It was really nice to speak to you last night. I find some of your analogies and reflections on my writing really interesting – like the family split being endless new fault lines that I keep having to shore up. Your whole approach to independent holidays is also just so logical and removed from emotion, or my sense of guilt and what is proper, it is refreshing. One of the things that will guide my decision is the fact that I am not married and thus do not have to do anything out of duty.
Last Friday I went out for a meal with jenny whose errant husband is living with FH. It was one of those evenings where I arrived at 8pm and when I next looked at my watch it was past 11. As I’ve explained before, she is really FH’s friend, strawberry blonde, mid 50s, lived in face, but lovely smile. I got the whole story of her marriage (she was pregnant), her early married life in a still very colonial Africa, why she married him (he was intelligent) and an update on their apartness. She is still optimistic he will come back, but I think there are little signs of withdrawal – booking holidays alone, not interested in supporting her DIY projects etc. Anyway we shall see. She is funny and scathing and witty – I find myself attracted to her boldness!
I took Sean for a ride on Saturday morning and was reflecting on the fact he is now 15 – positively veteran! Then I went to FP’s who cooked a wonderful meal, spent all Sunday in bed and drove back to muck out, do my ironing and watch a film with J2. J2 had a good time too, a party Saturday pm, meal out with friends Saturday night and football Sunday. Poor J1 spent most of it in bed. He’s been to the docs, but has the flu virus well and proper and is burning up.
Had a long phone call with posh Imogen (au paired alongside her – I was teaching English to the daughter of an Italian politician in Elba, Italy when I was 21. Her father was something big in British Sugar. She trained as a Norland Nanny, lived on a massive country estate. When she showed me the photo I asked her which flat her family lived in!) Her husband left her for the second time about 1.5 years ago, but has now come back again (same woman each time) after a year. He has been without a job all the time so the cynic in her feels it is largely pragmatic, but he truly is the love of her life and him there is better for her than being alone. They are having spats about him wanting an au pair (even though all the children are away at boarding school, the army or uni), but she is saying he must do the housework. Her mother died recently, her father a while ago and she is very very rich.
On Wednesday I had a Scarman day – travelling to Kings Lynn and then back to Royston for a committee meeting. I was up at 6am and got home from Royston committee at 11.40pm almost weeping with tiredness. Still, it was quite productive and good feedback on my halls report and rural strategy. Kings Lynn is a depressing place from what I’ve seen and heard about it. The project I am working on is to build a new school in a deprived area with nearly 30% attendees traveller children which is a phenomenal percentage. As travellers don’t like walls they are hoping to get round this with whizzy design. My role is to advise on community engagement so that the community feel ownership of the school and will accept the new housing for richer people that is inevitably being built as well to pay for the school.
My focus at work this week and probably for quite a while is a very damming audit on Hitchin Town Hall which I have only recently taken over responsibility for. Every malpractice you could imagine seems to be going on there and I am becoming very au fait with various financial procedures such as overdue billing etc. I am trailing down there every other day at the moment and getting very hands on.
Tonight I am going to Iris’s – who lives round the corner and is the one who had a house in Umbria I stayed in. Big horse flies, golden sun filtering through water sprays on tobacco fields.