Thursday, 3 June 2010

Almost like normal life again

22/5/10 Make my first real excursion, walking to Turnham Green, then on to the Marmalade jewellery shop up by Chiswick High Road, to hand in my entry to the marmalade contest, which is part of the Bedford Park Festival.

Note that a few people have used fancy lids on their entries, some with paste jewels and spangles. I hope the judges will not be swayed by that kind of vulgarity!
Got back as far as the Oxfam shop and had to lean on the counter to recover myself. The woman behind the counter was very unfriendly and probably wouldn’t have noticed if I’d fallen flat on the floor.

I sat outside in the sun for ten minutes and felt better. By the time I got as far as the cafĂ© facing the church I was OK again. A friend from the church arrived and advised me against taking any exercise, then she said, “but I suppose if you are fighting the Grim Reaper, you don’t want to waste any time.”

I am easily scared at the moment and this puts me off my coffee. Her husband is an artist but she says that his mother made him promise on her death bed to become a policeman. Cheer myself up wondering if I will be able to try that one on anyone if I have to meet the GR soon. Perhaps I can force Charles Thomson, leader of the Stuckist Painters to become an estate agent for Foxton’s.

A box of the Olive Tea arrives, with two extra packets and I wonder if I will ever open them. At church a woman who offered me a lift says, “try multi-vitamins,” and I think she might be right, anything else is too complicated.

In the run up to starting the chemotherapy, my life becomes surprisingly normal again and as sociable as I can make it, a whirl of going out and seeing people, as if I am going to be sent away soon, God knows where.

Spend Saturday night with my friend Sue Reid from the Mail. I have known her for years, but we haven’t spoken for four years after a silly quarrel. Now because of my illness we are friends again and she takes me to a restaurant called Babylon, at the top of the Kensington Roof Gardens.

I haven’t been out to a place with a buzz like that for a long time, probably not since I resigned my membership of the Groucho Club, due to an increasing lack of funds and the increasing price of their drinks.

On green silk sofas we are surrounded by Italian girls in brilliant summer dresses, floaty, sequinned, embroidered, and absurdly short. Find myself fancying a young man who looks like Mussolini. I always had a fancy for a bulging cranium and mad staring eyes.

Putting aside all ideas of the magic foliage I have been buying on line, we tuck into a Porterhouse steak slashed and hacked into pieces slathering with blood. We talked about politics most of the time. She has also been on a story in Haiti, a great adventure. I am glad that the paper still does those dangerous escapades, although the editor has little interest in foreign news. She sent some of the people she spoke to £500, more money than they have ever seen, and they are building a house with it.

Leave the restaurant late feeling like an adult person again.

Realise, perhaps due to two bottles of red wine, that in some ways I am a happier now than I was before. I was given up for adoption at six weeks old, became a sad baby as photos show, a fretful child, and an agonised adolescent. I tried to kill myself at twenty one, and was always looking for love, trying to hunt it down. I wanted so much to “find the one,” and failing to achieve that poisoned my life. It was like an inner carbuncle. I have been jolted out of that pathological sadness and it won’t come back because I can never be sure of my life again.

Get back to hear extracts from the Four Quartets on Radio 4, read in different voices including Ted Hughes. The perfect end to a day.

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