Monday, May 28, 2007

sixth sense

The builders had been very busy on the cottage all week so I thought I would drop by and see how things were going as I was at a loose end this weekend. When I got there the cottage was deserted. I stood, all alone, in the empty kitchen. I stared at the wall. The wall was now completely plastered, unlike me unfortunately. My husband had forgotten to order supplies for the weekend. The nearest decent wine merchant is bloody miles away from here and I would rather suffer the raving DTs than be seen setting foot in Bargain Booze. The decorators had only finished the day before and the aroma of fresh paint and turpentine tantalized me like that heady mix of aftershave and pheromones coming from a handsome stranger on the crowded tube on a hot day. It had been a long time to get to this point. The cottage was old, that’s why we fell in love with it, but it was the wrong kind of old so we totally gutted the place and replaced that old oldness, which let’s face it was so last century, with the much more fashionable new old look that I’d seen when reading all those period home magazines that my husband buys in motorway services and hides under the mattress.

I stood and listened to the silence. I have spent my life learning to listen, it’s my craft, my art. My skill has become an intuition, a sixth sense. What I love to do the most and what I’m best at is simply to listen and to understand what other people think and feel, although obviously I only really want to listen to people who think and feel the same things as me. That’s why I listen to Radio 4 and only read the Sunday Times. I listened to the kitchen wall, then I talked to it, in fact a surprisingly good conversation was soon struck up, better than any with my agent that's for certain. With him it really is a case of talking to a brick wall. ‘Whose house in the village is the fairest of them all?’ I asked the wall. ‘Why your’s is of course, darling’, said the wall, ‘and you’re looking pretty damn hot yourself Rilly, if I may say so’. I smiled modestly and breathed deeply. For the first time in a long while I didn't feel so tense. I was breathing in more than air, I was breathing in the future, and happiness, I was breathing in hope, and above all I was breathing in seventeen different kinds of solvent based decorating products and it felt good.

When I got back from my communing with the new house Natalia was looking very concerned. ‘Mrs Super’, she said, ‘I’m worried about Milly’. ‘Whatever is the matter dear?' I asked, rather preoccupied with whether we should have ordered Dimity instead of Tallow with which to paint the inside of the broom cupboard. ‘I think your daughter has been spending too much time reading Wife in the North, Mrs Super’, she replied gravely. ‘I don’t know what you mean dear!' I snapped, 'it's quite impossible to spend too much time reading Wife in the North!' Suddenly the subject of our discussion herself appeared in the doorway. Natalia and I both turned to my daughter. ‘Well, she looks fine to me!’ I told Natalia. ‘Mummy!’ Milly began excitedly. ‘Yes Milly, what is it dear? You’ve had Natalia all worried about you, you know!' I said. Milly’s gaze shifted to somewhere over my shoulder. She hesitated for a moment. 'Mummy', she began, 'I see dead people'. I looked at Natalia, looked at my daughter, and grabbed my keys. I hoped the hope of the doomed that Bargain Booze was still open.

21 comments:

Mr Farty said...

PMSL - as usual. Thanks for brightening up otherwise dull day in the Canada.

Did you know there's another blog, very similar to yours? Wifey Oop North or something like that. Not as funny though.

Sarnia said...

You sound as if you are in the state of veneration: St. Rilly of Oop North.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

What very excellent writing:-)

Greetings from a little olive grove in Marrakesh

I Beatrice said...

In fine form Rilly - no mean feat after all that rain!

I'm glad you didn't attempt your own rendition of Wife's Ten Commandments for Builders though. Credit where it's due, she'd have been hard to beat on that front, don't you think?

Marianne said...

International readers now Rilly! Carry on breathing deeply, darling and all your dreams will come true.

spymum said...

Rilly, you are a Master! What else can I say? I am laughing my socks off as usual - each time I pop on you blow me away.

Loving the bit about Radio 4 and the Times - have you been rummaging around my kitchen, you minx you!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Are you sure that was the house, or the fumes, talking?

lady macleod said...

LOL You reign my dear. It was definitely the fumes eh?

aims said...

LOL - Talking to the house seems to have become a favorite past time 'oop North....I wonder if it's going to catch on over here - and if so - what would igloos have to say anyway?

BTW - nice to see the word verification thing is gone....

aims said...

Oh dear - almost forgot - don't you think you should get some help from Bruce Willis now that Milly is seeing dead people??

@themill said...

Rilly, you are the perfect antedote to this p*****g weather in the grim north. I think you've scared Wifey away.

Lizzie said...

I hope you're not so overwhelmed by stardom that you need a holiday, Rilly. The world, after all 'is your lobster'. It's all yours. At least for a week to ten days. I don't want to go and get walled up so don't please don't leave us. Sob

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Rilly, you are so cool, i cackled out loud! Do you think I could get some of that heady inhalatory mix delivered? Maybe they stock it at Bargin Booze? I love the getting rid of the OLD oldness...
Fab.
Pigx

Newmania said...

Hallo Northern woman . I just popped in to say that loved your comment on the enviromental fascists .

Funny and a good point.

Motheratlarge said...

Dear Rilly, you're the perfect antidote at the end of a long old week. What need would anyone have for Bargin Booze when they can read you on-line and feel better straightaway? "The wrong kind of old...." indeed. Very entertaining.

Kelly said...

Golly- if I applied the 'only want to read/listen to those that think like me...' rule to my life would feel very blonde indeed (radio 2, Hello, Evening Standard at a push.) Wait a minute, I am blonde. Not the sort of reader you would want to encourage, I'm sure...!

The thinker said...

We are all sitting here patiently waiting to see which bird will be flushed from the undergrowth first: WITN or SITN? Place your bets here ...

rilly super said...

hello mr farty sir, dull day in canada? a contradiction on terms, surely? wifey oop north? never heard of her!

sarnia, I think that is from all the holy water we used while the bathroom was being done

mayam, thanks for dropping by and for your very kind words. I have come over all unnecessry with your mention of your olive grove, sigh

beatrice, you are very kind, now, hmm, ten commandments...now don't go putting ideas into my head...

marianne, I count readers from south of the M62 as international these days, sigh

hi spymum, I always love to see your little periwinkle in my comments box, even though it makes me sneeze

M&M, well, walls have ears so they must have a voice as well

welcome back, me lady, I hope you aren't insinuating anything dear.

aims, the house is the only person i can understand around here. Although it is a northern house I have demolished and rebuilt it to such an extent that it's pronunciation would not raise an eyebrow in the most expensive restaurants in Islington

&mill, thanks, but I don't think it is me that has caused wifey to go away. She has proabably just retired to some writers retreat in Surrey for people writing books about how terrible the north who need to get away from it all for a bit

lizzie, with folks leaving coments like that then how could I ever leave?

PITK, I fear the exact combination of vapours is a trade secret, because believe me if I could bottle it the profits would make even the advance I am going to get for the strife in the north book look like the change down the back of wife in the north's sofa

newmania, thanks for dropping by. I'm afraid i couldn't resist leaving a little commentette on the lovely Mr Dale's blog, by way of a kind of votive offering to the God's of the celestial blogosphere

hello mother at large, please remember to support your local offy, the heart of the community, well, it is here

welcome kelly, and don't worry, all hair colours and styles are welcome here, although any white people with dreadlocks should perhaps just steer clear the of whole 'hair' subject when they visit

thinker, yes, sorry I have not been around much this week, half term and everything. As John Lennon said, life is what happens to you when you are supposed to be updating your blog. I will be back in the saddle shortly and thanks for not forgetting me..

The Secretary said...

Bargain Booze - how quaint!

I Beatrice said...

Where are you Rilly?

You've had it all to yourself for a week, and not a peep, or a whisper!

rilly super said...

secretary, I know, I can't believe my husband has made me live in a place where such a chain also deems it appropriate to open a branch, sigh

beatrice, thanks for your concern. I have been rather preocuppied, alas, but have now filed a brief report on the half term holiday