Perhaps the old adage rings true – it can be hard to keep the flame of familiarity burning after long spells of absence, and “out of sight” all too easily leads to “out of mind.” How often do we find ourselves thinking this at the chink of two glasses once again toasting a re-acquaintance, or, as we scramble to agree over the phone on the specifics of a last encounter?
But then, hands up, there is also the sheer laziness on my part of not tending to this blog for the past four months. This blog being one of the only portals I have of putting down a few etchings of my current life, in the hope of forming some vague picture – for the now, and for some day in the future.
And so, in the spirit of our all too often glossed over 24/7 news cycle, to the headlines…
First up, Happy Birthday – today – to Florence.
8 years old, “at last” (I could hear her say to herself this morning, when she bounced onto our bed and sparkled her very first and excitable words of the day).
I predict a future blog post on Sunday, reflecting on the fact that this year we’ve agreed to host a sleepover party here at our new house (this – our new house – will be covered in a minute as a second headline item). When agreeing to do this, Issy and I hadn’t discussed numbers. We are currently at 15 for the sleepover. All girls. So, yes, a blog on Sunday may be forthcoming, provided I manage to get as far as Sunday…
A belated Happy 5th Birthday to Martha also (her birthday was the day after my last post and was celebrated in style with a “Unicorn” – honestly we have no idea why – themed party…)
Flo and Martha are on great form these days. Fizzing from one activity and social occasion to the next, seemingly focused and eager to learn at school, both of them take on new things all the time and do so mostly with relish. Yesterday, at a monsoon struck BBQ, as the adults were sheltering in alcoves and huddled around ice-boxes of beer and cellophane wrapped plates of sausages, the kids were either swimming, scooting, or sliding about on the lawn, without a care in the world. As it should be.
News item #2 – our new house. Here it is…
After viewing 30 houses last summer, and being left feeling short changed, this year Issy found two lovely places and we were lucky enough in the end to bag this one, and moved in at the beginning of July. It’s a charming pad, with a superb garden and within striking distance of the schools, shops and all the new bars popping up each week here (Saigon is out of control on that particular curve at the moment). And we have a spare room, so get yourselves over soon!
Thirdly, the summer holidays. Moving house occupied us for some of the vacation period. We also had Issy’s sister over, with a gaggle of her mates, and took them up to Hoi An (gorgeous town) as well a quick few days up in Hanoi, and so were kept quite busy entertaining and showing them the sights and sounds (and tastes) of Vietnam.
We then made for Italy, and this year took the same camping pitch as we did last summer in Campiglia Maritima – possibly one of the nicest Tuscan spots on earth and, this time, we stayed there for a week and Mum and Dad joined us, along with Issy’s Dad, her sister and her family (who are the reason Campiglia Maritima is known to us) and last but not least, Sue and Rupert, family friends from many moons ago.
Too many memorable meals and times to delve into in words – we also took in Bologna on the way back which was stunning – the pictures below I hope tell the story better than I can. And here is some video footage to boot…
Suffice to say, when those millions have been made, one day, Italy is high up our bucket list for places to live. Watch this space.
And in other news, (cue last, comedy item for this particular news reel) and only in Vietnam do these things happen, I’ll share with you this one amusing shot from this weekend’s general larking about in Saigon…Martha and I were having a quiet lunch together at a local cafe, when, just as we sat down, a local magician started his kids show.
Now, this type of thing I’ve witnessed countless times before here. However, our guy, was dressed as Batman. This was a first for me. And it was then that he went on to excel himself in the live animal department.
If you think pulling a real life rabbit out of a hat is a cool trick (he did this) then wait until you see what else this Vietnamese entrepreneur had tucked under his cape….
That’s right. He produced a large, live python!
#TIV – This is Vietnam.
Have a great week everyone – and if you have time to spare, then you’ll find more pictures below to add some colour and a touch of magic to this post.
Not a bad lunch view.
Happy Days: arriving in Milan!