A Video That Might Play (Also Might Not)

I have a cold sore right now; I am stricken with the (herpes) virus. Luckily no one sees me except for the school run and then no one gets close and obviously I am masked everywhere else I go. Oh, who knew that masks would turn out to be quite brilliant for the days when a cold sore takes over your top lip like an evil scabby parasite. The whole half of my top lip gets huge and sore and the blister weeps and crusts over and then bleeds. No one wants to kiss you, but then – no one ever does usually anyway.

Except last night. I had a dream where a really kindly looking man (he looked a little like the genius Professor in Money Heist) had some sort of shared parenting situation with me (we had a cute but forgettable and nameless baby son together). Anyway, we were just friends staying at a hotel with our nameless baby and he came downstairs for breakfast and not only declared his love for me in the hotel lobby but also asked me if I had any usable eggs left in my womb to make another baby. I was swept away by his romantic request and I kissed him. It was lovely, like starring in a modern day inclusive romantic comedy. I felt wanted and desired by the gentle genius Professor. I remember those feelings fondly although historically they have never been attached to queries regarding my geriatric remaining fertility.

And I say this, because last week I had a really properly scary dream where some hooded shrouded demon people came to the side of my bed to incant terrifyingly undeciferable spells’o’evil into my ear and I couldn’t shout at them to go away because I had that middle-of-the-night dryness of the throat. So I breathed my foul just-woke-up breath of the dead all over them in a recurrent aggressive ‘hiss’ many times (in real life, no less) and I woke myself up.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Is the covid -despair entering my unconscious? Do I just want another baby? Am I watching too much TV? Should I drink more water in the evening? I just don’t know.

Anyhoo. Schools are back and so I have some time in the day to write my half-written novel. I try to write it, but this flat is like a run-down community centre with endless visitors and deliveries and workers and friends and dogs coming in and out and constant cups of tea being made and half drunk, left to be tipped over by an errant toddler. My office is the kitchen table and my chair is next to the kettle because that’s where the cord is to recharge the laptop and so I cannot run from the kindly throng. Also I like the kindly throng. It is fun but it is hard to write my novel.

So I tried 1000 words a day which weirdly worked when I had all six kids at home. I think that’s because they had to babysit the baby. Now, it is me who has to babysit the baby and he is one demanding customer – I can only manage 500 if the stars align.

Take me to the PARK! To the GARDEN! Give me your lipsticks! Play with me! Watch Christina Aguilera YouTube clips pinned to the couch with me to chart her facial transformations! These are the things the baby would say if he was more verbal which he is not. He has 20ish words which he rarely uses because screaming works much quicker. He screams, we all scream. We scream to ourselves about having a room, and some time, to one’s own.

Here’s a clip (quite long, but apparently fairly engaging to watch though I haven’t because I am TOO SHY OF IT ALL) of me discussing motherhood things with the brilliant Emma Beddington as a part of my publisher’s online mini-festival to celebrate The Best, Most Awful Job. She is a Guardian writer among other things like a proper, enormously successful blog, a book, lots of excellent features in magazines and papers. Here is it, if you fancy a little 17 minute respite from whatever it is we all do these days. https://www.instagram.com/tv/CFO07UmAFOY/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

It might not work.


Forgive me if I have written about this before, but I went to Peter Pilotto socially distanced sample sale where you couldn’t try anything on. There was a one way system around the Music Rooms and you couldn’t double back so you had to pile dress after nutty dress onto your weak little arms until you arrived at the end of the embellished labyrinth where a lady in a visor measures your armpits and boobs to see if the dresses would fit. It seemed a bit bananas, but I went with it and bought a runway dress which must have been worth thousands of pounds for one fifty. Here I am on my way back from Soho House (because I’m quite ‘member’s clubby’, ya know?) in the dress which looks like a bridesmaid’s concoction circa 1983 and it makes me the happiest lady alive:

The baby steals my lipsticks and sits in wheelbarrows – all strategic wiley ways to make me stop writing:

Our lovely clever photographer friend Chris took these with a 35mm film. How cute, though, eh?

Otis turned seven and we went to GBK where I had a cranky mother humourless meltdown because we couldn’t figure out how to order on the app and the baby fell off his chair and Otis spilled his milkshake and I ended up not ordering anything for myself so I had to finish about seven lukewarm servings of chips which weren’t even very good and it all cost 170 quid:

Otis is a fan of a pink sequin, any time of the day – here he is with some birthday treasures. Note the scratch on his nose which was actually a tear through his nostril from a stick that one of his brothers was brandishing about. It’s all fun and games until someone spears someone else’s nose with a bit of tree:


We are watching This Is Us and I do like it but I also think it is a bit sappy. We have started Better Things for later and it is funny but a bit….crass? I am feeling very old and moralistic as I write this.

I have bought the latest Ottolenghi book Flavour and I think it is not very good. Too faffy, too cheffy. Sad about that. I’ve only made the avocado and pea cold soup and it tasted like it sounds.

The dog has been on holiday with our other friend Chris while he has been self-isolating and while I love the dog, it was very nice not having to worry about him running out of the gate and down the street, causing strangers to berate me for my terrible dog-owning skills. But I also missed how he cleans up spilled cereal and flicked rice, so on balance, we are glad he is back.

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6 Responses to A Video That Might Play (Also Might Not)

  1. frances says:

    love the pics. give Better Things a few more episodes – it really, really grows on you. hear you re: the dog hoovering.

  2. rose says:

    THANK YOU for writing and posting. You make such a difference. You also make wonderful children and Well. Just thank you.

  3. Steph says:

    Nice to hear from you. I always enjoy your posts. The baby looks so like Casper. Another blondie!

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