The Relentless Glamour of My Life

The weekend is upon us. Everyone is either asleep, or out, and I thought I’d sneak in here and write a blog post before the demands of the day start piling up.

We have sunshine. I have been out in it. It is rather marvellous, although this is the first time I’ve experienced full on menopausal hot flushes with full on sunshine and I cannot say that the results are attractive. I slither and squelch and pour with bodily fluids. Sweat is rather like snot, while you’re producing it you have no idea how you’ve managed to store such vast quantities of it in your body.

I am still convinced that the 90% of the brain we don’t really understand is just an underground snot factory.  In my case, the extra 10% is primeval sweat soup. It explains why my head cannot retain any information at all at the moment and all I see in my mind’s eye is an eternal, Fotherington Thomas style panorama of birds and sky.

Also, I must be careful not to commit any crimes, because I am leaving DNA bloody everywhere. I could offer you a pint.

This week, because the weather is waking up all the plants and it is a bit windy, there’s pollen in them thar hills, so I have also been producing snot, and in between waking up in a oleaginous heap, I am waking up with impacted sinuses which are giving me headaches that make me want to take a small but practical toffee hammer to my face.

In my mind, I approach this kind of weather like a woman in a louche, Eighties, Cadbury’s Flake advert. In reality I look like Kathy Burke after a night on the town in Gimme Gimme Gimme. It may explain why despite networking my arse off this week, I am not going to be winning any success in business awards.

That and the fact that the work email I have on my new and fabulous business card has been suspended by Easily, the provider, for some bizarre reason which, of course, is really difficult to rectify, and so even if people are banging on the inbox to give me thousands of pounds, I am not currently in.  I have also cracked my phone screen and the printer has given up and shuffled off its mortal coil.

The psychiatrist is most definitely out.

All this will pass, as things do, and I am grateful that I did not have to take anyone to hospital this week.

I did have to help Tilly bring all the things from her art studio home, so that she could decorate the studio and get it ready for her end of year exhibition. This was about as stressful as going to the hospital, because it is absolutely impossible to park near her building, she’s on the tenth floor and had nobody to help her carry things and she hadn’t packed any of it. I couldn’t leave the car, because when I did find somewhere to park, it was on double yellows, and so I watched her struggle back and forth with an increasingly weird selection of objects, including quite a few ceramic pieces that she hadn’t wrapped up, and which were lobbed on the back seat of my car in a cavalier fashion.  All the speed bumps on the way home were rather challenging and there was a lot of clinking and clunking going on. Luckily everything came home in one piece, although we have to repeat the journey on Monday, in reverse. GAWDELPUS.

This will be after my gynae consult at the hospital, so Monday is shaping up to outdo itself in Mondayness.

Anyoldhow. Let’s be positive.

I finally managed to finish reading my book, Wyntertide by Andrew Caldecott. It’s the second book in the Rotherweird series. You will need to read the first one to make any sense of the second. It’s a sort of fantasy, historical book with macabre and weird happenings. It reminds me in places of Gormenghast, but with more Tudors. If this sounds like your thing, it is very good.

My wonderful friends Ben and Helen sent me a package of assorted halloumi cheeses made in Yorkshire (as seen and lusted after on Nadiya Hussain’s cookery programme), for my birthday. We had one glorious evening eating the regular, chilli and rosemary flavours, and although it didn’t do my sinuses any good, it was fantastic. I highly recommend you get some.  The company is called Yorkshire Dama Cheese.

Cunk on Britain continues to delight. This week’s highlight was the interview with Chris Packham. ‘Talk me through the events that led up to Charles Darwin inventing the monkey.’

I met my wonderful friend Matt and we spent two hours in a pub garden in the sunshine, discussing ‘work’. Actually we spent one hour and fifty minutes laughing our arses off, and ten minutes frantically discussing work, but it’s all good.  Matt is the photographer who did my gorgeous business cards and who will photograph my second wedding (much like the second coming, but possibly less apocalypse. I say possibly. Who really knows?).  We get on very well indeed, due to a penchant for mucking about and calling it a ‘career’.  We are going to put on a photography exhibition in the first week in July. It was decided after much arm wrestling, that I would be the model and Matt would take the photographs. I did suggest we mix things up, but he will have his way.  We are doing our first shoot for this on Wednesday, and I am so excited.  I will tell you more as things develop.

You should definitely come. It will be brilliant.

I have been doing lots of work on issues medical, for the Patient Panel I sit on. I don’t actually sit on them, that would be mean. Particularly given how sweaty I am at the moment.

Anyway, we are looking at the wreckage of the NHS and trying to shore it up against its ruin. That sort of thing. I have done some positive things for patients this week, which is always cheering. I also went on local radio to talk about children and internet safety in a strokey beardy type way.  And next week  I go to London to be filmed for the Huffington Post on behalf of the Wear White Again campaign.

Let me explain. This is not because I am in any way glamorous.  There are two things that qualify me for this job. The first is that I bled copiously and publicly for about 35 years, which makes me a shoo in.  The second is that I am on record as a woman who is able to say vagina on national radio without fainting. These are on my CV and therefore, I win the chance to look drenched in sweat on film. Hoorah.

I hope nobody wants to shake my hand.

 

Back again, like Slim Shady but not

Hello!

It feels like I have been wandering in the wilderness for years. Turns out it’s only been about a fortnight, but you know me. I do like to pack a lot into my days, so I reckon it’s been at least a couple of months of regular time that I’ve been away.

I am ok, by and large. Mostly I am finding it incredibly difficult to build a small business, deal with the domestic sphere, wrangle three teenagers (two and one almost to be truthful) and have an actual life that doesn’t make me want to throw myself out of a window. I can manage two of these things with reasonable amounts of success but not three, and absolutely not four. So I rotate through the days, flinging my allotted stuff high into the air, and vainly hoping I will catch some of the stuff that comes back down.

I am only grateful I never ran away to join the circus. After my initial glory I would undoubtedly be relegated to sweeping up elephant shit for the rest of my shifts.

The last week of the Easter holidays was embuggered somewhat by the return of a migraine. I have to say that I am largely migraine free these days. I certainly don’t get ones that make me go blind and vomit for twenty-four hours any more, so this is winning. I do however, get the odd one here and there when the stresses and strains of life overwhelm me. This one lasted, with intermittent relief for which I am profoundly grateful, a week. For the most part I was still able to function for the duration, just not well. Not weller than usual, and usually I’m at the barely hanging on by my fingernails stage of things, being ill equipped for normality as I am.

Although I was better by last weekend, the effects piled into last week, because I had been so useless the week before, and I am only just beginning to get back to any kind of normality. Hence the break in service. I basically slimmed life down to what was necessary. Eating lots of food, turning up for things I couldn’t cancel, and trying to keep EBay sales up so I could pay some bills. Everything else was optional and definitely extra.

My birthday, which was last Monday, was largely a write off for lots of reasons. The highlight was a pizza and a glass of prosecco. This was nice, but I am a woman who likes to make the Queen look shy and retiring when it comes to matters of birth celebrating, so I was not entirely satisfied. I decided that I would extend my birthday for the entire week, and take every opportunity to spoil myself and be spoiled. It made up for the Mondayness of the actual day and I feel I have now scratched the birthday itch sufficiently.

Let’s have some edited highlights of the last fortnight.

Free cake for my birthday from the lovely lady at the Tiny Bakery when I confessed it had taken me three days to get to her to actually buy it.

Finally clearing out my wardrobe. My stock room looks like it has been burgled by tramps, there are so many items waiting to be listed for sale, but my wardrobe looks fantastic.

Nature abhors a vacuum, so I did indulge in some new items of clothing including a wicked and decadent Jean Varon maxi dress that you could actually turn into a yurt and live in.

Finding two, beautiful Ozwald Boateng suits in a charity shop, one of which is new and unworn, and both of which currently need snapping up by someone who has exquisite taste and appreciates a bargain.

Tilly made me a small, Japanese geisha doll for my birthday which I have called Maureen.

Finding and binge watching This Country on BBC IPlayer, both series. Also Cunk on Britain. These have got me through some dark times.

Spending a morning making peg dolls with the lovely four year old Doris, when her mum needed to go to a meeting, and couldn’t find any other baby sitter who had already had chicken pox. The house was glittered to the rafters, but we had a great time.

Lowlights:

Migraine for a week. A fucking week.

Trapping my finger in a drawer whilst cooking and chatting to a guest, and then having to style out the fact that I had cut across the nail bed and was bleeding all over the place.

Finding Tilly lying on the bathroom floor looking grey and sweaty when I thought she was at college. She had a headache and crippling stomach pains and we ended up having to take her to the hospital, whereupon it transpired she had a migraine. This is great because we thought it was appendicitis, but was also shit because migraine and pain and being mildly terrified.

Everyone in my family except Oscar deciding to have some kind of major emotional crisis in the space of three days. Everyone except me, which is better than everyone including me, but still. ARGH

Anyway. We putter on through life, and hopefully things will be much more the thing shortly.

 

 

Easter Shenanigans

Happy Easter folks. I hope you’ve spent it face down in a bowl of roast potatoes, occasionally lifting your potato smushed face to fork a shard of chocolate egg in there. I have spent it mostly listing things on EBay and nursing a case of piles, which Jason has decided to call Frank.

I have been treated to Malteser bunnies, which are my favourite Easter snack, so it’s not all doom and gloom, and I did find some amazing Scandinavian ginger biscuits at our local pound shop when I went in to bulk buy sellotape, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

I have not done anything terribly Easter holidayish to be honest. I blame the fact that I totally forgot it was the Easter holidays. I was not prepared, m’lud. They crept up on me and took me unawares.

Let’s see.

I spent Monday afternoon at the opticians. Originally it was only Tallulah who needed a check up. She always has twenty twenty vision because she is some rare, genetic throwback, so we weren’t bothered too much about her. She only goes for eye tests so she can gloat at the rest of us speccy twats. Oscar had to come because like his mother, he squints alarming at everything and even though he wasn’t due for a test, it was plain to everyone that he couldn’t see past the end of his own nose. Tilly, who is now an independent woman in the manner of Beyonce, but with paint stains, was also not meant to come, but accidentally snapped the arm of her glasses on Sunday night, so we made it a family trip. It does make a change from the dentist, where we spend the rest of our quality family time.

On Tuesday I had to take Tallulah shopping because she is going on holiday with her dad soon, and needed clothes for warm climes, as opposed to three vests and a snorkel parka, which is what we are all still wearing here, due to the fact that it is always fecking freezing. I spent a lot of time trapped in H&M, New Look and Primark looking hunted, while she tried on nine thousand identical items in every shop in the quest to find exactly the right shade of yellow hoodie, and I lost the will to live. Interestingly, me and the ladies who work in the changing rooms bonded, because they too were in despair, and I actually did quite a bit of networking and handed out business cards and chatted up a storm.

I spent the afternoon in a cocktail bar, pretending to have a meeting about work. This was very fun, except for the fact that I couldn’t drink cocktails myself, due to earlier in the day, having committed to going on local radio the next morning to talk about ambulances, and needing to be in the studio at seven in the morning sounding bright and breezy, and knowledgeable about non urgent patient transportation.  Next time I will organise myself better so that I can drink gin slings until they dribble out of my ears.

Wednesday morning saw me getting up at the ungodly hour of six o’clock, throwing some clothes on, sloshing caffeine into my gaping maw, and hot footing it to the radio station, where I chatted to a lovely man called Martin. I managed to get all the main points across, but with a lot more saying ‘err’ than I would have liked. It reminded me of Simon and the Witch, and how the teacher at Simon’s school calls the Witch, Mrs Err, because she doesn’t have adequate words to describe her. Should I take up a late blooming radio career, I think I will go under, Mrs. Err.

I came home and went back to bed until the day was less hideously early.

In the afternoon a wonderful lady called Carol came to see me. She is a professional Declutterer, if there is such a word. I am a professional Clutterer, so we complement each other perfectly.

Her business is called Absolutely Tidy, and that’s exactly what she does. She absolutely tidies. She took me in hand, and we spent about three hours, wearing miner’s lamps on our head and deep diving into my wardrobe. I now have so much stock to sell, I may not need to go shopping again for about a month, and we have only cleared out half of it. She’s giving me some time to recover, and sell some things, before we tackle the other half.

It is very liberating, and she is incredibly patient, and very focussed without being bossy or abrasive. She is, frankly, just what I need. She may be just what you need too. I am going to write about the whole process over on Boostique in much more detail, but so far, I am smitten, and calculating how many striped t-shirts I have to sell to pay her to tackle my ceramic hoard.

Thursday saw me doing a lot of work on new stories for the patient panel. Given the parlous state of the NHS, there is enough to keep me going for a lifetime, but I am particularly interested in where social care meets medical care and there are some interesting things to pursue. I say interesting. I mean head bangingly depressing, but you know. Stuff needs doing.

Jason sailed off to Cornwall on a road trip, and I started and finished the day with a weird, stress migraine that kept creeping up on me and requiring me to lie down in a darkened room.

On Friday I went to visit my lovely friend Kim, who after months of living down south and missing Leicester, has finally moved back to her rightful home so that we can resume our cake and coffee, setting the world to rights mornings. I ran home to see Andrea, who after months of living near that there London, came back for a visit so we could resume our sitting in the pub, stuffing our faces lunches. And then my husband came back from Cornwall, and my Tilly came back from her recent foray into the world of not living at home, and all my lovelies were in their rightful places, and even though I still had a migraine, it was good.

Yesterday saw me trying to get to grips with the sliding pile of stock in the front room by actually listing some of it to sell. The day was improved by Oscar, Jason and I (the girls were out with their dad) testing out the new pizza place on Queen’s Road (Halcyon – very good. Would eat again) and buying a fresh supply of cakes from Simon at the deli. Today has seen much of the same, but without pizza and more chocolate.

I have been very sad today, for inexplicable reasons, but possibly related to lack of Simon’s cake and having piles called Frank. I am going to cheer myself up by going to read my excellent new book, Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott. I need to finish it, because I’ve been sent the second book in the series to review and I hate to read things out of order. I think you’d like it. Check it out.

 

 

Two blog posts in one day. I am spoiling you

It’s 2.15 a.m. and I am not yet asleep, nor sleepy. I am not entirely sure what is happening. I suspect I will feel it in the morning. It’s probably my menopausal lack of hormones. The lack is less aggravating than the not lack, so I will endure.

In the meantime, while it is quiet, and nobody is expecting me to work miracles, and it’s too dark to take stock photos for EBay, I thought I’d pop in again and have a chat about more funner stuff.

I’ve been meaning to recommend Mick Herron’s London based espionage novels about Jackson Lamb, for simply ages. I briefly alluded to them in an earlier blog post, but never really got round to standing on my soap box and telling you all to rush off and read them.  Ideally in order. Start with Slow Horses, and go from there. Each ‘thrill’ is a standalone, but the characters and their development and back story are carried on chronologically and to get completely hooked you really need to start at the beginning. I’ve read the first four, and am saving the latest one for a bit. It only came out last month and I don’t like to be too up to date with a series, because authors are very unreliable creatures and the next one doesn’t always appear just when I need it.

I must also recommend The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond. I got it from NetGalley and it isn’t being published until April, but you can pre-order. I recommend going for a hard copy, because then you get much better quality illustrations by the brilliant Alex T. Smith as well as the incredible writing. Long termers amongst you will already know of my deep and abiding passion for anything David Almond writes. He is a children’s author, but do not let that put you off. He is lyrical and beautiful and reading him is rather like a religious experience. He reminds me a little of Flannery O’Connor, but better. Sometimes is work is very dark, almost harrowing, but this is redemptive and lovely and made me cry in a good way.

Watch Queer Eye if you have Netflix. Honestly, I haven’t been as pleased with a show since discovering RuPaul’s Drag Race. Queer Eye is, I think, more enjoyable, because it is genuinely lovely television. I binged watched the season and am now pining. It really does restore your faith in human nature. Also, I love them all, and want them to come round to Boo Towers for tea. It would be a riot.

I’ve also been catching up on some films with Jason and the kids, much to their amazement (I watch very little). I watched Deadpool and Thor Ragnarok and absolutely loved them both. I particularly loved that almost everyone who was in one of my all time favourite films, Hunt For the Wilderpeople, popped up in Thor, which was unexpected and delightful. Also Idris Elba was in it, and I’d watch him open an envelope, so it was all good.

Before I go, I must also recommend that if you ever want to know anything at all about coastal erosion, you need to ask Oscar. I am almost as amazed to find out that it is his specialist subject as I was to find out that he knows all the words to ‘Can’t Touch This,’ by M.C. Hammer. There are strange depths to that boy.

He came to ask me, just before I got in the shower the other night, if I wanted to see his dance about long shore drift. At this point, all thoughts of cleanliness fled, and I stared at him like an idiot. He patiently repeated himself, and then, when I confessed that I didn’t even know what long shore drift was, rolled his eyes and said; ‘What is wrong with you?’ To which I didn’t have a single, coherent answer.

Anyway, he explained it to me in great detail, complete with dance, and then sat outside the shower telling me how rock arches on beaches are formed and how the White Cliffs of Dover aren’t even white, and they have to get a man in with 400 gallons of Dulux white emulsion and a roller on a stick.

It was almost better than Thor.

Runs the other way, still waving

Hello! Hello! Let me tell you about the week that was, before I get swept up by the week that is looming.  How the hell did I not realise that last week was the last week of term, everyone? How did I miss the fact that the children now have two weeks off school, that I am supposed to sort out Easter Eggs and all that, and the two smols who are still at school have clothing requirements and look like scarecrows because they have had the audacity to not stay smol? I am seriously out of the loop in my own life.

Finding all that out was super daunting. I say super daunting. I just threw my hands in the air, ran around the kitchen shouting ‘Buggerit’ a few times and then resigned myself to my certain fate.

Let me cast my mind back.

Monday was patient panel and errands morning. In the afternoon I met with a wonderful lady called Carol. She came round to my house to look at the sheer sartorial carnage that is my dressing room. I say dressing room. Do not be thinking I have gone all Mariah Carey on you and have forty seven revolving clothing racks covered in leopard print, and a private lift for my shoes. It is a weird, L-shaped corridor room with the boiler and a load of pipes in one end, and industrial scaffolding at the other, in which I store cardboard boxes full of clothes I have specially scrunched up to fit in all the remaining gaps in the room.

Carol is going to help me make it into a place of order and magic. There will be a place for everything and a thing for every place. There will be hangers that do not say ‘George at Asda, aged 2-3 years’ on which I have wedged a pair of bee wings from a vampire bee costume I had several years ago, but which will have orderly items of clothing on.

She came to see my house and did not burst into tears, and thus, she has survived the first test and will flourish. In return for organising me, I am going to help her be more Audrey Hepburn, and frankly I am thrilled, because the world needs more Audrey. I am hoping that once we have done the clothing bit, Carol will buy a pet deer and take it to the supermarket, a la Audrey, and if I am very good, she will let me come along and fondle its velvety ears.

On Tuesday, the gorgeous Jenn came round and we talked hair and marketing and marketing and hair. We also gossiped and laughed a lot. Then I went to see the terrifically good egg that is Lynn, who does my massages and stops me folding into my own ear hole and disappearing. I cannot see her this week, as she is going off to be Ce Roc dance queen of the world, and I am worried that I may actually shatter into a squillion pieces by Thursday and turn to dust on the wind.

They will all be sorry if that happens.

On Wednesday my friend Liz came to see me and we whirled about talking politics and clothes, and giggling a lot. I forced her to take home two dresses that I found that are perfectly her and make her look like a stone cold fox. Liz is a big fan of Trotsky but does not let that interfere with her immaculate dress sense. In fact, we have decided that she is a Hot Trot who is Hot To Trot and that manning the barricades and planning the revolution needs to move on from the beret and get with the sartorial times. After I waved her off, I went to do a little stock purchasing and ended up buying some enormous hats and a samosa. I did not wear the samosa, it just sustained me through difficult hat decisions.  I spent the evening going to the dentist with the children, and unlike last time I went to the dentist with the children it was absolutely the right day and time to go. I count that as a win on both the parenting and dental front.

On Thursday I ended up driving to the BBC building in Nottingham to sit in a small brown, nylon based studio overlooking a ring road, to chat to Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio Two about ladies who have terrible periods.  Apparently I am on file in the BBC archives as a woman who does not flinch at having to say the word vagina in public. It’s good to know that my name is down in the annals for something.

Anyway, Jeremy was lovely, and I got lots of lovely messages afterwards, and one from an absolute twit who said it was the most revolting thing he had ever heard and it put him off his sandwich. I pointed out that if that was the worst thing that had ever happened to him, he could count himself lucky. At this point he told me that as I had ‘proudly’ told everyone what came out of my orifices, now everyone who knew me would only be able to think about that every time they saw me. I thought he probably hadn’t seen my stunning new hat collection, which I bought specifically to draw attention away from the vagina and up to the head. But I just told him that I was indeed proud and should it be required, I’d go on national television with a megaphone, shouting the word vagina if need be.

Then I blocked him.

I’m trying to be kinder, but to be honest, it was a very satisfying exchange.

On Friday I had to go back to the dentist. I am going to have a bench with my name on it put in the surgery when I die, I have spent that much time there recently. Luckily it was all fine, and when I got home, Carol came over and we got to go and run around dress shops trying on lovely things, while I pretended to be working and Carol pretended to be Audrey and we had a huge amount of fun, and I found a Vivienne Westwood jacket for £50 and I was so happy I nearly did a wee.

Yesterday I ran away to play at antique fairs with my mum and dad. While they toiled and sweated, selling things to unruly customers, I bought myself a hat stand for all my new, vagina deflecting hats and a lot of ceramics I really don’t need. In fact, I think when Carol has finished with my dressing room, I may have to start her on the china cabinet.

 

Runs by, waving

I feel like the universe has decided that I have been lolling about too much recently and it’s decided that it must stop, immediately. I don’t think my feet have touched the ground this week, and it’s now ten o’clock on Sunday night, and I could keep going until the wee, small hours, if I wanted to be completely mad. As it is, I shall put my ever spooling to do list in the bin, and go and have an illicit loll, whilst pointing at something over there for the universe to go and look at.

Let’s see:

Monday I went to see the GP. I am, it seems, mildly deficient in vitamin B12, but all will be well as long as I ingest half a cow smeared in Marmite. In between nutritional tips, I chatted to him about my smear test of doom and how two more might be on the horizon and how I have been told by a woman on the internet that if her husband has to have a finger up his bum in the name of science, he gets ketamine.

So what about me? When I get a sommelier’s best cork screw up my hoo ha, I get a: ‘flop your knees to the sides and try to relax.’ It seems hardly fair. Not that I want ketamine. No thanks. Drooling in a puffa jacket at the side of the M25 mistaking the car indicators for some tasty beats by The Orb is something I’d prefer to leave in the past. But gin and valium would be acceptable substitutes.

We have an arrangement now, which means I will only get one smear test of doom and it will be handled by someone who is proficient in tracking down a cervix as elusive as The Scarlet Pimpernel, or my money back.

After that I vaguely remember doing a lot of errands and a lot of work for the patient panel I am now back on, and a lot of work on my very own good self because Boot Camp, and cooking dinner etc etc forever until death.

Tuesday involved going for a massage, which was very good, because I spent the rest of the day working like a dog, and had typist’s elbow by the time I set forth to be manipulated back into a vague approximation of the human form. I had a request for dinner which I was unable to fulfil as we had none of the ingredients to hand. I decided it would take the work of a moment to get them as they were not tricky, and then spent over an hour failing to get any of them and driving to three different supermarkets, one of which had actually closed down. BUGGERIT. We ate at about two in the morning, because once I’ve decided it shall be so, it bloody well will.

Wednesday saw me spending the morning doing more errands and panel work before hurling myself into a shiny outfit and driving to a place called Frolesworth (splendid name. Rolls off the tongue. Looks like Midsummer Murders. Probably bodies everywhere behind all that mellow stonework) for a networking lunch with some lovely ladies.

The snow had melted, the bird was on the wing and la. Except I was driving along some glorious country lanes and realised my car was making an interesting noise. It was sort of like a cross between a ticking and a clunking. As my engine management light has been on for the last six months permanently, it’s hard to tell whether this was urgent or merely a passing fad. I turned Kasabian up very loudly to drown out the noise, and sailed on. It got me there. I lunched. I networked. I clunked home with all four wheels intact, and considered it a victory.  I cooked dinner and got Oscar from a playdate and took Tallulah to the theatre and back. AND THEN I DIED, as Oscar used to say.

Thursday saw Jenn coming to do me ‘air. I had another networking lunch followed by a photo shoot and needed to look fly. She did a marvellous job and made me look like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Tiny Tears. I wanted this look. So don’t panic. She can do others.

I threw on another outfit, and sashayed to lunch. Networking was great, lunch was like eating tramps’ shoes that had been cooking for about a week. There will be words with the chef for next time, thank the lord. Hurtling back in the rain to my car to get home for my photo shoot, I realised I had no umbrella (perpetually lose them) and me lovely ‘air would get wet, so ran erratically around trying to dodge the raindrops. This was not terribly effective.

Then I needed to buy a pair of Marigolds, (more will be revealed later) and ran into Tesco Express. Stood in the queue thinking ‘what’s that smell of old lady cupboards?’ Turns out it was me. My vintage 1950’s grosgrain duster coat smells like old lady cupboards when it gets wet. I styled it out, got in the car and drove home.

The children were holed up in the front room looking terrified. Matt and Clare who were doing the shoot with me, had arrived before me, and the children had forgotten about the shoot, and thought two, timid murderers were lurking on the drive, plucking up the courage to come in and kill them. HA

Once we’d sorted all this out, I spent two hours having the time of my life, dressing up in ridiculous outfits and showing off alarming. I will write about this in more detail next week. After Matt and Clare had gone home, it took me another two hours to put the house back together, and by then I was too knackered to cook so we had fish and chips and I drank gin, because it’s good for what ails me. Then I did some work.

On Friday I had to get up at stupid bloody bastard o’clock to get to the endocrinology department at the hospital for half past eight. The consultant was lovely. I do not have any hideous hormonal or genetic diseases that explain my exploding blood pressure. I was persuaded to try a 48 hour monitoring thing, which I really don’t want to do, but am trying to be brave and vaguely sensible. I await the letter with deep joy.

I did many errands including picking up three pairs of boots from the menders and getting out in under ten minutes. I love Dillip. He’s our local cobbler, and he’s absolutely brilliant, but he talks more than me, and at times I have had to send for help in order to leave the shop, which is why he had three pairs of my boots, because I had to pluck up the courage to go and redeem them.

I took my old lady cupboard coat to the dry cleaner to be redeemed. I did some shopping for stock, and then went and met a lovely friend/client/fellow networking lady. We drank coffee, ate cake and organised our lives and the world. I remember being busy on Friday night. God knows what I was doing, but it was almost certainly stuff and things, and definitely putting some stock on EBay.

Saturday involved ironing, photographing and listing stock. Lunch happened and Jason and the children rescued me and took me out so I didn’t go mad. In the afternoon I fell asleep, but had to get up and go and see a lady about the patient panel, and we talked for so long, when I got out it was dark and there was an inch of snow on my car.

Today I have been ironing, photographing, listing, blogging, doing some patient panel work, helping with homework and cooking keema peas. I still have parcels to wrap for tomorrow and I am so far behind with books to review it will be a miracle if I ever catch up with my commitments. I am currently grinding my teeth in my sleep so hard that my cheeks are a bloody pulp and my next photo shoot may well have to involve a Hannibal Lecter style face mask as fancy ‘air won’t cut it.

Gloria Gaynor’s Got Nothing on Me

I feel mildly ‘we are the champions,’ that I have survived this week to be honest with you. Were I not nursing a horrible head cold I would be running round the garden doing a victory lap. As it is, I have cracked open the jam and cream biscuits and have topped up my water glass (indulgence of biscuit being balanced out by ‘health’ of water). Running will have to wait, possibly for another incarnation.

You already know that my Monday was spent deep in the throes of plumbing 101. I learned that I do not want to be a plumber when I grow up. Also, that it does not matter how old your children are, they still find new and unusual things to do with toothpaste that will drive you insane.

On Tuesday morning I had a smear test booked for nine o’clock. The lovely nurse, Debbie, was unable, after three abortive attempts to locate my cervix, which as long term readers will know, is a notoriously shy beast. Smear tests are always painful for me, and the last one required three separate appointments with the nurse (not Debbie) and finally a GP appointment. This time, we decided to learn from past experience, and as I am being referred to the gynae team at the hospital anyway, we agreed that we would leave it as a lovely surprise for them. I believe they have miner’s head lamps and drilling equipment, which should aid their search. I am beginning to feel that my cervix may actually be as elusive as The Beast of Bodmin. It may actually be The Beast of Bodmin. It would explain a lot. Perhaps a tranquilliser dart may be more the thing. I wouldn’t say no.

After this fun filled start to the day, I then had a blood test. Then I went elsewhere and had more blood tests. My arm was beginning to feel like a pin cushion, my vagina was beginning to feel like the saloon doors in a particularly unsalubrious part of town with a very lax door policy, and I was fed up of ripping various articles of clothing off, as there was still more than a nip in the air.

I took to my heels and went into town where I had various errands to run, which led me neatly to the doors of my afternoon meeting with the patient panel I am a member of. I have been missing in action for the last few months due to surgeries and medical things, and so I was due a catch up. It was a difficult meeting, which lasted several hours, and meant that I did not get home until about half six, and was fit for nothing when I got there.

Wednesday saw me spending the morning with my lovely friend Clare, who I have known for an age, and who is going to help me rebrand my business, because although I could do it myself, I don’t want to, and she is really good at her job. We have put plans in place. It will be fun. Daunting but fun. I drank too much coffee and had the jitters, and the sweats, but really good reflexes.

From there I had to dash to pick Tallulah up to take her for another trip to the orthodontist. Tilly had braces for 18 months and had to have an emergency repair on them once. Tallulah has had braces for six months, and has had to have three emergency trips to the orthodontist and one actually scheduled trip to the orthodontist in the last few weeks. I am really, really fed up of teeth. I have put them on the list next to cervixes, bosoms, vaginas and endocrinological items when it comes to things that I could do with never, ever having to talk about again in medical terms.

On Thursday, Jenn came to do my hair. My pink hair is now a ‘thing’ and it was becoming less and less pink, so she did an absolutely brilliant job of empinkening it again for me. It takes hours to do, and it was and is definitely worth the time and the money, but that’s a day gone. Just like that. My evening was taken up with ferrying my children and their friends to and from various play dates.

On Friday I had a ton of things to do with regard to the patient panel, which I thought would only take an hour, but which took me right up to the wire when I went to visit a lady called Akila, who as well as being a seamstress who is doing some jobs for me, also wanted to show me what she does with her other business, which is a beauty business. I got a facial, which was very good, and we chatted about work and its various challenges until I had to run to the supermarket, and go home and feed everyone.

I woke up yesterday, full of cold. My lovely husband and my lovely children took me out for a mother’s day breakfast. I like to have my mother’s day treats early because I don’t like fighting with all the other mothers for attention. They bought me cakes afterwards, and took me home where I wrapped up in a blanket with a hot water bottle and watched Deadpool and Queer Eye (IT’S MY NEW FAVOURITE) until my eyes rolled out of my head and onto the floor.

On top of all this, I have had a spectacularly grim reaction to last week’s work on the Cinderella Bootcamp, which although major and ultimately very good for me, was rather like staring into the eye of the storm and knowing there was nothing I could do but hang on to my hat and hope for the best. I have not slept much. I have been insanely stressed, and also quite very mad, while I have been waiting for it to all settle down. It has, but it does not surprise me that I now have a stinking cold. I have not managed to do much on week four yet, even though it is nearly over, because week three needed two weeks of my time, and that is what it got.

So, ironing, buying stock, washing stock, listing stock, photographing stock and generally chatting about clothes, has all had to go by the wayside in favour of self preservation. Despite an early doctor’s appointment starting my week tomorrow and an early endocrinology appointment finishing it, I am really hoping that the rest of the week will be considerably less medical and/or stressful.