There was no milk in the fridge this morning. Not even one of those cartons of smelly gunge that flops out in lumps into your tea and turns it tapioca brown.
I come home to a warm house, off an Aer Arann plane from Edinburgh, and there isn’t a feather out of place. The bed is so beautifully laid out that I don’t have the heart to sleep in it. Instead I go sleep in the guest room. There are apples and oranges in the bowl in the kitchen. I’m afraid to move anything in case I’ve landed in the wrong house.
There’s no wiffe to be seen. The child is gone. The digital monitor sleeps with the fishes.
15 euros to the taxidriver. He’s been great because he didn’t hold back with his opinion about how the odds are stacked against the rest of the country. The Dublin mob have it all carved up. The new airport terminal in Cork will open in May, he tells me. RyanAir and EasyJet are threatening to pull out if they up the landing fees. The minister promised that Cork airport authority would be debt-free from the start; now there’s a bill of at least 100 million euros imposed on Cork and the minister after promising that wouldn’t happen. He lifted my bag from his boot (trunk) and seemed content with a tip of 92 cents. I saw him looking up at the silver foil that occupies one complete upstairs window. “It’s silver foil, the best thing for cutting out the light. The landlord wouldn’t let us hang curtains…”, those were the last words I spoke out loud last night.
It was such a relief to be back home. It might have been 2335 but it felt like a new day dawning. The only food I wanted was fruit, and the best wiffe in the world had made sure there were apples for me. I eat at least 8 pieces of fruit a day. A half pound of grapes is a piece of fruit…
I dump the bag, anywhere. Walk from room to room, admiring Helen’s work. She must have come on Thursday. The key was on the carpet and there were very few letters on the mat.
This is the end of a tough two weeks. If I was to record it, it would include flights to or from Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Cardiff, Heathrow, Leeds Bradford and Edinburgh. Driving to Killarney, Limerick, Madhouse, Newport by taxi. Buses to Leeds and bus managers in Wakefield and Perth. And that’s only half of it. I’ve jumbled up two people’s schedules because we are a team. E going in one direction, me in the other, one grandmother and a creche glueing the show together. We knew it was going to be like this, but it got worse than anticipated in the middle. But I believe Grace still has two parents. Whether her parents still have any minds remains to be seen.
What would you do if you were me? And you came back to an empty house, no one to talk to. This is what I did. I put the other bag down somewhere else, plugged the mobile phone into a charger, ate my second apple while leaving the first core on the counter. (I’m like a cat marking out my territory again.) I don’t turn on the 14″ tele. (There isn’t another.) I don’t even turn on radio.
Out with the laptop, into the ‘office’, on with the blogging. And for the next three hours I read all my old favourites. I let myself be led astray onto new pastures. And everywhere I go, I leave my calling card. Like a dog, I lift my hind leg on every lamppost.
I can’t help myself. I keep saying stop to myself and carry on: is Paige still awake? Pagano playing? Champagnenroses in the wood? Any chance Red Mother has looked my way? Why have those FT heads not published my post? Was it the fact that I wrote about John Lloyd’s column and wondered whether he’d have been a blogger when he was FT correspondent in Moscow? Is the Curly woman still curling? How many hits have I had?
How can I keep track of the litter I’ve strewn across all those blogs? How can I remember the address of that new blogger who used Lisa Simpson to launch her blog? Why does Kaz have to have such a long name?
What about those comments that made it onto my blog? And what about those hundreds that tried and couldn’t get on? What do all these stats, that I get via the discretly-placed counter, mean? Does it matter how many return visitors there are? If my blog was popular, would that mean that I was writing stuff that confirmed the prejudices of my readers?
Oh, the joy of it. It was like going into a cubicle, safe from interruption, taking out the stuff, loading up and mainlining… Wasn’t it? I just got madder and madder as I went from being exhausted to running on that extra tank. I daren’t think what I wrote to you dear reader.
I even wrote my own blog, though you wouldn’t think it. I added to my Significant Other Dump one Kevin Ward. That post threatens to overwhelm everything: as time goes on I intend to list (feature - I’m incapable of stopping at a simple list) all the significant others in my life.
I hate acronyms (there you are Lisa Simpson), so I won’t be writing about my SOs.
All the time I was able to see the dark night of Douglas, the midnight mantel of this estate, and as she crept closer to dawn, my moon flickered. I was no longer Douglas but Hyde…
It was painful leaving the table, the legs were long gone. I’ll tell you a secret (this seems to one of the blogger’s art):
I never washed my teeth. I left my shirt on. I threw the socks by the bed and it took me ages to get off to sleep. I was stupid enough not to soak in a warm bath.
And I woke after 8 this morning. For the next 10 days, I’ll be up by 7. I’ll have her nappy changed and a cup of fruit tea (lemon & ginger) made for the wiffe. I won’t be myself until she comes back today and we have time to get back into each other. Texts and mobile chats have their place, but a man needs more.
I don’t even know who Spurs are playing today. But the brother is coming for food tomorrow. What on earth am I capable of cooking: blogroast perhaps. Maybe blog & butter pudding?
Bless you for reaching the end.