By Alison October 22, 2006 11 Comments 5 Min Read


I am as you are all probably aware in a permanent state of befuddlement, a look rather becoming with my bed head hair and constant expression of random cheerfulness.

But at night I lie awake pondering. Not the meaning of life or why men like football more than they like anything else in the world but teeny little questions that having an answer to might in the smallest of ways do nothing to change my life, but could make the garden look a bit tidier, or stop me poisoning anyone who dares to eat with me…

Number One.

Remember the gorgeous pink and? delphinium blue hydrangeas? I had in the garden over the summer? Well they are all scrumptiously, gloriously decrepid now. Do I cut them down or leave them to die a slow death? I don’t know the first thing about gardening as you can tell…

Number Two.

What the heck is barkcloth? Do we even have it here in England? Is it a kind of gorgeous linen type printed fabric or is it sacking done up pretty? What do we call it here? Why are you Americans so mad about it? Tell me, tell me, tell me…

Number Three.

Will I die if I eat frozen fish? I never, ever, never eat frozen anything. No ready meals. No frozen pizzas. Nothing. (Except Ben and Jerry’s). But with the rising cost of Marks and Spencers smoked haddock, it has been brought to my attention that the very same little yellow delights can be bought for half the price in the freezer aisle. Well yes, but what will it taste like? Water? What if I don’t defrost it properly and die of smoky food poisoning? Should I even be eating smoked things? My Dad is forever wagging his finger about free radicals. Whatever they may be. It’s a worry.

Number Four.

Is patience a virtue or just downright daft when you could be pursuing other more likely to happen delights? Is wanting more than you can have too painful to bear or a useful exercise in learning to recognise what you really need?

Number Five.

Does a little bit of what you fancy do you good? I am on a diet. I have lost five stone since April. I am ever so good at dieting when the mood takes me? but I’d be Kate Moss by now if I stopped eating secret chunks of Green and Blacks and? too many glasses of red wine. While I suspect choc choc as Finn calls it is good for my soul, I swear its doing nothing for my cellulite. Is a zero tolerance? ban what is called for now?

Number Six.

What are fruit flys all about? I haven’t got mouldy fruit in the kitchen. Nothing dead anywhere as far as I can tell and yet I’m currently inundated with fruit fly’s harassing my tangerines.? Have I got the heating on too much?? Is the changing warmer climate to blame? Or is it the local? councils fault for making us change to gruesomely ugly wheelie bins and then choosing to take the liberty of collecting them only once a fortnight? Will they go away or do I need to call pest control?? I wish I knew what to do so that if I did need to call a pest control company, I could start looking for one in my area. I’ll probably end up asking my friend if this is the case, as she had to use these new hampshire terminix experts for when she had a pest problem and they were able to do the job effectively and quickly for her. If the council hadn’t made us change to these new wheelie bins, I would highly doubt that we would even be in this situation.

Number Seven.

How come I’ve taken up kind of dribbling in my sleep? This is plainly unattractive and I swear it never happened when Mark was talking in his sleep next to me. Am I sleeping heavier alone? More relaxed to the point where the muscles in my face? give up the ghost in the middle of the night?? I tell you, its driving me mental. Is it old age? I am thirty four.? And I’m changing the sheets all the time so I don’t have to deal with aesthetic evidence of my inabilty to sleep with my mouth shut. I bet I even snore nowadays too.

Number Eight.

Should we all stop aquiring as much junk as we do? Are all these pretty little ditties good for our soul or are they just nine more things to dust? Do we need to get some perspective on our constant urge to find buried treasure or is it simply part of who we are? With gaps in our lives big enough to warrant the penny pinching purchase of ornamental nonsense?

Number Nine.

I still can’t decide and trust me I’ve given it a lot of thought. Is it more economical to shop weekly pre-empting what you might fancy Thursday teatime on a Monday morning? Or would it be more sensible to shop only as you need to? Take for example my prawn fetish. So at the beginning of the week I buy enough prawns to see me through the week, but not enough salad and cucumber cos it seems to me that my fridge takes great delight in speeding up the rotting process. So I have to go to the shops regardless to buy fresh stuff. By which point I’m bored of prawns and decide to have beans on toast and let the poor little Santini tomatoes rot regardless. I tell you, its a conundrum.

Number Ten.

Would it be ok to borrow someone elses husband once in a while? I don’t want one and his bad taste cluttering up my living room or curing my dribbling habit on a permanent basis, but I do need someone to traipse through the yard with the binbags in the dead of night. Fix the glass doorknob that keeps coming off in my hand and get down on his hands and knees weekly and pull up the relentless obnoxious weeds in the front garden…

Thank you in advance for your words of wisdom. I have come to rely upon you.


  1. Gena King says:

    Dafty! barkcloth is that heavy linen type fabric so beloved in the fifties for making curtains with, you are bound to have some in your lovely home somewhere!

  2. Amber says:

    Thank goodness-I though I was the only one plagued by fruit flies! I hate the little uglies, swarming around my darling's bananas! And, I say eat the Green and Blacks and worry about the cellulite later!

  3. lizzie says:

    I think I can answer some of your questions and give comments. We have fruit flies too – they have been clouding in my kitchen in Chicago all summer and I normally dont get any except when I leave fruit to actually rot. Five stone since April is too rapid – a girl in my WW did something similar and her brain strunk – I kid you not. Green and Blacks is healthy I know that for a fact – stick with M & S – cheap at the price. Borrowing someones hubby – bit tricky – you might get stuck with him. I had gum surgery this week (next time I ll just let my teeth fall out it was so horrendous) but the next day I dragged myself around the garage sales – a hanky at my mouth – got a very nice breast pump for my daughter in law and a Melissa and Doug wooden barn for my grandson ($ 2) all while in agony………what can I say !
    A life examined I guess………

  4. brenda says:

    we americans love barkcloth because it was popular when some of us were little girls! Ah, yes…or it reminds us of our grandma's home. i am a partner in an antique store, and the ladies are always looking for barkcloth…it is a heavy linen type fabric usually with huge splashy colored flowers in bright colors. women now use it to cover pillows, couches…and sometimes even use it for draperies. fruit flies are annoying…they just appear at my house…i always wonder where they come from…borrowing someone's husband might be a problem….that's what handymen are for…although i doubt very many "handymen" would take out the garbage! 🙂

  5. Peta says:

    I do have recently started drooling in my sleep and I am 33! Very attractive! I think fruit flys are attracted by the smell of citrus, try using a glass dome or net food cover.
    In Australia we have a company called "Hire a Hubby" which does all those things including taking out the garbage!
    Frozen food is less likely to have bacteria then fresh. You are probably safer with the frozen fish then ones left for god knows how long at the counter.

  6. Tanya says:

    Number 3 made me laugh……does that really keep you awake at night??

  7. Annabelle says:

    I wish I could help Alison but my mind is clouded this morning. I don't like Monday!!!! I woke up to a hubby leaving for the week for work and informing me that the basement was flooded and that he should have listened to me yesterday when I had told him that I had to start the pump manually before it flooded the basement. I've been going down to the basement every few minutes trying to make the pump start and stop. I added a fishing float and still it's not working! Added a bobby pin for weight and I’m not sure if it will help. To top that I've been without a dryer for two weeks; needless to say I have to go in the flooded basement to hang clothes. Oh and I forgot that the washer doesn't work as well. It just turns one way. Not to mention I had to bring the cat litter upstairs as well. On top of that my stove has been broken for the last two years and I have been cooking with only one burner and no oven until this fall when I purchased a small counter toaster/oven … very limiting. And of course even the frig is kaput!!! I’m ready to scream for the entire neighborhood to hear and rent a hubby is not a bad idea. But I need the money to pay him; so that won’t work. Well letting the steam out here seems to be helping. There I think I feel a bit better!!! Hope you’re have a better day then I'm having! Maybe my calamity might shine a little light on your day. Now if I could only make that pump work so I can go to the second hand store for a happy pill and I'll worry about the dusting another day!
    Annabelle =^..^=

  8. Just goes to show I am not the only one that lies awake and worries about lifes little things! I am not much help except that yes, chop off your hydrangeas now that the heads have died. Not too harshly. Just love hydrangeas, but unfortunately they do not do well where I live due to all the water restrictions. Don't worry, I have a hubby, but need to hire one that is handy!

  9. judy says:

    I can only comment on number eight.
    I MUST buy all that stuff, even though I hate dusting it.
    Dust does serve to hold down the glare when I take pictures of my finds.

  10. Cindy says:

    Hi Alison!
    What are you like girl! I also lay awake in the nite, thinking about the many things I have to or want to do…..Like when I'm in the mood to make a change in the house, I'll keep on thinking about it! Nowadays Ias soon as I find that I'm doing it again: I say tomyself: Hey you! What did I tell you the last time? "Tomorrow is another day!"Remember! It's not wronge thinking and willing, but there's a time and place for everything! Hope you'll find peace, love and care in your search and livingmanner! Give your beautiful boy and yourself a big hug!!
    Love, Cindy

  11. Gaylynn says:

    Only cut the hydrangeas back to the height you want them to be next year. The stems re-sprout on the old ones. If you cut them back drastically, that is the size they will be next year.

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