It's been four years now since my youngest child left school, but my year is still marked out in my mind in school terms. The antiques world quietens down in the summer and we have just two auctions a year, May and late October, so our own business is slack now, and all the other things I'm involved in slow down or stop in the summer too. I don't usually go away on holiday at this time (except to visit friends or family for a few days perhaps) but I like having time to enjoy the garden, read, not watch the clock all the time.
And a lunchtime drink is so nice........
A second beer at 4pm is just a little self-indulgent though, I realise, even for a Saturday. But, do you know, I don't care.
Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of our moving to this house. Have I told you that my husband was born here? His parents were married in 1927 and bought it the next year; they lived here for the rest of their lives. It's no wonder that he feels such a deep connection to the place.
A few years ago, I met, through friends, people who lived in the house I grew up in. Or in half of it anyway, as it had been divided in two (it was not unreasonably large but, at the time it was divided, large houses were unfashionable and it was situated in a very expensive area). They asked us round for lunch and afterwards showed me round the house.
I'd been looking round, recognising but not feeling a connection to things, as there were just so many changes. I decided that the windows were new as they fitted so well! They were large sash windows and rattled in the wind, but these fitted beautifully. Then I noticed the curved brass fittings, shaped to rest your fingers under as you lifted the sash - the original ones after all. Later, we went upstairs. It's a three-storey house and I and my sister used to sleep on the top floor. As I came back downstairs, my hand slipped behind and under the banister rail and my host noticed and laughed - "It's still there" - there was a long, smooth sliver of wood missing which had left an area flattened. I had forgotten, but my hand hadn't.
A couple of years ago, the house we sold to move here was on the market. It was empty and being sold at auction, so we didn't feel intrusive at asking for a look round. Now that was a lovely house too, an Edwardian old rectory, which we bought when large houses were unfashionable and sold when they were the coming thing. It was really odd, though a pleasure in most ways, to go back. Someone asked if I would like to live there again - but no, this is home.
When I sat down, I had no idea at all that I was going to write all this. Must be the beer.