Today has been a day, once again, monopolized by paperwork I feel as if I have been carried forward , like a rather unseaworthy small craft minus its rudder or sea charts, buffeted by the flotsam and jetsum of documents which are, it seems, an inevitable result of a French divorce.
A lone woman riding a sea of paperwork ,where official forms roll in and out like crashing breakers and where God willing and with a fair wind (and a great deal less money than I started out with) I will be washed up on the shores of sanity and singlemotherhood with barely a bruise to show for my treacherous journey and the remnants of my family intact. It has been a day that went past being challenging to exhausting and possibly beyond.
So it was that this afternoon having staggered into the post office with an armful of envelopes to go to various european bodies, an assortment of tile orders to be dispatched and a heap of documetns to be translated by an official translator , some into French some into English , and staggered out with my purse much lighter, I flopped with relief and the satisfaction of a goods days work and I sat in the warm sun waiting for youngest to be catapulted out of college.
As I sat, I watched two old ladies slowly and methodically dead heading hydrangeas together in the garden of the restaurant .Neither was very steady on thier feet and both were rugged up like arctic explorers despite the sunshine. Neither I imagine would see 80 again. They worked slowly and methodically and in silence as if the other was not there. The aged parents of the owners perhaps or two old devils who had eaten well, drunk the cellars dry and couldn't pay the bill and were being allowed to work off thier debt in the garden. Of course the latter theory would explain thier faultering gait and thier slightly wobbly demeanour.
This is the sort of thing my mother would be doing ( dead heading faded blooms, not over indulging in red wine and bill dodging) . If she were alive she would be I suppose of thier generation, a generation of women who seemed always to be occupied, never still, always tweeking something or other, never failing to be busy as if unwilling to leave themselves time to let thier minds wander back to people and places long since dead and gone. Wise women who refuse to dwell on the past.
Off they shuffle, totttering in silence never a word exchanged.
For me now there are barely enough hours in the day to accomplish all the tasks alloted, I frantically juggle ironing, washing, gardening, cooking, dirty plates and laundry piles, and try and fit enough creativity to try and earn a living in between all that and taxi and livestock duties and the inevitable homework and bed time routines. The house and garden are all desperatley in need of a grandmothers steady hand. Meanwhile I spin like a dervish arms thrown wide in exasperation clutching at loose ends of our lives to try and keep hold of the strings that tie this small family together.
Tomorrow I have yet another rendevouz with yet more paperwork all necessary all expensive journeys drinking up expensive fuel as I shoot bakwards and forward between government departmenets trying to work out how I am meant to bring up two boys and pay the bills on 646€ a month.
I wonder if I might adopt ( or even possibly kidnap) one of those calm seceteur wheelding old dames ?
As ever I am too slow on the uptake for as I ponder they are whisked away by the flashy restaurnt owner in her flashy black car.
Never mind there is always tomorrow, if I see them here then and I am quick enough I might bag one and let her free range about my garden grazing on the leggy shrubbery to her hearts content.
Ah well I can but dream !
I do not yearn for the youthful vigour of landarmy girls or a jolly thorough young man or even old adam teh gardner from the ladybird book of my childhood. I want a woman like these. Someone like the old dears adn surrogate aunts of my growing up with whol I can sit downa fterwards admire the garden eat home made sponges and drink tea from china cups with saucers. I think tomorrow if they are still again I may well swoop down and kidnap one of them, bustle them into my car safely hidden under the pile sof coats which seem to breed on the back seat amongst hte abandoned books and biscuit wrappers, adn take her home to prune my roses. Its eaither that or put an advert in the Lady magazine « An opening has arisen for a surogate Grandmother, duties include a little light gardening in contemplative silence, tea drinking and hand patting of over worked single mother , must enjoy Gin, times crossword and ironing. Will be expected to provide own secaters adn gardeing gloves »