For a couple of weeks, the house was full. Deep into the morning there were lumpy figures snoring in all the beds. Friends appeared some evenings and I was cooking each day for somewhere between five and eight people.
We were ourselves again, except better. I felt like inviting John Boy and all the other Waltons over to show them what a really great family was like, but sadly couldn’t find their phone number. And the weather. Even the weather was wonderful –bright and brisk. We tramped through bluebell woods and climbed grassy hills together with our friends the Thompsons. We were backlit like the idyll scene in a nineteen-seventies’ film. Think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
And then, on Bank Holiday Monday, suddenly, it was over. Still-damp washing was crammed into suitcases. Parting gifts of home-made wine and jam were wrapped in newspaper for the journey. There was a lot of head-scratching round our apparently broken bicycle rack. Finally it was resolved. Or not. And then Perran and Carenza scrambled into the car and were gone in a puff of exhaust.
I took Pascoe to the station a couple of hours later.
So had the past two weeks been just an illusion?
I went back into the house and saw the heap of sheets that needed washing – no illusion at all.