Summer holidays just got better. There’s a brand new gate in our fence between us and the neighbours. Now the kids next door suddenly appear at my elbow while we are at the dinner table. “Oh hello!” I say, as they survey the food, and “Goodbye!” as they dash off again with shouts of “See you at 10am!”. My kids disappear for hours on end (well, an hour on end anyway), snacks are in high demand, there are spontaneous picnics, secret tamagotchi clubs under the bottlebrush trees and elaborate games about getting lost, getting killed (!), running away, joining a war, riding horses and camping out. There’s constant dashing through the gate as the games get more manic and finally it’s 6 o’clock and the kids are exhausted and hopefully will sleep ALL NIGHT.
Four kids are a lot noisier than two, and (gawd) you have to remember to close the bathroom door, and there’s a lot of mess at the end of the day, and there’s the occasional barney, or prickle or hunger-pang which needs seeing to – but this afternoon I got to sit and write at the kitchen table for two hours straight with barely an interruption. Awesome. I hope the novelty doesn’t wear off too soon.