Posted by Tania Kindersley.
It's been a curious week of work, a hamster week, where my little legs have run very, very fast on the wheel, and I have got not very far at all. The book sometimes goes like that. (I have given up probing the mysteries of the creative process.) I get very manic, and very busy, and very stressy, and abruptly tell people No when they ask me to do perfectly nice things like eat supper with them. I must WORK, I shout, as if they are idiots who sit around all day eating bon-bons. Then, after days of this, I realise I have achieved hardly anything of worth, and go upstairs to the cupboard to get out the Big Sack of Shame.
One of my first thoughts, this morning, as I got up and made some bacon for breakfast, and contemplated exactly how strong the coffee was going to have to be to get me moving, was: must write something cheerful for the blog. It's been a bit serious lately, for obvious reasons.
It's Friday, I thought, time for random frivolity. But since I was waddling about in the Sack of Shame, I did not feel awfully cheerful or frivolous. Because I was in hamster mode, I had resigned myself to yet another day of sound and fury, signifying nothing. But the sun was out and the coffee was good, and I put on some Mozart very loud, and before I knew it, I had done some good, meaningful work.
This has had two effects. The first is excellent: I am now filled with satisfaction, and all ready for Friday joy. The second cancels out the first: my brain is all shot to pieces. All I wanted to do was give you some end of the week loveliness, a heart-warming story from the internet, or a piece of soothing human wisdom (don't laugh) or even a nice recipe, but I can hardly remember what my name is.
I can only think in homilies, which is what happens when the mind goes phht, and I dare not write those down, while I still have some reputation left to protect. Except maybe I will, because what the hell. My sister and I have been staying with my mother, to keep her company while the dear stepfather is in hospital. (His procedure went very well and the docs are pleased and he says even the food is not too bad.) I took the dogs, who adore the Mother, and have a very fine therapeutic effect on her. It was very small, but very sweet, and since I am currently obsessing about the small things, it made me think of what family can mean, in its unheralded daily incarnations.
I used to stamp about shouting about how blood was not thicker than water, but now I wonder. For all its complications, family can bring a potent joy; it's to do with all that shared history, and the stupid jokes, and something as simple as knowing someone very, very well.
So my Friday thought, which is neither original nor terribly well expressed, is that what really matters is The Love. I have been bashing myself all week because I have not been working well enough, and that is about achievement and success and worldly recognition. Those are not unimportant, and I would not do without them altogether. I want people to like and buy my books, of course I do. But just today, for whatever reason, I think that love wins. The line that keeps going round in my head is from grumpy old Philip Larkin, who once said, quite out of character: all that is left of us is love. I think he was right.
Now I am going to stop before I make a complete idiot of myself and never work in this town again. I am definitely not getting enough iron in my diet. You must forgive.
Here are some diverting end of the week pictures, to take your minds off the fact that I seem to have been reduced to talking in bumper stickers.
Some thyme and marjoram which have bravely survived the winter storms:
A rather wonderful dried hydrangea head:
A little bit of green:
And a little bit of amber:
Tree trunks, of course:
I love these pictures of the branches; they almost look like paintings in the way they have come out:
The amazing colours:
Talking of amazing:
Oh the nobility:
And the serenity:
A tiny, wizened rose hip, no less beautiful for all that:
Statutory bark and lichen and moss:
And the dear hill, in panorama today: