Well it’s Sunday and with a new working week looming horribly at me my mood is being brought down by the sight of snow. Not now deep and crisp and even. More compacted, slippery and increasingly mucky. The sky is also a lowering grey so I can’t even go out and take photographs of any still relatively virgin expanses of the white stuff in the late afternoon sun, as I had planned. The Met Office has now suggested that the next fall of snow will not be as heavy as feared, so we can’t even get over excited about a possible armageddon/new ice age/shortage of bread in the co-op. I might even have to get on a bus and go to work.
To cap it all, my nearly 19 year old son – fruit of my loins, light of my life etc etc – has been watching the blatant electioneering and has again been persuaded by David ‘Its not my fault I went to Eton’ Cameron to consider putting a cross against a Conservative party candidate at the next election. That candidate is one Mark Formosa, who has been to Tory boot camp, learnt the oily smile and done his best to jump on every local bandwagon making its way across the plains of Taunton Deane. Fortunately my son has parents whose Liberal Democrat credentials will soften, but not cancel out, the impact of his naivete by putting their marks against Jeremy Browne’s name. So can’t we just get the election over and done with – how about Thursday next week? Save us 5 months of a daily dose of what will undoubtedly be the worst soap opera on telly.
This is, I suppose, a kind of diary. Perhaps even a travelogue in a way, or that may be a tad pretentious. However, much money can be made and humour gleaned from simple observation of the world we most closley inhabit, and poetry – well Keats can take the most everyday occurance and find exceptional beauty in it. Would I had a tenth of his talent, or a tenth of the income Stuart Maconie gets from his fabulous social commentary.
At present, the land outside our door, literally, has changed from murky, foggy, damp and rather typically west country wet and miserable to an icy waste, where 21st century glaciers are forming, literally breaking up the surface of our world. I exaggerate not – there are going to be a hell of a lot of re-suracing works done on the roads and pavements this year. That is if it ever thaws out. Minus 9!! Whoever thought that possible. Crisp snow is gradually being turned into pack ice as the sub-zero temperatures continue, and as the sun sets patches like glass are highlighted.
There is a lot said about how the transport infrastructure in Britain, and our general readiness for these ‘extreme weather events’, falls far short of other countries. To be frank though, we could all go out and buy snow chains and skis and we wouldn’t see another flake of snow in the southern half of the country for years. This is only ‘extreme’ because the whole country is covered in the white stuff. Anyone living north of Nottingham must fume when the London centric BBC changes the TV schedules to cover the ‘big freeze’. They have been dealing with these conditions every year in living memory, finding ways to live with it. I would be interested to see how many women ‘up north’ still try to walk to work in high heeled court shoes – undoubtedly muttering under their breath at the lack of grit on the pavements. And did you know for instance that you shouldn’t try and drive off in first gear in snowy conditions? Causes unnecessary wheel spin. Apparently. We soft southerners are wusses to the core.
Well at least I thought we were. My daughter’s school has decided to open tomorrow, despite being in one of the most inaccessible positions in Somerset. The kids who live locally have to walk in or else, and my daughter is so desperate to be there for the fun that she has got her dad to agree to dig the car out to drive her the six miles in on country roads tomorrow morning. Who said teenagers today were lazy and lacked comittment to education? A hopeful parent who would much rather stay in bed in the warm I should think.
The very public musings of a poetry loving forty-something as she struggles to come to terms with time to herself again…..
I have a very good friend who has started a blog (http://slummysinglemummy.wordpress.com/) about the joys and otherwise of single parenthood. She may enjoy leading me astray in many ways but her determination to write and get herself noticed is inspiring. So, in the spirit of solidarity and in the sure and certain knowledge that very few people will actually take any notice of me (self-deprecation being one of my least interesting qualities) I have signed up to get scribbling, at least virtually.
Now I am not single, so my blog instantly becomes less interesting. However, when referred to by a somewhat mysoginistic work colleague as a woman ‘of a certain age’ I bristled in such an extreme fashion that sparks flew. I may be in my forties and past the first flush etc etc but that can’t be it already surely? My husband is still very keen to have sex with me, and if he wasn’t I would have to go and find it elsewhere. I even have ‘another man’, albeit a poet of 5ft 1 who has been dead for more than 180 years (my husband doesn’t feel terribly threatened). I enjoy a night out as much as a twenty-something, although once a fortnight now maybe rather than twice a week and when looking for that special outfit still manage to successfully avoid saying ‘I wonder if they have something like that in Bon Marche?’ So why do we insist on labelling women in such a way? I have been told that I am obsessed with my age, but everything is contriving to make me feel like it is only a matter of time before I suffer from a potentially embrassing bladder weakness , start forgetting where I am and fancy Alan Titchmarsh rather than the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs.
And what, in the main, has prompted this mid-life insecurity and lack of confidence? My kids. Those beautiful, bouncy, baby things that used to think I was the most important physical presence in their lives and who came to me for love and affection, warmth cuddles and comfort. Now all they come to me for is money, or a lift, or most irritating of all help with coursework (How about you do it yourself?). All the hugs and kisses are saved for friends (male and female) whom they just ‘love so much’.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love my son and daughter and am immensly proud of them both, but in a matter of months seemingly been consigned to the the parenting scrapheap. Older friends say ‘don’t worry, they will come back to you’, but in what hideous form I ask myself? My gorgeous gay son has indeed turned some corner and decided it is OK to give your mum a cuddle but he is still quick to suggest I am past my sell by date opinion-wise. My daughter – well don’t go there. I may just be a little envious (well OK I am very envious) but everything about her life suggests the best of mine is in the past. If I hear the words ‘we don’t do that these days, mum’ again I will implode, especially as walking round Top Shop and listening to her taste in music you would think you were back in 1986. She walks five metres behind me texting her mates, and when requested to do otherwise proceeds to walk five metres ahead instead. Whoever gave teens the confidence to think that it is OK to be hideous just because you are 15 should have better considered the possible consequences. I didn’t even realise I was difficult to live with at that age till my mum plucked up the courage to tell me as I hit adulthood. I resent the fact I was not allowed to take some sort of pride in it, as my kids have.
I promise anyone who has reached the end of this blog that this is the longest I shall write. I just got carried away. It was only a matter of time…