Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I don't normally blog on a Sunday, but I have angst, and typing helps me quell it. When I am angst-ridden, I need the clack of the keys under my fingers and the mild concentration of summoning a train of thought. Otherwise I just say: 'For God's sake', out loud, over and over again, as I relive the crushing moment. (Then the baby looks at me, very very sternly indeed, and says: 'TANIA, do not say For God's sake', and I have to apologise, once more, with feeling.
It's a memory thing. I have these terrible lapses. I waltz into the house of an old friend, someone I was at school with, and say: 'What a glorious house, just look at your beautiful house', which is of course true, and has the added advantage of making me feel that I am being complimentary and charming, and she stares at me and says: 'But you have been here before'. NO MEMORY OF IT. And it's a memorable house. The window frames are painted the colour of forget-me-nots at dusk. There is a sofa as yellow as a jar of sherbet lemons. A carved silver gilt looking glass takes up the whole of one wall. It is not the kind of house you just forget because it's two a penny. It's a one of a kind, stick in the mind sort of place.
I managed to come back from that one but then I made an even stupider and more unforgiveable act of forgetting and that is why I found myself in the kitchen at six thirty making tomato salad for the children's tea and saying For God's sake out loud, while the Two-Year-Old chuntered in disapproval. Even my cousin's perfect carbonara could only take my mind off it for so long. So: the typing.
It's not as if I can blame it on age and be done with it. I used to do this when I was box fresh, in my twenties, with a brain trained like a greyhound from my history degree (three essays every fortnight, with at least eleven primary sources at the top of a three page reading list). Once, I was having a happy party picture taken at a rather swanky cocktail by another of my cousins.
'Stand closer to George,' she said. I can hear the voice in my head now, as if it were yesterday. I can also hear just what I said next.
'I'm not sure if George would like that,' I said, thinking I was making a bit of a jolly joke. 'After all I've never met him IN MY LIFE BEFORE.'
George shifted his feet.
'Actually,' he said, 'we sat next to each other at dinner last week.'
Not just happened to be in the same room, or were briefly introduced, or ran into each other on the top floor of the Number Fourteen bus. Oh no. Sat next to each other.
I blame my father. He has famously never remembered a thing in his life. He struggles with his children's names (he often muddles up my sister and me); he still calls my stepmother by my mother's name, even though they have been married for almost forty years. He used to take me round Newbury Racecourse when I was young and introduce me to forty-three people called 'John Bllllaallbalbla'. I think he figured that perhaps one in five of them might be called John Something at least, so he had a faint chance of being right a small percentage of the time.
I suppose I shall have to buy one of those stupid brain training machines that Terry Wogan and Nicole Kidman keep advertising. Because if I keep going around with my angst, I shall keep saying FOR GOD'S SAKE out loud to myself, and if the Two-Year-Old hears I shall be put in the corner for ever. Which I probably do deserve.
Pictures of the day are some of the things of beauty my eyes have fallen on in the last two weeks, to take my mind off the Terrible Gaffe and idiotic memory lapse.
London flower stall:
Trees at Westonbirt:
Red onions at Cirencester:
Mackerel at Tetbury:
The Lake District:
The inordinately nice blanket I bought in the Lake District, even though I had no excuse whatsoever, because I never, ever can resist an inordinately nice blanket:
And (my heart skips a beat) the darling old ladyships, waiting, patiently, patiently, for me to return:
(Actually, since dogs have no sense of time, and anyway they are being spoilt rotten by the dear mother and heavenly stepfather, they are not waiting at all, but basking in their new billet.)