Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison April 8, 2024 7 Comments 6 Min Read

The weather no more knows what it is doing, than I do. One minute blowing a hoolie. The next hammering rain. And now a sort of deep nothingness. No weather at all. Neither warm, nor cold. Neither dry nor wet. A stagnant Spring. As if she does not know which way to go. Cannot identify what she should be, and so instead, like Picasso’s quote about God, she goes on trying other things.

This morning I walked the hill I walk when I too am a stagnant Spring, treading water between one place and another. Not knowing which way to go. It was for the sake of channelling energy, after two horribly late (but gloriously fun!) nights watching Wrestlemania with Finn, exhausted by standing screaming at the TV in the small hours, but certain that this is what he needed from me right now. That this, doing something he loves, together, matters as an anchor in the midst of so very much change. Because there we were, me and my boy squashed up together on the sofa, both so invested in the moment, that in the midst of it he turned to me, and said “I have literally never been happier than I am right now”.

(I love him more than I will ever be capable of putting in to words).

I am tired today. But sometimes we have to grab life by both hands don’t we? Say phooey to doing what’s wise or sensible, comfortable or “right” and instead do what body and soul tells us will feed us, for it is only when we grab life with both hands, when we choose joy and awe, wonder and happy exhaustion, instead of being cautious, or dull, scared or self-limiting that we really feel alive. And oh, how we need to feel alive! How we owe it to those we have lost, or are losing to chase our own version of bliss.

And that means that sometimes we have to do hard things. On Saturday Finley told me that he has signed up to jump out of an aeroplane. And I looked at him in absolute horror and summoned all the nopes I could muster. And he looked right back at me and laughed, this astonishing man, (for he is a man now) and said it will be ok Mum. This gorgeous boy-man, once overwhelmed by almost everything wants to jump out of an aeroplane to prove to himself that he can do hard things, and I sat looking at him with his perfect beard and silly man-bun and found myself crying, huge big sobs as I said, yes, yes, you absolutely must do it baby! It will be amazing and terrifying and wonderful and I said it all with the tears dripping and we laughed at me because I make no sense at all, and he hugged his silly mum to his chest and made her an excellent cup of tea and I listened to him talking his way through all the grown-up things that he is dealing with now, and it struck me that I have raised someone beautiful and brave and true because he scares himself everyday and he rages sometimes because life in his head is complicated, but he always, always does the right thing even when it hurts, even when he knows that he might in the process temporarily hurt others. He acts for himself and I find that astonishing.

But the aeroplane opened the floodgates and the tears have been falling in quite the silliest of fashion ever since. It sounds all kinds of daft, but wrestling makes me cry, for it is nothing if not a constant examination of toxic masculinity and in so many ways it has, along with Doctor Who, taught my boy what a good man is: what separates a boy from a man, how to be, how to value and respect those you love, (even when you can’t love them anymore), how not to shy away from the conversations that matter, and how to know the difference between being nice and being kind and understanding why that difference is absolutely everything. So I cried when one wrestler dashed into the crowd to kiss his wife and I sobbed when another “finished his story” in a blaze of glory, and it doesn’t matter whether naysayers have to take a moment to remind us that wrestling isn’t real, for that is irrelevant, when what really counts is that each and every week, grown men are showing little boys that difference between being a “face” and a “heel” is love, honour, family, commitment and respect in a way they can relate to; and in a manner that simply does not exist within any other sporting arena.

Yes. I have been crying. On Friday night I showed a friend all the Instagram images of the little cottage I once lived in. The images of a little cottage stuffed to the brim with a life I haven’t got anymore and it made me feel intensely sad. We are so good at stuffing things down and pretending they don’t a atter aren’t we? Announcing to whoever will listen that we are ok with what has happened to us, with what we have lost. But as I looked at my old life I was possessed by a kind of mourning. Grief I have kept suspended for nine years as I tried to make a life here in a house that is lovely, but has never really fitted who I am. So I stopped taking photographs. Archived those that spoke of a life I too willingly, in grief for my my Mum, gave away. Sudden, mad decisions, that undid what mattered, when letting a house that felt safe, hug me back to life would have been the wiser choice.

This week though my tears are made of more than just regret. They are crazy barely there tears I weep as I laugh. They are a potent mix of hope and happiness, pride and joy. And hormones?? They are for our beautiful Carolyn, who we will bury on Thursday, and for my Dad, who is so very, very sad about watching his brother slip away. They are made of a sudden sense that nothing will ever be the same again and that might just be exactly what I need. And for the joy of finding myself laughing so often that some of me finds it absolutely terrifying.

How bloody awful to be afraid of being happy.

So I stood on that hill this morning and breathed in soft rain. Slipped my way through a mossy forest cursing boots not fit for the job. Sat on a bench near the Gruffalo and had a gentle word with myself. Counted all my blessings and ran out of fingers and toes. Asked myself to just breathe. To neither look back with sorrow, nor forward with anxiety, but to simply work on what I need to do to move forward out of this stagnant, lovely, confusing Spring.

This afternoon then. My coaching done for the day and the house thick with the debris of a busy weekend. Dad will arrive in a few hours and I need the house to be shiny again by then. But for now a cup of rosehip and a plate of happy leftovers, olives, Worcester Sauce Cheese (swoon) and rosemary crackers, for a late lunch, a cat apparently tireder than I am sprawling wherever he stops and a sense that though I am somewhat in emotional flux, things are lining up just as they should.

That like jumping out of a an aeroplane, it might be amazing and terrible and wonderful. But better than that, more potent than that, it might just be worth it.


  1. Paula says:

    Is Finn being sponsored for his jump. Is it a Tandem one?

    1. Alison says:

      Its something to do with the pub where he works, Paula… I’m hoping its a tandem one!x

  2. Karla says:

    So much of my life has been about doing things that I’m afraid of. It’s growth! I’m excited for Finn and also understand your admiration/terror. I also get the tears. I’ve been holding things in so much lately that I finally had a really good massage with a reiki master and when she pressed on my sacrum it all came out in sobs – I laid on that table face down and sobbed for 5 minutes straight.

    1. Alison says:

      Oh Sweetheart… I hope it was cathartic and that you felt amazing when the tears stoppedx

  3. Kelly GabrielGuida says:

    Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts that so often mirror parts of my life. That you write them gives credence to mine as well. We are in this precious life together. 💖

    1. Alison says:

      And long may it last Kelly…x


    Dearest Alison. Thank you for sharing your precious heart. I wish I were nearby to give you a big hug. I am confident you can make any place you are in a beautiful place because you are an amazing woman. You have helped me make where I am at home. I did not have much of a choice to move where I am right now. It was hard and it was hard for my kids to let our other house go. This one is much older, much smaller, but some of the most precious memories have happened right here. That is the beauty of us extraordinary, domestic mistresses we can make even the smallest or oldest of spaces special and warm and inviting. That is who we are and that is what we do. You deserve to be happy, and I hope with time, hope, love, family and friends who adore you, you will absolutely 100% get there.

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