Truman Showesque

Monday 26 October

Monday 26 October

Uprooting after nearly twenty years and moving to a new house is always a big deal, especially when your chosen home is in a place called Alconbury Weird and the complete opposite to a creaky Victorian four-storey townhouse.

(It’s not Alconbury Weird, of course; it’s Weald, but everyone we told chose to mishear it, in an annoying sniggery way.)

And this transition has taken a bit of getting used to.

Let me explain. Our last house – as much as we loved it – had no double glazing, doors that didn’t close properly, windows that needed painting every time the sun had the audacity to shine, a garden that was so overgrown we’d once lost a visiting toddler for an entire afternoon, and so on. You get the picture.

Our brand new house – because Alconbury Weird-Weald (dammit) is a brand-new community – is perfect. Doors nestle snugly in their frames - a novelty - windows are double-glazed, Ruby doesn’t spend her mornings sniffing at suspicious patches of rising damp, and there are no creaks anywhere. Apart from our knees, of course.

I‘d worried that living here might mean I’d be constantly aware of Mr Young, because I assumed a new house would have paper-thin walls and ceilings. Ha! How very wrong I was. In fact, with no telltale creaky floorboards, he is able to creep up on me and silently materialise at my side, ghoul-like, without warning, so that our cocooned silence is punctuated by my startled shrieks.

It’s a truly serene world, here at the Weird-Weald (dammit), although slightly Truman-Showesque. It’s just a bit too perfect, down our road, although I don’t object to that. Everyone’s front garden is immaculate, and the same procession of people walk their dogs down our road at the same time every morning, followed by the same runners, who offer a cheerful greeting to the same people all getting into their cars to go to work. All our neighbours are the nicest people. Our grass is cut regularly, in regimented stripes.

At our old house, pigeons shat on my car roof gleefully as soon as I’d been through the carwash, we had one eccentric neighbour who put conker shells with nails in under the tyres of vehicles he’d decided had dared to park too close to his driveway, and we were regularly woken in the early hours by raucous drunks taking a shortcut home from the local Wetherspoons.

Not that I don’t miss it. But it is so nice to have a door that closes properly. Especially in the face of a stealthy Mr Young doing his best to cash in on my life insurance.

Tuesday 27 October

Now that Nancy is two, I am looking after her regularly while Harriet is being a midwife (yes, that’s how grown-up I am! I have three children with important jobs! No, I can’t believe it either!) My grand-daughter and Ruby are best friends, although only one of them is aware of this relationship; the other one spends most of these visits hiding under the bed after being ‘dressed up’ by having a pretty t-shirt thrown over her head.

But they do love playing catch-the-ball together, which consists of, well, throwing and catching a tennis ball. Fortunately, this can last for up to an hour and saves me from having to ‘let’s run around, Granny’, which is literally running around the coffee table and/or the kitchen with Nancy and Ruby and can get pretty hazardous; a small dog and a small child underfoot make it almost impossible not to trip over them, particularly as they have a habit of changing direction frequently.

We also play ‘hide and seek’ a lot. (There’s no hiding and no seeking involved, hence the quotation marks.) This consists of Nancy standing behind the small armchair in the sitting room. Every time. And me pretending I don’t know where she is, even though her head is above the armchair and she is staring directly at me.

Then we either play with the dolls’ house or watch Peppa Pig – Daddy Pig is my personal favourite.

I think Nancy is fond of me now. She made me a birthday card, anyway. Although she did want to eat all the birthday chocolates she gave me, so it’s hard to tell.

Wednesday 28 October

Apparently there are now four different animal sleep types; bear, wolf, lion or dolphin, depending on whether you sleep soundly, doze restlessly, get up when the sun rises or are at your most energetic late at night.

Mr Young is a bear who nods off in the early evening and dozes restlessly, and I am a wolf who can’t get to sleep before midnight, but once I do, I sleep very well.

I’ve analysed this and decided that I’m actually a cross-breed - wolf, crossed with an energetic and bossy starfish, who sleep-talks abuse and frequently punches Mr Young in the face when I’m not snoring. He finds this all intensely frustrating as he greets each new day exhausted and bruised after a night of being told to “Get back in the kitchen!” and fighting off my flailing fists. Or so he claims.

I, on the other hand, awaken refreshed and ready to start my day with a mug of Earl Grey and some inventive alternative facts from whichever politician has drawn the short straw on the Today programme.

I guess we could probably do with a bigger bed. Or maybe separate bedrooms. I’d probably just take up sleep-walking, though, and still seek him out for a nocturnal attack.

Now I come to think of it, maybe that’s why he’s upped his game with the daytime ambushes.

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