It's sometimes a relief to wake and discover a morning unsuited to leisurely park and outdoor type pursuits. Monday mornings are usually an unpleasant scene in the home of a slattern like me. Today though, the pile of ironing I saved for Sunday night (which by Sunday night I make the executive decision to put off 'til Monday) was neatly folded, ironed and ready for putting away. The two dining tables are pretty clear, they usually look like the world's most disappointing table-top-sale. "Come and get a vintage school letter covered in some black blobs of banana, a snapped crayon still in it's original jacket, some pants which may smell of washing powder, or wee, a selection of carrier bags complete with receipts, and your last chance to open that bill-will it be a final demand?".
The house looks OK ( for me) today. If I were to spend some time dedicated to sorting, tidying and cleaning, I could almost make it look normal. 'OK' will do me nicely though, I have made a firm decision to eschew the pursuit of domestic beauty. Perhaps one day, when the boys are slightly more dumbed down and begin to observe the unwritten social rules more reliably, I will become the ultimate wife and mother.
In my mind, I live in a large farm-style dwelling. There's an Aga, flagstone flooring, a Belfast sink and several Welsh dressers in my kitchen. The Welsh dressers house a variety of carefully selected, delightfully mismatched china, pottery and glass . A constant supply of fresh bread, cakes and casseroles emerge from the Aga.
Visitors come and go sporadically throughout the day, enjoying a slice of my cake, some home made lemonade in the summer, a big pot of tea or coffee in the colder months. We have either deep, meaningful conversations, or childish giggles over amusing anecdotal topics. Egyptian cotton bedding flaps on the line, along with vintage tablecloths adorned with exquisite floral patterns and embroidery.
I am always busy, yet at peace, I wear a serene expression and never say "I'm too busy/tired/haven't got time".The evenings are spent engaged in mind-expanding cultural activity, or hosting an informal dinner party. I'd make three or four course meals, decorate the large, scrubbed oak table with bud vases and sweet-peas, sometimes a hand-made place setting. Everyone will be laughing, maybe one guest will bring a guitar and we'll end with a sing-song around the open fire.
I will always wear a dress or skirt, and my children will only wear sports-clothes when partaking in sporting activity. My hair, long and flowing with that low-maintenance tousled look that celebrities spend a fortune trying to achieve. I'll go shopping with a basket everyday, and my herbs, fruit and vegetables will grow in the garden. The lady who owns the local fromagerie and I will be on first name terms, exchanging pleasantries as I try the latest cheeses. A large tree in the garden will support a tree house big enough for around five children to play in. It will be decked with bunting made by a friend who loves to sew, large aztec design rugs, posters on the wall saying 'Keep Out'.
We'll all be fit, breathing in fresh air, walking miles and eating fresh food...
Snap back to reality, and remind yourself of something you promised you wouldn't forget: Planning my escape from an unhappy relationship, and dreaming a little.
"I'd like a house of my own, with double-glazing, laminate floors and a leather sofa. I'd have my own car, and a computer. I'd meet a really nice man who treated me kindly, and we'd spend the evenings talking and laughing instead of in deafening silence. Perhaps I'll have more children, and I could enjoy being a mum, and make friends"...
That dream came true.