Important things first. To whit:
Now it may look like nothing much, but that is because I have taken out all the relevant information that would identify the parties involved. Suffice to say, it is the border of an A3 illumination done in honour of my friend, ‘Cake’s, wedding this weekend. It was done in the style of both Rennie Macintosh, who my friend ‘Cake’ adores, and Celtic knotwork, which I specialise in. And made up of thousands upon thousands of hand-drawn dots; which is either high dedication indeed, or bloody stupid, depending on whether you ask someone in the first, or twenty-first, century. Since it is for a wedding, it involves claddachs, well-known symbols of love, and also Rennie Mackintosh-style roses in the corners; also well-known symbols of love. And the ampersand, which would sit between the two names, is made of tulips, also a well-known symbol of love (probably not dating from as far back as the rose, however, at least in Europe) and another Rennie Macintosh favourite motif.
The names, and details of the location of the wedding, they were in the traditional Ren Mack style also, but you will just have to imagine this for yourself.
And on with the Chronicle of Nonsense!
This week managed to be busier than last week. I am surprised that I am surprised. For it turns out that Dr Anonymous, who I have just been told to ditch, is off on his holidays for the next two weeks (there was much grinding of teeth when this was revealed, and all of it mine). Thus instead of having half my normal workload, I had exactly the same workload, all of it Dr Hurricane’s; while my opposite number at the rival hospital, who now works solely for Dr Anonymous, is probably lounging around painting her toes.
So I was mightily miffed when even more of the backlog from the rival hospital turned up on our desks for us to deal with. But it turns out my opposite number has taken the opportunity to go on a cruise; so she probably is lounging around, painting her toes. Just, not on work time. I guess I can’t really complain about that.
I can’t complain, either, that one of my best friends’ weddings is storming up the social calendar towards me and I have yet to finish making her gift. (Although in light of it being given pride of place at the top of this chapter of the Chronicle of Nonsense, you can make a safe guess as to whether I got away with it). In lieu of which, I called her during the week (rather stupidly, on a mobile-to-mobile call) and she was actually free to chat, being a highly organised person – free to chat for hours on hours, even!
So I probably spent more on that call than I would have spent on a Bought gift. And I still have the gift to make!
But it was worth it! (Just in case she ever reads this).
On the Friday, my remaining lodger returned to his native Latvia, his three-month internship over here complete, and I gave him a homemade bottle of mead and a selection of shortbread, and tried to avoid meeting his eye since I couldn’t afford Bought booze (not and that phone-call as well). Sniff. He and his girlfriend were no trouble at all – although granted, they never took the bin out, but no change for over a decade there, then – and were pleasant and friendly whenever we passed in the hall, always saying hello. That and the notable lack of vandalism when I cleaned their room is the pinnacle of what one can reasonably expect from complete strangers. And also, the absolute baseline for civilised behaviour; which indicates… something. Definitely something.
(Ah it could all have been so different, if only I had dared to try and make friends with them! But the last couple of times I tried that, we ended up playing Single White Female, and I really feel it is time to leave the eighties behind.)
However, the good news is, the wedding gift was complete by this time, and I had mercifully only made one small error. I shall call it ‘a challenge to spot the mistake’.
(Now you can play at home, too!)
Which left the board clear for my Brand New Plan. Behold, I have returned from holiday, triumphant, (or at least, tight-lipped and glowering; it’s like being triumphant, right?) to a brand new job description and a brand new name (documentation pending). And now, here I am, alone in my own home; a sudden oasis of peace where I can do whatever I want whenever I want (as long as it doesn’t annoy the neighbours). So instead of putting up the ‘wanted’ ads and getting in a fresh set of potential psychopaths to hide from, I am going to move my studio into the spare room – since it’s that or have a massive slab of the flat sitting vacant – and will do my utmost to make up the shortfall in readies by boldly flogging artwork on the side (tax to be meticulously paid) like I think I am all that and an entire bucket of chips. Woo!
I am suddenly seized by paranoia that the universe is going to smite me with a mighty smite for my brazen cheek. That and the knowledge that I am
probably inevitably – once all the furniture and its contents are rearranged to my heart’s content – going to have to drag it all back to its original layout and put out the ‘wanted’ ads again.
And thus it was that I laboured hard at gutting out the flat before the Bossman came over for the weekend; and mostly failed, because it is not a job accomplished within the hour. And I cooked not one, but two, mighty lasagnes, and a cottage pie besides, and he complained that dinner was taking too long and informed me it was a good thing I had fed him cake earlier, or he would be most Wroth with me. And so it was that I was most Wroth with him instead, for I had reached the Bechmel Sauce stage of the proceedings, which everyone knows is the time it all goes horribly wrong if someone, for instance, suddenly mentions that they feel you are rubbish. Especially if you believe them. For the universe listens to your heart and does its level best to bring to fruit what it perceives therein.
(So no pressure.)
And thus it was, on the Saturday morning, that the Bossman informed me that the curtain rails were hanging off the wall in the bedroom; and when I checked the rest of the flat, they were hanging off the wall in several other rooms also. Despite having all been put up at different times, what are the odds?
Although this gave me the unrivaled opportunity to shout, ‘looks like it’s curtains for me then!’ – which I took full advantage of, while we hurriedly took them all down before they fell right off the wall, my heart did quake with both terror and foreboding. Because apart from the horrific inconvenience of having to re-drill all the holes and cause massive amounts of mess when I had just finished cleaning all those rooms, thankyou, could there be any more of a ‘Sword of Damocles’ moment? Without an actual sodding sword hanging by a thread above my head? It was as if the universe was saying to me, personally, ‘so, you think you’re going to get a new name and live free under your own roof and flog artwork on the side (tax to be meticulously paid) like you’re all that and a whole bucket of chips? I DON’T THINK SO, MATEY’.
Of course, the universe could merely be saying, ‘I perceive what is in your heart and am merely doing my level best to bring to fruit what I perceive therein. So why do you blame me for absolutely everything?’ – in which case, it is true that I have nothing to fear but fear itself; which of course, makes me more afraid of fear itself.
On the other hand, my theory has it that the universe thinks I am being remarkably uppity (in the sense of the word as applied to lower-class people thinking themselves as good as anyone else), and in that case, fear, not to mention, Grovelling And Taking It All Back, are mandatory if I wish to avoid further smitings.
I suppose, this is the perfect time to stride nobly forth as if nothing at all could go wrong, just to see once and for all if the sky falls on my head as a consequence. It’s that or retreat into a hole until the end of time. And since I suck at not feeling fear of absolutely everything, yet lack the common sense to not test my theory, the Bad times, they are a’comin’. And all my enemies will point and laugh. I am not sure which prospect is worse.
Pseudo-philosophy time over, the Bossman did magnanimously take me out for steak and wine in order to get my iron levels up and my stress levels down; and it was only lunchtime, too. He then decided that we should crack on with the plan of Getting Me An A3 Scanner (though truly I had hoped to crack on with the plan where we Unblock The Washing Machine Already, it being a two-man job) but I suppose he has a sounder grasp of priorities.
(Which I will mention at length, bitterly and ad nauseam when the damn washing machine spews water into downstairs and wipes out their memory of That Time I Saved Us All From Them Nearly Blowing Up The Entire Building. Which was what it took to stop them going on at length, bitterly and ad nauseam, about my damn washing machine flooding last time, every time we met.)
So we went to PC World. Not the PC World we went to when I got that new laptop and it took several weeks (subjective time – we didn’t have to go out for sandwiches even once, for instance, but my soul up and died) because the staff were so hungover they bollixed it all up, over and over again. Nope, we went to a different one. Where the staff were so hungover they too bollixed it all up, over and over, and when we got it home we discovered it wasn’t really working after all. Which is a shame, because it is an utter beast, so large I can barely carry it, has all the trimmings of a fax, printer and everything, and was far cheaper than I expected.
People must really hate working in PC World.
Therefore on Sunday, we had to get up at the crack of dawn, prepare our glad-rags, run out as much of the ink as humanly possible, return the printer to (shudder) the original PC World – where the staff were polite, alert and sparkle-eyed and the transaction took roughly fifteen seconds, at which point I began to fear the Stepford Employees programme had begun – flee across the road to the pub, enjoy several pints with my sadly-neglected mates, endure the quizzing of said mates as to why the hell I was changing my name, nip home in the car with the new beast of a printer, tumble into our glad-rags, wrap the Gift and hit the wedding reception.
Which was all far too much stress for me, frankly. And I wasn’t even the poor Bossman, who was driving me hither and thither on errands that were all about me, like Miss Daisy herself, and so didn’t even get a single pint. But I was so very glad he was there, for I barely knew anyone at the wedding at all, as is the case at every single wedding I attend, and was by now so wound up I was practically vibrating with the effort to be effortlessly serene.
Which might explain why most of the people I did recognise steered clear of me all night.
Anyway, the bride looked lovely, the groom looked delighted, they were actually pleaesed with their Gift. so much so that I have given the word a thoroughly Medieval spelling, and so all was Well. I was most impressed by the way the dance-floor was the province of blokes all night – hurrah! reclaim that dance-floor, lads! – and I am almost certain we managed to leave politely before I accidentally insulted anyone. Which is all one can ask of a posh do where one is out of one’s depth.
And then the Bossman dropped me off outside my house, gave me a quick kiss and vanished into the night. Leaving only an empty patch in the fridge and a mountain of pie dishes to wash to remember him by till next weekend. Sigh.
And an almighty beast of a scanner! Without which, the above, ‘anonymoused’ Gift would not be preserved for posterity – except on the wall of its recipient, and whatever is the good of that?