I was never going to be a housewife. Even Betty Draper didn’t want to be a housewife. I’ll keep the top layer of grub away and spend ages looking at design blogs, but I’m never actually going to be creative. As well as two left feet, I have two left hands and a lack of interest in the presumed housewifey activities.
Then I left work. I’m at home most of the time. If reading blogs and sleeping during the day are part of the job description, then I might have turned into a housewife. I’m still not sure how to process that.
In many ways I’m like my grandmother. I’m taller than she was and have opted for blonde rather than raven black, but I have her pear shape and pointy nose. I’d love her domestic abilities. She spent her working life in service- as a maid, cook, housekeeper. She fed her family by developing and using her domestic skills. I wonder now if she had to train one of her left hands to do what was required to survive in that world? I have so many choices that she never had. She was renowned for her baking, while my children have only recently discovered that cakes don’t have to come from shops.
Inspired by food blogs such as The Glutton, Italian Foodies, Donal and others, I’m beginning to look at receipes- the easiest, quickest ones that everybody will eat, it’s true- and at food as something which might be a bit more than just nourishment.
And I have discovered what generations of women have always known- the value of cake. I get to
beat the shit out of vent my frustrations on a load of ingredients. I get to feel all pleased with myself that ‘look, I made that cake’ and then. There is cake to eat. The gift that keeps on giving.
Spurs Fan’s birthday is in early December. Being a good soul, I bought him 2 items that he wanted. Then I decided to give him one of those for Christmas.
Christmas came and went. We all got presents of one sort or another. Spurs Fan chose to spend vouchers on a CD/DVD box set. We enjoyed the DVD and listen to the music happily on the ipod.
I did some tidying at the weekend. I opened a drawer and found an amazon envelope- with something in it. The birthday/ christmas present. The same CD/DVD that we’ve been enjoying for months. It had never crossed my mind in all that time.
The effect of my new medication is that on making this discovery I laughed and laughed (and sang ‘Happy Birthday’). Not too long ago I would have been devastated- how could I be so dense/ thoughtless/ totally stupid? Am I never going to be half way sensible/ reliable again? Woe is me, and all about me. Thank you Mr GP for allowing me to stop feeling so guilty about being ill.
Now I just have to check if items can be returned due to overall daftness.
I was wee in different world from the one the little folk now inhabit. Some things remain the same- childlike excitement, and Blue Peter.
Last summer we went on a tour of Children’s BBC, at Television Centre in London. Children had the chance to read autocues, meet characters and ‘do’ the weather. We all looked out for familiar faces, took photographs of ourselves with a TARDIS and visited the Blue Peter garden. Squeak. The actual Blue Peter garden, with Petra and the pond and memories of Percy Thrower. You’ll not be surprised to discover that I was at least as excited as Girl1 and Girl2 put together.
Last week Spurs Fan was able to get JLS autographs (without the trauma of having to meet them). Boy band autographs. From the guys there are pictures of on the wall. Little hearts bounded in little chests. We held hands and jumped up and down. I thought of my Donny Osmond t shirt and bounced another bit.
On Saturday afternoon Girl1 was at a party when the post came. A letter for her, from the BBC. With something in it. Sharp intakes of breath all round. Spurs Fan had to be stopped from opening it. The party seemed to last much longer than such events normally do. When she came home full of excitement and goodie bags, we suggested that Girl1 check the post. Her very own Blue Peter badge. Shock and awe.
Girl2 waits anxiously for another delivery.
Edit: these Blue Peter badges are easier to get than I thought- one arrived for Girl2 this morning. Relief all round.
For me, shopping for books and music is a great joy. Shopping for beauty bits and presents is fun. Shopping for clothes can be hit or miss. Grocery shopping is a pain and best carried out by Spurs Fan. Shopping for shoes or undies is a nightmare to be avoided until the current versions fall apart (explains a lot).
A bookshop, the supermarket book ailse or amazon are places where I can lurk and look for hours. Where to let my mind go? Worthy fiction, pulp crime, lighthearted fluff? Usually I end up with a variety- it’s impossible to buy one book- and the bundle by the bed to be read never gets any smaller. Waiting for me right now are Nora Ephron, John Connolly, Zoe Heller and Henning Mankell. Jilly Cooper is floating about somewhere too. I’ve just finished a Marian Keyes and several Jo Nesbo.
I love the browsing. The finding something I’d seen reviewed or heard about. The books I know nothing about which catch my eye and then call to me. Reading a page and liking the voice. I wander about the different parts of the shop, willing to be attracted by something quirky from nonfiction. I ignore garden books and cookery books tend to stay on my shelf. I have donated many, many history/politics/criminology books to charity because I’ve never quite had the stamina to read them for pleasure.
Then there’s the music. I may be the only person left in the world who pays to download music, but, sure, how else would money grabbing corporations make their money? (I have to have something to complain about) Today I bought music by Iron and Wine, Caitlin Rose, Kate Rusby and the soundtrack of Treme. A few weeks ago I got The Villagers, The Secret Sisters and the Pierces. It’s all too easy on the internet, which is why once great record stores are empty of people and full of computer games. A bookshop is still a satisfactory experience; the record shops are dispiriting places, haunting reminders only of what used to be.
But I’d still rather go to HMV than do the messages.