After the confetti came the house renovations – we survived (a miracle) and so did the house, apparently – and after the house renovations came a week in Yorkshire.
We always say we’re ‘house-sitting’ (geese, horses, chickens this year) because that makes us sound virtuous, but in fact, it’s a glorious week of freedom on the North Yorkshire moors in the prettiest house, with the loveliest views, most lavender-like lavender, topped off with sweet raspberries and an Aga. I mean, what could be nicer, after having let out the geese and congratulated the chickens on laying an egg or two, than lying in bed with the husband and a cup of tea, with three grazing horses framed by the window? It was certainly more peaceable Mrs. Gaskell than rumbustious Jilly Cooper, but we took our excitements vicariously, the husband through Edith Wharton and me through Martin Amis (followed closely, in my case, by Barbara Pym, to calm the pulse).
On the way home, we had a picnic in the car in the bucketing rain. I was pouring coffee from a thermos when I suddenly realised that, for holiday purposes, I’d skipped a generation and turned into my grandmother.