Bec and I always have a chat after the blog goes live - just to reassure ourselves that we are, of course hilarious........In our heads we are French and Saunders and Eddie and Patsy.
This particular Saturday afternoon I had been gardening all day. Digging out raised beds, planting lovely growing things and was exhausted and a bit hurt. Digging really takes it out of you when you’re a woman of a certain age.
Our conversation went something like this,
”Do you think we should write something for the blog in between our walks?” Was Bec’s very sensible suggestion.
Whilst I was busy massaging my aching legs, I replied “Yeah, but what shall we write?”
Bec thought for a moment and replied, “what about all the preparation we are doing, you know the training and readying ourselves and stuff.”
”It’s going to be a fucking short blog then.” I said rather tersely.
”Why?” Asked Bec innocently.
”Because I’ve done fuck all.” Came my response.
Bec just laughed at me, pittyingly.
It’s true. I’m sure that the sensible and well organised amongst you would be steadily working your way through the fucking huge list of things one apparently needs to purchase to go hiking in Nepal, whilst instigating a physical training plan to ensure that you could cope at altitude (I’m a bit worried about that one and really must go to the Doctor’s) and studying the culture and whatnot. I am not that person. My personality insists that I ignore everything until the VERY last minute, when I will have a mad scramble to collect all the accoutrements that are deemed essential for Sherpa Sodding Tensing to lug up a mountain for me.
It‘s always confused me about myself. I procrastinate for weeks, months, even years and then the job itself takes me about fifteen minutes and I still learn nothing from this.
So, here I am sitting, staring at my computer wondering how the hell I’m going to write something witty and engaging about preparation that I haven’t even considered doing.
Perhaps pretending I‘m in a garret, suffering for my art A La Chatterton and his lonely demise might help.
Nope, lying across my living room in this way didn’t help at all.
Two days later.......
I am sitting at my desk late one Friday afternoon, eating a disgustingly healthy bar of something fruity and nutty and drinking herbal tea, wondering what the fuck has happened to my life and I stick the latest Down the Front podcast on (Jenny Hartles, our number one fan - possibly our only fan, you are a hero and a lifesaver for introducing me to this heavenly ninety minutes) and remember that despite herbal tea, recently purchased gardening gloves, a foam knee pad, the Corona Virus and the fucking menopause, METAL is still what makes me joyous and young!
Back in the day when Bec was searching out house parties in the leafy suburbs of South Manchester, swigging bitter lemon in a sophisticated manner, I was swigging neat whisky in a biker pub called The Angel in a very small town in Mid-Wales. We grow, middle age hits us, but essentially we stay the same. Although the jeans do get bigger.
So back to my intense preparation for Nepal. Nope. Still nothing. Still pretending it’s not happening. Perhaps I can blame writer’s block?
Bollocks! The flash of insight was blinding. I suddenly became aware of exactly what was preventing my creative juices from flowing. Dicksand!
For those of you who are unaware of this particular phenomena, let me explain.
Dicksand is just like the whole Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller Quicksand, but is attributable to The Boyfriend Thing (now ex TBT) and is centred firmly around his bloody penis. At the point of writing I couldn’t have been certain that his penis was either firm or bloody.
On the subject of T ex BT, we have had dinner a couple of times, (I told Bec it was coffee) and I attempted to be cool and aloof. That lasted about thirty two nano seconds as my other best friend (I told you, you would feature at some point), says I turn into a fawning imbecile when it comes to T ex BT. This is embarrassingly true, although I like to think I cover it well. I suspect Bec would vehemently disagree and probably had a bet on at the bookies as to how long I could stay away from his penis, giving me 7 days tops.
Anyway, he came round for dinner. Now, when I was howling like a teenage banshee, I had obviously demand my front door key back. As he was travelling over for dinner, he called to let me know what time he would be arriving. It should be noted at this point that I was actually siting in my kitchen having a cuppa, however, I wasn’t going to make this too easy for him and so I mentioned that i might be late as I was still on the way back from London. This news was greeted with silence at the other end of the phone.
”But how will I get in?” T ex BT asked tentatively. He was still very much on probation.
I replied in slightly grumpy tones, “Well, you won’t be able to will you? I should only be about forty minutes behind you. It’s not that cold. You twat”. The “you twat” bit was silent, and is something I use at the end of sentences when dealing with difficult people as I find it helps.
”Umm, ok.” He said, knowing that any other response was unwise at this stage in our potential reconciliation.
I immediately left my house, drove to Loughborough and spent the next two and a half hours amusing myself in TK Max.
I arrived home to find an interestingly subdued T ex BT on my doorstep. If he hadn’t been such a cunt, I might have felt sorry for him.
People say that dogs know stuff and Dude greeted T ex BT with utter disdain as he walked across my threshold. I think that upset him more that the lack of front door key!
N.B. He may or may not have negotiated the return of said key.
As it happens, I work in a healthcare associated business, and the powers that be decided that in support of social distancing, we should close the door to the office a couple of weeks ago. Our entire company are now all working from home and being the caring company we are, we are aware that such isolation could quickly become an issue. The nice people in charge are keen on looking after their staff and have organised meetings everyday at midday, cunningly entitled “water cooler meetings”. Thus far, we have enjoyed ‘bring your pet to work’ during which Dude got stage fright and kept disappearing, leaving me following him around the house with my laptop like a complete loon! Then there was the midday yoga stretching class (enough said) and the piste de resistance ‘how to recycle when working from home’. It was actually a well put together piece of film noir. Today, we had advice on photography and on Monday we’re having our version of ‘through the keyhole.’ I hope someone can do a decent Lloyd Grossman impression.
It’s working well.
So, a couple of days after all this my phone rings at about 4pm. It’s Special Precious Boy, I note with excitement because speaking to my youngest offspring is always an experience.
Before I can even say ‘hello’, I hear SPB screaming down the phone at me
”WE”RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!!!”
”Are you hungover?” I enquired in calming tones.
”Yes.” He sniffed pitifully at the other end.
”Right. Put the TV off, stop watching Boris, take headache tablets, drink water, eat carbohydrates and go back to bed. When you get up you will feel much better.” Lorraine Kelly would have been proud of such pearls of wisdom.
He took my advice and two days later he phoned me to let me know he was feeling better. He has the recuperative abilities of a brick and essentially needs to not drink.
The high class drinking establishment in which SPB works has something to do with crazy golf, dildos and chairs, (the detail is a little hazy because I tend to get a bit confused when SPB emotes at me about work) and being the responsible company they are have now closed their doors to the public. This is particularly problematic for SPB as he has Lady Wycombe to maintain who up until recently you recall was training to be a primary school teacher. SPB is the main wage earner and they have rent to pay.
He may be special and precious, but he is also resourceful and had taken himself off to try and get a job in a well known budget supermarket. It pays well, promotes internally and sounds like a good idea to me. I just hope he gets it.
The world, as we know, has gone completely mad. There are stray donkeys and tumbleweed in the local supermarket where the pasta and loo roll should be, people walking around staring at half empty aisles muttering expletives and wondering if they can find Granny’s cookbook from the war.
What confuses me even more than the choice to stockpile fucking loo roll is who is actually doing all this stockpiling? Every post on the increasingly morbid FaceBook is about what a complete twat you are if you stockpile, so who the fuck is actually stockpiling? Is it some sort of societal construct? Are we all hallucinating? Is it a ploy by Andrex and Charmin to take over the world one sheet at a time? Answers on a postcard please. A virus free postcard written whilst wearing a hazard suit and having doused yourself in a strong alcohol based gel.
All bets are off for the next couple of weeks or so and I have cancelled my planned trip up to Edinburgh. This is mainly because taking Dude is a big no no as he will behave like a total nob and probably attempt to eat Eddie. My aged parental are also locked into a hermetically sealed house, watching re-runs of sporting events and self medicating on wine and whisky.
Normally, when I go up to Bec’s, Dude goes to stay with Grandma and Grandpops, everyone concerned hugely enjoys this. My mother calls Dude “Darling” and he adores her. Pops walks Dude and has won his everlasting respect by finding a place where he can be let off the lead and punching him when he behaves badly (he doesn’t really punch him - just in case you’re ready to dial the RSPCA helpline).
Much to my parent’s annoyance therefore, the trip is cancelled until further notice from Boris. They remain in the high risk category, much to their disgust. Mind you, the wine and whisky seems to be keeping them entertained.
After much discussion, swearing, angst induced hand wringing (with gel) and general frustration, Bec and I have decided to do separate walks but FaceTime whilst out and about. This should add to the gentle reflective nature of our time when out walking. It remains to be seen how this works in real life. See you on the other side guys!