Wow. June 23rd last post! That is a manic summer holiday with four children to look after for you. A brief summary of the summer follows. Of course, I have completely forgotten all my insight moments that I wished to record for my memory having not written anything down for ages. I have lost the hilarious sequences of events that happen almost daily with children of these ages and I am annoyed with myself for that. So I will try not to leave things for this long again and at least jot down the odd bit here and there.
Since 23.06, we have had a brilliant time. Flown to England. Taken the train with four kids and all our luggage from Dorset to Waterloo without losing a single bag. Done five days tourism in London then caught the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness. Driven down Loch Ness, stopped for a wonderful piper and to throw raw potatoes into the loch (if you wonder why, watch the film "the Waterhorse" - our kids are convinced raw spuds are Nessie's fave snack), snaked through the glorious Perthshire countryside to the end of Loch Tay and stayed at the gorgeous Fortingall Hotel. Done a week of family and friends in Ayr including the Prestwick all-male golf club's annual cocktail party for which memorable event, birds are allowed in. Said goodbye to husband as he flew back to Kaz.
Said good bye to two of my kids and Mother-in-law with an experimental Leave-the-kids-with-Grannie week. Flown back to England with the two littlies, had a week of Dorset sunshine and beach (hard to beat in the UK, even if Christchurch's marketing strap line is "Christchurch - where time is pleasant" or as I prefer it, "Christchurch - where you come to die" to which my mother replied, "Well...."! ha ha). Welcomed back older kids and then said goodbye again as I jetted off to Moscow for a romantic weekend with hubby (and only one baby) in the Ritz there while over-worked Granny and Grandpa held the fort with the older three.
Great things in the UK: Pink! live in concert in Hyde Park with two older kids - great show, the Custard Cruiser (our ancient VW camper) - started EVERY time this summer - thanks to Dad for sorting out the points while we were away, fresh fish to eat, Southampton Airport, the Solent, my parents.
Come back to Kaz for a month of sunshine, paddling pools, garden time, bought a new sofa and turned our living room "grown up", had my sister to stay. And finally, last week, sent the larger kids back to school. Number 3 is going to start a Russian-speaking playgroup for mornings and I am going to enjoy having a bit of space and time and try to play a round of golf before the snow hits the course and it shuts for winter, sort out the large and now-unavoidable piles of paperwork that litter the house, do my photo albums (yeah, right) and lose two stone.
Great things in Kazakhstan: having tons of space in our nice house, great big garden bulging with fresh tomatoes, corn, peppers, aubergines, apples, plums, pears, basil, rocket, mint...... the gift trampoline from the Gilfillans (but still sorry they have left town), as much as I love Custard, being able to steer our car here with one finger is a pleasant and comfortable change, Baktiyar the driver - for coming back to work after your nasty intestinal bleeding spell in hospital and being OK - we were worried for a while there.
Autumn mornings have arrived, crisp and clear and thanks to last night's heavy snow fall up top, the outstandingly beautiful mountains that form the back drop to life here are once again snow-topped and magnificent. On a clear morning, driving the kids to school at 7.30am with the hills sparkling above us, it is hard not to feel good.