First I was genuinely quite busy, then I was blocked and uninspired, and during the whole time I was thinking circular thoughts about whether there was any point in the blog, whether personal blogging was in fact, dead, whether I hadn't said everything I could interestingly say and that kind of thing. I also developed some kind of low-level internet phobia: the exposure! The permanence! The potential for people to tell you what a twat you are! How had I even survived this far?
The other side of the argument that trotted around my head was that in any event, all the hideously embarassing things I had put here over the last three years were still floating around the internet in perpetuity making me unemployable, so I might as well keep going, since god knows what else I could do. "There are pictures of the inside of your nostrils on the internet" M reminded me at one point, shortly before uploading a picture of a buttock encompassing hole in my tights to Facegoop (we have revived that too! Our cranky, furious, lipstick fondling corner of the internet is BACK). The other - and more persuasive - argument was that I missed you and your funny, dark, kind, erm, weirdness and I missed writing poorly punctuated, possibly litigious, self-indulgent posts about whatever the fuck I like.
(I do not expect you to give a flying fuck about this, it is merely by way of explanation of the prolonged absence and lack of shiny, dancing, blog makeover action).
Anyway. Here I am, back, with only my poor personal grooming, irascible parenting and still-stupid pets to offer you, same as usual. I have half a mind to also do some comparative reviewing of British and French TV, but it will probably come to naught.
Highlights of the last 3 months:
1. We went skiing. The children mocked my slowness, my trousers kept popping open since I am far fatter than the last time I skied, I was subjected to constant electric shocks (I still can't touch a door knob without pulling my sleeve over my hand for protection) and on the last day, we got snowed into a ski resort full of Dutch giants. The prospect of cannibalism preoccupied us greatly. We lurked around the breakfast buffet, casting anxious glances at our dairy-loving overlords.
"They're going to eat us, aren't they?"
"Wellll. It looks bad. But don't you think there's a good argument to be made that we're a bit .. scrawny? I mean, you'd have to eat three of us to make up one of them"
"They're way stronger than us though. They'll just overpower us and gnaw our limbs off".
"But we could eat for a week on one of their forearms!"
"Why did I ever agree to this?"
There were no normal television channels in our chalet, so I now know a great deal about several esoteric documentary topics including: social engineering in post-Katrina New Orleans, the death of Pierre Beregovoy and capucin monkeys. Go on, ask me a question. (Don't).
2. It was my 37th birthday. The children made me a CAKE, which was a thrilling first and Prog Rock bought me a challenging Estonian CD and I bought myself some new boots, and we went to Rabbit Island for the now traditional birthday chips and salted caramel sundae (not at the same time) and met Gertrude, the duck with learning difficulties who is in love with the Rabbit Island boatman.
Dear lord, but 37 is making me twitchy. I have a new, gnawing consciousness of how incredibly unimpressive my achievements are. 'What the fuck have you been doing for the last few years?' I ask myself, unhelpfully, late at night, like a tactless but well-meaning relative at a funeral. I don't know. Treading water? Floundering? On Friday night I saw some ex-colleagues and had to explain what I was doing at the moment: what came out of my mouth just sounded ... lame. "I've written some .. bits and pieces. No, nothing you would have noticed".
This has, at least, resulted in some interesting conversations about failure. M doesn't believe in failure, I discovered. "It is not failure you fear" she told me "It is the judgment of others".
"Well, yes, I suppose you are right. But why is that any better?"
"You try something. It does not work. So you try again. Or you try something else". She was a bit like Yoda. Yoda with giant spiders in her hair (have you seen M's new blog, Fat Ponies?)
I am working on this (and have started working on a new writing project, leaving my shitty novel to rot in a drawer until I can face it again), but it does not come naturally. Why be optimistic when you can enjoy a full three months of sterile self-flagellating? I have been working with this gentleman again recently and he had all manner of problems and knock-backs and disappointments before finally getting five star reviews in the broadsheets, so I have been trying to take inspiration from that. Having some core of self-belief seems to be important. I am trying to locate one.
Sorry, this is preoccupying me, but it is fantastically boring and I really need to shut up about my luxury problems. No one gives a shit, just send me down a Nigerian sawmill already. Next!
3. The alarming discovery that neither of my children could remember the word "thirteen". Their foreignness continues unchecked.
"I want you to be able to speak to me properly, dammit!" I flounce at them.
"Ca va maman, on va mettre Kid Detectives, ne t'inquiète pas" they reassure me, unreassuringly. Kid Detectives is on one of those cheap Freeview digital channels made out of Dairylea triangles and string. It is an Australian import where minor "crimes" are investigated by a crack team of child forensic technicians and deductions of guilt are made on the kind of shonky premise that even West Midlands Serious Crime Squad might baulk at.
"Sherina has soil on her shoe ... so SHE must be the one who dug up Mrs Smith's flowerbeds!"
The whole thing is unutterably sordid, but at least contains dialogue. Usually when the children appease me by watching English TV, I find they are watching a cartoon about a lizard that is entirely silent. Also, I quite like Lashes's comments (in French, you can't have everything), which are usually along the lines of "if this was a real crime that would be blood/brains/blood again".
4. Christmas in 140 characters: 2 vegetarians, 1 extra dog, 80000 cups of tea, a red plastic puzzle cube triumph, 2 sister credit card débâcles, gin, gin, rillettes, gin.
5. And now, here we are in January. My teeth are falling out and I smell of Old El Paso Fajita sauce. All my clothes have been eaten by the mothbastards, and I have put my unkempt nails through several relatively nice pairs of tights. It has not stopped raining for approximately three weeks, Satan the rabbit has dug up and eaten all my bulbs, and stands at the back window pawing furiously for more nourishment, the dog has descended to a new plane of psychological disturbance and developed an obsession with slippers, which he collects furtively from the basket in the hall and then hides under his scrawny body. The children treat me with a sort of amused condescension most of the time and have homework I no longer understand. I spent yesterday writing about inflated pig bladders. ALL IS WELL, my friends, and I will try and write here from time to time.
How are you?