Ted and I got off the ferry late last Tuesday evening and made it back to Folly Cottage in the early hours of the morning. I unpacked a few essentials from the camper van and crawled into bed at about 2.00am for a few hours sleep before plunging straight into the craziness of work next day.
Later, on Wednesday afternoon, I took Ted to stay at Hydegate kennels (his look of reproach as he was led away still haunts me) and travelled up to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, where I had been asked to run some storytelling sessions for groups of 250-500 at a two-day corporate event.
On the way back, I collected Ted and picked up an Australian friend from the railway station to stay for the weekend. On Monday we had an early start and a long drive to get to Ashridge to examine a doctoral thesis. Yesterday my guest left for London and a few hours later Miche and Flora arrived for supper.
After the tranquility of a solitary five-week sojourn in rural France, this whirlwind of activity has been an extraordinary contrast. Much as I have enjoyed the work and the company of friends, I’ve missed the simple daily routines of life in the bounded world of the camper van, and the time to reflect, write and be with my thoughts and feelings.
But this morning, Folly Cottage is empty, there is nowhere else I have to be and I’m lying in bed in the Shepherd’s Hut with the door open, looking out onto the garden which has become lush and overgrown during the summer, thinking how much Chris would have loved the view. The Rowan tree she planted is bursting with plump new berries; a wood-pigeon is clapping its wings and cooing from the rooftop of the house she lived in for 20 years; and our beloved dog Ted is stretched out beside me, waiting for me to get up and take him for a walk.
Finally we’re home.