This week there has been a lot of weeping – proper weeping of the wet face, snotty-nose, aching chest variety. My daughter has moved out of our home and into a house share in South West London, not that far from where she was born, in fact, although she doesn’t remember that, being not quite four years old when we left London to move to Wiltshire. Our son, too, isn’t around much at the moment, spending his time with friends before he too moves back to London to reconvene his undergraduate studies. A few days of my own in London, to visit some of my family there, has helped me to settle my emotions. Catching up with my two sisters, five of my nieces, one of my great-nieces, four of my great-nephews, and two of my oldest and closest friends has helped to banish my melancholy. Plus six hours on a train in a face mask tired out my body and ensured I slept well. And I saw my daughter happily – very happily it seems! – ensconced in her new home and that helped me feel more cheerful.
Meanwhile, our family house is eerily tidy. I have an urge to rush around the kitchen sprinkling every surface with breadcrumbs, smearing humus on light fixtures, kicking over piles of books to make everything seem more normal. The laundry bin is looking as deflated as a jumper that shrunk in the wash. I almost hate the silence as much as I hate the thumping beats of techno music. My daughter’s leaving feels much closer to loss than when she left to study at university – and I always knew she’d be back home every eight weeks.
But I hope I will get back to a regular writing routine next week. Much as I miss my eldest child, I’m glad to be reinstated in the room and desk I loaned to her for her studies and online tutoring. It is great to be able to shut myself away for some time each day and not be disturbed mid-sentence by my fantastic but distracting husband, Andrew, when he pops into the kitchen from his office (at the bottom of our garden) to make himself a cup of tea.
I’m re-reading Northanger Abbey this week – actually, that’s a lie because when I read the book before, I didn’t finish it. However, I’ve loved listening to Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion recently on the BBC radio Sounds app, so I thought I’d give it another go. I’m listening to a lot of plays and audiobooks on Sounds – mainly listening late at night, to help me sleep, or while I’m cooking or pottering about the garden. Poetry-wise, I’m reading less than I used to but I’ve recently reviewed three excellent debut collections for The North. I’ve also posted snippets of my reviews at Goodreads if you fancy taking a look.
Not much else to report this week. Crying takes it out of you. Hope all is well with you in these upside down times.