The Ugly Stick.

By Alison July 15, 2005 4 Comments 3 Min Read


Some mornings I wake up and you would swear I’ve been beaten around the head with the ugly stick.

Yesterday was one of those mornings. I woke up with a cold sore the size of France,  and a mood to match. I was not a pretty site and by my logic that meant it was up to Mark to both cheer me up and make me feel beautiful. Not an easy task I grant you, but the boy did good. The boy did really good.

Luckily you see I am a girl of simple pleasures. Not for me breakfast at Tiffanies, or a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. No. A good old fashioned day at the seaside is enough to warm the cockles of my heart, and that my dears is how I came to be sitting on Southport Promenade listening to a man called Allan croon Elvis songs to a gang of old ladies, with newspaper wrapped fish and chips and a can of lemonade.  Call me sad but to me this was bliss defined. So when Mark decided to take me to new heights of ecstasy, he delivered me to the door of the public library and left me there, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

After you’ve had children, certain activities are doomed. Browsing around  the library is one of them. So to have a gigantic room full of books all to myself for an hour is, to me, like being let loose in Harvey Nicholls, to a saner woman.

I know some people think they will catch the plague if they read a book that shock! horror! has been tainted by a strangers hands, but in my part of the world the libraries offer a fabulous range of brand new just published delights, mixed with a few treasured vintage classics and some truly awful cookery books. I love it. And the universe must have known, because just as I was about to stagger to the counter with fifteen fabulous books, fate jumped in and delivered something I have been seaching for, for months, namely Rumer Goddens "A House With Four Rooms." I nearly had a coronary with excitement, because this book is now out of print, but jam packed with scrumptious  thoughts like the one below:

"There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, emotional, mental and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room everyday, if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person."

Five minutes later I was beaming at Mark as we meandered up and down the aisles of Waitrose (My spiritual home: I will make a point of visiting daily, if only to keep it aired), buying silly bits of this and that (I never buy sensible food in Waitrose: it’s strictly for organic treats!) and feeling like I was the luckiest woman alive.

Ok,  so I looked like I had a bad case of leprosy and no amount of New York cheesecake would make that go away, but later, snuggled up with my laptop and my man, a bowl of pecan nuts at my side and a glass of red wine slowly turning my lips blue, I felt if not beautiful, then certainly blessed…


  1. Kerry says:

    I loved reading about your day Alison … your man is special! Thank you for sharing it. Once upon a time I wanted to be a librarian but the truth is, I'm one of those people who like to 'own' the book … I resent having a deadline to return … and once I'm done reading it I like it to be able to sit around my house somewhere … Like a good friend, I want to keep it near! Strange I know.

  2. Suzie says:

    Kerry, that doesn't sound strange at all! I am exactly the same – I have given up going to the library, because it ended up costing me too much money in overdue fees!! LOL

  3. kali says:

    Sounds great! You're definitely a woman I can relate too *grin*

  4. Kristy says:

    I know the feeling of being dropped off at the library for bliss. Recently I had a horrible two weeks and my man did just the same to cheer me up. He took charge of the little one, of course, so I was free to browse until my arms could hold no more books!

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