Thursday, 18 October 2012
I have been to London, fought a partridge, drunk gin, got lost in Westfield, dealt with a flaccid mushroom and returned with 8 tonnes of Halloween tat and a chocolate Swiss roll. That makes it sound wrongly heroic, like Odysseus or something. SING TO ME MUSE, THE SONG OF EMMA, WHO HAS FACED THE PARTRIDGE AND THE MUSHROOM AND BROUGHT HOME THE ORANGE PLASTIC SPOILS. It was not like a Homeric quest at all. Mainly I sat in bed at my dad's and caught up with TV I had missed, and now I am back and the rats need cleaning out and no one has any clean socks, but I am not planning on any revenge slaying.
In my absence, Fingers has acquired an opera folder, featuring an angry looking stick character gesticulating in front of a volcano (see above. Guess the opera, I haven't got a clue) and instructions to go to 'opera day' every week with a towel (again, no clue). He was sent home sick this morning - despite being in apparent rude health, eating with the gusto of a young Henry VIII, climbing scaffolding and playing with matches whenever my back was turned - and at one point I came in to find him looking at the computer.
"No games if you're sick" I said sternly, trying desperately to make a grey Thursday afternoon in front of the fire with a sleepy dog, Come Dine With Me and a pack of Tunnocks teacakes not look like complete heaven.
"I'm not playing games" he said "I'm watching Verdi".
And so he was. He was watching plasticine, well, for want of a better expression, cake fillings, perform La Traviata (here, utterly odd and rather lovely and oh my god, the YouTube comments. I wondered why an admittedly charming, but surely minority interest, bit of classical music animation had nearly 2 million views and the comments reveal it is because it features in Fifty Shades of Arse).
Later, he sidled up to me, laser pointer grasped tightly in his fist. Laser pointers are the dernier cri in boy fashions presently.
"La Donna e mobile rhymes in French too".
"Oh? I don't know any of the words. Apart from, you know, la donna e mobile, whatever that means. The woman is mobile? Flexible?"
So he sang, slightly self-consciously, laser pointer bobbing in 3:4 time:
"La femme change tout le temps
Comme une plume dans le vent".
(I like too how the translated English version I found online sounds like a Victorian doctor, or Daily Mail headline: "Woman is unstable")
Apart from the predictable ideological unsoundness of 19th century opera lyrics, I am rather enjoying this whole thing, and it is forcing me to up my game significantly, in cultural terms, thus tonight instead of watching chef-based cruelty on French Masterchef, I am listening to Verdi's Requiem, so that I know what it sounds like (oh, it's that! The dog is hating it, he would rather watch Frédéric Anton insult someone's gougères). Thank you, gulag, for your forcible programme of family cultural improvement. It makes me want to join a choir again though, so now I am back furtively googling and wondering if my fragile (= pathetic) psyche can take a sight reading test. I would love to go back to singing.
Apart from that, I am feeling strangely gleeful about impending winter at the moment: huge books and camphor scented baths and fires and cooking of things involving brassicas and béchamel (not together). Is reverse SAD a thing? The last two summers I have been quite, quite loopy with anxiety and then winter comes and the world does not end and I can feel busy and purposeful, like some kind of unfortunate looking Beatrix Potter creature (I don't think a naked mole rat ever featured, an oversight on Miss P's part, I feel), beetling away and laying down stores and fixing things (until a large rat comes and wraps me in pastry, presumably) and generally glorying in the hygge-ness of it all. Cashmere. Tea. Wood smoke. Pies. Some kind of hideous fictional murder to enjoy.
Of course it will not last - it is not actually cold yet, and I have not had to walk the dog in December sleet and the boiler is currently functional and the fact that my boots have wholly disintegrated is not yet critical - but I am conscious that I am always the very first to say loudly if EVERYTHING IS AWFUL and you know, right now, everything is not.
I don't know whether it's some kind of in-bred peasant superstition or the dread of looking smug or being one of those femmes qui changent tout le temps, or just how boring it is to read about contentment or some combination of all of them, but I always feel peculiar drawing attention to the moments when things are really quite nice. It seems a shame. I finally managed to download 400 photos that had been stuck on my phone for the past year yesterday and watching them flash on screen for a second each, I was struck by how many of them made me smile. Ok, a disproportionate number were of hairy legged donkeys, but there were also children in false moustaches and with long tanned limbs wrapped in towels, Satan, skiing (not Satan skiing), M in the Jardin des Plantes, bizarre handwritten signs in our neighbours' windows and lots of incredible hotels I got to go to for FREE and lunatic Belgians on horseback jousting in the middle of car parks and a really, really, hilariously terrible piece of craft that Fingers made that looks like a glittery poo in a box. Have I showed you that? Look:
(I also realise that every time I drive past the Pet Funerary Transport shop, I take a shit picture of it, but that is by the by.
There are 53 identical ones in my pictures folder)
What I mean is, there are lots of really, really good bits, and acknowledging them, really enjoying them, doesn't mean they will all vanish in a puff of acrid smoke. Anxious as the thought makes me, I think perhaps I should embrace, celebrate the good bits a little more.
OH GOD I FEEL NERVOUS NOW. Is that a volcano I can hear behind me?