It’s quarter past one in the morning and I’m not at a party….

….nor am I bent over a child with Calpol and tenderness. With rare exceptions, usually planned well in advance, I turn into a pumpkin at midnight. Only great affairs of State, childish emergencies or the promise of a party with masses of dancing will keep me from hiding under the duvet as soon as its dark.

But this is the third week that I have found myself downstairs, alone, watching the logs fall to embers.

I seem to have resurrected another me; one that long ago stayed up into the small hours arguing and talking, debating anything for the sheer hell of it. For fun. For the sake of an argument, or until the whiskey and fags ran out.  Crazy ideas, mad thoughts, profound moments. (Probably profound. I can’t remember).

And now, I can’t sleep. Birkbeck does that to you. Literature does that to you. Ideas do that to you. My mind is buzzing with words and tangents, meanings, questions, images, texts. It doesn’t want to go to bed. It is resolutely ignoring the mental alarm clock it has tucked in its corner. It has become rebellious and studious; its programmed function as family diary, call system, menu planner, travel co-ordinator, nurse and cleaner seems to have stalled.

The house is quietly creaking into its slumbrous state. The clock by my desk is ticking  at a faster rate than Great Aunt Norah’s clock in the hall, which measures out its beats with Victorian dignity. The dogs are dreaming in their baskets.

And I am alive. Awake. Again.


I am writing a Children’s Book… HN prepares to cook…….


Daddy is looking for potatoes.

Are they in the cupboard, Daddy?

No, they are not.

Are they in the fridge, Daddy?

No they are not.

Are they on the table where Mummy put them?

Yes they are! Clever Daddy; he’s found them.

Daddy is holding a potato peeler. Daddy chose it from the big drawer where Mummy keeps the sharp knives.

See the sharp knives all over the worktop? The naughty potato peeler was hiding from Daddy.

Daddy has peeled the potatoes . Clever Daddy. But Daddy has forgotten the meat.

Daddy is looking for the meat.

Is it in the cupboard, Daddy?

No it is not.

Is it on the table, Daddy?

No, it is not.

Is it in the fridge like Mummy said, Daddy?

Yes it is! Clever Daddy; he found it.

Daddy has to put the meat in the oven.

Mummy’s oven is called an Aga. It has four doors. Do you know which the hot oven is? No, Daddy doesn’t know either.

Daddy tries all the doors.

Daddy tries shouting at the Aga but it can’t talk, can it? Silly Daddy.

Mummy puts the meat in the oven for Daddy.

Now Daddy is looking for carrots.

Are they in the cupboard, Daddy?

No, they are not.

Are they on the table, Daddy?

No they are not.

Are they in the fridge Daddy?

No, they are not.

They must still be in the vegetable garden!

Daddy is looking for beer.

Daddy knows where the beer is. The beer is in the fridge.

Daddy has taken his beer off to the vegetable garden.

Do you think Daddy is picking carrots?

No, Mummy doesn’t think so either!


Daddy's beer!


A hoopy frood…….?

… clearly not. This morning saw His Nibs, razor in hand, shouting for his towel. Loudly. I was bellowed at. It was around his waist at the time. Strangely, this worries me more than HN. By definition he is not a Really Amazingly Together Guy who knows where his towel is, but then again, this will come as no surprise to his nearest and dearest. HN usually bellows long enough for the misbehaving object to scuttle into view in whatever place it was last left.  More worryingly, the original hoopy frood was named after a car manufactured between 1938 and 1961; a joke apparently lost on a younger audience. Hmm. Current political and fiscal crises have not rocked our union.  However, I have a feeling that if there is likely to be an interstellar galactic highway pushed through anytime soon, I may be hitched to the wrong guy after all…..



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