I LOVE the primal feeling of relief after a big storm: that forgotten animal reflex, presumably dating from the days when howling winds threatened more than just the roof tiles.
So during a brief lull in the torrential rain we took the dog across the meadows to the swollen river, on the principle that there is nothing a toddler enjoys more than inspecting wreckage they haven't personally caused
After an hour of the boy rapturously dragging broken branches about I'm feeling unusually calm. Calm enough to tackle a tricky subject.
Last week, the Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman wrote a piece for the Daily Mail arguing that women are making themselves harder to hire with their pesky demands for time with their kids.
Yesterday, the Times columnist Janice Turner wrote a piece arguing mothers should stop whining, including a dig at "media mummies penning tear-stained farewells to careers that they can’t combine with caring for one small baby." Who knows who she had in mind?
I admire both as journalists: I agreed with large parts of Turner's column, which was actually about selfishness, and bits of Shulman's. But what both pieces shared was a whiff of "I had it hard, so should you."
Turner hurt because I (usually) love her column: Shulman I found disappointing because of her feistiness in challenging issues like fashion's fixation with thinness. But either piece, written by a man, would have neither surprised nor troubled me. So why does it matter that they were written by women?
Many women harbour expectations that female bosses will be "sisterly" - help other women up the ladder, empathise with family pressures - and feel far more betrayed by senior women who don't play this game than by their male counterparts.
Margaret Thatcher still gets attacked for not putting women in her cabinet, while the US politician Madeleine Albright suggests a "place in Hell reserved for women who don't support other women". Policies aimed at getting more women into senior roles are based on assumptions that doing so will change the culture.
And many female bosses do go out of their way to stand up for younger women: the Elle magazine editor Lorraine Candy wrote a brilliant column rebutting Shulman in the same paper, while Red magazine's Sam Baker argued on Twitter that flexiworking meant hiring great women for less money - what's not to like?
But while it's heartening when you see it, is it realistic always to expect sisterliness?
Given that managers often promote people who think like them, is it surprising if a woman reaching the top of a tough environment turns out to share the views of the (mostly) men around her?
Who knows what pressures she is under to keep that job? Does every female boss have to be defined by her sex? Who can judge how far her views are sharpened by any private defensiveness about her own choices?
Having just ignored an invite from a newspaper diary to get drawn into a silly catfight with (yet another) female columnist, I also suspect working women don't benefit from the divide and rule strategy of inviting us to scrap in public.
So I'm setting myself some rules on this blog. I'll take issue with anyone's public stance (their views on policy, or what they do as employers). But I'll never judge their private or personal choices around mothering and work.
I'll try not to apply higher standards to women than to men. And nothing I say about my own life should ever be interpreted as a criticism of anyone else's choices, from lifelong stay at home mother to full on fulltimer.
And if I break these rules I'll happily be called on it by anyone reading this blog. Meanwhile, I'd love to know about your experience of either being, or working for, a female boss.....