The Boy departed and family from Canada arrived on the same day. Overlapping at the airport for an hour or so, we ate lunch together surrounded by surreally tasteful tables and baggage trolleys before going from arrivals in one terminal to departures in another. I hugged my boy tightly and a silent voice within me said, “don’t go,” and “spread your wings,” in the same breath.
Then I slept in unaccustomed beds in familiar houses, dreams interrupted by jetlaggy stumblings and the sudden, jolting reminder that things have changed. While I played tour guide, we walked urban pavements and country fields, stood under trees sheltering from bursts of rain, took off our waterproofs as the sun came out and put them back on as the clouds rolled back over, only to repeat it all quarter of an hour later.
We admired London transformed by Olympic-inspired activity and watched house martens dive into eave-housed nests and brushed spiders off our shoulders. The roadside sale of a hen house in the next hamlet and some snub-nosed lolling puppies in this one beckoned towards a different life. We ate in pubs on the south bank and in West Bagborough and Porlock Weir, as well as tea rooms in Dunster. We looked at empty, polish-scented churches of various degrees of ancientness, marvelling at parchment from the thirteenth century signed by Edward I in one and a knight’s tomb from the fifteenth century defaced by graffiti in the seventeenth, in another.
I baked scones and we ate them with clotted cream and blackberry jam made in my first year here. And I drove and drove and drove. Little things, like the tiny carrots I grew that we dug up and ate for supper, made me want to cry. Then I lit a fire and some candles, and the already autumn-smelling night drew in while we read.