Woke at 8.00 this morning, feeling OK. Got up to go to the loo. When I came back, my bed was so tempting that I went straight back to it and dozed till 11.00 am. Another day messed up. And I didn’t manage to get out of the house either, even though I had a bona fide errand to do at the bottom of the road. Instead I had another sleep this afternoon. I am so demotivated and full of apprehension about all the things that need doing – in particular my book. I suppose this is called ‘writer’s block’, but I’ve never had it before in 30 years of freelance writing. It seems totally insuperable. However I did, by forcing myself, manage today to ring up two organizations that offer counselling, and then to book myself a retreat for the coming weekend. It will mean I miss the first session of choir, but I am singing tonight (back to my old group) so that will have to do. At the moment, giving up on belly dancing and going back to my old singing group feels like a defeat, even though it’s a choice I made when I was feeling OK.
This too will pass, this too will pass. I just wish it would pass quicker.
Some days end better than they start. Today started badly with being woken early by hubby’s radio and him not switching it off soon enough. Breakfast ruined by discovering both of my cartons of UHT lactose-free milk had gone off, before even being opened.
Then my attempt to write a sermon on Psalms hit the buffers as I was trying to read Walter Brueggemann without taking in a single word. So I went and lay down and slept for an hour or so.
After that things improved a lot as I walked to my new favourite café to have a lovely lunch with a lovely lunching lady. Walked home again, which fulfilled my exercise requirement for the day, and found I could miraculously understand Walter Brueggemann after all. Drafted an outline of the sermon so that I won’t have to start from scratch again tomorrow.
Dinner was a bit of a downer as I found one of the two packets of ravioli was totally mouldy even though the use by date was July 17th. I will be sending a stern email to Ocado about the sudden dive in quality. However, the evening was my singing group, which always puts me in a better mood. And coming home in the car I put my Prog Rock album in again, and nothing is so cheering as The Nice’s instrumental version of Bernstein’s America. Some days improve as they go along…
Latest from my local Freecycle: ‘WANTED: Rubber cap for tubular leg’. Is it just me or does that sound disconcertingly surgical? (it turns out it was something to do with a bike rack on a car…).
Getting back to loftier matters, eleven of us sang our guts out at Turnpike Lane* underground last night in aid of Christian Aid. In our years of experience of this annual event, we have discovered that it takes precisely one and a half hours to sing one’s way through the entire Bethlehem carol sheet (with a short break for mulled wine, homebaked mince pies and Pfeffernüsse, provided by yours truly).
I then went to Covent Garden to meet a Shipmate and we had a good girly chat about flooded basements, plumbers etc. As if I didn’t get enough about plumbing in my day job as a plumber’s spouse…
Talking of which, things are looking good for said plumber to bag a job at a Further Education College, teaching mechanical engineering. This would be a considerable change in our daily lives but he has really had enough of crawling under sinks now. Especially since he hit a magical birthday this year (half-century, in case you’re interested).
*or, in the terms of the anagrammatical Tube map (see Wibsite home page for sample), ‘Internal Puke’.
The man at the lightbox helpline was very helpful and immediately agreed that they should send me a replacement bulb free of charge. It arrived yesterday and I have installed it. The light is now beautifully bright, but for some reason it didn’t come on this morning even though I’m sure I set it right. However, having set myself the task of getting up earlier, I found I was more motivated to do so anyway. Perhaps I don’t need the bodyclock at all, just more motivation?
However I’ve not been sleeping at all well, so by the time I’d done an hour’s work and been to the osteopath, I was exhausted and instead of writing the piece that’s due in at 9.00 tomorrow, I went to bed and slept for about 2 hours. I must have needed it because when I woke up I was far more ready to do the work, and produced a satisfactory piece on the Pakistan situation, which gave me the opportunity to drop in the fact that I was at college with Benazir Bhutto (though she was known as Pinky Bhutto at that stage, a fact which annoyed me as that was my brother’s nickname for me, and I felt she had no right to it). I never actually got to know her, but I once took a phone call for her and went to knock on her door, which she opened in a fetching black slip. I somehow think this memory would not enhance her political standing.
Spent the evening at singing group, learning a difficult harmony to ‘Sometimes I feel like a motherless child’. Sang the beautiful tune all the way home with guy from church who gave me a lift. Which gave me a lift in more senses than one.
As I left my singing group last night with a few other members, we found outside the church a young Asian woman kneeling down and sobbing her heart out. After a while we got some kind of story out of her about her Algerian friend (possibly boyfriend) being arrested, and how there had been a fight but he was innocent, and he was homeless, and she had to go and get him from the police station and take him to her flat, but she had no money because she hadn’t been to the post office, and she didn’t know his real name so how could she ask at the police station, and she didn’t know which station he’d been taken to…
She seemed completely genuine, was obviously very upset, but eventually we got her calmed down enough to decide what she was going to do, and gave her some money for the bus to the police station. One member of our group thought the money would go straight into drugs, but I didn’t believe she was conning us. Still, there was some mystery around why, if she was so involved with him as to be in floods of tears, she didn’t know his real name – only that he was Algerian. Was this an illegal immigration matter? Or had he been picked up as a potential terrorist? Most probably it was just a matter of breaking up a fight.
What chaotic lives some people lead… I can’t help wondering if my life could ever have been like that. And the honest answer is, at times it could, when I was single and living alone, and meeting some very dubious men along the way. But I had a supportive family and good friends, whereas she seemed to be alone and helpless. She did seem to know the vicar of the church where we were meeting, so perhaps she had some connection there. I promised to pray for her, but I will probably never see her again to find out how it all worked out. All one can do in these situations is reassure the person that it will.
I love my church so much. Today we had no sermon, just communion, in the context of lots of Iona liturgy on OHP transparencies, all of it about God’s goodness in creation, and we had a display of ‘the fruits of the earth’ as well as the bread and wine on the table at the front – a sort of blend of Thanksgiving and Harvest Festival. And we sat in a circle, just about 15 of us, and passed the bread and grape juice from person to person as we always do, and it was all so beautifully simple and yet profound, and warm and welcoming.
And because there was no guitarist they let me go to the mike and help lead the singing, which turned out to be a great number of hymns that go up to top ‘E’, a note which until recently I couldn’t reach at all. Now I can, but only with great effort. But it didn’t matter, because I was among people I’ve known for so long, and who I know won’t make snide remarks but just be grateful that someone had a go. And no one minded that my son came down from upstairs in the middle of a liturgy, asking for his iPod charger which was in my handbag (we don’t always have Sunday school lately, especially as currently he’s the only child there most weeks, and so we just let him do his own thing).
So glad to be a Mennonite.