Item – The Three-Nighter Posh Do Which Required A New Frock went pretty well. My mother was hosting it (my mother Does Events as a job), and H and I were soon, variously, folding 250 napkins in an ornamental manner, babysitting my little niece Minx, hunting down hammers, arranging flowers, reducing the heating system to order by sheer power of masculinity, writing leaflets, selling raffle-tickets, getting toffs drunk so they’ll buy more raffle tickets, being polite to hordes of drunk toffs, dragging my sisters out of the festering pit of their work-room to feed and pyjama Minx, envying the living crap out of my sisters because they both live at home and get a work-room to be art students in into the bargain while I have to do all my own laundry and get up at 7am every morning (you know, the usual), stacking and unstacking chairs, moving tables, and so on and so on until the wee small hours, powered almost entirely on coffee and red wine.
Item – Many aunts were there, and clearly my mother has been TALKING, because I had several versions of the ‘what’s up with May’s lady-parts?’ conversation. But this was fine, as the assvice was polite and respectful (though, clearly, inevitable and lunatic (I mean, have you tried electromagnetic aura therapy? I don’t even know what the hell that is), and I got a great deal of gentle sympathy from them all. I think I am officially the family Victim and Suffering Angel now. Which feels decidedly unsettling.
Item – I also became the unwilling recipient of information about various cousins’ menstrual disorders. No, said cousins were not present, and I bet you sweet green dollars they gave absolutely no permission whatsoever for their reproductive organs to be discussed en famille. As I gave no permission for mine to be discussed. Heigh ho. This is why I am now honest and open about the Woe-Bollocky-Dreariness – so that if the contents of my uterus are to be dinner-party conversation, then at least said conversation should be accurate and not come back to bite me in the arse, as it were, at unexpected moments.
Item – While babysitting, I taught Minx to knit. She, little genius, picked it up right away, and soon presented me with her very first effort, a tiny four-by-one-inch strip, as a bracelet. I wore it all Saturday afternoon, all Sunday, and am still wearing it now. I am a glowingly proud Auntie.
Item – It is day 17 of this cycle, and I have been showing signs of the Awakening of the Gonad, possibly kicked into action by the Adorableness of the Niece.
Item – H needed to leave for another business trip on Sunday afternoon, and he won’t be back until Wednesday night. Given the above item, oops.
Item – Friday night H and I went to bed at 2 am, having spent hours and hours unpicking flower arrangements and transferring the fainting tulips to a bucket of ice-cold water (we’d have to put them all back again the next day), both drunk as Australian philosophers, and action was there none.
Item – Saturday, we decided we needed a plan, or we’d never get any action at all and May would be Impossible To Live With for the rest of the cycle. As soon as all the toffs and family were thoroughly occupied with dessert and there were no more messages to carry or matches to find, H and I made our excuses (separately, minutes apart, like well-trained spies) and scurried back to our room, where we fell upon each other like wolverines. And then we put our clothes back on, and I brushed my seriously disarranged hair, and we reappeared in time for coffee and chair-stacking. So when we went to bed at 2 am drunk as etc. that night, we went smugly.
Item – It’s a very cheering memory, now that I’m home again all on my own, eating cheese on toast and waiting for the washing machine to finish the spin cycle. The glamour.
Item – Standard cynical disclaimer – I bet I don’t ovulate until 2011 now.
Item – It’s Mothers’ Day in Britain. I gave my mother a book, and she told me I was the only one of her children who remembered things like Mother’s Day. I smiled, awkwardly, and did not say ‘that’s because I’m the only one of your children who spends all 24 hours of it burning with sorrow, regret, envy, resentment and misery.’