Our air con packed up half way through the night, and we threw the windows open and found that autumn had come, overnight, to Hong Kong.
There was a cool breeze, an indistinct sunrise, through drifting clouds, and a scent of smoke on the air. And - of course with autumn - a sense of passing.
Obviously, for our family, is the departure of our nanny, Rowena who is returning to the Philippines to start her own family. As we went through our morning routines, breakfast, pack and walk to school, we were aware of Rowena going through a divergent routine: pack, check passport and ticket, recheck, look forward with excitement and expectation for the airport bus.
But it's always harder to be left behind, and the air of loss is in the air, and we're hugging each other a little harder and a little more often than before.
And then, of course, there is the novel: which was batted back to me by my editor with the exhortation for 'one last heave!' but also with the 'Well done – really, really near now. You’ve done brilliant work on Eadric, Edmund , Godwin. I am really impressed.'
It's going to be finished again, today, and can't quite decide whether to go for more champagne. The problem is, really, there are a number of little stages between now and the final manuscript and I could be drunk from now till Christmas if I celebrated each one. There's proof editing, typsesetting, a few last chances for changes. Before the manuscript is printed, and published, and then the book, like rowena - or any of the friends we pick up and then misplace or lose in life - heads off towards a different destination.