Thursday May 6th 2021

My anxiety levels were through the roof this morning. It was my first appointment with my therapist today and I really didn’t want to go, even though I knew I ought to, and when I did I would feel better for it.

I set my alarm early so I didn’t have the added panic of being late, and then dicked around failing to get ready, so then had to rush out the door. Nothing like a bit of self sabotage to start the day. Anyway, I got there on time and in the right place and the session was good, and intense and a great release and a relief and also exhausting.

I came away feeling almost giddy, which was quite nice. It’s much easier once the initial steps are taken. Now I know I can do it and I want to do it more than I don’t want to do it, and I feel I can trust the process and the person holding that space for me. So that was fairly huge.

I was starving hungry and still feeling quite head rushy so I took myself off for a quiet stroll around one of my favourite charity shop haunts whilst wolfing down a sandwich. I had chosen one of the brief interludes in the day when the weather was behaving, so it was rather nice. I was also very pleased with myself that I didn’t succumb to four studio pottery goblets with kings’ faces moulded into them. I spent about ten minutes going back and forwards in the shop. I wanted them, but they were awful, but they were so awful that I was hypnotically drawn to them. Thankfully I managed to wrench myself away without them, which is probably a testament to the power of therapy even in short bursts.

On the way home I stopped into one of my local corner shops that has become an absolute linchpin of the community under lockdown. We are very blessed where I live, with fantastic local, independent shops that genuinely are a part of the wider community. It’s very difficult to shop with them all, all the time. I would be bankrupt, but I do like to pop into my favourites regularly and buy things. They do great samosas with dipping sauce at this shop, so I bought some for Jason’s lunch and bought myself some ‘bread and butter pickles’ to try. Oh my word. I shall be visiting more regularly. I love pickles a lot and these were exceptional. Cocktail onions, slices of gherkin and jalapenos. Sweet, sour, crunchy and fiery. I had them in a sandwich for my tea and was in absolute heaven. Why have I not discovered them before? They may be about to be my new, favourite thing.

I had a short time left to work when I got in, before I had to take Derek to the V E T. This was made considerably shorter by the fact that Anorak, who is on antibiotics because he is a bloody nuisance, has now got an upset stomach, but is also not allowed outside until he is better. This means that about every half an hour the most noxious miasma rises from whichever litter box he has chosen to deposit his bowel movement in. Jason retreats to high ground and I am left to clear up the mess. Mess being the operative word here.

No sooner had I shovelled a great deal of shit, than I was chasing a feline round the lounge and clapping her into a cat basket. The vet was very pleased with her and made much of how pretty Derek is. She is indeed a pretty cat. She is also evil and can do a very good impression of a really furious owl. The vet is Spanish. I don’t know if she has encountered a furious owl in Spain, I doubt it, or she would have emerged going ‘do you know how much your cat resembles an angry owl?’ rather than commenting on her gorgeous lewks. I cannot believe that she put Derek through her paces and didn’t get the owl face in return.

I got home and collapsed on the sofa. It has been an intense week what with one thing and another. I am so excited to not have to go to the vet tomorrow. I think the vet is probably excited too. In Spanish and English.

Wednesday May 5th 2021

A better day. I woke up in less pain and decided to build on that by getting some exercise in the hope that I can get back to yoga soon.

I wrapped my parcels and walked up to Oadby, which is the next town along and a 10-15 minute brisk walk from my house now. I was not doing a brisk walk. I was wandering around taking pictures of tulips and catching Pokemon so I didn’t feel I was on a route march.

I went to the post office and grabbed a sandwich before wandering around the charity shops. I finished by doing my errands and just as I was about to leave Poundstretcher the heavens opened and it sounded like the ceiling was about to give way. It was an almighty hail/rain storm. Just as I was about to message Jason to see if he was free to pick me up, he messaged me, offering to pick me up. This is one of the many reasons we are still married.

He gallantly saved me from drowning and I rewarded him by buying him two different sorts of wine gums, which are his current favourite. I bought a bag of miniature Wham bars from the pound shop. I fully expected to lose all my teeth but they have made them soft. Part of me appreciates that. Part of me misses the challenge of gnawing away at one and playing Russian roulette with dentistry. I managed to eat half a bag with no ill effects other than a slight sugar induced headache.

I worked in the afternoon and then took Ronnie to the V E T for his check up. It should have been Derek today, but she sensed the cat basket and disappeared and Ronnie was spark out, upside down on our bed, so he pulled the short straw. He was very dramatic on the way there, which was utterly wasted on me and also easy to bear because we now live less than five minutes drive from the vet, so he had just got into full throated uproar when we arrived. Even he looked quite nonplussed and it shut him up long enough for me to shove him through the door.

It’s Derek’s turn tomorrow, and no matter what happens, she has to go, so I had better be more flexible in the hip department by then. My walk did me good, but it’s very sore now. I shall waggle it about a bit before bed and see if that helps at all. Maybe there is a yoga routine for people with bad hips who need to catch cats? There is bound to be.

I cooked dinner. I cooked enough keema peas for us to be able to have it for dinner tomorrow night, so I am extremely pleased with myself.

I caught up with Glow Up, which I am thoroughly enjoying and Sewing Bee, which is always brilliant. I am mesmerised by Damien, who is a most compellingly strange man. This week he confessed that one of his hobbies is painting people but putting animal heads on where their human heads should be. They showed you a picture of two French bulldogs wearing Adidas tracksuits by a lake and it was indeed as he said it was. It was pretty good, technically speaking. I’d have to gouge my own eyes out if it was in my house and I had to look at it daily, but that doesn’t stop it from being inspired and a thousand times better than any bull dog wearing a tracksuit I could paint. Idyllic pastoral backdrop or not. He seemed very cheerful about this hobby, so it clearly does him good. I was also fascinated by, given the rich and gorgeous array of possibilities offered up in a week where they had to make a dress as an homage to Frida Kahlo, he put a lace trim on his boned corset to represent her eyebrows. I’m just glad he didn’t attempt Catherine’s Trotsky love affair dress or you just know it would have had to have incorporated an ice pick somewhere.

Also, I am now wondering if he went home after the series finished and is now the proud owner/creator of a triptych featuring Jo, Esme and Patrick but with dog heads. I think Patrick would be good as a wolfhound, Esme would make a fantastic pug and Jo would want to be a weimeraner but would actually be a sausage dog in a puffa jacket.

Tuesday May 4th 2021

I thought I’d nailed it today. I remembered to wrap all my parcels last night so I didn’t have to rush this morning. I remembered to get Jason to put the order in for my repeat prescription. I got up at a reasonable time and the effects of the jab had finally worn off so I felt quite well.

I went to the post office and there was no queue. I went to the petrol station, ditto. I was acing the day. Flying high.

I had loads of cardboard in the boot which needed to go to the tip after we sorted a few more corners of the house at the weekend. I decided to risk it, on the supposition that everyone would already have shot their bolt going to the tip over the bank holiday and I would have a clear run. And the gods were with me, you know?

Ha.

I drove up to the entrance, which was remarkably clear. The reason why became apparent as I faced a wall of cones and a sign that pronounced that the tip was shut and could I please go to this other one? I had never heard of it and was tempted to go home, but then I remembered I had to take the cat to the V E T later for annual vaccinations and I couldn’t do that if I had a car load of cardboard.

I fired up the satnav and set off across the city. When. I got to the second tip, twenty minutes later I was met by another wall of cones and a notice that said you could only use it for commercial waste. I drove by, swearing under my breath, and just as I was about to give up, I saw a smaller sign that pointed to the tip entrance that members of the public could use. It did say that there would be a two hour wait, but I went on the off chance it would be less. Clearly, everyone else was as horrified as me by the sign about commercial use and didn’t decide to go home via uncharted territory and had missed the other sign completely. It meant I could sail in and out in no time.

It was a success in the end, but it took bloody ages and I hate driving any distance when the car is full of crap and you can’t use your mirrors properly. I’m not the best driver in the world but I do find I am much improved if I can actually see where I’m going and what might run into me.

I worked all afternoon while the wind and rain lashed around and then, because I had been good, I got to take Anorak to the V E T and wander about in a gale for twenty minutes while he was prodded and poked. Then I got to come home and cook dinner. And then I got to administer flea drops to three cats who very much hate me right now, and I haven’t even told Ronnie P that it’s his turn tomorrow and Derek might smirk, but she is going on Thursday.

I was going to do great things this evening, but instead I have dozed and read my book and chatted with friends and dozed some more. I shall do some French, which hopefully will have nothing to do with cats. We are very much into friends and neighbours who have high powered jobs in hospitals and spent a lot of time aux stats-unis at the moment, so I should be safe.

My hip packed up this afternoon. They’ve not been right for years but I manage and then I get a bit ‘leg disabled’ as the IT Crowd would have it from time to time. It’s probably due to too much cat wrangling and fern drawing and not enough walks in the fresh air where I could swap hip pain for pneumonia. Choices, choices.

I shall do a bit of yoga stretching before bed in the hope that it will click it back into place for tomorrow’s fun and frolics. If not, I shall adopt a limp and the perennial Leicester shout of ‘oohyableeder’ which these days can also be ‘oooyahfookah’ as we’re being modern and with it.

Monday 3rd May 2021

Bank holiday, so naturally it has been as cold as a witch’s tit all day and since mid afternoon it has been howling a gale and lashing with rain to boot.

I have felt grim for most of the day. The combination of lingering cold, sore joints and the after effects of yesterday’s jab have well and truly done me in.

Spring cleaning was put on hold. I feel this is fair as the weather belies the fact that it is, calendrically speaking, spring. I did clean the bathroom, but that was self preservation rather than for any jovial reason.

I made some headway with my fern picture and broke out into a small sketch of hydrangea heads, just to see if I could, and to give me a break from ferns. I’m pleased with both. I’ve posted the hydrangea drawing on Instagram. You’ll have to wait for the fern picture. I shall do a grand unveiling if I ever finish it.

I did a little bit of eBaying and wrapped the parcels I’ve sold in the last few days.

Some friends came round briefly in the afternoon for a cuppa. We did not make them sit in the garden in a rainstorm. We sat carefully in the lounge instead. It was lovely to see them. An hour’s socialising on top of my ailments left me absolutely wiped out and when they had gone I snuck back to bed with my hot water bottle. I woke up two hours later to find Derek folded up neatly like a bun next to me. She never sleeps on the bed. It’s not her scene. I’m not sure if she was concerned about me, or frightened of the weather. I didn’t make a big fuss about finding her there. I acted as if it were perfectly normal, and we shall never speak of it again.

She did, however, get a right telling off, when despite the fact that my cats have the Versailles of litter trays, all as clean and tidy as new pins and all in separate places in the house so they don’t have to be observed, even by each other, she decided to take a massive shit on the new carpet runner, right by the front door, for reasons which are still unclear. Possibly even to her. I should be grateful it wasn’t on the house carpet, but it is hard to be grateful when you’re on your hands and knees scrubbing shit out of the carpets. I expect it would test the patience of even the Dalai Lama.

I’d made so much jerk chicken for dinner last night, we had enough for dinner this evening as well, which solved the problem of what to do, and made me look domestically inclined without me even having to try. The very best sort of dinner.

I have drunk seventy seven cups of peony tea and eaten many biscuits today. I have finished reading Debbie Harry’s autobiography, which was great, and I am about to finish The Balkan Trilogy. I am feeling pretty accomplished. This is very good, as next week I have several days of visits to the VET and lots of admin to do. Jason’s tooth has taken a turn for the worst and he has to go back to the dentist and on top of all that, he has one of the most important weeks at work he has had in over a year. NO PRESSURE, LADS.

I shall go and put the kettle back on.

Sunday May 2nd 2021

An early start for me today. I had to nip off to the hospital to get my second Pfizer vaccination. Last time I went, there was virtually nobody there and I walked straight in. This time, there was a huge queue. It was really heartening to see so many people choosing to take up the vaccination. Everyone seemed so excited. Nobody really minded queueing round half the hospital, and even though the queues were long, they were moving swiftly, which really helped.

Mine was very efficiently administered by a lovely nurse called Elaine who did it so well I didn’t feel a thing. Now though, it aches like buggery. It will wear off in a couple of days no doubt.

Because I was up early and feeling organised, I got home and cleaned the entire of the downstairs of the house. It was very satisfying once it was finished. By the time I was out in the sunshine, watering the plants and uprooting more bloody sycamore saplings, Jason was back from golf. He spent half an hour up a ladder, arranging a loft space in our sort of massive lean to/garage/shed so that we could put away the boxes we need to keep. Then he got on with his mission to Vax all the carpets in the house into submission. It’s hard, slow work, but we are getting there. Well, he is. I am waving from the sidelines.

It was, if truth be told, rather a spring cleaning kind of day. I may do the first floor tomorrow. I may not. I may have peaked.

I made a marinade for the jerk chicken we were having for dinner and put the chicken into it with more than thirty minutes to spare. I think this was the thing I was proudest of achieving all day. I am absolutely rubbish at marinades. It’s not that I can’t make them, it’s just that I never leave myself enough time to actually marinade anything once I’ve gone to the bother of making it, and then it just becomes more of a particularly faffy sauce. It said to marinade the chicken for four hours and it actually got nearer five, that’s how competent I was today. Take that, marinade doubters!

Buoyed up by success, I went up to the office and twiddled about with listings and eBay. Tallulah saved me from myself by coming over later in the afternoon. It was nice to see her, and not just because I could legitimately have a break.

She is right in the thick of exams that aren’t exams, with revision that is very much revision. She has also managed to bag herself two jobs, so she is as busy as a bee and managing to juggle everything quite nicely. She leaves school forever in less than three weeks. It’s absolutely mind bending to me that my children are and almost are grown ups now.

Lots of people would be sad that they aren’t little any more, and sometimes I am, but I wouldn’t go back if you paid me gold bars to be honest. I found 24/7 parenting of small people extraordinarily difficult, as my early blog posts will attest. I miss some things, but the absolutely stellar human beings they are growing into are my favourite and my best. I am very, very lucky that they still want to hang out with me. They are, without any doubt at all, three of my very best favourite people to muck about with.

I cooked a magnificent dinner, which I attribute entirely to my efficiency with marinades and we watched Call the Midwife. I think I managed to get through this episode without crying, which is some kind of miracle and of course, is deserving of note in the blog annals. I practice French and did a little bit of my fern picture. My fingers are sore again today, not helped by the aching arm from my jab, so a little will have to suffice until tomorrow.

I am still spying on next door’s tulip. The parrot tulip is holding firm. All the others are nodding about in blowsy splendour and this is just hunkering down, looking full of promise, delivering little. I discussed it with our neighbour, Andrew. He says he is beginning to doubt it will ever unfurl. I think he may be right. I hope he isn’t. He is completely understanding of my need to take a photo of it every day though, just in case we witness magnificence. We need a record.

Saturday May 1st 2021

When I woke up this morning, Jason was chugging about the landing with the new Vax machine he bought. He does love a gadget. It appeared last week in about six different boxes and he has been piecing it together for days. Anyway, he loves it, which is good because the more explained to me how to work it, the less able I was to use cognitive thought in any useful way at all, let alone a Vax machine.

I think it’s very clever that they have made the whole contraption see through, so you can watch, with fascinated horror, all the lovely clean water, turning into mud soup before your very eyes. It’s compellingly awful and has made me more stalwart than ever in my belief that carpets are an abomination.

I was pleased to discover that Vax have moved on with their technology since a friend of mine bought one years ago and every time you went to see her, the house smelled of wet sheep and all the wallpaper was hanging off in curls. The carpets were beautifully clean though, to be fair.

Oscar was off at table tennis, pinging and ponging. Jason was whirring and swishing and the cats were arguing. I went to the kitchen and sat with my coffee for a bit. I really didn’t think I had anything else to add and I thought if I was quiet, Jason might not insist that I become his carpet cleaning assistant. The Debbie McGee of carpet washing, if you will.

I didn’t quite get away with it. As Jason dashed out the door to get Oscar, he issued me with a list of instructions to be fulfilled before his return, and I, acknowledging that I had got off fairly lightly in the grand scheme of things, hopped to it.

When Oscar got back, we poked toast in his face and turned around and took him to drama. He was going out with friends after drama, so Jason and I hot footed it over to our friends, Lizzie and Rich, who live over that way and spent the afternoon drinking tea and eating cake and catching up on months of news. Their daughter, Martha, is somehow and quite miraculously 8 months old and getting extremely good at jamming household objects into other household objects and waiting until you praise her as if she was Elon Musk conquering the moon. She’s an absolute joy.

I am still glad all my baby days are behind me, mind you. I might be mad, but I’m not bonkers. It’s much easier being a teenager’s chauffeur than it is being an interpreter, bum wiper and dribble cleaner.

I had a quiet evening, listening to Phoebe Bridger’s Punisher album on repeat and starting my big, fern artwork, which I haven’t had the brain space for until now.

It’s by no means finished. My hands are in agony again, because even though I haven’t done any serious gardening for some time now, I am clenching my fists in my sleep. Punching the nightmares in the nose, and it’s playing havoc with my hands. I am interspersing bouts of drawing with cups of tea and the odd chocolate button to keep my strength up and my hands soothed with the warmth.

I finished the Cecil Beaton book. It won’t be on my recommended reads list. I’m almost finished The Balkan Trilogy, which I have been stolidly reading since last November. That won’t be on the list either. I’m hoping to clear the decks of things I feel I must finish before we go to Hay in a fortnight, so I can take with me only things I actively want to read. It’s a plan.

Thank you for all your lovely messages about my mental health. It helps. I have been calmer today. A few rough patches, but nothing that made me want to run away from myself, which is an improvement.

Friday April 30th 2021

Still here.

Yesterday was a good day on the face of it, a bad day in the head of me. To all intents and purposes everything was fine. We had some sunshine. I did my usual pottering around, eBay, errands, post office.

I stalked the neighbour’s tulips. They have a fine array, one of which looks like it will be very spectacular once it bursts. I monitor it daily. I want to be there for the grand unveiling.

We had a takeaway for dinner. I ate cake.

My head was rather dark. I have noticed since the beginning of my cold, what I am thinking of as the grand unwinding is picking up pace. All the darker things that were put off by pills and necessity have been massing on the borders now that I have time to deal with them, and they are making their presence felt more and more.

I’ve written before about my mental health being a somewhat precarious balancing act.

One of the things I have learned to do over the years is what I believe is now called masking. I learned very quickly that in order to pass as normal, a lot of the things I was thinking had to be squashed down. The best analogy I can come up with is that I learned to put a slab on top of things. And then another. And then another. This meant that most of the time I was able to make it look like I was walking on solid ground, but I was actually balancing on an uneven surface, through which awful things would leak from time to time. Rather like playing the floor is lava, only for me, it would be more like tar, because once it started leaking, unless I was able to slab over the crack really quickly, it would start to ooze everywhere and stick to things, things that usually were normal and didn’t need me to practice masking, or path laying, until they suddenly did.

Eventually, I would get tired of having to build new floor all the time, and the exhaustion would take over and I would have to stop. Then there would be a time when there was no floor, and I would just flounder around in black, sticky, ooze, until someone chucked a stick my way and helped me drag myself out.

When I started taking my antidepressants last year, one of the amazing things to me was the ease with which real floor appeared and I could just wander around without having to take my own supply of floor tiles. It was ruddy marvellous.

It appears that the pills, although super, super helpful, are not, as my rational brain already knew but I was ignoring, miraculous.

The increase in migraines, joint pain (from clenching myself up tight, just in case), nightmares and now, in the last week, intrusive thoughts in the day, have meant that my tiles have well and truly begun to leak again, and with the advent of my thoughts eating into my days and making it so that I have to stop what I’m doing from time to time to go and distract myself, it is time to get the help I’ve been talking about but not getting.

Admitting it has been super helpful, although very hard. I really, really wanted to just be able to keep on taking the pills and not having to think. Of course, it isn’t that I’m not thinking, it’s that I’ve been having a holiday from having to deal with those thoughts. And very welcome and necessary it was too. There is no way I would have managed the last few months without that holiday, of that I am absolutely sure.

I had a day, the day of my haircut, when I thought that looking more like myself would definitely set me back on the path to feeling like myself again. It did for a few hours, and then the disparity between looking like my old self and feeling like my shadow self began to make itself apparent and I had a little panic, and then I spoke to people and I called someone. I am going to see them next week. I am already feeling calmer and more like a person who owns a bit of floor again.

So yesterday I took the evening off and mostly slept.

Today I have booked my appointment, eaten more cake, worked hard, stared at tulips, cooked dinner and bought something to try and tackle the awful limescale in the upstairs loo. I haven’t used it yet. That excitement will be reserved for the bank holiday weekend.

I know how to party.

Wednesday 28th April 2021

It’s nightmare central here this week. I woke up with a nightmare and fell asleep this afternoon and woke up after a nightmare. Still, much like sneezing and farts, it’s probably better out than in, no matter how unpleasant the aftermath.

I worked hard today. Lots of Ebay fiddling around and I have restarted my Depop in the hope that two platforms might sell things a little quicker. If nothing else it is keeping me out of mischief. I’m too bloody old for Depop but I shall try it again in the hope I’ve become secretly more modern while I wasn’t looking.

I had an annoyance with a buyer who has been messing me around for days and then finally messaged me this evening telling me she had no intention of buying the item at the price so I might as well re-list it. It was particularly annoying because she had made an offer on it, at a much lower price than it was listed at and I had accepted it. This happens quite a lot and it is something I find both rude and confusing. I just about understand that you might hit the buy it now button in a moment of over enthusiasm, but to actually bargain for something, get the price you asked for and then wait four days to tell me it’s too much money? Gah.

Anyway, that’s another one for the block list.

I popped to the post office to post the things to the people who did actually want to pay for things and had a little walk around the charity shops in the sunshine. I was so tired I had to come home and sleep and I only went out for about half an hour. My batteries are well and truly drained right now. I’m like the dormouse in the teapot, without the teapot and the cuteness, but definitely with the sleeping.

I didn’t need to water today because we finally got some rain last night. We had the beginnings of it yesterday but it threatened a lot and delivered virtually nothing, but it must have properly rained over night. The garden looks better for it and I am delighted I got to skip hose duty.

I made a proper dinner. We had sausage meat, rolled into tiny balls and sautéed with onions, leeks, garlic and sun dried tomato. I tossed it through pappardelle and scrunched about ten tonnes of pepper through it. I felt like the cook in Alice who uses too much pepper and has to beat the baby when it sneezes.

I’m having a very Lewis Carroll day today. No Jabberwocky to fight though, thank goodness.

Jason had to pop back to our old house today. Our postal redirect is not being properly carried out by the post office and the new owner messaged him to say we had some important looking letters, so he went to pick them up. I was rather worried about him, as he was gone for quite some time and I wondered if he was the one who got the Jabberwocky moment today, but no. She needed help with various quirks of the house which he very kindly obliged with. I’m not sure I would have been so nice. Mind you, I don’t know a lot about underfloor heating or circuits either, so even if I had wanted to be helpful I’m not sure I would have been.

It was interesting. He said that it was actually quite a relief to see the house again, because it made him realise that he didn’t miss it at all, and that he thinks of this as home now. I kind of see where he’s coming from. We moved so much at one point, I got used to making a home in all kinds of places, and then I got out of the habit and forgot that I could. Turns out I haven’t lost the knack, and apart from the kitchen, I don’t miss the old house much either.

I did French. Still blundering my way through. We are all about doors and windows this week, and nice neighbours. Everyone is tres gentil. Nobody is mechant. Perhaps that’s later on.

I watched Sewing Bee. I am obsessed by everything Raph makes. I would like him to make things for me, although this week’s garment of the week was well deserved. I am stunned by how Damien always looks like he’s going home in the first two challenges and then manages to hang on by the skin of his teeth in the third. I hope he appreciates how lucky he is, and how unlucky the others are. It was a great week this week. I love men’s tailoring and that plus the tension made it a winner in my book.

I followed up by catching up with Glow Up which is basically Sewing Bee but for make up artists. They had to do make up looks for the show Pose this week, which I was very excited about, because as we all know, I loves me a bit of drag/androgyny/vogue action. I was particularly excited to hear that they are shooting season three of Pose. I love everything about it. It’s so good. I stalk Billy Porter on Instagram I am so obsessed by his lewks.

No art is happening at the moment. I am so tired. My head is still full of ideas. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I shall return to it, renewed, refreshed and reinvigorated. I like to think I’m working on pieces subconsciously.

Or unconsciously.

Tuesday 27th April 2021

A day I have been waiting for for an awfully long time. I got my hair did today.

Jenn reminded me that the last time I had had it done was August last year in the brief window Leicester had when we were not quite as leprous as usual.

It had taken the time between then and now to grow like I was in some kind of hair growing competition. I showed my friends Kate and Rachel how long it had got when I visited a few weeks back and Kate commented that she hadn’t seen it that long since we were at university. I think that’s a fair estimate. Only when I was at university, I didn’t have a huge amount of grey hair and an Eighties, Berlin style line where my blonde bits were growing out.

I think I was last happy with it in December when the natural curl in it was still reasonably buoyant and made my hair work. Since then it has been growing longer and heavier and flatter but with a huge, bouffant bell at the bottom and I have been getting more and more depressed about it.

I know we should be all about the inside and the beauty of our true, unadorned selves. Sometimes, when the wind is in the right direction and I am feeling on top of things, this does indeed happen. But with one traumatic thing and another, I have felt increasingly older, fatter, greyer and wrinklier with no let up at all in recent weeks. None of this should bother me and were I perfect, it wouldn’t. But some days it’s very hard to muster up the enthusiasm to be perfect, or even aim for mid level competence if you’re me.

A friend once told me that when you feel like that, you should find something you like about yourself to focus on and start with that. I think I’d got down to the fact that I have quite long eyelashes this last few days. I think that’s called scraping the bottom of the barrel.

And today I became a lot more myself again.

The irony of this having to take about 4 hours of messing around with bleach and toner and four different types of hair dye and about an hour and a half of hacking and heating and primping is not lost on me. It appears that my true self is very much a product of e-numbers, chemicals and flattering lighting. And really, really good foundation.

It sounds very strange to say it, but having my hair done was absolutely exhausting. I did have to dash Oscar and Tallulah half way across the county to the dentist when Jenn had gone, and then shoot Tallulah home so that she could revise for her A level exam which isn’t really an A level exam but actually is, which is happening in the morning, which certainly didn’t help, but when I finally got home I actually cried I was so tired.

Maybe I’m like Samson after Delilah cut his hair off. All his strength was gone. Just like me. The modern heroine the revamped Bible has been waiting for. Instead of Delilah wielding scissors, it can be Jenn with a pair of GHDS.

Anyway, I am delighted to have hair that is striped in the best way and that it doesn’t weigh three extra stone. I am thrilled I don’t have to spend my time dragging it about all day and constantly be tying it up so it doesn’t get in my way. Just losing all that hair should do wonders for me feeling so chonksome. To celebrate, I had a large piece of cheesecake.

I might be quite stressed about my figure but I refuse point blank to do anything at all about it, except maybe think about going on a few more walks when the trauma of only being able to go on walks for ‘fun’ has worn off a bit.

I have done no work. I have done a soupçon of French. I have eaten the large tub of curry that Jenn gifted me when she arrived this morning, for my tea. For not only is she hair colour/cutter wizardess extraordinaire, she is a great and generous cook. I do not deserve her. But I will fight anyone who tries to make me part with her.

Monday 26th April 2021

A cold start to the day in which I had to put all my previously cast off jumpers back on. I spent the morning working, listing, photographing, amending, updating etc. I gave myself a bit of a break from clothes for a bit by sticking up a few ceramic pieces I have persuaded myself to part with.

I wrapped up my weekend sales and trundled off to the post office. I did some grocery shopping. I had to go back to the Polish supermarket for more cheese. It was calling to me across the plains. I popped into a charity shop and bought a swirly ceramic knob that looks like an onion dome and has no discernible purpose. It was pretty and it was 50p. These are things that will always lure me in.

I also went to my favourite second hand furniture warehouse for a poke around. I bought a very dusty old carpet runner which is threadbare and probably has the moth and is almost certainly 85% dog hair. I liked it though, and as my prediction about the cats moving their scratching ways elsewhere is coming to pass, it will nicely cover up the bit at the top of the stairs and it was a bargain for £55.

I nearly had an asthma attack just dragging it into the car so I really need to set about it at some point. I hoovered it vigorously when I got home but it needs fierceness. I will get around to it when I am feeling fierce, which may be quite soon, but also maybe never. It really depends.

Jason wasn’t too horrified by it. I think the price helped a lot.

I cooked a good chilli for dinner. I scrubbed a bathroom and watered the plants. I did yoga and French and watched Buffy.

For a woman who had to give herself a damn good talking to just to get out of bed this morning I have done well. I am tired today. My cold is getting better, which is marvellous. My mood is a bit out of sorts, so I am afraid this is a very dull inventory rather than any kind of great philosophical treaties or hilarious anecdote.

Did I tell you that Jason has fitted a new, electronic doorbell that you can answer with your phone? He fitted it at the weekend and has been training me in its ways. I am catastrophically bad at answering it until the person has given up and gone away and hurled parcels into next door’s hedge. It seems I am unable to get it to do the very thing he bought it for. Luckily he is still working from home and he can do it perfectly, so I am letting him take up the slack while I squeak and press all the wrong buttons or fail to notice anything has happened at all. He is very patient with me and hasn’t put me up for adoption yet. It’s why I’m making more effort with dinner. I don’t want to go to an orphanage because I can’t work the doorbell.