Bounces, birthdays and bellyaches – and mouse poo!

Last Friday, I came home after three weeks at La Muse retreat near Carcassonne. The loudest noise most days was the mountain streams rushing downhill. The views were beautiful and empty of anything not put there by nature. I spent most days reading, resting, writing and walking. I got home ten minutes before it was time to collect Clapperkin from school. So sweet after three weeks to have a four year old jump into your arms and squeeze you like they’ll never let go. Next rendezvous were school hometimes for Fashionista and The Duracell Kid. More hugs, smiles and kisses. And then TDK announced to me that we had to be at her trampoline competition 45 minutes away from home the next morning at 8.30 a.m.

Boy, was that the start of “the weekend after the retreat”. We got to the gym on time and the whole thing was pretty enjoyable, apart from the fact that the weak sunshine of early morning had turned to driving rain by the time we left at 1p.m. Next, most of the afternoon was spent making chocolate roulade for Fashionista’s surprise 16th birthday party that evening. It was definitely chocolate, but not very roulade, a fact I disguised with lots of whipped cream. A couple of hours into said party, Clapperkin called me upstairs with a tummy ache. And just two minutes later there was a multi-coloured mess over most of the bathroom. Oh well, I thought, as I cleaned up after her, tomorrow there won’t be much to do except some washing and maybe a lie-in. WRONG! Clappy was up at 6.45 and when I got downstairs I discovered that, during my absence in rural southern France, an entire family of mice had moved into my kitchen pantry. Who knew that mice’s favourite food was matzah (aka Jewish flat bread), closely followed by strawberry lollipops. FYI they do not like rice noodles. And they leave you lovely little gifts ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Ah well, nothing like getting back to normal life with a vengeance. One day you’re dreamily writing a novel as you look out over rolling hills. The next you’re wiping up mouse shit!


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