How I manage to write between flare-ups and domestic duties.
Friday, 18 January 2008
A Typical Day in the Life of Country Craft Angel
I suppose if I was a really good wife I would have got out of bed to see Workaholic Hubby off for the train to London at 5.30am. But it was SO warm on his side of the bed after he got out and I was so tired that I couldn’t resist rolling into his space and snuggling in and back to sleep.
I stirred realising Nicky Campbell’s dulcet tones had stopped and I had long overslept. Oh my god! It’s 7am and with hubby gone I have to walk the dog and take Idle Jack down to the bus stop myself as well as the usual other morning routines! I did negotiate with Idle Jack last evening that I would only do one or the other but nothing short of an atomic bomb will get him out of his bed at present. It must be the hormones. I brace myself that I may have to do it all.
I am not at my best in a morning. I don’t mean that in a grumpy way. (although come to think of it I suppose I am rather grumpy these days in a morning.) Sleep depravation is a form of torture I’m sure. To be fair I don’t think it is just the owl or the fox or Puffer Billy lying next to me that wake me all the time. Pain robs me of deep sleep, the really deep slumber where nothing wakes you. I stir all too easily-last night the continual stabbing knives in my left shoulder woke me every time I turned over. I dreamt at one stage that I was trapped in some farm machinery. By my side, flipping 360 degrees was Workaholic Hubby, no doubt mindful of oversleeping or missing the train. I lay there for what seemed for hours, looking at the oversized illuminated digital clock that projects itself in bright red up onto our bedroom ceiling, watching the rythmic flashing on and off, on and off, as the the seconds tick away.
First job is to feed Simba, the extremely hairy yellow Labrador who's shed great clumps of hair round his bed which I must hoover up later. He hoists his great body out of his warm bed as gingerly and reluctantly as me in a morning. It takes me and him an hour or two to get ourselves moving and our bones working to optimum effect because of the pain and stiffness of our arthritis.
The creak of the kitchen door has woken Quiet Mousie despite my attempts not to disturb him. He helps himself to fresh orange and a yogurt and settles to the island with a book and piece of paper which he copies from. He has discovered the joy of reading; books, spellings, writing; word searches, his little mind like a sponge soaks up every minute he can. Well, that is if he can’t go outside and kick a football of course. I flick the kettle on as I will for the umpteenth time before the boys go to school. The trouble is I always let the tea go cold before I drink it. My pain killers in hand and I brace myself for the most challenging task of the morning, rousing Idle Jack.
He’s hidden somewhere underneath the quilt. I know he’s there as I can see his black socked feet sticking out of the end, facing down. He’s covered in the quilt, blanket and several cushions. Quite why he insists on cocooning himself up like this I don’t know, but he has done it for years now. I put the big light on and turn on his radio. “Wakey Wakey, Cam...come on, time to wake up...We’ve overslept. Have you remembered I need your help this morning as Dad’s in London?” Nothing. “Come on Cam, I need you up, time to wake up!” No movement. I prod the bed. “I’ve fed the dog and he’s desperate to go out...are you coming?” “Mmmm-m-m.” We have life. I pull his covers back, desperately trying to stay patient. “Come on Son. I can do without this. I’m late as it is and you said you’d walk Simba. Now get up please if you want a lift down to the bus stop.” “Ok, ok, I’m coming!” How come he’s got the attitude? I stand there mouth open in amazement. He’s still corpse-like. “Look, I can’t stand here all day waiting for you to get up. Get yourself in the shower and liven yourself up! Split splot!” Well, it worked for Mary Poppins.
I go outside to feed the birds. Mr Robin is chattering away already in the dark. It’s a good job Hubby can’t see me. He goes mad when I go out to the birds in my dressing gown and slippers, especially if it's frosty or raining. “You and those ruddy birds, you’ll catch your death!” He doesn’t realise they will be my company for the day and I need to get the food out for the flocks that will join me after the school run.
The dog follows me wagging his tail expectantly and crossing his legs at the same time. He is desperate for his walk and won’t ‘go’ in the garden so I hurry as best I can to get dressed and yell at Idle Jack that if he is not up in the next two minutes I’m going to pour a cup of water over his head!
I grab the torch and head to the woods. I always used to be frightened of woods and being alone. Now I love it. The sheep have all been moved-I think they must be due to lamb any day now as I see the lights in the farmers shed in the bottom field on permanently day and night. A blackbird witters and flashes right in front of me startling me. I think I startled him more.
As I come back into the house I can hear Idle Jacks deep, croaky and intermittent squeaky voice yelling “Stop turning the berludy light off!” (J K Rowling has a lot to answer for-how many times does Ron Weasly say the ‘B’ word in her Harry Potter books? Or maybe it is me or his dad he got it from?)
Quiet Mousie has him cornered in the shower and is outside the bathroom door flicking the light on and off. “Right, that’s it!” I yell. “Stop doing that to your brother and go and make your bed and tidy your bedroom!” I scold Quiet Mousie. “I’ve already done it, and brushed my teeth and washed my face” The halo pings above his head. He really is such a sweety, I can’t stay angry at him for long.
At last, after numerous reminders Idle Jack saunters out of the bathroom with his hair gelled into precision spikes. “Have you picked the towels up?” I remind him, coughing and spluttering at the waft of the Lynx coming through the house. “I’ll do it later, I’m off to walk the dog now” He says. The towels will still be there tonight. “Too late, I’ve already walked him!” I state triumphantly. I’m still choking. Heavens, does that stuff really work with the ‘chics?’ “Aw, mum, I told you that I’d walk him! “ His head automatically throws back and his eyes roll upwards as his mouth parts in a loud sigh. “I can’t walk down the lane. Please take me down, I’ve got PE today and have to carry my sports bag.” Puppy dog eyes. Hmmm. “I used to walk over 3 miles to school every day and when I was old enough I cycled...” He can finish the story he’s heard it enough times.
I didn’t live in ‘the sticks’ with a dark country lane measuring 1.2 miles and perverts who knows where...And anyway, by the time he’s made his bed and tidied his room and got his dinner money and things together I always end up having to chivvy him along and he’s never ready on time. “Just get your breakfast, I’ll see...” He’s won...again. “Thanks mum.” He knows he can twist me round his little finger.
The phone rings. It’s Workaholic Hubby sounding incredibly chipper, “Hi darling...Oh, me...yes, I’m fine...Just got here...it was a great journey...so much better than in the car. I had a nice coffee and bacon sandwich and got loads of work done....” Grrrr. ”I’m just ringing to check if you’re up ok and if the boys are being good for you?” “Oh, yes, we’re all fine, no worries.” I say breezily. Grrr again. “The dogs walked and the boys are just having breakfast. I’ve got the tea prepared. You have a good day.”
Twenty minutes after taking Idle Jack down the lane to the bus stop and I’m taking Quiet Mousie and the neighbour’s girl back down the lane to the bus stop. Then it’s back up to the barn on the hill, and my dog and the birds... What will I do today?
Maybe some sewing or a bit of crafting...
or writing...almost certainly a lot of dreaming...in between planning the veggies for the garden this year...I need to check how the strips of native hedging have taken. We've put them in between us an the neighbours for a little privacy. And my birds, of course. But mostly today will be peace and quiet...that is until the boys come in from school and the chaos resumes.
Hmmm...And I’d better hoover up that dog hair too I suppose, or me and Simba will both be in the ‘dog’ house.