‘So, what’s been annoying me this week?’ I asked LSB as I sat down to write with a large mug of coffee. ‘Write about what’s NOT been annoying you,’ he replied tersely. ‘That would be quicker.’
As usual he was right. I have been going around in a state of agitation, and after some reflection, I’ve pinpointed at the things that have me most on edge.
Firstly, I never feel I’m ‘off-duty’. Now maybe that’s just normal life, and parenting, and I should just accept that, but I never feel I can open a book or write. I feel I ought to be either exercising, entertaining or educating them, the off-spring. I know it’s the Easter Holidays, but home schooling was at fairly sketchy for the week before they began, thus I feel I ought to be doing a bit now, before their development falls off a cliff-edge. I was asking them a few basic maths questions earlier and there weren’t so much gaps in their understanding, as gaping chasms.
Secondly, it’s my new role, which involves never straying more than two feet away from the sink. The housework never stops does it? The tide of dishes is unceasing, especially when we start to bake. I’m not a natural baker (I wonder these days if I’m a natural anything) and I seem unable to do so without using every bowl in the house. I was reading a rather superb essay by the Irish writer Sam Blake in a great anthology I was recently gifted, and she wrote one of her first books in the car between drop-off and pick up: that way she didn’t go home and get way-laid by the laundry greeting her at the door. Her back was completely fucked by the poor posture of writing in the driver’s seat, but at least she got a novel out of it.
Today, as the sunlight poured into the kitchen, we cleared the table and had a Spanish style lunch, making us think wistfully back to last Easter, when we went to Valencia. No sooner had the wee ones rested their cutlery than they buggered back into the garden, where they were playing ‘Harry Potter’. The Older one is ‘Harry’ and The Small Child is ‘Hermione’, and this game means that I keep tripping over the mop and brush which they leave at their arses all around the house when they aren’t using them as broomsticks. The poor auld cat is ‘Mrs Norris’ and they have a stuffed dog who is ‘Fang’. It would be quite cute and humorous really, if I weren’t in such crochety mood. Anyway, I called out to them that I was Professor McGonigall and that it was a disgrace that they hadn’t performed their ‘tidying-up spell’ and cleared away the lunch items. They came in and helped quite readily, apart from a few grumbles that I’d interrupted quidditch practice.
Oh, delighted with myself was I, with my ingenuity. Of course though, it all went arse over tit when LSB opened the fridge and out tumbled a big glass jar of pickled beetroot and smashed on the tiles. Being children, (or just plain thick) they had shoved it in so it teetered on the edge, just ready to bounce out at an unsuspecting parent.
I was most irked, firstly because I love my beetroot and secondly because the floor was only mopped yesterday.
The third thing which is getting my goat, is the way we keep saying ‘when this is all over’ and planning for the future. Now I’m a natural pessimist, as you may have picked up on, but are we kidding ourselves to imagine normality resuming anytime soon? To misquote Gerry Adams, I keep thinking ‘It won’t have gone away you know.’ I can’t see me trotting down to Shed or La Taqueria on the Ormeau, where you can practically hear the mastication of the folk beside you as they chomp and chew, and eating my meal with any great relish.
I’m worried that folk will forget all about social distancing and be inching closer in the queue and I’ll be telling them to get to fuck.
I’m anxious that we think it’s all back under control and open ourselves up to a new wave of the virus later in the year. I wish the boys in charge had more of a notion of how to get it under control but I remain unconvinced. So this is my whinge this week.
However, as a means of distraction, I can highly recommend tuning into ‘The Nest’ on BBC Iplayer, a thriller that will keep you from scrubbing your surfaces for an hour and provide respite once you’ve got the weans off to bed. I’ve enjoyed it immensely, sitting down with a cup of tea and pieces of Easter egg, and ogling the gorgeous interiors. And Killing Eve has started back with its spectacular costumes, sharp dialogue and imaginative ways to murder people. The only problem I’ve had is trying to resist watching episode after episode as I don’t have to get up for work.
Enjoy folks, and if you have any ideas on helping me be less of a grouchy auld git through the few weeks, then get on the blower.