We’re not having a Halloween party. Nor a Bonfire Night party, nor Christmas or Easter or, it seems, any social gathering until Lydia’s child is old enough to look after itself. Lydia is viewing the impending birth with as much excitement as you would root canal work. “Once this baby is born, my life will be over!” she wailed when I opened the door to her this morning. Her arrival, half way through a lecture from Amelia on…..I’m not sure actually, I’d tuned out…..was most welcome even though the two of them together is not a marriage made in heaven. Predominantly because there has been no marriage between Lydia and Matthew and therefore any child of the union would be a “bastard” (guess who said that).
The gnashing of teeth started as the two clapped eyes on each other. Lydia is a “wanton woman who has ruined Matthew’s life by falling for a baby out of wedlock AND she’s used goods”. Amelia is a “viscous old crow who spits poison every time she opens her over used gob”. The temperature in my kitchen was minus below zero. “What do you mean?” I asked, not really wanting to but willing to do anything to avoid a minor skirmish.
Lydia slumped into a chair and exhaled slowly “I won’t be able to do anything when this baby arrives, I won’t be able to nip out to the shops, or go to a party and drink, or have a boogie, or have a life or anything!” she said, setting back the Women’s Movement a good few years. “So you can’t have any parties or anything” she added darkly. “Cos I won’t be able to come to them and that wouldn’t be fair, all you lot having a good old laugh while I’m stuck at home feeding, burping, changing and crying”
Amelia Sniffed at this point – not just a sniff but a Sniff. This indicates that a rant is forthcoming. Lydia shot her a look which diverted the flow of aggression and Amelia took to scrubbing my stainless steel enthusiastically.
“It won’t be that bad” I said, thinking back to the time when I’d thought exactly the same. I literally couldn’t cope with the buggie: it would never unfold when I wanted it to, would never fold up on demand and had a mind of its own. Then David bought me a Little Possum. I loved it so much – up to and including the time that I forgot I was wearing it and had Mac snuggled up to my chest and I leant rather heavily on the reception desk during a visit to work and woke Mac up with a start. He was fine and, after the two sleepless nights the memory gave me, so was I. I made a mental note to buy her one.
“That’s what you say” Lydia huffed, dragging a granola bar out of her bag. She now has to eat something every hour or she feels sick. Amelia was still going at my stainless steel like a thing possessed and I could tell she was building up a huge head of steam. I was right, by the time Lydia left at 1pm, my kitchen surfaces were gleaming, as was the floor, the sink and the fridge. Although I had to put up with a stream of invective about “slatternly behaviour, sheer wantonness, sluttish tendencies and loose morals” (she was referring to Lydia and not, for once, to me) for an hour afterwards.
I rang Lyds while Amelia was out collecting Mac – she’s promised to come back tomorrow as the living room needs a good going over.