C and I drink cups of tea as he does his homework. He rattles through his maths, as usual, and we're both glad that he only has to learn a poem for literacy.
There are two pans on the stove. I am cooking two suppers tonight. Pasta and meatballs for the children, nice and early because O has her friend over. Then later, when I've taken her friend home, G and I will have very spicy spinach and tomatoes with baked eggs, scooped out of bowls with chunks of hot bread.
The rest of my pans hang from an old drying rack on the kitchen ceiling. The jam pan is stuffed with two paper bags of lavender from France, drying out ready to be made into lavender sachets.
Our fridge is adorned with so much paper that we've no need for a noticeboard. There are:
- vouchers for a triathlon shop,
- a family calendar,
- magnetic scissors,
- a notepad,
- tickets to see the Cuban ballet next April,
- charts of swim times,
- a packet of star stickers,
- a party invitation,
- school dinner menus.
Everything is fairly allocated between magnets. If I put just one ill-considered piece of paper in the wrong place, everything begins to slither slowly towards the floor.
The bread machine is on, as it is most days. I love the thud, thud as it kneads the bread. I'll be staying up late tonight as I am making wholemeal bread on a five hour setting, and I forgot to start it until I heard the pips on the radio for the 6 o'clock news.
On the wall, between the bread machine and the toaster, is stuck the little slip of paper that C wrote just after he started school. I smile at it when I'm waiting for the toast to pop in the mornings.
And there tucked in carefully between the salt pig and the ras-el-hanout (I love that spice so much that I'm stockpiling it) sit G and I. Preserved forever as we were on New Year's eve 1998. In a pub in Surbiton, after a few beers, basking in each other's company.