Thursday, 26 November 2009

A day in the life of WEM - or living on a spaceship part 1.

Tuesday 17th November

The café below our flat has a very noisy fridge, over the past weeks it had been getting louder and louder finally giving up the ghost on Friday. We skipped around the flat like kittens for most of the weekend, anyway there is such a thing as chardenfreud – the bloody thing got fixed and is now even louder. The GR rings the council and they arranged to come and have a listen on Tuesday morning at 11am – (today).

Tuesday morning 4.30am
Erbie wakes me, soaked through, (the larger size own brand nappies I got because there were no Pampers are either too big and he’s weed over the top or just plain rubbish). Pull off his sleep suit in semi-darkness and as the spare nappies are in the living room, the quietest room (where The GR is trying to sleep on sofa) readjust the nappy which seems quite dry.

Cuddle Erbie to me and try to put him under duvet, he won’t have any of it, hates having covers on him, I think he suffers from The GR’s problem of hot foot. Manage to get duvet over his tummy and leave feet exposed, he falls asleep with his head on my leg as I stoke his head, only problem is I’m sat up. Listen to someone ringing doorbell of flat below, those boys keep terrible hours. Overhear a brief altercation outside, peek through side of blackout curtain but only see that the pub over road has left their pink outside lights on and a candle burning carelessly inside.

Move Erbie gently to my side and and snuggle up, his legs are exposed, thinking I should really cover him up as it’s cold in the bedroom I pull the duvet gently over him and he wakes up. I sit back up go through the head stroking again and put him in a faded grey batman top, rather than bare chested. He points at the shadowy animal masks on the wall, a tiger, a bear and a panda and says ‘neigh neigh and ‘rrrrrwar’ I reply. He drops off, I drop off.

We wake up, Erbie pats my cheek and pulls my nose, I stick my finger in his ear, he babbles incoherently, I can see through a chink in the black out curtain that it is light, Light, blimey this is very unusual, so late, it must be after seven. Make the same mental note as every morning that I really should put a clock in the bedroom.

It is after seven! Erbie toddles into living room where we find The GR on sofa with large industrial sound proof headphones over the top of his earplugs. He has had no sleep, and tells me in not so many words, if he has to drive to Liverpool on Wednesday after no sleep I’m likely to become a widow. I have an emergency colitis near miss visit to the bathroom which makes Erbie cry as I have to unserimoniously dump him on the ground. The GR goes into the bedroom to try and get some sleep.

I pull on a pair of jeans, give Erbie a clean nappy and we go downstairs to have a word with café manager.

The Roly Poly man who adores Erbie and the plumber who rescued me when the kitchen flooded are stood outside the café, I stop and say hello before taking a deep breath and going into café.

I tell the café manager that the GR has to drive to Liverpool tomorrow and if the fridge stays on I might have to put him in a hotel as he can’t sleep with the noise of the fridge. He mumbles something about solicitors, I say I’ll come back at 5pm to find out if he’ll be able to turn it off or not.

This isn’t an over the top request he only keeps bloody drinks in the thing and turns it off every weekend anyway! 

Go back upstairs and catch sight of myself in mirror, it’s not pretty, feel for poor gentlemen I made small talk with.

The GR has fallen into a fitful, exhausted sleep, I put the Jungle Book DVD on and give Erbie some cereal and strawberries. I turn on the computer and manage to type up and email out two outstanding invoices.

Feel I should do something motherly/wifey budgety like make a nice homely casserole so pop out with Erbie to get stewing steak. At Tesco there is no red meat on the shelves, the nice lady tells me they are short staffed today, so it may not have come out yet. In my experience they have more stock on the shelves at 6am than 9am! Huff and say I’ll go to M&S, they have no red meat either - what’s going on, they do however have premium meat sausages which I can eat as they are yeast free, yey! As I had my heart set on doing the wifey. mothery, budgety thing I wander back to Tesco shamefaced and bemoan to the tall freckled man about lack of meat. He offers to go out the back and find me some and says the fridge was emptied and cleaned last night and it broke. What is it with me and fridges? He comes back with two packets and gratefully I choose one.

On the way back we go into crabfooted pigeon park where there is a childrens play area with a seesaw and a slide. A man is sat on the bench inside the fenced off childrens area and another guy with a bike is counting out money. I divert Erbie with dairy free chocolate buttons and we slip back out of the park unnoticed. Why can’t they do deals on street corners like respectable drug dealers.

Check mobile, read 2 text mesages sent last night from J.
“Just sent you final version. Its ok only a few changes. When you open it call me and we can do read through on the phone ok sweetie xx”
“I going to bed so guess we doing this without rehearsing together which is a first for me. Hope you happy with it all and we will have time for a very quick practice when I get to yours about 6.30 hopefully.”

Worry J. will arrive right in the middle of settling Erbie, with The GR working and the first night we’ve had a babysitter I want him to settle properly, I panic and text J. twice. “Okay sweets. Make sure you get to me before 6.45pm or I will be in the middle of settling boy and won’t be able to answer door till he’s asleep xx”
“If I miss his window he will be up till eight o clock. No good.”

9.36am text from J.
“so if I later than 6.45 what do I do...

Realise all I needed to say was if I don’t answer doorbell give it 5 minutes and  I will call you to say coast is clear, leave rambling message on J.s answerphone to that effect.
[I’m going out for supper this evening. J. has invited me to co-perform at Kettner’s ‘performance des artistes’, (an evening where performers get a free supper). We will be reading out letters between Anais Nin and Henry Miller. She has done an enormous amount of work and preparation, sourcing and editing the material and all I have to do is read out extracts from couple of Henry’s letters.]

I’m itching to ring S. to check she has remembered she said she would babysit tonight. The GR is not due back from work until 10pm.  Slow cook the sausages and make The GR a sandwich and a cuppa.

Call S. she has remembered.

Colitis emergency bathroom visit.

Man from council arrives, a very quiet man called Patrick. He stands and listens with The GR to the fridge kick in and then turn off seven minutes later as it does 24hrs a day. At one point he actually thinks it’s our bathroom extactor fan until he sees the whole where an extactor fan should be. The GR takes Erbie and pleads with Patrick for a nights sleep. Patrick tells us he will speak to the cafe manager and let us know the outcome.

Call from letting agent to say gorgeous 2 bedroom garden flat in Marylebone was taken by first viewers -quel surprise.

I catch sight of myself in the mirror again it’s bad, realise I still haven’t had a shower. Jump in shower. Wash hair.

Drink restorative tea. Feed Erbie.

A loud crash from the kitchen makes us rush in to check on Erbie, who is no where close by, the pinboard has fallen over taking with is a small brass keyholder that says home sweet home, the mirror in it is smashed. we hope it mean our luck on the home front is changing for the better.

Text from J. “Call me when boy has his afternoon nap and we can do a read through on phone. Think I will go straight to Kettners tonight. I didn’t sleep all night, new very strong pills made me very sick, work was quiet so at home now to steam cough and sleep. So will go from home tonight already changed so better for you and settling baby too. X x x”

Patrick calls he has told them they have to reduce their noise levels in the cafe and the manager has asked for two weeks to implement it. In the mean time he has to turn the fridge off over night. Our nerves are jangling from lack of sleep and noise interference.

The GR is working over Tavistock Square way, so we walk over with him. Afterwards I take Erbie to Corams Field for a swing and a play in the sandpit. He picks up beautiful russet and yellow London Plane leaves and hands them to me as I follow him around the park. On the way home he falls asleep on my side.

Get home. I slip Erbie out of his shoes and onto the bed and close the door, he’s tired out.

Text from J. “Darling what times his nap usually so I don’t go to sleep then.”

Call J. we have a read through, she has learnt the opening introduction be heart. I rush through my lines and blush down the phone. J. tells me to read slower and not be scared of over ennunciating. I panic.

Chop onions, swede, leeks and carrots and coat meat in seasoned flour. Eventually get the casserole on to slow cook for 3hours, tidy toys and sweep floor.

Have another slower read through of tonights piece and try to think of something suitable to wear

I write to inform the management agency that a man from the council has achieved in an hour what we have all being trying to achieve over the past 5 months.

Knackered. Curl up on bed next to Erbie and fall asleep.

Wake up

Wizz round charity shops with Erbie looking for something to wear, find an amazing gold mask. Buy the mask and still have no idea what I’m going to wear. Get S. a nice Bordeaux for babysitting, we joke that I should give it to her when she’s finished.

Give Erbie tea, pull out various bags and boxes in bedroom looking for something to wear, come across full length evening gown of my mothers, russet and gold, like the leaves Erbie gave me.

Give Erbie a quick wash in the kitchen sink, and give him yogurt.

Snuggle up and watch Waybaloos with Erbie on sofa.

Clean Erbie’s teeth, pop him in bed, read him a book, say night nights.

Text from J. “Can you bring your phone sweetie.”

It goes quiet downstairs for longer than 7minutes, the fridge has been switched off for the night, fell like I’ve stepped off the spaceship.

Iron long dress, it looks tiny. Hang it on the back of the door. Put hair up.

S. arrives. Force her to open the wine I’ve bought her. Put my make-up on, put dress on, S. does it up for me, I can barely breathe.

Swallow a lovely glass of Bordeaux rather too quickly, squeeze into a pair of gold heels and slip the mask into my handbag for later, set off for Soho, leaving S. in a quiet, very quiet flat.
Arrive at Kettners Champagne Bar in Soho where Oscar Wilde once quaffed, Lily Langtrey lounged and the like, my friends were already ensconsed at the bar sipping champagne from old fashioned half moon champagne glasses (supposedly the size of a perfect breast, in the day of non-breasts surely?).

J. seems very nervous for someone who is an old hand at performing in public and likes the spotlight, I feel strangely calm about it all, probably just comatose from lack of sleep. We are shown to our table and the first performer does something inaudible at the piano. We order a bottle of wine.

After gossip catch-up and a bottle of wine it is our turn to perform. I scrabble in my bag and put my mask on and a microphone is thrust in my hand, somehow I know to rest it very gently on the bottom of my chin, which stops the hand shake and I manage to read my bits slowly and even slightly salaciously. At the end I lean over the table and kiss J. seductively to whoops from the audience.

I’m everso slightly tipsy, the meal is good, the wine is good the company is good, it’s the first time I’ve been out on my own since before, well I don’t actually remember, maybe before Christmas last year, no it can’t be.

I skip desert and run home. S. and The GR are sat at the table discussing fridges. We all have a glass of wine and S. goes home showered with thanks and some stacking cups for Missy that I found on ebay.

I change into flats and run back to Soho for desert - banana cake and icecream. We order another bottle of wine, I get drunker.

The GR rings, I miss the call and his phone is off when I try to call back. I run home. He is not amused, has still had no sleep and Erbie has just woken up.

The GR goes to sleep on the sofa. The day ends as it began with us at loggerheads with one another, through lack of sleep and worry. Oh well at least I got a night out!


Marie said...

Sounds like quite the day. Full of everything it could be full of! Hope that the sleep deprevation is lessening and so pleased you enjoyed your night. Intrigued also by the performance, sounds like fun! Take care, mx

everybodysaysdont said...

Blimey!!! What can I say...what a day! x

Other nonsense

Quote of the day

‘They tuck you up your mum and dad...’
Anon - after Larkin

“Philately will get you everywhere”

“It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair. 
It’s the hope I can’t deal with”

“Each new friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

‘Come on Dover move your bloomin’ arse’.
Eliza Doolittle