The big problem about living with ME—all right, one of the big problems, but for me they’re all kind of organised around this one—is that you have no slack. None. Zero. Or sub zero. −459.67 °F , say, it’s cold down here. & that short chain you’re on burns in the cold.
Another definition for ‘slack’ might be ‘mortal life’. The bungie cord as philosophical principle. This last fortnight I’ve sent the slightly tweaked DIARY* back to Merrilee for it to be read by strangers for the first time. I’ve not quite come down with, but been made a little extra flimsy by, some wandering virus. (WANGO! —that’s the noise a snapped bungie cord makes.) I’ve had two friends in hospital. (WANGO WANGO!) One is out & doing fine, although the graphic details of her ordeal are enough to keep you awake at night.** The other one is out too but . . . well, let’s say worry is tiring & stressful. & I have a third friend*** who has glandular fever, & I have been reading him the riot act about RESTING & TAKING IT EASY so he does not end up with ME. He is someone who has to look up ‘resting’ & ‘taking it easy’ in a dictionary & then can’t get his head around these alien concepts. Especially not when he’s befuddled by glandular fever.
Wango, wango, wango, etc.
Also, we’re having what passes for summer here. No one but someone who lives in Scotland would dare call it hot, but I’m a wuss who lives in Scotland, & I’m going to call it hot.† The blasted sun is relentless. Which I would put up with better if it didn’t mean I’m out there watering the garden every day. I HATE watering. I honestly like weeding†† & all the fussing & pottering & dirty & sweating kinds of things that go with gardening‡, but WATERING uggggh. The hosepipe kinks & gets caught in things & knocks over the plants you’re trying to soothe & assuage & it sprays all over you while it’s at it, the cans are heavy & also knock things over when they’re not banging into your shins & they (also) spill most of their contents all over you so you have to go back & refill the beggars, & it’s all boring boring boring BORING. Rain. We want rain.†††
&, meanwhile, lack of slack. Repeatedly reaching the end of one’s maddeningly short tether & going thud. Not wango. Splat, possibly.
So yeah. Excuses, excuses. I’m still failing to grapple the blog into some kind of schedule because by the end of most days I’ve hit the end of that blasted tether hours ago & I’m about as lively & nimble as a brick. The crumbly mortar bits are brain cells. Ex brain cells. ONE OF THESE WEEKS. One of these weeks when the ME has at least briefly run out of excuses to bounce on my stomach & stick its elbow in my eye. No, wait, that’s Genghis. Some week when the ME has let itself be briefly distracted by, I don’t know, seals or seagulls or bagpipers‡‡ in the town square. Something that gives me the chance to tuck laptop under one arm & Genghis under the other (!!!!!!) & get away for a bit, like buying a false passport from that shifty bloke on the corner & running for the border because the bad guys are after you . . . ‡‡‡
*I have told you that book-in-progress is, at least at the moment, called ONE YEAR DIARY?
** I’m interested, is the thing. I’m not being polite. I really do want to hear. & if I’m offered photos I want to see them too. I just go home after & think AAAAAAUGH. But when it happens to someone else—because I doubt my friends & I are going to spend the rest of our lives in a padded bubble—I’ll want to hear about that, too, & if there are photos I will want to see them. I’m not sure what kind of insanity this is, but it probably feeds into why I’m an introvert. I don’t process stuff very fast & I distress easily.
*** FANCY THAT. THE CRANKIEST OLD WOMAN IN THE WORLD HAS MORE THAN THREE FRIENDS. Hey, all you guys, stop having accidents & falling ill, will you please?
† Also, the Aga. I don’t want to turn off the Aga. It’s true that it’s—she’s—the only cooker I’ve got^ but my real resistance is that I feel like I’m being mean to a friend. A turned-off Aga is a sad giant lump of steel occupying too much space in your kitchen. A turned-on Aga is the friendly centre of your home.
^ Somewhere in some cupboard or other I have a two-burner electric thingy & a tiny electric oven. I knew which cupboard back at the cottage in Hampshire. Here I haven’t a clue. & I have a big kitchen, a utility room & a pantry# to lose stuff in.
# A pantry. & an ocean view. It doesn’t get better than this.
†† You would be forgiven for raising your eyebrows a little if you looked at this garden, but that’s a time & energy thing, sigh, which is kind of where I started this post. Oh, & the long grass is deliberate. I HAVE SOMEONE WHO CUTS GRASS. Or strims paths around the edges. THE LONG GRASS REALLY IS DELIBERATE. Wildflower meadows & butterflies & all that.^ The problem with wildflower meadows is the way they start colonising your borders, & I don’t want wildflowers in my borders, I want rosebushes in my borders. The fiercer roses can jolly well see off wildflowers, sabre-toothed tigers & whatever else may be around, but some of the wimpier ones will go under if not defended. One of the drawbacks to starting yet another new garden is the way you get all re-enchanted looking at the flower photos in the rose catalogues & forget what fainting heroines some of the plants are.
^ Not many bees. There must be bees in Scotland? I mean, we have bees, but I would have expected more of them. One of the things on the list to investigate in the copious free time that will magically appear some day in future when I have my no-longer-that-new-what-am-I-doing-with-my-time-don’t-answer–that life here sorted.#
We do have wasps though. ::Shudder:: I know they’re all a part of the great plan of nature, but I would prefer that particular subheading of the plan to be pursued elsewhere.
~ You saw that coming, right?
††† So, all this sunny weather, I’ve got all the dog bedding washed & hung OUTSIDE^, right? No. I keep forgetting.^^ Maybe if I left myself a note & therefore got it done^^^ & hung it out, it would RAIN?
^ I’ve told you this story, yes? Dog bedding hangs OUTSIDE to dry because the house is already ankle deep in dog hair & there are limits, even to my housekeeping negligence. Not many, but a few.
^^ Also, see: life with ME
^^^ Nah. I’d just lose the note. Or forget to read it, because I didn’t think I needed a note about anything.#
# I do this with my diary all the time. I never go anywhere, do anything except the stuff I’m always doing, talk to or meet up with anyone, so why do I need to look at my diary?? Why does someone this old, cranky & solitary have so many notes & appointments in her frelling diary?
‡ Excepting the blood & shouting when the clumsy gardener has again managed to stick herself with the fork or whack herself with the spade or trip over the bucket full of painfully-extracted brambles, nettles, etc. It won’t surprise you that brambles continue to gouge & slash even after they’ve been uprooted, but note that nettles go on stinging you into a bright red flaming rash long after they should be frelling humus. Be careful turning your compost heap. Which of course you haven’t put the brambles in—they go to the dump with old light bulbs & Styrofoam & cement mixers & other things that never rot or decay ever. But nettles make GREAT compost. When they finally get around to it. A month or two before the cement mixers.
‡‡ THERE SHOULD BE MORE BAGPIPERS IN THE TOWN SQUARE. Or anywhere else around here for that matter. This is SCOTLAND. There are supposed to be BAGPIPERS. I’m sure it’s in the contract.
‡‡‡ Yes, I read too many murder mysteries. Also, I’m not running anywhere with Genghis tucked under my arm.