I wake to all the sweet accustomed sounds.
The pigeons which have made our garden their home are billing and cooing in noisy
contentment from the branches of the cherry tree outside our bedroom window. Mr B is not a fan of the pigeons and mutters dire threats involving shot guns whenever they wake him from his slumbers – but I love waking up to their tuneful (if somewhat repetitive)
They remind me of something my dear Dad wrote, many years ago about his earliest childhood memory – seeing a pigeon on the stairway to his home and feeling an unbearable sense
of loss. He was sure, he wrote, that it was the loss of his mother, who died when he was just two and a half years old. Every time he saw a pigeon, he thought of her. A poignant memory but one which makes me ever-protective of pigeons, despite the low
regard with which some people (including Mr B) hold them.
As I stretch out in bed (Super King Size – such a luxury!) I can tell that Mr B is up already.
I can hear the kettle boiling in the kitchen and I know this means that in approximately five minutes’ time Mr B will appear round the bedroom door carrying a mug of coffee and asking, unnecessarily: “Coffee?” One day I will say no, I think
to myself – but, then again, why deprive myself of that first, early morning cuppa just to be contrary? I accept his morning gift with gratitude.
myself and pull on my polar bear dressing gown. It was far too bulky to take away with me, so there is something very comforting about folding its familiar fluffiness around me before I trot downstairs. Mr B looks up from his breakfast and says he has really
missed seeing the polar bear coming down to join him for breakfast in the morning. There is cricket on the TV but I am feeling magnanimous, as is only fair when I have been away for a whole week, leaving Mr B to fend for himself. I will wait a few days before
complaining that I’d like to watch Breakfast Television instead.
All the normal household tasks seem more fun than usual. I unpack my suitcase and load the
washing machine with the first of several wash-loads. I clean the kitchen surfaces, empty the dish-washer and sweep the floor. Can I be turning into a housewife at this late stage in my life? No, it’s just that this is my home, and I’m back
after a week away and I feel the strangest urge to put everything in order, to make it clear to the house-goblins who wreak havoc in households like mine that I am, once again, in control and in charge. Well, as much as I ever was...
We take a trip to Tesco’s and to the garage for petrol. Mr B keeps patting my hand as he drives. It’s his way of saying he’s pleased I am back. Or perhaps
he is checking I’m there. Or, possibly, he’s simply trying to stop me fidgeting in the passenger seat when I think he’s driving too close to the car in front....
I meet friends for a girlie lunch. “Do you mind?” I ask Mr B, conscious of the fact that he’s been on his own for seven whole days and here I am, first day back, off again enjoying myself. But he waves me off happily and it’s
only when I return and find him eating a rather burnt jacket potato with cheese (he’d dropped off to sleep and left it in the oven too long) that I feel fresh stirrings of guilt.
However the diary looks full of fun for the rest of the week, all the usual activities which we have taken up over the months since I retired and became a lady of leisure. Not to mention an outing to a brewery on Saturday morning
with our Questers Group – now there’s a happy prospect. Tonight we will go to bed and listen to "The Bag", the nightly General Knowledge Quiz on the radio. We will try to get 6 out of 6 but will be satisfied with a 4 or a 5. We will hope
we don't fall asleep before we hear the answers.
There’s no escaping the fact that I am suffering withdrawal symptoms after leaving my newest grandchild
behind. The Middle of the Darling Daughters sends me a short video of him, listening to her singing “You are My Sunshine” to him. It was the song I sang to help him into sleep. I have tears in my eyes. I find a snowy white all-in-one
suit for him in Tesco’s and parcel it up, ready to post tomorrow.
And yet, and yet... There are fresh daffodils in the vases and the wilting plant on the
hall table has revived and is looking quite perky. Mr B has perked up too and I’m feeling contented and happy. I'm pretty sure I know why.
the dear familiarity of home.