Saturday, 3 May 2008

Then and now

Mr Grumpy used to say, "Thank you for being you." He used to tell me that I'd brought the sunshine back into his house, following the death of his soulmate and the departure of her children back to their dad. He used to give me flowers and write me poems and take me out for meals. He brought me glasses of wine in the bath and leaped to my aid when the computer went wrong. When I went to Turkey after two dates with Mr G, intending to stay all summer, he came and brought me back after a fortnight, promising me wonderful things. None of them materialised and he blamed it on me, saying I was 'always too busy' so he didn't dare plan anything. But all he had to do was ask, 'are you free on such and such a date'?

I think one of the big problems in our relationship is that I am still trying to earn a living and he isn't. So he grumbles when I spend five hours on the computer doing a book report for a company, saying he doesn't see me all day. Around four, I long to lounge on the sofa for an hour with a coffee, watching a recording of a favourite TV show, but no, Mr G is there before me watching endless re-runs of Time Team and Top Gear, so back up the stairs I trail, back to the computer for there is simply nowhere else to go, no private space, nothing else to do in this house, or in this area, but work. There are no parks to walk in, no courses to attend, no musical events, no folk club, no poetry readings, nothing for someone with my sorts of interests. There are church choirs, there is line-dancing, but there is nothing cultural whatsoever. I am marooned in a grey street full of bungalows, mouldering, going crazy, my ulcer and IBS and insomnia all getting worse.

On the plus side, and it was only a little plus but a very colourful, sweet one, the peacock butterfly, such a battered specimen that I was surprised he could still fly (he reminded me of me), posed on some appleblossom for me, so I was able to photograph him (or her) at last.

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