Friday, 22 September 2017
A Life In A Day
I've read a few day in a life posts recently and enjoyed them. Small snapshots into the daily lives of others that are both interesting and comforting. Here's a day in my life, chosen at random.
I am awake soon after six having had a night full of weird dreams and broken sleep. One of my toenails is in the process of falling off but it's still stuck to the base of the nail bed. I catch it as I get out of bed and squeak. It is flapping impressively but still not ready to come off entirely. No one except M is all that keen to see it, for some reason.
I go downstairs at half past six, make L's lunch and eat breakfast (oats, blueberries, chia seeds, coconut milk) before knocking on L's door a little before seven to wake him. I go back downstairs to do my glute strengthening exercises. These take about fifteen minutes and I am trying to do them either side of the day, with some yoga stretches thrown in for good measure. It's 7.20 by the time I finish and M has already left for work, running the nine miles as part of his marathon training.
The dogs get very excited, possibly thinking we are about to go out for a run/ walk. If so, they are disappointed because what I'm actually doing is calling up the stairs for L to be ready to be leave. We're out the door on time to drive to the bus stop. This is a more peaceful and straightforward operation than it used to be as I no longer have to shoe-horn him out of bed and through the door. We arrive at the bus stop a few minutes early but the bus is late. I'm considering driving him in when it arrives. He gets out with a quick wave and I watch him cross the carpark safely and join the queue before I drive off.
Ten minutes later I'm back home. I use half an hour to do do some work on the computer then at 8.45 change into running kit and head out with Pop, because I'm planning a local run that has a lot of road work in it. Ted (not happy at running on roads) is left at home with a huge pile of squid chews and seems quite happy with the arrangement. In any event, he doesn't bark as we leave.
For once, my GPS locates the satellite quickly so there is no hanging about in the cold. Pop is Very Keen to get going so we shoot off up the hill. I didn't feel particularly motivated before we started (tired after lack of sleep) but it turns out to be a fantastic run. We do just over four miles along the lanes around home and I feel loads better for it. Reinvigorated and reenergised.
It starts to drizzle as we come back across the fields. I watch the low grey clouds close in, smudging the horizon. It's light, refreshing rain though, the sort that's quite useful as it keeps you cool when you're running.
My knee is aching a bit but I can't tell whether it's from running or nettle stings. I sit on the sofa with a packet of peas on it for ten minutes, reading The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson. Poppy goes to lie on her bed after sniffing noses with Ted. She puts her chin on her paws and watches me solemnly, her big, brown eyes not leaving my face. Ted sits quietly by the backdoor, staring meditatively out at the drizzle. He knows there is a toad hidden somewhere among the plant pots that cluster around the greenhouse. Ted likes to lick toads, despite the fact it makes him feel sick and he froths at the mouth for hours after. It is a habit he can't quiet bring himself to break free from.
Once the knee has been suitably frozen I go upstairs and run a hot bath. I tip salts into it and add a squirt of rosemary oil for good measure. A hot bath is probably not ideal after subjecting the knee to the deep freeze, but I soak for half an hour anyway, sorting out the day's plans. At 10.15 I head back downstairs to tidy up and make a quick phone call to a shop locally that sells second hand clothes. Whilst I'm doing this I eat an apple. My stomach is rumbling after the run. I have decided to make an effort and avoid biscuits today. I fold a few old dresses and jackets into a bag and at 10:45 head back out the door, marvelling at how the morning has already disappeared.
An hour later I'm back home, one dress and one jacket for sale in the shop, two dresses and one jacket that didn't pass muster dropped off at the charity shop, and the food bought for the weekend. It is 11:50 and I'm considering getting lunch early as I'm still hungry (the apple didn't work), when L texts asking if I can pick him up as he has free periods for the rest of the day and has done all his homework. I glance at the kitchen clock which is one of those that has birds on it. It used to chime the hours in birdsong but that bit of it broke a few years ago. There is an hour and a half before yoga. If I leave now there is just time to whizz down the motorway and collect L, get home, have lunch and make it to yoga on time. I missed it last week so I don't want to miss this one.
When I get back with L at 12:45 it is still raining and the new wheelbarrow I bought yesterday is still sitting beside the huge pile of greenery I've left lying on the patio after a furious couple of hours taming the garden the day before. I decide to ignore it and heat some soup (butternut squash) on the stove, cut a chunk of bread and shove some cheese into it. I eat reading more of the Marshalsea and then L drifts in (having changed into his PJs and dressing gown), perches on the sofa and we discuss lunch and supper options. I give up on the no biscuit rule and eat two chocolate shortbreads.
Now feeling full, I do another half hours' work on the computer, tweaking an assignment for college, then rush upstairs to throw yoga kit on before grabbing the keys and driving the ten minutes to the class, calling over my shoulder to L, who is by now in the attic, to tell him where I'm going. I ask him if he wants to come. He says no. Miraculously, there is space in the car park when I get to the studio. Helen, who teaches the class, greets me with a hello, darling! at the door. It's lovely to see everyone and to meet a new lady who has joined.
The hour's class restores me, as it always does. I nearly fall asleep during Savasana and it is an effort to pull myself out of the drowsiness and get up and on again. On the drive home I notice the colours of the trees, how the oak is tinged yellow, the maple along the main road streaked red, and the chestnut at the top of the lane bright orange. I see the rooks crossing the sky above me and note the deep brown of the earth in the fields that have already been ploughed. I don't think I noticed any of these things on the drive down. The yoga practice has stilled me and switched me back on again.
As I drive back it starts to rain again. I leave the windscreen wipers off and watch the water threading across the glass. It looks like an aerial view of a great river delta with all its interlocking flowing tributaries.
I can hear Ted barking as I pull into the driveway. It's now 3:15. Both the dogs greet me with furiously wagging tails when I open the front door. Clearly, I've got it wrong: I haven't been away for the hour and a half that I'd thought: I've been missing for days. L is still mooching about in his PJs and asks for a fifteen minute warning so he can change before we drive over to Sutton Scotney to see my sisters' nine andrex puppies. I change out of the yoga clothes, do some more tidying in the bathrooms (towels off the floor) and kitchen (plates stacked in dishwasher) and pause in the kitchen to watch the birds (blue tits, great tits, coal tit) on the feeders. At 3:45 without needing a warning, L appears in the kitchen wearing outdoors clothes and a cap, the ubiquitous headphones draped round his neck and his kindle sticking out of his pocket. We head out the door.
I feel that all I've done today is whizz about in the car.
We arrive at my sister's house at 4.20, having stopped off in Stockbridge to buy my nieces some sweets on the way, and are greeted with a heaving, squirming, mass of white-blonde puppies. They are every bit as adorable as you'd expect. I am quite glad I haven't seen them until now- they've all got homes to go to so there's no danger of us smuggling one back with us.
We spend an hour admiring the fluffy little cutie pies who, after eating a meal, all collapse in one enormous heap and go to sleep on top of each other. L catches up with his cousin, swapping tales of A Levels with her experience of the second year of secondary, then we head home at 5:15 along the long, straight Roman road to Stockbridge. I make a mental note of the distance when we leave my sis' and clock when we've travelled 3 miles (parkrun), then 6 miles (this weekend's race distance) and finally 13.1 miles (half marathon). I feel quite chuffed at just how far 13.1 miles is.
In Kings Somborne, the yellow Clarendon Marathon signs are up. I point them out to L who is plugged into his head phones. Cool, he says, unblocking one ear just long enough to hear me.
The sun comes out as we get home and the world looks bright and washed clean and glowing. It's 6 o'clock by now and I'm hungry again. Using all my willpower, I reassert the biscuit ban and eat a bowl of cucumber, carrot and blueberries and drink a big glass of water instead. I am looking forward to tonight's sausage, egg, beans and chips along with yesterday's baking (dorset apple and sultana cake) for pud.
At 6.15 I switch the oven on - it takes 15 minutes to warm up. I'm so hungry by now it's taking all my effort not to have a packet of crisps. I toy with the idea of re-watching this weeks' Bake Off as M appeared in the middle of it yesterday and talked over the caramel show stoppers. Movement in the tree outside catches my eye; a chiffchaff, flitting delicately from leaf to leaf and hanging upside down on the hunt for insects. I hadn't realised they were still here.
At 6.35 M comes in. Both the dogs leap about ecstatically, Poppy telling him how I'd come home smelling of puppies. The oven hums away in the background slowly cooking the sausages and L announces he has plans for a cheese sandwich, watercress and chips.
We eat at the table talking over the day's happenings and plans for the weekend (seeing M's cousins and racing on Sunday). At 8 we move next door and watch tele for an hour. By nine my eyelids are drooping but I still have knee exercises to do. These take ten minutes, bending and stretching using the bottom stair as a drop point. I think they are getting easier. After I've done them I potter about the kitchen putting things away, straightening the house for the night. I let the dogs out into the garden for their night time wee. Ted spends ages mooching about, doubtless sniffing for toads and hedgehogs, Pop darts back in suspiciously quickly and settles herself immediately on her bed. There is an air of finality about the way she does this that suggests she won't be moving again till morning. I doubt she has been to the loo but decide to let her be, she looks comfortable. I put the chair up on the sofa to prevent Pop sleeping on it, let Ted in and lock the back door. I call out to M, who is emailing a friend the offer of a lift back from the Clarendon, that I'm heading upstairs.
I wander upstairs, checking the windows are closed, and pause outside L's door to whisper goodnight. He is tucked up in bed reading. I brush my teeth, change into my PJs and am more or less asleep as my head hits the pillow.
Hope you're all well,