Thursday, 22 September 2011

Bathtime made for two

The kids have been back at school for a couple of weeks now - hooray - and the novel editing and re-writing is in full flow. I am so completely in the zone now that I found myself typing with the cookie monster's hands late one night this week. My fingers were indistinguishable from each other, falling over themselves like flapping mackerel on the keyboard and I had to lift them gently and put them away until the morning. My goal is to have finished the re-write by October half term. It's a great vicarious life I'm living. A wise friend told me that the Universe cannot differentiate between the imagined and the real. All I can say is, I want what my protagonist is getting. Because real life has been a little less exciting.

My flappy hands have been made worse by the fact that I decided to tackle an enormously overgrown hedge of climbing roses, honeysuckle and clematis, at the weekend. It had rained overnight so I sensibly, yet disappointingly, decided against the power tool (insert pouty face) and set about the overhang, plunging my hands into the stems that were threatening to pull my fence down, armed with a pair of secateurs. Simples, as the meercats say. Five hours, one brimming wheelie bin and six overflow sacks later, my arms looked like a map of the underground, my hair was full of twigs and my right hand had seized up. I rewarded myself with a hot bubble bath. As I sat back, ice cold glass of wine in hand, proudly examining my war wounds, I suddenly realised I had company. Sitting atop of my very own Islands in the Stream (go, Dolly!) was a baby caterpillar. Lord only knows how long it had nested in my bra. I once found a blue Smartie in there after a party. I don't even remember eating Smarties that day.

Animal lovers, fret not: A  happy ever after ensued for the caterpillar. And I made a mental note to wear polo necks or scarves as wildlife filters when I tackle the rest of the garden. On second thoughts, I think I'll stick to the imaginary world. That way I get to decide who shares my bath water.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Man about the house

Last night I drank wine with a boy. In my house. Though he hardly qualifies as a 'boy' at three years older than me, I think he'll be flattered all the same. What was notable about his visit was that most of my booze quaffing (and indeed, tea drinking) mates are girls these days. My best boy bud lives in London so we run up our phone bills keeping in touch and other male mates tend to be friends' partners and I see them out socially. Consequently, this house has become a bit of a male-free zone. Not deliberately, of course. Talking last night, I realised there are lots of bloke things which don't blip on our girlie radar. My friend was describing someones strange hair cut and likened it to a certain - apparently well known - footballer. I looked at him blankly. Not a clue. I have NO IDEA when the football season starts, finishes or when 'important' games are on. Ditto cricket, rugby, Grand Prix... you get the idea. Nor do I ever have beers in the fridge. Even though I quite like the odd shandy (classy) I never think to buy beer. And then we have the toilet seat. Never, ever in this house have the DDs or I got up in the night for a sleepy wee only to awaken suddenly when bum cheeks meet cold porcelain.

Now despite my drill wielding and DIY capabilities, occasionally there are jobs which require either a bit of brute force or are *shudder* technical. At times like this, I pity the poor boys who do make it over the threshold. A young friend of mine (hark at me sounding like a maiden aunt) regularly visits, sometimes bringing her fiance. He's strong and works in IT. You can only imagine the excitement when he appears if we need a heavy suitcase lumped out of the loft (or my enormous boxes of Christmas decorations last year), or if iPods aren't synching etc. With barely concealed glee we make with the pleasantries as the kettle goes on, and the girls nudge me while I mutter "sssh, in a minute". Water goes into the pot, then I go in for the kill. "Oooh, I just had a thought! While the tea is brewing, would you be a daaaarling, and just have a look at the computer, it's doing something weird...." Flash big smile. Poke the DDs. They grin and do puppy dog eyes.  Three hours later the poor bugger is clawing to escape our clutches despite the offering of chocolate hobnobs to accompany the fifth cup of tea.

Yes, I really have no idea why blokes don't visit us very often.