Finding a structure is the thing. I’m told not to go to bed too late. But being on my own without a structure means I dribble around, reading, writing, telly-grazing and end up going to bed in the wee small hours. Last night it was 2am.
My last thought was to make a timetable for today, which of course I didn’t do. I got up at 7.00, creaked down the stairs to open up the kitchen door so that Jackson could go outside and relieve himself, then clawed my way back up the royal blue carpet and returned to sleep until guilt woke me.
Not having that structure, see?
Now, before anybody has a moan about me living the life of Riley, let me remind you that not having a structure is deadly. I am so used to working 5 days a week with 3 minutes respite between activities that an endless day stretching out before me is like flying over America. It goes on and on and on.
I wrote my three pages, which was good. I meditated, which can be blissful or boring (today it was a bit of both) then I headed down for breakfast. This morning I cut up a peach, a nectarine and some strawberries, drizzled over some creamy yoghurt then put on Jackson’s green collar for our morning amble. I put the collar on him, not me, silly.
Now when, you may ask, do I get dressed? The simple answer is I don’t. Well, I do but not in the way you think. I have taken to wearing my pyjama trousers, the ones with the butchered turn-ups. I hacked them off because I kept tripping up over them. I match the trousers, which are light blue check by the way, with a fuchsia pink t-shirt and a white acrylic cardigan my mother gave me. A trio of hideousness.
I wear them all day. I walk the dog in them. No, Jackson does not wear my clothes. He doesn’t suit pink. I wear the very same ensemble when I walk to the garage for the papers. I often wear them under my pink anorak (in July, for God’s sake) when I nip into the twillage, and then when it comes to bed I take them off. Well, more accurately, I step out of them teenager-style.
This is not a sign of depression but damage limitation. Unless I have to, why bother dressing at all? I’m only flopping around in my own environment. The only other person that could possibly mind about my dreadful appearance is me, and since I don’t bother looking in a looking glass… As far as I’m concerned, I look fabulous. It also saves on washing thus reducing my carbon footprint.
So, my outfit and I took the dog around the farm and down to the garage to buy the papers. There was an elderly geezer on his hands and knees in the garage shop trying to retrieve a pound coin which had fallen underneath the sweet shelves. And by that I don’t mean the shelves were darling, I mean the shelves were stacked with liquorice all-sorts and the like.
The garage attendant and I exchanged looks. The man had taken out a pen to swipe under the shelves. He managed to find a 2p. Another biro produced a ball of dust but no pound coin. Carrying my three newspapers, Jackson and I walked over him, literally. I would never knowingly walk over anybody. After all, you don’t know who they may be. In my business you have to be nice to the people on the the way up cos you never know who you’ll meet on the way down.
I walked home in the breeze and even managed a genuine skip, although it was nearly fatal as my pj’s are quite loose. I liked skipping. It meant my knees is getting better, but my energy is courtesy of caffeine. I have one cup of coffee a day. I know it’s a sin but I love it.
I have a ritual. Three scoops of fair trade medium roast into a cafetiere. I wait for the water to boil then let it stand for 9 seconds before pouring it over the coffee grains. Ah! The smell reminds me of my long lost lover in Amsterdam. No, it’s a secret. I boil up enough milk just to cover the coffee, which is in a huge cup with ‘coffee’ written on the side.
I did have a pair of beautiful mugs that Jim and I bought in Vienna when we filmed there 125 years ago. It was Christmas and I was flown out by the BBC. Jim and BB were invited along. We were depicting the normal British family in Vienna. I hesitate using the word normal, however. We visited the Chyrstalmacht (Christmas decoration market), were asked to ice skate and had a ride in a Fiacca, a horse drawn carriage. The weather had been specially laid on: massive Austrian snowflakes doing their Viennese swirls and a big round sun. My 4 year old daughter refused to play ball. When asked by the nice lady with the directors hair style (a bob that stayed in place) to smile into camera, she refused. When asked by the nice lady to climb into the Fiacca, my queenie daughter declined. When asked by the director, who by now was less than nice, to just sit still, BB turned on the face of a four year old, the one that says push me one more time and I’ll scthream and scrtheam until I’m thick. My errant daughter then turned to me and pointedly said ‘You are showing off.’ I was silenced. ‘You have told me it’s naughty to show off.’
Hoisted by my own petard.
I was so thrown I didn’t know how to deal with a four year old who was criticising my chosen profession, let alone giving me notes on my performance. The director was tearing her bob out so I told BB to pretend she was in Annie. It was as if I had offered her her own show with residuals – the light switched on and she gave the best performance of her life, imitating the carrot topped moppet perfectly. We damn near started to sing ‘Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I’ll love ya Tomorrow” only the horse did that thing they do when they make manure so it was time to dismount.
We went off to Cafe Landtmann where Sigmund Freud used to have his mid morning ciggy. A wonderful grand lounge with a couple of couches thrown in just for Siggy. I had a hot chocolate. The swirled cream on top was cool whilst the hot chocolate underneath was scalding it burnt the roof of my mouth off. I could barely speak. I wonder what Freud would have made of that slip.
We stayed in an Austrian hotel par excellence – big rooms, big windows, through which you could see big Viennese snowflakes. Big beds with big crispy white duvets and big bar bills.
BB was given a pair of real white ice-skates which she never wore. We gave them to J next door for a car boot sale.
We bought two Cafe Landtmann mugs to remind us of our trip. They hang on the dresser next to my two genuine BBC ‘Morning on One’ coffee cups.
But the reason I tell you this is because some bugger has broken, hidden or stolen one of Sigmund’s mugs. Which is why I use the big beige cup with ‘coffee’ written on it. I could use the one that still hangs there but the big beige one is bigger and perhaps the culprit will read this and bring me back my analyst’s mug.
Having poured the boiling water over the grains, I let the coffee stand for 4 minute in its cafeteria. I then pour it into my mug and strain the hot milk over it. I then add agave syrup, the natural syrup from the cactus which they use in tequila. Dead good if you have sugar issues. Finally I sit down and sip. When finished, I empty the grains down the plug hole. I am told they disinfect the pipes.
I wait for the caffeine to take effect. Which it does rapidly. My whole body feels like it’s a big grin. The caffeine lasts for ages. I mean if you could see the speed I am typing this. My fingers are barely hitting the keys. I look like Tom Hanks in ‘You’ve Got Mail’. Do you remember that film? I think it must have been when Meg Ryan had her first Botox. She looks like a halibut.
Anyway, I had my coffee and cut up the newspapers. Not in a fit of pique but because I was finding clips for the radio show. Then I came up stairs to send off an email greeting card. It took me one hour to find a site that had half decent cards and then another hour to try and delete a screen saver I had accidentally put on my desktop. I blame the coffee. I must have done something in haste.
I now have a train as my screen saver. A long Eurostar lookalike coming into a station in sepia (which is a colour, not a coastal town in Italy). Makes me feel all excited about future possibilities. Trains do that, don’t they?
The rain has arrived again. I texted Antony Worrall Thompson and Mike Robinson today as they live in Oxfordshire.
My love goes to anyone who is wet and worried. Thank you so much for your continuing comments and good wishes. I am now about to continue chapter three of my book. I sometimes get so disconsolate, I find it hard to begin. And then I am reminded of the story of the woman who said to her teacher ‘Do you know how old I am going to be by the time I finish this bloody book?’ ‘Yes’, said the therapist. ‘The same age you’re going to be if you don’t finish the bloody book.’ Nuff said.
Have a good night and cusooon.