if anything gets too close to my ear. One longs to be normal, but it seems normal is for other people and I am a woman destined to invent the lesser spotted Fly Dance instead.
But still, I like today. I like sun, and writing and scones warm from the oven with salty, Normandy butter. Despite it all, I like it all.