Terrible night. My six-year-old woke up about 1.30am, complaining of feeling sick and had to come into my bed. I think I managed about an hour of sleep after that. If we weren't traipsing to the bathroom, he was asking for water, tapping on the wooden bedhead or moaning: "Mummy, I feel sick." "Me too," I muttered into the pillow. I can virtually guarantee that one or other of the children are sick whenever my husband is away. It is as if he says to them: "Remember. Be good for Mummy and be sure and vomit lots while Daddy is away."
I do not know whether it is sleep deprivation but I cannot decide what to do tomorrow. Tomorrow being my birthday. In London, if I could get the day off work, I would often spend it alone shopping, seeing an exhibition or a movie and then out to dinner with my husband in the evening. I do not know where to go here. Can I replicate the birthday I would have had but in a different place or is that a dangerous thing to do? Will I compare and contrast and find my Northern life too different for my taste? Will I end up buying a saddle for no better reason than I fetched up in the saddle shop? Or, do I do something entirely different? Go for a bone-drenching beach walk alone? (Happy Birthday Billy-No-Mates.) Take the four-year-old and the baby to a castle? (If I was counting, I would estimate I have visited two castles this week.) Perhaps I will buy a birthday cake and share it with the builders. I will say: "It's my birthday and I have changed my mind about that wall you knocked down." I feel old. I am old. I am old enough to have to think about my age. Sometimes, I get it wrong. I think: "Am I 42? Or am I 43?" I once had to knock 10 years off my age when I applied for a job undercover. If you tell people you are 10 years younger than you are, they tend to think you haven't aged well. Even so, as I readjusted mentally to the new me, I thought: "This is quite nice actually. I could do this. I could start my life over again and write it differently this time."