The good news is MiL and DiL complete the full mile and a half walk down to the beach. The bad news is that it’s taken twice as long as usual, the sun’s gone in, rain’s threatening and it’s a humungously steep climb to get home. Lily and I decide to forge on ahead to get the car, but, having blasted our way back, discover that the spare key is not in its secret hiding place. Pretty soon the garden is like a scene from Time Team, but the spare key is nowhere to be found. Leaving Lily sheltering from the cold, I hoof back down the hill where Tom announces the spare key is in his pocket. MiL and DiL have now determined to do the entire walk under their own steam, so I powerwalk back to the house to reassure Lily that they’re both fine and to put the kettle on. By the time we sit down for a cup of tea, several of us feel as we’ve run a marathon in a rhino suit.
Finding a television programme to suit everyone can also be tiring. MiL is a gentle soul whose preferred viewing is Flog It (not as much fun as you might think, foreign readers) Antiques Roadshow and a good, old-fashioned costume drama. Unfortunately this week’s schedules are heavy on language, s*x, violence and other. Halfway through an entertaining documentary about Lucien Freud, MiL can bear it no longer. ‘What horrible paintings!’ she announces in alarm, ‘who would want those on their wall!’. The first few minutes of Homeland, a gritty new drama, sees some vigorous horizontal romping that has MiL seeking cover in the crossword, although DiL is quite pleased to escape the constant diet of ‘bonnet and bustle’ dramas that are his usual fare.
But very soon the week is over, another month has almost vanished and every time we say goodbye to our loved ones these days, we hold each other a little tighter. Blink and it’s gone.
Painting is 'Winter Seascape Dusk' by Tom Tomos