Woe is me. Another whop-off ten whole days have whizzed by. My computer is still down but I am now in London writing on Sister One’s computer which means I can only say nice things about her as otherwise she will deny me access to her keyboard. Tommy and I arrived the day before yesterday on the Eurostar and were met at St Pancras by Sister Two and her horde of seventeen. Sorry, three. But I think it must sometimes feel like she has seventeen. Tommy, who had been talking about his cousins for the preceding four hours, fell into a sulky silence and stuffed his thumb in his mouth, refusing to talk to or even acknowledge any of them – which was a lovely way to say thank you for waiting for an entire hour at the station so we could all get a taxi together. Sister Two said an hour was no time at all for her and the kids; apparently it takes them half an hour just to get down an escalator together.
So two mummies and five kids rolled up at the house to be met by another mummy and two more kids, and thus chaos prevailed. The kids ran rampage. The mummies drank tea and ate scones, trying not to think of the tidying-up consequences of the tornado that was whipping through the house and garden. It actually turned out to be not so bad. Three mummies on the case means meals, bathtimes and house-blitzing turns out to be relatively simple as each mummy takes on a chunk of the work. This is where our society has got it wrong. Us mummies are all split up from each other, living far too far away from our siblings and best friends, juggling everything on our own and in dire need of another mummy in the house with which to share the chores, the kids, a cup of tea and a good giggle. I say this, but I suspect that if my sisters and I all lived together for more than a few days with our six kids underfoot, we would end up killing each other. Or the kids would join forces and take power and we would be relegated to a small cupboard, only allowed out to cook, clean up and wipe small bottoms. In fact, on a bad day, this is sometimes what motherhood feels like. ON A BAD DAY, I said. On good days I wish I had seven children all of my own, smothering me in love and kisses and jam-smothered cheekiness. And a cleaner.