Root and Branch

Blogging is a good discipline when your head, as my friend Squirrel says, is a bit ‘in the wok’. It makes you sit and assess your situation. It forces you to shape phrases out of the tangle of your every day life. It reminds you on bad days that not everything is bad. On good days it is a celebration.  On really bad days it allows you to sift through the mess of feelings rioting through your brain and get something coherent out of it.

I’ve always been a fan of the power of narrative.

My head, at the moment, is pretty uppy downy. I have not sobbed at the breakfast table for a few days, which is a positive sign. On the other hand, I am not tripping the light fantastic on a cloud of pink euphoria, while angels trumpet about me.

Given that my life is rather domestic and mundane, this is probably a healthy sign. It would be troubling if I came over all ecstatic at the sight of yet another mountain of laundry. It is a little sad however, when things are going well and I have to muster up enthusiasm where there is none. I know there should be, in ordinary circumstances I would be thrilled, but when this bit of the black dog is on me I often feel like I’ve had an anaesthetic. All that occurs is a kind of dull twanging of some sort of muscle memory that tells me I should be feeling terrific.

This is not to say that it is like this all the time. Hence the uppish, downish nature of things. It’s pretty hard to predict how I’m going to feel about things. In these circumstances I’m trying to accept that I am where I am (breaks into some kind of drag queen big song and dance routine), and that it will all right itself shortly.

In the meantime, some of the things that have been happening:

I have managed to open a tin of tomatoes so spectacularly badly this morning that I actually shot myself in the eye with a glob of tomato. Turns out tomato in the eye stings quite a bit.

I had another dream about Strictly Come Dancing. I do not watch Strictly. I eschew Strictly with a firm hand. Bring back Angela Rippon and the Peggy Spence Latin American Ballroom team from Penge, that’s what I say. Nevertheless, I do quite regularly dream about Strictly. I find this quite troubling.

I watched Caitlin Moran’s sitcom Raised By Wolves last night. It was rather funny. It was also filthy rude. Tallulah wants to watch it. I think NO. That girl does not need any ideas implanting in her fertile and fiendish mind any earlier than absolutely necessary.

Oscar tripped over and face planted on a bench yesterday lunch time at school. I was in school all day, so he was presented to me, looking rather wan with a very sore nose. He smacked into the bench with the bridge of it, it transpires. I felt rather sorry for him until I asked him what he tripped over. He looked incredibly sheepish and then said in a very small voice (also not looking at me): ‘I tripped over a twig.’

It was at this point that I disgraced myself utterly by rolling around on the library floor going; ‘Bwahahahahahaha’ until tears rolled down my cheeks.  As the day went on, his story became more manly, until when he got home he told his dad he tripped over a ‘large branch.’

He is fine. By the way. Which is good. Oscar has a long and tragic history of landing face first onto things. We have picked soil out of his nose, leaves out of his nose, teeth out of his nose. Mostly it is a wonder that he is a) as handsome as he is, and b) he has any face left at all. I wish he would learn to break his fall with his arms, or preferably another child.

Yesterday afternoon I was in school listening to some year fives read to me. I was impressed by one child, who after we had finished reading together, shook my hand and said: ‘It was a pleasure doing business with you.’


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