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Drowning not waving, the lighter side of family life
My husband and I are looking at each other over the dining table, both trying to keep our eyes open and feign interest in what the other might be about to say.
But the plates of fish and chips, and the discarded greasy wrapping paper, say it all really. As does the lack of milk in the fridge. And the unstable pile of dirty washing rising out of the linen basket like a poor man’s tower of Pisa.
It’s been one of those weeks. A week when we’ve both met ourselves coming back, we’ve had so much to do. I’ve had so many jobs lists, I’ve made lists of the lists.
Crucial tasks, like getting a physiotherapist to look at the knee I twisted at the weekend, have gone to the wall. Instead, I’ve settled for leaning to one side and yelping every time I move from A to B.
You look like a pirate in a storm, says a workmate. Not that that’s a bad thing, she adds, just a second too late.
I haven’t had time to go within miles of Sainsbury’s.
You ought to try shopping online, another workmate says. But I haven’t got time to learn how to do it.
At my current level of understanding, I’ll order industrial quantities of loo roll and lard and inadvertently get them delivered to the woman I once sent flowers to for reversing into her car.
Those flowers must have been sent in industrial quantities, too.
I’ve had lower fully comprehensive annual insurance quotes than that Interflora bill. Anyway, I digress.
My husband’s eyelids are caving in – not literally, but with fatigue – and I’m aching to get to bed, but can’t summon the energy to push my plate aside.
If I could have anything in the world right now, I think to myself, I’d have about 24 hours’ uninterrupted sleep.
I’m quite happy to get up at the normal time tomorrow morning, and start on the next load of tasks, but please let the night last an entire day. If only, I think.
Suddenly, I can see what Albert Einstein’s wife must have seen in him.
Never mind the potential for winning Nobel prizes. The bloke was trying to manipulate time. Hats off to him!
If he’d kept at it, it could well be that Mrs E could have had a good two or three extra hours a day to plough through her list of jobs. Or even have had a few more hours in bed.
You could forgive anyone a silly haircut and a propensity to stick out their tongue and marry their cousin if they managed to crack that.
From tomorrow, things should be better, I comfort myself.
This week has just been unusually busy, with several evening appointments, a couple of washing machine disasters, lots of pre-reading for meetings, an incident with a cat and a grass seed, and a couple of sleep-light nights, thanks to the vociferous magpies that have colonised our back garden and introduced a reign of terror over the previously quiet wood pigeons.
Yes, even though there’s no milk for a cup of tea in the morning, tomorrow will undoubtedly be better.
We can lie in until half past six, I can sneak down and iron a shirt while my husband’s in the shower, and still be out for a breakfast meeting at half past seven.
I look at my watch. It’s coming up to ten. I wonder whether to turn on the news, or take a risk and skip it.
Yes, I’ll skip it. If anything interesting has happened since midday, it’ll only make me feel awake again. Don’t want that.
Let’s go up, then, shall we? I say to my husband. He jumps awake.
Have I got a shirt ironed? he asks. Yes, I lie. Well, he will have in the morning.
I look across at my latest list, and see that “iron shirt” is the only item not crossed off. Bliss.
And yet, and yet. I have the feeling that I’ve missed something. It’s only as we’re going up the stairs that it hits me. Oh blimey.
I haven’t written my column for the Gazette this week. The one with the deadline for 5 o’clock this afternoon.