Time is elusive.
But mostly it just stalks you, and gobbles you up when you're not looking.
I have been gobbled.
The trouble is, it also leaves you gagged. It's like bumping into someone you haven't seen for ages, and the silence draws out between you, stickily, rooting you to the spot with an inane smile but nothing to say.
Where do you begin? The intervening days, weeks, months don't lend themselves to broad sweeps of the brush, yet the minutiae seems irrelevant, trivial.
'How've you been?' you ask lamely.
'Fine - great! Well - you know...busy...'
I haven't intended to be away from these pages. In an ideal world, I would sit down on Wednesdays and Sundays and fill in the gaps - dash off a few lines summing up my week, my life, my plans for world domination; stir in some photos and hopefully a pinch of spice and try to get it to the boil before life embroiled me again.
But then, in an ideal world, my house would be spotless, I'd live somewhere warm and dry and my bank manager would call me 'Sir'.
For some unknown reason, nothing ever works like that.
Why is that, d'you think?
Fantasies aside, I'm not really sure where the last few months have gone.
|What was Henri doing in the cherry tree? Posing|
I went to England for while, and when I got home it was blossom time - which suits the posers in my household to a T. But have you ever noticed that the clock moves at very high speed during April and May? The days, which allegedly are getting longer, in fact get shorter than ever. There is never time for anything, and the weeks whizz past with unseemly haste and no decorum.
|Goldilocks on the terrace|
|Model Dog sashaying past the tulips|
I don't think the In-Charge really noticed the blossom at all. He has been working like a demon, practically walling himself into his college studio. His Grad Show was last week, he is taking part in another Exhibition which opens this weekend - Sligo Emerging Artists, and has just submitted some work to a third.
He's there, at the moment, hanging - not himself, hopefully - but lots of pictures: drawings and paintings. I saw a good few of them for the first time this morning, and will be very disappointed if I don't see them on the wall later in the week.
It's not that I don't trust him, but quite frankly, I wish I was there, hanging them myself. He is all too likely to dismiss his own work and put it to one side. Left to his own devices, he wouldn't even have taken most of them to the gallery this morning.
In my experience of the In-Charge, taking them is no guarantee of hanging them.
The best and loveliest thing that has happened this year was way back in April. I'd just returned from a visit to the UK, and on the Saturday morning set off for the market, as is my wont.
'Will you be gone all morning?' the In-Charge asked.
What kind of question is that?
When did I ever return mid-morning on market day?
When I did get back, there was an unknown British car in the yard and my heart sank. I was tired, and unexpected visitors were not what I wanted, especially as the house resembled a bomb-site.
I sat in the car for several minutes, watching the hens and gathering strength. It would probably be someone who'd grown up here, or stayed with us when we were a B&B. We get visitors like that quite often, which is lovely in general - but just not that particular morning.
The In-Charge appeared. 'We've got effing visitors,' he said tersely, confirming my worst fears. 'You'd better come in.'
It took several more minutes to get myself sufficiently motivated, but I finally pinned a smile in place and went inside.
There have not been many occasions in life that have rendered me totally speechless, but this was one of them.
My son - my darling, gorgeous, and not-been-seen-for-over-a-year son, the very same, was sitting at the kitchen table, along with his adorable ex-girlfriend and her own little boy .
A surprise visit, cooked up between them and the In-Charge (the rat).
And not a bed made, nor a cake baked, nor a single barrow of rubble cleared from the bomb-site.
But what bliss.
He's been in Miami and the French West Indies since October, and was working constantly before that, so it's been a long time. Too long, but here he was, for his birthday weekend.
The sun shone, the sky was blue and we went to the beach, picnicked, ate cake and drank champagne. All the things you should do.
Total heaven. And the best bit of all was seeing them back together again and meeting her dote of a son.
The best 'effing visitors' in the world.