Sunday, 5 June 2011

Me, myself, I

So I was going up to London for the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. So I spoke to my oldest bestest friend Jane.
‘Um, I’m coming up to London next weekend…’  Pause.  ‘Could I?’
Pause. ‘Damn. I’m going to Istanbul.’ 
‘Oh.’  Remembered my manners quickly.  ‘How lovely.’
But really. Damn, damn, damn.
‘Never mind. I can crash somewhere else, no problem.’
‘Don’t be silly. I’ll put the keys in the post.’
Oh my.

So there I was, in London, solo, for the weekend.  It was like being in my 20s again. I had the keys to the castle - a flat of my own, albeit borrowed. 
Now, let’s get this totally in context.  This is not some cruddy old flat.  Jane’s place is tucked away down a leafy street behind Essex Road.  It’s the bottom half of a Victorian house so I suppose it’s not really a flat per se, but let’s call it that for the sake of argument (and because the word maisonette sounds unpleasant – frankly anything that ends –ette always sounds a bit dodgy and smacks of “feminine hygiene” to me, but that could just be me.) Actually I don’t like the word ‘flat’ either but…
Anyhow, this is a clean, pristine flat. It is a flat that is not covered in dog-hair; a flat that does not have partying ‘energies’ on the stairs; a flat that has nice normal rooms, not spaces that deserve labels like ‘doom’ and ‘despond’.   I walked in, kicked off my flipflops and just sighed with total utter decadent pleasure.

There were flowers.  There was a lingering scent of Jo Malone rather than the stench of stale dog sick, fetid trainers and damp.  I dumped my bag in the bedroom and threw myself onto the big wide bed with its fresh white Egyptian cotton sheets and – oh oh oh – its memory mattress.  The silence was intoxicating.
I padded upstairs into the open-plan kitchen, living room area and flung open the tall wide windows.  Sunlight streamed through and tickled my toes.  Opened the fridge and, bless her soul, Jane had left me a whole shelf of veggie heaven (falafel, dolmades, halloumi, veg curry, various types of tofu).  Smoked tofu with almonds and wild garlic? Basil tofu? Seriously? 
Jane has the soundtrack of our shared past pretty well covered and so pretty soon I was trying to decide between The Cure, Bruce or Kate Bush. Shuddered a little over David Cassidy (no, I never did, nor Donny Osmond FFS); The Specials (did, but only live – they were cracking live); The Smiths (don’t get me started). 
Now don’t get me wrong.  I love my family, I really do, and I even have a sneaking softness for the Bonkers House. I do love Dulverton too.  But, but, but…sometimes it’s just lovely to be me.  Just me.  Not a mother, not a wife, not someone trying to juggle a gazillion balls at once.  No responsibility. Nobody to please. Nothing that has to be done.  A holiday from life, from reality.  You know what I mean, don’t you?  If you don’t, I’ll take it you don’t have children – or are male.

So I put the music up high. Had a long hot shower (without anyone yelling that they needed this or had I seen that?). I did my tarot.- and, frankly, didn't believe it.  Made a pot of coffee. Stretched out on the sofa, wiggled my toes and just sighed with pleasure. 


Viv said...

I'm so happy you had a good time and found some time to be you.
It's one of the reasons I quite enjoy anonymous hotel rooms abroad, no mess.
So, spill the beans, what did the tarot say?? I keep getting the error message and my crystal ball's on switch is stuck at off.

Esther Montgomery said...

I do know what you mean. And it all sounds very enticing. But I know too that my sub-conscious emotions would trip me up and I'd end up being sick because, despite liking my own company, I'd miss my family more than makes sense.


Zoë said...

Glad you had such a good time, and understand totally the desire to be on your own.

The way I cracked this one was to send K and the kids to his Mum's at the beach every 8 weeks or so. That meant I had here to myself, I could do as I pleased - which was often just nothing, or invite distant mates for girly weekend full of chocolate, prawns, massages, and grenache!

I still relish me time, and to that end I am off to reflexology tomorrow :-))

Always think it is hugely important to have me time, because without it, we dont get a chance to recharge batteries, and thus we arent much fun to be around ,so everyone benefits - or at least that was my argument when justifying scheme at the outset


Rob-bear said...

What an amazing "retreat." Not a retreat from life, but an opportunity to reconnect with you, in an amazing atmosphere — from cotton sheets, to amazing music.
Glad you had the opportunity to do that.

Solange Noir said...

Sweet blessed bliss... I'm so glad for you! And envious as hell ;) Now *what* did your cards say didn't you believe, she asks curiously?

ModernMom said...

Sounds just about perfect! I am not at all jealous ")

Jen said...

That looks like temporary heaven!

Exmoorjane said...

Viv: yup, I love hotel rooms too.... Hmm re tarot. ;)

Esther: I think it depends on the age of your children - I found it very tough when James was small. Now he's 12, he is pretty independent.

Zoe: agree 100% - though could never do it here as would be constant headless chicken over the mess, potential work etc.

Rob: thank you! It was.

Solange: :) Cards? Hmm. Complicated.

MM: of course you're not! ;)

Jen: It was. It is. She doesn't know but I'm moving in. :)

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oh, oh, OH am so envious!! And so pleased you had a good old Me Time with bells on. It sounded like my idea of sheer heaven. And that silence??? Ber-LISS. WANT SOME. xxx

Alison Cross said...

Sounds divine! I think all mums should be entitled to one weekend off in four. To stop us from going mad.

Hmm - maybe even one weekend off every other weekend would be better.

Glad you had a lovely time. Would love to know what your cards were!

Ali x