I’m sitting on the terrace that runs the length of the back of the house and typing this on the portable, so that I can enjoy the view over the garden to the fields beyond.
Tod has just been “pool boy” – straw hat, calf-length trousers (de rigueur for men at this time of the year) and bare chest. The weekly pool clean is a mystical ritual of valves on and off, pump on and off, terms like “backwash” and then a long slow vacuum of the pool bottom. All this you understand for something only slightly larger than a garden pond – four and a half strokes end to end, 10 lengths in under 5 minutes. As it is only heated by the sun it still takes courage to go in – better fast than slow, with associated gasps of shock – but after a sweaty day of emptying boxes and sorting books and pictures (we’re still unpacking!) it’s a joy to jump in and cool off.
When Tod swims, Clara runs alongside, barking anxiously, like a worried mother at her toddler's first swimming lesson.