Small irritations

It is not the cold or (at least initially not) the wet of winter which grinds me down. It is not the slower pace in the garden or the short days of light.

What grinds me down is the slow and incremental loss of control over my family life, my household responsibilities which comes with a lurgy which never quite disappears. Not for days and so far this time we are now on weeks.

Every winter.

Missed days of work for myself, days of carrying on to save my sick days for the inevitable of sick children. Days of soup and recuperation followed by days of that little bit too much done during the day and no energy left for cooking.

Bought dinner, dishes not yet done, a sleep in on a busy work morning leading to yet more bought food.

A determination to continue as normal leading to some achievements and still fatigue at the end meaning a household of grime, dust, scary kitchen, overdue library books.

It will come right but I'll admit to considerable impatience for it to do so. I'm awake now, at 2am, writing, having collapsed into bed too early with the children. There are signs for the new day ahead which look bright. A forecast of sunshine after many many many days of rain peppered with hail. The prospect of washing going outside, of children having space to run and laugh and play games with sunshine on their bottoms instead of mud. There is still a scratch or three in my chest, but no longer the cold ball of infection sending up nasty coloured phlegm. The rubbish man will come in a few hours and take away the smelly things from my fridge. Sometimes I want the easy way, the evil non-compsting way. I want a head start for a house which doesn't scare me, send me running back to the haven of the study and an alternative world of mucking around on the computer.

There are treats arriving tomorrow, avocadoes and tamarillos and mandarins. I've a lovely big order of meat bones, saveloys for the children, mince and a roast waiting for me at Jonesy's butchery.

I'm in no way ready for work tomorrow, but the promise of sunshine, the cathartic effect of writing out my niggles here, well maybe they will lead me through.

I grew up with a few saints. There used to be books at the church children's library of the lives of saints. I devoured them. Flowers in the Attic was boring and made up. The thrilling lives of girls who were so poor that they had to sleep with newspaper over their beds instead of blankets but to whom Our Lady appeared. St Vincent de Paul when he was a wealthy young man in Paris, before turning his back on all of that and leaving a legacy all the way down to the wee second hand clothes shop here in Wetville. When I left for London, my friend Jill gave me a medal of St Christopher, patron saint of travellers. I seem to recall something about St Anthony, patron saint of lost things. Crikey, he would get dizzy looking round helping us each morning.

But what I could really do with is making friends with a patron saint of waking up on time during the week. Yes I do realise that an alarm clock might indeed be a practical thing. One which the children don't lose or break or take out to the toilet and leave there (on the temperature setting which means I know that it is 10 degrees celsius in the toilet right now) and one which will wake me at 6am but not the others as progress in the morning goes best if I get up 45 minutes before everyone else. So you see why a saint's intercession might be more use than a noisy clock?

In the interests of helping myself get back on track, sleeping a little more before hopefully waking on time around 6am, even 6.30 would probably prevent a lot of yesterday's disasters, I'll sign off now and head to bed.

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