I am shivering as I type. Our house is but a converted barn with no heating, and while the stone walls kept life very cool during the blistering hot summer days, now the weather has turned things are not so pleasant. I have on four layers of clothing, including a hoodie and cardigan, and am wrapped in blankets from head to toe. All that is peaking out is my nose and hands – the latter I keep having to run under the hot tap to stop from seizing up completely.
Nor is the hubby here to warm me up. He is currently in Portugal, luxuriating in a positive heatwave by comparison, as he throws himself out of planes for fun. Why couldn’t my husband take up golf, or gardening or some other less dangerous hobby? Still, I guess that sense of adventure is one of the reasons why I love him so!
I’ve been deliberating about what to write in this blog for the last couple of days. There is so much to choose from I don’t really know where to start.
Do I opt for an overview of what happened at Labour party conference, where I darted in amongst the wind and rain to chair events for the New Statesman on topics as diverse as Smart Energy, Artificial Intelligence and Brexit?
Do I write about how this year at Tory conference (not my natural home) I made my first contribution to the debate other than as chair – speaking about the impact of economic and social insecurity on our current generation (I managed to get out what I wanted to say, answer all the questions and not throw up on anyone due to nerves so I think it went ok!).
Or do I talk about how difficult it has been catching up on all the work that didn’t happen while I was on the road and that I’ve worked 12 hour days every day since I got back, and consequently am feeling a little burned out?
Then of course, there is the fact that we have finally exchanged on the sale of our house in London, freeing us up to finally get serious about buying over here – only to find that there is a big planning application to build a race track right near to the property we’ve fallen in love with. Do we take the risk and buy it anyway? Do we trust that in this instance French bureaucracy will work in our favour and kill off the idea before it gains ground? Or do we believe the horror stories about back-handers, corruption and cronyism and avoid it like the plague? Urgh. So much to think about on that front.
But after much deliberation I’ve decided to write instead about the biggest thing to happen to our family since January 1982 – new off-spring!
It’s a strange feeling knowing that your baby sister is about to give birth. When we finally got the call to say that she was heading on in to hospital, the emotion hit and it took all I could muster to hold it together. The combination of huge love, pride, anticipation and fear made me feel like a nervous wreck. God only knows how her husband felt – and our ma and pa!
No wonder then when Mother phoned at 6am the next morning to say that all was ok that there were many tears shed. I was in Manchester at the time, visiting my heavily-pregnant best friend (so many babies!). I cried on the train on the way down to see them (thank goodness for big sunglasses to hide the face), I cried when I got to the hospital, I cried when they came home. I even have tears welling up now as I write this. What a softie!
But it’s my baby sister you see. And her and the love of her life have produced another human being. Which is just a beautiful thing. And he is such a beautiful little boy. They are going to be wonderful parents. That boy is going to have a fabulous life, full of love and support. And of course, lots of fantastic holidays in France with his favourite aunt (sorry Sal!) and uncle.
I’m so pleased that I got to meet him before heading back home. I am already desperate for some more cuddle time. Skype is great but roll on the day when I can virtual-reality-myself directly into their front room and hangout with them that way while I wait for my next visit (something that will be possible in the not too distance future by all accounts).
November ain’t gonna come around quick enough!