Housekeepers Diary

Sun makes a person feels human. It makes housekeeping and sheer, just-because happiness feel possible. Sun makes all the difference and sun at the weekend is an extra special bonus. Today the sun is rather wonderfully slipping in and out of cotton wool clouds: one moment cracking the flags, the next playing hide and seek. You step into the garden carrying armfuls of cushions, a tablecloth for the garden table and a pile of magazines. All morning you pop in and out of the house carrying more and more little home comforts outside: a stool on which to prop your feet, a pillow with a frivolous  floral frill, a lantern to hang from the washing line. You string bunting across the cream walls and instruct a man with a hammer to loop a tiny little wreath on to the diddy little shed door.

Soon you are at peace in your garden room. Your boy doing homework at the polka dotty table, while the grown-ups sip tea and debate how absolutely necessary an early afternoon gin and elder flower cocktail may be. You chat with the neighbor and gift her an armful of the mint now prolific in the garden, then pull the leaves off another armful ready to convert into mint sauce. You decide barbecuing burgers might be more effort than it's worth and go inside to grill them and mix up a bowl of parsley coleslaw, then you all gather to eat them, mayonnaise dripping down chins and glasses full of lemonade decorated with mint and lemon slices at your sides.

You cannot tolerate music outdoors. Preferring to listen to a Mummy bird fussing in the hedge, the children playing in the cottage a few doors down, your knitting needles clicking up another dishcloth, faraway lawnmowers  and your own son's inane, lovely chatter.  Sometimes you find yourself smiling all by yourself, because this is what sun can do to a person: make them happy despite the complications of a life less ordinary, despite the pressures of being all grown up  and responsible for all manner of wot-nots you could not have ever imagined being responsible for. Yes, you sit your hand in a pot of lavender, rubbing the scent into your skin and feeling calm despite it all.

The kitten is immensely jealous  of her little family gathered outdoors. She cries at the back door, crawling up the woodwork to make treacherous appearances at the tiny little stable door window, before falling straight back to the floor with an anguished kitty cry of disappointment, but she is just too little to come outside yet: too vulnerable, too precious and so you giggle at her dramatics and carry on flicking through the pages of a magazine,  planning a lovely week of writing and inspiration and crossing everything you have got that this weather will last forever and grey skies are gone for always...

Now there is a scooter skills competition, a tiny rusty little chair hung from the wall to provide a make-shift shelf for a pot of trailing geraniums, a shopping list drawn up of fruit to be turned into the kind of sweet smoothie only a nine year old could contemplate and half-an-hour spent back in the house, straightening this and tidying that so we do not have to recoil in horror at the state of the place when even the patio heater cannot prevent goosebumps scattering across our skin later and we have to retreat back inside...

Mango lolly ices are handed out. Laundry strung across the line. A child paid silly money for brushing the deck. This then is the life. This then, is your sunny, lovely life.