I can’t do it any more. I simply cannot go anywhere at the drop of a hat. One day in January of 1987, I met my usual friends at the match. I don’t remember the result but Pete said:
“We’re going to see our kid straight after, do you want to come?” It was a great idea; straight over to Bradford after the game for a jolly night in the Robin Hood in Yeadon. Toothbrush? No. Change of clothes? No. But I had money in my pocket. The eighties was full of snap decisions.
I don’t know if I’d want to be like that now but I wish I could. It’s partly old-age but mostly due to the MS beast.
Today is a nothing day. As usual I got up on the same day as I went to bed as opposed to going to bed on the same day I got up. At ten thirty, I emerged from the pit in the curtain shaded half light. The biggest to do is to open the bedroom curtains. After throwing on some clothes, I shuffle across the bed and complete my operation with the assistance of my long grabber. The cat simultaneously uses my arm to scratch his chin.
Then it’s into the living room to face the carnage. I’d left a loaf proving; it was now a pancake. It was rescued into some form of brick shape. I found a bowlful of ingredients in the fridge for a beef rendang. But the highlight of the morning was finding my notebook. Oh my sweet friend of organised reassurance. Linus has his blanket, Garfield has Pookie Bear and I have my notebook.
How can something so seemingly small and inconsequential have me desperately scrabbling around the flat in the middle of the night making the little fretting squeaks of a hamster with a rusty wheel? I have plenty of notebooks. They will all be used and loved but one at a time please. I knew that if I started a new book, the old one would magically appear. But for once, I wanted to dictate my own fortune. The notebook has three uses. I use it to plan the day and as a sort of journal. Most importantly however, in an attempt to show myself that I can find some comfort in the satisfaction of improvement, I have made overtures to improve my handwriting. It’s very important to me.
As I now write, the dishwasher hums its gentle rhythmic serenade affording me even more reassurance.
My old philosophy was to leave the washing up until there was no clean glass into which I could pour a drink. I had lots of glasses and great mountains of washing. I was my rebellion. I had entered a middle-class world of tasteful chintz. I was a primary school teacher in Tunbridge Wells where the music of delightful curtains, carpets, lawn mowers and kitchen flooring bubbled from the mouths of my colleagues.
Like the notebook, it is now important to keep the kitchen organised. The two are inseparable.
What does the rest of my nothing day hold? Obviously nothing spontaneous unless it involves adding an extra ingredient to my curry. Lemon grass AND mango powder? Oh you little devil.
I’ll watch football , put the clean dishes away and refill the dishwasher. I might even take a turn around the front car park of the flats to feel the warm sun welcoming me to the promise of a glorious summer.
Like so much of what I imagine may happen over the next few months, it will be less than glorious.
For soon I will be moving flats. I’m going to live in the beautiful surroundings of Martlets Court. So this is the calm before the storm of upheaval I won’t miss Nellie the elephant upstairs. She is thoroughly charming and as with all people bold enough to go into another country to work in another language, she has my full respect. But she is an elephant.
The day may wind down with some music followed by Match of the Day. The famous tune ends with an arpeggio style flourish in the flattened sub-mediant before winding up with a boyish playful doh re mi in the home key. And on that note, those three notes, I will finish before the voice of Julie Andrews takes hold of my ears.
Thank-you for reading.