So all 3 sets of guests came and went, with a day’s turn around between each. Despite my initial reluctance towards accommodating all 3, I had to change my mind due to family circumstances; a heart operation comes way before my nervous disposition. Thankfully my step-dad is doing well, if understandably a little grumpy, after 3 hours of surgery while awake. Not pleasant, and makes my gripes pale into insignificance.
There was a funeral, and a wake. A gathering of men who were all boys together at a loss to explain how they could lose one of their own so young. A lost woman, my namesake, absolutely bewildered in her grief. A moment when we all walked into the room together as a group, stood lost for words and then as a group broke down.
There was time to reflect with my best friend, to raise a glass or 4 to the past, to eat excellent tapas in a seafront bar, complete with very drunk and lively tourists from Malta and a wandering Friar Tuck. To say au revoir to another friend moving overseas (again, a few glasses too many and excellent food).
Time to sit with my niece and talk, really talk, about what’s bothering her and what’s going on in her life and her rather belated teenage rebellion. She’s a good kid. She’s figuring it out, and we all have bumps and scrapes along the way. There was also a great deal of prosecco and what we northerners call ‘ket’ – junk sweets like sherbet, lollies, chews etc. My stomach still hasn’t recovered.
Then there was the veil of exhaustion when we dropped her off to spend a last couple of nights with her grandparents. The sweet relief of having our house return to it’s normal quiet rhythm. The challenge of reminding the pensioner dog that she is not really a princess, and that dog food is really as tasty as ket.
I feel I could sleep for a week (aided and abetted by my current chronic hayfever, it’s peak grass pollen season right now), but I’m aware that June has been a desert as far as writing and developing my novel are concerned. I’ve had very little time to myself to actually sit down and engage with the process – Husband Underfoot took most of last week off to recover himself, and has just returned to work today. It’s been lovely to have him about, but three weeks of constant company really makes me appreciate my ‘alone time’.
I’ve eaten rubbish, drank far too much, failed to exercise – man, do I need to get back in the pool. This week I’ve been catching up with the new series of Hannibal (such glorious visuals, such beautiful gore), started watching a new sci-fi series about cyborgs, Humans, which is terrifying, humorous, and very very British – really reminds me of Utopia. I’ve read Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist (good, but let down by the ending), Susan EE’s End of Days trilogy, Suzie Grogan’s Shell Shocked Britain, and Stephen King’s Thinner. There have been two stand out books – the first is Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis, a GP who takes us on a head to toe tour of the body in a series of beautifully crafted essays. The second is Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville, set during the Holocaust and beautifully woven up with fairytale and myth (a little like a written Pan’s Labyrinth in a way), but a deeply, deeply sad and bleak book that is not for those who like their fiction cheery.
I’ve bought very little other than alcohol and food. Oh, and one Spin Doctor frock. Lusted after it for ages, thought it was out of stock all over, noticed a sale on at Angel Clothing (n.b., do not link to this shop while at work, some of their clothing is fetish orientated) and there it was really cheap, the cameo frock of my dreams and my possible Vampire Ball frock (I have a horrible suspicion someone I know and like very much may also be wearing this dress at the same event. We literally bought it the same week – typical! I do have a backup frock that’s a riot of black satin, fishnet, ribbons and cleavage). The shoulder straps are a little long, even on the shortest button, so I need to add a button hole as I have tiny shoulders, but otherwise I love it. Did I mention the Vampire Ball? One for another post methinks!