29th May 2011 Sunday
I wake up with a headache but it’s the morning for cleaning the house. My husband hoovers and mops the floors and even wipes all the skirting boards up the stairs with a wet cloth. He’s my hero for doing this. I clean the shower and make up the double bed in the spare room. I haul everything out of the pink room - ironing board, re-bounder, half worn clothes, dusty shoes, dozens of socks - and blow up two mattresses and make them up with clean sheets and duvets for our visitors - my husband’s nephew and niece and their parents.
I feel oppressed by the heavy grey clouds and my scratchy mood. We drive out for a walk in pine woods and talk about money on the way. My husband thinks we will find a way to manage on less in the coming months - that it won’t be so bad - we could still enjoy ourselves. He’s right but I don’t feel ready to be enthusiastic about living on spinach and potatoes and only giving little birthday presents. I feel diminished and mean and ashamed. I say I will sell my rings and stack shelves in Sainsbury’s - to make him feel bad. I know I won’t and he can’t feel worse than he does already. The sun comes out but I just feel hot and cross and we don’t talk much on the way home.
After our smoked tuna lunch with the patio doors open, he puts on his red and black clothes and drives off to sing in his choir in Exmouth. A dear friend arrives with sweet smelling gifts - perfumed oil and gogi tea - she somehow knew exactly what pampering my soul needs. We walk and talk in the park nearby wandering through wild flower meadows and down into cool trees, over a bridge crossing the stream and up steep pebbly paths. We stop and listen to a missel thrush singing her heart out and I see our take-it-for-granted park with new eyes.
When she leaves after tea and cake at the kitchen counter I feel lighter, expanded, hopeful. So it’s easy to say sorry to my husband who seems lighter and more positive too when he comes home. He says he can see the possibility of living in the here and now. How magic is that.