From WordPress to my own website www.natluurtsema.com!

Not actually moving house physically! I’m still at home with my parents for the time being. I still can’t find a new real home, just a new virtual one. And i can’t live in that. Haha. Isn’t that ironic. (Kill me now.)

So, from now on, Nat’s blog is part of her website at NatLuurtsema.com.
Please click here to access it.

It’s just got even harder to wash in this house. It’s already a total fucking mare, to be frank. Currently i enter the brand spanking new bathroom, pull the cord to turn on the light (“Don’t yank it Natalie!”), close the door (“Gently! I didn’t pay for a door so you could slam it like an animal!”*), clean my teeth (“Is there water on the granite? You have to mop it up IMMEDIATELY or it’ll stain!**). Then i clamber into the shower to stand under the water and glumly note all the water splashing off me and onto the wall, bath and that plastic panel, knowing i will have to mop it all up in a minute, like evaporation hasn’t been invented.

It’s a total palaver and supports my theory that a shower should be a bi-weekly event. And now it’s got even worse, thanks to my Dad, after years of thriftiness, flinging something frankly Bacchanalian into the mix. Now, regular readers of this blog will know, the Luurtsemas are modest people, we are not wealthy, we are not flashy (through lack of funds more than innate restraint), however Dad has possibly stumbled across an episode of MTV Cribs and seen more than he should. For he has had UNDERFLOOR HEATING installed in the bathroom. That is like a radiator, right, but under the floor. It’s mind-boggling. And foot-warming.

When i first heard of this plan i scoffed. Ill admit it, i called him Caesar for a day and peeled him grapes (I dont know where that saying comes from, they are minging when unsheathed, i dont believe rich people ever wanted that). I soon stopped, realising as he doesnt ever listen to me I was only annoying myself. But that was until i experienced hotfloor, and fell in love.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one, and that’s the problem. The cats discovered it instantly, with their uncanny knack for spotting yet another comfy bed to add to their database. So whenever the underfloor heating is turned on (and Mum rations him to 2 hours a day, possibly so he doesnt get accustomed to happiness) the cats sprawl all over the floor, writing orgiastically. Which, as you can imagine, really detracts from the glossy look of the new bathroom, it suddenly looks like a battlefield I have to pick my way through. It’s a bit like the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, enacted with relaxed felines. Which, i admit, fundamentally changes the tone and impact of the piece, but nevertheless there’s the same wading through bodies and sense of confused distress.

I’ve also discovered there’s few things more annoying than having a shower (bad enough in itself), getting out, mopping the stupid thing down, then trudging damply back to my room only to discover cat hair all over my damp feet, giving me a horribly Hobbitty look. Im a big Tolkien fan but there’s a time and a place, and i would say just pre-socks is a bad time for this sort of business.

Now im going to sleep. I came home tonight after a gig where 60 people looked at me and thought ‘no, you are not for us. You do not amuse us.’ There was no anger in this, it felt firm but fair, yet still made my stomach ache a bit with sadness. (I feel most of my emotions in my stomach. In the days of the corset i would’ve been psychotic with suppression). Then i came home and was ‘greeted’ with salmon en croute and bread and butter pudding and the words’ eat this quickly, it went off yesterday.’

*No, i don’t know what this means either. I am but the conduit, i offer no explanations.
** I don’t believe this for a second. What bellend would market a bathroom worktop so incapable of dealing with water? “Lovely sofa” “Thanks, it explodes at the touch of a buttock though, hope that’s not inconvenient.”

I have been in Switzerland for a week. At this point you say (I’m not sure why) ‘How lovely!’ and i say ‘yeah, it was alright’ and seem very ungrateful. I’m not ungrateful, it was very nice of the pilot to fly me to another country and for the Swiss to let me in, despite all the expensive stuff they’ve got and my propensity to break/steal. However i think holiday snaps are very revealing documents of a holiday and the highlight of ours are a photo of a bird standing next to a fag butt like he’s just stubbed it out (you have to see it really..) and various blurry photos of pleasant scenery viewed from a high-speed punctual train.

Switzerland is clean, neat, punctual and quite dull. It is exactly how a country would be if my Mum ruled it. I checked the currency for her face. To be honest, i might’ve done that anyway, i missed them quite a lot, which worried me. I’ve now realised how easy it is to slide into a situation where i’m 36, calling them Mummy and Pop pops and STILL LIVING WITH THEM. In the interests of striving for some sort of emotional normalcy i resolve i mustn’t love them too much. I have to keep them at a distance. I know this sounds like some sort of dating philosophy now. Perhaps i’ll edit out all the sex and then apply The Rules to them? We’ll call this idea Plan B for now.

They’re out tonight and the house is hurting me. I always argue with Dad’s theory that Central Heating Is For Wimps. I assert that maybe it is so, but i have never pretended i wasn’t a wimp, so PLEASE TURN THE DIAL YOU MENTAL I CAN’T FEEL MY NOSE! I’ve been staging a protest against the cold for a month by spending a lot of time in bed, working in bed, relaxing in bed, getting dressed in bed… Yes, you’ve guessed it, i’ve just given my normal everyday activities the veneer of a moral high ground. I have a brilliant time, and i seem political. Hurray. But Dad has cruelly fiddled with the boiler, it would seem, as i am sweltering in the house. I’m not allowed to touch….well, anything, so i’m just riding this out with sweatbands on each wrist (it’s nice to get a chance to wear them) and hoping they’re not trying to cook me. They are trying lots of new hobbies, let’s hope when Dad put his foot down at swing-dancing Mum didn’t compromise with ‘Human Flesh and simple daily recipes.’

I’ve got to go, i dropped them off at their mates’ house earlier and i’ve got to go get them now. I hope they’ve had a nice time, when i left them Dad already seemed bored, he was staring at a napkin on his knee like he hoped it was a Magic Eye. Mum was nibbling on a Wasabi Pea with a look of terror on her face (“Honestly Hilary, I don’t think it’s food, check the packet!’) She had set off clutching the url to my website because, she announced, they were all going to read my blog this evening. Given that she’s already lived 95% of what i’ve written about and won’t give a shit about the other 5% because, in her own words, “I’m not in these bits!?” this sounds like a properly terrible way to spend an evening. And i speak as someone who has spent it being lightly broiled.

NB We did see a Swiss roll. It was a child, and I’m fairly sure it was Swiss, but demanding to know someone’s nationality can often seem a bit arsey, particularly if they’ve just fallen over and you and your boyfriend have yelled ‘SWISS ROLL!’ and laughed until you made unlovable honking noises.

Whenever middle class acquaintances talk of the sad sight of hordes of people swarming towards shopping centres at the weekend, to hand over fistfuls of cash in the joyless pursuit of some elusive emotional and material fulfilment i always exhale gently and murmur ‘i KNOW…’ But truthfully?! It is a FUCKING LOVELY way to spend a day and i ache with sorrow for anyone who doesn’t know that.

Sunday morning dawned bright and clear. Apparently. I woke up about 4 hours later, at 9am, but whatever, still pretty impressive given id got in from gigging at 1, then got drunk watching CSI with Mum and Dad til 2. Mum marched into my bedroom like a soldier having a breakdown (i.e. In Jammies). She looked angry yet excited, i soon realised why. Marks and Spencer were having a sale, she hadn’t known about it, she felt ashamed and foolish, yet now she was armed with this information she was steeled to act upon it. Could i be up and ready within 5 minutes? If so, let’s go.

Mum and I always like the M+S sale – i don;t know why but it’s always been a place we could have fun, spend time together and celebrate the similar parts of our personality. We have a lot of differences but at heart we love clothes, we’ve both experienced years of being too poor to have any choice in our clothes, and now we have the money to actually buy clothes we like, we embrace this gladly. We also believe firmly that shopping isn’t shopping unless there’s violence, which is why we prefer sales, they’re like Extreme Shopping. The first time i shoved a stranger in the pursuit of a £3 silk dress was in an M+S sale and i felt like a young medieval boy finally tall enough to push his father’s plough down their field. Or something. Rite of passage, just think of one, apply it to this, don’t make me do all the work.

We sauntered out, i bought sunglasses for a pound, a big baggy pink silk dress for £7 that should look shit but doesn’t (the perfect sale purchase, like a man you spot who will be incredibly attractive once you ‘encourage’ him to shave his horrible beard off, and then women will fall at his feet, but it will be too late for he will be your boyfriend by then. HA! That’s like the romantic equivalent of a bargain). We rummaged, ate sandwiches, sat in a cafe, laughed at things, just had a bloody lovely time.

We also brought Dad, out of the kindness of our hearts. We dutifully sat outside the men’s changing room for an hour while he tried on an endless collection of identical jeans and we all debated the finer points of each. There’s an hour I’m never getting back. The joy of M+S is the feeling that you’re somehow stepping back into a simpler time, one where people are polite and never surprising. Example: In the women’s changing rooms a woman stepped out of her changing room and addressed the room of strangers stretching in unfamiliar clothes. ‘Too short?’ she asked, we all looked at her ankle hems and chorused ‘mmm, a bit.’ “Teetering on an ankle-flapper there” I offered and Mum gave me a look that said ‘Why do you always have to be different?’ One woman offered unsolicited but kindly advice on a shirt i was considering, while another asked me to zip up her dress. Lovely community feeling. For my next life crisis i shall seek refuge and practical advice in my nearest M+S changing room.

At the men’s changing room the atmosphere was more akin to getting your jabs before heading off to war. No man ventured in without moral support from a wife, mother or daughter. They didn’t make eye-contact with each other at all, it was like they were patrons of a brothel specialising in something particularly shameful. One man strutted in alone, looking proud, though Mum pointed out that he was trying on a shirt exactly like the one he was already wearing. Baby steps. One man asked his girlfriend (nice girl but extremely orange) if his trouser’s weren’t a bit tight. “No’. she chirped, ‘it’s nice to have them a bit tight there, show the shape of your bottom.” I couldn’t see him but i heard a heavy silence descend over the changing room as all his fellow changers absorbed this unwelcome declaration and he and his shapely buttocks crept back to his cubicle, presumably with all his cheeks blushing pink.

However i mocked his fellow changers too soon, as Dad hardly covered himself in glory. He came out to do a twirl in another pair of jeans, testing their comfort by lunging on each leg, while the shop assistants stared at him, clearly thinking ‘he better buy them now, i don’t want to refold lunge-residue.’

“Go for a walk” Mum suggested, as she has time-immemorial whenever anyone in the family has tried on shoes/clothes/jewellery/perfume. He trotted off. Time passed. Then passed some more, as it does. “Oh nuts.” She said “I didn’t tell him where to stop.” Genuinely true – without specific instructions of when to return, Dad had just marched off like a lemming until he reached the edge of the shop, when he confusedly richocheted back. Sniggers cropped up around us but luckily our shame was upstage by a small boy dragging himself out of a cubicle in a huge man’s suit, for larks i thought, but no. Five auntie/mum-type women (I assume they knew him and weren’t just responding blindly to the call of biology) descended on him and began rolling up his trailing sleeves and trouser legs until his little hands and feet appeared like the suit was giving birth to his limbs. They insisted the suit would look lovely and also that he mustn’t shake out the folds, so he had to glide serenely back to his cubicle without picking up his feet, like a precious performance artist. I didn’t want to hurt his tender young feelings by giggling so i had to examine a 6-pack of socks very closely.

Gather round me Admiring Hordes, for i have been Out. I’m not usually a fan of Out, i find In preferable – it’s warmer, cheaper and tends to have lower crime rates. But it was my lovely friend Kate’s birthday and, while tempted by the offer of sitting on the end of my bed watching me read, she’s a firm traditionalist at heart and decided Fun was a more appropriate form of celebration. Fair enough.

A merry time was had. Even to my unpractised eye, this was some textbook fun. The only gigantic turd in the ointment was that we were out in Soho. Frankly, after 8pm i don’t like Soho. Night-time Soho can suck its own balls, and would probably make itself queue for an hour and charge itself a tenner for the privilege of sucking its own balls, while making very clear to itself that more important people were enjoying the Chill-Out Zone in its anus.

Sample dialogue from the night.
Me: (looking very nice, if i say so myself, i was aiming to look like a budget Daisy Lowe, for i am a woman of ambition and limited means.) (Also, looking confusedly at Hix, a restaurant apparently too trendy for doors)

Nat: (to doorman): Hello, how do i get in please?
Doorman: (let’s just call him Cock-Head for short) Through the door.
Nat: That’s very good (Polite Lie – i thought it was the response of a Cock-Head, hence his name) And where’s the door please?
Cock-Head: BEHIND ME.

Long pregnant pause.

Nat: So..? (I made a small mime as if to bundle him. Classic passive-aggression from our hero)
Cock-Head: Do you have a reservation?
Nat: An ever-growing list. (He didn’t get it, it was quite a subtle joke) Yes.
Cock-Head: Let’s check that shall we?

And i was frogmarched in as if i’d rocked up to Downing Street and said ‘Hi, Dave said he’d paint my toenails if i couldn’t be arsed, so..’

Still, on the plus side, Mum likes it when I’ve been out. She can pretend I’m the reckless wild-child she thinks she wants me to be (but really, if i was, she’d quickly tire of raking up the condoms outside my room and getting my stomach pumped. It’s more fun in theory.)

Mum and i used to work together in a hotel and whenever i’d turn up after a night out she’d take a knowing look into my eyes and tut ‘Nataliiiee…your pupils are like pinpricks!’ This is genuinely true. It would make her sound knowledgeable about drugs and would make me sound like a fun groovy drugs-taker. I think Mum was titillated by the idea of saying to her mates ‘Natalie does drugs. Well, you know London..’ and looking wise.

I never minded as i never took drugs so i felt blameless. Though years later i realised, while Mum was implying i was a hedonist who took pills in nightclubs, actually that causes big pupils, and the small pupils she was accusing me of having were more symptomatic of heroin abuse. I liked the idea of other staff at the hotel saying:

‘You know Nat?’
‘What nice girl, looks like a budget Daisy Lowe?’
‘Who the fuck is Daisy Lowe?’
‘Never mind. Anyway, apparently Nat does skag.’
‘That might explain her lack of hand-eye co-ordination.’

Bless her. I think Mum and i are finally accepting we will never be the people we want each other to be. I gave her back her present of Mamma Mia! and she has binned the spices i got her. I refuse to dance flamboyantly, her food refuses to taste of anything, and we accept this.

My dad may (indeed definitely DOES) have his faults, but he is always good at taking one for the team. From dealing with spiders to catsick to the unpopular crisp flavours in a multipack, he shoulders the burden with the minimum of whingeing. But of course, always some whingeing.

This is one of his good points – in the interests of balance, i must assert that he is full of bad points. An enduring one is whenever i give him a lift anywhere he uses this time we have together sealed inside a metal prison, to treat me to lectures on Why You Will Never Understand Home Contents Insurance (my response of yes, but i will ALWAYS identify the correct use of an apostrophe, is not given the weight it deserves.) If a person gives you a lift, i would think the one duty of the passenger is to not make them regret it (and maybe, not fiddle with the gears or play any games that involve covering their eyes unexpectedly ARE YOU READING THIS THOMAS ADAM MILTON CRAINE?) But no, Dad likes my generosity to evolve swiftly into regret, irritation and murderous thoughts.

He chooses a bad time to annoy me as well, as i give him a lift in the early morning to get him to work. My early mornings are either non-existant (I’m happy for them to occur around my unconscious body, but i don’t want to participate) or ive been subject to Mum’s horrible method of waking me, which is to simply rip my duvet off my warm sleeping body. It’s like a traumatic rebirth performed by a deranged midwife with some seriously unrealistic targets to meet.

Still, Dad’s good points, let’s remind ourselves. Mum and I arrived home yesterday to find our house was staging a re-enactment of a classic film. You know that film with the birds, The Birds? Just like that but with slugs instead of birds. Gigantic slugs, like fat fingers on a hot day after their owner has had a hot bath of slime. They were besieging the house, a couple of them had climbed 3 feet up the side of the building. These were the most troubling, they looked like they had A Plan.

We waited for Dad to deal with it. We waited and waited some more. We have 100s of TV channels, we can wait with the best of them. But eventually he squirmed in to confess that slugs really grossed him out. They grossed him out so much that even talking about them made him retch a little. Now my greatest fear is vomit, so Dad retching made me start spasming and flailing with anxiety. And Mum’s greatest fear is me flailing anywhere near the pale-covered sofa, so the three of us were twitching and gyrating with fear for some minutes. I quipped that we could do a remake of The Cosby Show with moves like this, but no one laughed, instead they wasted 10 fruitless minutes working out which one was The Cosby Show. And they wonder why i won’t let them come to gigs…i can do without their whispered footnotes at the back every time i mention a thing/place/event/person.

Dad skipped out the front door to feed the neighbour’s cat. He skipped out briskly, to get past the danger area as swiftly as possible. We heard a skid, a wail and a crash. He squirmed back in, heaving miserably, to tell us that he’d stepped at some speed on one of the biggest slugs and slime-skated into his favourite bush (yes, he has a Top 10.) I couldn’t help it, i laughed til i snivelled and Mum gently prodded me off the pale-coloured sofa onto the more robust red one. He gave me a haughty sniff and stalked off to destroy one of his slippers.

This has been the sort of day i used to have all the time when i was 22 and unemployed and i resolve to NEVER have one again. Essentially, Mum flurries around in a maelstrom of efficiency and chore-doing, and i sort of limply bob around in her wake, like a sinking boat tied to the QE2 (I’m not calling her fat, for any of her mates reading this.)

Today i had a good half an hour of working up a new idea that im not sure where it will go, probably radio, it feels more noisy than looky. (I am good with words, it is why i do this job which i do.) Then, foolishly buoyed up with cockiness, i had a shower, ate some soup, danced with the cat and had a nap. (Seriously, i spent YEARS of my early 20s twatting about like this, I’m so glad i didnt get hit by a bus at 24, the eulogies would’ve been embarrassingly scanty: “Nat really mastered the tricky art of cheese on toast, she devoted days of her life to it. She also perfected the nap, she was a lovely napper, here is a montage of some of her finest work.)

Then Mum came home for lunch and I quickly put the cat down, leapt behind my laptop and gave Mum a stern look, indicative of the overworked genius who would quite like a cup of tea. She made me a cup of tea (I am good) and went back to work and the cat and i recommenced boogying. The day dragged on, i wondered if i’d look good with shorter hair, gave it a trim, realised no, no, if anything it peeled back my veneer of dude-like cool to reveal my true self, a librarian who smells of charity shop.

Then Mum came home and we went to Asda and tried on hats. We’re very similar people, a display of novelty hats is enough to make us kiss goodbye to the next half hour of our lives. Its a mercy i’ve never worked in the emergency services, and surprising really given my love of drama.

Mum is a celebrity in Watford, she’s taught at the local school for 147 years so children’s eyes widen at the sight of her buying ham in Asda like a normal human (i heard a child whisper once ‘Missis Luurtsema is out of school!’ like they were convinced she was put in a box at 4pm with the crayons.) Even teenaged boys in Next give her a scared grimace, i assume because she taught them, or perhaps she gets tanked up and fights strangers of an evening, who knows? Everyone’s entitled to their privacy.

I am also somewhat of a celebrity to them as Mum always talks about me, apparently. Which is sweet. Less sweet is the fact i am known as “Mrs Luurtsema’s Big Girl.’ Fucking cheers Mum, why not just call me Ploppy Head Smellsalot and be done with it? 20 years from now ill really struggle to find a Watford-based toyboy thanks to that tag. Though that honestly wasn’t high on the To Do list.

It’s been a very aimless day. I probably didn’t need to tell you that, once trying on hats in Asda features as a Dear Diary moment, expectations droop a little. I could tell you about the argument Dad and i had over a hole in my tights, which dragged on throughout 2 CSIs and dinner and was such an enemy of the general will to live I’m surprised the contents of the fridge didn’t immediately spoil – but i will be merciful and state simply: I was right. Tights don;t become useless once they get holes at the toes, if anything they evolve into leggings.

A noteworthy incident was an article i found on the Guardian about a woman who went back home to live with her parents and by all accounts it destroyed her self-esteem, which concerned me a little. To be fair, her situation was worse than mine, she lost her job and couldn’t afford her flat, and she was Californian (TV says it’s a more nutty part of the world.) Im living with my parents because im a dopey twat who forgot to find a flat, so i dont feel such a sense of failure. Also, thanks to stand-up i am untroubled by much in the way of dignity and the expectation of success – the little i have bubbles along at a modestly low ebb, where it is seemingly indestructible, like how people think cockroaches will eb the only thing to survive an apocalypse.*

Im pretty happy at home. Of course i’ll bugger off soon, my stay here has stretched waaay beyond the allotted 30 days, as Dad will sometimes remark, loudly, stood next to the front door. But i’m really enjoying walking on carpets. I’ve lived in London for 4 years, in 5 flats and ive never had carpets. Theyre so soft and warm! I really think they’ll catch on. They’re like slippers, but everywhere. Omnislippers.

*Maybe i dreamt that, i dont know.

The house-hunting continues apace. A sluggish, disorganised pace, like a tortoise with a lot on her mind. I partly blame London for this as rent seems to be so inexplicably high for the grotty wretched griefholes on offer. Today i found myself edging my search up further and further into the suburbs of North London until i accidentally found myself eyeing up a flat in Watford. Imagine that?!! ME, voluntarily living here in Watford hahahaha, i cackled, this evening, regaling my parents’ friends with this hilarious thought, while they treated me to an unamused face that said ‘I live in Watford. Voluntarily. Your point is..?’

My parents and I have never seen eye to eye on Watford. They say it’s nice, i say they’re confusing ‘nice’ with ‘horrible’, probably, i console them, they’ve got a bit confused by Nice biscuits, which IS an irresponsibly confusing brand name. No, they snap, ungratefully shaking off their slankets, I am NOT confused, it is NICE. Yes yes i coo soothingly, tucking them in harder.

Watford’s my hometown, i was born and raised here. Rather than engendering any loyalty in me, this simply means i’ve had 28 years to eye it up and formulate a watertight dislike of it. Test me on my dislike, i promise you, i will have prompt and vehement answers. It’s one of those places where if anyone is ever, god knows why, enumerating its charms, they will invariably say ‘good transport links’. This means ‘Don’t worry, you can leave it quickly.’ A town which uses the M25 as a permanent emergency exit is not going to reach Venice/Rome status any time soon. If a friend said he had a new girlfriend and one of her merits was ‘no mutual friends so it’s easy to dump her without any awkwardness’ you would not leap to peruse your hat collection.

I went to an engagement party today, where i had to bat away lots of ‘you next?!’ questions. To save time i employed one phrase throughout – “I’m too sexy to be a wife!” It doesn’t mean anything but if you deliver it with enough emphasis you can create the fleeting illusion of charisma, just long enough to squeeze past your interrogator and grab a slice of salami.*

Everyone was smart/casualling the fuck out of this engagement party, it began at 3pm, it was clearly the right thing to do. Everyone except my dad. I arrived late (naturally..) to find him in a natty grey suit, with a stripy shirt and pink tie, perched on a pouffe nibbling cheese. I turned up just in time to hear someone say how nice and smart he looked, to which he replied mournfully ‘well, i never get to dress up anymore.’ Which gave the impression that his handsomeness was his only pleasure in the evening, that this party was merely the conduit to his love of a suit. It also gave the (mistaken) impression that his life used to be all feathers and ballgowns and this evening was a brief escape from drudgery, a chance to peacock around like the old days. Admittedly, he used to have an afro (Mum swears the day he cut it off she realised to her displeasure he was shorter than she’d thought. But they were married by this point and back then ‘misleading hair’ was not grounds for divorce.)

Of course a pig in a petticoat is still going to roll in mud…as the saying very rarely goes. And sure enough, i left him playing nicely with his friends, having a conversation about parties, but it would seem, piecing back through the mess, that they strayed from parties to booze to overdoing it to sick, and i returned from the buffet clutching my spoils to hear him confiding ‘..but sometimes, even when ive got no more sick inside me, i keep retching..’ and then demonstrating, to a frankly sickened crowd. As i said yesterday, he gets lost in the finer points of tone and appropriate chitchat. I taught him a rule to help him know what to do, the rule is “If you’re saying it, you probably shouldn’t be. So stop, change the subject and mention in passing that you’re on very strong hayfever medication”. Rule for life there. Stick it in your bag for life and you’re set.

*There was a buffet, i wasn’t just grabbing at assorted meats like an opportunistic corpse-groper. If Watford was bedecked with cooked meats ripe for the picking i would be more inclined to love it, though it would be smelly in summer.

When my parents go out in the evening they turn on a reading light upstairs and the toilet light downstairs. This is to deter burglars, show them that there’s someone home. Though presumably someone who was having a read and then became stricken with Bowelaggedon and spent the rest of the evening effectively held hostage by their own guts in the toilet. If that deters you as a burglar, i begin to suspect your heart’s not in the job anymore.

But i noticed this evening that they perform this elaborate charade when no one’s at home, or when ONLY I am left at home. I think that’s pretty telling. I don’t even count as a person. I’m clearly the sort of person a burglar would look at and think ‘i could rob around her, i doubt she’ll notice.’ I’m being babysat by the fake book-reading shitter. This must register as a low point for Nat. If in the grand scheme of my life, this doesn’t stand out as a worrying dip in quality, life will have been pretty bleurgh.

I complain but this is the way life is here, they think i’m an idiot, they pretend they’re infallible and i go along with the charade because it makes me feel safe. Like gluey microwaved supermarket croissants are always tastier to me than the home-baked ones from the bakers, because that’s how we always had them.

I try to ignore when they’re wrong, it’s healthier for me. Like the fact that mum polishes the hallway floor til it gleams and it this is very pleasing to the eye. It feels almost churlish to point out that it also makes it a death trap for her loved ones. It’s so slippery, if i step on it to head upstairs at any speed i will invariably skid into the cupboard under the stairs. This is not my favourite place, we keep the potatoes in there and i don’t like potatoes, the anaemic little roots creep me out and the genius that decided to christen them ‘eyes’ didn’t help. I sleepwalked into this cupboard once and woke up with my hand in a vase.

I better go, Dad will be home soon and i have an argument i had to discontinue last night due to illness. He has found some nice wine in Asda at a cheap price (and im honestly not allowed to tell you which one as he’s paranoid that stocks will run out so we don;t speak of it in front of guests). He has 15 bottles of this wine, so whenever i peeked in, looking for a tasty tipple, i would considerately take the wine that he had most of. This was discovered last week and sulking ensued. No one seemed to appreciate the thought and kindness that went into my decision, he’s acted like a squirrel whose winter nuts have been nicked. Last night he said ‘you can;t have a glass of wine, there’s only nice stuff in the house, nothing cheap enough to be given to you.’ I’m not a shaved bear masquerading as a human woman! I am actually quite sophisticated sometimes. I know more about cheese than they give me credit for, and i will protest this until they admit im right.

I won’t drag you into it – the ‘I know more about cheese than you’ll ever give me credit for’ argument is a vintage family bicker and one that will never be resolved. Even if I won Queen Cheese of the Year at the annual cheese show in Cheddar they would take my cracker crown off me and tell me i smelt of milk.

Usually i get through a day no trouble, maybe it causes me some trouble and i have to unwrap a giftbox of Settle Down on its ass, maybe i kindly remind it i’ve done 28 years of this particular day and it’s in the hands of a pro. But Thursday was full of tricks and it got the better of me.

Craine and I woke up at 4:50am after a troubled night. Mainly thanks to one of my parents’ cats. After months of treating me like Mugabe in Superdrug, she has suddenly decided that we are firm friends and now every night’s a sleepover, though she’s chosen to replace gossiping and hair-plaiting with miaowing and standing on my face. How much harder school would’ve been if other girls had adopted this policy. And, SOMEHOW, a cat the size of a small roast chicken manages to dominate my bed, forcing me to sleep in star-shapes around her, like a narcoleptic Kid from Fame.

She’s some sort of experimental extreme-sleeper, she will attempt a nap anywhere anyhow. I have to admire her, as a cat she’s looked at the limited opportunities available to her and thought ‘well, if all i do is sleep, i will be a PIONEER in the world of sleep!’ So Wednesday night she was workshopping ‘sleeping up someone’s arm, culminating in the old nose-in-ear classic.’ It’s a horrible feeling, halfway between a stroke and sexual assault.

Once we’d settled her down (i.e. hissed “FOR………FUCKS…………SAKE………..” at her in tones even she understood) Craine couldn’t sleep. I know this because he kept miserably prodding me awake to tell me he couldn’t sleep. Sometimes a problem shared is not a problem halved, it is doubled and undermines any sympathy your loved ones might’ve had for you.

We were awake early for a day’s filming. Which may sound glamourous but as i silently cleaned the shower that had just cleaned me at 5:15 i felt very far from Hollywood. The filming was on a beach all day and by the time i got home at 9pm i felt decidedly odd. I sat on the sofa while Dad happily examined his newest extension leads (they were special offer, and the man said he’d show him where they were but Dad said no thank YOU i know this Homebase like the back of my hand and the man was impressed and…) I suddenly felt very sick and faint. I am terrified of vomit (in all forms, before you ask, and no i havent been sick in 15 years and yes i go to quite some lengths to achieve that and NO, while we’re on the subject i really don’t want to hear a story about sick) so when i feel sick i act quite oddly. In my terror i want to run away from the situation, but as the situation is inside me and running isn’t a great anti-sickness cure, i have been known to run crying and retching down the street in the middle of the night. I’m a very cool dude.

I was also extremely dizzy, so i slithered off the sofa onto my hands and knees and crawled out of the room. Dad squinted at this through a lustful haze of extension leads and made an incredulous noise. I replied that i felt very sick and was just going to lie down in the bathroom (Mum was out or she would’ve redirected my crawl towards the garden or at least a less recently-decorated piece of the house). He went quiet and the air around his head went thick. Now, Dad isn’t good at reading the tone of a situation and will invariably say or do inappropriate things. We alerted him to this little problem years ago, hoping that awareness would help, but now he just says awful things with a worried frown, and later will blame us for not having removed him from the situation. He gets smaller every year so i reckon by 80 years old ill be able to pop him in a papoose and flee the scene the next time he knocks his knuckles on a coffin and says ‘Oak?’ in the tone of a man shopping at a funeral.

On this occasion as i shuffled out of the room on my hands and knees like a sad green-faced pony, he decided that dinner was the conversational gambit to the rescue, and began ‘oh…so you won’t want dinner then? Ive got a green curry out of the freezer, it’s got courgettes in and aubergines in and chicken in….’ The little pony sped up and shuffled into the bathroom to lie on the floor to think about soap. I think about cleaning products when i feel sick. Especially if a man is droning a list of foodstuffs in green curry sauce on the other side of the door.

He means well but he is SO bad when i’m ill. Years ago i had a migraine and lay in my room for hours while mayhem reigned in my head. For much of the day my dad stood outside my door trying to help, by saying things like ‘ive never had a migraine. Bad, are they? What is it, like nausea or headaches or…what is it exactly?’ Eventually, not getting much in the way of chat from me, except some wails of despair that he wrongly attributed to the migraine, he pootled off to go look at twine or whatever dads do at the weekend.

That evening i crept out for a glass of water and he popped up out of nowhere, in tones of ‘A-HA!’ to say “Oh! NOW the good telly’s on, now suddenly she’s all better!!’” He gave me a fright, i lost my footing and slid on my back down the stairs, with my head bumping every step on the way down. Whereupon I went foetal-shaped and mum gave him the angriest, quietest bollocking of his life.

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