Tales from a 37 year old brain.

I know, I know, I know – I haven’t written anything for ages. It’s my brain. It’s a bit – well – a bit like me I suppose. It’s rather rebellious and doesn’t do things that it doesn’t want to. And, unlike children, I can’t shout at it to make it do things. Well, I could, but I suspect that would guarantee me a long stay parking space at the nearest asylum.

Anyway, we’re here now. Minus the bits of me that fell victim to the weekend, as usual. My brain leaps about and says “Yes! I can do two nights out in a row! I can stay up until 2am in a friend’s hot tub drinking Prosecco and feel absolutely great at 9am! And I can certainly get 2000 words written sharpish before breakfast.” And then the sad truth emerges from my actual body:

–          I am exhausted

–          I have a headache

–          I am grumpy

–          I want to sleep

–          I am devoid of inspiration

–          I NEED carbs

–          Everything is going to take four times as long as usual today

–          So it probably won’t get done

I am not 21 anymore. I am not even 31 anymore. I’m 37 and I need to remember that and especially for weekends like our last one, body and brain took a bit of a battering.  We flew to Ireland, for a wedding, and it was St Patrick’s Day. Except the place that we stayed at for the wedding was a 5* castle which was a bit too grand, really, to acknowledge the day – so, in generosity, we lent it a hand instead.

Personally, I began ‘celebrating’ at lunchtime on Friday. As anyone who knows me will testify – I don’t fly well. At all. I am petrified of the bloody things groaning their improbable way into the sky and I simply do not understand how they get up there and – perhaps more importantly – STAY up there with no visible means of support. The sum total of this means that I take a few mg of diazepam before the flight, to keep me calm and controlled. That’s the idea anyway, it doesn’t always happen like that (insert guilty emoji face here).

In fact, the flight we took back from Spain in the summer went so badly that my partner and both of my daughters refused to fly with me again. I think I drank a bit too much wine, pre-flight, out of sheer terror. Certainly, by the time I boarded the plane, there was still a bit too much blood in my alcohol system as far as I was concerned. Partner and younger daughter headed straight to their seats, and my eldest was left with the unenviable task of accompanying me. At the front of the plane there was a kind stewardess who noticed my ashen face (and probably tears, I can’t really remember) and took me to one side to calm me down. Apparently anyway, (this was all relayed to me by my daughter afterwards). After a few minutes of gentle chatting, I was asked if I wanted to go and speak to the pilots either before the flight or when we landed.

“Oh, right now!” I declared, setting off purposefully towards the cockpit, but she put her hand on my arm. I think it was at about this stage that the stewardess had noticed that something was amiss. To my daughter’s horror, she then began questioning me about how much wine I had actually drunk. Through my ramblings, I cut the number in half and then reduced it again and her eyes told me that even that was too much.

“And have you taken anything else?” she asks suspiciously. By this point, something was creeping through the thick fog in my brain which told me that the truth wasn’t the best answer here.

“Oh – I – er – I’ve just taken some painkillers,” I tell her, and then for reasons totally unknown to me both at the time and now, I added a little extra detail: “I’ve got a touch of the old arthritis in my knee.” I bent down and touched it for a extra bit of authenticity. A TOUCH OF THE OLD ARTHRITIS IN MY KNEE????? What POSSESSED me to come up with that?? I’ve never had arthritis in my knee, or anywhere else for that matter. There was a perilous moment (apparently) where my poor daughter didn’t know if I was going to be allowed onto the plane, but I was and carefully limped to my seat. We took off and the drinks trolley eventually rumbled to a stop beside me. I requested wine – and was refused.

“We won’t be serving any alcohol to you on this flight, madam.” Given that this – to me – was a catastrophe of epic proportions, I whispered to my daughter that she would need to get the wine. The fact that she was only sixteen at the time escaped me completely. When she explained this, I (apparently) hissed at her “You are a very bad daughter. I will not forget this. Not EVER.” A few months on and I rather think that it’s more the other way around. Eventually we landed and I am still several sheets to the wind. Border Control looms in front of us, and unfortunately between the four of us, only myself and my youngest daughter had the same surname. I was asked (apparently) who my eldest daughter was. To the collective horror of my family, I swayed on my feet, beamed at him and said, “She’s my daughter.” I even spoke slowly because the poor man didn’t seem to have a grip on the facts.

“Can you prove this?”

“Prove?” I am flummoxed. And still beaming at him as he told me that she should have a letter from her father giving permission for her to travel. We didn’t have this, obviously, and there was a tense moment (apparently) when we almost weren’t allowed back into the country.

Needless to say, I was not popular.

So, you can understand why Friday’s flight was approached with trepidation from both me and my partner. Me for the flying bit, and him for simply being next to me throughout this journey. I was a lot better though, much less panicky and I didn’t do anything strange or out of the ordinary. Oh – actually – there was one thing I did for reasons unknown; I ordered Scotch on the plane. I don’t even like it! I rather detest it, in fact. But the mind works in mysterious ways……..well, mine certainly does. And now I have to go and apologise to it for a bit of a frantic weekend and try some gentle persuasion to make it address some work. Luckily, I’m a copywriter as well as an author, so ‘words is what I do best’.

Unless I’m on a plane, of course. Or at Border Control.

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