Thursday 26 June 2008

Six things I must remember in life

Why this picture? Absolutely no idea whatsoever. It's somewhere on the M4.

This has been a week of achieving absolutely nothing whatsoever. I have sat in front of my computer clicking morosely on ‘send and receive all’ in hopes that an email might ping in that will change my life. So far this hasn’t happened but, in the interstices between this pointless total lack of activity, I have come to some realisations.

1. Lying is bad for your work. Yesterday an editor emailed to discuss a project. Could he have my phone number as it would be nice to chat. Er, well, I prevaricated, not really ideal given the horrendous banging noise from the floorboards being put down next door. ‘Oh,’ he replied. ‘You must have a huge floor. They were going down a couple of weeks ago, if I recall.’ My phone phobia is reaching ridiculous proportions.

2. Drinking like a fish has consequences. I relayed my long list of strange and surely deeply abnormal symptoms to the doctor (content in the knowledge that, having been reassured that there is nothing majorly wrong, they would all disappear and life would go on as normal). Stomach was prodded. Blood tests ensued. Stern looks were given. My liver, it seems, is not a happy liver. ‘Do you drink much?’ my GP asked (unlike the last one I haven’t socialised with her, so it was not the stupid question it might seem). ‘Noooo,’ said I, all wide-eyed innocence, then conceded. ‘Well, not compared to most people.’ Given that people round here drink so much that they regularly pass out it was hardly a reassuring statement. I’m being packed off for an ultrasound, more blood has been extracted and I’ve been told to lay off the booze.

3. Drinking like a fish has very serious consequences. A local hardened drinker was found in the river the other day. Dead. An awful, sad, and cautionary, tale. I am going to learn to love my liver. I will not drink. I will detox. This is hugely embarrassing of course as I have written not one, but two books on detoxing (see sidebar). My shame knows no bounds.

4. All beauty is transient. There I was, in a rare moment of peace, sitting on the bench looking at the sheer stunning gorgeous perfection of an iris (or some such – it was deepest indigo and filled my soul with joy at its mere existence, in our pond). This is it, thought I, a transcendent moment. Then a blur of white flashed past, a wave of smelly pond water hit me and within twenty seconds the iris was in tatters and the pond littered with debris. Asbo Jack – Grand Master of the Murder of Zen.

5. Always sit at the back. How did I forget this most important of all rules? How come I found myself (OK, not quite at the front, but solidly in the middle) in the direct sight-line of the headmaster at the school concert, sweating profusely (because had forgotten I had a black bra on when I put on the pale top so had to keep on the thick cardigan to cover it up) and gulping with silent hysteria at ‘Fiddle fun’ (what is it about violins that make me laugh?). Even Adrian was horrified.

6. When in doubt, pass the buck. Too much choice is the scourge of modern living. I’ve eradicated most of it by limiting my purchasing to the local shops but it’s tricky when it comes to paint. I’ve been driving A and J mad with my endless bits of paper painted in various shades of white. What is the difference between Indian White and Wiltshire White? Someone at Dulux knows. In the end I couldn’t bear it anymore. ‘So which white do you want?’ asked the decorators. ‘I haven’t a clue,’ I admitted. ‘What do you reckon?’ Five minutes later it’s chosen. Looks great. Why did I waste all that effort?


mountainear said...

Your realisations could well be my realisations too....along with the 'chores don't do themselves' thought and the wise 'never volunteer'.

Blossomcottage said...

A saying that I try and live by

" Oh Lords help me put my brain into gear before I put my mouth into action!"

The tricky bit is my mouth is big and active and my brain is too small an inactive.

Still its worth trying.


Lindsay said...

Hope you get your thoughts and your liver back together soon! Husband is lucky - I hate the taste of all alcohol (don't know why) so he always has a driver!

Sally Townsend said...

Well what a wonderful opportunity to put into practice what you preach :) sorry won't be joining you just yet .........

Wizzard said...

Oh Dear - poor liver!

Milla said...

brilliant as ever. Laughed my fat little head off at number 4 in particular. What you need now is for some very ambitious heron to come and take out ASBO when he's patrolling the pond. With paint our choices are compounded by E being Chief All Cleverness at mixing up our own colours so it just goes on and on and on. Happy first anniversary on the house btw! xx

Pipany said...

Oh brilliant Jane, a blog that just sums up life! I'm with you on the violins - they always make me laugh at school concerts to the extent that I have had to remove myself from the hall before now.

The liver problem sounds a bit grim; how about knocking back the milk thistle with a vengeance before the scan? The phone phobia sounds vaguely familiar too xx

Frances said...

Hello Jane, your six things to remember are very strong contenders.
How about a balance of at least six things to forget? I often feel as I there's too much pressure to remember stuff, and would sort of like to start easing away....


Inthemud said...

Oh dear, poor you, bit worrying about the liver.

But I do love reading your blogs you make the most serious situations sound humourous.

Now you're going to have to stop lying about the banging from the floor boards and be brave and talk to the man!

You're so right about too much choice!!

Zoë said...

I know you really want to know this - the picture was taken West of J11 on the M4 just before Reading; how do I know this, am I truely so anally retentive that I can recognise which part of the M4 I am on, and should rush to join the Society of Roundabout worshippers? (yes they really exist). Nope, its just that its 9 miles North of me, and I pass it everytime I go into Reading to spend my ill gottens, which had I known, could have made you tea and scones, with lashing of cream and jam in this little corner on the borders of Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey!

I was at Savill Garden Wednesday (Windsor Great Park), and saw a picture of a dog just like Asbo, I should have got it and sent you it with a set of darts, you could then recover your karma using it as target practice!

Zoë xxxx

Chris Stovell said...

Oh dear, what a naughty ASBO! I think I had the liver moment a couple of years ago after watching a programme called 'Drink Yourself to Death' - it was so scary I put the glass in my hand down and didn't drink for a month!
I have spent far, far too much time this week waiting for Something Good to come through the ether for me. I suppose the only answer is to concentrate on some work. Sigh.

Liz Hinds said...

I do that email thing too. Sad.

Saw the Boss in Cardiff. he's the best!

Anonymous said...

You are so funny.When my daughter was around 9 or 10 she learnt the clarinet from an ill-tempered little Austrian man who took it all very seriously. The more she giggled(nervousness I'd say) the more he'd get in a state, which set her off more. She made me come to a lesson, and throw her watching me into the equation, and I found it all I could no do keep a straight face while my stomach went in and out in fits of humour. You poor thing.Last time I had a divine "aha" moment in the garden observing its beauty, thinking this must be what being in a state of grace means, the hot water service blew up, my husbands beaten eggs were dropped pre-microwave, and the cat decided to perform the fur-ball retch. All those things happened at once.

60GoingOn16 said...

Re alcohol, Jane . . . it's one of the few things that I've found getting old is good for, one sort of loses the taste for it and it is, I suppose, a bit undignified to be caught staggering around in possession of a bus pass. Oh and getting mega-migraines, which always used to put me right off drinking anything, until the next I felt like throwing caution to the winds.

Kitty said...

Sorry, but I would have been snorting with ill-concealed laughter too. Fiddle fun? Sounds absolutely filthy.
Boring old liver trouble. Milk thistle is what I'd say, but I guess I'm preaching to the converted here.
Lies or no, anyone who doesn't understand that the floors are still going down, or that you're still making the same pair of curtains you started last November, has clearly never had a house renovation to contend with.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Edward sends greetings to Jack, and we always sit in the back as well!

blogthatmama said...

Scary the old liver thing - when I worked in the drinks industry lots of the men would go into 'training' for their company medicals ie. detox for two weeks then start again, very silly. The liver does regenerate well though.

Norma Murray said...

Your 6 things seem all too familiar, except I don't own a dog.
I can never understand why children are encouraged to study the violin. It is the one instrument tha sounds really appalling unless played well.
Good luck with the liver.

Sorrow said...

I was heartily cheered to see that I need only to remember 6 things.
Most days I can't even remember why I walked into a room. So I am hoping there's a chance for me yet...
On really bad days you can see my Liver crawling up the street trying to find it's way to some one who doesn't like Jamesons so much. But those days are usually when the teen has driven me mad with his hormones..
I wonder what prozac or Zolaf does to your liver? maybe I could make a trade?
Jesting of course.
Best of luck on the 5 things..

Lady in red said...

being a little deaf I can't sit at the back as then I can't hear anything although if there was going to be any violin playing that might be preferable, I have painful memories of my youngest brother learning the violin when we were children

I hope the blood tests show that nothing serious is wrong

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Now I am worrying about my liver too and having some time off, synchronicity again. Hope yours is ok.
I do so know that waiting for something good to happen via email, it is lethal, leads to lethargy and passiveness, but utterly tempting.

Fennie said...

I think we could all make such realisations, achieved painfully over the years but still forgotten when it comes to the crunch or crisis - but only you could write them up so elegantly.

As for the detoxing: is this not another example of the cobblers' children.....?

I am told that if you stew a kilo of leeks and eat nothing but this between Friday and Sunday evenings then you will have a detox that will last you a six month. But I have never had the courage to try.
If you fancy joining me we could compare notes.

abcd said...

I think livers are pretty resilient things, I am sure yours will be fine after a detox. The drugs my OH takes for lukaemia hammer the liver but so far it's fine even copes with a bit of alcohol, quality not quantity is the answer for him.
I simply can't believe that dear, sweet, little dog could ever be naughty!

CAMILLA said...

Hi Jane,

Oh poor you, a worry about the liver, think I should detox also Jane for I have a passion for the red stuff.

Gorgeous pic of Asbo Jack, whatever larks he has got up to, love him anyway.