Tuesday, 31 October 2017


"We had this really cool aunt - called Aunty Libby Lou - and she was kind and she wore pretty dresses and was ever so slightly potty and when we went to stay with her she did all this cool stuff with us, like baking and making things...

"That's how I'd like my nieces to remember me," I tell my husband, "after I'm gone. So I'd better not spend the whole time they're here this weekend sitting in front of my computer leaving them to play on the Wii. I'd better actually do the stuff with them that I want to be remembered for."

My husband agrees.

On Saturday, after my two nieces arrive, I send them off to Lidl with Youngest to buy a pumpkin, then spend the rest of the day sitting in front of my computer, apart from when I'm cooking, or down the pub, while the kids play on the Wii.

On Sunday morning I do some washing, then sit in front of my computer while the kids play on the Wii. By Sunday afternoon I realise my chance to be remembered as cool Aunty Libby Lou is running out so we have a frantic burst of activity. We carve a pumpkin, while listening to spooky music, bake Halloween cupcakes, making orange icing by combining red and yellow food dye, then draw pretty cards to send to a close relative who's been in hospital. All this takes about an hour and a half, then they go back to the Wii and I go back to sitting in front of my computer, and then to the pub, but only for a quick one.

When my sister-in-law sends a text enquiring how it's going I send her pictures of the pumpkin and the cakes and neglect to mention the Wii, or the pub. "Wow!" She replies. "What a lovely creative weekend!"

On Monday morning my brother and sister-in-law arrive to collect their daughters. We all stand together in the kitchen drinking coffee and my brother asks how I'm liking the MA.

"It's great." I say. "Except now I'm obsessed with Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Do you know they used to write together, often back to back? He would set her writing tasks."

"It didn't end well, though, did it?" Says my husband. 

I have to agree that it didn't.

"She bit his cheek when they met, and drew blood."

"I bet that's the only thing you know about Sylvia Plath," I say to my husband. "That, and the fact that she killed herself in a tiny flat, in February, when her husband had left her for another woman and she had two small children to look after, by herself, and it was a Monday."

"I didn't know it was a Monday," he says.

Walking down our hall to our front door with his wife and two daughters my brother decides he'd like to leave us with a joke hanging in the air, it's one of his trademarks.

"You've heard my Sylvia Plath poem, haven't you?" he asks. 

It's not really a question.

"Yes," I say.

"Bell jar, bell jar, on the shelf," he begins.

"Yes, I've heard it." I say.

He opens the front door.

"I think I'm going to kill myself." He says.

"By the way," I say. "They spent pretty much the entire time playing on the Wii." 

Love E x


P.S. On my MA course we've been looking at writing in which there is a sudden switch in point of view.

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