Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison November 17, 2023 7 Comments 6 Min Read

I am abundant with first world problems and really rather ashamed of it. Today I am mostly put out because there is temporary traffic light just beyond my path and men in lorries have been waving at me as I sit here typing away and pretending the rest of the world doesn’t exist, when it turns out the rest of the world is watching me like I’m on the tele and having no qualms at all about letting it be known. So yes. Consider me put out. Yours sincerely, Put Out of Burscough.

Of course there are bigger fish to fry in the whirlpool of gloopy boiling oil that is currently my life but a person mustn’t complain because a person is always, always aware that first world problems are the sort that despite us all enduring like the itchiest of boils, we must choose to rise above regardless. This then is me, rising above.

I am rising above chirpy lorry drivers and a cat who dips his foot in every glass of water I pour. I am rising above fretting about how to afford Christmas (in fact let it be said I am hereby deciding to rise above fretting altogether because fretting is a static business, when it is action that is required) and I am rising above the word fupa, because I’ve got enough on my plate without worrying about whether I’ve got a fatty pubic “area”.

I am rising above feeling guilty about houseplants that refuse to thrive and instead consoling myself with the thought that that nurturing a thing that doesn’t want my kind of nurturing is pointless and not everything thrives just because I tell it too. I am rising above too, laundry. Because laundry is awfully dull and I want to be dancing instead.

I am rising above worrying that my son is flailing in a ditch when he doesn’t answer the phone and I am rising above the very, very first world issue that is spending too much time debating the merits of the night-time teas currently residing in my tea drawer, because the privilege written between every word of that sentence is enough to make me shiver in distaste. At myself. In fact I am rising above that too. Distaste at everything I am. Because low self-esteem is the kind of something the enlightened person should challenge herself to rise above isn’t it?

I’m on a roll now. So I am rising (way) above men on dating sites who ask me to provide a complete set of measurements (rude) and that woman across the road in the purple anorak who visibly tutted the other day because I have not yet dragged the bin back up the path. I am rising above the need to approach Christmas frantically and instead I’m ambling towards it gently and I am rising above the packet of malted milk biscuits that have found their way into a treat cupboard usually stuffed full of healthy choices, because MALTED MILK BISCUITS are the slippery slope and a person must go about in the kind of slipper socks with rubbery bits on the soles so she can survive slippery slopes and BEHAVE HERSELF.

Oh but perhaps I should rise above behaving myself too? I’m not sure its getting me anywhere? I have been horribly well-behaved lately and I think it may have diluted the rosy glow of badness I usually wear like so much rouge when I’ve let good behaviour go the way of the dinosaurs, and am knee deep in causing a kerfuffle. Sometimes I forget who I am and get earnest. And I do believe I have said it before and I will say it again, earnest is a terrible look when wild-woman remains an option.

The problem with all of this is that rising above things is quite time-consuming isn’t it? A person could stick a finger up at a waving lorry driver, and be done with the matter, or eat the blasted biscuits and get them out of the house so they don’t go haunting her dreams and creating moral debate every time she enters the kitchen. A person could march the houseplant out of the house, take their key and insist they never darken her door again, instead of worrying that they will wither and die altogether, all rusty-leaved and wilty and frankly no longer her problem and a person in her right mind could give up on earnest, nurture her fupa and let Christmas go to the dogs, should she so choose.

Because life is too important, too precious to be fretting all day every day isn’t it? Our lives are different now and I’m truly not sure we have the luxury of navel-gazing and petty outrage at the moment. So though I’m all for the pursuit of a higher purpose, that too has to be set aside when surviving becomes the order of the day and thriving a pipe dream for our tomorrows. This then is a battening down of our own hatches, and our focus has to be less rigid around all that we may once have held ourselves to account for, allowances made for behaviour that is a true reflection of how we feel instead of occupying space on the moral high ground. It’s time I think to slowly but surely let ourselves be while our politicians rip holes in each other and set lives on fire across the globe and we feel helpless in their demented wake.

Today then. I am considering running completely off my cake and having a second cup of coffee. I blocked the man who wanted to know my dress size before he took the time considered what lights me up, and I’m secretly issuing menacing looks at she of the purple anorak because my bin is my business and whether I lug it around the village dancing to Saturday Night Fever, or get my ruler out and make sure it is perfectly perpendicular to the crumbling, ivy covered wall, is I think entirely up to me. I’ve got bigger fish to fry, deep loneliness to offset, biscuits to eat and a house to cosy up because the cold has started to blow its way through the bricks and I can’t really afford to go mental with hiking the heating up and heck, I do believe that in one post, I have come full circle: I started off moaning about my first world problems, decided to rise above them, convinced myself rising above things was only for the earnest (or the demented), and now find myself in the kind of spin that probably needs tranquilising.

Let’s lean in, instead. Let’s lean in to honest conversation and the sharing of vulnerabilities. Let’s tell the houseplants we will always love them, but yes, they might be happier in sunnier climes. and if they aren’t then maybe they need to turn within and get a bit of nourishing plant food down their necks. Let’s lean in to not sweating the small stuff and not forcing ourselves to pursue the big stuff if we haven’t got the energy right now and let’s stick our fingers in our ears and say phooey to those with opinions about us, and lean in, instead to our own assessments of what we need right now. Lean in to our own truth and dare to dream that simply standing still in this moment, whether it feels giddy or frightening, really is the way to come to terms with how we feel in any given moment.

Today. A gentle puttery pottery meander around the house after a week of having my Dad here. A week where the house served as it should, a place for more than me. A place where lives where lived and food cooked and conversations had. A place I must resist returning to the sterility of a neat museum. A quick outing to the farm to pick up feta in garlicky oil and hummus made right there in store for a picky tea of sorts I will eat slowly with a glass of good Malbec, in the company of a friend who makes me laugh and doesn’t care what size dress I wear as long as I am smiling. For above all else right now, laughing feels important to me. It is something I have long prioritised, along with good debate and I never, ever want to rise above it, so I’m leaning in with all I’ve got.

Go eat the malted milk, let the house be the hug you need, and laugh. Please let yourself laugh. Run wild. Be ridiculous and love with all you have got. Because nothing, oh but nothing, else matters, than being loved.


  1. Karla says:

    Should you, indeed, lug your bin around the village dancing to Saturday Night Fever, please do have someone video it so we can all share in the nose-thumbing at the purple anorak lady.

    Gosh, we do get ourselves all running amuck don’t we? Sigh. I have felt much the same way lately – so many threads being pulled that I feel I must be on the verge of ending up a tangled, unraveled mess.

    I’m going to take my fupa and get myself a cup of Earl Grey from the work kitchen and sit here and read about the next book in my conquering of James Patterson’s Womens’ Murder Club series while having nothing at all to do at work today.

    1. Kelly Gabriel says:

      Agree completely Karla…video please! 🤣

  2. Kelly Gabriel says:

    Digging my stash of malted milk biscuits out right now….if only I had a bin to dance with!! 😂

  3. Laura Maga says:

    You’re such a precious friend Alison! You’re sincere, wise , brilliant …and great fun! 🙂


    Yes!!!!!! Lot’s to rise above over here. And followed by several second cup of coffee days. I am so glad you blocked the knuckle head wanting to your dress size, SERIOUSLY….

  5. Linda says:

    Alison, you have such a way with words. I can take a lesson from you about recognizing and describing feelings. And among other things I need to laugh more.
    .I appreciate you.

  6. Susan Pawlicki says:

    Quite late here commenting, but as someone who has had pecan, chocolate, and pumpkin pie today, I need to write, sometimes you just have to do what you want to do and let other responsibilities wait–because I believe you do have a responsibility to yourself to do just what you want to do sometimes 🙂

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