Monday, August 13, 2007

Plagues upon houses

Have been visited by plagues, several and diverse. A plague of boils. Maybe not boils, spots then. It is fair to say I have not had spots like these since I was 16 when I spent a considerable period of time staring at my nose thinking: "How spotty can you get?" Not only spots, a skin rash has reappeared which I have not seen since I was locked in a job in TV which I hated and which hated me back. When I went to a cosmetics counter in the nearest city last week and explained I needed the magic potion I had once used to get rid of the stress rash, oh yes and I had spots. The woman found the magic potion, then said: "Try a pore minimizing serum." A pore minimizing serum? That is to say, I have spots, a rash and enormously large pores. Why don't they train these women to say things like: "Well, I think you are beautiful as you are but perhaps you would like to try this shaving foam?" or "I hardly noticed the adult acne because I was so taken by your enormous blue eyes." Managers are trained to do something similar: "On the one hand, you make a lovely cup of tea; on the other, you have just cost the company £32 million pounds and you're fired." I want to know whether these women look at their sisters and say: "Do you know what? I think you are just too ugly for me to help."

And it is not just the boils, we have so many flies in the cottage, it is difficult to think we are not damned. They are everywhere; they surround my post-ironic chandalier (I have to call it post ironic since one of my closest friends up here said she did not like it).They drop from nowhere into your tea cup or onto a half emptied plate. I have sprayed and closed doors, I have stalked with tea towels, newspapers and heavy books (they jump backwards, did you know that?). I am trying to get hold of one of the blue butcher's lights which will make us look like we are living in a French movie. Either that or an electronic tennis bat you swing at them; hanging, after all, is too good for them and tieing nooses that small can be very time consuming.

We are also a house of pestilence and disease. Not only did my six-year-old, my husband and I all fall to vomiting and bile, but we have had a family staying with four boys and their seven-year-old and nine-year-old also came down with it. Last night, my baby girl caught it. I moved a mattress into her room, right by her cot. She would say: "Feel sick" and we would play catch into a plastic bowl. Say: "Wata" and I would hold a sippy cup. Vomit and I would say: "I'll be right back, OK?" and she would lie there, nod and I would go wash an unlucky panda, or fetch another towel or sheet. We lay together on the mattress and she pressed her perfect apple face into the dark place between my cheek and cotton pillow. I said: "I love you darling one." I do not think there is a word, nor ever can be one, to catch and paint the all at once rush of a mother's love. It is as if you catch a leaky boat to ride the rapids; tip and swirl around the rocks, gasp to see the rainbowed, unmapped waterfall, then plunge - not downwards into the white and foaming water rush but up and up and up.

14 comments:

Ian said...

Go into that little shop in Seahouses that sells everything, George mackay's.
He has those sticky fly papers that you lie down on top of things out of site, he also sells the plastic gloves that you need to pick them up later when the flys are stuck to them.
Possibly the best £2 you will spend this summer.

Ian said...

sight...I meant sight dammit

Stinking Billy said...

stinkingbilly said: What do you think you are up to? There are only a limited number of flies to go around up here in the freezing north and you have clearly got more than your share.
But don't kill them, trap them alive and sell them off to the local grannies, who are frustrated because they can no longer put their hands on the necessary ingredients for making treasured old desserts like Spotted Dick and Rice Pudding with Currants, etc. NB: you really need lovely big fat bluebottles for the Spotted Dick but, hey, house-flies will do.

Liz said...

You CANNOT plunge upwards, sorry but you can't.You can drown and swoon in that rush of mother love, and sometimes feel like you could move mountains to protect your infant, but you still can't plunge upwards!
And I just love the 20 year old "cosmeticians" who persist in giving me free samples of wrinkle cream. As I am ancient, and my wrinkles are definitely here to stay, I'd rather have something soothing that smells nice. Are they daft, or do they think I am?

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Get one of those glass things with a small hole in the bottom, a stopper in the top. Pour beer (cheap beer) into it, the flies fly in and die a marvellous death.

Re Ian's comment, did not know you were supposed to lie the sticky stuff down out of site (sic)...mine is hanging revoltingly in the kitchen, but it gives an interesting insect examination opportunity for the children.

Swearing Mother said...

Firstly, on the subject of flies, my mother-in-law used to make what we all called "fly cemeteries" which were in fact like Garibaldi biscuits but home made and really tasty. Now I realise after reading these comments that what I thought were currants were really not. Eeuk.

Secondly, re spots, acne and all types of zits: Try Dermalogica purifying thingy-stuff - can't remember what it's called but your local stockist will know if you ask for the spot-zapping cream. It's brilliant and saved my daughter's wedding day from disaster. Due to stress, hormones, stress, lack of sleep and stress, she managed to get an enormous carbuncle of a zit on her cheek the day before the wedding. Local beauty salon gave me a sample for her to try and, hey presto, boil gone, happy, happy bride and incredibly relieved mother.

You certainly sound as if yours is a house of pestilence, WITN. Do you think it was something you said last week? Only kidding :o)

knifepainter said...

Lovely post. The last par made me smile out loud.

Moi said...

Be grateful that it is a baby who is sick and not a 6' 16 year old who has just returned from Bolivia with some form of explosive dysentery. It was easy in the old days to keep on changing the nappies. This is something else! But we're still snuggling up together on the sofa, with me stroking his big, dark head and him saying, 'I'm going to puke now, Ma.'

Re flies; yellow fly papers. Work like a dream, in a vaguely SM way.

George said...

re flies: I've gotten the idea - from movies and photos - that you don't use screens on windows and doors in England.

Can this be true?

Kaycie said...

You are not alone, wifey. A house with children is always a house of disease and pestilence. Hang on, love, it does get better.

Stay at home dad said...

Has the North of England tourist board hitman not got to you yet?!

mutleythedog said...

Do you mind if I take a rain check on the weekend..? Only I wouldn't want to intrude as I can see you have your hands full. Not that I think you are infectious - no of course not... If ots of birds - srt of crow like - start accumulating on the walls, that does not mean the house is possessed or anything. Oh no. Only if the toilets talk back and start talking to you.

Oh.. just a thought - how close is Scotland? Its just that they dying in droves of e coli....

Tina said...

If it's not women behind cosmetics counters, it's children. Look out for this, my son is now adept at nodding at TV adverts and telling me 'You need some of that'

widow in evesham said...

your writing is always interesting, often amusing, sometimes tear jerking and occasionally thought provoking. But sometimes, when we least expect it, out of the blue, you throw us an irridescant bubble of pure joy. There is a great capacity for love in your heart.