Spent yesterday up in the roof with a volatile and leaky hot-water geyser. The plumber confessed he had no head for heights and sat on the loft steps eating a ham sandwich slathered with Dijon mustard that I had made to coax him up into the loft. My dogs shrieked for me to come down while the geyser grumbled and spurted. I did things with a spanner, ineptly. Nothing has been solved, but the hot water is flowing and the geyser has fallen silent. The plumber will doubtless send me a bill
Failure could be my middle name right now as regards freelance work and house repairs, but I got up at dawn and went out into the garden to admire orb spider webs looped and strung with tiny drops of glittering dew. Years ago when I was just sober (well, not that many years ago then) during a very unhappy time of my life, I ventured into the enclosed garden of a Welsh cathedral to pick ripe mulberries from an ancient tree. My priorities stay close to nature and nature has always been a source of bliss and a reminder that this broken world is a beautiful miraculous place. They were the most delicious tart-sweet black-as-sin mulberries I have ever eaten. Mulberries are consoling even in heartbreak. And intricate glittery spider webs are somehow more significant that personal failure. In sobriety I am have become someone who is less defined by her job or career than she used to be when any external success had to be pitted against the misery of drunkenness. But failure is still failure and especially worrying at 3am in the moony pallor that passes for night.
Wouldn’t it be nice, if when faced with an unsatisfactory, subsiding sort of life, you could reach into a deep shelf and produce a brighter and more shny version, saying ‘Here’s one I made earlier”?
Which reminds me that I am going to make sweetcorn and coriander muffiny things for lunch to cheer up someone who had a predictable relapse last week and is now calling me long-distance at 6am each morning (she gets up early to feed chickens) to tell me it is Day 4 or 5. She will be driving through the rainy countryside en route to have lunch with me and then carrying on to her seaside home. We can sit at the kitchen table and read pertinent paragraphs of the Big Book together while she thinks out what she might want to share. Some of us are more reticent than others and chickens are not attentive listeners. When I was on holiday once I wrote down all my deepest secrets on a sheet of handmade paper and tucked it into a sealed bottle (that had once held a litre of Absolut vodka) and threw it into the waves. I didn’t feel the ocean was listening either, but I couldn’t imagine confiding in anyone. That is how we keep our secrets secret and they fester away somewhere inside. Better to sit at the kitchen table eating sweetcorn muffins and try to mumble a few details out to someone who has been there and knows all about it.