TMiddy is in the first week of a month-long intensive CELTA course. It's strange to have him gone for the flat for so many hours every day. I find myself adopting a 50s housewifely persona - making him a pistachio and strawberry cake on Monday, getting up early today to wrap up a slice in greaseproof paper for him to take in his school bag. Planning the menus for the week and trekking off with a backpack to the supermarket so I can have his dinner ready - well, ready-ish - when he gets home every evening. I've even learned how to use the washing machine, which is apparently much simpler to operate than feared. If there's a spontaneous outbreak of ironing and dusting, I may have to go to the doctors.
When he rings me at the break, I ask him if the others are being nice to him, if people are sitting with him at lunchtime, what he bought at the station for his lunch. (A good housewife would make him his lunch: next week, I promise!) I tell him that I've been watching the ducks, the moorhen and the yellow wagtails out the window, as though he's been sent away to boarding school and needs updates about his pets.
In between bursts of domestic enthusiasm, I'm working on a novel. Can you guess where it's set?
Yes, you've guessed it. We've just returned from three hot days in Rome, revisiting some of the sites for the novel and getting obsessed with hooded crows.
And for Tikileaks followers, especially those who were SO concerned during my last trip to Rome that we were not properly hydrated, don't worry.
But now I must step away from the beer, and the baking, and write. Also read: here's an update on my one-story-a-day project.
141: ‘Sugar Baby’ by Chinua Achebe (1972)
142: ‘Abandoned Children of This Planet’ by Kenzaburo Oe (1996)
143: ‘Thirteen Wives’ by Steven Millhauser (2013)
144: ‘Sunday at Home’ by Stevie Smith (1949)
145: ‘My Wife is a White Russian’ by Rose Tremain (1984)
146: ‘The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street’ by Mavis Gallant (1963)
147: ‘Third Time Lucky’ by Rachel Ingalls (1986)
148: ‘Samson and Delilah’ by D. H. Lawrence (1916)
149: ‘The Wedding of Zeina’ by Ahdaf Soueif (1983)
150: ‘Camilla and the Horse’ by Christina Hesselholdt (2008)
151: ‘Mamasita’ by Jayne Anne Phillips (1975)
152: ‘How I Became a Holy Mother’ by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1976)
153: ‘Child’s Play’ by Elizabeth Jane Howard (1975)
154: ‘As A Wife Has A Cow: A Love Story’ by Gertrude Stein (1926)
155: ‘My Father, the Englishman and I’ by Nuruddin Farah (1997)
156: ‘The Time-Keeper’ by Elspeth Davie (1980)
157: ‘Amor Divino’ by Julia Alvarez (1997)
158: ‘The Passion of Marco Z—‘ by Anne Leaton (1976)
159: ‘Zoo Story’ by A. M. Homes (2013)
160: ‘The White Doll’ by K. Arnold Price (1985)
No repeated authors yet, but I'm starting to get nervous. Maybe by December I'll be reading flash fiction from Borneo. Recommendations are always welcome.
Also, if anyone knows a great deal about the goddess Minerva, please get in touch. TMiddy is no help this month - he's too busy putting on his business trousers and setting out each day to learn things. When he gets home each night, he looks at the noticeboard to see what I'm cooking for dinner. Next week, he says, he wants menu approval.