It is Saturday afternoon and I’m in my living room, torturing the dogs by refusing to let them in (they’re sitting at the French door, whining and generally being pathetic) and wishing that Talk Talk would hurry up and switch on my broadband as having an internet-less house is doing my head in. Look at all the Twittering I’m missing out on: “12.30pm Beans on toast for lunch, nom nom”, “1pm Wow, the washing machine is HUGE – looks like I can get away with fortnightly laundry days!”, “2.30pm Why do the dogs insist on jumping on MY bed for a better view whenever anyone knocks on the door?!” and “2.20pm Just had flying visit from @chez_ally and B. Lovely to see them. Really must get big comfy sofa”.
Anyway … I’m enjoying the fact that today is turning out to be a damn good one.
For once, I had a decent night’s sleep – I think one of only a handful over the past few months. I fell asleep at half past ten and slept through until half past six this morning – no nightmares, no waking up, just peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. Bliss.
Unfortunately, I woke to a distinct lack of milk and bread in the house (I’ve been hiding at Ally and B’s for the past week) but it was ok – I had a plan. Laze around in bed until 8, get up, have a bath, take the dogs for a walk and then go to the Co-Op in the nearest village and stock up. Eight o’clock came and went. Half past eight. Nine. Nine-thirty. Ten…
Eventually, at eleven o’clock, the lack of caffeine in my blood overtook the temporary paralysis induced by panicky thoughts of going to the Co-Op and I found myself running a bath. Very nice it was too. The snow and subsequent rain stopped by time I was dressed and the sun was shining, so the dogs and I had a lovely meander round the orchards and then I quickly dropped them off at the house, grabbed my keys, wallet and rucksack, jumped in the car and drove off before I realised what was happening.
Sadly, I cottoned on to what was happening before I reached the Co-Op and ended up driving through it three times before I was able to talk myself into pulling over and parking. Of course, despite my anxiety, everything was fine and I came away seven pounds poorer but all the richer for having stuck it out – not to mention the milk, bread, three jars of pasta sauce (tomato and chilli, my favourite, on offer) and a couple of packs of pasta (also on offer)!
The euphoria of actually having done it gave me quite a high, so not only have I devoured some beans on toast (nom nom!!!!), I have also done the laundry and given the flatling a quick tidy (surfaces only, no hoovering) and organised all my paperwork, such as the endless letters from the DWP regarding my incapacity benefit etc.
So far, so good!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, the washing machine has stopped attempting to take off, which I assume means it has finished, so I now need to wrestle with a fortnight’s worth of clean socks and jumpers. Etc.
Update at 3.30pm
I’ve hung all my clothes up to dry and in doing so have come up with an additional list of jobs (such as de-poo the garden). But I’ve also been contemplating how drastically things have changed in my life. At university, I was actively involved in the students’ union, so major accomplishments varied from getting a motion passed through the monthly SU general meeting to actually getting my work handed in on time (getting a good mark never seemed as important as the thrill of making it to the administrator’s office before the 12pm deadline!).
Then, when I was an elected officer in NUS, I did all sorts of things, from appearing live on the lunchtime news to public speaking, from writing and delivering training to politicking and hacking. Scary stuff but I did it without thinking, even giving a speech at the Labour Party conference one year.
Being a smallholder meant taking responsibility for animals’ lives and well-being. Newborn piglets, sick chickens … It’s a lot to deal with but I did it. I can kill, pluck and draw a chicken – and then cook it! I can tell you when a pig is ready to go for slaughter and produce them so they have the right amount of fat in the right places. I can load pigs into a trailer without any gates. I can inject them and tag them. And so on. And that’s before I think about dogs, cats, horses etc.
But now … oh, how things have changed.
I felt as much of a thrill for having gone to the shop to buy milk on my own as I did when I got a standing ovation for giving a speech in defence of Holocaust Memorial Day at my last NUS Conference, as much as a thrill as when my first litter of piglets was born.
Funny, isn’t it, how our priorities change over the course of our lives?!
Today, I learnt something important. Doing as much as you can do, giving it 100%, no matter what “it” is, is what counts. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t. But you have to keep trying – because when you do succeed (and you will), you suddenly realise that the trying is what makes the success so sweet.
Here endeth the lesson.
Update at 7pm
Am round at Ally and B’s. Again! This time for deep-fried Camembert. Mmmmmmm 😀