On a more upbeat note, and against all the odds, I took the day off from invalidism. I drove to Brighton with my son and met up with my London-based daughter to buy clothes for them both in the lovely second-hand shops that can still be found in the Lanes. How much longer those places will be there before being taken over by expensive chiquerie remains to be seen. But Brighton is still good. My kids would like me and their Dad to move there, and as I stood under a canopy watching the sun and rain fight it out next to the knitted thigh-length socks of many-coloured stripes (two pairs for a fiver), smelling the coffee, seeing the trendy long-haired geezers with sleek grey hair tied back into long pony tails (only in Brighton, these) and feeling the beat of the place, I thought – why not? Why not just up sticks and move back to the centre of things, it might not make me better but then again it might not make me worse. That thought lasted only a couple of seconds, all said and done we have not sold our old house yet and, fed up thinking about it, have taken her off the market. But if the thought comes back, I’ll have a look at it.
The whole world and my daughter have given up smoking. I rejoice, even as I surreptitiously light up the last of my stash before I too rejoin the right-thinking universe and do cold turkey again. My daughter is very cool about the whole thing. Yes, it feels a bit as though your best friend has just died, but on the other hand it’s quite easy – the times you want to have one, you just don’t, and obviously it’s a drag thinking about it all the time and wanting it, but so it goes. We went to have char-grilled burgers in a tiny place hidden away up an alley you would be certain to miss if you didn’t stumble into it by accident or know it was there. We could smell the smoke that, even five days ago, came from the lit cigarettes. I remembered the sign that used to be up saying that they served Absinthe (only two shots per person). My daughter said that everywhere was becoming really controlled and “anal.” My son said that it was a good thing, the new smoking ban, and they bickered mildly about this for a while. I fell, as usual, somewhere between the two.
Also against the odds, I have thrown myself into, or possibly at, the resurrection of my novel idea. I have one first person narrator and plan to alternate between this and third person. I have re-written a whole chunk, well fifteen hundred words of first person narrative, converting it into third person. It’s rubbish as it stands of course, too subjective, but really – a woman in my condition can’t afford to look too closely: never mind the quality, count the words is the thing at this point.
I’m a bit manic from having got away with my day off. I’ll pay, of course. Or not.