There is part of me that would like to go about looking like this all the time: to Waitrose, to fetch Sam from nursery, to get a coffee. There is within me – within us all – an hysteric on the verge of a nervous breakdown, whom I spend about 20% of my time trying to suppress. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t. CRY. You stupid crybaby!
Anyway I enjoyed very much wearing this get-up for this photo as I am feeling more on the verge of a breakdown than my normal 20%. I had a catastrophic weekend. My husband and I are admirable when the other is ill – we pick up the slack, take the kids out, let the other go back to bed. But when we are both ill, which we were this weekend, everything collapses.
It was only a cold, but what a cold! The kind that gets right into your bones and fucks you up. Not flu! Just a cold. But a badass one.
So looking after the kids became nearly impossible to do outside as we were both so exhausted and drained. We staggered out in the mornings both days but then had to come home to recuperate, while the kids (mostly Sam, but also slightly Kitty) did that thing that small children do when confined to the house for 4 hours straight, which is to go barking mad.
Then my father rang: my mother was in hospital. A heart attack. Not dead! But she is in a hospital far away as she was visiting friends at the time and so I cannot see her. And I know she doesn’t like hospitals and is suspicious of doctors and operations: she will have to have a procedure at some point, I don’t know which one.
I am not worried, let me make that clear. I believe in medicine! But she doesn’t.
Then the child of a friend – a real proper friend, not an acquaintance – was admitted to hospital with suspected encephalitis. Look it up. Not a thing you want your kid, or anyone’s kid, to have.
My impacted wisdom tooth is also playing up, the gum is all swollen and painful – I can’t close my mouth properly. And as a little kick up the bum for afters, my second piercing is now infected.
I reacted to all of this news and to the challenges of cabin fever, the demands of my small children and my minor physical discomforts by going mental and screaming at everyone and being a total fucking bitch all weekend.
What better way to process everything after such a time than by putting on Mad Lady’s clothes; this tulle skirt from Rare, £39.00, and cut-out shoes (Comptoir des Cotonniers, about 2 years ago) and a huge coat. I’m not sure I can keep the skirt, really. It’s too mad, too “fashion” – you do have to be properly thin and hipless and neurotic to carry it off – and, as I said, those are all things that I’m trying my hardest to suppress.