‘Why don’t you write a blog every day since you’re off?’ suggested LSB helpfully, as he trotted up the stairs, coffee in hand. He was going to ‘work’ at his desk, in the study, in his quiet ‘designated area’. I, on the other hand, have been downstairs for the past week with the children, overseeing their activities, and reading them an occasional story. It is very difficult to write anything at all in these conditions. The second I open the laptop, a child STOPS whatever they are doing, and comes along to annoy me.
‘Can I have a drink?’ (Yes, if you get it yourself). ‘Can we have our friends around?’ (No, you can’t, in case you all infect each other or worse still, me). ‘Can we look up Assisi and see if they have any dogs we can get?’ (No, because our cat hates me enough already.)
I’m telling you, it never fucking stops.
The Mothership, has, of course been on the blower. None too pleased she was with the last blog post I can tell you.
‘TOO MUCH INFORMATION!’ was her congenial conversational opener when she rang yesterday. ‘Who in their right mind needs a vision of you, sitting on the toilet? I certainly don’t. I made myself my tea and toast and marmalade and took it up to the computer and that was what greeted me. Pee and cat-puke, before 10am of a morning. Not a bit of need for it. And the language too. Vulgar doesn’t even BEGIN to cut it. I actually feel quite ashamed on your behalf.’
‘I’m just trying to normalise things,’ I tried to explain. ‘Very few parents ever get a bowel movement in peace anymore, so it’s comforting to know we’re all in the same boat.’
‘COMFORTING? What’s comforting about that? Some behaviour you don’t want to be normalising. No boundaries, that’s the problem with your generation.’
‘But even the great writers talk about their bathroom habits. Karl Ove Knausgaard is renowned for talking about his pee.’
‘Who??’ It was now the Mothership’s turn to be perplexed.
‘He’s a Norwegian. Totally loaded, for writing about his everyday life, in excruciating detail.’
‘Well, talking about excruciating, I was thinking that this would be the ideal opportunity for you to sort out your toilets. The state of them pains me.’
‘Sort what out, exactly?’
‘The sheer neglect Helen. One must tend to toilets, or they get out of hand very quickly.’
(An image forms in my head of my toilet having a fag and cracking open the Carlsberg Special Brew while I’m out at my work.)
‘Now they have improved slightly since I’ve been ministering to them with bleach every Monday when I’m up’ she goes on,’ but I’m very worried that in my absence they will deteriorate to their former state. If I were you, I’d be chucking a good dose of Domestos down them and letting it sit a while to do its work.’
I would like to add, that I have never seen any problem with my toilets, but the Mothership has very high standards when it comes to the sheen of the bowl.
‘Then you could take out the ‘Astonish’ I bought in for you.’
‘What’s that?’ I asked, bewildered.
‘It’s the Mould and Mildew Remover that I got you ages ago. I bet it’s in the cupboard where I left it, with the seal still intact. I don’t want to THINK about the state of the grouting in your shower. I imagine it’s disgusting.’
Well that’s my mother for you, taking this international crisis as an ideal opportunity to address my inferior bathroom cleaning skills.
Toilet bowls aside, I should mention that I would be a very hygienic sort, especially with relation to kitchen cleanliness. I’ve yet to poison anybody, and I’ve been throwing dinner parties for quite some time. Perhaps, as well as the Mothership’s instruction, it’s because I took Home Economics for A-level, and as well as winning the big silver teapot for the top A-level mark (go me) I earned my Health and Hygiene certificate.
I include this information, not to brag about my culinary skills, but to make a suggestion. Aside from staying in and trying not to become a nuisance to the NHS, I’m doing nothing to help those ‘front-line’ warriors, whose nerves must be shot to bits. So, in the spirit of community action, I am going to suggest cooking for someone who is already stretched to their limit. I was thinking along the lines of a: ‘dinner for a doctor’; ‘nosh for a nurse’ or ‘munchies for a mid-wife.’ You get my drift. I heard an interview on the news yesterday with a critical care nurse, perhaps you heard it as well. She had come off a 24-hour shift and gone to buy some essentials, only to find the shelves stripped of anything remotely nutritious. I wouldn’t want anyone treating me who’d been subsisting on Pot Noodles or some similar shite for a week. I’ve already messaged some of my friends who work for the NHS and they’ve said they would be very grateful for a few dinners from next week on, when they know the pressure will be cranked up a notch. (Understatement of the century there). I’m batch cooking anyway so I’m going to pop a few extra portions in the freezer.
In the meantime, can I just say a massive THANK YOU to all those who read the blog and who post me little messages and say nice things. And for those of you who have been asking after my folks at this time, well that is very kind of you indeed. It’s terrible really, not having them up to clean my toilets, entertain my off-spring and drink tea, while the Mothership criticises my, well, just about everything. But still, if she wasn’t around I wouldn’t have half the material, so one has to see the bright side. So Happy Mother’s Day from afar, to the inimitable Mothership, and may all of you out there have some semblance of a Saturday evening to yourselves.