The Habit of Art

There was an almighty crack as the dish hit the kitchen floor. I saw the whole thing in slow motion as it flew out of my hands and twisted like a circus acrobat through the air, to land and split apart on the lino covered concrete floor. It must have been loud, Mark is deaf and he even asked if I was ok.

I was actually, Ok that it, and I quite surprised myself as to how calmly I reacted. It was after all only a breakfast dish. I haven’t been diligent with the kitchen duties of late and last night as I cooked dinner I began the washing up. I’ve slung out the creature gathering metal dish drainer that I hated but that Mark insisted on keeping, even though he only used to wash up once a week. I say used to, I think he’s forgotten where the sink is. Oh no, I stand corrected, he does know, he makes tea, and what a drama that can be. It’s not, get at Mark week, but you know when you start to resent the other halves for the don’t do’s, I’m there. It only happens when there are to do’s that are not on the todo list in the right order. And today the todo list, which has been meticulously worked out, has already been forsworn in favour of writing twaddle for the Blog. Hi.

No this was a calm that took me by surprise. Not known for my delicate reactions to things that go wrong, I was taken aback by the brain just letting this little drama slip. Earlier that day I had almost stripped the wallpaper with the acidic rhetoric of, “Oh my God, why can’t I find my Debit Card.”

It’s been what you might call a normal weekend for us, which since October last year hasn’t had one normal day in it. I dropped the dog off at the dog sitter, he’s a doll, he was suitably attired ready for action, wearing his Asda Superman PJ’s and the telly on. She would spend the whole day being pampered and spoilt. We went off to the theatre, it’s been an absolute age since both of us were well enough to go out together, and then on Sunday we trotted off, dog in tow to the Farmers Market. All in all, a perfect weekend.

What did we see? The Habit of Art starring Matthew Kelly. It was funny, thought provoking and sad and warm in every way you would expect an Alan Bennett play to be. The only problem we had was the seating. It has to be said that seating in theatres does not allow for the over 6 footers. Mark had a bare centimetre between his knees and the balustrade of the circle. But the play, I was blown away, it was set at the rehearsal of a play about a fictional meeting between W. H. Auden and Benjamin Britten. As Auden’s speech turned to the thoughts of a writer who was so revered for his work that no one wanted anything new from him, I saw myself in his words. I realised that even though my work as a poet is little known I still find that the sentiment of his dialogue broke through to my heart. I write as I feel, as and when the feelings come to me. If I am sad, I write about the hurt that has brought about the feeling, as I see a scene of happiness I recount the things that are in front of me that send my mind into a flurry of rhyme. That doesn’t mean that I am always that way. It doesn’t mean that I am always sad, depressed and miserable. It doesn’t mean that I go around the fields every morning looking at the rising Sun, nor spend my time being the domestic Goddess. I don’t even spend my days moaning nor having a dig at Mark, well not always. It just means that you are seeing a snap shot of how I feel, or what I am imagining at the time. Alan Bennett did it again, he took comedy to the level of a reality that digs deep within your soul and drags the resemblance of your life into his play. It was, to say the least, amazing. And the cast was brilliant.

The day went without a hitch, even when we left the restaurant because we didn’t have enough time before the play began. Etiquette is a strange thing and has become a dirty word to use in our modern world. In my book you should not have to wait for more than ten minutes between being seated and having your drink order taken. That is another story. Needless to say, leaving the restaurant didn’t even raise my blood pressure. I’m glad we did actually, because the coffee we got at the theatre was lovely and I am beginning to fall in love with The Lowry in Salford more and more every time we visit.

I gave the attendant the wrong tickets, went to the wrong theatre hall, we didn’t want to go and see Hamlet in October, this was The Habit of Art in November. Remember as I said, we have missed so much due to hiccups. I walked away calmly and found the tickets we needed in my handbag, must clear that out some time! Not a tear nor tantrum in place.

We left and Mark did his usual, “The Twat Nav is wrong” which meant that we left Salford via the scenic route. I let it roll over me.

It was a perfect weekend. I know, that’s enough twaddle.

The dish, remember the breakfast bowl, the dish lay shattered in a million pieces, (poetic licence) I just brushed it up and got on with the cooking. My mind however sat on the side lines trying desperately to provoke me into a reaction. I was being taunted, and I just ignored it. Maybe I should write a poem about it?

I’m not back to normal, and I have no doubt that there are things that will be sent to try me over the rest of my life, and things I will moan about and write about, but for now there is a calm that covers me like a big cosy blanket. I’m having friends over for dinner Tuesday. There will be pie, steak in Ale. There will be homemade bread, and there will be a cheesecake. The fat club may not approve and I no doubt won’t make slimmer of the week this week, but I’m not that concerned. I have a house that looks as though I have just moved in, boxes and rubbish everywhere, my life is more important than the housework, and I have animals that need seeing to.

Where am I, where is the neurotic mess that swam around last week crying at the thought of washing up, looking at the dog hairs on the carpet and the washing piling up in the basket? I don’t know. I really couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t say why and when the change took place, nor whether this me will last, nor for how long. But the dish didn’t break for nothing, it made me realise that I can get through without the histrionics. It made me realise that even though I have a different make up to other people I can…

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