Summer Nights

By Alison May 29, 2008 14 Comments 6 Min Read


..Another week went by and there wasn’t a child in the house washed, so busy was she, who should be doing the washing, swanning in and out of birthday celebrations and laughing at herself when a fake eyelash crawled down her face one memorable evening, like a none too bright furry caterpillar.

I wasn’t cut out to be glamorous. I was cut out, I think, to perch sunglasses on top of my head and burn my shoulders in the bright morning sun, as I crawl around car boot sales on my hands and knees looking for vintage magazines and Vale dotty saucers. I was cut out to bend myself into awkward positions trying to clean the back of the lavatory u-bend at midnight on a Tuesday. Designed I am sure for a life less exhausting than the one I am currently enjoying. And so in an effort to recognise myself as the uber housefrau I long to be and carry on living the high life,  I nearly drive myself headlong into The Priory trying to be all things to all people, the life and soul of the party and the mommy with the mostest including of all things, lickable skirting boards and a freezer full of just in case stew.

Take the weekend just gone by. I defy anyone to survive it and not come out the other side a gibbering wreck. You see, one is I think obliged to bake a lemony something on a scrumptious Summers Saturday afternoon. And so there  I was in a yellow gingham pinny that is the epitome of a sunny day and a fifties style high ponytail designed to keep my hair from contaminating the cake… (though clearly dipping a scrubby clean finger into the mixing bowl is not of the question, because I think you will agree that there is nothing in the world quite so appetising, so life-affirming, as a stolen spoonful of raw eggs and sugar…). Golly gumdrops I was a happy little chicken that morning.

Lets put this down to the fact that by the time I was doing a rather admirable impression of a brunette Doris Day, it was six minutes past one, and I had only fell out of bed an hour before. I want to tell you that I am outraged with myself, but darlings it was bliss. I have, you see, decided that far from life being too short to lounge in bed when one can, life is too short methinks not to revel in the  snuggly fresh joy that is springing out of bed and flinging open the windows, then running downstairs with a cardigan chucked over your knickers and dancing up and down the kitchen while you warm milk on the hob for a sugary, frothy, milky coffee, slice strawberries over a bowl of chocolate muesli, scrape cream cheese inside a Food Doctor cranberrry bagel,  find radio two on the radio, hang it over your arm like a handbag and carry the whole caboodle back to bed, before shaking the pillows back to their goose feathery best, re-making the bed and finding your page in the book that fell out your hand last night when you drifted off to sleep after a meal of blue cheese risotto and Cointreau chocolate mousse you could happily devour for the rest of your days…

In fact lets pretend there wasn’t a tinsy bit of a headache made of a Raspberry Colonel, a Cosmopolitan, and two Screaming Multiple Orgasms involved (Oh lordy, I’ve said that rudey word in two posts on the run: my Mum is going to kill me, she’s sooooo constantly disappointed in my loose tongue),and what we have here is the recipe for the kind of morning that if the house was a bit tidier could feature in the pages of Easy Living, so dementedly, aesthetically, lifestyley wonderfully perfect it was too.

Unfortunately finding myself in the vortex of something of a social whirlwind, the house wasn’t that tidy and if the truth be told, it was a teeny bit smelly, so it is quite a good job that scratch and sniff magazines never really took off, or the stench of garlic rosemary sausages in the fridge could really have spoiled the illusion. If only there was time to clean the refrigerator, but there wasn’t- so a teeny saucer of bicarb was thrown in to counteract the whiff while lemon meringue cake baked (burnt) and yours truly went off to try and pull something from the wreckage that was my face after the night before. Because it was Saturday night and one had a barbeque to attend to. And so one threw on a twinkly top, left the house to it’s own devices and attended it, and, one should confess, put on a rather ridiculous performance as resident party bimbo and ate far too much oh so very delicious potato salad, drank the odd Cheeky Vimto and insisted on lighting naughty peoples cigarettes, for goodness knows what reason.

The next day I woke up fresh as a Sunday button. But the fun wasn’t about to stop there. Hell no, because after an afternoon at Mum’s watching Finn and Gabriel spin themselves into a frenzy of half term excitement I returned home to my house cum dressing room, did myself up like Tina Turner all over again, and stepped out to collect the man I adored as a teenager for his inaugural soiree with the family Adams, aka us: mum, dad, Helen, Louis and resident kids. Bless his little heart.

Actually lets not bless his heart. The man was dozy all night. Far from being he of the sparkling wit I know him to be, he was sleepy, almost, I would say, asleep on his feet as my sister got down on her hands and knees in the bar and astonished everyone in the bar with her surprisingly bendy take on Ashtang Yoga. In the end I had no choice but to take him home. And ring my Mum and agree that yes, he’s lovely, but no, he’s not always that tired and yes he is suffering from a dramatically long list of ailments and his slug phobia is hardly becoming. Then get up the next day and positively drown in the cultural delight that is Liverpool in it’s Capital of Culture heyday. Giggle as peculiar little men in togas accost little old ladies and kiss them halfway to their coffin, watch an absolutely spectacular modern dance performance in Williamson Square and swoon in envy as Helen spends my entire food budget for the month on a a pair of  red suede shoes with black patent leather heels…

Oh it was all such fun. But a girl can only take so much hoopla before she remembers that the quilt hanging on the line has been hanging there three days and has to hold the age old debate with herself about whether a soaking in rainwater warrants another boiling in the washing machine or whether the sun should just be left to deal with the matter for the third day on the run. There comes a point in every good time gal’s life it seems,when it’s back to the domestic grindstone: to dishes soaking in mint scented water and the stubborn horror that is dried on toothpaste on the bathroom sink. All too soon comes the day when the fridge practically gets up and walks out the kitchen in disgust and the matter has to be dealt with pronto. A day when beds must be changed, rugs beaten and towels folded. A day when giving your much neglected home a hug is the only option.

Then thoroughly wiped out with the sheer effort of hugging the homestead, I collapsed on to a chair and let the man I adored
as a teenager
, who shall, because I am at long last willing to promote him, be hereby known as Paul, bring me a bowl of his own homemade pea and ham soup and giggle
as he finally
got round to explaining his performance as tiredest man on planet earth, which was, I am sorry to say due to the fact that he had, in a frankly ridiculous strike at the insomnia that has dogged him for a while, accidentally overdosed on chemist counter sleeping tablets.

That’s not normal is it? So thank goodness for the soup.

A person could fall in love with a person who makes great soup. So bring on the chicken and sweetcorn Mister.

Or run for your life.


  1. Amy says:

    you sound perfectly normal Alison, I’m so glad that someone else apart from me has a son who twirls himself around too. btw hi to Paul 🙂

  2. lurker says:

    just getting a teeny bit tired of reading about your social life. It would be nice if you got back to what this blog was originally about i.e. vintage housekeeping and all that entails. It’s starting to read like a second rate Mills and Boom here lately

  3. Heather says:

    I just love your writing!!! Congratulations to ‘Paul’ on his promotion!!

  4. Heather says:

    Just read lurker’s comment. I suppose I’d agree that Alison has strayed from her usual helpful hints around the homestead but isn’t life around any homestead also about the people who live in it? Social lives are to be celebrated! I say to Lurker “who cares what she writes about? Its her bloody blog and if you don’t like it anymore then no one is holding a can of spray polish to your head! Don’t read it anymore if you don’t like it!!”

  5. Polly says:

    I don’t know what’s normal anymore. Is it what I deem normal? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure that most would deem me not normal; therefore, my opinion may be null & void. But just in case, Paul seems nice and Lurker does not. =) Blessings… Polly

  6. Debbi says:

    So…. as much as I have enjoyed your blog in the past, I am not the type that appreciates the sex talk. Heather, in her attempt to shore up Alison’s right to sharing her sex life, (which indeed is a right that she has) rather rudely jumped all over Lurker, and doubtless will jump all over me, too, but Lurker has a valid opinion, whether or not Heather or anyone else likes it. I assume that is the reason that Alison has a feedback option, and hopefully thick skin.
    Just an observation, there are far fewer positive comments on this posting than usual, by the time this many days have passed.
    I love your writing Alison, and I love to read of the trials and travails of your daily life, I have felt like friends, but I am going to have to do as Heather says, “… and if you don’t like it anymore then no one is holding a can of spray polish to your head! Don’t read it anymore if you don’t like it!!”
    I am pretty certain though, that the reader count, and resulting advertising fees, is how Alison makes her living. Her Mother isn’t the only one that is disappointed in her. So sorry, Alison. It was fun.

  7. Carol M says:

    Debbi, I hope you still visit this site. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought the Screaming Multiple Orgasm that Alison was referring to is the name of an alcoholic beverage, not sex talk. I understand what Lurker is saying as well. However, the day I found this site is the day that Alison first posted about her hubby leaving, so I am obviously hooked on Alison’s writing, whether it be housekeeping notes and advice, or sharing her life in any aspect she chooses to share. Her writing is so damned good it’s like a novel you can’t put down. If I have any criticism, it is only my selfish wish that she posts more often. I check this site every morning in hopes of more stories she wants to share.
    All of us have opinions that should matter and no one should be afraid to express them here. If people didn’t care about this blog, there would be no comments.

  8. Petah says:

    Alison, Don't let the turkeys get you down! Maybe it is not a term known in other countries, but here in Australia 'the sex thing' others are referring about is actually a drink! Your title in your blog states: Life, Love and Housekeeping, not just housekeeping. Maybe the Martha Stewarts blog is an option for those who only want to read about that. Do not stop blogging as I know I speak for many that love your 'Carrie Bradshaw' style stories. I look for your new posts every day and the only reason I have not commented sooner is I have been interstate. Don't let a man go that can make a good soup!

  9. Cheryl in California says:

    I'm pretty sure the Screaming Multiple Orgasms are drinks as they're referred to in the same context as the other drinks consumed. What right do any of us have to judge? Why announce the fact that you're not going to read anymore? Just stop reading if you don't like it. But good heavens let's stop the bashing! Alison, I think you're great…painfully honest at times but that's what makes you great! Wanted to de-lurk to say so!

  10. jademichele says:

    this blog is so much fun to read!!!

  11. Tina says:

    congratulations that the “guy you used to adore as a teenager” is actually getting promoted to first name staus..ha.
    good luck

  12. E says:

    The banner reads – Life Love and Vintage Housekeeping – the passive aggressiveness in the comments here is just nasty and petty. I think some people need a long ladder to get over themselves.
    Love your honesty and candour Alison.

  13. Anne says:

    Google it – the first 5 links are some variation of this:
    Multiple Screaming Orgasm
    1 part cointreau
    2 parts baileys
    1 part vodka
    1 part amaretto
    1 part coffee liqeur
    2 parts coconut milk
    ice (preferably crushed)
    Instructions: give it a good mix
    The gutterbrains owe you an apology.
    It’s been a while, but I’ve said it before – I LOVE reading your posts, I check every day to see if you’ve felt like updating. Housekeeping, life, I love it all, don’t stop.
    Things are crummy right now, I know, but there are so many people out here rooting for your happiness. And we’re here because of your goodness, your talent for writing, and gift of sharing. I have no idea why anyone would want to write something negative and ugly like they have here – it’s very selfish of them. Take care of yourself, we’ll wait if you need to regroup. We’ll be happy with anything you choose to share.

  14. dianeinjapan says:

    I know I’m weighing in late on this, but I just want you to know that I enjoy *all* of your writing. And man, that drink sounds good–I’ve never had one (ahem!).

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