Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Hello dear MB,

That was another lovely post from you; thank you. This process of writing and reading and writing is bringing me a lot of pleasure and reminding me of all the things I used to love about blog writing before I gave it away to write essays instead. I'm enjoying the process of thinking about what you've written, the gathering and jotting down of those thoughts, and then the work that goes into putting the thoughts into sentences that in some way sound like my voice. It's important that it's my voice so that you can easily know who it's from.
It has also reminded me how much I love a good letter. I love the news, and the conversation, and the talk about food and weather and children and music. You write a good letter.

Now: who are these people that are too cool for Coldplay?!? Not cool enough more like it. 
We hung out a couple of times in London with a South African guy who was in a band working the pub circuit. He and his band had been sharing gigs with another band. Both were quite talented and both had hoped they might be able to get a recording contract.  When we met him, the other band had just got their big break and got that much desired record deal. That band was Coldplay.

I have the same habit as you of overdoing music. Sometimes it's albums I overdo, but more often it's just a single song. This is the one I went to town on last week. I couldn't leave it alone. It's old but it's good and it has a line in it that I love. We talked about Pearl Jam being good at a love song didn't we? I feel it's fair to say that David Gray is quite good at a love song too. 

Why do you only call me when you're high? is a great name for song. Arctic Monkeys must have been pleased with that when they thought it up. The Housemartins greatest hits album is called  Now that's what I call quite good. What do you think of that for a title? It's always made me smile and I like the way I can use it in my day-in-day-out talking and see if anyone murmurs "Housemartins" when I say it. There aren't enough of those moments.

What about great book titles? I've always liked If you liked school you'll love work (Irvine Welsh). I haven't even read it (have you?) but I love the title. 

Anyway, that Arctic Monkeys title brings to mind an ex boyfriend I had almost a million years ago who only called me when he was drunk. I really wanted him to phone me sober and tell me he wanted me back. It never happened and it seemed such a shame at the time but looking back now it was a blessing of the very clearest kind.

This week I am TIRED. Deep tiredness that makes me turn off the alarm and go instantly back to sleep. Tiredness that prevents me seeing straight beyond 10pm and makes me feel on the verge of tears, but only in a vague sort of way. A feeling that I'm too tired to put my finger on. It's a difficult place to find myself in because I count on my good energy and positivity to get me through… well, through everything. Still, it's the last week of term. It will pass and next week I'll rest my bones a bit.

Last week was a big week for me. Mum came back from the UK and it was my brother's 50th birthday dinner (we were hosting) and my dear and beloved friend Mary was getting married and I was on wedding cake making duties. I wrote myself a to-do list for the week and it had 50 items on it. An A4 page full of tiny neat writing, detailing what was required to make it through the week, effectively executing each of the events planned. Some things were marked with stars, indicating their importance; and each thing has been neatly crossed off now. That's satisfying I must say.

I had never made a wedding cake before. In the deepest throes of it I swore I would never make one again. But even as I said it I was mentally composing a list of things I would need to remember for next time. (Next time! Always the optimist.)
Here is my list. I think it would make a good poster. When I was at primary school we used to have to make posters about things. I could get back into poster making.
My poster would say:
YOU CAN DO IT! (because I worried incessantly that I couldn't)
REMEMBER: MUD CAKES ARE GREAT KEEPERS! (I knew this, but I kept worrying that they were going to go stale between when I'd baked them and the wedding. I actually lost sleep over it).
RULE OF THUMB: TWO LAYERS OF ICING THE NIGHT BEFORE; ONE ON THE DAY. That was a thing that I learnt. I want to remember that for next time.
YOU'RE ON TO A WINNER: CAKES ALWAYS LOOK GREAT IN PHOTOS! And as that's the only way anyone can remember them anyway, I was in luck really.
Here is a photo:
Before you ask: no I didn't make those robots.
And it's just not in me to take credit for something I didn't do.
You see - it looks great! And all the hard work was worth it you know, people said nice things about the cake, and it tasted delicious, and it was for Mary, for whom I would pretty much do anything. Mary is the friend of mine that is actually too cool and too smart for me, but who likes me anyway. If she wants cake I will make her cake.

The day after the cake was a Sunday and I decided to have a lazy day involving not very much. When I say not very much though, I did prepare all meals, do three loads of washing, organize birthday presents and drop off and pick up at birthday parties. In between all of that I spent a bit of time with my children. Possibly the only lazy thing I did was not checking Joe's trouser pockets for tissues before I put them in the machine, and that didn't really pay off for me. Lazy pre-kids days and lazy post-kids days are two quite different things.

You wrote in your last post  'I have had your paragraphs on work crushes on my mind this week'. I keep misreading that and thinking you've written 'I have a crush on your paragraphs'. There's something very flattering about that, even if you didn't say it. 
And you're right you know, I think a lot of us are only an argument and a few beers away from a mistake. Ben said to me about Nitagate that while it was fun and flattering, he knew it would be a risky idea to go out to any work drinks that she might be at. Alcohol makes safe things dangerous, and dangerous things seem safe. 
When I look at Ben I chant these three things: Friendship and goodwill. In sickness and in health. The crunchy with the smooth. 
Ben is a man that I can count on. 

You're off to Oman this weekend. Do you make a lot of Oman/No man jokes when you visit? I wouldn't be able to resist. Me, I'm off to the vege markets and a first birthday party. There will be cake, and while Lizard says that love is not a word for food, I would say that I love cake. And I do believe I could love a pet pig and pork at the same time.

Lots of love to you.
Rachel xx

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