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I had a really great weekend. Threw a party on Saturday – big barbecue in my garden. ‘Twas what is now looking like the last day of sunshine ever. Around 40 people turned up. I’ve never had a party before and it blew me away that so many people wanted to come. We bought 80 sausages, 40 burgers, 24 chicken drumsticks, 8 blocks of halloumi, about a million bread rolls and far too much salad that people didn’t eat because they were stuffing themselves with the best pork sausages ever. Family came down, which really made it for me. One set of parents and three sisters live not too far away, but the other set, another sister and various uncles, cousins, etc. all live up the other end of the country. To have so many of us together is very rare – the last time was my wedding, 5 years ago. I’ve got a photo of all my sisters together that I’ll treasure. Friends, old and new turned up. One I’ve known for 20 years, others I’ve only really got to know in the last six months. Gatherings like this would have been impossible when I was growing up – my parents only spoke to each other via their solicitors. But that was a long time ago.

I worried that people might not have a good time and that I’d feel bad about that because they came for me and I should make sure everyone is happy and everything in the whole world is my fault… but my dad said that if people are chatting without awkward pauses then it’s safe to say they’re having a good time. As I gazed around my garden I saw people sprawled all over it, talking, laughing and eating and I felt really happy. It was a very chilled out day, with the quieter people looking like they were having a good time too. Nobody got so drunk they embarrassed themselves – including me! And my larger than life family didn’t seem to overwhelm anybody too much.

The next morning half my family descended for bacon and eggs before wending their way home, leaving us spread across the sofa to recover. I watched Star Trek and practised casting on and the knit stitch. Knit one, drop one. My step mum bought me a first knitting kit (for children, haha) and the lovely LittleFeet bought me some bamboo needles and some really gorgeous wool, that I will leave safely alone until I can manage more than six rows of mess.

By the end of the weekend I was starting to think this whole not having to study thing might be quite fun. I have books to catch up on, a new hobby to learn and hours and hours to drift through with hubby. That sounds quite nice really. Bye bye books of Arabic.

I really should have written this last night, because this morning I’m having to try very hard not to cry and I don’t even know why. I did anticipate this but it surprises and disappoints me nonetheless. A crash of some sort was inevitable really and it doesn’t help that it’s pissing it down today, weather made for huddling under the duvet, not trudging around London in shoes that used to be waterproof but aren’t anymore. I’m trying to use the weekend to bolster myself, it’s a reminder that I can get a life now. I can see my friends again, and I have really not seen much of them this year. Loads of people came to help me celebrate, which means maybe I can be more confident that people like me, despite being loud, bumbling and temperamental. All those people, travelling to my garden just for me (and the sausages, of course). I wish I had more control over my emotions, I wish thinking about happy things could stop me feeling sad, but I hope I’m learning enough now to ensure I don’t wallow or shut myself away from those who love me. There’s a song in my head this morning, and a small whisper I haven’t listened to for a while. You don’t have to do this by yourself.

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