‘I’m just going out for a bit,’ I told my daughter, as I kissed her goodbye and left her with her grandparents on friday afternoon.
Little did she know, as I fairly skipped down the road, that what I mean by ‘a bit’ was 3 days, and she’d next see me on Monday morning.
My son is more aware of what’s going on.
‘Are you going to York because you don’t like us? Do you just want to get away from us?’
I realise I haven’t actually explained myself very well. ‘I’m going to see my friends from university, and I haven’t seen them for a few years, so that’s why I’m really looking forward to it.’
‘Oh, okay.’ Leo says. ‘I understand.’
I take this as being absolved of guilt. He and his sister have had a great weekend. On Saturday they went to London with their daddy, to birthday parties in pubs and a Greek Restaurant in Camden with interesting relatives. On Saturday their grandparents took them to Scotney Castle and Bodiam Castle, and Leo persuaded them to buy him Crusader’s chain mail. So.
I’ve had the best weekend, too, and as a result feel calm, happy and rejuvenated. We’ve been lucky enough to wander in our beautiful University town with no agenda or schedule. We’ve also been lucky enough to get cuddles with our friend Benjy and Dan, our friend Sarah’s little boys.
It’s been a weekend of Margaritas and great beer in bars with names like The Evil Eye and The House of Trembling Madness. Yes. The House of Trembling Madness. If you pass through the shop selling every kind of beer imaginable, there’s a staircase leading to a medieval drinking hall of long convivial tables and a bar with a lion’s head over the top. We drink American craft beer and look out of the small high windows, filled by a view of the vast Minster, as others must have done for hundreds of years.
‘So, are we going to be in your blog?’ My friend Becky asks. This is basically why I’m writing this post. ‘When I saw you were writing a blog I thought, Jayne always wanted to be like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, and now she is like her.’
This is about one of the most pleasing things anyone’s ever said to me.
I mean, I’m not published in The New York Times, and so far I haven’t been paid, and I’ve never written about complicated dating scenarios because I’m not allowed to leave my house after 6pm, but apart from that, the similarities are endless. Like…I totally type on a laptop, and stare out the window quite a bit.
On Sunday, after saying goodbye to Becky and Frankie, I’ve time to visit the National Trust’s Treasurer’s House in Minster Yard. There, some of us are given the chance to go down into the cellar, the lights are turned out, and we’re told the story of the ghostly Roman soldiers who marched out of one wall and through the next, following the route of the main Roman road, looking tired and dishevelled. It’s shiveringly convincing and I think about how much Leo would love this if he were here. I hope I can bring him soon – I love York, and I’ve been away too long. My thoughts are turning to home, nevertheless.
If I were Carrie, I’d end this post with a thoughtfully insightful question. So here’s mine, for what it’s worth. Are the short times we spend away from our children; feeding our own souls and friendships and memories of who we are as individuals, just as important to our relationship with our children as the time we spend with them?
Alternatively, I also thought I might leave you with some appropriate music.
The House of Trembling Madness http://www.tremblingmadness.co.uk/
The Treasurer’s House http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/treasurers-house-york