It's been a bit hectic, considering these were supposed to be lazy leisurely post-exam days. Lola II woke me up with good news and bad news. The good news: the flight that our cousin M, her son A and friend J were arriving on was early. The bad news: the flight was early! Our preparations, bedmaking, cleaning and tidying had to be squeezed into a shorter time, and I had to go and buy euros, given that I'd failed to do so for weeks and only had one working day left before we were due to travel to Bruges.
Meeting the party at the airport, we held up our sign, which had A's name in large letters and M and J in very small letters underneath. An elderly man was moving along the line of people holding their signs, obviously trying to find someone waiting for him. He paused at ours, and looked at us hopefully. We laughed and we told him we were waiting for a 5-year old boy and his mother and friend. "If they don't show up?" he said. "No problem," we said.
The journeys to and from Heathrow were inordinately long - all the trains seemed to be running slowly and we kept having to wait, and it was awfully hot. But we all reached Lola II's house in the end. M and J made the mistake of leaving Lola II and me unattended for an hour or two in charge of 5 year-old A, while they had a jet-lagged sleep. We painted A's toes with nail polish: a different colour for each toe. He chose the colours, and then he chose the colour for my toenails. We just can't be trusted with any childcare responsibility.
Since then, there has been much conversation, a huge family Chinese meal, serious Lego action, sitting in Lola II's garden admiring Mr M's garden management skills, and luxuriating in the unusual heat at 10 p.m. Now Mr A and I are bracing ourselves for a very early start to our European holiday tomorrow.