I am trying out a new cafe in the nearest market town. It has armchairs. This may sound like nothing very much but believe me, an armchair to drink a decent cup of coffee in, is right up there among my priorities alongside "Bring up the children to be decent human beings. Stop my mother getting any frailer. Make friends" and "Learn German".
Perhaps I will not need the armchair. I had an idea. The newly refurbished kitchen, at least the half refurbished kitchen has a high window. I have decided to buy two bar stools, tile the windowsill in black granite to match the work surfaces and acquire one of those large china coffee mugs that want to be a Starbucks paper cup. When particularly desperate, I could ask the nice man who drives the big red bus for golfers and tourists to come round and park in front of the kitchen window. I could stare out; pretend I am back in the city. I have it all planned. I will do the school run in the morning, buy the newspapers, and head for my little piece of London. I will turn on the Gaggia coffee maker, perhaps I will queue up by the sink for a while and leave some money in the children's toy till. I think that would work. The other advantage to my sill cafe is you do not need friends in Starbucks. If you sit there on your own, you feel not odd, but urban and busy. "Too busy for friends right this minute. Too busy thinking of romance. Too busy planning my career. Too busy writing this screenplay. I only just have time for this latte and one more piece of caramel shortbread." Alternatively, if my lonely coffee stop palled, I could always say to another mother: "Come round for a coffee. I will meet you at my windowsill. Ten'ish."
God knows, I need more coffee these days. I blame the osteopath for telling me to cut down on caffeine. If people stopped telling me what to do, I would not have the urge to go out and do the opposite. I also blame my caffeine cravings on the fact that we are due to move on Wednesday. We were due to move on Tuesday but pushed it back a day to buy our way back into the builders' affections after making them shift the bath. I went up to the cottage this morning. In fact, I went up to cottage three times within five hours. I suspect the builders have started hiding in my pantry when they see me coming. The plumber moves more slowly than they do. Or perhaps he cannot fit. I said to him: "Thank you for moving the bath." He did not say anything in return; at all; he just looked at me. He could have been thinking: "In this light, when she stands like that, she looks like Kate Moss" but I do not think he was.
There seems to be so much to do. Every problem knocks on to create another problem. Damp has started coming through the walls of the family living room and the kitchen. They have only just been painted. They have to be repainted with a silicone product. The decorator was already miserable because he painted everywhere several weeks ago, then electricians and plumbers ran cables down his walls. He said to me this morning: "This has been my worst job for 10 years. I am three or four weeks behind. " I felt quite guilty. So guilty I could not bring myself to ask him to repaint the two walls of the hearth which he lovingly tinted a warm pinkish colour to match the red square tiles underneath the stove. Yesterday, I picked out beige and duck egg green curtains. I think the curtains may insist on the hearth being beige. I am going to let them tell him.