About Jen

Reading, writing, eavesdropping. Seriously, never tell me anything.

Epiphanies and Exasperation

Crumbs. A new decade. It’s the law that we look back and reflect, right?

I’ve started 2020 in my 50s. Well, just 50 to be precise. No need to overegg the whole age thing. It occurred to me that the next ten years will be gone in a flash. They do as you get older, why is that? Anyway. I’ve never thought anything much before about the starting of a new decade. But by the time the next one comes and bites us on the bum, I’ll be 60. 60!

This has to be the decade, surely, when I get my act together. Become a world famous writer and all that. These past six months, I’ve made a lot of changes. To me, they were pretty major: I gave up covering my greys then had all my hair chopped off. From shoulder-length brunette to grey pixie overnight. What will people think, I wondered? Funnily enough, no one even noticed.

I signed up to Lookiero and bought a load of new clothes to go with my new image. Clothes that hadn’t even had other people in them. Come on, I’m a skinflint. I’m happy to buy an amazing coat on eBay for £15 if it’s no good to the current owner. I haven’t worn any of the new clothes yet. Um…

I spent approx. eleventy billion quid on new make-up and life-changing skincare from Glossier. Are people stopping me in the street to comment on how bloody fab I’m looking? Nah, of course they’re not. I mean, it could be said that I was already pretty fabulous before I started all this nonsense. I’ve reached peak awesomeness. Or maybe not.

My epiphany as I start the new decade? I’ll do as I am. My life won’t change a jot if I lose weight, shave my head or start wearing rock chick clothes. It might if I actually crack on with the thing I’ve stopped and started (or vice versa, more accurately) and actually do something about my dream. Is 50 too old to start being fabulous? Obviously when I’m a famous writer, I’ll have to stop being so spiffing or else Richard Curtis and all those other super Suffolk types will be too intimidated to be my friend. Maybe I’ll just stick to hiding under the kitchen table every time someone knocks on the door. Best not to change too many things at once, eh? I’ll be writing under there, though, oh yes.

Greenwich Mean Time

I’m beginning to think all time is mean time.  Whatever happened to me-time?  Life’s a tricky business, isn’t it?

‘Ooh, it’s been a rollercoaster’, that’s what they say on telly.   Sounds about right; we’re strapped in – usually against our will – then hurtled manically about, unable to get off no matter how much we scream.  If we get to the end without crying or wetting our pants in public, it’s deemed a great success.  And let’s face it, if you’ve had children, you don’t escape those indignities anyway.  Crumbs.  What a ride, eh?

So here I am; my last blog post was about new year resolutions and now the Christmas lights are lit in town.  On that note, permit me a teeny rant: what has happened to ‘proper’ Christmas?  You know what I mean: chestnuts roasting, the Salvation Army banging out some carols and Santa arriving by sleigh?

‘THANK YOU IPSWICH’, yelled the singer onstage in Ipswich last night, punching the air as a few mums watched on with their wailing children, waiting for the Crimbo tree switch-on.  The square, in the meantime, was ablaze with colour as toddlers waved their fluorescent plastic purchases.  To be fair, nothing screams festive more to me than a strobing neon sword.

Grumpy old woman?  Moi?  Nah.  But I do think I might have a new career planning proper Christmas markets.  I’ll add that to next year’s to-do list, along with all the things I didn’t do on the last list.  Anyway, there are still 39 days, 11 hours and 24 minutes left of this decade.  Plenty of time.  No one wants to peak too soon, right?

Rust, Ruts and Resolutions

Don’t you just love this time of year?  All those perky new plans popping up and shouting ‘yoo hoo, here I am!’ while we’re writhing on the bed, trying to do our zips up and wondering when – WHEN? – elasticated waists will become acceptable.

I spotted something on Instagram a little while ago that I liked the idea of: my month as a flatlay.  I’ll do that, I thought.  I didn’t do it though.  I never get round to doing anything.  I’m terrible.  So.  2019 is the year I will Achieve Things.  No procrastination.  No excuses.  I mean, apart from the new full-time job, associated study and the street food wotsit to run.  I will write my novel.  Or maybe a screenplay.  I will do whatever it takes to look no older than 40 by the beginning of May (when I’ll be 50).  Exercise, healthy living, that sort of thing; the glass of red I’m drinking as I type this doesn’t count but I can’t remember why.

I’ve made a three-pronged start already and I think you’ll be proud.

Declutter:  an essential.  I know this because I read it on the internet.  I gathered up all the things I haven’t used or worn for a while.  I spent hours researching how much I should list them for on eBay, had a lovely daydream about what I’d spend all the money on before deciding I couldn’t really be arsed.  Sent some stuff to charity.  Decided to keep the rest.  I’ve not beaten procrastination but I’ve been provident.  Those old clothes will come in handy when I’m young and thin again, won’t they?

Sort out desk/study to enable efficient studying/writing: um, well I ordered a guitar stand so that the guitar I haven’t played for six months doesn’t just rest on a pair of jeans that I haven’t squeezed into for six years.  Yeah, let’s gloss over that one.

Creativity: Fiddled about with some photos demonstrating ‘my month as a flatlay’.  Well, a flatlay of things I didn’t do at all last year but were all top of my teetering pile of resolutions.  It’s not even a flatlay, to be fair.  A pile-up, perhaps?

A pile-up of procrastination.  Yes, I think that just about sums my life up.  2019 will be better though, right?  Whatevs.  Even though I’ve decided to be 40 instead of 50 this year, I’m still looking forward to the time when ‘lie down more, eat more cake and just have a nice time’ becomes ok.  It’s all about achievable goals, right?

Anyway, The Voice starts tonight and I’ve got a risotto to make.  I’ll write the novel tomorrow.  Probably.

 

 

 

Of Sense and Sense-celebrity

So I have an email, asking if I’d like to audition for a new cooking programme on Channel 4.  Good grief.   I’m the last person who should ever be on telly doing anything.  In fact it’s a wonder I’m allowed outside on my own, unsupervised.  But cooking, competitively, against professional chefs?  Crumbs.  I get anxious just writing a shopping list.

Nope.  I will not be going on the gogglebox. No way.   Probably… but wouldn’t it be a hoot?

In preparation, I embark upon a self-induced technical challenge.  The Greek God encourages matters by ‘interviewing’ me, Noel Fielding style, as I whisk and whirl around the kitchen.  Well, I say that; he mainly pretends to wear a terrible shirt and gets in my way a lot.

I’m not sure daytime TV is ready for me, effing and blinding, falling over as I search for the wooden spoon and wearing blue plasters all over my hands and face.  In fact, I had a terrible premonition when I wrote this blog post yonks ago.  But I’m wondering… cooking, whilst holding a conversation without swearing, and remembering to hold my stomach in… I could do that, couldn’t I?  And let’s face it, if you’re going to have a complete nervous breakdown, why not do it on national telly, right..?  Hmmm…

Imagine the joy it would bring to my friends and family, ever-supportive:

‘She’s always been a liability but it turns out she can’t cook either, the poor old girl.’

(You could do it though.  Go on.  You can borrow my hold-it-in knickers?  This is the link)

SAD – Seasonal Added Disaster

Hello?  HELLO?  Blimey, where’s summer gone?  Well, I know where it went, the useless, tricksy git.

I had a text from my brother at the beginning of August:  Just thought you’d like to know we took Mum out to the usual place for her birthday.  Lots of fun but possibly too much fun because she had a heart attack when she got home and now she’s in hospital.

Never one to avoid a bit of drama, my 79-year-old mother ended up being strapped to a board like a Hannibal Lecter murderous maniac, loaded onto a private plane by a fleet of firefighters and sent from Jersey Hospital to Oxford for an emergency triple bypass.  Heaven only knows what stunt she’ll pull for her 80th birthday.

So most of August, for me, was spent on the M25 and M40, dashing between the office,  pitta kitchen and hospital.  I am utterly traumatised, mainly from having to spend endless days trapped on a small ward of old biddies letching over the unsuspecting male black nurses.  Good grief.  Those poor blokes.

Normal life has resumed but I’m all out of kilter.  Being self-employed, I’m all out of money too.  But that’s character-building, right?  Hey ho.  Another two weeks of toil and we’ll have a cheeky few days in France.  If I can pretend to be French, I can pretend to be rich too, right?  I’ll just practise my shrugging for now.  C’est la vie, hein?

I’m steadfastly ignoring the heredity nature of traits… not so worried about my heart health but concerned that Boots know something I don’t judging by the label on their parcel..? Ooh ‘eck…