Friday, 27 July 2012

Packing trauma

I can't do it. I'm wandering around the house in a daze, staring at the teetering stacks of clothes and boots and books and papers and magazines and cards and pompoms and borrowed DVDs and board games and miscellaneous knick-knackery, and I don't know where to start. I'm suffering from a severe bout of packing trauma. 

I can't ask any of my friends to help, because a) they've had enough of my indecision and are probably envisaging having to help me unpack it all again in a couple of days, and b) they're also beset by menopausal inertia and lack of energy.  

Aha. A light bulb is flickering in the back of my mind. Louisa. An old pal from my early London days. When I last saw her, she said something about actively liking cleaning. When I looked suitably aghast, she said, 'I adore putting on my rubber gloves and making somewhere disgusting look gorgeous!' Yes! I call Louisa. 

'Help!' I cry. 'I've just had two days free with Lily at holiday camp, and I've done absolutely nothing. I'm moving to London next week, and I keep walking from room to room and feeling filled with dismay. I don't know what to do.' 

She instantly takes charge. 'Right, Eliza. First of all you need to weed out what you don't want before you pack. Do you know where your local dump is?'

'No,' I whimper.

'Well find out. Go through your things and make a pile for the dump.'

I can't even answer, so frozen with horror am I.


'But... but...'

'You've got to be ruthless. You don't want to carry your whole life around on your shoulders. Get rid of what you don't need. You'll feel so much lighter.'

Within minutes she's given me a plan of action for the day: 

1. take Lily's mountain of soft toys to the children's corner in the church
2. put anything I haven't worn for a year in bin liners and take them to a charity shop
3. locate the dump and pick up some boxes and packing tape
4. recycle my magazines

'But I haven't even read half of them,' I wail. 'All those National Geographics. I can't bear the waste.'

'We had the same problem! The house was being overrun with National Geographics! I made Mark cancel his subscription. It's all online nowadays. You'll feel so much better once you've got rid of them.'

'I can't!' I cry. 'All that work... the photographs... I can't just chuck them. Maybe I could take them to the doctor's...'

'No,' she says. 'They won't accept them because of the germs with all those people fingering them. Bag them up and take them to the dump.'

She gives me instructions for the weekend and says she'll come and help me pack on Monday. I almost weep with gratitude. The blessed relief of having someone make decisions for me.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Should I stay or should I go now?

Having spent the past year wondering whether to go back to live in London or stay in the country, today I finally make my decision, once and for all: I'm going.

Immediately there's a barrage of opposition.

'I think London is one of the loneliest places in the world,' says Lily's saxophone teacher. 'There's such a wonderful community here. Think how many friends you've made already. You just need to get more involved, volunteer at the market once a week...'

As Jemima and I watch Dolly and Cinder romping on the lawn, I remark that Dusty didn't really have any friends in London, whereas Dolly has zillions down here. 'Another reason not to go!' Jemima declares.

The heat is humming, the barley's turned strawberry blonde, everyone's out watering their gardens and inviting the neighbours in for homemade elderflower cordial. Oh it's all so cordial, I feel wretched and mad to leave.

Maybe I should stay. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Baking dogs

The Hound for Heroine training is not going well. How on earth do you train a dog to tell the difference between your reading glasses and your driving glasses anyway? Plus she's even more clueless than Lily when it comes to baking.

I give Dolly a break and head off to yoga (surely normal human beings are not designed to stand on one leg, bent double, with the other leg sticking out behind and an arm sticking out in front?), omitting to bolt her into her cage. I return to moderate carnage. How did she manage to wrestle the edging shears out from behind the box of walking boots? She hasn't actually amputated any important bodily parts, but the rubber hand grip is in tatters (and indeed, partly in her stomach). The contents of the bathroom bin have been scattered around the room and, sporting a half-moustache of cotton wool, Dolly is making inroads into my computer lead.

Bad hound.

Oh, did you say heat the jam tarts?

The dog starts baking every time the doorbell rings 

Monday, 2 July 2012

50 Shades of Gray

You see, if I'd just called my blog 50 Shades of Gray, I could be a millionaire by now. Instead, I called it 50 is the New Black and am penniless. Also have not included much in way of soft porn or indeed hard porn. Will make some effort to rectify this, though did not feel edified when I was looking for a job as a school matron and accidentally ended up on a spanking website entitled