So there we were, swimming up and down rather leisurely, in an indoor pool all to ourselves and bathed in soft blue light. The Book Club girls on tour, enjoying the hospitality of Darling Loggins who is still living in her rented cottage on a campsite on the coast while her wooden house takes shape on the hill back in The Enchanted Village.
Outside, the skies were clear, sprinkled liberally with sharp constellations: the eyes of Cancer, the horns of Taurus. Up country and down in Cornwall they've had snow. But here in Dorset we had one of those beautiful, cold winter days where the sky is blue and the light seems like it's been imported from Photoshop.
In the sauna, we got fired up and pulled apart the book we'd been reading (Sister), all agreeing we were either irritated, puzzled or underwhelmed. Which was reassuring, because you never really know if people are on the same wavelength as you.
We dined on vegetable curry and pears poached in cider, compared books-we-have-loved (my five all either had child protagonists or lead characters with childlike qualities - Jay Gatsby and William Boot from Scoop - what does that tell you?) and then toddled off home when Mr Loggins came back early from the pub and declared he was off to bed.
Back in The Enchanted Village, the boys are still in the pub, up to their necks in bar billiards. There's Mr Champagne-Charlie dressed in pullover and yellow tie just potting a white, Mr Sheepwash talking about cricket, Nobby Odd-Job keeping score, Mr Putter sulking on the sofa and a new recruit, Ernest, smiling inanely behind a bushy white beard as he tries to take it all in.
And who is taking the lead on rousing the troops out of their snooker slumber? It's Mr Grigg bawling out instructions from the sidelines.
'Oh, hello baby,' he says when I walk in. He's got that stupid 'when-I-say-I've-had-three-pints-of-cider-I-really-mean-seven' look on his face. His beaming grin reminds me of an old friend from primary school who could never tell a lie without his nostrils flaring.
I think of the girls' discussion in the sauna and then look at the boys - we were a scene from a winning film at Cannes and they're Last of the Summer Wine playing doubles.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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