So son number two has done what he needed to do to further his education in the bright lights of Essex. I am expecting him to start fake tanning and teeth whitening over the next few weeks, so that he blends in with all the other Essex boys, and after two weeks' of fresher fun, he'll probably do a passable impression of either Chas or Dave, but without the beard, would have stopped wearing socks with his suit, and started calling me 'Geezer'.
He'll be leaving home on the 1st October, hightailing it to Colchester, swapping his comfortable life here for a tiny bedroom with a bathroom where you can s**t, shave and shower without turning round, and a kitchen which will harbour many bacteria after a few weeks, some of which are yet to be identified by a chap in a white coat. Of course, he will forget the important things, like our home telephone number (unless he needs money), and learn lots of new stuff, most of which he will never have to use again in his adult life (unless dressing up as a nurse while necking cheap booze is a requirement in whatever he chooses to do).
But somewhere between these two extremes, he will learn about things which will stand him in good stead for whichever career path he walks down, which is how it should be.
But where will this leave the husband and me? Well we have been slowly getting used to being on our own, as we walk through a house littered with memories and the odd overnight bag from the other three, but October will be the beginning of the next chapter of our lives. Of course, with Percy and Reg, we're not really on our own but there will be an element of independence which we haven't known before. I am looking forward to early pub dinners on a weekday evening, and only putting the washing machine on once a week (I am sure that my Hotpoint will feel almost redundant). The husband, on the other hand, is looking forward to not having to do car maintenance at the weekends and mend things in rented houses before the landlord finds out.
So with all four gone, the house will feel very empty.
But that's the trouble with love....it takes up a lot of space...