Closely Connected With Guilt

Thurs 15 June: Cut and Dyed
Years of trying to make a little money go a long way have resulted in me developing a personal style which makes the term ‘low maintenance’ seem excessively demanding but as The Great Boat Debate rages I decide that it’s no more Mrs Nice Guy for me. I’m b*ggered if I’m going to be the one making all the sacrifices!

Whilst I’d half thought I might wait until I’d heard about my book before getting my hair done it’s becoming clear that my prospective agent has left the country never to be seen again. So, since I’m also in danger of disappearing, not on a plane but under an unruly mane, I book myself in not just for a cut but for a colour as well.

‘I’ve put you down for foils,’ the receptionist tells me.
‘Eh?’ Oh whatever, I don’t care anymore. Anything’s better than the way I look now. I abrogate any responsibility and leave it all to Llinos, my lovely hairdresser, to transform me whilst I have a great time drinking tea and reading all the gossip magazines. Bliss. Even better, when she’s finished I have beautiful coppery tresses with a few, it has to be said, slightly trashy, blonde streaks. Very satisfying. And, before I start to feel guilty about spending money on myself, cheap, too, at less than the price of a standard hair cut back south.

I come home to a call from Asda, they apologise, without sounding in the least bit sorry, for the condition of the flowers they sent to Hazel and offer to send her a voucher instead. Frankly it’s the least they could do.

Tuesday 19 June: Learning and Yearning
Torrential rain and still no news on the book front. I try to work up some enthusiasm for ‘Make, Do and Mend’ aka Novel 2. Having discovered that I went to a girls grammar school a couple of miles away from the one Exmoor Jane attended, it’s interesting to see that we both feel lashing of guilt at any sense of not working flat out. My mum recently found the offer letter sent to her by the education authority at the time, which practically requires her to sign in blood to assure them ‘of your intention that your child shall remain in school.’ ‘A pupil’, it warns, ‘who fails to complete the course loses a period of experience and education which cannot be made up later in life.’ Yikes! And that was before I’d even set foot in the building.

Given that I was educated in such a hothouse environment where the stress was entirely academic (Domestic Science was given the most cursory nod in the fourth year – in the first lesson we were told to keep our armpits shaved and how to dispose of sanitary towels, tampons only being used by racy girls. In the second lesson we taught how to make packet scones. Job done.) I had a terrible sense of shame for years that I wasn’t head of ICI, or the CEO of a huge financial institution. I’m sure it’s half the reason why I want to get a novel published so badly, not just for myself but to justify all those ‘crème de la crème’ (yes, really) expectations from so long ago.

Wednesday 20 June: A Troubled Conscience
Mum’s going in for day surgery today to have cortisone injections in her poor crumbling back. My cousin, Barbara, a lovely kind person, who has already done far too much nursing for her own nearest and dearest has offered to look after her but I feel absolutely wretched about not being there. To put it in context the procedure, I gather, is routine, takes about twenty minutes and Mum should be fine shortly afterwards. Of course if she was having a major op I’d be there. But, it won’t be comfortable for her, she’ll be nervous and possibly scared so I should be there and that’s what’s bothering me.

And finally…
I’ve had a terrible sense of not being myself since I’ve been writing these blogs. Waiting for news that doesn’t arrive has made me feel hemmed in and unable to pass go. I’m not usually this introspective and moany, I assure you. Oh, good, it seems I’ve just found something else to feel guilty about!

Hwyl fawr!
Painting is 'Garden' by Tom Tomos - to be honest it needs a hell of a lot more grey splashed all over to bear any resemblance to what's going on outside at the moment.


countrymousie said…
If only you would hear something I just know everything would fall into place.
Never had my hair dyed - still no grey - but always have a good cut. Feel encouraged by you to perk mine up a bit. Make good and mend here today - his best favourite linen shirt has hole in front - got one of those invisible mending kits and found myself patching it today - christ almighty there must be something better than this!!
He has four sodding cars in the garage and I am mending a shirt. There was talk of collar turning but I walked out of the door on that one - hope this makes you smile - love mousie
Suffolkmum said…
I do love that painting. I'm not surprised you feel in limbo at the meoment - I am chewing my nails on your behalf, so what must you be feeling? I went to a (mixed) grammar that sounds scarily similar - at least we had the boys though to take our minds off our future gloabl takeovers. Hair sounds very glam.
Pondside said…
Hi Chris - there's nothing wrong with a good bout of feeling sorry for oneself - especially in the face of the BOAT. The Great Dane has an ancient TR3 and a Beetle in the garage at Pondside and has just bought digital camera #3....and I cut every corner imagineable. I'm so glad you got your hair done and that you are feeling glamorous - I've always longed for highlights but have nearly black hair and it would look awful. I've begun to go a wee bit grey and count those streaks as my highlights! Anyway, fingers crossed over here in hopes that you'll soon get news from your agent or a publisher. I want my copy autographed!
Fennie said…
Oh the broodings on failure as you get older. Those dark moments when you look at those with whom you were at school or college and you think 'where did it all go wrong?' But then I remind myself that it didn't all go wrong. I am at least as happy as any of them and certainly wouldn't swop my life for theirs. And I have done many interesting things, that I would never have done had I stayed put and ploughed my way up the ranks of the civil service. But, yup, like you, I'd like a shiny hardback with my name on the cover.

Do hope your Mum's day goes well. Sounds most unpleasant. She needs all the sympathy she can get. Please give her my best wishes.
Pondside said…
Boys and toys - I don't know. He calls the TR3 his 'insurance against ever having nothing to do' and I can understand that - but sometimes I feel as though I'm the one that has to make the difficult decisions and he gets to make the fun ones. Like buying me the little Miata - I was thrilled but at the end of the month I'm the one who will pare down on something else. I shouldn't complain as we have lots of fun and he is wonderful - but I'd like to be the 'fun' one too, sometimes!
Milla said…
hair sounds great, what's wrong with trashy now and again?? I love the format of your blog, great pics and easy to read chunks. And just what did they do to so many of us at girls' schools in the 70s??
Elizabethd said…
Well, I was at a girl's high school in the 50s..rigid discipline etc. I think it's stayed with me through my whole life.
hope you hear soon, it must be agony waiting.
Grouse said…
Oh! God! The pain of being in if you are waiting for life to start! Start making the plans you will have to make if it's bad news.....then you are streets ahead if it is. Joy of joy if it isnt. I think you LOOK the part.......
When I suggested I owuld like to give up Latin, which I knew anyway to do Domestic Science you'd have thought I was asking to study no dear, they said you won't ever need to cook or..hushed tones of horror, clean!! As a compromise I was llowed to do the cooking section but not the cleaning bit, which is my excuse for being a slut in the housework field!!

I too am so low maintenance htat I am almost free!! Dyed my own hair red this morning, and it came with its own free highlights courtesy of teh white hairs that turned an interesting colour all their own!!!

Oh let us go hunting your commissioning editor or whoever they are and roast him alive over a pile of pulp ficiton, it won't get teh book published any quicke but better than having to get your nunga nungas out dear!!

I too feel I have not lived up to my promise !! Ah well I suspect we all underneath!!
I think the waiting is so destructive - it might change your life - or there might be rejection - it is very exhausting. Glad you got your hair done - trashy blonde is wonderful - I have some, had some - need to go back.

Work on Grouse's upward spiral . . .
Its as bad as a prolonged labour ...this waiting business...tell'em you need the forceps ....NOW! Fingers still so crossed they've gone numb! This novel racer did it work ...and are they all at the finish line or did many fall out along the way? When does it start again? Was it a good thing or a bad thing to do? Just a nosey ewe
Anonymous said…
I've had far too many rejections I'm afraid to admit. I guess the waiting's the hard part after all the work you put in.
I have to leave my hair to the hairdresser, she colours it red every five or so weeks, I have too much grey showing otherwise.
And don't feel guilty. Mum's are tough cookies!
elizabethm said…
I recognise that "creme de la creme"! My school sounds just the same as yours and jane's - girls' grammar, very high expectations, great teaching now I look back on it but ferocious work ethic. Your hair sounds fab. I have just had mine done and feel loads better for it but with a slight toning down of the blondeness which was getting a bit Debbie Harry (sadly not young DH).
Woozle1967 said…
Oh your poor mum. I would be such a wuss at injections - it makes my toes curl at the thought. Once I had my wrist injected and nearly fainted before the doctor had even filled the syringe! Hair sounds wonderful - my grey's are looking more "grey" and less like highlights so this winter I'll be resorting to some coppery lo-lights methinks!! Oh! And I went to an all-girl grammar school - hated it, hated it, hated it. I left as soon as I could, which I regret now, but was so unhappy that I didn't even want to go to another 6th form college.xx
Inthemud said…
Just dropping by to say Hi! Have you heard anything yet? Guess you 'll say tomorrow.

I've been dying my hair since I was 14, then for fun, now for covering grey, daren't know how grey I am!!
Exmoorjane said…
Don't talk to me about hairdressers - mine gave me 'weaves' because she said they would look great - turned out these were streaks in old parlance - and white!!! On red hair. I looked like a right chav.
Oh gawd yes, I looked at my old school website the other day and shivered. failure, failure, failure!
Keep the faith, dear heart (can one say cariad, or is that just a lovey dovey thing?) - sure you;'ll have good news soonest of soon (or maybe a bit later of late but please ye gods, as soon as you can). Sorry, sounding a bit odd here I realise - think the house-move stress is finally kicking in - plus my editor has finally (four weeks late) decided to give me all the pages upon pages of changes she wants in the memoir. Aaaaghhhhhhhhh....

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