Westward Ho!

It was a beautiful warm summer’s morning, although I was not aware of this when I was first woken by my iPad because we have blackout curtains.

Blackout curtains are special because they have a thick lining which will prevent the pesky sunlight from getting through and waking you up and which will make your curtains so heavy that they will pull the curtain rod off the wall unless you go for some triple-reinforced rig. When we first moved in to our house, the lady who had owned it had clearly tried adding a few cost effective elements to try and make the place look good when it was on the market. As each and everyone of our windows has functional but not very attractive beige aluminium blinds, she had rigged up a simple curtain pole in each of the bedrooms and hung from them some curtains made of a sort of net material in a couple of the the vilest colours known to mankind. In Australia, unlike in the UK, the curtains come with the house, which is sensible really unless they were the curtains I got in this case.

I took them down immediately and resolved to replace them with proper curtains at which point I had to begin the dreary task of learning how to estimate the correct size curtain for your window (a skill I immediately forget once they were up – thanks Internet). I then had to dump the memory of that skill to make way for knowledge about drills, masonry bits and raw plugs so I could add more screws to prevent the whole set up pulling half the wall off as it collapsed under the weight of the curtain lining.

Despite the fact I do not have the sun to wake me up, there is plenty of other stuff: the dogs deciding it is time to check I am alive by licking whatever bit of me is sticking out of the covers, my husband getting up because his body clock tells him 6.30 am is a lie-in, my treacherous bladder, which has turned against me in recent years, the fact that I had a lot of study to do today, or my mother, still excited about the arrival of her first grandchild sending me a picture at 6.57 am and causing the one app I had forgotten to mute to go PING.

Still, the sun was out and already warm when I finally gave up trying to ignore the universe so instead of taking the dogs to the park, we got into shorts and T shirts, stuffed various electronic devices into ziplock bags and a floatable Kong toy into a backpack and headed for the river.

We actually live about five minutes’ drive from the river, but the stretch we like to walk them along is about half an hour away. There were already a few cars down there when we arrived and a lot of people at the two yacht clubs, that are also home to some expensive toys, determined to get right back into summer now that it seems to have arrived.

The dogs both love walking down there and even Archie, who is not a fan of swimming, ran into the water up to his belly to cool off at the first opportunity. We walked for about a mile and a half to the little beach at the end and my husband threw the Kong for Lucy, which she swam out to retrieve, never tiring of the game. Archie found a feather and sat down to chew it and I thought about the essay that I should have started writing today and which is due for submission in exactly one week.

The dogs were knackered by the time we got back – and so was I, especially after we had been shopping and I had done two loads of laundry and a load of food prep for the week. I know I should have sat down for some study at this point, but I really needed a nap – and there is no point trying to read when you are tired. I got half an hour but then felt worse so took the dogs for their evening trip around the park.

I had promised myself that I would commit to finishing all my reading this weekend so I could draft the essay during the week, check it on Staurday and submit it Sunday morning. Now I am behind again. Still, walking by the river felt good and I have had my annual dose of sunshine to top up on my vitamin D levels. Tomorrow I will get back into it.

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