Before I go I do my customary Friday morning scoot round the house to tidy up. I run up and downstairs putting things away, picking up empty cups and mouldy bowls of cereal and getting all out of breath. It's a workout as well as a tidying up exercise. Win/win.
I haven't got time to sort all the clean washing into piles and carry to each room and decant into each cupboard so I leave a note asking boys and Husband to do their own.
Here it is:
On Saturday morning, in a little village in East Sussex, I get up and go out by myself. I walk through the village and down to the river and stand on a white, wooden footbridge. The silted water below looks like milky coffee: fast-flowing cafe latte dashing beneath my feet. But maybe that's just the Londoner in me.
There's a large old church with a very tall steeple, a few low timber cottages, flooded meadows on either side of the brown ribbon of water, the South Downs rising up beyond the village in the distance.
It's very still and very quiet. I can only hear birdsong. It's probably been exactly like this for hundreds and hundreds of years.
We have a lovely weekend in the little village in East Sussex. We go for walks. We sit in front of the fire. We eat. We drink a lot of prosecco. We cook a big fry up on the last morning. We drive home on Sunday afternoon.
It's Mother's Day so I'm looking forward to the home-coming. One of the other mums has a long text from her daughter telling her she loves her. Twice. Another is told her two daughters are making her a cake. A third has a text from her daughter saying she took her younger sibling on the Tube and felt like a mum.
I send two texts to the older boys asking how their weekends went. One replies, "Fine" and the other replies, "Good". Youngest sends a message from Husband's phone saying, "I love you Mummy!" But it's only a matter of time.
When I get home Husband looks stressed and dashes back to the kitchen to tend to the dinner. Youngest gives me a big hug. Eldest thrusts two bars of Green and Black's chocolate into my hands, not wrapped and with the price still on, saying, "Here, that cost a fortune and you're always complaining I never get you anything." "Just giving me a card would be fine," I mutter back, "or one of your lovely paintings," but he's already gone. Middle One doesn't come downstairs because he's on the computer.
I go up to the bedroom to unpack. The bag of clean washing I left behind with the note has fallen to the floor and all the clothes have spilled out.
We have a lovely roast dinner cooked by Husband. I have homemade cards from Youngest and Middle One. The card from Middle One says: Happy Mother's Day.
I go to bed. I dream I have four boys and not three and I am pregnant with a fifth. For some reason in the dream I call the fifth one Rafe. I don't even like the name Rafe. Actually it's not a dream, it's a nightmare.
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