My Bad (dyejob)

So, I got a little cocky about home dyeing after my lovely peachy hue washed out after a day. I ordered some more dye, but this time thought that something with a little more punch would be the thing. Never one to over scrutinise, I went for a Bleach London colour called Bruised Violet because the name made me feel youthfully emo. I was expecting a sort of cool, beachy, vampy dip-dyed look – a bit Maeve from Sex Education, perfect for pairing with long summery dresses and mismatching earrings in the manner of a self-assured personal stylist.

I wasn’t thinking Fortune Teller. I wasn’t thinking about that purplish burgundy home hair dye colour that you see some older ladies have now and then. You know, the one that sits like a jarring Lego helmet, accentuating ageing sallow skin with creeping strips of grey roots getting wider and wider all along the hairline day by day. But, Reader, this is what I got.

Here I am on Day One:


After a few scrubby washes (pictured with a bowl of sourdough but which could well be a witches’ poultice in the making):


This was last night:


I mean – what is there to say? Most people take about three glances to know who I am,  only finally convinced I am who I say I am once they take in the dog and baby. People have uniformly acknowledged The Purple Hair right away although the closest I have got to approval (and we all know how much I crave that) are the words: “Well, it sure is FUN!”. To that, I laugh a bit and assure people it is on its way out, according to the packet instructions. But it isn’t in any kind of hurry by the looks of the greyish pinkish purple blueness which stubbornly remains after every hot-water-and-prayer daily shower. “First Glastonbury?” I am gently teased. This has not been my best DIY beautifying work, and I am very ready for Kamila from Blue Tit to restore me to my formerly less-fun but much less ridiculous Mystic Meg self.

But What Else?

We tried to swim last week during half term. We became members of the Serpentine Swimming Club which gets you into the Serpentine Lido between 5:30 – 9:30am every morning of the year for a brisk cold swim among the ducks and algae but, apparently, so too did the rest of London. The hi-vized man at the door looked aggrieved by the huge numbers of people turning up for a dip and informed us that we had to go away because the Royal Parks had decided not to let kids under 18 in. A day later we got an email saying that the Royal Parks had further decided to close swimming in the river for everyone, anyway. It felt a little harsh.

All the while the sun continues to beat down in this summeriest of Springs, getting us all hot and lethargic and longing for a cool body of water. We let the kids jump into the banks of the Serpentine away from the Swimming Club’s harassed gatekeepers as (poor) compensation for a proper dousing, until I got nervous about police vans and fines. The kids, as you can see, loved it.



Paid work remains elusive and there are days that I really cannot work out what my point is beyond making dinner and picking up greyed socks. There is nothing much to look forward to, but if someone suggests a little outing or a phone call I feel bit harassed and burdened and panicked. I think I am retreating into my pre-evolution non-sociable  slug self. Surely that isn’t a good thing? Maybe with the hair, it is.

On the dinner thing, I am getting quite grandiose. My daily Waitrose visits remain the highlight, although the queues are becoming disappointingly short and fast so there is less time to clear the inbox/finish the Sunday paper insets as there once was. I have been riffling through the recipe books and have latterly cooked up

bacon and egg pie

stuffed courgettes

tahini and white chocolate cake

raspberry and peach shallot salad

broad beans, leek and lamb meatballs

thrice-weekly sourdough foccacia

muhumarra with butter bean mash

roasted butternut squash and courgette on a ricotta and feta mash

giant sausage rolls

And on and on and on. At 5pm I am either cooking up three labour-intensive courses or staring into the middle distance and leaving the kids to fry up ten rashes of bacon each. Mealtime ennui or gastronomic overachievement – there’s nothing in between.

Otis went back to school this morning so that does feel like some sort of progress. He was a bit nervous but very excited and the teachers were welcoming and wonderful. I decided to celebrate my first kid being back where he belongs by buying cinnamon rolls for everyone (my third since Sunday)  and to spend my morning buying plane tickets for Turkey in August instead of working on the roughest of rough drafts on an idea for a novel, on the off chance that by August the world would make more sense, and because airline tickets are really really cheap right now. Am I a loon? Time will tell, time will tell. Meanwhile, this mainlining of cinnamon rolls is contributing to me getting quite puddingy in the gut.

Reading Right Now:

Underworld by Don DeLillo. It is a huge book that marries baseball with the Cold War. I have to say, it feels too hard and I can’t get past about page 36. Intellectually, I am like a little baby bird right now, unable to take in anything too big or complex. Just give me regurgitated worms and a pat on the head and I might just manage.

Watching Right Now:

A mixed bag. Schitt’s Creek, Dave, Modern Family, Little Fires Everywhere. Usually with a second or third gin in hand. The days are long, no one sleeps very well, all I want to do is crawl to the couch and lose myself a little bit.

Buying Right Now:

Old Rye pottery coffee cups (mostly because the baby has broken all of my other ones) and photographic prints for my Future Wall Of Art. Also dresses from Zara and interiors magazines. Cream for my eczema hands. Baked sugary goods. Hair dye.

Here we are on a sunny Sunday walk to Portobello for baked sugary custard tarts via the skatepark. Some of us like to wear puffer jackers, track pants and raincoats in 25 degree heat:


And this guy, mid-yoghurt-fest. He cheers us up every time:



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7 Responses to My Bad (dyejob)

  1. Jo says:

    Just looked at Rye Pottery cups on eBay- lovely stuff! And I really like your hair xx

  2. rose says:

    Thank you so much. Bit super grim over the water. Your hair, the pictures, the baby, the lack of insanity. Refreshing. Please keep posting, hope school goes well!

  3. susananderson4 says:

    “There is nothing much to look forward to, but if someone suggests a little outing or a phone call I feel bit harassed and burdened and panicked.”
    Wow. This is exactly how I feel.

  4. Eamon Somers says:

    When i saw you with your matching skirt, I was reminded of Yeats: “midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,”

  5. Elliesee says:

    That is a glorious picture of the baby! My girls like the hair, and they are 16 and 14 so hipper than us.

  6. theharridan says:

    Thank you! It is so much better now, more like a cool granny colour, silvery lilac. PHEW, is all I can say about that

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