One of the best things about children is when they love the things you love. This does not happen as much as I had hoped!
But me and my oldest agree on one thing at least: musical theatre. Mr HB is delighted. Of course he isn’t, he HATES musical theatre.
I’m taken back to days on the bus from Cupar to St Andrews, nights huddled around the stereo at Scottish Youth Theatre, or forcing my long-suffering sister to play me songs from the shows. I used to almost have a photographic memory: I could learn lyrics after two hearings.
Now, I’m a bit slower to learn – so I join in with the lines of Hamilton, or Wicked, that I know, and my oldest reels off reams of them, all by heart. A real chip off the old block. Poor kid!
So, France is for the future, but for now, roots must be planted in Cornwall, which is almost as different.
Let me count the ways…
- They have their own language, used on street signs and buses only.
- Possessors of Scottish accents are exotic. And no, I don’t know Andy Murray.
- It‘s inappropriate to be offended by otherwise patronising endearments. Everybody is everybody else’s ‘andsome, sweetheart and lover.
- To someone who could drive through six county boundaries in an hour back home, it seems vast, and self-contained. Many natives see no reason to leave.
- The beaches are magnificent and, at the right time of year, secluded.
- Sunsets can be breathtaking.
- The delightfully alliterative obsessions are pasties and Poldark. Both must be indulged in.
Disclaimer: Given that residency is granted only after seven generations, these first impressions may not be accurate.
‘I take zero damage from zombies, dungeon slime and cochineal beetles.’
How lovely! I thought. Wouldn’t it be great if you took zero damage from life?
If we could go through life without hurt feelings or hurt bodies, no diseases or chronic conditions? Never having a heart broken. Not getting that cold that starts as a streaming nose, turns into a throat full of blades and then a chest like a tight sleeve straining to let air through. Never caring about what other people think of you. No coughs that just won’t go away. No aching limbs, no migraines, no scary diagnoses, no chronic pain, no broken bones. No death, no grieving.
Do we have to feel pain to experience love?
So, if anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be in Terraria. (It’s a computer game.) I take zero damage there.
The Delights of Domesticity
There ARE actually one or two things that I appreciate about working from home. They include:
- Following the sunlight around from room to room as the sun arcs in the sky.
- Lavender dead-heading. It’s aromatic, repetitive and curiously calming.
- Pumelling the pillows when I’m angry. Plus the duvets too, for good measure!
- Drying the washing outside in the wind. It smells so much fresher than airing it on the radiators…
- Inviting friends around for dinner. The simpler the cuisine the better – so that I can keep my focus on the sizzling conversations we have.
- When Beloved cleans up uninvited. (Hmm. What’s his angle?)
- Having my own chair, which is MINE.
- Creating Penny’s Ironing Rules. Minimal ironing. Period.
- Nurturing next door’s cat. He’s Nero to me…
- Tracking the bats that flit about in the streets at moonrise.
This is a pretty accurate representation of my favourite jumper.
It fits me – well, if there was one and a half of me!
It has a hole in the sleeve I keep picking at.
It is more shapeless than I have drawn it.
It is Shetland wool – the place I holidayed every year as a child and where my mum lives now.
I bought it in a shop across the road from where one of my dear friends lives. In Manhattan.
Yep that’s a lot of airmiles it has – Shetland – New York – East Lothian.
It is the jumper equivalent to a warm bath, clean sheets on the bed after two weeks away, a mug of hot chocolate, that floaty feeling you get at around 3am on New Year’s morning when everyone is still singing: half asleep, half-cut and cosy.
I do wish I had room in my life for more than one obsession. Or more appropriately, j’aimerais avoir plus d’une obsession. (My online course suggests I should re-enact my day in French, and my current level does require simpler sentences.)
It’s been longer than I’m letting on since I spoke the language beyond the bonjour, merci, et comment ça va of the casual tourist. It will have evolved and anyway I seem to have forgotten more than I ever knew. But the New Life turns out to involve a home in the Dordogne, and with time running out before the next visit, learning French is crowding out everything else. Though at this stage my needs are simple (shopping at markets, opening a bank account), fluency is a priority. Wish me luck – or should I say souhaite moi bonne chance!
You know when, at last, you make it to the sofa for a bit of TV, and you wrap yourself in the blanket, and take a deep cleansing breath, and –
ew. What is that smell?
Yes, it was the living room blanket’s biannual wash night the other day, and I got to thinking. My sister bought me that blanket, just after I had moved out from home. At first I didn’t think I liked the colour.
But it was huge and comfy and I brought it – and four boxes of books – to Mr HB’s house. I have a photo of his daughter, now 21, asleep in it, aged about 8. My youngest two fight over it every weekend, watching cartoons.
I know it’s only a thing, not a person, but it’s a special blanket. Now and then it deserves a good clean.