Friday, 5 September 2014


The universe is kind and breaks my fever just in time. I had got to the stage where I thought I would never feel well again, and perhaps this was not a bug but a life sentence. There was that thing of waking at three in the morning and trying to plan how to live with constant pain. I know people who do live with constant pain and I have no idea how they bear it. This dull virus contains the overwhelming luxury of going away. I never watched a tide ebb with such gratitude.

One of the oldest of the old friends is coming tomorrow for lunch. We have known each other since childhood and I never see him and I miss him. I could not have stood the idea of chucking, although I did at one point consider asking if he would mind it if I received him on a chaise longue, like something out of an Italian opera. (The awful thing is I do actually have a chaise longue.)

As it is, the beastly bug sods off at about four-thirty. I can feel it go. I like to think it was the spinach soup that beat it. I potter about in my pyjamas, weak as a baby panda, vaguely remembering what normal feels like, and attempting to tidy up a bit. This old friend lives a big life; he is one of the ones who has gone and done something in the world. For a moment, I panic. What will he think of the old piles of the Racing Post and the slightly dusty Edwardian glasses and my ridiculous collection of birds’ nests? I never got the whole House and Garden thing, and I am almost constitutionally incapable of throwing things away, so there are awful little hoarder’s piles everywhere you look. I could get up at six in the morning, I think, and redo the whole house.

Then I think: he really has not come for interior design. With any luck, he won’t notice. I’ll give him some lovely chicken and some green soup for strength and we’ll remember all the old jokes. What can it matter? My house is slightly odd, but it is mine, and I can’t suddenly fake a magazine front. I’ll never be one of the shiny people, and that is all she wrote.


And if the worst comes to the worst, there is always the red mare, and Stan the Man too. Who cares if there are holes in the sofa when there are these two?:

5 Sept 1

5 Sept 2

Rather bad pictures, but I’m still too swimmy to find and edit good ones. Still, I think this goes with my theme of not having to be all gleamy and perfect. A bit muddly and not quite in focus will do.


  1. Everyone should have a chaise longue. A chair and a footstool are not an adequate substitute.

  2. Had a similar experience with a very old friend this week, my house about as far from house and garden as bedouin tent ( a scruffy one) friend delighted by everything because it's the conversation that counts, hope you had a fab time, Rachel
    ps so glad you saw off the lurgy - nourishing food and sleep are the best remedies, for sure

  3. Dust, schmust... piles, schmiles... a good friend comes to see *you*. I'm another eccentric house person, but I embrace it, as I think you do too. Occasionally I worry about "what people will think" but then I say "sod it", as you do too. Your house is where you live, and it reflects your personality. If someone really likes you, they will like your house because it's uniquely yours. My trick is to decorate with antiques, for which dust is a necessary accoutrement!

  4. Hope you were properly well for the weekend and a fabulous time was had by all with much lounging in the chaise. From the few pics I'v seen of your lovely home I don't think it could look more inviting. x


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