Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Set the kitchen table

So the tickets are booked for the return to Hong Kong, at the end of August. But there's too much to do, here in England. Chalk-walking, nightingale hunting, castle digging, medieval hedge stroking, iron age forting, dinosaur tracking, plus all our usual assortment of garden digging and outdoor playing under the wonderful skies and clouds you keep here.

Urgently, I spend the morning planning and plotting, making up diaries, juggling dates, booking accommodation, reserving tickets, adding our names to lists. I promise we'll turn up, even though we'll be late. You must understand, there isn't time to do it all.

I cook cheesy made-up wot-not for the kids, clear the table from the papers, put out the old plates, move the chairs that don't match, lift away the raggedy flowers that Shark brought in from her garden wanderings, then I turn round and see it all, and even though I've seen this table set for speedy lunch a thousand times before, the sight catches me.

It's ordinary, so everyday ordinary.

I tell Tiger that Hong Kong will be exciting too, with so many things to do, that we have to go back. Tiger says, please, can we just stay here to see the blackberries and the damsons? Then, she adds, I want to see the snow.

Tiger, we can't. And I know, but can't say, that our hearts are here.