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The Tizz

authenticity Jun 29, 2020


I got myself in the most terrible tizz this weekend. Just inside my head, you understand? I wasn’t throwing plates, trolling strangers on social media or evicting the family so I could have a hissy fit in the peace of an empty house, but I did experience a kind of muddly, outraged brain that wouldn’t let me sleep and became terribly cross and rather ludicrously outspoken about all manner of things I would do far better not to concern myself with.

I was mostly cross about the endless rain. My whole being wants to be pottering around the garden, and though Ste, who is wholly immune to the weather, tells me it is quite possible to garden in the endless torrents of terrible windy rain we have been enduring on and off for days now, I am having none of it and choose instead to brood, a cup of tea clutched between my hands as I sit in the conservatory staring at what needs doing and what cannot be done, while I weigh up how my own first world outrage at domestic inconvenience so quickly escalates into the kind of outrage I can apply to everything from life going back too normal too quickly for my cautious liking, to the weird spot under my lip, gender politics and the J.K Rowling debacle, the very premise of “cancel culture”, the behaviour of a tiny minority of Liverpool FC fans causing aspersions to be cast upon our entire city, the preposterous demands of a woman (who shall not be named) who wants her way but will not alter her attitude in a manner that thus allows us to accommodate her, and finally my overwhelming sense that the world isn’t behaving quite as it should, and who knows where we will all end up if we don’t collectively change our attitude to EVERYTHING.

I mean, really. Clearly something is going astray in a persons head if she is working herself up into a frenzy about ALL THE THINGS!

Amidst it all, I feel frustrated. Frustration is the most awful of emotions because it is both in and of itself: one cannot soothe it because if it could be soothed by the removal of the barriers causing it, we would not be experiencing it. There is something I like to think of as the “terrible middle” – a point when our endeavours look to have caused more issues than they were designed to solve and it rather feels as though nothing will ever be right again. And so it is here: the house still upside down as I continue overthrowing our entire domestic arrangements in favour of that which it is now clear, would suit us better.

Furniture isn’t where it should be. (Indeed one piece of that I have deemed essential is still in Ikea, and none of us are in any hurry to go there while we can’t enjoy meatballs along the way). There is a rug I have now taken back to the shop three times. I have got pots of paint all over the place. The new gravelled area at the end of the garden isn’t completed because the weather keeps getting in the way and Finley has declared himself a roadblock in the way of the schemes I have carefully conjured in my head and remains insistent that not so much as a bedside chest will leave his room without two things happening beforehand: he will give express permission for such a travesty to occur only when he feels like it, and we mustn’t move ANYTHING if he is in the house because his brain will have a duck-egg at the resulting chaos and he would rather such nightmares occur in his absence – which would be all well and good if he ever left the house!

But of course none of this is really about the house.

Yes, we are very definitely smack bang in the very heart of the “terrible middle” but ordinarily I would find that exciting and revel in the possibilities of all that I am creating: but right now I feel as though it is so dreadfully hard to have faith in a world that seems to want to eat itself, that it is as a result, impossible to have faith in what would once have been givens at home.

So I got in a tizz. And I had a little cry. And I kept throwing myself at Ste for impromptu hugs and phoning my Dad for reassuring agreement that I am not alone in thinking that PEOPLE IN GENERAL ARE BEHAVING VERY BADLY INDEED and I wandered about aimlessly and couldn’t rest, or work, or read and the nights were too hot too sleep well and I have a very trying ailment that makes me feel a bit mental because I can’t get comfortable and Stevie is coming to stay at the weekend and what if the house isn’t lovely for his return (though he will of course, at fourteen, barely notice!) and on and on my despair went, until Finley, lovely, slightly stroppy Finley, took me by the hand and led me to the sofa and told me something that was balm to my hysterical soul…

“It’s time for some Monty Don, Mum”

And so it was. He made tea, and we watched Gardener’s World for hours on end, my curly-topped angel learning things about hostas he never needed to know, as we shared a bowl of popcorn and he snuggled up to me as if he were five years old, knowing exactly what I needed and quietly reminding me that when our heads gets in a muddle there are ways and means of repairing the holes and gaping tears in our silly souls with nothing more than a pot of traditional breakfast tea and the bliss that is watching Monty Don carry his teeniest dog around his glorious garden in a little shopping basket. Simple pleasures that allow us to lower the volume on the hysteria in our heads and bring us back to ourselves. To what really matters and to all that we can affect change in, without sending ourselves into a spin, about all that we can’t.

Now if only it would stop raining and Ikea was selling meatballs again. It won’t be long now, will it?

*Grab your Housekeeper's Notebook and make a BIG LIST of ALL THE THINGS that are making you feel crazy. Write until it is all out of your head then go have a celebratory cocktail. All shall be well... 


*Settle down in the soothing company of Monty Don and let this gentle man soothe you with his wise and funny take on creating your own outdoor sanctuary in Down To Earth.




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