First of all, many apologies for the radio silence….. Hotel California was fully booked those last couple of months, and with all those (wonderful) visitors, my head simply refused to make room for this wee little bloggie. I tried, I did, but have only managed to write bits and pieces of “other stuff” (more of which later). I know it’s not good enough to blame the visitors, especially as they’ve all been great and not demanded too much of my time. But still, a house full of people offers too much distraction! And sometimes it’s easier to write about things when they’re over, and not whilst being in the middle of it all. Anyway, I’m back and full of good intentions (it is that time of year after all!).

First came the in-laws, who provided a breeze of English air, gratuitous babysitting and fantastic cooking. My mother-in-law delighted F’s Kindergarten class with tales from Buckingham Palace, my father-in-law enhanced E’s presentation on the UK with a good dose of Cockney rhyming slang, and they both looked after the girls while S and I nipped off to San Diego for our anniversary weekend. Bliss. Then came a couple of friends from Germany, then my sister-in-law and then finally my sister with family. It was so good to see our girls play together, and now the house feels very quiet and empty. Of course that’s also a good thing… and much needed! Funny how when we had the big house with lots of room, nobody showed up, and now that it’s a little cramped, they all want to come!

It’s been really great those last few weeks, as California presented her beauty with dazzling autumn colours, gorgeous weather and friendly, laid-back people, so much so that our visitors were very loath to leave. We spent weekends at the beach, ate oysters fresh from the sea, saw some more redwoods, visited some more wineries (and became wine club members at a couple) and survived another Halloween. September and October in this area are simply the best, and I can’t think of another place so gorgeous at this time of year. And the odd rainy day every now and then is actually quite nice, although it never gets fantastically cosy in a Californian home with no insulation and a non-working gas fireplace. Bring on the woolly socks and blankets! But, to immediately deflect any possible negative thoughts, I’m focusing on the one good thing rain brings: snow in Tahoe!!! We’re off up there in 4 weeks and I cannot wait.

So, yes, I have been loving it here those last few weeks, have loved sharing this piece of the world with my extended family, and am happy they experienced it as so beautiful, and have glimpsed into our life here. But now they’ve all gone, I am starting to wonder how this is all going to work out in the long term. And there it is, the first pang of homesickness creeping in again… I wonder if this is ever going to get easier?

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