Thursday 26 April 2007

Sacking the book group

January 2007

I sometimes wonder why I live in the country. For the last few weeks it seems as if I’ve barely been outside my office. Coming back from dropping off James I suddenly realised just how awful the ‘garden’ is looking. I am horticulturally challenged here – the vast majority of my ‘area of green’ is on a sickening gradient, and you can barely tell where the so-called cultivated bit ends and the wild majority begins.

So, in a typically haphazard fashion I leapt out the car and started attacking the briar patch which put me in mind of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and the Tar Baby (now what was all that about?) Then I hurled myself at the ferns and the masses of dead whatever it used to be that are clogging up the bank and was rewarded by a slim trail of snowdrops and the pointy beginnings of bulbs. Moving swiftly on (I am not a patient gardener – probably why I am so unsuccessful) I had a stab at unclogging a border of dead leaves (I know, I know, should have been done months ago) and tut-tutted at the party of weeds that had congregated on the raised patio.

It was nearly enjoyable. There was a faint mist hanging over the valley, and the birdsong was lovely, especially as it was joined by a woodpecker providing the percussion section. Asbo was in seventh heaven as I kept throwing his ball down the drive, and he has now collapsed in front of the Aga (amazing, takes a lot to tire him out so maybe he’s just playing possum and will sneak out as soon as I come upstairs and leave something unforgivable on the new rug).

I almost don’t dare turn on my computer now. Last night I ‘sacked’ my bookgroup. Well, to be fair, I sacked myself from it. They’re lovely people but, dare I say it, rather staid and serious. The last round-robin email asked which political topic we’d like to discuss at the next meeting, once we had dismissed our book of the month. Fascism perhaps? our leader merrily suggested. Well, no, sorry but I really don’t want to spend an evening discussing fascism. I want to sit round a big fire with a gaggle of people, large glass of wine in hand, debate our book passionately and then slide off into a bit of gossip and end up trying not to pee myself with laughter. I know it sounds a bit childish but I do enough serious stuff through the day – I want a bit of light relief, a bit of a gas. So, like a naughty child, I’m now waiting to hear what the grown-ups have to say about my rebellious behaviour.

Talking of which, poor James is in a right state. He’s got detention today for pushing.
‘But he pushed me first, it was just that Mrs Hoskins didn’t see him do it, but she saw me.’ Ah, ‘tis ever thus.
Adrian and I have polarised views on playground behaviour.
‘Tell the teacher,’ I say with a prim nod of the head.
‘Whack him back when no-ones looking,’ says Adrian with one of those really irritating ‘man-to-man’ winks that are supposed to say ‘ignore her, women don’t understand these thing.’ Well, maybe not, but poor James is learning the hard way that being a boy’s boy ends up in a classroom during break doing lines.

Right. Onwards. If I’m good and get a lot done before lunch I might reward myself with a quick dip into my latest read, The Interpretation of Murder, over my paella. I’ve just finished all but one of the Booker shortlist so am feeling virtuous and thought I was allowed a ‘treat’ read. See, they’ve got to me. Imagine how guilty I’d feel if I picked up Jilly Cooper or Marian Keyes! Who knows, I might even see what Asbo’s views are on fascism.

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