Housekeeper's Diary

By Alison November 6, 2017 4 Min Read

Light-bulbs keep pinging. The smell of cigarette smoke still lingers in the bedroom though nobody here smokes. A puddle of water under the sink without discernible source.  I am reading too many ghost stories. Crawling into bed each night on my knees with exhaustion and a mithering migraine, but still so eager to fall into a world where rooks haunt little boys and silly ideas seep into the velvet folds of my mind.

Do you think we read to hide from ourselves? To discover more about worlds we will never live in? Do we read to escape our own reality? Or to become more ourselves by discovering things we couldn’t excavate alone? What is reading for? I am demented by why’s lately. So many questions bubbling about my head and a distinct lack of acceptance or experience for the sake of it.
Autumn then, renders me introspective. Self-absorbed. And hypochondriac! So damn hypochondriac. An hour lost to investigating why the skin that ties my tongue to the floor of my mouth feels wobblier than usual. Over-long consultations with Doctor Google. Opening my mouth and insisting my son stares into the abyss and diagnose what ails me. And then just as quickly forgetting that the wobbly bit feels wobbly and going about my business in a house flavored constantly by the chicken stock simmering almost permanently in the slow cooker. For soup season is upon us and our menu has been reduced to roast chicken, balsamic sweet potatoes, broccoli and soup fashioned from whatever I find in the fridge. Sipped from big cups together at lunchtime. Staring at the candle burning on the red box in the conservatory and counting our blessings over and over again.
Outside the grass is sodden and the gardener who broke the gate told to sling his hook in no uncertain terms because he will not abide by our request to tell us when he will be arriving and instead climbs over the fence or takes the gate off its very hinges with a screwdriver and surprises me just when I have managed to manoeuvre my hefty self into the downward dog. One does so hate to be surprised by a man who chirps “mines black with one sugar” whenever one dares to peek at what he has taken it into his head to do, despite being told to only attend to the lawn
Inside my favorite fur blanket has been talked out of its Summer hidey-hole. The television is abundant with compelling drama and Ste is happier than I have ever known him. At night, when the kitchen has been spritzed with Wild Rhubarb and all the doors are locked, we squash up on the sofa together, me in floral pajamas and him in shorts, sipping sleep tea and making plans. Finn mutters about “love-birds” and we laugh at him and ourselves and he wanders contentedly between the fridge and the x-box with a pit-stop for homework in-between and all seems well with the world for it is Autumn and while worry is forever nudging at our door – Mark’s brother so desperately ill, bills that just won’t stop – the blessings of Autumn, the hug of the house, prevent us being consumed by it.
Home comforts then: a book my lovely friend Mimi has been asking me to read forever, discovered in my Kindle and ready for my company this evening, and another about sex of all things, that I am dipping in and out of because I adore Isabel Losada.  A bag of teeny little cinnamon rolls just right for nibbling on with tea. New slipper socks. Flannel sheets (blessed be thy name), a candle burning permanently on the fireplace in my fairy-lit bedroom, Moments magazine, a secret stash of Velvet Green + Blacks. Tonight, tonight, tonight…
Now. A child, the tracker on my phone reliably reliably informs me, is almost home from school. Popping down the hall to the door to see if I can see him ambling up the lane. A towel ready to hug him dry. Cookies to be warmed to go with milky tea and a cartoon or six. Stories from his day and snuggles with my overgrown boy. The possessor of feet sized nine and a half. Taller now than his Dad.
A homecoming that never grows old and is still so anticipated. My boy. My house. My world. Autumn. Beautiful rainy Autumn. And a wobbly bit under my tongue.

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