Housekeepers Diary

An odd day. My lane completely closed off for road re-surfacing and the clatter of lorries and chatter of workmen my music for the day. And here I am. Sliced watermelon on the desk and the cat, squashed into a shoe box on the floor beneath me, purring loudly as if the answer to bliss was made of cardboard. I am in recovery from another busy weekend. A half hour sitting on a bench in Southport, all by myself, as the entire town went by. Old ladies in lavender macintoshes and girls in cut-offs and cowboy boots. A woman with red and yellow roses in her hair singing Edith Piaf songs. A man with his entire head bandaged up. Polish girls with babies gossiping and giggling in a foreign tongue. Eccentrics and scallywags. Kings and vagabonds. A lad in a beanie hat, a guitar strung across his lanky body, singing destination anywhere, anywhere but here (But everywhere he goes, there he will be). Pigeons and charity workers harassing passer bys. And a woman in an unlikely leopard skin dress demonstrating to her husband how much fat there is around her middle region by grabbing great chunks of flesh. All that and me. Sat absolutely still and trying to stop the world hurtling off its axis.

Finley will no longer go to stay at Daddy's house and so he has been with me as we attended both a barbeque and a christening, where a man I once dated took the photographs and the kids risked broken necks teaching each other to do 360 degree flips on an indoor bouncy castle. And now it is Monday and there is a man on the way to discuss my new boiler and two teeny little poussins ready to be roasted for a tea in the garden. Not for me and the boiler man you understand? It wouldn't do to get so fresh. One mustn't invite boiler men to take poussin with you. No. Just for me and Finn. He, who has recently requested an entire chicken to himself, a chicken he can eat with his fingers, grease running down his chin and the thrilled smile of a born carnivore on his face.

Mondays. The January and September of the week. New starts promised. A fresh outlook on what is possible and what has proved to be impossible. No matter how much my  heart yearns for it. What once was shiny, now tarnished with disappointment of my own making, and though I have tried and tried, it will not be polished back to life. Life seems terribly complicated.

In the garden peach roses have blossomed and I can see them as I soak whites in lemon water trying to eradicate stains the washing machine refuses to budge. Peach roses for promises. Cranberry lemonade in a sunny, noisy garden as reward for stain busting. Just four days now until half -term. Heck these holidays come around quick. And before they arrive, a lovely wedding and a sixtieth birthday party to attend. My life a whirlwhind of laundry and parties. A jigsaw with important pieces I seem incapable of squeezing in, so there are soul shaped gaps, always. The in-between times lost to work and preparation so the gaps are barely acknowledged.

This afternoon then. Phone calls to a children's hospital that seems to have itself in a terrible muddle. Or maybe it's me? No. It's them. Coffee. Almond financiers to be baked for a little boys lunch-box. A bill that must be paid with heaven knows what. An hour with Alfie (and Mum and Dad - though these poor souls have been relegated in my mind to this darling little puppies babysitters!). No time to think. No time to dwell on what has been lost. Or to worry about what a mess having a new boiler fitted is going to make.

I will make the beds up with fresh sheets. I will try to drown out the noise of tarmac being pilled on to the road. I will not look at my phone 63 times an hour (I will). I will resist temptation to take a little nap. I will not eat all the almond financiers still warm from the oven. I will remember to go the post office at some point this week. I will not think. I will dance to the sound track from Grease instead and pretend I am thirteen. I will eat beetroot flavoured kale chips, and salami and drink yogi tea and sing destination anywhere, over and over again.

I will not offer the boiler man poisson.

[reminder]