Week thirteen: parklife

Parklife: relaxing in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, London

Parklife: relaxing in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, London


Wake up with: £50

Go to bed with: £50

As predicted, the ‘team meeting’ is less about ‘team’ and more about the dissolution thereof. I am one of the lucky ones for now, and I leave work on Friday still in gainful employment, although the survivor’s-guilt sets in as I cycle home.

I’m almost glad for the opportunity to throw myself into some manual labour to take my mind off the whole thing: the new carpet has been fitted in two rooms, so we can start to put them back together. Cue much hoovering, dusting and heavy lifting. By ten, the husband and I are sat on the sofa, enjoying our tea (spaghetti carbonara cooked by yours truly), watching the TV in a sparkling-clean sitting room. With the door closed, we can almost forget about the rest of the flat.


Wake up with: £50

Go to bed with: £20.70

We’re due at a friend’s wedding in Finchingfield today. The day dawns bright and promising: welcome back summer. We’re both up early to continue the endless shuffle of possessions through the flat. The husband does a run to the tip while I continue to wipe and clear and by 10am we’re walking to the station primped and preened in our glad rags (this is something of a miracle given the state of our flat). The train ticket is £19.30 return.

The venue is stunning, the bride looks beautiful and it’s simply bliss to sip champagne in the sunshine and catch up with old friends. The husband and I get a taxi back to the station (£20) in time to catch the last train back to London: I’m stupidly grateful to fall into bed.


Wake up with: £20.70

Go to bed with: £16.56

It’s a scorcher. It’s hard to laze in bed with the sun streaming through the curtains, so eventually we capitulate and make a half hearted attempt to do a little more work, before we decide that the DIY will have to play second fiddle to the sunshine today. The husband is dispatched to pick up picnic supplies and we hop on our bikes and head for the park.

After a magnificent open-air lunch, I fall asleep in the sunshine and consequently get ludicrously sunburnt. Oh well, it’s not as if sun damage has been a prevailing feature of summer 2012. We spend the evening ferrying the husband’s record collection between rooms and hoovering up the debris from stage one of renovations. I cook up a vat of ragu to keep us going through the week ahead; it’s going to be another long one. We eat on the balcony and then collapse on the sofa for a Wallander before bed.


Wake up with: £16.56

Go to bed with: £16.56

Supper Club has been cancelled because the husband is going to see the new Batman film and I have resolved to spend the rest of this week’s money on food for my local foodbank, but when I go to the website, there’s no information on where or when to drop off supplies. I email the director enquiring about volunteering and/or donations, but get no response. Curious. My do-gooding will have to wait until next week.

I have earmarked the entire evening to pack up my clothes and dressing table, but it turns out all my clothes fit into a single suitcase and an hour and six minutes after I first started, the bedroom is completely devoid of my possessions. I’m not sure why I’m surprised: in the last 12 months, I have bought two new dresses (both for weddings), two pairs of leggings from H&M and nothing else.


Wake up with: £16.56

Go to bed with: £8.56

A friend offers us two tickets for Daniel Kitson’s pre-Edinburgh rehearsal at the bargain price of £3 and we practically bite his hand off in our eagerness to get out of the house (and see Daniel Kitson’s new show, of course!). We meet at nine and have time for a glass of wine in the sunshine before the show begins. It’s hilarious and we pour out into the summer night giggling and grateful for the opportunity to leave the DIY behind for a night. Tonight we will have to sleep on the floor, our bed has been dismantled so the bedroom can be decorated this week, ready for the final carpet fitting on Friday.


Wake up with: £8.56

Go to bed with: £8.56

Whether it’s sleeping on the floor, the sudden onset of summer or simply that I’ve caught the cold that’s been doing the rounds, I wake feeling anything but rested, it’s going to be a long day.

The husband offers to gather supplies for the re-scheduled supper club. When he gets home, he is incredulous: “When did food get so expensive?” He splutters. “I just can’t believe how much prices have risen since I last did a proper supermarket shop.” He resolves to adjust the standing order between our bank accounts to reflect the price rise (I am Chief in Charge of Household Expenses and we don’t have a joint account). I can’t really see the point as it’s all going in the same pot anyway, but then I remember my poor, undernourished wardrobe. Maybe an extra tenner wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.

The boys pile over for a dinner of lamb kefte, flatbread, tzatziki and Greek salad. The adrenalin that’s been keeping me going for the last two weeks must have finally run out as I can’t keep my eyes open over dinner and fall asleep on the sofa before the clock strikes 10.


Wake up with: £8.56

Go to bed with: £5.12

Despite my exhaustion, once I actually get into bed, I cannot sleep. After a night tossing and turning, I get up at 5am, sweating all over with a splitting headache, and what feels like the beginnings of a cold. Great. I climb back into bed with a wet towel draped over my head and shoulders to cool me down but to no avail. By the time the alarm sounds, I am so exhausted that I feel like crying. I spend the day on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, but after a couple of naps and a good 12 hours doing absolutely nothing, I start to feel like myself again and decide it would be criminal to waste what is billed to be the last night of summer sitting on the sofa, when I could sit outside instead. At half seven I decamp to the park and lie on the grass, eating twiglets with my running partner-in-crime. We were supposed to be running this very eve, but luckily for me, she is similarly run down and exhausted so we just gossip and relax in the last dregs of sunshine instead. By the time the husband tucks me in to our make-shift bed, I feel more like myself again. Onwards and upwards.


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