I had a good morning. I can say this because it is the first one in a long while that I have woken up not feeling as though I have just come round from a general anaesthetic. It was a broken night, to be sure (there is always one or the other) but I woke up as people do, slipping smoothly into the day, and the person who looked back at me from the mirror was just me rather than the bewildered extra-terrestrial I have been accustomed to seeing recently. This is particularly auspicious as I am spending the weekend with Ms North who is coming to Signs Cottage for a creativity and inspiration fest à deux. Last year we had it at her gaff, most beautifully situated in the far north of Scotland, right on the beach. Since then, she has written a novel and has been knocking it into shape with the help of a literary (Scottish Arts Council, bless them) mentor.
My new weekly helper has been to vacuum the carpets, clean the kitchen floor and change bedding. I continue to be hugely grateful for people who do this kind of work and do it well, as she does. Everything feels clearer, more possible, when the house has been cleaned. There is someone (an ex-student who now has young children) working on her various writing tasks in the garden studio and this also feels good and auspicious because I no longer use it as much as I did and I have the sense that it suffers from lack of company.
I have to go to Sainsbury’s. When we run out of washing up liquid I know it is time, but I put it off as long as I can, just getting what I need from the village. In any case, we need food, coffee, chocolate. My muscles are hurting. I am not listening. I am telling myself that all manner of things will be well.