My week away has paid dividends in so many ways that, if I could afford it, I'd do it again and again throughout the year.
The things I was looking forward to the most, other than a complete absence of responsibility, were getting up when I wanted, going to bed when I wanted and watching what I wanted to watch on the tv in the evening. For seven days I had all of that but so much more. I roamed bookshops, ate out without worrying about how busy places were, where the toilets were or how long the wait for food would be; I visited cathedrals, wandered around shops, looked at ancient maps and walked in the woods as far as I wanted and for as long as I wanted. It was so wonderful and I've come home full of energy and good humour.
As for Ash he had a good time too and the difference in him is as obvious as the difference is in me. I was greeted with a huge smile and a hug, lists of things he'd done (yes he did remember some of them), I was shown the new fencing erected while I was away, was made to close my eyes while Ash opened a gate in that fencing to see the old wood which had been piled ready for winter and was generally given the impression of a very happy man.
The weekend spent with Jake had gone well and the rest of the time the 'girls' had made sure he was relaxed, confident and well cared for.
On top of all that, between the four of them, they'd made sure I came home to a clean house, mowed lawns, tidied garden and weeded paths. The cupboards were full of groceries and the washing was up to date.
Jake had taken Ash to the village coffee morning and 'S' had taken him out for pizza one evening so these, along with the trips out every day for coffee and cake with one or other of them meant his social life was off the scale. For years and years Ash went out under sufferance, spent the entire trip in silence and was more than happy when we got home; those days are now gone but this whirl of social activity has really shown him what he's capable of.
The best part came when I went in to say goodnight on my first night back. Ash said 'It's nice to have you home' to which I replied 'but did you have a good week?'. His reply? 'It was brilliant!!'
What more could I ask for?
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