During that fifth week, you look behind and can see nothing. Ahead of you is darkness, too. Little things that you take for granted, you wonder if you’ve only imagined them: Radios Three and Four; a full English breakfast; calling into Murray’s club for a pint and a read of The Guardian. The cool nights. The greenness in the mornings. Most of all of course I miss Herself and all the rest of the family.
Last week was horrible. This one looks much more cheery. Now we’re over ‘the hump’, or we’ve turned the bend, breasted the hill; and standing upon that peak in Darien, we can look at one another with a wild surmise. There’s a tiny dot of light ahead now. It’ll get a wee bit bigger every day.
Padraig and I celebrated this significant weekend with our hubbly bubbly pipes and some grape juice. (I don’t know what we had been thinking of the other week when we mixed sugar and yeast with the grape juice, mind – I think it made it go bad: I felt quite ill the next morning.) Tom joined us for a while and talked in a loud voice.
Now his wife has joined him and he’s moved out to a hotel. The house heaved a metaphorical sigh of relief.
Less than five weeks. 33 days, actually. Only 20 episodes of EastEnders.
The grape juice having left me somewhat debilitated yesterday, I watched more telly than usual. That ‘Mersey Beat’ was quite enjoyable. I’ll watch it again, next Friday. One has to be careful, though – I picked up my rather severe EastEnders habit from BBC Prime whilst living in Istanbul. Now it looks as if I might be going home with a Mersey Beat problem.
The Archers, however, is not a habit or a problem, it’s a lifelong addiction. Maybe I could be free if I worked at it, but why bother? Where’s the harm? It’s like a friend you’ve had since early adolescence. Maybe a whole year goes by without seeing each other, and then you’ll spend months in daily contact. Out here, I get email synopses. That’s a splendid idea. I could of course listen on the Internet, but don’t fancy it: The Archers is never a full-on, sit down and pay attention experience. It’s something to listen to whilst I’m shaving, or cooking, or cleaning, or driving.