Hello there.

It’s nearly February already and I’ve been meaning to drop in and say how I am still alive etc. I have pinched a few minutes in between other things to come and do it now.

I hope that your January isn’t feeling as long as mine, which is that it has lasted approximately 9452 days so far, and even though we are on the cusp of a new month, I really can’t quite believe that it will ever arrive and that there are at least 5467 more days of January left to endure. Like that last, run on sentence, it do go on something alarming.

It is not, I am grateful to say, because terrible things are happening in my life. It’s just that this is what January does and every year it takes me by surprise and I think: ‘Surely we can’t still be in January. I ran out of money 3428 days ago and it must be pay day soon etc, etc.’

Anyway, here we are and I am broke again until many, many more days have passed, and resigned to Tesco beans, which thanks to the government’s superb handling of anything you care to mention, now cost £269 a tin anyway.

Let’s catch you up a bit on what has been happening.

Oscar is doing well. He is back at school full time and has made the decision to go to therapy once a month rather than every week. He is picking up his social life again and generally behaving like a teenage boy, which makes me want to clout him from time to time and then makes me happy because I haven’t wanted to clout him for months. So that’s rather weird and good altogether.

January was the month almost everyone I knew got COVID. I got quite a lot of overtime due to people at work coming down with it. And then Jason got it and then Oscar got it and I still have not had it. I asked Jason if he thought it was because I drank so much green tea and surely those antioxidants must be doing me the world of good. He said that if that was the case, it probably wouldn’t have originated in China. So I am putting it down to the fact that I am probably a medical marvel and a wonder to behold.

January was also the beginning of birthday hell for me. Jason had his birthday, which caused me endless stress, because he is a nightmare to buy for and I had already used up all my ideas at Christmas. In the end I managed to take him away for a couple of nights to a converted chapel on the Welsh border. This was after everyone got COVID. Tilly came to look after the boy and we ran away to read books and bask in front of the world’s most efficient log burner, which caused us to have to throw all the windows open at three in the morning because we were simply unable to cope with the fierceness of the heat.

It is my mum and dad’s birthday next week. With three, vital birthday happenings being so close together it explains the extra broke-ness of my life along with a teenage son who grew out of his trousers and just about everything else he owned and was reduced to jogging bottoms and the coat I bought him when he announced in mid December that he hadn’t actually got a coat.

Sometimes I think a lot about how different my life would have been if I had run away and joined the circus and bred performing guinea pigs or something.

Oh, and Anorak decided to break out in some mysterious lumps which took an £80 trip to the V E T to sort out.

So I won’t be breeding performing cats.

I was due to get my hair done in January. It did not happen due to COVID outbreaks and now I have about half a centimetre of pale pink hair, an inch of yellowing blonde and a lot of dark brown with silver threaded through it. I have had to cut my own fringe twice, using the kitchen scissors. I find the best method is when you’re going to be late for work, but you can’t see to drive so you throw caution to the winds and set about yourself in a mad panic, staring furiously into the mirror in the downstairs loo and chopping away at it like you’re in some kind of competition. Sticking your tongue out helps with balance. And never brushing your hair and only washing it once a week also helps to hide the criminality of what you’ve done, because you always look like things are nesting in it anyway.

Now I cannot afford to have my hair cut again until at least March, so there will be more hair doctoring going on in the weeks to come. GAWDELPUS.

I am still making art. Slowly, slowly, slowly, but making it nonetheless. I am attempting to enter things for Grayson’s Art Club again. I have two pieces finished but not submitted, and one piece that I am hoping to finish in the next week. After that I have no idea what I will do for the rest of the prompts, but I shall put all three things I have in together and worry about the rest later.

Book selling is still happening. I am less frightened of the things I don’t know now, which is good, as terror is not a great baseline for doing anything. I find being nice to people all day extraordinarily wearing still, and get quite a few headaches which is me resisting myself with might and main under certain circumstances. People say be yourself, and it’s a great mantra. I always feel better when I do be myself, but unfortunately myself is not entirely compatible with the world of work, so I endure.

I am still reading lots of things. I have read some corkers already this month and can highly recommend Nina Stibbe’s new book: ‘One Day I Shall Astonish The World,’ which is not out yet (spring I think) and Deborah Levy’s trilogy of autobiographies, both of which will most definitely be going on my top ten reads of the year list.

There is probably loads more to say, but I have run out of steam and need to go and do some drawing before the light in here, which is dismal at the best of times, disappears altogether.

3 responses to “

  1. elspeth liddell Cunningham

    It gave me pleasure just to see your name again and it has given me even more pleasure to read you blog. Thank you

  2. Great to “read” you back, and so glad that so many things are so much better… the other stuff doesn’t even matter, does it?!

  3. Congratulations on surviving all that and still being able to write such a coherent and interesting blog entry! So glad to hear Oscar is behaving like a teenage boy again – he’ll grow out of it, and start behaving like a young man. But seriously, that really is good news.

    And yes, ‘be yourself’ may be a most excellent mantra, except for the times when yourself really isn’t that nice/good a person – looking at certain people and wondering quite how they ever managed to rise to such dizzyingly high positions. Then remembering that ‘the cream rises to the top’ and cream is where you find the clots! All. The. Same.

    Glad to hear that you’re less terrified as a bookseller – well done you!

    As for the hair . . . Either grow the fringe out and let it all grow fashionably long and flowing (and multicoloured?) Or, as you have been, keep the scissors sharp. I did quite a good trim the last time my fringe got too long. I’ve only been practising for too many years and still prefer to see my friend the hairdresser.

    BTW – very glad you’re all over Covid.

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