No, I give in, I can't overcome the essential dreichness of the day. I know the weather is outside, gusting its grey murk around like an interminable wash-cycle of grubby clothing, and I know that I am inside the walls of dear old Signs Cottage and can, after a fashion, create my own climate-of-the-innerspace. But dreichness has seeped through the cracks and got under my skin. This is more likely to happen when there has been a night of disrupted sleep; and I have got myself over-tired (as if I'm ever under-tired) and overwrought. I drove to Brighton and back yesterday in order to meet with a friend and let her into Brighton flat, and lovely it was to see her, we haven't met for some months and she is a long-standing friend, but it follows as surely as night follows day that there will be payback for such extravagance; and today I have simply been unwilling to lie back and count my blessings or zone out on muscle-pain reducing medication. I have been trying to push on with the writing to no great effect as I began it too late in the day.
But - but - a potent smell of oranges is in the air because I have a couple of them simmering, the plan being to make one of my (Claudia Roden's) orange and almond cakes. I have been reading recently (I think it was in one of Julia Cameron's books) that it is impossible to make a cake and feel suicidal. Not, I hasten to add, that I feel suicidal. No. Beneath the myalgic invisibility cloak I am the same ray of sunshine as ever I was, the very incarnation of Polyanna. Wait. It is beginning to sound as though I am protesting too much. But I can prove what I say: for already the thought of cake begins to work its magic and I haven't even begun the mixing and stirring yet, and I am chewing a piece of Nicorette gum instead of rolling a nice tube of Golden Virginia. No-one who was even remotely suicidal would be doing that. Just take my word for it.