The Tizz

By Alison June 29, 2020 7 Comments 5 Min Read

I got myself in the most terrible tizz this weekend. Just inside my head, you understand? I wasn’t throwing plates, trolling strangers on social media or evicting the family so I could have a hissy fit in the peace of an empty house, but I did experience a kind of muddly, outraged brain that wouldn’t let me sleep and became terribly cross and rather ludicrously outspoken about all manner of things I would do far better not to concern myself with.

I was mostly cross about the endless rain. My whole being wants to be pottering around the garden, and though Ste, who is wholly immune to the weather, tells me it is quite possible to garden in the endless torrents of terrible windy rain we have been enduring on and off for days now, I am having none of it and choose instead to brood, a cup of tea clutched between my hands as I sit in the conservatory staring at what needs doing and what cannot be done, while I weigh up how my own first world outrage at domestic inconvenience so quickly escalates into the kind of outrage I can apply to everything from life going back too normal too quickly for my cautious liking, to the weird spot under my lip, gender politics and the J.K Rowling debacle, the very premise of “cancel culture”, the behaviour of a tiny minority of Liverpool FC fans causing aspersions to be cast upon our entire city, the preposterous demands of a woman (who shall not be named) who wants her way but will not alter her attitude in a manner that thus allows us to accommodate her, and finally my overwhelming sense that the world isn’t behaving quite as it should, and who knows where we will all end up if we don’t collectively change our attitude to EVERYTHING.

I mean, really. Clearly something is going astray in a persons head if she is working herself up into a frenzy about ALL THE THINGS!

Amidst it all, I feel frustrated. Frustration is the most awful of emotions because it is both in and of itself: one cannot soothe it because if it could be soothed by the removal of the barriers causing it, we would not be experiencing it. There is something I like to think of as the “terrible middle” – a point when our endeavours look to have caused more issues than they were designed to solve and it rather feels as though nothing will ever be right again. And so it is here: the house still upside down as I continue overthrowing our entire domestic arrangements in favour of that which it is now clear, would suit us better.

Furniture isn’t where it should be. (Indeed one piece of that I have deemed essential is still in Ikea, and none of us are in any hurry to go there while we can’t enjoy meatballs along the way). There is a rug I have now taken back to the shop three times. I have got pots of paint all over the place. The new gravelled area at the end of the garden isn’t completed because the weather keeps getting in the way and Finley has declared himself a roadblock in the way of the schemes I have carefully conjured in my head and remains insistent that not so much as a bedside chest will leave his room without two things happening beforehand: he will give express permission for such a travesty to occur only when he feels like it, and we mustn’t move ANYTHING if he is in the house because his brain will have a duck-egg at the resulting chaos and he would rather such nightmares occur in his absence – which would be all well and good if he ever left the house!

But of course none of this is really about the house.

Yes, we are very definitely smack bang in the very heart of the “terrible middle” but ordinarily I would find that exciting and revel in the possibilities of all that I am creating: but right now I feel as though it is so dreadfully hard to have faith in a world that seems to want to eat itself, that it is as a result, impossible to have faith in what would once have been givens at home.

So I got in a tizz. And I had a little cry. And I kept throwing myself at Ste for impromptu hugs and phoning my Dad for reassuring agreement that I am not alone in thinking that PEOPLE IN GENERAL ARE BEHAVING VERY BADLY INDEED and I wandered about aimlessly and couldn’t rest, or work, or read and the nights were too hot too sleep well and I have a very trying ailment that makes me feel a bit mental because I can’t get comfortable and Stevie is coming to stay at the weekend and what if the house isn’t lovely for his return (though he will of course, at fourteen, barely notice!) and on and on my despair went, until Finley, lovely, slightly stroppy Finley, took me by the hand and led me to the sofa and told me something that was balm to my hysterical soul…

“It’s time for some Monty Don, Mum”

And so it was. He made tea, and we watched Gardener’s World for hours on end, my curly-topped angel learning things about hostas he never needed to know, as we shared a bowl of popcorn and he snuggled up to me as if he were five years old, knowing exactly what I needed and quietly reminding me that when our heads gets in a muddle there are ways and means of repairing the holes and gaping tears in our silly souls with nothing more than a pot of traditional breakfast tea and the bliss that is watching Monty Don carry his teeniest dog around his glorious garden in a little shopping basket. Simple pleasures that allow us to lower the volume on the hysteria in our heads and bring us back to ourselves. To what really matters and to all that we can affect change in, without sending ourselves into a spin, about all that we can’t.

Now if only it would stop raining and Ikea was selling meatballs again. It won’t be long now, will it?

[lasso ref=”down-to-earth-gardening-wisdom” id=”54955″ link_id=”8810″]


  1. Karen says:

    Alison dear, I feel much the same way. Thankfully, Brocante Home is one of the simple pleasures that help me through. ?

  2. Melanie says:

    I recognize this state of mind….I alternate between that and utter fatigue whereupon I lose all motivation for absolutely everything but lying down and reading. My weather woe is that it’s too bloody hot here..I scurried out at 6am to plant a couple of shrubs but by 10am it’s unbearable. Ugh.
    Your boy is the wisest of souls….how absolutely marvelous to be so known. xo

  3. Deanna Piercy says:

    Finley is obviously a truly lovely boy. You’ve done well. 🙂

  4. Marty Larson says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! You have eloquently described the indescribable. That sense of just being off, and not knowing which way to go. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Donna says:

    Alison once again I both feel for you and with you. The terrible middle is such a great way to describe it and I have felt exactly the same. I feel the world is behaving badly, especially in the UK and I’m so CROSS with ‘people’. I’m disappointed that we aren’t better, that nothing has been learnt and they can’t take their rubbish home. Grrr! I’m just not feeling nice so thank you for giving us a place to curl up with you, Finley and Monty and retreat from the madness.

  6. Karla says:

    Oh dear girl, it is the terrible middle isn’t it? I have felt all the same. We are in the midst of replacing 20 year old floor coverings thanks to a puppy who couldn’t stop ripping up the vinyl kitchen floor tear (in my heart I’m thankful because it’s what finally convinced my husband it was time). But before we do that, we have to repair a soft spot by the back door. So we are in repair mode in several areas. There are empty boxes everywhere, waiting for me to fill them to the brim with belongings that will impede the progress of the floor repairs. But I am also decluttering everything as I go. Add to that some upheaval at work and a new person to train all the while 3 important people were on vacation the same week (who’s idea was that!?) and then it’s been so sordidly hot here when it’s not raining buckets. But the worst middle is that the whole world, especially my beloved country, has gone totally mad bonkers. I take joy in the fact that Brocante Home is my safe place, in whatever form it takes at the moment. We are in this together my dear girl.

  7. Helen says:

    I think I know exactly how you feel. In my world nothing’s quite as it should be. In reality I’m a lucky one, good job though reduced pay for 4 months and non for two haven’t helped things but all in all I’m very lucky. What I can’t get my head round is my feeling of helplessness and insecurity. I am a retired nurse and it breaks my heart when people blithely talk about ICU and ventilators as if they’re a cure all and I could also cry or scream at the utterly selfish, inconsiderate behaviour of people who should know better. History tells us everything passes eventually, I hope it’s right.

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