Saturday, 19 February 2011

Gap Analysis: Miss Underscore's Half Term, The Dream vs The Reality

My intended Half Term activities.
  • Let's start with a 'quick win', a small achievable goal. How about, get out of bed every day and get dressed. Get dressed in proper clothes. Clothes not made of flannel or velour. Clothes with zips. ELASTICATED WAISTS ARE EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN.
  • Clean this stinking, litter-strewn midden until it glistens and sparkles in the Springtime sunshine, like Tom Cruise's teeth. I want the house to resemble the Seven Dwarves' cottage, after Snow White had worked her magic.
  • Put everything in it's rightful place. No more odd socks stuffed in with the cutlery, no ballet-pumps in the fridge, no more dog collars in the knicker drawer (Cyril once sashayed round the park wearing size 14 M&S control pants round his neck - Christ, the shame).
  • Vigorously dig-over the garden, in preparation for a year of satisfying Good Life self-sufficiency. This is a challenge, I am more Margot than Barbara. I am much more at home supine on a chaise-longue, in a Pucci print kaftan, reading Jilly Cooper and eating strawberry bon bons than squelching through the mud with a wheelbarrow full of turnips.
  • Read improving novels: the last Booker prize winner, for example (I have no idea what that was). Rochester was forever trying to persuade me read The Road. His impassioned pitch crashed and burned when he uttered the sorry words 'post-apocalyptic' though.
  • Watch no television. I shall not succumb to your spry, cosy and retro charms Miss Marple. Poirot, I am sure you'll be able to solve crimes without me. The Good Wife, I love you, but begone. The Tudors - you too are dismissed (I don't particularly want to see this week's quadruple execution anyway). The Killing: I may stick with you a while longer. I am intrigued to see how your dark mystery is resolved. I am obsessed, you see. I have sleepless nights over you. One question buzzes round and round in my brain, it tortures me: will Lund EVER change out of that twatting 1985 Chelsea Girl jumper? Will she? Will she really? Apart from The Killing then, I shall watch no TV, I'll be too busy with my improving novels, you see.
  • I will crochet a blanket. I cannot crochet. I bought a book, Crochet for Dummies, I cannot understand it. It is written in a strange and mystical archaic language. I long for a lovely, cosy crochet blanket on the bed. I dream of stumbling across such an item at a church fete or jumble sale. I never do. Although, truthfully, I never visit any church fetes or jumble sales. Rochester owned lots of crochet blankets. That surprises you, doesn't it? A misanthropic, swarthy fanny-rat with a crochet fetish. Whatever next? Don Draper doing cross-stitch? Rufus Sewell taking lace-making classes with blind, Belgian nuns? Rochester's granny was a crochet-er, you see. Rochester promised he'd send me one of her blankets for Christmas. He didn't. Yet another promise broken. Rogue.
  • I shall put my profile back on the dating website. Oh dear. I always attract such dubious sorts. One of my most memorable suitors was a Relate marriage guidance counsellor and session musician for Songs of Praise. That was curious enough (I was already having visions of horrendous knitwear and comb-over), but the cove also only had one leg. I am not wishing to appear leggist, but I usually prefer my partners to be fully equipped in the leg department. I am CERTAIN that Sir Paul McCartney is in full agreement with me on that point. For a detailed account of the nefarious sorts I attract online click here. I shall keep you informed of my dating disasters. At the very least, you will get some entertaining blog posts out of it.
  • I shall do some charitable work. I shall foster a homeless dog from the local pound. There are two terribly pitiful contenders. Firstly, allow me to introduce poor, hapless Lucy. She is, quite frankly, no oil-painting. I'd call her pug-ugly, but fear that pugs everywhere would be up-in-arms at the slur.

Then there is 3-legged miscreant Dodger.

  • Although, truly, I have had my fill of animals. At home I am plagued by an incontinent 18 year old cat called Hester. I have always despised Hester. I have always harboured thoughts of driving her to a bleak, blasted moor and abandoning her there. Please do not fret. I have never acted on those Hindley-esque fantasies. I have looked after the ungrateful creature for 14 years. She was a present from my ex, Son of Satan. He was a shit of the highest order. The fact that Hester is pooing and peeing wherever she wants (last night she crapped on a Nigel Slater cookery book) feels very much like Son of Satan's final victory over me. When we split up I hoped and prayed that he would want custody of Hester. I assured him that he could indeed have her, that our break-up need not degenerate into an acrimonious Kraemer vs Kraemer battle. I would put up no fight for the scrawny creature. Truth is, he didn't want her. Bastard.
  • Maybe I had better not foster a homeless hound. I am still desperately broke, so I must spend this bank holiday searching for more items to sell on EBAY. Better still, I should come up with a more innovative and sustainable income generating scheme. I have been pondering whether I have the (a) talent (b) motivation (c) dedication (d) energy, to write a book. I am thinking it could be a cocktail of Marian Keyes, Agatha Christie and Sylvia Plath. A passionate yet tragic love-story, full of swarthy rogues and a put-upon, perpetually anxious, ballet-pump wearing primary school teacher. Rochester would play a part, of course, he would be Cunt Vronsky to my melancholy Anna Karenina, and no, that wasn't a typo. Then again, I do love a murder mystery, so our heroine could possibly be a sleuthing, scone-baking, IBS-suffering spinster, aided and abetted by her trusty three legged dog called Buster. Ok, you are right, I need to work on the finer details. But, while I do that, any suggestions for money-raising schemes would be very much welcomed (by me, Santander and M&S Finance).
  • I will also devote this holiday to noble, enriching and worthy pastimes such as visting National Trust properties (this time I will endeavour to get further than the tea room and gift shop). I shall go to the North East's only independent, art-house cinema (and this time it will not just be for a toasted cheese sandwich in its famed Art Deco cafe). I will NOT spend my time buying Bobbi Brown lipsticks, longingly stroking White Company cashmere sweaters or watching back-to-back Judge Judy on ITV2.
  • It goes without saying that I shall NOT be texting or emailing the Geordie gigolo, Rochester. Of course I won't. How dare you even think such a thing. Tush!
  • I shall write a blog every day (heaven help you all). I shall cook a healthy and nutritious meal every day. I shall do Pilates every day.
  • I shall, with love, dedication and diligence, plan lessons for the first 4 weeks of term. I will design a prototype model of Shakespeare's Globe theatre, using only recycled materials, for our lessons on Tudor theatre. I will studiously read The Diary of Anne Frank (my literacy class's next text) in advance of actually teaching it (as opposed to hastily flicking through it in the staffroom during morning break, before getting distracted by a pile of Hello magazines).
  • I shall involve myself more in political matters. I made a good start with that today. I posted a comment on Alistair Campbell's blog. It was a comment about education policy. It was a proper, erudite and insightful comment too. I swear, dear reader, I never mentioned Galaxy Bubbles or fanny rats once. I felt awfully proud of myself. Although, thinking about it now, I dearly wish I hadn't added that line about a ballet-pump tax credit for teachers. Sigh. I hope he doesn't think me frivolous.
So, those are my intended half-term activities. I shall report back to you all with my progress on the above. I expect the gap between my good intentions and the sorry reality will be vast. I would grade myself today with a 'could do better' C+.

Today's Pluses and Minuses.
  • Got up and and got dressed. (+) It was after 11am when I got up though, and I didn't manage make-up or even a hair-brush (-)
  • Tidied downstairs and did 3 loads of laundry. Daz Summer Flower Power smells heavenly, by the way. (+)
  • Walked to the park (+) where Cyril rolled in fox shit (-). Only a fellow dog owner will appreciate the putrid horror of this.
  • Am now sat on sofa, watching my beloved Inspector Morse. (-) I expect I am only 10 minutes alway from pyjamas and gin. (-)
  • I did indeed so some home-cooking. Sadly, it was not a hearty vegetable soup or stew. I made these beauties. I am hoping to have a class 'street party' for the Royal Wedding. These should be perfect. (+ and -)


  1. 1. Most importantly you wrote the blog entry!

    2. I will save you reading The Road: grim times ahead, but there's hope (maybe).

    3. Surely you will be watching South Riding??

    4. Good comment. I look forward to Jamie's Dream School.

    5. You can never have too many disabled incontinent pets: instant karma.

  2. You had me at size 14 M&S control pants.

    So looking forward to your daily posts - surely that counts as charitable works? It will put a daily smile on my face and I'm a hopeless heathen who needs some kind of salvation. You could probably get a grant for it.

  3. Oooh, South Riding looks good. I obviously must re-negotiate the terms of my television boycott (I am watching Rosemary and Thyme as I type this).

    Bagladyclaire - I am so glad you found my M&S control pants amusing. Trust me, you're not the first to have sniggered at them.


  4. I love how your quick win achievable goal is still one of my most impressive daily accomplishments. And I count velour/pyjamas as proper dressing. Oh dear.

    I also totally agree with your obsession over The Killing. It is fantastic TV. I am so totally irritated by Lund's stupid colleague. I don't know how she remains so calm. I also have to confess that I LOVE her jumper. Does that make me bad? I was even thinking of scouring some charity shops to see if I could find one of my own.

    Yey to your daily blogging! You absolutely have the talent to write a novel. I for one would buy it eagerly.

    Katy x

  5. Aw, thank you Katy!

    But how would Lund's jumper work with the velour sweatpants? That is the question. Plus, every time I see it I think 'acrylic knit'. If they truly were going to give her one jumper for the entire series then a bit of lambswool wouldn't have broke the bank.

    I am currently in bed, trying to motivate myself to get up and get dressed. It is hard, isn't it? Not only have I to get up and get dressed today, I also need to drive to Newcastle. Shit. It feels like the other side of the world. (It is actually only 10 miles up the road).

    Wish me luck.

  6. Yes, yes, yes please, do write a novel! With the added benefit that your working utilities would be your comfy pyjamas and gin.

    You would simply have to stay indoors. Why not begin today?

    Would I spoil your obsession with The Killing if I told you that the sweater is to the Lund character what a pyjamas is to us? She does wear a new sweater in the second season, though, as far as I remember (Pure wool from the Feroe Islands, thick with lanoline...)

    Good luck with your resolutions! If only I were as resolute!
    Louise x

  7. Thanks for the comment Louise,

    I am thrilled to hear there is a second series of The Killing. You have made my day!