Thursday.

The end of my week in the office; Friday brings a day of working from home. I breathe out as I get closer to home. Clouds move rapidly over Dartmoor; wind turbines burl furiously in the fields which lie between us.

In the furthest room of the tumble-down barn, yesterday’s clay work dries, hidden from the damaging claws of feline interest by a door which fits just barely enough to offer closure.

I walk the half-mile to the local shop, joking with friends I’ve made since I started to call this place home. ‘Don’t tell the wife,’ he says, the names of Czech beers all rounded edges and walnut forests in my head. The skies are grey, portentous; the elderberries are already darkening on the trees, sloes appearing like small cannonballs. Dinner is procured on a day-to-day basis when my children are not at home, and I revel in the luxury. Cider and hummus. Crisps. Pizza, with olives. Contraband of the finest order.

They return on Saturday.

I fit shelves for my elder girl’s books, reusing wood from the bed I drew on the back of an envelope once upon a time. I tidy my younger girl’s nest, sorting through clothes which show too much wrist or ankle now, the lengthening of five-year-old legs a spectator sport, almost.

A pile of ginger fur, multiple paws intertwined with patchwork, sleeps nearby as I work.

This evening smells like autumn, and I feel a mixture of sadness and energy welling up in me as it does every year at this point in the turning of the world.

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