Do you ever have periods in which you don't know what to concern yourself with first? I've been going through just such a time. The usual worries: leaky roof, writer’s block, not enough money have been added to. First up, my best friend was due to give birth to her third child early last week. I spoke to her the day after her due date and she was feeling rubbish: muscle spasms, extreme tiredness, and totally fed up. She lives too far away for me to just pop in and see how she's doing and, anyway, due to health concerns her doctors had warned her against any excitement: no visitors. Health concerns!? So I sent her a package which included Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop, an Anglo-Saxon poem, and, because she asked to see it, the introductory chapter to my book. She wanted stuff to read because she couldn't move. After that all I could do was wait. I knew her husband would text me when the baby was born so I’ve been jumping every time I hear the Nokia message tone. I'm not a phone person so almost no-one has my number which means I very rarely get a call or message on my mobile. But on Tuesday, as I was sitting quietly working, the phone made that sound, I jumped nearly out of my skin, grabbed it and read: 'Sally, can we make it next week for lunch as Rick has the day off on Thursday, love Caroline.' I tried to read this as 'Rhona has had a little girl' but it didn't work so eventually replied, 'You must have miss-dialled as I'm not Sally.'
Secondly: It's my husband's birthday next Tuesday. I never know what to get him. He is a brilliant gift giver: for my birthday this year he gave me, amongst other things, a Ted Hughes signed copy of Crow, a first (English translation) edition of Nietzsche's letters, and a box of the most beautiful, and delicious, chocolates I've ever seen. He manages to turn my birthday into a festival, so I always feel I'm short-changing him when it comes to his, and I worry endlessly about this as the day approaches.
Thirdly: We have a party coming up. I love parties but I won’t know anyone at this one. It’s to do with Stevie’s work and he’s only just joined this company so I have no knowledge whatsoever of what I am in for. Actually, I know that I am likely to be the oldest woman there by about fifteen years and that everyone has been told I’m a writer. Stevie has already told me that this has excited interest which means people will talk to me. I’m going to have to get my ‘right sort’ head on and I don’t know what I’ve done with it.
But things are looking up.
Yesterday I finally got on top of the birthday thing: thank goodness for the internet. Now I just have a few little things to organise, and hope that everything will arrive on time. I do still have one or two questions I’m mulling over: would he appreciate flowers? Should I make bunting? That sort of thing. But in general things are taking shape.
This morning as I was just beginning to wake, I thought I heard a distant text message tone. A ghostly pah-pa, pah-pa that could have come from anywhere. As I was making a cup of tea later I remembered this so checked my phone and found I had a voicemail: Rhona had the baby yesterday at nine o'clock, both are doing great, and they will be home at some point today. Oh my!
Now I can concentrate on searching out that head. Where will I find it do you think?