Saturday 19 November 2011

A conversation about holidays or why being easy-going is hard work.

Last month

Husband: Where do you want to go on holiday?
Nashelle: Iceland
Husband: Too expensive. Since the banks crashed a meal costs four times as much…
Nashelle: Germany.
Husband: Too expensive. A pint of beer is –
Nashelle: Norway, Sweden, Finland…
Husband: The Scandinavians don’t even go on holiday there, it’s so dear. Why d’you think they don’t drink?

Last week

Husband: where do you want to go on holiday?
Nashelle: Iceland, Germany, Finland, Norway…
Husband: (edited version) we can’t go to any of those places…

Day before yesterday

Last night

Husband: Are we going to go on holiday?
Nashelle: Yes.
Husband: We’d better book it, then.
Nashelle: The problem is we don’t know where we want to go.
Husband: Where do you want to go?
Nashelle: I’ve told you where I want to go. Where do you want to go?
Husband: I don’t mind where we go.
Nashelle: (thinks: Iceland, Norway, Germany…) I don’t mind,either.
Husband: I can go anywhere, me…
Nashelle: that doesn’t actually help.
Husband: …Turkey, Greece, Tenerife…
Nashelle: so which one?
Husband: Any one. I can go anywhere.
Nashelle (getting irritated): You don’t mind where you go, I don’t mind where I go, the kids don’t mind where they go – so where are we going to go?
Husband: waffle, waffle, waffle…
Nashelle (in slightly louder voice): If you go into the holiday shop and they ask 'where do you want to go?' we can't say anywhere;. Unless we pick a place we can’t actually go anywhere.
Husband: I don’t mind where I go.
Nashelle: Hey, that’s funny, neither do I. So where are we going?

to be continued…

Monday 14 November 2011

And Sunday morning...

13th Nov.

11.00 Nashelle is washing clothes.

12.00 Nashelle is washing clothes

1.00 Nashelle is washing dishes. And clothes.

1.30 Nashelle takes bag of dirty duvet covers up the lane. Asks her mother if she will wash them, hide them or bin them. Nashelle's father says the apple tree is ready for planting. He has asked Son1 to dig a hole last week. Nashelle says she will tell Son1 to get digging. Father says, don't 'tell' him to do it - ask him.

1.45 Nashelle asks Son1 if he will dig a hole eighteen inches by two foot. Son1 one has just got out of bed and is searching the house for a ethernet cable. Nashelle gets emotive: Your Grandfather wants you to do it.

2.00 Nashelle is in garden wondering where to dig the hole.

2.15 Nashelle's father plants apple tree. Now there are six trees and a large bush. Much better than a plain lawn that no one ever uses, Nashelle says. We always sit on the patio, she says. In a planter is a tree with red leaves. Nashelle's father takes a leaf. He will identify it from his book. he says not to plant the tree in the garden until spring.

3pm Nashelle is cooking. She wonders if cooking Chicken Tonight is allowed at this time of the day. Cat2 is crying for food. Nashelle is practising ignoring Cat2 by pretending the constant mewling is the trickle of water in a Japanese fountain. Cat2 wonders why, if Nashelle is in the kitchen, it isn't being fed.

4.15 Son2 gets out of bed. Husband comes home from work. Husband notices new tree and says how he prefers to lie on the lawn in summer rather than sit on the patio. This is the last tree, he says. Nashelle looks at tree with red leaves and thinks 'sure...'

5.00 Nash family sit at dining table to eat. Son1 wolfs dinner - it is really his breakfast because it's the first thing he's eaten today. Son2, who is in his dressing gown, complains that the chicken on his plate is 'leftovers' and tastes foul. Nashelle argues that chicken is fresh but Son2's delicate palate knows this is chicken that has been cooked and frozen. Husband says Son2 would be no good in the jungle.

5.10 Nashelle announces that she is not doing the washing up. Husband says he's done eight hours work today so he isn't washing up either. Sons1 darts upstairs. Son2 goes to kitchen for biscuits.


8pm Nashelle is watching X Factor and knitting jumper with a duck on front. Husband is providing voice over for each contestant.
8.10 The lights dim and Nashelle knows someone has gone in the shower.

8.30 The light is still dim. Husband goes upstairs to see who is taking so long. Nashelle hears Husband shouting about not being able to afford food. Lights brighten. Husband comes back to the sofa, says Son2 has no sense and was running shower to fill bath.

9.00 The lights dim. Nashelle goes upstairs. She needs a wee and can't wait any longer. She also wants to know why the shower is back on. The bath is empty. Son2 is now having a shower. The bath water went cold so he couldn't wash he says.
The bathroom floor is a swimming pool. Nashelle leaves bathroom door open. Son2 slams door. Husband growls and goes to wash dishes for something to do.

10.30. Nashelle has finished sewing duck cardigan together. She gets a drink of water. Cooker is still covered in pots and pans. Sink drainer is full of food scraps and greasy water. She leaves it there.

That night Nashelle dreams she is walking up a country lane heading back to Caerphilly. She meets Shirley who used to go to the spiritualist church riding a bicycle in the opposite direction. Nashelle says, I wish I had my bike. Shirley rides away and then the next minute she rides back with Nashelle's bike. Nashelle is surprised Shirley is so quick.
Shirley takes Nashelle to someone's house, where they have tea. Nashelle wants to leave but doesn't know how she will manage to ride a bike and carry the small child that has just appeared. She considers catching the ferry but it costs £35 and she thinks that is expensive just to go home. She doesn't fancy riding back up the lane in the dark on her own with a child.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Another Saturday Night...

12am Nashelle goes to bed leaving Son2 with friend in living room. Cat1 decides to sleep on Nashelle's head. Nashelle tries to sleep on half inch of pillow.

2am The house is alive with the sound of Son2 and friend interacting like it's the middle of the day. Nashelle's husband gets up to sort it out. 

2.30 Nashelle get up to sort it out. Tells Son2 to go to bed.

2.45 Nashelle hears laptop sounds. Gets up, tells Son1 (who is still on computer) that she is disconnecting BB so Son2 can't use it.

2.50 Nashelle hears nothing. She listens for 'sneaking' sounds. Son2 is very clever. Nashelle finds him hiding in the kitchen. He's getting a drink, he says. 'In the dark?' Nashelle says. Son2 argues that he wants to sleep downstairs with friend but Nashelle isn't having it.

3am Nashelle listens.

Nashelle thinks she might have slept. She might have even had dreams. They were probably not nice ones.


10.15am Nashelle realises there is no rain and gets up to put washing on.

12.00 Husband says, come to Caerphilly, but Nashelle is up to neck in dirty towels.

1pm Still washing.

2pm Still washing. And also cooking. Husband goes out again, Son2 and friend have turned living room into student accommodation. Son1 is still in bed.

3pm Still washing. Husband still out. Living room is no-go zone. Son1 has pasty for breakfast. Nashelle lets him know she is worried that he is becoming anorexic. Son1 thinks Nashelle is shouting but she thinks she isn't. Nashelle's pumpkin cupcakes are flat and wet. She cooks pizza for Son2 and friend who then go out. Living room looks like the day after the night before.

Sometime after it goes dark husband returns. Son1 reappears and enquires about food. Son2 rings and asks if they are having Chinese. Nashelle has lost track of time. Son1 asks when she is going shopping because he wants food. Nashelle shows him full cupboard and freezer. Son1 says, 'You always say you are cooking something exotic but produce the same old thing.' Nashelle doesn't remember doing this and asks for an example. Son1 doesn't have example and says he doesn't care anyway. Nashelle says she wishes somebody did care because having to decide what people eat is driving her a little crazy. Husband says he's had enough of her going on. Son1 says she's shouting again and that he's going to the chip shop. Husband attempts to cook rice (after Nashelle has found it for him) but doesn't get further than reading the packet. Husband marches off to Tesco for cat food. Comes back with a cake thing with chocolate chips. Says he doesn't want to fight.

Nashelle has no idea of the time. Her back is aching. She manages to get food onto plates for husband and Son1.

7.30 Husband takes Nashelle to watch fireworks from the top of Caerphilly mountain. Lanes are like the M4. Arrive by the snack bar as last rocket fizzes and people are leaving. Drive home via Lisvane to avoid traffic. Stop at vantage point and look at fireworks all over Cardiff. Nashelle realises it is not so spectacular viewed from afar.

8.30 Nashelle has a bath. Watches X Factor and other assorted TV junk. She realises she is becoming the person she used to be before she started writing and wonders how she has regressed to this point. She sees the M5 crash on TV but doesn't think too deeply about it.

11.30 Nashelle retires for the night.

12.15 Son1 sits on bed and asks Nashelle for ideas for his personal uni statement. Nashelle thinks she has entered a different dimension.

Nashelle dreams about men tearing the skin off animals and killing people. Of escaping through a window onto a roof. She dreams about cooking a meal for fifteen people. She is swamped with dishes and food in various stages of preparation. She is hungry. She puts food on a plate for herself but finds it in a cupboard sometime later. No one gets anything to eat. She dreams about her mother's dog. About living in a flat in a strange town. All her cats are there - even the dead ones. Son1 is there. He is cooking with a friend. Nashelle suggests Son1 and friend take over the flat and she lives somewhere else. Nashelle is going to act as solicitor to a guy she's never met. She wonders how she will bluff it.