Sunday, April 6, 2008

After three - horns IN

Nearly died of shock in garage forecourt today after filling up gas-guzzling behemoth. Jeez. When did it suddenly get to costing nearly seventy quid just to fill my tank? Last time I did that it cost a mere ( sic ) fifty. Crikey. Will walk more. Will have to cut down on going to the dreaded gym in the morning - that's about the furthest I go regularly - a round trip of about eighteen miles. I guess I'll have to learn to love running closer to home, up the track through the woods.

Little by little and bit by bit, all the things I used to take for granted ( meat, diesel, going to the gym, trips to the shops for one forgotten item like a pint of milk or a newspaper etc etc ) are being slowly excised from my life. This is no bad thing, but it does take some getting used to. Feckless consumer wretch that I am, one of the things I find it hardest to give up is my Boden habit. These days the catalogue falls through the door and I have to sling it in the recycle bin before I am seduced by the glorious clothes within.

Yeah - the belts are tightening and the horns? Drawn in so hard my cheeks are sucked in. I keep doing sums on the back of my bank statement trying to work out how much longer we can make my teeny royalty cheques stretch. I hate living like this, but I feel bizarrely at home being skint since most of my adult life has been spent doing sums on the back of envelopes. It's a drag, but it's familiar.

Been beavering away on the story for Witch Baby II. My beautiful, wildly extravagant baby blue notebook with airmail paper leaves is filling up nicely with page after page of inky storytelling. There's something so deeply satisfying about carving out a tale in one of these beautiful journal/notebooks ( I'm damned if I'm going to name the makers) that even if my day has been a complete pig, I can be soothed by casting a glance over what I've managed to write. Even if it's drivel, it looks like the writings of a Real Writer as opposed to whatever terrible name I'm calling myself depending on what sort of a day I've had.

Snow fell this morning, and we had my eldest daughter's Young Man over for the day. He brought a beautiful loaf of bread that he'd baked himself, still with the warm breath of the oven on it. What a lovely gift. Raisin and fennel bread. The boy is such a star. And only thirteen years old. After dinner, I drove him home ( very slowly - with diesel at seventy quid a tank if I could've pedalled him home in a rickshaw, I would have, but he lives uphill in the Lammermuirs, on the very same farm I used to live on in another lifetime)

It was decidedly weird, driving on a road I used to know backwards, being the first car to leave tyre tracks in the snow, like I used to twelve years ago, when I used to drive back from the airport after a long day in London. driving back through ( then) snowdrifts, back to a silent and cold house where my ( then) husband was fast asleep, caring little whether I made it back home safely through the blizzards or not. That sounds rather pathetic and self-pitying; it's not meant to be, just a statement of fact. One of the facts that made it all the easier to leave when I finally did.

These days, if I was late home, driving through a blizzard, Michael would be out there in the cold with a torch, shovelling snow and phoning to check when my plane touched down and therefore when he could reasonably expect me to make it through the drifts. Mind you, in these carbon-aware days, I would have taken the train. So yes. The lack of money may be a familiar drudge, but there's a whole world of difference between being hard up and unhappily married, and being hard up but part of a loving, supportive partnership. I daily give thanks...

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