We both lay in, hours past the time our children typically wake. We drank mugs of tea whilst a pan of porridge sputtered on the stove. With warm bellies we showered, slowly, no little people to rush for. We cast a spell for lost phones.
We stepped into a blustery day, into the car, drove to a village that felt like Christmas. We both bought hats; her a beret, me a deerstalker. We inhaled the air of a cheesemongers and watched mechanical air balloons bobbing in a toy shop window. We sat in front of a wood burning fire and ate cured meats and cheeses, as a rosy-cheeked man brought us the wine we took ages to choose - chattering and testing, because… Time.
We talked about broken relationships and illness; the cities we lived in, the flat we’d shared. We cried and we hugged, made future plans for more wine and cheese boards.
We stumbled home with THAT sticky toffee pudding and an armful of ingredients. We nipped into the pub before dinner - too brightly lit, but all the dogs in the pub became our friends and then so did all the owners.
Back at the cottage I made a pulled chicken pesto broth, with orzo and purple kale. Lashings of pecorino from the cheesemongers. Our spell delivered a battery-dead phone! We opened the wine we’d bought for our host (don’t worry - we’ll buy him another) and sat by the fire. We FaceTimed our children and read a magazine (her) and a Venetian cookbook (me).
At 10pm we ate our pudding with a moat of double cream. The cat licked our bowls. We shared pictures of our babies and talked about Theatre till we fizzed with excitement. She filled hot water-bottles and I put pyjamas on the radiator. We said goodnight and there was a hot water bottle already in my bed.
I did a crossword and blew out a candle