Were it not for you, dear Reader, I would choose to gloss over much of the ten days we spent away.
You will get a flavour of the trip when I tell you that I didn’t ski at all. At all. No2 wouldn’t go to ski school – and I mean wouldn’t – so I spent the mornings sitting in a café at the bottom of the nursery slope watching her make snowmen. Eeyore had one-to-one lessons and hated each one more than the last; No1 took to it like a duck to water. Which was a real problem, as afternoons had to be spent in the swimming pool, because No2 would have it no other way. Eeyore is a non-swimmer (don’t even go there), so I had to be with her, which in turn meant that he had to be on the slopes with No1, who effortlessly out-skiied him (not difficult) at every badly executed turn. The British Loo Position became second nature to Eeyore, and we found it hard to straighten him up at the end of the day. Even more so as his feet – never his best bit – deteriorated to the point where he had difficulty standing, let alone walking or, God help us, skiing. He was baffled and in pain and I was just plain cross: with him for behaving like a peeved child and whinging (as I saw it), with No2 for stopping me skiing, and with No1 for having a ball and not noticing that although his sister was having a whale of a time doing as she pleased, her parents most assuredly were not. A nicer person than me would have been delighted that my little babies, around whom of course my entire universe turns, were happy and flourishing. Well, I wasn’t. The highpoint of my day was the very end when I stood on the balcony with a large G&T in my hand and rang home to hear about Jabba – who, I quickly discovered, wasn’t missing any of us at all. Ungrateful little sod: soon, mindful of my mantra of never discriminating between my nearest and dearest, I was cross with him too.
Back in Blighty, it was apparently time to begin thinking about the decoration of our palace. Hard to contemplate when all around was still plaster and wires sticking out of the walls and pipes that didn’t seem to go anywhere – or was it that they didn’t seem to be coming from anywhere? – and planks over gaps, but He Who Knows told me I had to get a move on. ‘Hurrah!’ I thought ‘The best bit! Colours, fabrics .. whoopee!’
And then it happened. Rabbit in the headlights time. I looked at the empty rooms and the big blank windows and the echoing floors, and I froze in the face of too much choice. My fear was that we were about to spend a great deal of hard earned wonga on the next stage of a once-in-a-lifetime project and I didn’t want to waste either the sums involved, or the opportunity to get it right and set up a home that we loved even more than we already did. More than anything, Eeyore and I wanted a family house in which we could bring up the children and see friends, but we also wanted to be able to be grown-up in it. For a while I had been ignoring grumbling pain in my hips but as it began to turn from a whine to a yell I simply couldn’t do the slogging round shops to see what was out there – especially as the answer was that locally, there was precious little. And magnificent though Sylvia undoubtedly was, I did have at home a four year old and a one year old I actually quite liked (never let it be said) and wanted to spend time with, although preferably not while trawling the streets. So I did what any self-respecting female would do when faced with all the colours and fabrics and papers and paints and carpets – and I rang Mrs B.