Dot writes: Ken rang me this morning to let me know that he’d come out of the shower to find the two boys sitting on the landing, happily dismembering a volume of Thomas Love Peacock. There were ructions. The poor dead book is now sitting on top of the bookcase, just next to the spot where Hugh scribbled all over the wall in pencil (which has now been cleaned off) and alongside a small pile of nail-clippers, alum keys and other homeless metal objects that have been hastily shoved there to get them out of the reach of curious hands and unwise mouths.
Last week we put in an offer on a house. It was a cautious offer (given all the gloomy prognostications Ken has been reading) and may well be refused, but we haven’t heard yet and in my head I am busy arranging and refurbishing. The dining-table will stand on beautiful polished wood, not messy carpet; clutter will vanish into the extra space; the spare bedroom will double as a tranquil study from which I will efficiently dispatch numerous publications; the children will play happily in the large garden; we will have a dishwasher; there will be no toothbrushes on the kitchen floor. I have a quite complicated plan for improving the bathroom that will probably have to wait a few years, and two plans for altering the central heating system (one ambitious, one less so) at least one of which will have to be done absolutely immediately. It is fun planning and pleasant to dream, and I prefer not to remind myself that we are likely to be just as messy in that house as we are in this, only with a greater area to spread the mess over. Assuming we get the house, even messy it will feel comfortably large. (We are trading down slightly in terms of area, but then not many areas of Dublin are either as attractive or as expensive as the one we’re currently in.) We have promised ourselves a six-foot bed. I feel happy and snuggly just thinking about it. Even though it will probably mean sharing not just with my husband but with two small boys and (Hugh’s current favourite things, not to be parted with even at bedtime) a couple of plastic sharks.
They are adorable, these little book-destroyers, and I wouldn’t swap them for the world.