Today I woke up from a dream in a reasonably happy frame of mind. I’d been cleaning out one of my houses where I’d lived with my daughter and Lanying. It was a sprawling old house with lots of rooms on many floors. There were things in there I never knew I had. I’d thrown away some junk and unearthed some sentimental treasures. After all that effort, it was so nice to have this spare house full of uncluttered, spacious rooms.
Then I realised it had been a dream and I felt sad. My daughter has moved away and now I live in a modern flat by the river.
In fact the house in my dream never existed. My last house was horrible. I have no reason to feel sad because where I live now is very comfortable and I love being next to the river.
But the last year has been very difficult for me. I have had a lot of pressures. Just after I managed to sell my old house and move here I got a call from my stepmother. She had been taken to hospital. She was discharged soon after but she was no longer able to look after herself. She had lost the use of her legs, had breathing difficulties, and needed help with everything. She couldn’t wash or dress herself or even get in and out of bed without help. I went as often as I could but it was difficult to get the time off work sometimes. I couldn’t always be there when she needed me. Just to drive her to and from the hospital used up a whole day. Waiting around for her prescriptions would take hours.
A few months ago she died and now I am administering her estate. It is quite complex and it has been weighing on my mind. I will be relieved when the legal matters are finally settled.
The legal deadline for submitting the financial declarations is fast approaching but I don’t yet have everything clear. Financial institutions are inefficient and untrustworthy. If I had a choice I would never put money in a bank.
In April I am going to Paris with my daughter. Then I am going to China with Lanying.
I have not been working as hard at learning Chinese as I should have been. I have been forgetting simple words that I’ve known for years. I have no time to brush up my French. I will make my daughter do all the talking. But in China I will talk for myself. I am very determined about that.
And then, when I am back in England, I will find time to write again. Because who else can describe the house of my dreams?