So, what's been happening?
Nothing much if, like me, you await a response from your local MP to an email written in early February. I emailed him with questions and concerns about the lack of information regarding EU nationals living in this country and their fears regarding Brexit. (This was at a time when news stories were appearing regularly of EU citizens - mostly long-term UK residents - receiving notices that they must leave this country.) I outlined my reasons for sharing their fears: a daughter-in-law with an EU (not British) passport, a son with a British passport, and a grandchild with both as well as a Mexican one. The total lack of consistent guidance from the Government as to right-to-stay made it a worrying time.
After an automated response that included these words: "As you may imagine I receive a great number of communications every day but at least you know yours arrived safely" there has been silence from the MP in question. Apparently this is his usual approach to constituents, along with not holding a surgery; an astute way of avoiding bothersome requests when confident that your seat would remain secure even if Paddington Bear was the candidate, so long as Paddington belonged to the 'right' party.
We have all calmed down since then about the spectre of mass deportations, and I have stopped searching the internet for guidance on reclaiming the French passport and citizen status I had as a small child. But the feelings resulting from the Brexit vote have remained, and continue to make me miserable, and I suspect prevented me from blogging or indeed doing very much at all except hole up at home.
On the home front, a small boy, the holder of three passports, continues to grow apace, and will be two later this month. His speech is lively, if largely incomprehensible, and his preference for calling a cat a cow remains strong, even after being introduced to real cows (and sheep, and - oh extra-special joy! enormous tractors) at a recent country fair. "Bye bye, cow!" he says cheerfully, every time a cat clatters through the cat flap to escape his eager attention.
A few weeks ago, I abandoned home and hearth, Gardener and animals, and flew up to Newcastle to see friends, staying for two nights, a really refreshing break. I was warmly welcomed and thoroughly spoiled, felt really loved, and ate far too much. Although it's a long tedious trek to the airport, and far too much hanging about waiting for my gate to be called, the flight itself took less than 50 minutes, and I shall do it again more regularly. Maybe not so much celebratory food next time.
The Gardener is busy; this is his time to complain constantly about things growing too fast, and how he hasn't enough hours in the day to keep up. It's the same theme every summer; I'm used to it now.... But we found time recently to give the cluttered spare room/office a thorough makeover, and have become quite adept at assembling bookcases and shelving units from that well-known Swedish store.
Not so handy at finding our way round it, however; we were almost at the point of abandoning a laden trolley in despair at not being able to locate the way down to the checkouts - except of course we couldn't have found our own way out anyway. We had to be led through the crowded store by a chirpy young assistant, who clearly regarded us as very ancient and helpless. Which was exactly how we were feeling by that point.
Our friend with the doom-laden prognosis visits often, and is an excellent example of how to seize life with both hands and make the most of what is left to her, bravely and usually cheerfully. We took her to Lynmouth (location of the tragic flood of 1952), and up to Lynton via the charming Cliff Railway, ate fish and chips sitting on a bench in the sunshine.
And then we drove home over lovely Exmoor. We seem to have a great many Highland cows (no, not cats) these days, alongside the Exmoor ponies; big placid beasts, a lovely sight.
Now I shall have a good catch up on other blogs and see what you've all been up to. Bye bye,