It has been the summer of over-indulgence, and although I am perfectly happy floating around in diaphanous flowing tents and kaftans, Autumn is coming which means my jeans are eyeing me nervously from their position in the corner of my closet. I am pretending I don’t see them, as I pull on yet another elastic-waisted skirt, and slip my feet into flip flops.
But there is a definite chill in the air, which means I must make some changes. All those terrible things I do not eat because they are damaging and destructive to my various auto-immune diseases, not to mention puffing me up like a balloon? You know, those things like sugar, and bread, and pasta, and more sugar (that I have been eating all summer)? I am going to stop eating them now.
The rower has been training in Portland, Oregon for the entire summer. Before he left, I made him swear to phone his mother three times a week, and answer my texts. Not daily, I said, when I noticed the anxiety in his eyes, but mostly.
I had to be clear about my expectations because last summer he went off to rowing camp for six weeks, and I heard from him once.
This year, the high-performance rowing camp led to his selection for the US junior national rowing team, which made me just about the proudest mother there ever was. I’d love to tell him how proud I am, but I can’t get hold of him. He has now been gone for more than two months.
Hours spent searching every ex-boyfriend ever: 21
Hours spent searching the ones who got away: 12
Hours spent appreciating my town: 15
Hours spent writing: 20
Many years ago, when I was a teenager, I spent a handful of summers in the Hamptons. This was before the Hamptons became The Hamptons, when it was sleepy, and charming, and quiet. I am quite sure I fell in love with America because of those summers in Amagansett. It was the very early eighties, and there was almost nothing to do. We were a big pack of kids, who hung out at the beach during the days, and at night at the one ice-cream place in town, Mellow Mouth, playing Pac Man and drinking Tab. As the years ticked by, we rode around in the back of someone’s pick up truck, ending up at people’s houses, playing quarters.
Hours spent being made to feel inadequate by literary snob: .08
Hours spent enjoying book festival: 7
Hours spent writing: 14
I did a book festival recently with a couple of other authors, one of whom is very well known for a series that was a huge book club hit, the other of whom is one of my closest author friends. I don’t see her very often, and when we get together she makes me laugh uproariously, and I live for the occasions when we can do joint events because they are so much fun.
Hours spent tidying up after messy children: 0
Hours spent driving children here, there and everywhere: 0
Hours spent in gratitude for summer camps: 180
Hours spent writing: 19
The house is very quiet. Eldest Daughter is working in New York, appearing occasionally to top up her tan. The Rower has been selected to row for the US Men’s Junior National Team, and is training in Portland, Oregon, before heading over to Rotterdam at the end of August for the World Championship. Teenage Daughter and Twin B are at sleepaway camp, and Twin B is home alone.
Hours spent shopping for picnic hamper items for pontoon: 4
Hours spent on pontoon: 9
Hours spent dreaming of pontoon when not actually on it: 6
Hours spent writing: 15
When I met Beloved all those years ago, my children were very tiny, and we spent that first summer having glorious picnics at the beach, and going out on his boat. His boat is old. It is not very big, and not the slightest bit luxurious, although it wins points for being a classic Boston Whaler. If a somewhat basic one. One day he decided to take me to Long Island on his boat, and it was so bumpy, I think I may have dislocated my bottom.
I have just come back from an author event where I had to make a 15-minute speech, and no matter how many times I do it, I am always struck by horrific nerves before I get on stage. It is fine once I start, but the bit beforehand is awful.
I never thought making speeches would be part of the job requirements as a writer, but over the past 20 years I have realised how important it is to give a good presentation.
Hours spent prepping regatta food: 19
Hours spent cooking at regatta: 17
Hours spent recovering: 70
Hours spent writing: 0
The last of the regattas has just happened, and once again, I took on the food. Every time I do this, about halfway through I wonder what on earth I was thinking, and then I remember that I would much rather be busy and doing something than sit around for two days doing nothing.
Hours spent cuddling Stanley: .5
Hours spent buying food and chew toys for Stanley: 4
Hours spent writing: 0
My NBF, who I have not seen since her bonkers supper club in New York a couple of months ago, texted me yesterday to say they were about to be driving through my town and could they come over for breakfast.
Other people might have been horrified, but there is nothing I love more than people dropping in unexpectedly. Wait. I must rephrase. There is nothing I love more than people I love, dropping in unexpectedly. Especially NBF’s.
Hours spent feeling compassion: .25
Hours spent feeling guilty about not being more compassionate: 26
Hours spent writing: 0
Our household has just come down with a serious case of man flu. When I say our household, I mean Beloved, but we all felt his pain.