Monday, May 29, 2006


Second extract from diary of 27.5.05
Cardiff, UK

As I said, Anita arrived with screwdrivers, which I’d asked her to bring, and cleaning materials, which I had not. Dear, kind woman, she really set to work. However, it soon transpired that my vacuum cleaner wasn’t good enough – “You should have got a Dyson” ; my cleaning materials weren’t strong enough – “You should have gone to a builder’s merchant to get sugar soap”; (I wouldn’t know a builder’s merchant’s if I fell into one and I’ve never even heard of sugar soap!) And my cleaning skills were definitely not up to scratch! None of this was said unkindly – quite the contrary – but I was emotional and panicky, waiting for the call, so it didn’t take much to upset me. And the way Anita was getting stuck in, I thought I was never going to get out of there! “I was only going to vacuum it”, I said pathetically.

Jane arrived in the middle of all this and agreed with me that we should just leave it. I eventually burst into tears and howled in Jane's arms that I wasn’t a practical person, that I wanted everything to be “normal” again, that I wanted my nose stuck in a book or a newspaper and that I wanted my dog!

Anita started with the screwdrivers, getting picture hooks down, which I must say I was more concerned about than winning the “Housewife of the Year” award.

Then Jane called the phone company for me – an hour-long performance to get through to them and eventually they agreed to cut off the phone at midday but they kept saying that I hadn’t given them a month’s notice so I would have to pay for calls till July. So there was me howling, Anita unscrewing hooks and Jane trying to get sense out of the phone company – the only utility co. that I have had any trouble with, by the way. (The phone was still on when I left the house; I’ll deal with that by cancelling the direct debit and by letter from Italy.)

After Jane had gone, I needed a scissors for something and of course, they had all been packed. So I went across the road to borrow one from Sylvia who was sympathetic and so I burst into tears all over again. She made me a cup of tea and was very nice.

When I got back to the house I announced to Anita that I was going at 2pm, phone call or not and clean or not. Then I wrenched the bloody vacuum cleaner from her hand, at which point she did stop! I paid for a taxi for her – the least I could do, bless her. It’s terribly difficult when someone is trying to help you but only succeeding in winding you up further!

One more check around the house, one more cry and I left it forever at 2.30 pm. Of course, ‘er-next-door made sure she was outside, so I just shouted, “Sorry, – not stopping or I’ll get upset” and I fair ran down the road, thinking, “I am doing this for the last time”. Just as I was reaching the bus stop, the solicitor’s call came and everything was through.

True to form, the no 8 bus did not come so, as time was going on, I hailed a taxi to the apartment. G&T and I was (almost) as right as rain. Thought, “Right, I’ve now got an hour to buy an outfit for tonight” – a meal had been arranged in the Bay with the college lot plus other friends . Dashed to “Elvi” and splashed out on a summery number in turquoise, dashed back to flat, bathed, changed and redid make-up; then a taxi to Gavin Alexander’s in the Bay for a hairdo. They have a bar on the premises now and it has a very relaxing atmosphere with a lovely view of the Bay. I got into conversation with a 50-ish man and, if he hadn’t been married - I know he was married as 50-ish men with some degree of intellect and good looks always are, in Britain! - I might have made a hit! Amazing what an expensive outfit and a hairdo will do for you! It’s because they give you confidence and confidence attracts.

So in the space of an hour and a half the wimpering, tired, dowdy woman had disappeared and in her place was a giggly female in turquoise who could still get chatted up!

Then met the friends at De Miro’s and it was quite a night! Everyone was lovely and when they put on Dino singing “That’s Amore” I was completely gone!

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