I’ve just finished filling in the Census Form. To liven things up I filled it in LATE. (I’m now
hoping waiting for the census-form-police to come knocking and drag me off to jail).
For any of you not tasked with the Census Form, let me tell you it is dull dull dull. The most – indeed, only – excitement was the question about religion – deemed so incendiary that it was highlighted as being optional. (I swear it was this question – and my “no religion” response - which was the reason for my dream last night that I was back at (strict, mad, convent) school, trying to explain my c-section scar to the nuns.)
There must be easier ways to gather a snap-shot of Britain on one particular day - in fact why not actually take a real snap-shot? Stick a camera lens in every letter-box and record the findings. Take for instance my house, this morning.
The time is 9.47am. The photo is of a hallway in a standard London Victorian terraced house. At the fore of the picture is a large brand-new-looking double buggy, on which coats, children’s wellies and shoes, bags, toy cars, sticks, and a whole host of other crap have been dumped.
Beyond the hallway, in the corner of the photo, is a kitchen, cluttered with enough garish plastic shite to sink China (from whence it all came). The kitchen tiles are, ridiculously, light grey, and show every speck of dust, dirt, mud and regurgitated food which fester upon them. At the far end of the kitchen you can just make out a wall clock. Like every clock in the house, its time is set at 8.47am. A wall-planner hangs on the other wall; with the aid of a magnifying glass, you can just see an entry for the day – 10am, Toddler Group.
The main part of the photo comprises the stair-well; it goes up to a small landing, then turns up again and out of sight. Beyond the small landing, barely visible, is the nerve-centre of the house – the laundry. If photos made sounds, the never-ender whoosh of a washing machine would be heard. If it was a scratch-n-sniff, the unmistakeable stench of vomit would linger. Clothes horses are everywhere, and sheets are hanging off anything hangable.
On the landing, an old lady stands. Wait – Is it... Yes it is! It’s Nancy Reagan! Did she grow her hair? What’s she doing in Clapham? Oh... wait a minute... No, it’s not her. A dead ringer for her tho’, with the hollow eyes and sunken cheeks. Her face is contorted into a look of anguish and despair – not unlike Munch’s Scream. Her mouth seems to be forming a “noooooooooooooooooooo” sound. She is dressed rather inappropriately for a woman of her age, in jeans which were probably quite stylish when they were first bought. They are now sagging at the bum and the knee, and flecked with beige stains. Her hair is dishevelled, and one side of it is streaked with what looks like yoghurt. Or porridge. Or something. Whatever it is, the old lady won’t notice it until after lunch, by which stage everyone she knows in her neighbourhood will have seen her.
Her body is stooped and contorted, one arm stretching out down the stairs, the other around an enormous baby who is perched on her hip. Both the baby and the old lady smell of vomit. The baby is dressed in a tattered old navy baby-gro, and astonishingly large feet stick out of its cut-off ends. It wears one sock. By its clothes, we can assume the baby is a boy – although quite a pretty one. His hair looks like La Roux styled it. He has his fat fist curled around a strand of the old lady’s unkempt hair and is pulling it tight.
This does not appear to be the reason for her anguish however; her tormented gaze is directed at the focal point of the photo: a chubby young boy, spread-eagled head-first down the stairs, looking up directly at the camera. His face is a mixture of devilment, terror and exhilaration. We can assume that he is in (rather quick) motion. He is wearing what appears to be a pyjama top, but no bottoms. Although he seems a bit old for nappies, one is now half-way down his legs. He too is wearing only one sock - and, bizarrely, a colander on his head. In one out-stretched hand he is holding a bar of soap, in the other, a brand new Dust Buster. The old lady doesn’t know it yet, but the Dust Buster is destined to never be used, and will soon join all other crap on the pram. Which is itself never used.
(Hmmm. On second thoughts, maybe it’s better just to fill in a form.)
With all that going on in the house - did I mention the vomiting bug which just wouldn’t go away??? - as well as a plane journey this afternoon ON MY OWN WITH THE BOTH OF THEM, there’s barely time to eat, let alone cook. And certainly not to post a recipe. Sorry sorry. I’ll make it up next time (by which stage the Man and I will have had TWO BLESSED DAYS of alone-time, thanks again to my gracious, incredible family. I may even be smiling again...)