Barcelona, sisterly love and the start of the rugby season

October started with an exciting long weekend in Barcelona. I met up with my sister, flying in from Sweden, for a few days of sightseeing, relaxation and a proper sisterly catch-up. Whenever we meet it tends to be so busy, so it was lovely to spend some time together in this gorgeous city. We found Gaudí's masterpiece Sagrada Familia just stunning, every detail of the design considered and symbolic of his faith and closeness to nature - the angles, the light, the materials... We were also impressed by the design of his Casa Milà, again all the detailed work and beautiful materials, this time in a practical domestic setting. But perhaps the highlight of the weekend was just sitting chatting in cafés, drinking strong coffee, eating pastries, long lunches of tapas and glasses of cava or strolling down elegant boulevards surrounded by beautiful trees - bliss!

Our family is well and truly into the rugby season again, with the boys getting struck into training and games. And now time for some shameless motherly pride; Charles won his County Colours a few weeks ago, representing Norfolk U17s against Suffolk, though he injured his back in the process, and Edward was invited to join an elite player development programme, after being spotted at an inter-school game. Very proud parents. Some of you will know that – because life isn't busy enough – Tim is heavily involved with our Rugby Club and, after some fifteen years of fundraising, planning permission appeals and innumerable other setbacks, we finally opened our new 30-acre grounds and beautiful, purpose-built clubhouse in mid-October. Community projects like this are so important and, for much of September and October, Tim diverted his energies to assisting others in ensuring that it opened on time, and in style. Believe me, it did!

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