Apologies for long silence. This expat housewife is currently moonlighting in the UK as a rain goddess. Apparently our arrival at the homes of various friends and relatives heralds the coming of torrential rain after long, dry spells and heatwaves.
'Ooo isn't the grass looking green now!' our hosts say. 'Last week it was all brown and dying - amazing what a week of rain can do!'
My eldest daughter looks at me accusingly, 'you only packed 'hot' clothes for us mummy - you said it would be a heatwave!!??'
Our 'one pair of jeans each' policy is not working out well for us. At my mum's house we were making hanging out washing and then bringing it in again half an hour later, into a fine art.
We have not lived in England for so long now (10 years), that it amazes me how changeable the weather can be here. I asked relatives who live in the South East whether it is less wet there than in the South West - (I was secretly doing a mental viability study on moving back home). 'I don't think so' they said 'it's pretty wet everywhere'. The local news is full of army fatalities in Helmand, Afg and Swine flu killing healthy people indescriminately.
We are 5 vagabonds arriving everywhere with oversized suitcases and implicit demands for lorry loads of food to be produced at worryingly close intervals. Staggered breakfasts that linger on, big lunch, kids tea, adults dinner.
Worse, we go shopping every day and keep bringing more rubbish, plastic bags and superfluous rubbish into the mix. When we leave a place, we always leave something behind - but we also want it back - which means a trip to the post office for somebody.
Between shopping trips where I can't resist buying fabulously cheap clothes for us in the summer sales, my mind is constantly ticking through imminent family birthdays - nieces, godchildren, grandparents - but I left my birthday list at home, so remember that I owe presents, only when it's too late! Meanwhile, my children are receiving wonderful, humbling, generous presents from everybody- and I have lost track of who we need to thank.