I’ve just returned from a fantastic couple of days in London, meeting my ‘What I’m Writing’ blogging friends for the first time. It was only my second night away from home (without my kids) since the birth of my youngest, two-and-a-half years ago, and I think I’m getting a taste for it. Not that I don’t love being around my boys most of the time but it is fantastic to be ‘footloose and fancy-free’ for a weekend!
And what a weekend! I set off with my younger boys (six and two) after school on Friday, leaving the eldest (eight) with my husband for some father/son bonding time (good plan – they both loved it), and headed down to Yorkshire to stay with my parents for the night. First thing the next morning I left the boys with my parents and hopped on the train down south.
As I watched the beautiful Yorkshire landscape whizz past the window it occurred to me that there was nothing I needed to do that moment – no demands on my time, no small people to entertain, no deadlines to meet (or not ones that couldn’t wait) so I… *drumroll* read a magazine! A really crappy one! I learned all about Botox (it may smooth out your skin but often causes muscle wastage that hollows out your appearance thus making you look older in the long run… oh, and recent research suggests that overuse when young affects you psychologically since mirroring other people’s facial expressions helps develop empathy… interesting eh?) and also about who’s dating who, celebrity diets and whose body I’m supposed to wish was my own. Hmmm.
Anyway, before my brain was even half filled with fluff (it was a three hour trip but my head has a large fluff-capacity) my train arrived in Kings Cross and I was off to meet my gang.
It was SO fantastic to meet them all. It felt a weird mixture of completely surreal and utterly normal. These were people whose faces I’d only seen in FB profile pics, whose voices I’d never heard and whose lives I only knew about through words on a screen… and yet they were also people who I’d chatted with online and read and shared so much with through our blogs that I felt I knew them well. Conversation, laughter and wine flowed freely over a delicious four hour lunch and over cocktails afterwards. We talked about real stuff – who could be bothered with small talk? The only downside was that we didn’t have longer – so we’re already planning a next time!
Having had a wonderful Saturday, the next morning I rounded off my London experience with a leisurely brunch with my oldest friend. We first met before we were born (well ok, our mums met in antenatal class) and we’ve been best friends ever since, but seeing her was an all-too-infrequent treat. With my new-found freedom though I’m hoping to change that.
On getting back to my parents’ house later that afternoon I was met by two delighted boys who’d had a fantastic weekend with their grandparents. My six-year-old then gave me this story which he’d written (and illustrated) for me on post-it notes. I didn’t think he’d paid attention when I’d told him where I was going but clearly some of it had sunk in, well, the location anyway:
It’s rather prosaic for him (his stories usually involve castles, trolls or flying pigs) but I rather liked its blunt, straight-forwardness. He’s wrong about one thing though – this isn’t the end. It’s just the start of the story.