Housekeeper's Diary

By Alison September 21, 2018 No Comments 4 Min Read

A slow morning after a long night. Finally climbing into bed at four o’clock in the morning when Ste returned home after a seven freezing hours sitting in the car waiting for the breakdown recovery that didn’t arrive. His shivery misery compounded by an act of abject cruelty I can barely comprehend. The milk of human kindness apparently much in short supply where once there was friendship.
When he finally arrived home we sat and sipped tea in the dark. The wind blowing a hoolie in the conservatory, the doors banging and the the wee small hours more spooky than they needed to be. Propping our eyes up with matchsticks and making toast to fill his empty belly. The sweet tomato soup I had made long curdled in the pan and the candle I had lit slowly exhausting itself.
Today then: slipping back into bed after the big child left for school. All of a sudden no longer wanting me to watch him cross the road and instead growling at me like an angry bear, before turning round and winking with all the charm of one so well aware of how very handsome he is. Then a fitful, cozy hour’s sleep accompanied by the music of the traffic shaking the potted ivy on the dressing table.
Afterwards, chocolate chip cookies in the oven ready for Finn to take to a sleepover. A thank-you to the parents who have him so very frequently because he simply refuses to have anyone other than Stevie stay over here: his privacy and greed for his own company apparently more important than good manners. (A situation I do believe I am responsible for, having long drummed in to him, the necessity to make home a sacred space.)
A whole, lovely, empty weekend ahead of us! A weekend full of scrumptious nothingness ending with the arrival of my Dad on Sunday evening for an overnight stay to break his journey between Oxford and Gleneagles. Doing nothing matters so very much. Not for me the relentlessly stuffed diary or the dragging of reluctant teenagers out into the wilderness of hills, shopping malls or other people’s houses.  Never the sense of being stuck in, but rooms I never get bored of and happy kids, sociable and fun in a house where nothing is expected of them and who will in return do all that is asked of them in exchange for a tub of popcorn.
(Bribery always the order of the day. Is there any other way to cope with teenage boys??)
Now a dash into the wet garden to right the pots tipped over again in the wind. Trousers trailing in the puddles. A sunflower, bent at the neck in sorrow and tied to the fence post with slippery hands. Piping hot radiators and a stack of new magazines (oh bliss!). Later, chicken fried rice and siu mai. A takeaway to give my depleted culinary imagination a night off. A collection of forest scented candles I have stashed for a wet stormy night like this one waiting to be lit and the joy that is Gogglebox lined up for our entertainment. Another Friday night to savour.
Where once there would have been the sticky bliss of a warm rich Rioja now instead there is an ice-cold Russian tonic: a rewarding swap I could not have once imagined getting used to. Clarity of mind I enjoy and weekend mornings that never now start in the haze of lips still purple from the night before. Wine was an affair with a cad I was happily able to resist falling head over heels in love with. A cad, who though desperately tempting, I could always keep a respectable distance from and one whom now gone altogether, is barely missed at all.
In his place there is a calm Ste and I have not known in the course of our relationship. A gift of sorts we are now blessed with. And with it there is the ability to acknowledge where consideration does not exist and will no longer be afforded a place in our lives. New boundaries we had not realised were necessary for we thought kindness was  paramount, but will now be firmly erected, despite my own shock that some are capable of the kind of silly wickedness I have not experienced in my forty six years. The kind of tantrum that only truly hurts those it purports to defend. Though dwelling upon someone else’s tantrum will not soothe it. Only grace can see it off. Only living well despite it, the cure for our bewildered minds.  But still, oh so willing to apologise for whatever it is we haven’t done regardless.
Another cup of tea then? Heart-shaped lavender shortbread and a short nap as dusk settles on the day. Ste still hunched over his computer and the child who should have been home to collect the cookies and his sleepover bag apparently missing in action, swallowed no doubt by what it is to have the world at his feet.
And me. Ready to close the lid on my laptop for the weekend and bid you all a lovely afternoon. May your weekend be beautiful despite any storm raging at your window or in your head.

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