Holidays as a lone parent are not easy. I toyed this year with a specialist single  with kids holiday but balked at the possibility of being surrounded by wounded women bitching about their exes – and didn’t fancy spending the whole time  with a bunch of Brits either. My preferred scenario is to go somewhere I know the language, not too populated and with nice food. One of my friends suggested I just do what my daughter would like for the next few years and there is nothing she likes more in the world than horses. 

Hence last night we found ourselves drinking aperitifs and sitting round a long table eating manzo and zucchini at a horse ranch in Tuscany, surrounded by sociable, intelligent and well heeled Swiss, Swedish, French, and a lovely elderly couple of artists from Santa Fe. I’ve never stayed in a situation like this and it’s fun but slightly intimidating. What will we all still have to say to each other after 5 days of long dinners? And then there is the British woman and her nine year old . That’s not me. Another. Her husband couldn’t get away, her two elder daughters decided to go on activity camp together and she has brought Pippa away on her own. Pippa and my  girl gelled instantly. Brilliant for both of them. Her mum and I got on fine which is just as well as we are to some extent stuck with each other now.  It’s Pippas birthday on Tuesday and I’ve agreed to take them to Florence in our hire car. 

On our first night in Pisa I was still thinking of him. Angrily mostly. If I saw him again I would have to hide – there is so much hurt there is nothing to say…… I’ve just finished a beautiful book by Rose Tremain about an Eastern European living in london and there was a quote in it which made me cry ” all conversation with her now is like trying to scrape the dregs, the  dross, from an empty barrel – and then you scrape the barrel itself” . 

That was in Pisa. Here in chianti country under the stormy black clouds and among the rolling hills of olive, cypress and vine he seems a very long way away. 

  

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