I spent the day with two of our daughters and their partners and it was lovely – so pleasant to be away from the house and leave the responsibility for animal husbandry to my husband. That sounds quite grand doesn't it? Anyone reading this might think we have a smallholding with a flock of hens, a small herd of goats with an accompanying donkey, a house cow, some ducks and perhaps a pig or two. Wrong! We have four dogs, two cats and my mother-in-law is staying for a few days.
Barry had told the daughters he was sending me First Class so I felt as if I should be wrapped in brown paper and string with maybe a dollop of sealing wax to seal the knots. On the train I received two calls from him, both Frodo the Faller related. Once in the pub garden where we were having lunch another call came from him – he was definitely feeling the strain of entertaining his mother. In the preceding years after he has collected her (again, rather like a parcel) he has then gone about his business, often far away on a different continent while I have kept his mother company. He is a lovely man but not patient; she is sweet but single-minded and generally I act as a buffer between the two. Sometimes relationships can be awkward to navigate or even circumnavigate but I think my teaching career gave me some valuable experience in social negotiations – if you can cope with feuding four-year-olds or swearing sixteen-year-olds, dealing with awkward adults is a cinch.
All now is peaceful – everyone fed and watered (or wined) and relaxed.