And home!

As the title says, I am now home and, happily, full internet usage can resume. Honestly, it did get wearing in the end having to creep about just so I could get my daily fix of facebook status updates; I can’t rest until I know what’s going on! Who’s together – who’s split up – who has had what baby – who is sad – who is happy – who is drinking what alcohol, etc. etc. This last is quite funny actually, because it ranges from my older, more sophisticated friends with their Pimms and Meursault and champagne right down to my student brothers where I’m most likely to see the words ‘White’ and ‘Lightening’ together.

This week has been very trying one way and another and I am not sorry to see the back of it. I went to Berkshire one person and I have come back as quite another – and with a new phone, a new handbag and minus most of my hair. This began as a whim and ended as a truly cathartic measure; the symmetry to be found in cutting and shaping one’s life and then doing the same to the hair is particularly pleasing to me. And my trip to Toni and Guy in Maidenhead today re-affirmed my conclusion that however much make-up you are wearing (and I put make-up on especially to go) it is NEVER ENOUGH. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you look passable because when you sit down in those harsh lights and have the direct comparison of the stylist next to you, you will instantly see how wrong you were. What looked acceptable and even nice in your own home will seem paltry, lazy and misguided in the hair salon. Wrong shade of foundation/wonky eyeliner/smudged mascara – I’ve fallen victim to all of these in the past. But today for a change I looked better than the hairdresser, who was wearing no make-up. As she was talking I also drew the conclusion that she was Australian, there was a slight twang to her tone, and I almost asked about it. I was glad I didn’t when I realised that actually she was from Essex  – can you imagine how embarrassing that would have been? Clearly I have been much affected by the Home Counties to leap to the conclusion that a person is from Australia rather than Essex.

To continue on the hair theme, I had rather an unpleasant evening yesterday spent in the company of my two girls, my sister and four brothers – and about fifty thousand nits. Or head lice. Whatever the ones that are big enough to get on the rides at Chessington are called. It was appalling. It had begun that morning when Molly woke up and said her head felt itchy, which immediately rang alarm bells. However I didn’t actually remember to inspect her head until we were in the genteel environment of the John Lewis café – where we were glared at by the older generation for bringing in children and not drinking Earl Grey tea. I dare not think what their faces would have been like had they been aware that we were probably scattering lice like Hansel and Gretel scattered crumbs. When I looked at Molly’s head I could literally see a louse scurrying about in her hair. But considering where we were I didn’t feel justified in expressing this. Instead I quietly murmured to my mother that we might invest in a Nitty-Gritty comb – and quickly. “Rubbish,” she said. “They don’t have nits. My children don’t get nits.” Oh but they do, I confirmed. “No. I’m sure not. Ben’s had his hair checked recently by the hairdresser. He can’t have.” Ben was scratching madly but absent-mindedly at his head during this exchange. “I’ve seen one,” I hissed. “Huge. In Molly’s hair.” Her response? “Well. It’s probably a fly. From the garden.” Yes, of course. Silly me. A fly has flown into Molly’s hair, shrunk a bit, turned brown, lost its wings and half the length of its legs in order to masquerade as a head louse. “Nevertheless,” I said firmly, “I think I’ll get one.” So we stopped at the small, village chemist on the way home where I couldn’t see the comb I was after. When I asked the assistant she gave me a long look before saying “I think I have ONE left.” She then rummaged at the back of a shelf where she had quite literally hidden it behind the toothpaste. I didn’t ask. And upon the combing the children, one was crawling in lice, one had a handful and out of my brothers two of the three older ones had a few in their hair. Which was mildly amusing because it’s not often you have three teenaged boys lining up to have their hair nit-combed. But the minute that word spread through the house that nits had been found, everybody was smothering their hair in conditioner and clamouring to be combed so as the resident expert I obliged. Just to reassure you, the hairdresser made no comment this morning so I’m assuming that I’m clear. I don’t think even nits can withstand the 220 degree heat of my GHDs.

And out of the emails I have been able to pick up this week, I had a vastly reassuring one from my publishers (spot the sarcasm) confirming my publication date of 30th August. Er – no. That is a month too early. I sighed a big sigh and corrected them.

I’m going to have to end here because I’ve realised that wine stocks are running perilously low and it’s Friday. My lovely husband has had approximately five hours sleep over the last few days and is currently travelling back from the very north of England – I don’t think he’s going to be too impressed if I send him out to collect alcohol on his return. That said, he has our debit card so my funds are also perilously low…….White Lightening it may yet be.

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