November was a busy month. As is now my wont, I took part in National Novel Writing Month. Unfortunately, I am not very good at writing 50,000 words, and prefer to write 100,000 words. More unfortunately still, I failed to write 100,000 words, and wrote just over 80,000 words instead. Moreover, I didn’t even finish the story I set out to write – I’d say I am about 1/6 of the way through it. Meh. Oh, and I also did some work. The last three days of November were somewhat hard work. Wednesday started at 7am, and I was at the hotel, having eaten, by 9.30pm; Thursday, I think I didn’t have to be available until 8am, and was probably back in the hotel room by 9.20pm (so it was an easy day); Friday started at 7.30am, and I was back at my actual house before 10pm. I didn’t get any writing done on those days, funnily enough.
You can appreciate, therefore, that I was very pleased to find myself with a quiet weekend. The things I had to achieve were as follows:
1. Have a shower
2. Drink lots of tea
3. Go to Liverpool and drink coffee with some friends
4. Go to Chester and drink alcoholic beverages with some other friends
5. Get home
6. Go to church
7. Eat some food
8. Drink some more tea
9. Pack the clothes out of the washing machine into the suitcase
10. Pack a few books and nice clothes
11. Write two extremely important e-mails which must not be delayed
12. Return Up North
13. Enter the house
14. Go to bed
There’s not really all that much on the list, really, and I was confident that I would be able to manage items 1-5 on Saturday, and the others on Sunday. I foresaw no problems. (I confess that I did also eat food on two separate occasions on Saturday, too. It would have been more, and I would probably have had a decent amount to drink, had I not been feeling a little bit ill.)
Everything was going well until just after item 7, as item 8 was underway, at which point it became apparent that I was developing a migraine.
Migraines are not, for me, as much of a big deal as you might think. Granted, they are very unpleasant: they lead to a sore head, occasional nausea and a feeling of general vagueness which extends to my vision. Also to parties in one or other of my visual fields – Sunday was a bit different, and chose the right visual field.
Like a sensible person, I took some strong painkillers and went to sleep for a while. When I woke up, I felt more human. When I had sent the important correspondence and eaten a bacon butty (disclaimer: gluten-free pitta bread was used. It did not rise. It was more an open sandwich, unfortunately), I was actually feeling more-or-less human; certainly well enough to drive for three hours.
Unfortunately, it was 8pm. More unfortunately still, the husband portion of the people with whom I am staying is in America, and I did not have the phone number of the wife portion. It seemed a bit silly sending a text message to America to tell the North of England I was going to be late.
Can you see where this is going yet? I arrived at 11, which was pretty good going. The house was locked up and the lights were off. It would have been better had the keys not been in the door. Had there been a doorbell, it might have made a difference. Had the letterbox been wider, or had I had my longer poky stick, I might have been able to reach through the letterbox and pull the keys out of the back of the door, so that mine would be able to turn the key. Had she been awake, she might have heard me banging on the door.
Anyway, I drove off and slept in the car. If you are going to try this, I would recommend that you always keep a sleeping bag and some really warm clothes on standby, and that you close your sunroof blind as a first resort and not a second one. Also, it’s good if the sleeping bag has two sets of ties so that you can tighten it round your neck/shoulders and face, and that you have some other layers to put on top of yourself. Finally, I would recommend the Honda Jazz as a good car in which to sleep, and the front seat as superior to the back for an overnight stay, although the back has proved its worth for short naps. (Do I have to say they’ve not given me any freebies for this? Well, they haven’t. And it’s stupid if I have to say. So there.)
I got dressed for work, with my warmest socks and both lots of thermal underwear, before going to bed; I thought more people might see me get changed in the morning, and I did not want this to happen. I then went to sleep, and woke up two hours later feeling really quite cold. Of course, I ran the engine and heaters for a bit (still had half a tank left), and then put on another jumper, some gloves and a scarf, and halfway-arranged my down-stuffed gilet on top of my lower half. This is when I moved into the front and closed the sunroof blind. This is also when I noticed the snow. My second sleep, which was from about 1.50 to 6am was much better, and it was the alarm which woke me up.
The first thing I did was to start the engine – the bits of car which weren’t inside my sleeping bag were quite nippy. Joy of joys, I remembered some cereal bars in the boot, and was able to open up the insides quite nicely to reach them. Poo of poos, another migraine started up. I am happy to report that the visual disturbances are less, well, disturbing at that time of day and year, and that it cleared up quickly enough to leave me feeling well enough to drive, although putting on my make-up was a pain. What was less fun was the excitement of another three migraines starting over the course of the morning, until about 10ish.
I don’t know what these other three thought they were doing, when the first migraine clearly hadn’t finished doing its thing. Presumably it was only actually one migraine, and it wasn’t very good at starting. Or perhaps it was Siamese migraines. Whatever – it did not leaving me feeling good in the head, stomach or seeing departments. I may not have done my best ever work today, although it could be that this wouldn’t be apparent to the casual observer. The good thing, though, was that I was not asked to drive at any point. This is probably because he valued his life.
It was a fun day, though, apart from feeling somewhere between vaguely ill and mildly ill (in three different ways, mostly all at once; not always at the same intensity for each element), I enjoyed it a lot. Until somebody started to play the saxophone. Stone pillars really are a wonderful place to rest one’s head.
I really don’t know what’s come over me. I have had this strange feeling of happiness and wellbeing (except for the bits where I am ill) ever since some time in July; possibly earlier. I can’t really explain it. It’s been amazing, though: long may it continue.