Wednesday, 22 June 2016


The air has turned blue because I want some shelves putting up. "Fuck," and "bollocks," and "fucking bollocks," are flowing thick and fast from upstairs. It's Saturday, and I’ve asked Husband to hang the old kitchen shelves in Eldest’s bedroom. And although he's always happy to knock up a Victoria sponge, or stuff a batch of scones in to bake - and his tutti frutti marmalade is frankly legendary - I think it’s fair to say that he’s not fond of DIY and would rather not do any, ever. Hence the swearing.

He comes into the kitchen where I’m clearing up from lunch. “Where is the drill?” he says.

“Over there,” I say, “in the cupboard where we keep it, unless you didn’t put it back over there in the cupboard where we keep it after the last time you had it.”

“You didn’t have to answer that,” he says. “It was a rhetorical question."

The drill is not in the cupboard where we keep it so Husband goes to look for it. When I find it for him he comes back into the kitchen with it and tells me the job is a nightmare. The shelves are heavy, and the wall I have chosen for them to be attached to is a stud. 

"I have to go and get some fixing attachments,” he says, “from Russell's.”

"Okay," I say.

Russell's is the DIY shop down the road. When he gets back from Russell's he goes upstairs and the words "bollocks," "fuck," and "fucking bollocks," start up again. Only louder. I think it might be a good time to walk into Balham to collect something from click and collect in Waitrose, buy some plants from Hildreth Street market, and get some special beers from the special beer shop for the boys to give their father on Father’s Day. 

Hildreth Street market, a few years ago.

On the way back from Balham I call in at a café. “Hi,” says the guy who runs the café, who is lovely, and Irish, and has a brand new baby.

“Hi,” I say. “Latte, please.” 

"You're the one with the son who needs a job, yes?" he says. 

"Yes!" I say, "it's me, definitely me, he's totally broke, I was asking the other day. He wants a job for the holiday, to the end of August, if you need anyone."

"I do," says the lovely guy, who is Irish and who has a cute baby. "Send him round. I’m usually here all day.”

“I will!” I say, and I drink my coffee and then I set off again in high spirits, with the parcel from click and collect, and the plants from Hildreth Street market, and the Father’s Day beers from the special beer shop for the boys to give their father on Father's Day. 

A strange guy in a raincoat who may or may not be trailing me suddenly appears, as if from nowhere, and tries to make eye-contact. I take out my phone to make myself look busy. Then I decide I may as well be actually busy, so I text Eldest: “I think I might have found you a summer job!”

The strange guy in the raincoat overtakes me and looks round. “Hi,” he says.

I smile vaguely, but I do not answer because I’m remembering another guy in a raincoat I once encountered in Battersea Park.

“Aren’t you going to answer me?” he says.

I don’t say anything.

“I bet you get into a lot of trouble,” he says.

Well, you bet wrong, I think. Apart from that time with the guy in the raincoat in Battersea Park.

My phone beeps. It’s a reply from Eldest. “Why would you do that!” it says. “Stop trying to run my life!”

I turn into our road and the strange guy in the raincoat doesn’t come with me. Thank God.
When I get home I hide the special beers in the cupboard where we keep the drill, figuring Husband will never find them there, and carry on with the clearing up.

Husband comes into the kitchen. “So, where do you want these shelves, exactly?” he says.

“Is that an actual question or a rhetorical one?” I say.

“Funny,” he says.

"By the desk,” I say.

“They can’t go by the desk because there isn’t a stud behind the wall there,” says Husband.

“Okay,” I say. “Why don’t we put it where there is a stud then."

We go upstairs to find where there is a stud. I do the holding, while Husband screws the shelves into the wall. 

“Lift it higher,” says Husband.

"I'm trying," I say.

"You could try harder,” he says.

“It’s so heavy,” I say. "I need to let go."

"Just wait a minute," he says.

“I'm tired of waiting," I say.

“Those shelves aren’t straight,” says Middle One, from where he's standing in the doorway.

“They aren't straight yet,” says Husband.

“Hey,” I say to Middle One, from where I'm waiting under the weight of the shelves. “Would you like to have a job in a café over the summer?”

"Would I!” he says.

"Great," I say, "then come and hold this."

Love E x


P.S. Shelves - looking great.

Marmalade - even better.

Flowers in Hildreth Street market this morning - 23.06.16.


  1. In these days of equality, you could of course elect to hang the shelves yourself. Or are we still stuck in the days of pink job, blue job. (sigh)

  2. I fear we are. When was the last time you wrapped a present, for example? Or put some washing in? Or to a child to the dentist? Or swept a floor? Or picked a towel up? Or tidied the house from top to bottom? Just some random examples there, that may or may not apply to you, Jim, because I know you're very metrosexual... and you make lovely foccaccia. (Also I'm quite a small person and I could barely lift the fucking shelves). But point taken. Love and kisses. E :) x

  3. 4.5 out of 6 ain't bad. Never taken a child to the dentist nor cleaned the house from top to bottom (a floor at a time for me).

  4. Can you come round and pick up some towels? E x