|On holiday in Sicily in 2001.|
Meanwhile The Doctor was also working hard; he'd joined a South London-based training scheme, which had precipitated our move from Highbury to Clapham, where we bought a run-down Victorian terraced house. At weekends, we worked on doing up our house, and travelled whenever we could; the new low cost airlines meant that weekends away in Europe were relatively cheap for young professional couples without kids. We went skiing every year and in the summer, had fun holidays with friends such as renting villas in Italy.
|Looking glammed up on my 30th birthday|
These were happy years, but there were also troubles in our wider family life; my father remarried, but unfortunately it did not work out, and meanwhile my father-in-law was miserable after the death of his wife. Christmases were especially hard; without mothers to hold the family together, families particularly suffer at this time.
In 2003 I turned 30, and around this time I think I began to feel restless. Some of our siblings were starting families, but we did not yet feel we were ready. Meanwhile, many of our friends had spent years working abroad, or had gone travelling for a year, and, probably spurred on by my childhood abroad, I wanted to do the same. In truth, my hectic lifestyle was also starting to pall a bit; and sometimes I felt like The Doctor and I were like ships passing in the night, particularly when he was on call for the weekend.
|By the Mekong river in Laos, one of my favourite places on our fourth month round the world trip|
We got back feeling refreshed and energized, and I started to establish myself as a freelance journalist, working from home and writing for a wide range of different magazines. But by now I was also impatient to have a baby. My sister had had her first child, and some of our old friends were also starting families.
By the end of 2004, I was pregnant with Littleboy 1. A whole new chapter was about to begin.