I can identify at least five types. Leaves on the decking in my backyard (disclaimer: not pictured). It’s one of those wild mid-November days when flying golden leaves make me think of the tornado scene from The Wizard of Oz – flying leaves, flying furniture, flying old ladies on bicycles who turn into witches. Only that was black and white.
Silver birch (bottom of neighbours’ garden [neighbours who by some quirk of Victorian development are the only ones in the block of terraces to have a garden]), lime (come over the roofs from the row along the edge of the busway), hawthorn (ditto, or from the mystery field at the far corner of the terraces [dog walker heaven, full of shit, lined by plum trees that bear small but sweet orange fruits in late July]), sycamore (edges of same field, or small specimens along the hedge next to the limes) and oak. Oak? No idea. I’ll have to go and find it sometime; I didn’t know we had any nearby, but with this gale it could have travelled. Despite living in one of the North West’s reputedly shittier towns, I’m happy to report there are quite a few trees in the area along with quite a few patches of greenness, some of them officially sanctioned parks, some of them mysterious patches of grass and shrub and plum trees. The boy and I even realised there was a tulip tree on our walk into town the other day. We hadn’t realised until we saw its autumn leaves scattered across a flight of steps. And we only know it’s a tulip because of the wildlife club at a nearby museum where the boy had made a leaf-identification book a couple of months ago.
The tea must be brewed now. Yes, all of this has been flitting through my head while I waited for a cuppa to brew. Perhaps that’s why I’m known for my strong tea. Colleagues at my last job had a mug made for me when I left that read: Stewed not Brewed. I chipped the edge of it in the kitchen at my current job last week.
Today, I called in sick. Cue many thoughts about whether I really am sick. It’s not that I feel particularly guilty (sure, you reply, that’s why you have to point it out like that). It’s that I worry too much about what people think of me. And the thought that they’re thinking I’m the sort of person who calls in sick with a cold is too much for my psyche to bear. So I justify myself to nobody, in my head. Then I decide, completely on a whim, to start writing this diary. Subconsciously, I’m probably doing it just so that I can explain to the computer screen and you, my imaginary reader, that I really am sick. It’s not just my normal winter cold; it’s a cough and cold on top of a cold. I spend September to March every year either having a cold, developing a cold or trying to get over a cold. I’ve had dodgy sinuses all my life. Apparently, this is why I feel tired all the time – even when I’m asleep I get very little deep sleep. Doctor’s suggested solution: stick my head over a bowl of steaming water five times a day. Sure, doc, cos it’s not like I have a job, or a life. Anyway, I tried it when I had a few days off. Sinuses cleared a little from their baseline state for about twenty minutes each time then back to their usual state.
Cue another thought: Why did I write a job or a life? Why do we have to treat the two as separate, as if life is something that happens only after 6pm or crammed into the weekend? More on that and my perpetual search for the point of it all another time.
My tea is nearly drunk. I might go straight onto another mug. I went back to sleep this morning at 9.30 and woke up again at 1.30pm, which means I have a lot of tea drinking to catch up on. It’s going dark now (3.45pm) and I’m caught between the desire to rush out into the weather to get some fresh air – a phrase that carries vast meaning in my life associated with my uber desire to run away from it all to the mountains – and the desire to wrap up in a blanket, drink hot chocolate, pluck another book from the shelf and hibernate. So I’ll do what I always do when I can’t make a decision, or I know there’s some task that needs doing but I’ve overthought it into some mammoth undertaking: make another cuppa.