This is where we have just returned from in the UK. It is Ashdown Forest in Sussex. Beautiful isn't it? To say I don't miss it would be a lie and while I was there I had definite pangs about leaving, not least because my son would be staying for school while my daughter and me headed back to Florence.
Two days after our return I can now look at this photo with no regrets. Florence is definitely a different experience without Alexander but it is still a good place to be. I like the house I live in, I have made friends and the local people are starting to recognise me and say hello. Which is all good.
Now Alexander is in school I also feel less like I am on holiday - the reality is that I really do live here now! Antonia starts school on Monday, which I am going to record in a separate blog and that really will be when reality kicks in! If nothing else I have to occupy myself. In Florence I don't think that should be too difficult though!
Here is Alexander just before we left to drop him off at school. He is as nervous as he looks but put a very good face on it. Returning to school wasn't too bad as we had already been to buy the smart (!) uniform you see him wearing in the picture, and yes, that is his wheelie bag and he has a full size backpack on and a day pack hidden out of sight! When we arrived nearly everyone was already there, most of his year are boarding this year and as he was there previously he knows pretty much everyone. Walking down the corridor was amusing, most of the boys obviously hadn't realised he was returning so we entered to a chorus of " Alex Long is back!". A large number of boys followed us into his tiny dorm room, which he shares with four others, to welcome him back. He was fairly unresponsive as I think it was all a bit overwhelming. Having said goodbye, his sister got a hug and a kiss not me, I went downstairs to mix with some of the other parents, many whom I already know. Most assumed we were back for good and were a little surprised that I was returning the following day. After I left I returned to the hotel where I allowed myself a lot of tears. My poor daughter really didn't know what to do, so joined in too!
I know it is very dark, but this is his school. In the daylight it looks like a rambling country estate house, which is exactly what it used to be. The school bought it when they evacuated from Croydon in the Second World War. Two schools now exist with the same name the only connection, one in Croydon, one in Sussex!
Anyway, I have heard he has settled in fine which helps me alot. He is back for the weekend in 2 weeks and then hopefully 2 weeks after that, then it is half term.
I really miss him, but I hope he is happy as that is what matters.
I know this is a bit of a ramble, but it is one I needed to do and do now, while the memories etc. were still fresh. I apologise for any stream of consciousness or grammatical errors!
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