Friday, 14 April 2017

Horse! Shops! Prizes!

Hello! Here is a small horse with no context whatsoever. He was very friendly, even when I insisted on putting my arms around him and inhaling his horse scent for fifteen minute stretches without his explicit consent (I gave him some carrots though).


The Easter holidays are proving interminable, again. I think I’ve just become monstrously intolerant and misanthropic with age, which means that the sight of giant lunking unwashed teenagers in pyjamas staring at screens for 10 hours a day (WHAT, what am I supposed to do, take them to a museum?) is increasingly irritating to me, especially when they appear around 2pm and quiz me on food options as if I were their sodding concierge-slash-butler. F is just back from ten days in China (China! In my day we hitchhiked to Filey, ate seagulls and slept on a bench, etc etc) with no internet, so I don’t feel too bad about him filling his eyes with crap. L went to Majorca, though I think he just lay around looking at YouTube for a week as he would have done here but with slightly better weather so he should probably be smited with scorpions into some improving activity, but I simply can’t be arsed. Also, I have work to do and cannot be spending my days smiting and catering (Smiting and Catering: A Mother's Lot).

The foregoing meant that our trip to Yorkshire last week was sans enfants, which was an interesting glimpse into our future. Good: no aggro, negotiating, complaints, demands for expensive steak in pubs and no difficulty in getting out of the house at 8am. Bad: tendency to wear fleece unchecked by teenscorn and that airless feeling when all the (bad tempered, obstreperous, but also very funny) youthful vitality is gone from the room and it’s just … us? We’ll need another dog, for sure. We do still seem to be broadly compatible, which is a relief though there may be a disparity in energy levels, there were lots of conversations along these lines:

Spouse: What shall we do NOW

Me: Sssh, why so loud, I thought I’d just do some sitting. In silence.

Spouse: I’ll just go and take something to pieces then and HIT IT WITH A HAMMER.

We also drank a lot of gin and walked up a lot of hills, and I read a mountain of books, which was ideal (will update book page soon). Getting home has been melancholy, though at least Hillary has been contained for a fortnight so we came home to a sprinkling of actual grass in the backyard, which was both welcome and surprising.


One of our agreed-upon activities (this is always shaming to confess in front of Prog Rock who lives the life of a holy hermit, existing only on lentils, Sainsbury's Basic Range apples, Le Monde Diplomatique and Russian literature, but we face up to our grossly acquisitive nature bravely) was to go to the York Designer Outlet, yet again. The Designer Outlet is a very strange place and you feel like the worst dregs of end-stage capitalism as you walk around it, mindlessly consuming, but if you can take the guilt and self-loathing, it has some excellent stuff. 40% of my wardrobe comes from the Margaret Howell outlet and I also found my favourite Paul Smith silk swimmers blouse there.

Margaret Howell proved very disappointing this time (in the sense that everything still cost an actual king’s ransom and I could not justify buying any of it), but I got what I THINK is a nice fine grey wool coat from Jaeger (RIP), because I am 130 years old. It was 112 pounds reduced from 350, which seemed a pretty decent reduction, though whether I will ever wear it remains to be seen. I would describe it as “dressing gown style” if this can be described as a style (it can’t).

The past

I went to the funeral of one of my former teachers from Quaker school whilst in York (one of the loveliest, kindest, sunniest men I have ever met, his coffin was papered with pages from the Guardian because he was an avid reader and did the crossword every day) which was sad, but also fascinating, since many of my other former teachers were also there and during silent meeting for worship I was able to look around the room and try and work out who was who. They divided into: wholly and entirely unchanged and changed beyond all recognition but were all delightful. The maths teacher said she recognised me because I "still stand in the same way" and one of the English teachers said she recognised my hair which is interesting since it is not the same hair at all, and indeed not even mine. It was nice, generally, to be in a Quaker environment again. They are extremely sound and gentle and kind, and being around them taught me to sit still for hours on end, something no one else in my family can manage for more than three minutes before dismantling the remote control and fiddling with its battery case until murder is the only reasonable option.

The present

It is Good Friday which is not a holiday in Belgium so I am waiting for comments on a piece of work whilst undressed giants slump around me and I have just realised that due to some horrific miscalculation and despite having carefully bought a packet in M and S in preparation, I do not have a single hot cross bun. I am going to have to compensate this evening with my newly acquired Yorkshire tea gin, which I believe is the beverage our saviour would favour if he happened to be around and looking for a stiffener in spring 2017.

Competition time

My book came out in paperback while I was away and I have just taken delivery of twenty copies, which seems somewhat overkill-y, and is probably more copies than have actually sold, so shall I do a small giveaway? If you would like a copy, I will give 8 of them away to the first people to comment and tell me why they would like one (dough scraper, door stop, filling for wet shoes), though obviously I am not going to promise Bastardpost will actually get it to your house, this is frequently too much to ask from my postal nemeses.

Excited? I bet you are. If you want even more of me, I have a piece in Red this month about how all my friends live in the computer.

Here is the dog looking superior in the N Yorks sunshine. I can tell you he wasn't looking at all superior 24 hours earlier when he was on a terrible comedown from the sedatives we give him to survive the ferry crossing. We had to wrap him in a towel and leave him on a chair in the kitchen until he recovered, looking for all the world like Whistler's mother. I did not take a picture of that because it seemed cruel, but now I slightly regret it.

(Important question: do other people cheat their Fitbits? I need to know)