Today was a day for throwing open the windows and letting the April air in. Far from resenting a morning spent indoors cleaning, I relished it. I love restoring the house to order after a school holiday. The first load of washing was on the line by 7.30am, and by 12.30 I had vacuumed, bleached, dusted, mopped, tidied, sorted and plumped like a woman possessed. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. Cleaning that is. I know that slob chic is a thing. I'm aware that a 'messy house means happy children' or some such rubbish. And frankly that's what it's been over the Easter holidays. I didn't venture into either Sam or Alfie's rooms once. I deposited their laundry outside their doors. I merely asked for dirty cups and plates to be bought downstairs when I was running low. I sniffed the air as I walked past their rooms, and restrained myself from barging in and demanding ventilation, and stripping beds of shameful sheets.
But I like clean and tidy. I love to walk past a sparkling bathroom. I find a real pleasure in seeing pressed bedding pulled and tucked to perfection. I swoon when I open my tea towel drawer to see a row of ironed cloths. I like my bits and bobs just so. I love to move furniture around for a different point of view. Call it my post holiday unwind. Call it restoring order from chaos.
We have been blessed with beautifully warm sunny weather today. A stark contrast to yesterday's bitter wind and evening thunderstorm. I sat in the back garden late this afternoon and dozed in the sun. It was heavenly to feel my freckles pop, and my skin slightly tighten on my cheeks. The boys were sat on the shed roof - which is forbidden, but goes unheeded - listening to Alf's iPod. I think it might have been Eminem, which wasn't the most pastoral tune going. But maybe it is if you're fourteen. What do I know? (I'm still recovering from dancing like a loon at a friend's fortieth bash on Saturday night. Can I just say that I was one of only two going totally Goth to 'She Sells Sanctuary' by The Cult. For the briefest of times, I convinced myself I was actually sixteen. My thighs the next day told me otherwise).
Olly was munching an apple. Alfie was swigging back tic tacs. And it was ideal. We ate tea outside. A kind of picnic tea of bacon baguettes, mugs of tea and apple juice. I'm sure I smelled a barbecue. It was probably our neighbour, Scouse Billy. He can be seen turning sausages, and swigging bottled beer at the first sign of sunshine. It's a very British thing to do, and he does it very well.
Of course, as the sun dipped the heat was gone. We wandered back inside, and went about our separate pursuits. I carried on pottering and doing. The boys wrestled in the living room. Good natured, I hasten to add. It's all about WWE here. I don't approve, but that's probably part of the appeal.
Bedtime reading was 'Mr Cleghorn's Seal' by Judith Kerr. We had finished 'Return To The Hundred Acre Wood' yesterday. I am enjoying reading a gentler story, after the Roald Dahl fest of recent months. I do like Dahl, but he can be rather violent, don't you think? And while my boys are all for a bit of indiscriminate brutality, they still desire gentler pursuits too. And I must confess that it's rather comforting knowing that Olly's head is filled with tales of animals holding a Harvest Festival, than someone getting their tail blown off by a drunk, before he goes to sleep.
I shall be wending my way to bed shortly. With a new book, 'The Trouble With Goats and Sheep' by Joanna Cannon. It was recommended by Rachel Joyce of Harold Fry fame. And because she is marvellous, I took her good advice. The question is, shall I have one last cup of tea before I wend my weary way? Or shall I fly in the face of convention and go without?
Have a lovely week friends.