I am back from Croatia, which was lovely, and there will be pics, but not till the weekend, as I returned only to launch myself headlong into the Most Fun English Course In The World For Small(ish) Children. They all love it, but it's hard work, in spite of lasting only three hours each day, and there never seems to be enough time to do everything else that has to be fitted in.
On top of that, my youngest has got lice. Since my children spent most of their formative years in the UK, a country where lice are endemic amongst the school-age population, I did not shriek with horror, but merely sighed a weary sigh and produced my bag of magic tricks (three different nit combs and a tube of mayonnaise). I don't want to resort to poison this time - last time we had an attack, I was so fed up that I went to the chemist's and demanded a bottle of the strongest poison they had - no, no herbal or homeopathic remedies, thank you, I want CHEMISTRY - only to find, after my daughter had sat in a reeking bathroom for half an hour, that a small group of wasp corpses was lying in the empty bathtub. They had presumably flown past the skylight and been overcome by the fumes still emerging from it. This, I have to admit, gave me pause for thought about the wisdom of inflicting industrial strength poison on the carriers of my genetic inheritance, so this time it's the rhythm method for us. Well, that and mayonnaise.
In spite of all this, I'm feeling good. We had, as I said, a lovely holiday, on which I particularly enjoyed floating in the crystal clear ocean waters, gawping at the sea urchins and hermit crabs and krill and multitudinous kinds of fish. Beach holidays aren't really our thing as a family, and we got a little bored towards the end, until a monumental thunderstorm on our last night livened things up a little. There was one thunderclap right overhead that was so loud, babies started crying, dogs howled and an astonished "Bloody hell!" escaped my British stiff upper lip. We stayed up half the night watching the lightning blitz into the bay from our balcony, and very impressive it was too.
We also fitted in a pilgrimage to the stud farm at Lipice in Slovenia. Since Lipice is where Lipizzaners come from, and two of us ride Lipizzaners, we couldn't pass up the opportunity. The training session was fascinating and gave me an entirely new understanding of "going forwards".
Slovenia is a staggeringly beautiful country, with hardly any people and an awful lot of trees (over half the country is forest). It's more Ruritanian than Ruritania, being stuffed with breath-taking mountains, wooded hillsides and crazily romantic castles on rocky outcrops, not to mention a fabulous stretch of coastline. I was pondering ways of moving there, until we ate at the posh hotel at the stud farm, and I discovered that the cuisine still has a detectable Eastern Bloc influence. I think we must have driven through on some kind of special feast day, possibly St Swinius, given the number of whole pigs on spits we saw being roasted by the roadside.