They are upgrading the BT Broadband service. The main effect of this at present is that the internet connection has become erratic. There have been a lot of men (I’m not using stereotypes, I haven’t seen a woman) looking into holes and, presumably, getting in them and doing things. Our exchange is due to be upgraded tomorrow and we will lose both internet and phone for ten minutes. After then, it’ll take ten days or so to settle down. They do not necessarily promise a faster service, although speed ‘might’ improve.
Yes, of course we’re pleased. We get excited about the smallest crumb of comfort in Norfolk. Even though, as I write, the broadband is blinking on and off and is fairly useless.
I’m being terribly good and responsible about myself. I received a letter inviting me to book a health check at the surgery – it arrived just before Christmas and I was far too busy to do anything about it then, as I was afterwards, but now I’ve made an appointment. And now, I’ve booked myself an eye test too. I can hardly believe how sensible I’ve become. I went to the dentist too last month.
Don’t worry, I’ll go right off the rails and do something thoroughly irresponsible before long. I’m finding it unnerving too.
I waited for Ro’s 18th birthday keenly, you know. I reckoned that I’d been a caring and dutiful mother for 29 years (including my first pregnancy) and I was about due a vice or two. I just wasn’t sure what to do. I was depressingly good. Horribly good. I could have worn medals for goodness. And so nothing really happened.
Except, you know, I got rid of guilt. People feel guilty for all sorts of things that aren’t their fault. Or that are, but don’t really matter. Or even, that do matter but you have to make your mind up – take responsibility, forgive yourself or change what you’re doing.
Mind you, I have always had that tendency. I remember way back in the ’80s, when it was fashionable never to have a moment to yourself, to push yourself to the limit and boast about how appallingly busy you were and you felt awfully guilty if you ever sat down or did anything you actually wanted to do. Now darlings, can you imagine me giving that the time of day? Not bloody likely. I went the other way and looked shocked and sympathetic, saying that I needed hours of me-time to be able to function at all.
So my vice? Not feeling guilty about food. Not thinking that I have to pretend not to like something delicious because it’s considered bad. I’m not talking about junk food, I’m talking about extravagant food. Not necessarily expensive, not necessarily fattening, but totally delicious.
When I was a child but old enough to start drinking tea, I decided that I’d learn to like it without milk and sugar, because that was how my parents drank it, so I thought that would make me more grown-up. I still mostly drink tea black without sugar, as I do coffee, but I no longer think that’s more adult, because that was a child’s simplicity. I admired my parents, who were grown up. I wanted to be like them. They didn’t take milk. Therefore, if I didn’t take milk … no, of course you’re right. Cutting out milk didn’t cut the mustard. I was still immature – mind you, it’s been jolly convenient, because I don’t need anything but hot water and a teabag to have a good time.
When I was a child, every family but mine had a pudding after each main meal – my mother was rather modern, watched her weight and didn’t have a sweet tooth, my father didn’t care for puddings (though he liked sweeties) – and hardly anyone was overweight. How many families eat pudding regularly now? Most people would say they’re too fattening. I refuse to call obesity an epidemic because it bloody well isn’t infectious or contagious, there’s just a lot of it about. But it’s not about what we eat at mealtimes, it’s how we live and how much we eat, and what we eat between meals.
I don’t have a particular craving for sweet things myself – though actually today I had a sudden temptation to buy halva and did. I won’t open the pack for a while though, because once I do I’ll eat a bit every day because I love it. I’ll open it when people are here to eat most of it for me. But I am completely sympathetic to those who do because, apart from anything else, we’re programmed to. Have you ever tried human milk? Past the age of one or so, that is. I have (ahem, mine, I hasten to add, I never fed a child anything I wouldn’t be prepared to try myself) and it is extremely sweet. We’re born with the taste. We add further tastes later, but it’s only natural to keep that first one.
So those of you on strict diets and those of you who only really like savoury foods, I’ll provide fruit and cheese at the party. But there will also be a good array of puddings, because I am thoroughly in favour of them. They finish a meal very nicely. When you go out for a meal with a group of people, listen. The chatter goes on regardless for the first and main courses. And then, when pudding is served, there is a respectful silence as people start to eat. It always happens. And if you don’t want to put on weight, just have two mouthfuls and then exert willpower. It’s quite simple.
Oh, and by the way, the Sage and I are still eating CAKE!