It was Saturday afternoon and the end of a two week school break.
The weather had been glorious for 10 days in a row bringing with it ladybirds, dandelions and cups of tea in the garden. A full washing line of bed linen flapping furiously in the breeze was another common sight.
But the nerves were raw. We were tiring of having been in each other’s company for 14 days with nary a break; a mother and her four young sons. Better not forget the dog.
All other avenues of entertainment had been exhausted; swimming, cinema, the park, a playground or three, some very lovely lunches out and in a fit of sheer desperation a bake off with mini cup-cakes, pancakes and cookies.
I found myself sitting in the car. In fact, I wrote this sitting in the car. Not on the seat. No, they’d see me out the window of the house that way.
We put a seven seater through its many paces and in order to create extra room within, we removed a back seat. Thereby creating a nice vacant space behind the driver seat.
Before I beat a hasty retreat into the car, I had sat on the top landing. Drinking a cup of tepid tea. Shouts and screeches floated up the stairs after me. I remembered my sister in law mentioning she sat her legal exams with ear plugs for maximum concentration. I made a mental note to procure some for myself.
Small feet approached. I stiffened and an involuntary sigh filled my lungs. It was just the dog. She stuck a cold, wet nose under my chin looking for a pat down. Then small human feet sounded out their approach. Giving in, I picked up the cup of cold tea and went downstairs.
I had sat on the side of my bed, lingered much longer than was necessary in the hot press. Boredom forced me out.
I made another cup of tea and doled out flapjacks to give their jaws something else to do other than shout and roar.
I got a three and a half minute reprieve. The dog approached me again. This time her paw lifted and she pointedly placed it on my knee. She was hungry.
It was as I poured kibble into her bowl I had the idea of escaping into the car.
So here I am. Sitting on the floor, writing in my notebook, listening to the sound of the wind around me. Feeling it rock the stationary vehicle. Every now and again a scream or a shout sounds faintly from the house. I ignore it.
It’s quiet out here. It’s solitary. It’s peaceful if a tad cold. I scribble the odd word, sentence or two into my notebook and then look up as a bird hovering over the chimney catches my attention. I can hear the hum of traffic on the main road.
I like sitting in my cocoon, my isolation chamber. But it doesn’t last long. Like all of my attempts that Saturday.
The house door opens and four boys and their dog fall out and down the steps.
Screeches of delight, of victory as they find me and I am yet again hunted from my hiding place.
Sometimes, in times of need the only cure is a cup of tea. A large cup of tea.
And maybe some earplugs.