What ails me

I am going slightly crazy. This is due to the fact that I am in the throes of editing something I have been writing for the last six months. I have barely left the house for the last four days, and as I read paragraphs I once thought were good and now realise are absolute bobbins, I am finding it difficult to hang on to my sanity.

I suspect, in reality, where other people live –  the paragraphs are neither the work of an unsung genius, nor bobbins, but somewhere in the middle, which is actually fair enough, but you know, it’s hard to see that right now. I’ve got to that point which is very like if you say the word banana ten times it starts to sound even more preposterous and alien than it actually is.

Wildlife is also oppressive. Thoughts of Chris Packham and how he would ‘love this’, are not working for me anymore.

I still have wasps merrily wasping about in the roof line above my bedroom window. They are staying outside at the moment, which is why they are still here and not being fumigated by a man called Steve with a dubious white van and fourteen gallons of paraffin. Nevertheless, as I watch them doing whatever the hell it is that wasps do, apart from irritate the living shit out of people and sting them just because they can, I find myself feeling hemmed in by them.

Ditto the extraordinary number of fruit flies which seem to be massing in my kitchen. I tried throwing all the tired and sad fruit away and buying new, happy, perky fruit. We have tried eating the fruit faster, but it is to no avail. They are colonising the kitchen, and while they are not exactly a bother, and live for approximately a nanosecond, making it pointless to kill them with the wasp loofah, they’re still annoying.

Domestically the house is festooned with the detritus of children’s lives. I found a BuildaBear light sabre on the draining board this morning. I pulled a chair out to sit at the dining room table and a small blizzard of bits of chopped and discarded paper fell onto the floor. I believe this is the remains of ‘homework’. There are six pairs of muddy Doc Martens making an obstacle course in the hall, none of them mine. Oscar’s sunglasses were in the cutlery drawer yesterday.

I am currently dreaming of minimalism, or a ruddy great skip on the drive.

I am also irritated by the fact that it is October. I don’t have time for it to be October. I’ve barely got to grips with September and it’s now gone. Oscar’s birthday is in two weeks and I have done absolutely nothing, except look at his list and weep into my empty purse. It is also half term that week. Even though they have only just gone back to school.

Don’t even mention the ‘C’ word to me. I had to resist stabbing someone in the eye with a fork who was merrily telling me how they’d already got their shopping done. OH FUCK OFF. YOU MAKE ME TIRED. is what I wanted to say, over their prone body, after the stabbing. I didn’t. I just smiled in that rictus like way and hoped they might trip over a loose paving stone on the way home.

After writing all this down, I am feeling marginally more the thing. I diagnose cabin fever. I am about to take the children to the library, and then on to the bakery, where I will sit over a bucket of coffee and a piece of cake the size of France. After that, everything will be better, even if it’s all still exactly the same when I get back.

14 responses to “What ails me

  1. Oh, I hear you about the kids’ detritus. As my husband The Author just said, “Why is there a quarter of a Dorito on a plastic chair here [on the kitchen counter]?”

  2. Oh Katyboo
    I went to lunch with a friend t’other day. Hadn’t seen said friend, let’s call her Liz, since before the referendum. So we went to lunch and caught up. She had done this over summer, I had done that, her son had got these grades in the GCSE mine had got those. Her daughter was off on a gap year – yes people apparently still do those! And then the conversation turned to Brexit, the referendum, et al. She is a staunch Remainer, I am a staunch Remainer, but the difference is I am on Facebook. I have joined a lot of groups on Facebook. “We are the 48%”, “March for Europe” (I have marched twice now for Europe and I will be marching again tomorrow in Birmingham), “Sixteen Million and Rising”, “Vote for Europe”, just to name 4 and we discuss and debate between us and share articles and discuss and debate some more. We live in a bubble of warm support trying to get through the confusion of what May is doing, what Johnson is saying ffs what Fox is saying. There is a feeling that something is happening, that people are getting together that there is a chance that this nightmare can be overturned before it is too late and jobs are lost. But my friend Liz has just turned to acceptance that Brexit is what is happening, that the government will decide hard or soft, that the people do not have any say anymore having given their say on the 23rd of June. It is 100 days today since the dreadful result based on lies and deceit and she sits there and accepts that there is nothing more we can do.
    So I went home from my lovely get together with my lovely friend sad because we do live in these social media bubbles now that show a reality different to the one outside. I was sad because the 16.1 million are not unified as one voice to say “hey not in my name you don’t” and we don’t seem to be getting the message out to these people that there is a way to stop the madness. There is opposition. Democracy cries out for opposition. We may not be in Parliament on the benches but we are here trying to oppose something that was only a referendum, not an election. It is not the will of a huge majority of the people even though it is being sold that way in the media. Only 37% of the electorate chose to Leave, 35% chose to stay, 28% didn’t chose to Leave or Stay but they definitely didn’t chose Hard Brexit. Of the 37%, there are many many many people I have come across on message threads who are confused because they didn’t vote to stop the immigration. They like the immigrants. They chose Leave to get “their country back” something about sovereignty. So May isn’t speaking for all the Brexiteers when she says the people have spoken and they want to stop immigration.
    So I write these two paragraphs to you because through all the reading of the GBBO which I understand you love, (remembering I am coeliac and am quite confused by the idea of prime tv being used to sell gluten 🙂 ), and which I have enjoyed because I think you are a great writer, I am not sure you are aware that there are things that can be done before it is too late. That people are out here in anti Brexit land trying to oppose, trying to be the opposition to an idea that is so huge and so tumultuous to this country.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling the struggle. I absolutely know that there is stuff out there. I too am part of the 48% group and other groups. I get constant mails from various petitions I’ve signed and bodies I’ve signed up to. I also follow Jack of Kent’s blog/twitter feed for a balanced, clear minded picture of what’s going on. I know all about the marches etc too, even though I haven’t been able to go on any of them. I’m not burying my head in the sand and I’m not accepting the outcome, don’t worry.

      On the other hand, I don’t write about everything I do on the blog, because the blog is not a political blog. It’s an ‘I’m trying to stay sane blog,’ and what my sanity needs dictates what I write about. It’s been that way for ten years and Brexit or no Brexit it’s not going to change it, because I have a life, a husband and three children and every day I need to get up and get through the day and not give up, and there have been days, in the past, when giving up was as good as it got. The blog stops that happening, which is why, much as people over the years have wanted me to turn it into this or that, it remains and will continue to remain what it is, which is the thing that allows me to live and function in the way I want to.

      And while I’m keeping up with Brexit news I am also campaigning actively to save the NHS, to stop more GP surgeries in my city closing, to start a campaign for women to talk about menstruation freely.

      I do what I can, where I can. I discuss these things with people. I choose carefully where I put my time and energy, learning through previous campaigns that it does nobody any favours if you spread yourself too thinly, and/or burn out.

      Chin up. We change people most when we act with conviction and humanity, when we are exactly ourselves and when we live with integrity. Things are changing. xx

      • Katyboo! I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t implying you should be talking about it more or that your blogs are anything less than delicious even when you wax lyrically about gluten. I wasn’t suggesting you needed to write any more or less on the whole mess. I think your campaigns for the NHS are amazing and you are an amazing and energetic person who I am so very pleased to have found. And if you want to talk about menstruating go right ahead. I will be there at my computer reading and laughing along with you. Period pains, leaking tampons, irrational desires for chocolate.. or is that rational desires for chocolate.. just wait for the peri menopause menstruation. Nothing will prepare you for that flow
        I think it was that I had had lunch with a good friend who is not in a social bubble and I realised how much I was depending on that bubble. Outside the bubble, May is insidiously getting under our skins like a good Thatcher replacement “this woman is not for turning” so we all lose hope and become inured to the idea that Article 50 will be triggered. I think I wanted to vent on a platform that wasn’t Facebook to a woman I quite like and am rather proud of, about this social media bubble that protects us from the reality until we wake up like on the 23rd of June to find that our reality is small and the cold world is bigger. Oh hang it I don’t know where to go to from here. I wanted to rant about social media, I believed it was a new power for the people instead it is a blackout curtain that stops you seeing beyond your warm cocoon.
        So sorry if you thought I was trying to make you feel bad. I am a poor writer and my meaning often gets lost in my poor style.

      • I’m glad you feel you can say what you like here. And if it comes out sideways, that’s fine! I do that all the time. You are always welcome, and I’m glad you’re here. It’s difficult getting the balance right between real life and social media’s representation of real life and there are good and bad things to be said about both of them. It’s a difficult period we’re navigating for sure. I think it will get worse before it gets better, but I am convinced it will get better. xx

    • Dear jacksoup,
      Having just read your heartfelt comment I wanted to say don’t despair!
      I started following this blog after stumbling across Katy’s brilliant piece on Brexit. At the time I was glued to my laptop reading every scrap of information/news/opinion I could find in a desperate attempt to understand what the hell had happened and why. To say I was in shock is something of an understatement, and I alternated between anger, bewilderment and despair for about a week.
      I clung to anything written by like minded people like a life raft in what felt like a sea of narrow minded, zenophobic bigots.
      By the time life returned to a semblance of normality (I don’t really do ‘normal’ as such 😉 ) I was exhausted, depressed and, like your friend, feeling rather fatalistic. I’d signed all the petitions, contributed to some campaigns and done a lot of venting but couldn’t really see how any of it was going to make a difference.

      However, I think that the three Brexshiteers may have made a tactical error in delaying so long (or maybe this is part of Mrs May’s cunning plan) because they have given us time to reflect and recover. Each idiotic speech that they make, demonstrating that they not only haven’t got a clue what to do but are also woefully ignorant of how to go about it even if they did, is going to be worrying some of the more moderate leave supporters and galvanising more of the jaded remainers.

      Fox may be a complete waste of air but, by coming out for hard brexit, he may well be the catalyst for a much more cohesive opposition from remain politicians (of which there are many), the financial and business world (equally, if not more, powerful) and the 48%!
      You have to discount the extremists, who are never going to listen to any arguments however convincing – particularly those who don’t seem to have the mental capacity to understand anything beyond ‘take back control’ and ‘no more immagrunts’ – but even those who keep saying ‘what happened to project fear, nothing bad has happened’ will change their tune when things that even they can’t dismiss start to materialise, and the threat of a hard brexit will certainly do that!

      From my reading of social media I would say that some of the more literate but entrenched brexiters are in denial at the moment, they are still spouting the same dogma but are less inclined to try to counter when someone demolishes their arguments. I sense some creeping misgivings, a familiar refrain seems to be ‘no one knows, we have to wait for article 50 to be triggered’, or breezy platitudes about what a great trading nation we are and how we’ll come through it stronger than ever, and similarly unconvincing twaddle.
      In my experience these are the very people who start complaining 24/7 if they are expected to put up with any hardship and will be clamouring to stay in the single market if they think it will impact on them personally.
      I notice that the one thing they all shy away from is the comment from someone who has just lost their job or whose business is under threat. Not one of them has the guts to say ‘I voted leave but I’m sorry to hear that’ or even ‘what happened?’ It’s the quickest way to shut them up 😦

      It’s hard to admit that you’ve bought a pack of lies sold by a bunch of charlatans and, in order to persuade them to do so, things will have to get worse before they can get better. If there is one thing you can guarantee with this bunch of muppets in charge, it is that things will get worse, but that may not be such a bad thing in the long term. I am starting to feel cautiously optimistic but I am also praying that not too many people have to suffer before we resolve this unholy mess.
      Gerry.

      • “It occurs to me the social media cocoon we build for ourselves gives us a false sense of a world agreeing with us. We surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, unfriend and block dissenting voices, so our worldview is echoed back at us. Is this why the online forum is so ego-driven and addictive? It can leave us with a blinkered perception of the world and perhaps explains why my timelines are full of shock just as they were when the Conservatives were voted back into power last year.” Paul McVeigh
        Gerry this is what I was trying to say to Katy. I worry that in our social media bubbles we are missing how the other side is thinking. It is creating an us and them mentality because I am too scared to go on a Leave site. They truly scare me but I also dislike intensely the reaction a Leave opinionator gets if they come on a remain page. Remain voters can be vicious. This splitting the country into Leavers and Quitters is being driven by social media and I find it very scary.

  3. Katy, I, too, am reading and rereading and rewriting <500 words until I think it's overwritten… Fancy doing a swapsies? I'd probably have time on Sunday…

    • I don’t have time, sadly, otherwise I would definitely take you up on it. I don’t think you’d be too impressed mind you, given that mine is currently sitting at 110K words! x

  4. Ah yes the dangers of over-editing, when you are re reading a paragraph for the umpteenth time and wondering if conceivable is even an actual word, never mind if it’s i before e (except after c). How I miss those days – not.
    Trouble is it never leaves you, I will revise this comment before I post even though I know you are unlikely to gasp with horror if I miss out a comma. I am also ridiculously irritated if I read something I’ve posted and spot an error, like anyone cares, you only have to look at the calibre of the average Facebook comment.
    Let’s face it, it’s hard to determine what language they are using much of the time and the total absence of grammar, punctuation or correct spelling doesn’t help. I’m left wondering if that’s how they actually speak, a torrent of words that only stop when they run out of breath, not TO Mention SOME words GETTING lots of Emphasis, for no apparent reason.
    I would suggest browsing a few FB responses to a Daily Express (they are now excelling the Mail in the race to the bottom) article to make yourself feel better, but once you’ve deciphered what the hell they are wittering on about, it makes you fear for the future of humanity and decide that ‘outside’ is a dangerous place best avoided where possible.
    Good luck with the finished piece, I’m sure it will be an excellent read, just like your blogs 🙂

    • Thank you! Yes, I too get irritated when I have checked something and still sent it out with errors, and yes, I doubt nobody else either notices or cares, but there we are!

  5. I like that you have a bakery not a cafe, and it sounds just the thing. Are the cakes the size of France in the shape of France? I saw a chocolate box like that once, made out of chocolate and full of chocolates. I still day dream about it sometimes.

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