How appropriate... a little F alliteration. The F word most frequently in my vocabulary for the last week has been none of the above as I have dealt with my worst days so far illness-wise. Not serenely, like the Lady of Shallot floating down the river to die, but bawling like a baby, wailing and swearing and rowing with pretty much everyone who has been unfortunate enough to see me on the days Wednesday to Saturday. But though still very short of sleep, I am feeling a bit better ... for now.
So on to other F words; the roller coaster of a week health-wise has been accompanied by the Mother F -er of all weeks emotion-wise. Number 4 went up to Edinburgh on Saturday with my beloved (me too ill to make the 6 hour round trip with house-moving and shopping in the middle) and number 3 departed to Newcastle finally yesterday. If anyone had said to us this time last year that both would get their first choice universities, we would have snatched their hands off so I am so thrilled for them that all their hard work has brought them to this reward. Even if their reward is our loss - we shall miss them more than words can say. Twenty nine years of children at home, twenty six in this house and now it's me and the old man. Quiet. But my aim was always to give them the safest, most loving and welcoming home I could and for that home life to make them feel confident enough to go out into the world and fly. And now they have.
Number 3 (and I did make to Newcastle yesterday - hurray!) got the same team talk as the rest except we did it at home so I didn't embarrass him by crying in front of his new friends. The gist of it goes like this:
1 Have a wonderful time and try everything you can (with the obvious provisos regarding the law, physical danger etc)
2 Look after your body - you only have one (and as I am discovering to my cost, if that doesn't work, the rest of your world goes tits up around you)
3 Let us know, often enough so we don't worry, that you are still alive
4 Come home whenever you want but never come home out of a sense of duty. If I need you to come home I will say so
5 And never forget how much we love you and how enormously proud we are of you
So I managed not to be the most embarrassing parent yesterday though I will continue to be the most vociferous and vocal cheerleader for them all, however distant the sidelines. And their brave, new world and mine are opening up before us. For me, not the one I planned for this year with a large amount of downsizing of expectations in the short-term but, more importantly, for them. They, wherever they are, will be my picture window on the outside world for now.
So, the second F: we got back from Newcastle, me remarkably controlled and not doing the weeping, wailing thing though I did ask my beloved as we went over the Tyne Bridge whether we could go and snatch him back. No, apparently. And a while later, sitting down to shepherd's pie, I detected the distant sound of dripping, nay, running water. Thinking it was the overflow pipe outside, I went into the hall only to discover that a modest indoor swimming pool was filling via the medium of the hall ceiling. I had left the tap running in the bathroom (not a lot but enough) and as all the plug holes upstairs are regularly filled with hair (of which more later) the water was running from the basin, on to the bathroom floor and through the ceiling (only re-plastered in January) and on the floor. Diving boards being delivered tomorrow! No really, I had to 'fess up as there was no one else to blame and my beloved, who has feared for his life for most of the week due to my ferocious temper, now thinks I am attempting to drown him.
And finally. The Battle of the Barnett is officially lost. I am now moulting faster than the senior dog and hair is everywhere. I know this will be a short stage but in the meantime, I suspect I have swallowed a goodly amount. Fur balls are looking like a distinct possibility - should I go to the vet? Anyway, having sworn a good deal at the outset about NOT wanting to wear a wig, I am going to be compliant and make an appointment at the wiggery because actually my head gets really cold now and it's that or a Where's Wally hat. Maybe I'll do that instead - who knows?
The last match of the season for number 3. He's clocked up over a century in the last two matches. Old bat gone to Newcastle now and a new bat hopefully on its way soon - thanks Louise!