Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Lightly living

Okay, so I have a confession to make. 

Brace yourselves. 

It is May and

Deep breath 

I have been putting the heating back on every now and then. 

Oh my parsimonious northern ancestors must be spinning in their coal dust filled graves, beating their spectral be-clogged feet against the boards but it had to be done. 

For, my dears, it is so cold and wet and recent news events so very saddening that a little joy must be got from somewhere. And for me, that somewhere is in having a warm living room. Just putting on another jumper wasn’t going to cut it. 

Heating scandals aside, the past 3 weeks have been mostly about work. One project has just kicked off with a flurry of activity and another, shorter-term one, has involved many tech frustrations, so my attentions have been focused on the laptop. 

That said, I managed a shop and a lunch with a friend the other day, during a short burst of sunshine. 

Today I discovered that the best music to knead gluten free pizza dough to is Fontaines DC. And then I realised that gluten free dough needs no kneading because there’s no gluten to make it lovely and stretchy. God only knows what sort of rock-like substance it will turn out to be, even with the addition of yeast and xanthan gum. I shall report back from the culinary front line. 

N and I have taken the leap and finally got round to booking: 

1. A man who can to build us a pergola. Which we’ve nicknamed the Degoba System

2. A new sofa to get rid of the second hand one i brought with me. It has held me comfortably but I’m tired of owning furniture that looks like it would be more suitable in a country house hotel in the 1980s. Instead of the sleek young hip thing that I actually am, obviously. 

Side note: do the young people still say “hip”?

3. A weekend away. The cats are booked into the cattery, we’ve gone all out and splurged on a Premier Inn (don’t even go there - I’m just grateful not to be self catering) and The Kid has been warned as we’ll be in his neck of the woods. 

The piano was sold. The Kid brought it with a small inheritance over 10 years ago and it’s sat, unplayed, in the last 4 houses we’ve lived in. There’s only so long you can hang onto something that big in the hope they’ll open the lid and start playing again. As Sunderland is a bit of a trek for a Sunday morning tinkle on the ivories, and neither N nor I took it up during lockdown, it was time to say goodbye. The room suddenly looks bigger, lighter somehow, so I’m refusing to be sentimental about it.

And in another dramatic act (remember I got rid of my to-be-read pile?), I threw out my diaries. This was the one change that made N hesitate and say "you sure?" And yes, I'm sure. My diaries were my regurgitation of a day's event's or life's happenings and it felt suddenly vastly unfair to leave them for the Kid to deal with when I'm gone. 

They were incomplete (only lasting a handful of years) and private. And, importantly, mine. I read through pages at random and confirmed that my decision to get rid was the right one. I am no David Sedaris. So into the recycling they went. No dramatic burning in the grate, a la Alec Guinness.

In case you're wondering if I'll regret it in a few years time, I can honestly say I won't. This is not the first time I've got rid of diaries and, should I take it up again, it probably won't be the last. Write it down, write it out, then get it right away. 

Live light, sez I. 

Besides the Kid will be happier with the collection of interesting stones and maybe-fossils he'll inherit. And in keeping with my philosophy, I use the term "happier" very lightly indeed.  

So long, old joanna, you were tuneful while it lasted


  1. It's very good to get rid of unused stuff isn't it. I have a piano that is mostly-unplayed and I sometimes look at the space it takes up. Then someone will pop the lid up and bang away for a while and so it gets a reprieve. I had a little radiator warmth today after trying to dry washing in the garden and having to run and rescue it from a deluge three times. I was promised end to end sunshine by the BBC weather site!

    1. Oh yes. I'm in the middle of a very cathartic clear out. Things that had been allowed to stay when we moved in 2 years ago are now for the chop and my eBay account is quite the hive of activity!
      This weather is a complete nonsense. I'm trying to be patient but I kind of want to write a letter of complaint to whoever's organising it.


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