Housekeeper’s Diary

By alison September 30, 2019 3 Comments 4 Min Read

So much rain. A deluge that floods the garden and sends water rolling across the pebbles to form huge puddles in the lane. The murky grass even more sodden than usual, and every spider in the land crawling through the cracked window in the laundry room and taking appalling shelter in the bosom of my family, so I spend my evenings shrieking at monsters as big as my hand, while the men of house fetch tumblers in which to catch them, and laugh at my outrage, threatening as they go to slip the naughty spiders between my sheets.

The local villages are drowning, and every so often I look up from the screen I am so constantly tapping at to see someone dashing by, utterly drenched and apparently ill-prepared for the rain that has been falling for days on end. More proof I think, that my Dad is right, the world and all of us in it are going mad.

Certainly everything here seems a little urdy-gurdy.

You see the Yukka plant has died and the Spider plant is feeling spectacularly sorry for herself and will not be cajoled back to planty joy. There is what I am worried is rising damp speckling the lower half of the living room walls and I cannot help feel as though the house is in deep need of the kind of love we renters cannot offer it. But it is Autumn, There are bags full of .the Summer clothes we will not wear again, bagged and ready for the charity shop and I am spending my evenings trying to rally up enthusiasm for Christmas with those who refuse to consider it a worthy topic of conversation until mid-December, while singularly failing to understand that Christmas is a pantomime requiring long rehearsal if the director isn’t to lose her mind with the sheer worry of managing the budget, buying the kind of gifts that do not disappoint fussy teenagers and deciding where to enjoy our turkey.

But despite the rain, the spiders, the reluctance to plan Christmas with my own set of Grinchs and the madness inside these four walls and beyond it, I love this time of year. I love having a roast in the oven and candles lit at midday. I love this changing of the domestic season, the layering of the coming Winter on a house deeply relieved to feel her Mistresses arms around her again. I love cold toes in bed, and showers fragranced by eucalyptus, afternoons spent in the library and the deep reassuring bliss of the first hot chocolate of the Autumn. The rhythm of the school day dictating mine in a way I so deeply appreciate now that the last year of Finn’s school life is upon us.

Today then. Salt and pepper pork roasting in the oven ready to be sprinkled with soy sauce and cut into strips for packed lunches. A book I cannot put down. Happy reflection on a Sunday afternoon spent with my oldest friends. Mountains of onions fried and frozen. A frown for a conversation in which I was deeply misunderstood. The first of my Christmas presents wrapped. The next video in an Anna Wintour masterclass I am enthralled by (a happy bonus of an all -access pass to a Neil Gaimen story writing course Finley is taking). The dull expense of new tyres for the car. The whole house scented by Tiger Balm too liberally applied to an aching shoulder. And later, a new french drama courtesy of Walter Presents later, with a piping hot dish of Poor Mans Cassoulet and torn off chunks of the finest French loaf left in the village bakery.

And though the rain keeps coming, and the conservatory is draped with laundry reluctant to dry, though the washing machine door is playing silly beggars, and the fences in the garden literally steamed this morning when the temporary beam of the sun hit them, though the birds are refusing to eat the seed mixture we were clearly to adventurous in choosing, Ste is still deep in the pits of withdrawal from prescribed medication, and I have got to go for a breast scan tomorrow afternoon, despite it all I can feel the kind of contentment my Summer heart longs for.

A settling in of the spirit I look forward to all year round.

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3 Comments

  1. barbara d. says:

    Alison you are amazing. With the rain, the non-drying laundry, the spiders (ICK!), caring for Ste and Finley and all else surrounding you…you show us the shiny parts…a roast in the oven, an enticing new book, hot chocolate. You are so right that by focusing on the good that is happening around us we will get thru everything. Thank you for the nudge to look for the bright tidbits in our lives.

    1. Alison says:

      Oh Barbara that is so kind… I have come to believe that there is no other way than to keep on looking for teeny joys.

  2. barbara d. says:

    Alison you are amazing. With the rain, the non-drying laundry, the spiders (ICK!), caring for Ste and Finley and all else surrounding you…you show us the shiny parts…a roast in the oven, an enticing new book, hot chocolate. You are so right that by focusing on the good that is happening around us we will get thru everything. Thank you for the nudge to look for the bright tidbits in our lives.

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