Empty house

They have all gone home now: first the Gillies, then Sara, and on Friday the BPs. So I am left with a tranquil but sadly empty house. The washing machine ran all Saturday, I’m halfway through putting the houses back in order and as usual am building up a small pile of things left behind.

It was a good visit. All four children clearly enjoyed coming back to Granny’s house, the highlights being, of course, the pool and Poppy. Apart from the odd conference call and internet work session, the parents were also able to relax, often over a glass – or two – of wine and feverish games of Monopoly Deal, to which we are all addicted (including Ella and even Maddie).

Otto did his best to organise a table tennis championship but struggled as Sara, Jude, Ella and Maddie were firmly non-players and Ed was often cooking at crucial moments. However Otto, Steve, Kate and I had some good rounds. Otto is playing well and even managed (ahem) to beat me. But then, so did everybody else…

Water is a central feature of holidays here. Given the weather was so hot there were no river canoeing trips this year, but good visits to the beautiful river at our old campsite, La Corconne, and the BPs had their usual swim and picnic at the local river spot, le Rieumage. The huge pool next door was used also, for some group jumping exercises. But what is nice is how much my bassin is appreciated. The children enjoyed sharing it with the three goldfish who are now residents, as well as lolling around on floatable toys.

The big surprise was that Maddie, who in Portugal in May was still refusing to get her face wet, was not only prepared to jump into the water, but like the other three, seemed to spend more time under water than on the surface. This image could have been any one of the four:

A sign of the times, all four spent what seemed to be a huge amount of time on various devices – iPads and Kindles – often playing with each other across the internet. But then, I can remember that at their age I spent hours on holiday (particularly on wet days) playing cards and board games.

What is encouraging is that they also spent time on entertaining us (Ella of course acting as Producer, and Otto starring as the most enthusiastic singer), and all four were often engrossed in producing booklets or pictures. Here, for example, is a booklet produced by Willow (aged 7) which I found today when clearing up.

I took only a few family photos (partly out of respect for Kate and Jude not being happy with clients tracking down family pages. So here are my mainly non-family memories of summer.

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