Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kitchen Porn

Oh the joys of a weekend spent decorating a cardboard box, watching The Tudors, writing and reading...! If only every day could be like today, including the dusting of snow that greeted me upon the pulling apart of the curtains. One thing above others though stood out: a self-indulgent dive into the latest Lakeland catalogue.

Do you know of Lakeland? If you do, you will have probably smiled and nodded in recognition at my last sentence. If you don't, prepare to have your domestic life changed for evermore. I have never made a mystery of my dislike for house-related annoyances and I won't tell you about it again. I do, however, have a weird soft spot for house-related things and this explains why the simple thought of Williams-Sonoma or Crate & Barrel gives me a frisson of excitement almost on a par with thinking about the bags delicately perched on steel hooks poised on glass tables in Harvey Nichols.

I have spoken to many women about this and we all concur: there is something about the Lakeland catalogue that screams porn from its very cover and it works every time. I spent a very happy, very long time in its company this weekend, over-salivating over the brand new brownie pan (part of the bake to take range, genius), over their bumper pack of 120 assorted doylies (I could fold them into paper doves and use them as Easter decorations), over the vintage-looking Tala icing sets (in tins, I tell you, they come in tins), over the 3-in-1 jelly mould (the possibilities are endless or maybe just three), over the Valentine's Day pages (heart-shaped moulds, heart-shaped sprinkles, heart-shaped pasta, I was in heart-heaven) and over just about everything else. It's all so delectable, so well-photographed, so absolutely useful, so damn good for nothing I ever do that I want to get there tomorrow morning first thing after the vet and buy the entire store, including ten banana guards. Porn at its absolute very finest.

From Banal Fiction To Movie Masterpiece

A few weeks ago, I was dragging my heels in the local library. I stumbled upon the French books and decided to pick something new, or at least new to me. Pity that the selection was so tiny and so obvious (Le Rouge et Le Noir for God's sake, who has studied French literature and hasn't read that one?!) that I had to resort to Le Journal de Bridget Jones or Bridget Jones's Diary. I know, you'll wonder where I have been for the past, oh I don't know, twelve, maybe thirteen years? I know that Fielding's novel is the original chick lit but I cannot say that even its standing as supreme crap-a-rola for girls ever enticed me past the back cover.

In French though, it seemed different. Indeed it seemed almost impossible that a male-obsessed, occasionally silly little fatty could even exist by virtue of tongue-relations in the land of the stick-thin and of le petit macaron. Of course France isn't all super-stylish and skinny my friends, I've lived there, but the myth persists, undeterred by statistics that trumpet les français too are getting fatter by the minute. Yes, but... you know statistics... two people, four slices of cake, one person eats three slices, one person eats one, statistics tell us that they both had two each. Moral of the story: proceed with caution when in France, chances are everyone you meet will still be thinner than you and everyone you know from home, minus twenty pounds.

But I digress because Le Journal de Bridget Jones may be in French but the story is still très anglaise. In truth though, I have nothing piercing to say about Bridget Jones, in this or in any other language. Of course the effervescent musicality of French means that banal pieces of information très obvious to any Briton sound like philosophical musings delivered by a witty, upper-class professor, see this bit right here:

Bref, tout le monde célèbre cet été exquis alors que je me morfonds. C'est peat-être la faute de notre tradition climatique. Nous n'avons pas la mentalité qu'il faut pour jouir du soleir and du ciel sans nuages qui sont pour nous des accidents rarissimes. Devant ce phénomène traumatique, nous paniquons: un instinct puissant nous dicte de fuir le bureau en courant, de nous déshabiller le plus possible and de nous coucher, a bout be souffle, dans l'escalier de secour.

The rest is a mix of slight vulgarity and same old same chick idiocy. Upon completion I was afflicted by a strong urge to watch the movie (and its sequel too, in one sitting). I realised then that, for all of the flack Hugh Grant (l'idiot anglais) and Colin Firth (he who only ever plays Colin Firth) normally get, the film-makers have taken a banal, average novel and have transformed it into a comical masterpiece I could never tire of watching. And I know that in the early days Bridget aficionados reeled at the casting of a then insignificant blondie as their fiesty (and brunette) heroine but the truth is, Renée Zellweger gives us a Bridget that is at once vulnerable, tender, intelligent, eventually self-assured, very funny and not at all vapid nor banal. In its very charming denouement Bridget Jones's Diary isn't chick lit par excellence any longer; it's a Hollywood miracle.

Friday, January 29, 2010

All Systems Go

It has been one of those weeks. You start on Monday morning and five minutes later it is 8 pm on Friday evening. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, especially after such a draught in more ways than one, but I don't like it when time flies by so quickly that I don't know what day it is. I don't like it because this week I didn't manage to track anything at all of what I was thinking or doing not just on here but on the red Moleskine that only a handful of weeks back was teasing me, full of promises, opportunities, dreams and as-yet-un-thought ideas.

I flicked through it early and its latest pages are immaculate and very nearly still stuck together, as if I hadn't lived the days at all, but still functioned in expectation. I may have to up the ante next week and write deep into the night if need be, because I do not like this gap, not one bit. Meanwhile, work at the poet's has been steaming ahead. I returned home with an armful (make that two, actually) of poems to transcribe, a file to finish and a database to create. I am not quite done yet and there is the distinct possibility that part of Saturday will be dedicated to this, even though good, cold weather beckons from the Met office's page and a steaming hot Starbee with Rich, which I rarely have the opportunity to share, seems like an attractive enough proposition.

It's always a time of assessment and looking back January, isn't it, but the tax return has nothing to do with it (well, not in my case. I suppose that a payroll/accounting husband does come in handy once a year). It is a time of assessment because the exhilaration of a new year (and new diary) has long worn off and because life isn't half as dull and boring once we are comfortable into our everyday again. I always return to the mundane in January with a sense of sinking dread; two weeks into it and I think that, all in all, life ain't that bad; four weeks into it and I've forgotten to think about it.

This week I've been promoted to the role of co-editor of the selection of poems I've been working on. I was flabbergasted when my guy told me; in fact, I agonised over having given him the completely wrong impression for quite some time. I should have leapt out of my chair, hugged and kissed him, while I just stayed there and nodded in silence, looking less than impressed, I am sure. I rectified it all via email today, when I wrote that 'I shall be delighted to co-edit this book with you and thank you for this exciting opportunity'. It read a bit like a press release, not my style at all, but sometimes, when so many things whirr away in your head and you are working on ten different projects, including cutting out your own inner critic, only a press release will do.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Old Pics

Since I got my first digital camera in 2004, I only ever printed forty of my pics. Meanwhile, iPhoto is housing 9023 shots. Yet on my bedside table there is one small stack of Polaroids that I took in 2003, when Victoria arrived. I came across these a few weeks back and now I often look at them because they enjoy the Pola-Charm, of course, but also because I had forgotten how much of a baby Victoria looked then, compared to now. In truth, I had also forgotten how pissed off William appeared. He was an only dog and was enjoying it. I would like to say that he eventually wiped that annoyed, introspective look off his face but...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good Luck To You

I am installed at the poet's and burrowing away at the archive. I've got my own, warm quarters, the gallery overlooks an exceedingly charming garden decorated with antlers, I heard foxes and owls at night, and the gentle fog raising from Sherwood Forest is the stuff of winter dreams. I must confess secretly to expect Robin Hood to burst into the study, handing me a wad of cash for my literary troubles and wishing me well with the rest of my life.

As I was leafing through mags, journals, collections, anthologies and cuttings, I came across Bogg, a poetry magazine apparently still in existence, at least according to a certain poetry website. I have been skim-reading an awful lot of info over the past two days, but one line in particular has stuck to memory, this one:

As always, editing is a subjective affair, and we print what takes our fancy.

Think I made that pearl of wisdom up? I've got photographic evidence, look closely:

I re-read it a few times, of course, just to make sure it really had been printed. The initial surprise at such degree of honesty was soon replaced with gratitude. Ah, you see? Someone who has the guts to tell writers that they operate within a subjective business and that tough shit if they don't like it! If only all editors were like this, if only they did not come up with a rack of statistical data and a far-fetched report on how your writing could be improved but in fact just said, I don't like it and that's why I won't publish it! The sooner you realise this is the way it works, the better it is dear writer. And, as ever, good luck to you, for you are going to need it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Found Heaven

I am working in Heaven.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Oh sweet Jesus. Seventeen today. The new year is seventeen days old today. It has passed the first mid-point and is careering towards the end of January. Any second now and it will be February and my wedding anniversary and then in no time at all it will be April. Then we will navigate the non-summer and then it will be my birthday, then Halloween, then Bonfire Night and then Christmas and then it will be 2011. Someone make it stop!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I ventured outside today and felt hurt and cheated. Where has the snow gone? Where is the ice? Where is the gentle glistening of pavements and grasses? Where, I ask you? Bah humbug.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Insult To Injury Or Shit Magnet Part II

On Monday evening, Rick and I had a look at the washing machine. We tilted it, removed the filter (completely clean, which surprised me), and even went through the trouble of removing the front bottom panel and to access hoses, the pump and the motor underneath. The top had already been removed. All looked in good order. Upon replacement of the last damn screw, it was with a sinking heart that I pressed START and bowed to the powers of the Bosch universe. The washer was humming as before, but was still not taking any water.

The day after, upon collection of my car which only cost a miserable £ 102 to fix which, you will agree, is a tiny price to pay for a not-at-all tiny car, I phoned Bosch, said that the removal of the filter and whatnot had yielded a non-result and that a technician was needed after all.

The guy turned up this afternoon as planned. He listened to the explanation of the symptoms, nodded slowly and
said: ‘Let’s see, shall we?’. He pressed the START button and immediately water swooshed from the tap into the drum. ‘Well, that’s odd,’ I said, brow furrowed and right hand scratching my chin, ‘I tried it many times the other night, after I put it back together, and it still wasn’t working’. He re-nodded and said that it probably wouldn’t drain. So we waited, seconds ticking away on the display, until we heard another swoosh, this time of water being released from the machine into the drain behind.

Much chit-chat followed as he played around with the programmes and got the washer (which I was by then silently referring to as The Bastard) to take the water, spin for a while, drain, spin and finish over and over. Then a few times more. I encouraged him to take it apart and put it back together. Crazy? Moi? No, it’s just that I badly wanted to get my £ 85 worth of call-out charge you see.

When I waved him goodbye, a scant twenty minutes after he had arrived, I proceeded to my chair at the dining room table, where I slumped, angry and defeated. Much more defeated than angry, if truth be told. I am sliding down the slippery slope of the comically unlucky ones, of those who are followed around by a thundering cloud, of those who are afflicted by the Negative Midas Syndrome, turning everything they approach into lead and everything they touch into shit.

No matter how well I think I do, no matter how hard I try (and I cannot say that taking a washing machine apart is dead easy), someone, something, somewhere conspires against me, so that every time I’ve got a fistful of dollars in my hand, I must immediately flush them down the nearest available toilet. I wouldn’t feel this conspired-against if I knew that my £ 85 went, say, to Haiti, or to cats and dogs in need, or to the preservation of our national heritage. To know that, effectively, they have flapped out of my house on the way to nowhere because of a working washing machine bamboozles me, yes!

At this point you may ask the obvious: but what happened to the washing machine? Why was it not working anyway? I don’t know dear reader, neither did the technician, who suggested, after much prodding from my part, that it may have frozen (mid-cycle? After another cycle I had just run? I am not sure of that one). The truth is that I’ll never know, you will never know, the machine will never know, the technician will never know and the £ 85 will never know either.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Late Afternoon

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Holed Up

Impalpable, minute flurries have been falling all day. The paw prints in the garden are filling up, while my drive is again veiled in white. I do not mind it all, in fact, if only it continued. Watching the seasons unfold is one of life’s great pleasures as far as I am concerned, especially when I feel not quite ok or indeed very much under the weather.

For a split second this morning, as I walked back from the dry cleaning, my purple silk dress flapping in its thin plastic cover, I considered going out for a coffee. You must understand that someone who works at home rarely gets to speak to anyone unless this anyone is purposely looked for. When I go out for a cup of java, I get to exchange a few words with the gal or guy who makes it for me. When I don’t, chances are that the first few words I utter come out in the evening when Rich returns from work.

I was soon cured of that though; my nose has been dripping all day and I feel that creepy, icy sensation taking hold of me even as I lie on the sofa with a hot water bottle, two cashmere blankets, a pashmina and an alpaca cardie for company. All the better it is happening now and not at Crimbo or not next week; I am going to Nottingham for work with a poetess on Monday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I just returned from next door, negotiating the outside step, the car (returned from the garage, yes), the snow, the front door and my leaping dogs. I took a washing to Cliff so that by the time the technician will show up on Friday, the washer will not be buried under a ton of dirty rags.

To think that my grandma used to do this weekly, but down to a river, while her own mum, bizarrely, had staff doing this and all other chores really is odd. Not being able to stick a washing in when I want to is one of the most annoying things that could ever happen to someone of my generation (together with, perhaps, a flat mobile battery or a lack of internet access). How times have changed and how quickly, too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shit Magnet

I am under the very distinct impression that somewhere along the line of life I became a Shit Magnet. Have you ever heard of them, the Shit Magnets? They are not objects, but people. They lead pretty uneventful little lives were it not for their innate ability to attract shit from all places without even trying.

If I cast my mind back, I can see plentiful signals that make me a Shit Magnet. The opportunistic friends, the crass relatives, the moronic classmates. But these are the obvious things, especially when they come, not just in pairs, but in multitudes, more and more as time goes by.

The not-so-obvious signifiers of my standing as a Shit Magnet, and a royal one at that, are the monthly extras which normal people usually call unforeseen expenses or the unexpected. Well in my case the unexpected is starting to become the expected; the unforeseen is becoming the foreseen; the oxymoronic sure-as-hell surprise factor. What will it be next month? Will it be the roof, the toilet, the shower, the dryer? Or will be the toaster, the fridge, the handle of my bag, the heel of my shoe, the wisdom tooth? Will it be all of these or any combo thereof?

I started the new year at the A&E; now I have a broken washing machine and a car that needs immediate attention. In fact, I am taking it to the doc tomorrow morning as the supposedly successful diagnostics that were run today only cost me £ 30 and yielded a non-result. Of course, God forbid that I could get away with anything less than a mortgage payment when something needs attention around these parts! Mind you, not that I’ve got real reasons to complain, even in passing, about my car, as the only money I’ve thrown at it over the years have been MOTs and tyres. But shit happens, doesn’t it? It sure does and to some people it happens more often, and in greater quantities, than to others. Now if only I could wash my clothes, it wouldn’t stink this badly.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Best

I live in a cold, drafty old house. Not a period home, let’s be clear, just an old one. Loft and wall insulation haven’t made one bit of difference. When it gets warm in the summer, it stays so even at night (+28C last June for example) and when it gets cold in winter... well... good luck in crashing above +18C. The heating has been on continuously for the past eight weeks, and not once has the temperature risen above +20C. Today I stayed in bed, the only pleasant place to be, especially if complemented by a hot water bottle and entertained by a stack of things to read.

It’s a new week tomorrow and, at least for me, the first working day of the new year. I cannot even tell whether I am looking forward to it or not; all I know is that there is no hiding any longer. My new big project will be underway for real. And it feels worrying but oh so fab too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Next Tree or Au Revoir Mes Amis - Part III

I spent the day taking my decorations down and thinking about them. As I got to the Christmas tree, still perfect and beautiful as the day I put it up, I realised I was very nearly yanking off the baubles, disregarding their precious each-in-its-own-box mouth-blown glass quality. Not long ago, a friend of mine remarked that my tree looked as good as one of those in John Lewis.

I don’t exactly regard John Lewis as the height of sophistication, at Christmas or at any other time, but I understood she meant it as a compliment and so I thanked her. But the truth is, a department store-like Christmas tree, all visually appealing in its colour-coordinated perfection, is a soulless tree. I don’t know about you but when I trail the city before the big day, I never wish to take home the tallest tree, the one ablaze with white lights in the main square, appealing as it is; oh no, it’s always the one pushed right in front of the bay window and decorated with all sorts of mismatched things and lit up with bulbs big and small and in all colours that catches my eye.

Perhaps this is down to a subconscious reaction to magazine spreads (you know the sort, Period Living, Ideal Home, the mid-market stuff) where everything, including people, look like computer-generated cardboard cut-outs moved around in the pic until everything looks just damn so. Thus it was that today I resolved not to go the clean way next December, but the colourful, mismatched one, like the trees I used to make as a child and which included glass decorations from the 1950s, clay ones from school, resin ones from The Disney Store and any odd bits of ribbon that found themselves in the house. And maybe next time I will also bake some treats to go on the branches, though I will have to dog-proof them in some way.

I won’t need to purchase a truckload of new things either. See these?

They come out to play every year, as I place them in vases and marble containers around the house. Somehow, I’ve already managed to collect more than enough for another tree (and in fact, three years ago, I had two) which, really, already speaks for itself.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Near-Back To Reality

This morning I dispatched my parents to the airport then zipped around the countryside to enjoy the very low sun, the very blue sky, the very white land glistening as far as the eye could see and the very invigorating -15C. Yes, much could be said about low temperatures and their ability to snap us back into brisk action, if only to speed up on the way to the newsagent. It reminded me of how fantastic it felt to land in Chicago after a nine-hour flight and to hit the sidewalks (and the Nieman Marcus sale, later) at -25C. If only we had a proper winter like this one all the time instead of that miserable, lukewarm piss from above that normally afflicts us all year round...

I returned home in good spirits (thank you February Vogue, thank you Starbee) if only ever so slightly deflated. Rick is in London for work, mum and dad are back at their own digs, William and Victoria have spent the day sleeping (or pretending to; either way, they haven’t moved) and the best I could do was wielding cleaning products and the Dyson for a good three hours. I have often asked myself why my house turns into a dust-infested shithole as soon as the new year is out of its nappies. I vacuumed dust bunnies as big as my head today; you would think it’s the first time the Dyson is out to play since mid-December but, oh no, I last used it yesterday morning. And the same applies to the bathroom; it has now had a damn good scrub and has been dripping in bleach for the past hour. It should be safe to eat off its floor if I were so insanely inclined.

I have decided to take the weekend off, which is an odd thing to say, not simply because weekends are usually off-times, but because I haven’t been on for... well... a month. Maybe more. But the disgusting truth is, I cannot face the usual music of writing, editing, creating, writing again, creating some more. Quite frankly, I’d quite happily hop on a plane and spend some time in even colder climates if I could. Nothing like truly polar temperatures to clear one’s own mind I am telling you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snowy Bliss - Part II

I’ve rarely seen Manchester looking this blue and I have certainly never seen it looking this bright and blue. I love the place deeply at the worst of times but today it was something else.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snowy Bliss

Oh miracle weather! Oh gift of the Three Wise Men! The best Epiphany ever, from the Alderley Edge Forest to Prestbury.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Five Twenty-Ten At Seven, Eight and Eleven-Ten

I am a genius. Why don't I take pics like these more often? Why don't I try and point the camera at the very same thing every day at the same hour for a year and see what I record? When I went to bed last night, spiky flurries were dancing by the streetlamps; this morning they had turned themselves into a reasonably thick blanket strewn upon the garden. It almost reminded me of years and years ago, when snow wasn't a freak occurrence but an expected January guest; when there was no talk of global warming but just of winter.

Still, although four feet would be better than four inches, four inches are infinitely better than zero. William walked around as if on booby-trapped eggshells, while Victoria zoomed off into an impalpable white cloud of nothingness. Oh the beauty of the violet hour early this morning! The magic of the sounds wafting from afar! I hope that Rick took his own set of pics when he left for work earlier still; but for now, mine will have to do.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Twinkle Things

I’ve been perusing a couple of blogs and just about everyone seems to be writing about the same sentiment insofar as decorations and twinkly lights are concerned: I like them, but now want to get rid of them.

Let me be clear on one point now: you will never hear me say that I cannot stand my decorations a second past the Epiphany. If I rush to put them away by the end of January’s first full week is only down to a pressing need for order and the necessity to reclaim the hole that is my house where space is more than at a premium. The decorations themselves make me happy and every time I enter the lounge after I’ve taken the tree down, and it’s all tidy and dark, I feel sad, almost as if someone had died. Then I start clinging on to stuff such as The Polar Express or A Christmas Carol or the last bit of the Christmas pudding or the Christmas sticker album I bought myself in November. Seems like a lifetime ago. No, two.

Anyway, I am blabbing. The whole point is, I don’t want to plunge my living quarters into darkness for the next eleven months. Who says that fairy lights are only good for navity sets and the tree? Or for shops and teenagers’ bedrooms? I will remove the pinecone trees that my dad made, and which give this soft, flattering glow to everything, but I am on an anti-dreary mission and I think that Valentine’s (and my wedding anniversary, which tags to it nicely) is an excuse as good as any other.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Livin' La Vida Loca

This is it. This is the life. This morning I got ready, went out with my parents for a full-on brekkie at Starbee and then went for a walk in a local park and across to a vintage fair. And this is the life, I repeat it.

Not one bloody care in the world, not one thought of damn-and-blasted food shopping, nor one spared for everyday minutie and the mundane. If only it were like this all the time...! I already dread next week, when I will be uncerimoniously returned to my own poor devices and when I will necessarily need to re-wind life back to the beginning of December. Oh my. Spare me.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

As You May Mean To Go On

I went out with dad and Rich for a coffee and a spin around Waterstone’s today and I enjoyed a moment of quiet contemplation as I observed the pretty bubbles on the surface of my latte laced with caramel. See here?

It reminded me of Danny Gregory of The Creative License. I know, I know, can I actually write one month without mentioning that man? I suppose I can. Or I could if his book hadn’t inspired me so much. And as you can see, it is the gift that keeps on giving (except it wasn’t a gift; I just couldn’t think of another cliché I could have used and I really wanted to use one this time). Today it gifted me some contemplation as I thought that, for all the hundreds of pics I have of my coffee (I snap at it every time I have it, I kid you not), I’ve actually never drawn it myself.

As my keyword for this year is CREATE, I think I should start creating from things that are neither new nor unexpected but which I expect to be the same time after time. Because, guess what, nothing is exactly the same time after time. Get drawing and you’ll see what I mean. And thanks again to The Creative License. Last plug for Danny I promise. Last plug. Last, last, last plug. Until the next one.

Friday, January 1, 2010

One Twenty-Ten At Three And Ten

When I went to bed at three, the biggest, brightest moon I’ve ever seen was shining high up in the sky, casting her preternatural silver light on all things. My garden, which has recently been described by a friend as Tim Burton-esque, which can equally be seen as either a compliment or an underhand insult, looked positively magical, its hard edges smoothed into delicate embellishments where fairies and winged unicorns frolic. I stood transfixed at the window for ages and thought of what photographers refer to as The Magic Hour, which is sunset or thereabouts, when everything and everyone looks good under the delicate light. Well, I wish I could have captured my magic hour and my magic light.

In the morning, when I woke up with a jolt as I felt I had overslept and had to return to hospital for extra antibiotics they didn’t give us at night, I found a different scene and one that the iPhone’s camera always struggles to capture. It was silver and icy, every strand of old grass coated in glittery icing sugar. Oh the beauty and joy of starting the first morning of the first day of the year in crisp cold air! The day remained quiet and monopolised by Monopoly but I didn’t mind one bit.

One Twenty-Ten At One

The first pic I took last year was one of my dogs which is not at all unsurprising. They, especially William, are excellent camera fodder and considering how much they like to hang around, it is only natural that I snap them more often than I care to admit. But I wasn’t around my dogs when I rang in the new year today. Oh no, I was at a local A&E with Rick and my mum, who suffers from one ghastly kidney stone.

This was the pretty depressing view from where I was sitting, she back on her feet, me back on my bottom, trying taxi company upon taxi company, begging them to come and pick us up. One hour later we stumbled through the front door, finally at home. It’s strange to report on this little incident because I felt somewhat giddy when it was happening, which is, you will agree, beyond odd. I was eavesdropping on the next cubicle where a woman was answering a doctor’s question about her malaise. Have you fainted? No. Have you eaten too much? No. Have you had anything to drink like coffee or anything alcoholic? No. Have you fallen over? No. Did you develop a fever? No. Have you felt off sometimes today? No. Have you passed water as normal? Yes. Have you been able to move around? Yes.

On and on and on it went, so much so that I slowly but surely started imagining things. How funny would it be if I were to pull that curtain back and go: ‘And why the hell did you call an ambulance on new year’s eve?’. Or: ‘What the hell is wrong with you woman?! Who wants to be in hospital on new year’s eve?’. It all got more and more absurd, as I thought about doing a little dance to entertain my sick mother finishing off with a flourish that would see me toppling backwards through the curtain and into the next cubicle, to the shock of all men in blue.

I very nearly sent her wee sample off to a flying start as I reached the pedal of the bin which begged to be depressed, me seemingly unaware that I had put the container on its lid only a second before. But I am sharp and I caught it just in time. Then I started perusing my face and thanked my lucky stars I still had make up on when we had sat down for Monopoly. Yes, Monopoly, which I was winning by a mile until my mum threw her spanner in my works. Honestly people, you can’t make this stuff up. Happy new year.


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