Funny how things change…

How you know when you’ve grown up? At one time you rip apart a spider’s web to rescue a struggling fly. Now, you actively coax flies towards the sticky strands.

Drinking tea in the garden reminds me of an almost unbearably hot week in Malta, with three friends as close to me as sisters. The white marble of the stairs, the geckos darting like tiny arrows between cracks in the paving, swinging on a chair slightly peeling paint. No matter how hot it is, one always needs a cup of tea. Malta was where the main blog picture was taken. All we did is lie around in very little clothing reading. That’s what I did again today, an it’s something I ought to do more often because I am very, very good at it.

I’ve had a difficult time with my neighbour. Apart from him being raided by the drug squad (“for cannabis wot was smoked by people next door” he claims) he has taken to coming in at approx 0330 every morning and banging something, just once, but something so heavy and tonal that it inevitably wakes me up. The weather today is so sticky and close that it took me ages to get back to sleep and moreover it interrupted a dream in which I was snogging someone – the first time since SEPTEMBER, dream or real. To get my own back, I hoovered deliberately and repeatedly over his head this morning. Oh to not have neighbours! Or, preferably, to have neighbours, but nice normal ones. Has Ramsey Street written cheques real-life can’t cash?

At least I don’t live in Providence Estate, the tenants of whom I’ve been reading about. (Yes don’t worry I haven’t drifted off on a sea of my own drivel and forgotten what the whole point of this blog is about). The People of Providence is  a collection of interviews the author undertook over a 5 year period in the early-mid 1980s, from a wide variety of tenants. It’s fascinating, and I’d love to read something similar which has been done more recently; if anyone knows of anything let me know. I’m still waiting for someone to respond to one of these things…

In Search of William Shakespeare was FASCINATING. I wanted to devour it all at once like a roast dinner and found myself staying up late to read it. Fact fans: if you want to sleep better, go to bed a bit earlier, and read before you go to sleep, rather than dashing around doing the ironing at half past eleven in front of the TV, jumping into bed, reading 2 sentences and then letting your heavy eyes close before you wake up in the wee sma’s and can’t sleep for ages (noisy neighbour or none). Anyway. It’s about Shakespeare’s life and politics and where his plays fitted in, the myths and conspiracy theories about him, and what was going on around him at the time of his writing. Brilliant stuff, in one of those lovely glossy books with proper illustrations that we don’t see so much anymore.

June has come and gone and with it a very happy wedding in Greece, which was a real treat. It allowed me to dip my toes into the pool of utter relaxation without getting my ankles wet. The island of H – I’m not going to say where it is as there were far too many British tourists there last year! – is the place where I feel most happiest and most at peace. I’ve gone out there for several years thanks to my friend who has a house there, and it’s witnessed several stages in my growing up (sadly not much more growing up has happened of late, more simple deterioration). In fact it’s where I had the idea for this blog last year.

I also read Family Secrets: Living With Shame From the Victorians to the Present Day. It is perhaps fair enough to say we don’t have such a thing as ‘shame’ anymore, when our private bodily functions, dysfunctional families and everything we’ve ever done wrong are trotted out for public consumption on TV and in endless autobiographies of people who really haven’t done enough to fill a book. But how our ancestors dealt with private problems and disasters makes an interesting read, though three quarters of the way through the book I found myself thinking “Enough… move on.” Like one of those all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets; sounds nice at the time, but you can eat a lot less than you think you can.

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