At our sewing class this morning, one of only two this term, there was a plate of fruit. Peaches, plums and grapes – all from their property. Every single piece of fruit was sublime. They are frantically trying to keep on top of it all – bottling, stewing, dehydrating… Before they head on holiday and leave the rest – to us!

We will be housesitting there for a month or so from mid-February, and Small DB in particular, can barely wait. She has put herself in charge of looking after the chooks and the sheep, and her sister in charge of the aged (worryingly aged) cat and two stick insects. She has borrowed a garden book from the library so she can identify plants and herbs, and has great plans for what we might bake. She muses fondly on the ice cream we might put in their freezer. We had a lovely time looking after the same house for a week this time last year

It is a nice thing to have on the horizon – it will cut down the driving I do getting the Smalls to their activities, and it will mean that M gives the boat his undivided attention for five weeks. He won’t be called in to fix the toilet, have lunch, rescue my sanity – he will just be doing his two days a week on Dadda Duty while I work. He might come for dinner every few nights.

I am (not so) secretly hoping that this will be the last big push before we get on the water… But that has been hoped many times before. I don’t object so much to the boatyard as somewhere to live temporarily, but it has been a year and I’m pretty done with it. I’ll be happy to have a house around me for a little while. I’ll be even more happy to sail away on an adventure being tied to NO SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES for a considerable time. I hope it’s soon.