Today. Bright and sunny and a child sick in bed. Bacon for breakfast, sat on a bed of spinach. The music of the washing machine reaching a crescendo as I pop the last forkful in to my mouth. A strong cup of coffee to get the fire of domestic industry burning. And a long glass of water cloudy with aloe vera for heaven knows what.
In the diffuser, a single note of Ylang Ylang to soothe my Monday morning frazzle and in the fridge sorry looking vegetables ready to magiced into soup. Upstairs the beds are stripped and the windows flung open to chuck a chilly breeze straight down the stairs – I spend my days dappled in goose-pimples battling an almost constant conflict between needing to breathe fresh air and bones that will never stay warm after I unwrap my duvet at silly o’clock in the morning.
We have got a smart meter for the gas and electricity and it horrifies me. A kind of instinctive shudder at watching the clock tick up on bills that have never been higher. Ignorance really was bliss! Though I will not allow myself to dictate our lives according to the pennies it costs to keep a lamp burning, some of me wants to live my life wrapped in a blanket, squinting by tea-light and living off meat-paste sandwiches so I do not have to see what it costs to exist among the mod-cons of a life abundant with ease. Who knew middle age would render me miserly?
I have become terribly mean. Mean mostly with myself and I cannot fathom why. I can only surmise that somehow I have decided that the route to a better way of a life is suffering. Though intellectually I know that not to be true and that creating a sense of lack merely confounds our sense of failure which is in itself a sure fire route to depression, somehow frittering away the pounds on something as delightful as a copy of Flow strikes me as terribly wasteful and oh how I despise this new me. Resent her and use all my Brocante know-how to tut at her petty ways. I will be wearing sensible shoes and muttering about the rising cost of a sliced white loaf next…
Now. An urge to bake. Healthy Manuka Honey flapjacks (Mainstays of the kitchen). A cheats Paul Hollywood loaf straight out of a packet. (Though let it be said: I do not approve of Paul Hollywood and his rather preposterous mid-life crisis but somehow cannot resist those twinkly eyes. And a loaf that almost kneads itself into tasty shape). An urge to bake when there is a sky-high basket of ironing I am hoping Ste will take it into his lovely head to do. An urge to bake when there is a book to write, and hundreds to read and fiddly funnels to fashion here on the site though I know no more about funnels than I do about plumbing (and I have long thought that plumbing is something reserved for the kind of genius who likes his tea taken orange), but must learn if I am going to put a stop to the kind of miserliness that has got me saving scrunched up foil.
Goodness I’m waffling. A weekend full of merriment and horse-racing has muddled my head and I feel the day is already lost to straightening up the house after the wreckage cause by two teenage boys and an impromptu Grand National Party rendered ridiculous because I still cannot ease my bottom off a chair without shrieking or swearing and that does not a congenial host make. But there was wine. And a pan full of Scouse to mark a terribly Liverpudlian tradition. And no-one seemed to mind, because they were too busy jumping off chairs themselves as their horses crossed the finishing lines.
But there is evidence of shenanigans everywhere. In the line of empty bottles in the office ready for recycling. In the ring mark of a red wine bottle on the kitchen surface I will need to do battle with for my usual homemade cleaner has failed to eradicate it. In the chaos of Finn’s bedroom after the boys took sanctuary there while we shouted at the TV. In the general air of mayhem about the place, we could barely face yesterday…
I want to bake but there is bedding to launder and mattresses to flip. I want to bake but there is a trip to the tip much overdue and a child with Fat Face to encourage to nibble at whatever he can swallow. I want to bake but I am supposed to be on a diet in which bread is the enemy.
I want to bake because I feel scattered. Because baking grounds me and brings me back home. Because I want the house to smell like a bakery. To remind me that life has never been better and that I am OK and all is warm and calm and cosy.
I want to bake because it reminds me why homemaking matters and that housekeeping is more than just ticking off the boxes on a long list of relentless to-do’s.
Happy Monday Housekeepers.