It’s quiet without the children here…

I’m home and all has gone very well.  The children had a good time, I hope, and were delightful. The weather was iffy, it must be said – the quite daunting heatwave in Southern Europe isn’t showing its face here – but they were keen to be at the beach and in the sea at every opportunity.  Gus only gave up and came out of the water when his lips turned an interesting shade of blue.

Towards the end of the first day, they’d been in the sea and were clambering over rocks, when Zerlina called me over, because a bee was on Gus’s back.  I climbed up as fast as I could but somehow, just as I reached them, she accidentally flapped her towel in his direction and the bee stung him.  I just caught a glimpse, it was neither a honey nor a bumble bee and I didn’t recognise the species, but bee it must have been as it left its sting behind.  Fortunately, LT had picked up an interesting shell and I was able to use its sharp edge to flick the sting out.  And Gus was hugely brave.  We headed back up to the road and LT went to the caravan to get anti-histamine cream while I bought ice creams all round.  The bee can’t have injected a full load of venom because it didn’t redden too badly and, after the first few moments of being, quite reasonably, upset, Gus pulled himself together and was incredibly stoical.  And by the next day, there was just a small red mark and he didn’t mention it.

Best throwaway remark of the week was also his.  I was wondering what we could have for lunch.  “Well,’ he said consideringly, “we could go to the pub…”  So we did.  In fact, we did so several times that week, it was our holiday too.  Olivia and Rhys, children of the same age as our two, were staying at the caravan next door so they were able to renew their friendship.

We were planning to visit other beaches but it was too windy on the day we tried one of LT’s favourites (actually, it was the local pub he particularly likes and we did have a very nice lunch) and we were going to check out another on the way back, but Gus said he liked our beach best, which pleased LT, who has always thought of it as his beach too.  If it had been more settled weather, we’d have spent time in Tenby, but we rather felt we needed to be within dashing distance of the caravan in case the weather changed again!

We also had a couple of days in Reading, went to the cinema and the local park, played hide and seek in Tim’s garden and did all the washing and drying of clothes and towels.  So Weeza and Phil will be immensely impressed – I think we managed four loads, though that included some things from home, such as a tablecloth of Tim’s.

And the return trip went well too – LT said the children were beautifully behaved in the car.  I’d done them each a bag of snacks, rice cakes, cheesy biscuits, a couple of sweet biscuits and some chocolate, with a bottle of water each, and they had their tablet computers and didn’t bother him at all.  And I met my four agents and after three I wondered how on earth I’d choose whom to go with, but by the time I’d seen all of them, I’d got a pretty good idea.  When I got home, I went through all the figures (all have different commission rates) and talked it through with Tim, explaining why I thought one had the edge.  It’s not the cheapest and three put down similar valuations, but I just feel they’re overall best.  He’s agreed that if they don’t get someone at the price suggested in a fortnight, I can give joint agency with another company.  So I’ve now got to write to all the others.  But it’s Saturday evening and it can wait until the morning.

And I arrived home to find that the two youngest chickens have started to lay.  There are two eggs that are an unusual, rather muddy greenish brown and another that is somewhat larger than any of the bantams normally lay.  And the Virginia creeper needs cutting back, it’s grown right over the drawing room window.

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