Chocolate cake and nude trampolining

Miss Baxter climbed on my keyboard yesterday afternoon. I pushed her off and she fell asleep on my mouse mat, nudging the mouse and shedding fine pale hairs with every exhaled breath. I worked around her, relishing her warmth and physical presence inches from my typing fingers. Poor tired puss.

But the amorality and perfidy of cats knocked me sideways again early evening. The boys were still on the roof of the double decker bus, trying to finish the job before rain set in. Hopefully wearing masks and goggles and being careful: the husband has had one or two accidents. I tend to cross digits and look away. I was making an unexciting risotto and chatting on the phone when Miss Baxter came in, dragging something heavy. She darted under a pine cupboard but I’d clocked her. Half a rabbit. The hind quarters of a rabbit which she’d planned to sneak past me for later enjoyment. I was not amused.

Take-out Saturday again, which means looking after two smalls while their mum and dad cook and serve pizzas from lunchtime till mid-evening. This morning, there were flowers to organise to send to the widow of a couple married here not that long ago. Strange and sad that all the optimism, all the joy of that wedding day, had led so quickly to here.

Then there was the socially distanced trip to the village shop-cum-post-office returning stuff, posting cards for an assortment of occasions. But there were three real-time, brief conversations in the queue with neighbours and acquaintances, including one with two dogs which were waiting patiently, tied up outside like trusty steeds outside a western saloon. That sparked the inevitable exchange about the loss of our two. Would we get another dog? It seemed such an odd question.

Delivering post next door before lunch, I was greeted by a trio of little girls bouncing on the trampoline and the three-year-old boy sitting, being bounced.

‘We’re naked,’ they shrieked. They were. ‘But it’s raining,’ I said.

‘It’s hot rain,’ one of them said.

And then the youngest piped up – ‘I’m not naked .’ And he wasn’t.

Activities this afternoon included tracing, drawing, colouring, the sheep and donkey routines, making a chocolate and raspberry cake – mostly orchestrated by the husband, while I acted as chief washer and clearer up to all of them, picking wild cherries, making jam and replying to accommodation enquiries for post July 13th. This is the date tourism unlocking is planned to start in Wales. A friend told me yesterday that there are now twelve empty shops in our little market town, Newcastle Emlyn. The decline has been gradual, but it’s accelerated over the last few months. Can it be reversed? I’d like to hope so.

Past Glastonbury highlights on TV are my background music as I write this. It’s been a day of cloud and sunshine, wind and rain. Of course, it was hot rain.

Paper aeroplanes and a concert (or two)

The children had made and coloured in a flag. We brought plates of food. I am surrounded by people who bake often and well, so I’d got out of the habit of baking. But yesterday afternoon I made a passable chocolate cake. The girls wore party clothes and all four kids flew paper aeroplanes in the garden. We had tea and G&Ts.

Our poor spaniel is suffering so no walk last night, or tonight. After putting the donkeys to bed and clearing up the worst of the chaos, we watched some of the VE Day coverage, including Katherine Jenkins. Her dresses were extraordinary.

I think it was the summer of 2007 – definitely no later than that – when I went with the husband and his father to see Katherine Jenkins live outdoors in Aberglasney Gardens. My father-in-law had all her CDs and it was planned as a special treat for him. Because he was in a wheelchair, we were led to the front row. He had an aisle place and we sat next to him. He knew every number, from wartime classics to arias and he either hummed or sang along to all of it. People shifted in their seats and shushed disapprovingly in a very British way. We were embarrassed but my father-in-law didn’t care. Or was blissfully unaware. He was having a ball.

Looking back I think – good for him! He caught shingles not long afterwards, and never fully recovered.

Today, after the First Minister’s announcement, I blocked out booking calendars for another three weeks. Worries nibbled around the edges of my thoughts but I pushed them away. No visitors for a while yet. Don’t know where, don’t know when…