Tuesday March 2nd 2021

In good news, Jason has sawn up the hot tub today. It is now in various chunks all over the decking, waiting until tomorrow when we can borrow my dad’s car and spend the day hauling it to the tip. It seems outrageous that we ended up having to destroy it, but the person who said they wanted it, couldn’t figure out a way to get it out of the garden without bankrupting himself and when he and Jason spent two days taking it to pieces to discover this, they also found parts of it were rotten and the motor was seized. Even a chap from a scrap yard wanted us to pay him £400 to take it away. It is the white elephant of this house and always has been. More like the brown toad, to be honest.

Still, now the new owner has a half built fence, a large patch of balding hedge and a huge hole in the decking instead of a hot tub, and much good may it do her. I have muttered dire imprecations.

I have spent my day, much like all my others in a Waiting for Godot’esque cycle of sorting, packing and wrapping. After Jason had chopped up the hot tub he had the bit between his teeth, so late afternoon was spent reorganising all the things we had already wrapped and packed into a more pleasing Tetris style so that we can still go about our daily business without being hemmed in on all sides by walls of boxes.

Just as we had finished rearranging everything for the nine hundredth time, the phone rang. It was the letting agent to let us know that the owner of the house we were supposed to be renting now cannot move out on the date he said he could and which we had agreed on. He can’t now move out until the first or possibly second week in April. Could we possibly delay things at our end?

The answer to this, of course, is no. We have exchanged. Our completion date is legally binding. It was a fucking nightmare to get that date in the first place and yesterday we booked and paid for the removal firm for the 25th and 26th of this month.

We had choices. We went and looked at what was available on Rightmove. As predicted, the pickings are increasingly slim and the ones that we need in terms of size are even more expensive and even further away. We could do it, but it would mean starting again and lots of them now have a later availability date so we would achieve nothing except more uncertainty and paperwork with a possibly similar outcome.

Our other option is to go with what we have, put our things in store and move in with my mum and dad in the interim, as they still don’t have any dates for anything at all and their entire chain has gone silent, so who the hell knows when they will move now?

This is what we decided on after a lot of agonising and swearing and a lot of sweating at all the extra expense. Jason will call the agent tomorrow.

We were so heartily fucked off by all of the above that we had another curry for tea and watched back to back episodes of 30 Rock for want of anything more cheering to do.

I did yoga. I drank lots of tea. I am reading a book of letters between Vita Sackville West and Virginia Woolf. They are very soothing. I sympathise with Virginia, who spends a lot of time lurching from one illness to another and in between that worrying about her choice of hats and how annoying it is that she thinks she likes to go to parties and see people, but when she gets there she finds them intensely stressful. Also, they only magnify her hat based concerns. Vita has much bigger fish to fry. Her husband keeps having to go to Persia to organise jubilees and she trails after him, writing from the road where she gets held up by bandits and trapped in snow filled passes. She keeps accidentally purchasing dogs as she goes, which is a thing that could happen to a person seized upon by bandits in the mountains a lot. From her accounts I don’t think any of them are useful dogs in terms of chewing off the leg of assailants, but they have nice ears and are distracting in times of peril.

I think I should count my blessings that it was very easy to go up to London and eat in nice restaurants with Jason when he worked in London last year. At no point did I have to surround myself with livestock and rub goose grease on my lower limbs to stop myself from freezing to death. Mind you, when Vita gets to Persia she has to help re-decorate palaces and deal with too many raw emeralds. There are up sides. I could do with a palace at the moment. Some raw emeralds wouldn’t go amiss either.

Monday 1st March 2021

I’m feeling quite a bit better today. This, despite the fact that it is Monday and the weather is brutally cold again. I staggered out the house to go to the post office at half past four, but spent the rest of the day indoors, wrapped up warm and wrapping, wrapping, ever wrapping.

Actually, I spent most of the day listing things on eBay, trying to finagle the mountain of things downstairs into order so that I can start bringing all my clothes, which are still in a giant heap on the bedroom floor, down to be sorted, ironed, mended etc. It’s like a very boring conveyor belt. Not like the one on The Generation Game with a Teasmaid and a cuddly toy. Although having dreamed that a Teasmaid would be very exotic and exciting for years, when I finally got to use one in my teens I realised what an utter disappointment they were. You might as well just have a kettle by the bed.

Why is it that things that are supposed to be brilliant machines very rarely turn out to be brilliant machines? I remember being utterly unimpressed by my first experience of an electric toothbrush because you still had to actually hold it in your mouth and wiggle it around. As far as I was concerned if it didn’t drive out of the bathroom cabinet, prize your lips open, zoom about in your mouth and then drive itself back, it wasn’t an electric toothbrush. It was a mockery of a sham. Ditto a Teasmaid.

In fact the only machine that has ever really lived up to its promise as far as I am concerned is a toastie maker. And only then if someone else cleans it for me. A Breville never disappoints. Although I’d like a massive one. I have mentioned in the past that I would like to make a toasted sandwich maker out of a Corby trouser press and I’m only disappointed that someone else hasn’t done it by now. It would be epic.

I have wrapped another room’s worth of pictures, slicing my finger quite impressively when the glass fell out of one frame and I ‘caught’ it. I have ironed a lot of things for a woman who eschews ironing with a firm hand. I have cooked a dinner, given away some things and done some yoga. This is not bad for a Monday. I am hoping for more of the same but without injury tomorrow.

Now I really wanted a toasted sandwich.

Sunday 28th February 2021

Another day, another packing box to wrangle. I have nearly finished wrapping all the pictures upstairs now. There are still loads downstairs to wrap, but it’s not stopping me scouring eBay when I get too stressed by everything and decide to therapeutically look at pottery and artworks. I am officially insane. Absolutely barking. This is not news. Merely a reiterated observation.

I went for a COVID test this morning as I was still feeling crappy and Leicester is outdoing itself by having the third highest infection rate in the country. I have a theory that most people in the city have given up trying due to the fact that we have been in chokey longer and deeper than anyone else in the country. I also have a theory that we will never get out of chokey until the last Leicester resident dies of COVID or old age, whichever comes first. When we get to our new place I shall commence digging a tunnel with a spoon. I would do it here but I don’t have time. Plus the new place is much nearer the county boundary. I shall be out quicker there. Apparently there is a wildlife ‘corridor’ outside the garden, I can tunnel to that and hitch a ride on the back of a badger. I shall be on the last freedom badger out of nowhere city.

I do know what a wildlife corridor is in actual, real life, but I am enjoying imagining it a bit like a corridor in school, where a load of delinquent rabbits that should be in algebra all pretend they need a wee at the same time and just hang around looking sullen with their ties done up backwards.

I got my results back, by the way. I do not have COVID. I have box packer’s lung or something I suspect.

I had a small, but perfectly formed, nervous breakdown after lunch today. I just felt so overwhelmed by the enormity of everything that has to be done and the fact that due to everything being closed, there really isn’t anywhere to get away from things. And no. I did not want to go for a fucking walk. Even though it was sunny. I am so sick of walking, with Pokemon or without, with podcasts or without. I am just so bored. The only place I want to walk is to Selfridges or Liberty or anywhere that is not the bloody countryside. I don’t care if I never see a hedge again. Parks can fuck right off too. I love a spring bulb as much as the next person but one can have too many crocuses (croci?).

Jason drove me to Morrison’s for lack of anything else to do. We bought a roast chicken and nine thousand treats. We came home and watched crap telly all afternoon, stuffing ourselves to the gills. Then we had a nap. After that I confess that I felt quite a lot better. So I ate some more chicken and watched Pottery Throwdown.

I did yoga. Adriene and her dog (and my anti depressants) are the only things standing between me and hurling myself off a cliff at the moment.

I am still watching Call My Agent. It is excellent. Dry and funny without trying too hard. It’s very French. Every time they have a disaster, they lock themselves in an office, smoke fags and drink whiskey. They don’t drag themselves around, making pots of tea and moaning. They shout ‘Putain!’ and ‘Merde!’ and do an inordinate amount of snogging for people with glass walled offices. All the women wear skinny jeans and boots and still manage to look ineffably chic. They also know how to have a proper lunch. They do not pop out to ‘Pret’ and I think they would probably take to the whiskey and fags if someone offered them a jacket spud or a packet of Frazzles. If you have to live a dramatic life, I think it would be far more fun to live it in French. Maybe that’s what I’m doing wrong. I’m just not being French enough. They’d never go to Morrisons to cheer themselves up and follow it up with a brisk walk in the park. If we were still in the EU I’d move there.

I’m reading a brilliant novel that my friend Emma recommended. It’s called Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason. If you love Fleabag you will love it. It’s dark and sad and extremely funny, not in a ha ha way though. The writing is so clever and beautiful and considering I have the attention span of a flea at the moment, I am bombing through it. It’s already available on Kindle. You should get it. I feel it will be one of top ten reads of 2021 already.

In terms of music, I am compulsively listening to Taylor Swift at the moment. Those of you who have been following this blog for years will know that there was a time in my life when I would have paid you if you had promised me that I would never have to listen to Taylor Swift ever again. Tallulah had a prolonged and obsessive love for Taylor in her early years. She used to quiz us over dinner with regard to Taylor’s life and works and if you didn’t know the names of her cats and that Gray’s Anatomy was her favourite show, she wouldn’t speak to you for a week. It was intense and extremely distressing. Having said all this, I started to come around to Taylor about 18 months ago and I am absolutely as obsessed as my daughter with her two albums, Folklore and Evermore. I find them very soothing. I still can’t remember the name of her cats though.

Saturday 27th February 2021

I still feel pretty awful today. Maybe I don’t have a migraine, maybe it’s a cold. Maybe it’s the plague. About the only thing it probably isn’t at this stage is COVID thanks to the wonders of my Pfizerization. Whatever it is, it’s making me feel absolutely groggy and grey. I feel like I’m operating at about 30% energy, which is a shame because I need about 190% energy at the moment.

No matter. We bugger on. Time and tide and house moving waits for no man.

There was a lot of hot tub shenanigans today. It is still looming in the garden in ever increasing parts. I ignored it for most of the day. I only get involved with the hot tub when forced. It’s a stupid thing. I did administer first aid when Jason went forwards off the steps and crashed onto the decking. He’s got scunned knees and elbows and is feeling rather sorry for himself. He will look like a proper school boy when it all starts to scab over.

I took down, cleaned and wrapped lots of pictures. There’s still bloody hundreds left to go. My own, hoarding fault. I sorted out all my clothes because I was so bored of pictures, I needed a break. There is now a mountain of things to go on eBay. The girls came round to pick some things up and I locked them in my bedroom with a bin bag and didn’t let them out until they had filled it. It made no discernible dent in the mountain. And if you look in my clothes closet, you can’t tell I’ve taken anything out at all. If the worst comes to the worst I shall turn it all into bunting. Or wear it all and become like an off season, Santa.

Due to all the working, dinner went by the wayside. I ate two, cold potato waffles and half a tub of tarka dhal left over from yesterday. If I do all this only to get scurvy I shall only have myself to blame. I need to start eating things with vitamin content, stat.

I did yoga, even though I felt awful. I was so stiff I really needed to stretch. It helped, although I was so exhausted afterwards I felt like I’d done about six hours worth instead of half an hour’s worth.

I’m sloping off to watch telly and drink lots of tea. I shall fashion blinkers and try not to look at all the things that still need doing. It’s the best way.

Friday 26th February 2021

I woke up feeling a bit spaced out. I went to upload my artwork for Grayson’s Art Club and realised that I have been sending 3 minute videos instead of 2 minute videos up to this point, so everything I have submitted won’t have even made the first cut. I was so annoyed with myself. It was because it says 3 photos and one, 2 minute video and I just deleted the 2. I was so fed up. Nevertheless I submitted this week’s piece with the correct amount of video attached.

At least I have made artworks I’m happy with, which is the main thing. Or will be, when I get over myself.

I went to the post office and then headed over to mum and dad’s where I spent the day doing very similar chores to when I’m at home. Namely dismantling things, packing things, listing things, binning things. My dad headed off to mine to lend Jason his car so we could take half the hot tub to the tip. The new owner doesn’t want it and it’s too huge for us to sell. We didn’t buy it. It came with the house and we have never used it in the nine years we’ve lived here. Mostly it has existed for us to store random bits of wood in and for the cats to leap in and out of. I am not sure why the new owner can’t ignore it like we did. The garden is vast and the hot tub sits inconspicuously in one corner, but she made it a condition of exchange that it went, so it goes. It has, obviously, been a massive pain in the hole ever since. I followed on with mum when we had finished up and arrived just in time to load two lots of dismantled hot tub into the car and go to the tip as well. I was a bit annoyed I hadn’t timed things better, but today was not my day for timing. Instead felt lucky I had yesterday off as tomorrow and Sunday will be more of the same.

Mum and dad stayed for dinner and we had curry from my favourite takeaway, which was delicious.

After they had gone I took to the sofa as the reason I had been feeling spaced out and under the weather all day manifested in my first migraine for a very long time. I slept for a couple of hours and then attempted to watch Grayson’s Art Club, except that my All4 was playing up. It was very clear that there was to be no art appreciation for me today.

Nor did I win either of the things I put cheeky bids on on eBay, even when I upped my bids to serious ones.

No yoga either, because although my body is screaming out for a good stretch to work out the kinks of a day spent manhandling furniture, my head is not really in the mood to be hanging upside down right now.

It has been a day of small frustrations and large head pains. Despite this I managed to get a lot done, which surely deserves some sort of commendation. Possibly a letter from the queen. Something smaller maybe, perhaps a post it with a well done from a minor, disgraced royal. There are plenty to choose from.

Thursday 25th February 2021

I took the day off from packing today. It was a real treat. I spent the entire day making my art project to submit for Grayson’s ‘work’ themed show. As ever, my ambition and idea was far bigger than my capability but I gave it a go anyway. It took all day and half the evening but I am happy with the results and frankly, it was better than filling another box.

Jason took over the packing mantle in between work calls, so stuff is still getting done and we got the call to say our application has been completed and approved. We go next Friday to sign the contract. It is such a relief. We are inching closer and closer to the finish line.

Thank God.

I did manage to stir myself to cook dinner. I felt that I ought to contribute in some way. Feeding people is always a good way to curry favour.

I was so delighted that I finished my artwork before four in the morning. That’s not something I’m keen to repeat. As a student I regularly used to pull all nighters. Some of my best work was achieved with the help of Pro Plus chased down with coffee and executed at three in the morning, after I got back from the bar. These days it makes me tired just thinking about it.

Yoga was achieved this evening. Anorak decided to help me and jumped off the armchair at key points to wander backwards and forwards under my arm, or potter around under my table pose. He’s very lucky my core is stronger than it used to be or he would probably be a lot flatter now.

I loved Drag Race this week. I am absolutely in love with Tayce’s pinstripe dungarees and they weren’t even a runway look. I am growing to love Bimini and A’Whora is getting more interesting by the week. I’m not going to spoil it in case you are watching and haven’t seen it yet, but I’m delighted the person who went home was eliminated. I am loving the fact that it’s anyone’s game for the crown still.

I’m sorry my posts are so mundane at the moment. Variety is the spice of life but there is no variety, hence no spice.

Wednesday 24th February 2021

A little less manic today.

I managed to flea drop all the cats and only sustained one, small laceration when Anorak dug his claws into my thighs in protest. I think that’s fair. If someone leapt on me from behind a pillar in the kitchen and pinned me to the floor with a badly executed half nelson, I’d probably do the same. I’m glad I did get them done, despite injury because Jason went to lock the back door earlier and watched a badger disappear into the badger hole, followed by Ronnie. If he comes out alive, he will probably be hopping with fleas.

I wonder, does Chris Packham spend half his life removing fleas from his person and home? I bet he doesn’t have carpets.

Unsurprisingly, I have been rather tired today. I managed all the same things as yesterday but in smaller amounts and with less intensity. I also fitted in a walk with Kim this afternoon. It was rather windswept but good. We stuck to the roads this time as last week we went off piste and I ended up ankle deep in quagmire.

I filled out a questionnaire for the COVID study I’ve been doing since time immemorial. Today they wanted to know about my mental health. Sadly, or happily there wasn’t a lot of room for me to freestyle. It was a series of questions with the ‘a lot’ ‘a bit’ ‘the same’ etc. It wanted to know if I have been outdoors more. I mean, hasn’t everyone except those who are full on shielding? I mean there isn’t anywhere else to go but outdoors is there? It wanted to know if it had helped my mood. I think it’s fair to say that the answer to that is a resounding no.

When I was deep in the throes of horrific gynae stuff I did an interview with a London radio station about women who suffer terrible periods. The dj was a man. He kept suggesting to me, and to the two women who were interviewed alongside me, that if we just went out for a healthful jog we would all feel much better. We all tried to explain that bleeding out of our earholes whilst vomiting and going blind, precluded the ‘exercise is good for what ails ya,’ school of thought. I feel very much this way about my mental health. I appreciate that other people’s mental health is clearly helped hugely by getting outside in all weathers and embracing trees up hill and down dale, but if there is anything that lockdown has taught me, it is that it is utterly bollocks as far as my mental health is concerned.

We still haven’t heard back about the house rental. Our application is ‘in process.’ I am choosing to feel optimistic about this, given the alternative.

The stamp duty window got extended today. No earthly use for us at this point. Even though it seemed the logical thing to happen, we weren’t taking any chances on this government doing anything remotely logical and we couldn’t afford to wait, so we are still moving out of here on the 26th March, come hell or high water. Both of which are options at this stage.

Day two of Home with Adriene today. I came to it later than normal, due to the fact that Oscar had rolled himself up in a blanket and fallen asleep on the rug like a giant, furry sausage. It seemed a shame to wake him. Jason did it eventually, but not until he had filmed himself dangling a tape measure over his face and trying to get it up his nose. I mean, what is the actual point of having children in the first place if you can’t do that to them?

Tuesday 23rd February 2021

If a day could be a vampire, it would be this day. It has depleted my energy at every step of the way. Every single thing I attempted to do today took forty million times longer than it would on a normal, non vampiric day. Every job that was going to be straightforward either went wrong and had to be redone, or had hidden clauses that demanded seventeen other things to do before the first thing could be finished. It was the kind of day that took me back to the coal face of parenting three small children, wearing gardening gloves and pyjamas, with jam in my hair and an inability to form entire words.

Despite this, I have de-flead my house. I have ordered the cat’s flea drops which must be picked up tomorrow (at the crack of dawn, so that I do not have to de-flea my house again). I have packed boxes and wrapped paintings. I have put things on eBay and sold things and gone to the post office. I have emptied half a filing cabinet full of twenty years worth of paperwork and organised it into one, small box file, which, if lost will cause my entire world to unravel. I have dealt with hideous, administrative type phone calls with weird, techno hold music and people who read scripts on the other end. I have done this without throwing my phone at the wall and running away to join a circus. I have sorted out the blocked shower drain and what’s more, remembered to do it before I had a shower and had to evacuate the bathroom due to flooding.

I also made a superb tea, which nobody else but me wanted to eat so I got to eat it all myself, on my own. It was absolute bliss and I have no regrets whatsoever.

I have done my yoga. I didn’t want to do my yoga today so I am very proud that I did it, and slightly amazed that I actually really enjoyed it. I am doing the Home, 30 day programme with Adriene now. Luckily for me, day one is very much about breaking you in gently and involved lots of stretching and lots of breathing, both of which I very much needed to do after the day I had had.

I have also lost something someone bought and had to refund them. It was lost along with several other things, all of which I had listed and then had to un-list, because I very much suspect that those things are now in the back of a bin lorry or in a skip. I have trodden on poor Anorak’s tail (he has only just forgiven me). I have forgotten the word for screwdriver on three, separate occasions. I have nodded off in the armchair three times. The screwdriver and the snoozing were not related. I have cried over some of the paperwork that I had to go through (my divorce papers and Tallulah’s CAMHS diagnosis papers in particular. N.B. I cried over the divorce papers because it was stressful, not because I was sad to get divorced. It could not have come soon enough, frankly.) It has been a ride.

I am hoping tomorrow will feature less flea related content and less labyrinthine things to be done. Also more snacks.

Monday 22nd February 2021

There is a proverb about never putting off until tomorrow what you can do today. On Friday I meant to go to the vet and pick up the cat’s flea treatment and I forgot. I also forgot today. This evening whilst doing yoga, I got flea bites on my ankles and now I hate the world. Tomorrow I shall have every incentive to get up and go and get the flea drops and I shall be spending much of the rest of the day with a hoover, my Indorex spray and the washing machine on a constant boil. As it is I have already had a scalding hot shower, hoovered the rug and sprayed it, twice, and pulled apart the sofa and armchair and hoovered and sprayed them too. Tomorrow I will boil everything in oil for hours and ingest evil chemicals if it means getting rid of the little buggers. I hate them.

It’s because the weather is warmer and all the felines are getting frisky, and that’s good. I like that about the weather and the felines. I just wish they wouldn’t bring all their unwanted friends in with them.

And that I was more organised and had actually done my chores on Friday. I am an arse.

Up early today to go and see another rental house. I hated it. Jason was more optimistic. We had an argument about it on the way home. Please God let the application for the house we all liked go through. I’ll put up with flea bites if it means I can have that house and not have to look at any more of the bloody things.

By eleven o’clock we had done house, argument, supermarket and post office. I got home and packed away the cookery books I had sorted last week, as there was now space to store the boxes. I packed up two boxes of pictures. I then stuck a load of things on eBay.

In the afternoon I stomped around the park with Jenn. We were both in a fairly bad mood so we cheered each other up by bitching and moaning and working up a good head of steam. On the way home I had to go to the supermarket and the post office again.

I put a load more things on eBay. Oscar is back at school. I say school. He’s back doing lessons. As he went out for his walk I realised I had forgotten a vital ingredient for dinner, again. He incorporated getting it into his walk.

Jason and I visited mum and dad this evening. Their sale is nearing completion and we have to figure out the logistics of moving both our households into one house and not doing it all at the same time because we are not super human.

To cheer myself up, I put a couple of bids on things on eBay because I can’t get drunk. I’m clumsy enough as it is without the addition of gin. As I’m packing, I might as well sling a few more things in on top.

Sunday 21st February 2021

I did not get up until 11.30 today. I am sneaking back to the old ways on the days when I can, just to keep my hand in. I’d hate to lose my sloth of the month badge.

Sorting, clearing, packing, on rotation today. Because we were being virtuous in all other ways, our diet went to the wall and we had McDonald’s for lunch. I followed this up with some crisp breads and a chocolate orange for dinner. Health, Health, Health. That’s my motto.

No walk today, but yoga continues. I have nearly finished my second thirty days of Adriene. I’d say, if you were wanting to start somewhere, this latest thirty day programme I just did, called Breath, was much easier to follow than the first one I did. Tomorrow is my last day of it and then I plan to find another one and keep going. You can tell the yoga is helping when you spend all day long heaving boxes full of crap up and down stairs and your knees don’t sound like pistol shots on every step.

I have now washed, sorted and packed all my ornaments of which there are a fuck tonne. I thought I would probably shed a fair few as I washed and sorted. Instead I kept going ‘ahh! I’m so glad that’s mine.’ So I have kept almost everything. I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t a crime to be a hoarder. It’s a lifestyle choice.

Jason has been sorting out his side of the office. It’s mostly paper, wires, paper, more wires, old phones, wires, old hard drives, wires and wires.

I scrubbed all the bathrooms today and sorted out what’s in them. I also changed our bed sheets this weekend, because they were beginning to resemble Tracey Emin’s art installation. In amongst all the boxes are pockets of cleanliness and calm.

I sold some things, which is good, because my pile of things to be listed grows ever weirder and bigger.

I’ve got a few minor things to pack and sort in the next week and then, once I’ve done that and listed everything that’s currently waiting for eBay I have the monster jobs of my clothes and my books to organise. I’m slightly dreading it to be honest. I did a major overhaul of my books last autumn, but there are still loads, and my clothes are out of control. Still, it will be good to get it done and I am a great believer in sorting and cleaning being a holistic process. You can start from the outside in or the inside out, it doesn’t really matter. The energy shifts just the same.

I’m not mentioning my paintings. Not my own artwork, all the stuff on the walls. Of which there is a huge amount. I will get round to that.

Like I have any choice in the matter.

I also made a teeny, weeny start on my potential next art project. Aren’t I good?