The Boy In The Suitcase*

It’s raining cats and dogs out there, and the bad weather has driven Other People into the gym.  Yuck.  They are talking, loudly.  The peace of my sanctuary is disturbed.  And – even worse – they have brought Small Children with them.  The gym floor is not a suitable habitat for small children.  They are not dressed appropriately, they are noisy and…am just going to ignore all these unwelcome invaders and focus on my exercise bike.

Grumpy, as have been packing-to-go-home.  This is the saddest part of the holiday, I think.  It’s also a difficult task as:

1.  Have used half of certain bottles of eg suncream, moisturiser.  Not sure whether to pack them or to chuck them away.

2.  Weather is bad now.  So do I leave out trousers to wear this evening or a dress.  Or both.  And what about sun hat and sun blanket.

3.  How many pairs of knickers do I leave out for lunchtime, afternoon sleep, gym later, dinner, night sleep, gym tomorrow, travelling home.

4.  Not sure how books I need for the flight: just had one in hand luggage on flight out and finished it with hours to spare.  Purple rucksack is tiny and only holds one book.  Will have to beg Mum or brother to take a spare book for me.  Am going to read the new Poirot book – The Monogram Murders – and know Mum is desperate to read it.  Hope she’ll take a spare book for me, on condition I pass the Poirot to her when I’m finished with it.

5.  Have left out gym trainers, big black MBTs – to travel in – and silver fit flops in case the weather clears up.  So, need to stuff at least two of these three pairs of shoes down the sides of the case at the last minute, crushing and crumpling all the dresses and other clothes.

6.  Don’t want to go home.  Am just settling in to being Abroad.  And won’t be able to see Seb for almost another two weeks.  And all I have to look forward to on Monday is the Zolodex injection, the one with the knitting-needle-size needle.

7.  There is a huge bag of dirty washing which takes up half the suitcase, deforming everything else.

8.  As far as I know, there isn’t a boy in my suitcase, but it seems very stuffed.

On reflection, am going to dump the half-finished bottles, except the suncream, due to how expensive it is.

Am going to give self a pat on the back for packing anyway.  Well done me.

Need to see if there’s any way of watching the Boat Race here.

Happy Saturday lunchtime everyone!

*2011.  By Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis.  Nordic noir novel.

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Murder Goes Round And Round*

“Gone for yet another run,” the note says from my brother.  It’s propped up against the bathroom mirror so I can’t miss it.

No-one can accuse us of not at least trying to keep in shape.  “I’m in shape: round is a shape,” as it says on the attached photo.

Have caught the sun a bit on chest: for the first time in three years have the faint outline of a white vest-top on my skin with a light tan around it.  Admittedly, the tan is so subtle that no-one else will notice it, but still.  Even have a very faint watch mark on my wrist.

Have conflicting feelings about this.  It is nice to have a bit of a tan, of course. Look healthier and maybe a bit less fat.  But can’t help thinking “had so much radiotherapy and it didn’t work, still have cancer all over my chest” and “stayed out of the sun last year and the year before and still have cancer in my skin.”

“Can’t expect messages from Seb everyday asking how I am, when am having a lovely holiday and he’s at home writing a dissertation,” I say to Mum as I sit at the table in the parental room, eating my bean sprout, cucumber and romaine lettuce salad.

“Exactly,” Mum says.  “Why do you always have to criticise my outfits in the blog?”

“Those pom-pom shoes are peculiar.  Can I have a bit more wine please?” I say.

“No, you had far too much at lunchtime,” Mum says.  She’s still wearing the aforementioned turquoise, fuchsia and lilac skirt with white top.  She looks lovely.

“I only had three glasses at lunchtime,” I say, spreading cottage cheese on my cracker and putting some beetroot on top of it.  The white and purple make a satisfying picture.

Right, am dragging fat cancerous self to lift some weights.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

*1988.  By Hugh Pentecost.  Murder mystery.

Double Indemnity*

“So, what would you like to listen to: Madness, Duran Duran or Wet Wet Wet?” The nurse says.

   “Duran Duran I suppose,” I say.  

    The pieces of the bone scanner fly down from the ceiling and come to rest above my face, grazing my nose.  In front of me, the rest of the scanner forms a white arch eerily similar to a plastic Marble Arch.

    “Keep your face still,” she says.  “It will be over your face for five minutes.”

    The first five minutes of the Duran Duran CD are not a success and last an eternity.  At long last the scanner moves down to my neck and, turning my face, I say, “is there anything else to listen to please?”

    “Anything that came free with The Sunday Times,” she says.

    “Maybe something classical?” I ask.

    “Here we go,” she says, changing the CD.

    The machine moves down to my chest.  The CD starts: the unmistakable opening of Beethoven’s Fifth, which Wikipedia informs me is the call of a Viennese Yellowhammer – Beethoven called it “fate knocking on the door.”  It certainly bangs through the scanning machines.  Fate knocks on the door of the x-Ray department.  My Granddad had these opening chords in his doorbell, I remember, although it’s been sixteen years since he died and the doorbell went out of our lives.

 In 2012 Daniel Barenboim conducted the whole Beethoven symphony cycle with the East-West Divan Orchestra at the Proms.  Made it to three of the concerts: Symphonies 1 & 2, 3 & 4 and 7 & 8, but this one – 5 & 6 – was completely sold out on the first day.  Ah: that was fun, I think: on the first one sat in the Orchestra Stalls with MadFatRunner, behind the conductor. Had such a great view.  Earlier in the day we’d watched Hilary and Jackie** to prepare ourselves, which was tragically grim but worth seeing.  Lovely Proms.

The machine whirrs and clicks and moves down to my tummy.  Wonder if will ever feel well enough to get back to the Proms.  Must try to get there this year, I think.  

Am writing this whilst listening to the Proms 2012 Beethoven’s Fifth on YouTube.  Dad is reading The Actuary  magazine and chortling.

“What’s so funny?” I say.

“A member of the Actuarial profession has been found guilty of murder,” Dad says.  “They had a disciplinary tribunal and decided that this was conduct that fell below the standards of behaviour and integrity that members of the public might expect of an actuary. He’s been suspended for five years.”

“Slow down: I’m putting this in the blog,” I say.  Haven’t heard my poor old Dad laugh for months.

“Are you going to write some posthumous ones?” Dad says.  “We’ll miss the blog when you’re dead.”

“What will they be about?” I say.

“Just write some and don’t publish them yet,” Dad says.

So am going to write some secret ones, and someone can add them to the blog after am dead.  That is a good plan.

Despite spending all my time listening to Beethoven through scanning machines, have achieved a new Bright Young Thing.  He’s a 27 year old 6 ft 5 Croatian architect.  Let’s see if anything comes of him…

Right had better get in the bath.  Wish hadn’t shown Dad what is YouTube.  He is now playing Shostakovich.

“Haven’t we suffered enough?” I say.

“We don’t like this,” Mum says.

“It’s beautiful,” Dad says.  Don’t judge him too harshly, dear reader.  He is tone deaf after all…

*1944 Billy Wilder film in which an actuary becomes suspicious about a murder.  The first film to feature an actuary, although sadly not as a murderer.

**film about Jacqueline Du Pre the cellist and her multiple sclerosis and death.  She was married to Daniel Barenboim.