On Sunday I had a long lie in. At least a lie in of Brocantehome sorts, for as usual I opened my eyes long before the church started making my lane reverberate with its jolly bell, and then took it into my head to set myself up for a morning in bed doing nothing but sipping earl grey, navel gazing and flicking through the Times on my iPad.
While it is true that I am of a sleepy nature and like nothing better than sneaking upstairs in the middle of the most ordinary of Tuesday’s for a nap, I have long been averse to lying in first thing on weekend mornings for there seems so much to do and my Mum and Dad have had me somewhat convinced that lounging in bed is tantamount to EVIL. Heck yes: I have long believed that if you lie in bed on a weekend morning you will have to spend the rest of the day walking around with SLOVENLY written on your face in penance, though my friend Kath has been reassuring me that it isn’t true and that you only have to wear your slovenly badge if you don’t run a colour coded system for rotating your dishcloths.
Anyway, suddenly remembering that I am 42, I took it into my head to lie in. I know– Middle-aged disobedience! But lying there in the muddle that was my slept in tangled bedclothes, didn’t seem quite au fait so I jumped out of bed (and made the house shake!), opened the windows and pulled back the covers on my bed, before taking a shower and scrubbing myself head to foot with a loofah and a bar of Wrights Coal Tar soap until I was tingling with the fragrance of clean. Then I threw on a dressing gown, re-made my bed, and went downstairs to prepare a pot of tea and something that has recently become my absolute, must-have in the house, comfort food of choice: a Belgian chocolate and toffee hot cross bun from M&S, served hot and oozing with salty butter. Food. To. Sell. Your. Kids. For.
And then I carried my teeny little breakfast back to bed on a pretty tray and there I was: having a lie in. Feeling naughty. While the sun shined through my window, the wood pigeons cooed me a serenade and children chattered and giggled in their Sunday finest, as they busied up the lane to church. Oh such bliss!
As I lay there I got to thinking about a conversation I had had with Kath in the wine aisle in Waitrose the day before, while we stood discussing whether the dip in the base of a bottle of wine is any indicator at all of excellence (answer: we don’t know, though as wine merchant cousin-in-law to-be, Lee, recently pointed out- a bottle of Cristal has a flat base, so there you have it hethinks), and Kath on matters entirely un-related to wine -her mind tends to wander- had conceded that once again I was right…
Ah my favourite sentence in the world: you are right, Alison! This being a standard joke between us for Kath does so very much like to look at me as I lecture her about the rights and wrongs of life and food and friends, as if to say, well now I don’t agree and I do wish you would shut up, and then later has to frequently hang her head in shame when she discovers for herself that I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG.
So there I was, doing my victory happy dance with my hand inside the rather generous dip of a South African bottle of red, when Kath looked glum and said, am I ever right about anything? Have you learned anything from me? And then I was busy paying stupid amounts of money for not a lot of food, and didn’t get to answer, but came to the conclusion as I lay amongst cool sheets on Sunday that yes, Kath was absolutely right about the joys of a sleepy lie in!
And she is also right about ten million other things that I have somehow come to know as ABSOLUTELY TRUE almost by osmosis over the ten years I have known and loved her. She doesn’t know you see, that I do my victory, happy, Alison is right dance because I feel I so very rarely am, but spout all my nonsense anyway, sometimes just for the sake of filling a gap in the conversation, and that I regard everything she is, and does and feels to be utterly true and totally right and barely worth arguing about even when we are both riddled with PMT and only have each other to niggle at!
Other people have such a lot to teach us don’t they? From Helen I know that clean smells of coal tar and that achievement takes exhausting dedication. From Kath I know that a tidy house needs a tidy mind and that Breaking Bad is really rather excellent. From Rich, that with humility we can rise out of our darkest hour and that French Onion soup requires a generous dollop of Marmite, and from another man I knew, that we cannot get carried away by the promise of frivolity: that life has to be attended to and that above all else, truth matters. From Mark I have learnt that when a smile comes from deep inside, it lights up our whole face and that we are parenting as best we know how, and from my Mum and Dad, too many things to list, because being a 42 year old teenager I rather hate to admit that they are usually (but not always!) right about just about everything from why walls should be white to whether Finn is faking his latest ailment and all manner of things in-between.
But bless them, they were wrong about the bliss of a lie in on a Sunday morning. And Kath is very definitely wrong about those colour-coded dishcloths.