22 May 2013

summer in the comfort zone

You know the "what would I do if I won the lottery" conversation? My best friend and I have it frequently. Sometimes gin is involved. In fact, gin and the lottery game are positively correlated. Me and her bought lottery tickets together the week it was launched in the UK. We were just old enough to play (though technically not old enough to watch the inaugural draw on the pub telly. Ahem.)

So what would we do if we won? All the selfless generosity items have to be ticked off first; pay one another's mortgages (and those of all one another's brothers), buy local pet rescue, make record-breaking charity donation. You know the script.

Once that's out of the way, the selfish indulgences can be debated. And that's always more interesting.

It's taken nearly twenty years to be absolutely sure what my first selfish indulgence would be. It would be The Summer Of All Summers.

On May Day, I'd spring the kids out of school and tell the Breadwinner to quit his job. We'd fly somewhere beautiful and decrepit for a couple of weeks, probably Procida, where there's genuinely nothing to do except eat your own body weight in lingua di bue pastries. Returning to London, having got our heads around being bajillionaires, we'd start a Summer of solid gold-plated wonderment; the Chelsea Flower Show, the Hay Literary Festival, a family-friendly music festival or two, a full fortnight of fabulous seats at Wimbledon. We'd string out the gallivanting until the last night of the Proms in September, and then go to Japan to watch the trees change colour from an onsen in the mountains.

Of course we'd stay in a string of achingly beautiful guesthouses and powerfully inauthentic yurts throughout, the weather would be the colour of a peach, and we would all become gently bronzed and gorgeous. Meanwhile, the traditional Procidan fisherman's house we bought for thruppence would be under renovation by Miuccia Prada herself, and our relatives' bickering (over the value of first brother's mortgage being twice that of second brother's) would have escalated and required arbitration.

It would all be rather nomadic, incredibly indulgent and gently adventurous.

Funnily enough, we're not living that Summer.

Mr Breadwinner is working a very, very long way away for a wee while, so I am currently sole custodian of two small children, an elderly cat, a draughty old house and an overgrown garden. If you're a little bit neurotic (I think I just heard him snort at the "little bit" from nine thousand kilometres. Amazing.) this level of responsibility can make you an eensy weensy bit risk averse.

We're not doing bikes. Or scooters. Or secateurs. Or lawn mowing. Or balancing on low garden walls. Or playing the how-long-can-I-hold-my-breath-in-the-bath game. In fact, let's just not do baths. Too slippery. Did I really say we'd make rhubarb jam? We're not doing boiling sugar. Sorry.

In fact, this week is exactly the opposite of The Summer Of All Summers. As if to underline the point, it's actually just started hailstoning on my clean washing line.

But we are knitting, and reading, and watching coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show on the telly. We're ticking off the days, trading for cooperation in whatever currency seems most appropriate: Merida stickers and playdates for her, carbs and chewy silicone kitchen utensils for him, online window shopping and caffeine for me. Safe safe safe. Well inside the comfort zone. Only a few more days to go.

I want to thank everyone so much who voted for our 'Flatterned Man' competition design after reading this post. You are lovely and I appreciate it. Really, during a tough week, it's disproportionately and outrageously uplifting to know that the numbers are still creeping up. There are still a few days left to vote, and while our tally is pretty respectable, we're a good long way off the top spot.

But I've done some sums and if everyone who reads my YA posts were to vote, we'd be neck and neck. So, if you'd like to know about how I came to enter this little design contest, click here. Or if you've got a spare twenty seconds to just give me a wee boost, you can click on the 'Flatterned Man' by me & Robin here.

It's not going to be the multimillion Summer Of All Summers, I haven't bought a lottery ticket after all. But you could help me to the runner up position and it won't cost anyone a penny!


  1. fingers crossed that you will win! Love your shawl, and the construction of it.

  2. Good luck with your competition and the last few solo days! x

  3. all the best! hang in there!

  4. Oh the summer of all summers does sound amazing. Here's hoping your current summer brightens markedly! Off to vote again!

  5. That shawl is looking so very good :D

    Predictably I guess I'd suggest you avoid pans of boiling dye liquor too in your endeavour to avoid injury while parenting solo!

    That summer ... if only!

  6. Your shawl is looking lovely as is your summer of all summers.

    Would you not spend some on yarn?!

    Good luck with the competition I have already voted.

  7. Your shawl is gorgeous! Good luck staying sane until the Breadwinner comes home with the bread :) Voted for your entry in the competition - hope you win!

  8. hey, if you won the lottery you might not want to post on the blog much anymore. you would be too busy spending and sharing your millions.
    and that would be so sad for all of us.
    i voted on the competition already, too.
    let us know the results.

  9. i voted, and i love your writing.

  10. My hubby and I frequently play the lottery game, too. We usually end up roaming the world in search of the perfect next meal. Your shawl is knitting up beautifully. I want to knit her new Bolt pattern, which is very similar looking.
    Good luck with the design contest. Going to vote now!

  11. I think I am going to make that shawl...My needles are only 24" do you think that is long enough? I don't really want to buy new ones but if it will be too scrunchy I might splurge. I found some awesome yarn, too. It will be on deck soon!

    1. I think mine are 80cm, but I'm sure yours would do if you don't mind a little scrunching :-)

  12. If I won the lottery I will... put it in the bank. #freakingasian

    Voting in a bit.Good luck x

    1. And if I know Singaporeans, it'll be in gold bars, lol!

  13. I so love your shawl- so pretty.
    Holding my breath for you :)

  14. Your summer sounds quite relaxing, actually :) This summer I hope to teach my daughter how to sew - she doesn't seem interested but I feel it is something everyone should know how to do. Hope your summer is off to a great start! XOL


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