Well, I'm back and shivering with the cold after spending a week in Tenerife, lying in the sun. "Poor you!" I hear you say, or perhaps I don't. Never mind, but 27 degrees was pretty hot, and I actually have a bikini suntan for the first time in years. I just thought "Sod it", and believe me there were lots of women exposing lots more flesh than me by the pool. For example, there were the "two fat ladies" (or 88 in Bingo parlance, I'm sure you get the picture). These two were quite young English women who were absolutely enormous - with powerful shoulders and rolls of fat, all of which quickly tanned to a rich reddy-brown. They had also decided to go topless, and this was quite scary. Somehow, their breasts (pardon me) didn't look like breasts, but like another set of extra large bulges, of which they seemed rather proud. I didn't know quite how to respond to this display, and luckily ABF and I were draped over our loungers on the far side of the pool, away from them, so we were able to modestly avert our eyes most of the time. Anyway, after the first day I had on what looked like a white bikini, while the rest of me was bright pink. Not a pretty sight. But it did improve slightly, and now I have a great tan to start the Summer with. If it ever arrives, that is.
We enjoyed ourselves enormously, eating, drinking and doing nothing, and I managed to read two and a half books. The first was "One Fifth Avenue", by Candace Bushnell of "Sex and the City" fame. It was absolutely wonderful - the perfect holiday read. Being transported to the high life in New York was the best holiday escapism, and I do so admire her ability to make her characters come alive. Somehow, she also makes you feel just what she wants you to feel about these people. You love them or you hate them, but you really believe in them too. I was absolutely there. I didn't want the book to end, so I tried to slow down a bit, but in the end I had to finish it. And now I intend to read it again! The second book was a really elegant little novel by Fay Weldon, called "She may not Leave" - quite a different kettle of fish, and beautifully written too. It has moments when you shiver with dread, in fact it arouses a huge range of emotions. Any woman who has ever struggled with children, child-care, family relationships, sex, work, etc etc, will identify with this. It's wonderful in an odd, quirky way - and it made me reflect on how all our lives are similar, even when our experiences are different. I think Fay Weldon writes brilliantly about women and their lives (as she did in "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil"), and the fact that she wrote that immortal line "Go to work on an egg" when she was a Copywriter, makes her all the more human somehow! The third book is "An Equal Music" by Vikram Seth, which I'm finding it harder to get into. I have a battered paperback copy, which Son sent me, and he said that he couldn't put it down once he started it. So far, it hasn't had that effect on me, but I'll keep on trying.
Home thoughts from abroad.. I didn't miss anyone much, except Grandson of course, but I was so pleased to get home and see that I hadn't missed the wonderful Oriental Poppies in my garden - they are just out now. They look like giant orange papery-silk fake flowers, with dark, black centres, and the bees can't get enough of them. I also came back in time to catch the double white lilac " Madame Lemoine", which I missed last year too, when I was on my fateful trip to France. All I can say is, I'm so pleased that I didn't decide to leave these shores permanently. We may be going through pretty dire financial times, but that's just when we need our family and friends around us, isn't it?