Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Today is the goodest of Good Fridays. Practically my entire family is here, all the babies looking particularly sweet and fetching, and everybody wreathed in special Easter smiles. (I should point out that we are not The Waltons, and this smiling business does not always obtain.) It is a perfect Bobby Dazzler of a day, the sun shining gaudily out of an azure sky.
I went to the village to run errands, ostensibly to get pork, hot cross buns, and a newspaper. Those were my three things. I have been on an anti-stuff jag lately, partly because of the recession, partly because I fret mildly about landfill, partly because I already have too much stuff, partly as a responsible economy drive. I don't know if it was the sun, or seeing all the happy family faces, or just weeks of not shopping, but I suddenly had a Nicole Diver moment.
I came back with: a white hydrangea in a pot as a present for my mother, gaily coloured rubber ducks for the children, bunches of tulips and roses, two little blue plants whose name I now cannot remember, sirloin steaks for lunch (from happy Aberdeen Angus cows who live about three fields away, thus pleasing my need to buy local), great bunches of basil and watercress, eight hot cross buns, a lovely white heather, and a glorious plaid blanket from Johnston's of Elgin. All of this was very, very naughty. There was no call for any of it. I suppose I could say I am doing my bit to keep the creaking economy going, and supporting my village shops, but really it was just about pure, naked pleasure.
I wonder too if it carried a slight edge of defiance. I was told yesterday that there are people I know who think my life is a waste. Apparently, it is so peculiar for a women to choose to live without a husband that she must be pitied. I sometimes think I can bear almost anything except pity. I know that there are people who crave it, blowing every tiny set-back into a three act drama, so they may receive a chorus of poor yous. For whatever reason, I do not. If anyone says 'poor you' to me, I go very gruff and reply that I am not living in the Congo. The irony of all this is that I spend half my time feeling slightly guilty that I am so blatantly, unfairly lucky. I have all my arms and legs, I have utter freedom, I have time and solitude, both of which I crave, I do a job I love, I am surrounded with the love of family and friends, I have beautiful black dogs who make me laugh, I can type, and I live in the middle of one of the most glorious landscapes on earth. But apparently, because I neglected to marry, it is all a WASTE.
So, in true philosophical fashion, I went shopping. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. I have roses. Sometimes, as the tremendous Miss Gertrude Stein once said a rose is a rose is a rose. Sometimes it is the floral equivalent of the red banner of everyone can just bugger off and mind their own business.
And really, no stupid chatter means a damn, because it has been such a glorious day.
I woke up and I saw this:
And a sky the colour of this:
And my dear little garden looked like this:
(How could anyone pity someone who has such a fine dry stone wall? Really?)
And I bought this:
And then I arranged them so they looked like this:
And, meanwhile, the dogs were doing this:
(Notice slightly cross 'when are you going to stop faffing around with boring flowers and find me a nice stick to catch?' face.)
(Notice contrasting oblivion to floral matters, and instead utter concentration on finding most comfortable position on the sofa.)
And my dear old mum gave me these:
And soon the children will be playing with these:
(All profits from which will go to the RNLI, because one must never forget the lifeboats.)
And somehow, all of that made me remember that people will say what they will, and I must let them, and none of it matters very much, not when there are days of dogs and roses.