Day 8

Started getting to grips with IQTell, took Katie to piano and walked Sherlock on the heath. Some watering and dead-heading in the evening. Bought Tracey Thorne’s Tinsel & Lights. Ordered a trampoline for the children. Looking forward to vision training with Leo Angart tomorrow!

The hybrid teas we planted at the end of winter are doing well.The hybrid teas are doing well

Day 7

Admin, doctor’s appointment, Selfridges, dinner at the Savoy, bargain tickets to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (with Robert Lindsay).

Decided to get a taxi from Selfridges to the Savoy as the traffic was really heavy and I didn’t think the bus would make it in time. The taxi driver asked if I’d had a good day and I thought about it for a moment and said ‘Well, in my book, any day that ends with me jumping in a cab and saying “Take me to the Savoy” is a pretty good one. This seemed to put him in a good mood and, in the end, he got me there so quickly I had time to pop into the Savoy Theatre and score tickets in the 5th row of the stalls for 1/4 of the normal price. Sadly my inadequate (non-existent) research had failed to reveal that this production of Scoundrels is a musical! It wasn’t terrible and Robert Lindsay is always worth watching but I’m pleased I didn’t pay full price.

Day 6

Admin, gardening, playing with the dog, laundry, fruit loaf.

I put Sherlock’s profile on a canine dating site called Borrow My Doggy, which matches people with dogs with people who would like to have a dog in their life but can’t own one for some reason (no garden, landlord won’t allow pets etc) and he has already been favourited by several prospective dog borrowers. Very exciting.

I’m normally a bit unresponsive if the children come downstairs wanting attention after we’ve been through the agreed bedtime routine, but I took pity on Katie this evening as I had to admit that the smell of the fruit loaf baking was really mouth-watering. She came down just as it was getting cool enough to cut, scarfed down a couple of still-warm slices thickly buttered and toddled off back to bed as happy as a clam. My sisters will no doubt remember the smell of Mum’s fruit loaf cooking and agree that refusing Katie a slice would have amounted to cruel and unusual punishment!

Day 2

Usual Saturday logistics. One of the staff at Stagecoach confided guiltily (as they all do, eventually!) that Katie is her very favourite, even though of course ‘we’re not really meant to have favourites’. After Stagecoach and while we waited to collect Dashi from theatre skills, we went with Katie’s friend Chloe and Chloe’s mum Danielle to the cafe run by the local branch of Age Exchange, where Chloe went all out to con me into buying them sweets (strictly against her mum’s rules – Danielle is very health conscious and won’t even let the children eat white bread, let alone sweets). When Danielle needed to go, I agreed that Chloe could stay and I would drop her home afterwards so that the girls could continue playing together. But when I spotted that the two of them had stopped colouring and were clustered around an elderly lady, I worried that they might be making a nuisance of themselves (or even that Chloe might be trying to get her to buy them sweets!). I raced over to intervene but the lady said that the girls were being perfectly polite and lovely. She then leaned in and confided that she has Alzheimer’s ‘but not the dangerous kind’! We had about another half hour until we had to leave and the girls did indeed sit there like perfect little angels while the elderly lady told them what life was like when she was younger. It was a lovely example of what the Age Exchange designed the cafe to do (i.e. bring the generations together). I live next door to the guy who was behind setting up the cafe, so I must mention to him how well it is working. The girls love being together so, when we dropped Chloe off and Danielle asked if Katie could stay for a while, I didn’t have the heart to refuse even though it meant another trip back up the hill to get her later on. I have always felt a bit guilty as I haven’t exactly done my share of the play dates while I’ve been working, but when I mentioned this to Danielle, she said not at all, that having Katie is like a little holiday because she keeps Chloe (who is otherwise rather high maintenance) occupied. Nick collected Kate at five and Kate, clearly suffering from the stress of being perfect for everyone else all day, demonstrated her own slightly high-maintenance side – torturing her brothers, botherating her parents, and hassling the dog!

There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead…

Peace reigns again and Kate and Dash, best of friends once more, are both in their onesies (much too hot for the weather but Katie’s is new and she can’t wait to wear it) waiting to be photographed before bed.

Day 1

Day 1 (of freedom):  focused on recovering – fasting, resting, Chi Kung, Six Step Re-frame – interspersed with bursts of gentle activity aimed at eliminating all visual reminders of DH/PHE life: briefcase in a cupboard, laptop docking station and screen headed for the attic. After we got home from her piano lesson, Katie (7) insisted that I rest in my room (not a problem!) while she organised a little ‘happy non-work day’ party for me. She was a bit upset when she discovered that her planned centrepiece of the party food – a bought lemon drizzle cake – had been mostly devoured by naughty Sherlock. But she recovered a bit when I pointed out that, since I’m not really feeling like eating, I’d probably prefer some marmite toast anyway.