The family is reunited, food is cooked, mess is made, and some of it is cleaned up again.
Joking turns to bickering and back to joking again in the blink of an eye.
Feathers are ruffled and smoothed down again, and four adults try to get on with each other. Two cats and a dog jealously demand attention which is usually theirs alone.
I drop her off at the station and watch the dark outline of her back and bright hair as she walks confidently to get her bus ticket (well, as confidently as a week's clean washing in plastic bags will allow her to walk). She is walking back to her life which is more and more separate from my own. It hurts, but in a nice sort of way.
I drive home, where I know that I will at least have Drummer boy a little longer. He can't play his drums in his flat in Rennes so they are installed here in all their glory. He thrashes them first thing in the morning when he wakes up (not that early of course...) and then at hourly intervals throughout the day. He greets me at the door. "Mum, I'm off back to Rennes. I've got a holiday job delivering computer parts on the night shift!"
Just us chickens again, then. Oh, and two cats and a very happy dog.