Sometimes the weeks are just too full. I like having too much to do and I have often suspected that one of the things that forms part of the mutual attraction between my husband and me is that we both have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew. It's good to be married to a fellow sufferer who is up for all sorts and doesn't think you are mad or tiring.
However, it can get out of hand. This week for example started with an intense gardening weekend followed by a Sunday afternoon and evening driving all over the place visiting ailing family. Monday was, as usual, looking-after-two-year-old-grandson-day, lovely and exhausting in almost equal measure. On Tuesday I caught the train to London, having fed cats and chickens, filled bird feeders, written notes, packed bags and charged mobiles. After work I was meeting Ian, who was also in London for a couple of days, and going to Kensington for a meal with a friend who normally lives in France. He has bought a little flat as their pied a terre in London which is about as beautiful and perfectly finished and formed as a little flat can be. We ate a lovely meal and drank fine wine in luxurious surroundings. The evening whizzed away and soon it was time to leap in a taxi and zoom off to Finsbury Park to stay with younger daughter.
The alarm went the next morning as far as I could tell while I was still putting my pajamas on. A work day in Canary Wharf full of ten person conference calls and wall to wall meetings passed in a blur, like the view from a train window. At one point I went to the lavatory just to sit down for a minute. At six I jumped on a tube to go to see the Tutenkhamun exhibition in what was the Milennium dome, followed by a pub meal. In a determined, push the boat out attempt to get back to younger daughter's flat early enough for some sleep we ordered a taxi. The driver got hopelessly lost following his satnav, we crossed the river three times and a forty minute journey took an hour and a half.
Thursday again dawned after a three minute sleep and Canary Wharf beckoned. Fabulous views from the 38th floor; meeting; handshakes; meeting; coffee; Cadbury's cream eggs brought by a young colleague whose energy and enthusiasm lights up the day. I am only working to lunchtime and I am determined to get home in daylight which means that I can't catch the through train. I am telling another colleague about my journey home which will take four hours and involve two changes of train and I can see her total incomprehension. Why does having forty minutes at home in daylight matter a shake of a dog's tail? I don't try to explain. It's a country thing. I want to check my chickens, look for signs of badger incursion, see if the later daffodils are coming out under the quince tree, bring in the logs while I can still see where I am going. Amazingly I do all that and still get to Welsh class. I fall into bed at half past nine and sleep the sleep of the truly exhausted.
This morning the sun woke me at around half past six. I dozed and drifted, warm in my bed. At eight I got up and padded about the house in my giant dressing gown and furry slippers. Light was pouring in everywhere. The walls are feet thick and the windows small but when the morning sun is bright the light dances on the walls and reflects from mirrors and pictures. Bodran was coming for lunch today. I let the chickens out. After three days in their run, cared for by a friend but confined, they practically bounced with excitement when they saw me coming across the kitchen garden. The run is grassy and, according to everything we have read about space per bird, quite generous, but they like to be out, scratching, sitting under hedges, wandering about under the trees, making dust baths and the cockerel flying up to sit crowing on the tops of gates. When I let them out they ran like cartoon chickens, clucking and muttering, to the wooded area behind the house and settled down for a really good rummage amongst the twigs and leaves. As I went back inside one said just loud enough to hear "About bloody time too".
I made soup but when Jo came we decided to take a long circular walk with a lunch at the craft centre at the bottom of our hill which is about half an hour away on slow foot. Jo is a great person to walk with: she sees the first wood anenomes and notices the strange sculptures which are made by mature ivy thickly twining on bare trees. In a few weeks they will have disappeared under foliage. We climbed over stiles and walked down the track which in summer is a sunken green tunnel. Now there is light and openness and you can see the views out across the valley. At the bottom of the track we turned and walked along the side of the river, rushing clear and swift, almost too small to be a river but more than a stream or a brook. In Welsh river is Afon, pronounced Avon. One of the many words used in English which are Celtic in origin.
We walked slowly along the wide flat grassy path which was once a railway line and along to the craft centre. It is always busy, all these retired people drinking coffee and eating cake. Looks great, so much to look forward to. We eat a restrained main course and ruin it with coffee cake, knowing that the long haul up the hill will make us feel virtuous. Once home we sit and chat in front of the woodburner until Jo goes at about half five taking seed potatoes and horseradish with her. She has brought me another old map of our area. There is a chicken casserole in the oven, Ian is on his way home and the weekend is to come. A sane and satisfying day.