Yep I confess to being one of the legions of the population who will be staying in this New Year’s Eve; it’s nothing new I always do as I have a pathological hatred on this particular annual occasion. Something to do with being scarred as a child by leary old men taking the opportunity to liberally apply a wet kiss to any female breathing within reach; alcohol fumes as close quarters is never pleasant unless it’s a two way exchange when that’s quite a different matter!
This evening I finished inputting the last 3 months receipts for what I laughingly call my business; my freelance portfolio is small and perfectly formed (kind of)! With the free time this pause in paid work affords is currently being dedicated to developing my writing; a series of instructive essays on living with a chronic illness plus a possible one woman performance piece of which more later (once it is ready for sharing as it were). But first the files in my office need filleting; so far said items have been transported to the dining room for analysis revealing a disturbing amount of cobweb activity; thankfully above eyelevel!
The backdrop to my day is that drip fed to me by BBC Radio 4 and occasionally 4 Extra if I feel the need for exaggerated period crime – I am especially fond of the dulcet tones of a certain male actor whose name escapes me but attempts to have a detective career alongside a life funded by an independent income – if only! But the offerings today disappointed; massively – frankly I nearly took to my bed with a resigned fit of the vapours! Or was that perhaps associated with the terms ‘fiscal cliff’ being injected into my ears at least 5 times an hour! I am about to put my fingers in my ears and hum ‘la la la I can’t hear you’ for as long as it takes! Come on Barack you might be easy on the eye but your leadership skills need to whip this lot into some form of shape surely; please!
And then Womens Hour unleashes Elizabeth Jane Howard the Cazalets – a tedious child uses clunky language as she wishes her step mother would die from eating potted meat in a heat wave! God sake save us from this! All four books to be serialised between now and July! Following on last week from the delicious Charles Dance reading Roald Dahl short stories with a distinctive sting in the tale – takes me back to my teenage when I ‘stole’ my mum’s copy of Tales of the Unexpected which for some reason wasn’t considered suitable; all I can remember is someone killing their husband with a frozen leg of lamb! No quite the sexually deviant behaviour I had been expecting; disappointment doesn’t go anywhere near how stupid I felt!
And then Johnny Vegas starring in Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree; a dated adaptation of a story surely no one could relate to anymore – pompous language from children – lashing of goodies and being excited about not only spending time with family but the persuasive prospect of tea! It does make me wonder how books to be serialised are selected; is there perhaps a subliminal message I am missing? In days of austerity all will be reassuringly soothed just like the time mummy or daddy crept into our bedroom at night to stroke our damp brow after a nightmare! No I can’t remember that happening either but it does bring to mind the time dear Daddy popped his head around our bedroom door in Malawi – my brother and I had chicken pox and to cheer us up he appeared with a teak tribal mask over his face with a torch behind it! Pee our pants – it was a close call as our chalomine location smeared pox ridden little bodies leapt out of our second skins!
In preparation for 2013 one has been indulging in a little diary management; transferring birthdays and significant dates plus a bit of decoration. Yes I do like a challenge; why is it a challenge I hear you ask? Can you perhaps not read your writing or have you lost your birthday book (yes I do have one)? No nothing quite so obvious – Cruella has been bored over the festive period and you know what that means; yes she has been destructive like a 6 month old kitten testing its claws! I have noticed a gradual increase in the tingling feeling in my fingers and hands; first the left before progressing to the right. This is uncomfortable enough but the further manifestation is a loss of feeling and dexterity; imagine not being able to feel the paper money in your wallet (example: the Post Office today when I realised I was looking at my hands as this was the only way to see how much I was offering the grumpy Post Mistress).
More oddly is the loss of memory – with a shadow of a recollection – to verify the sense that I can feel something requires visual verification. Sometimes it feels like there is something in my hand or touching my skin; only when I look down there’s nothing there..spooky! In common with many women of my age I experience a regular change of shape necessitating items of close fitting clothing in multiple sizes. OK to be specific I refer to the brassiere – no gentlemen not the thing seen on picket lines in winter (heaven knows where they get the oil drums these days)- but the sheepdog (round them up and point them forward)!
Thankfully M&S came to the rescue recently when I finally had to give in to the need for something well a tad more comfortable. I’m not exaggerating when I say on one occasion I had to pull over to the roadside to unleash the restrictive garment and frankly I was breathless to the extent of palpitations! Seriously it’s true! The reasonably priced items have memory foam in them – from the pillow/mattress this material has many more personal applications it seems. Only after a tumble in the (new John Lewis) Washer-Dryer the item seems not only to have lost its recollection of what the average mammary looks like but have taken a gander down memory lane via a veg stall! The bloody thing resembles a handy holder for a bunch of grapes; it’s all a bit lumpy! Am I about to return the garments to M&S? Absolutely not! I can’t begin to think how I’d have that particular conversation; instead a pragmatic strategy of reducing the body morphology requiring support has been adopted; so far it’s going pretty well. Sleeping late reducing the waking hours where hunger might wrong foot a gal; I’ve only found myself in the kitchen in the wee small hours once (well perhaps twice judging on the pattern of bruises (without the rear verification of my swimming companions))!!
So turning pages of a book is tricky – no longer a problem as my reading is largely confined to a Kindle – but I had planned to actually indulge myself by actually consuming the Virginia Woolf first/second editions. Cruella is well cruel on occasions! Updating ones diary involves a lot of page turning which is challenging enough so what made me think embellishing the Moleskin blank canvas by applying images with sticky back plastic (without a Blue Peter presenter to ‘competently’ assist; Val where are you when I need you? Still playing with Joan perhaps – or is this ancient history now?)? But as they say one never knows how far is too far until ones gets there; or doesn’t get there because it’s too far!
But I was determined to make myself smile every time I reached for my diary – one of the people I have had the pleasure of getting to know better in 2012 sent both of these images to me. A wonderful quirky tiny person who I always want to scoop up into my arms affectionately of course! How could I forget the woman who introduced me to using red lentils to make a pastry case for a gorgeous courgette quiche; and yes this is not an oxymoron honest!
Moleskin officiandos will be familiar with the sheets of little stickers discreetly tucked into the folder at the back of the diary. Now whilst this is intriguingly convenient I am frankly flummoxed by some of them: the various weather icons; the handy little random phrases (what if… or it happened); the sad and happy faces? Thankfully I had saved some from last year as only 3 tooth stickers is way too few for one as dentally challenged as a serial Fentanyl user like myself!
And no dear friends I’m not going to show you which sticker I used for your birthday especially those of you in the latter part of the year when I ran out of the ‘presents’! A hairdryer? A camera? A running shoe (lots of those left)? Or what I assume to be a computer monitor?