We are expert lurkers. Today when we finally emerged from our den to go to the Chinese for lunch, our neighbours – who we haven’t seen this year – exclaimed with relief that we were still alive. Back in the days BC*, Thomas and I could batten down the hatches and stay in all weekend. As long as we had a sufficient supply of books and food, we were happy not going anywhere. We are training our children to be good lurkers too. They are so good that when we finally emerge, a visit to the Chinese is thrilling to them. (Slightly less thrilling to the waitress, who had to deal with rice sprayed in a radius of two metres around Ollie. He really loved that rice. And perhaps not very thrilling to other diners who were party to a high-pitched and excited discussion about whether the thing hanging out of the goldfish’s bottom in the tank near our table was poo.)
Our lurking was not totally pointless. It’s not as if we did nothing. There was the housekeeping I mentioned, which involved multiple trips to Ikea and much building of furniture. There were visits with friends, including catching up with a couple who we haven’t seen for nine years. We now have six children between us, and my girls got very giddy around the two slightly older, rather handsome and friendly big boys. There was reading of books and cooking. Rather a lot of cooking. I made a very hot Madras chicken curry with aubergine and red pepper which impressed my husband with its tongue-scalding qualities, a cauliflower vicchysoisse, a lemon drizzle cake, some gingerbread muffins.
I read Phillippa Gregory’s The Boleyn Inheritance, which follows The Boleyn Girl in charting the short and unfortunate reigns of some of Henry’s wives. It was the perfect lurking reading, washing over me gently, transporting me to another place where I thankfully do not have to live. Sometime between Christmas and New Year, we saw The Boleyn Girl as a BBC costume drama, all heaving bosoms and heavy-handed flirting, so I read the book with these images in mind.
So the deep lurk ends tomorrow. Thomas goes back to work and Lily goes back to school. The time for lingering over my morning coffee while blog reading is over, as is staying in bed till 9am while my lovely husband looks after the children, or having an afternoon nap while ditto, and we’re back to the relentless weekly routine. Without the routine as counterpoint, the lurking wouldn’t be as much fun, but I don’t know if I’m ready to be busy and effective. Not just yet. I’ve still got some lurk in me.
* Before Children