Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison February 16, 2022 6 Comments 5 Min Read

Good lord. Let us not speak of the fact that It is already the middle of February and I have been missing in domestic action since Christmas. One does tend to rather lose January in a fog of new bath oils, books and big ideas, and then emerge blinking like the mole we must be the minute the daffodils poke their darling little heads up in the borders of a garden made drab by a wet Winter.

I have always adored daffodils. And now as Spring shyly pops her head around the door, I have come to think of them as my Mum saying hello. Checking in. And I wonder what she would make of who we are now. Of Ste, who she never met. Of this house. Of the man that Finn now is, though I suspect he is exactly the man she always knew he would be.

And of Meep! Oh she would be appalled by Meep, the little black kitten who was our Christmas present to each other and who has us all besotted as he leaps from one knee to the next, playing favourites and playing ball as if he rather believes himself to be a puppy! My Mum hated cats. she was paralysed by fear at the very idea of them and I confess to never having been particularly tolerant of a fear I couldn’t fathom.

Tis a life long problem with yours truly: this inability to understand other people without projecting what I would do, or what I would feel in any given circumstance. I do not like myself for it, but I don’t suppose we reach the grand old, ludicrous, age of almost fifty, without becoming aware of that which isn’t particularly desirable in ourselves and resolving daily to do something about it now do we? But heck I find it difficult not to apply what I see as common sense, where others tell me there is only emotion.

For yes, I shall be fifty in a month or so and the need to swallow joy for breakfast has suddenly consumed me. It is urgent now, this need to live out loud.

And it is only when the days are no longer dark that I feel it: for in Winter I hibernate and the world may as well cease to exist. I can barely make conversation for wanting to do nothing other than simply be. To be left alone. Gathering up my thoughts like so many skirts, journaling, making lists, making plans and living on smoothies, soup, tray-bakes and crumbly oatcakes so that for as often as is politely possible I do not have to think about food as long as I am keeping us all stuffed with the kind of wellbeing I can sauté, roast and blend.

Suddenly though there is a kind of urgency in my head. And yet another shift – perhaps even closer to that I will one day be able to declare my most authentic self. An awakening of sorts: for my fiftieth birthday I have chosen not diamonds or a far flung holiday, but a course that will consume much of this year and at its end grant me with another string to my bow.

I have been listening hard, you see? Turning away from all the noise of the past few years and trying to hear my self think again. To pinpoint who I am NOW and who I want to become in the blessing that is middle-age. It would be easy to be swept up in Ste’s ongoing battle against depression and the drama that through little fault of his own Finn seems to consider everyday life, but it is in that which I, and so many women like me, lose themselves. And so I become still. Not hiding in the quilts, refusing to come out still, but still in my own head, seeking early bedtimes and quiet rooms. Books that offer wisdom and the gentle sense that is putting pen to paper,

And from this: quiet revelation. An OH! That’s the missing piece of the jigsaw! So a plan is born and a need to sweep the decks revived in me. A schedule for a truly, deep seasonal scrub is afoot and you can be sure I will soon found dancing something of a Hooley in celebration of the kind of clutter-busting sure to make me feel like anything is possible when there is a clean slate to be had! For a clean slate MUST be had now. It is almost Spring. Anything is possible!

Today then. A salmon and asparagus traybake compiled by Ste, waiting to make it into the oven. The house beautifully gloomy and Meep doing the assault course that is the living room furniture and only stopping to occasionally stand at Finley’s feet and cry as if he is quite unable to stop rioting and needs a little help to slow down. Oh how we love him.

Now. A late afternoon cup of tea and the tappety-tap of companionable typing, Ste and I sitting like a pair of bookends on the sofa, occasionally muttering to ourselves and drawing inquiry from the other that is quickly rebuffed with the frustrated “nothing” of people demented by technology. Later a new series of our current TV addiction, Couple’s Therapy and the joy of the conversation and the rather comical, but oh so fundamental disagreements each episode sparks, while Ste tickles my legs and laughs at me as I grow ever more frustrated by those on television who will not be helped (Mau, y’all??) and are curiously fascinating regardless.

All is well. And all shall we be well. And I shall be fifty this year. And Finn will go to university. And life is changing again, and now that I am almost half a century old I think I am finally understanding that it is only when life is changing, that it is doing what it should.

There will always be daffodils won’t there?


  1. Anne Dame says:

    50 is fabulous! I’m rounding the corner to 51, but it has been a good year, so far! Coincidentally, we happened on our “Covid Kitty” last year. Scooped her up off the road before she was squished, then named her Lucky. She’s part hunter, part prickly riot, but not a comfort animal! Cheers to your continued writing, and Happy early Birthday!🌸

  2. Helen says:

    Lovely to hear from you…we have not one but two half grown kittens now! Having lost an elderly cat and an elderly dog in the same year and finding a pet free home horribly empty we adopted two kittens from the stray cat and her feral beau who make their home in my brother in laws derelict garage. They are an absolute joy and are shamelessly doted on! Word to the wise though, get the little treasure insured…we delayed and in the space of two weeks had a hospital stay for potential ingestion of lilies (hideously toxic to cats) followed by an unrelated liver infection (fairly common in kittens). We were lucky enough to have savings enough to cover the treatment…who needs a holiday anyway when you’ve got two delicious cats to keep you busy!

  3. Kelly says:

    A lovely post as always Alison! Happy, happy Birthday!!! My love and wishes to you for a blissful year ahead!! 🌼🌺🌼🌸🌼

  4. Abigail Samoun says:

    I feel it too—that rising of the sap that is spring. A sudden curiosity about what is poking out of the ground in the garden. A sudden need to clean all the windows. And you are the first person I know to mention a similar infatuation with Couples Therapy. Mau is confounding! Brian and I have our theories about that particular couple. Going to therapy is one of their little couple entertainments—our dear doctor is something like their fifth therapist! We just started season two and a new set of duos and their own particular duo culture. It’s fascinating!

  5. Our daffodils have begun to bloom and it makes me deliriously happy. 🙂

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