Tom has gone on a jolly to Abu Dhabi. He left yesterday morning, and whilst it is nice not having to nag him about being too noisy, untidy and smelly, both Betty and I are missing him.
Betty has been looking for him everywhere. I tried to explain to her that he has gone on a five-day piss-up with all his uni mates with the excuse of a friend’s wedding, and that he would not be found under his pillow or in his sock drawer. She gave me a very firm, slightly scary look, sighed and then said: ‘Da. Da. Da.’ Each ‘Da’ grew louder and shriller. Where ‘Da’ normally means anything and everything, I think that in this case the meaning was pretty clear.
In an attempt to keep Betty on side, I have been trying to keep her as active as possible so that she doesn’t have too long to contemplate Tom’s absence. If she were to decide that she is actually pretty annoyed about it, the next few days will be hell for me.
Yesterday morning, I cleaned the car, inside and out, whilst Betty joyfully bounced around on the seats and tried to drive the car away. She enjoyed it so much that I made a note to myself that playing in the car on the driveway will become a regular activity. Whilst cleaning, I found a half eaten chocolate digestive in the glove compartment, which I then flung over the hedge, only to be met with a: ‘Mmm thank you very much’ from the farmer on the other side. I was very embarrassed and tried to pretend that I wasn’t there, and that Betty had thrown it.
We had a painting session mid-morning, sort of. Despite the fact that when I asked Betty if she wanted to do some painting she said a resounding ‘YES’, she refused to do any painting whatsoever. This was after I had set it all up, squeezed all the paints out onto plates, wrapped her up in tea-towels, and laid newspaper everywhere. I then tried to use all the paint up myself by doing my own handprints and painting about 13 different pictures. Meanwhile, Betty didn’t want to get her hands dirty at all and so she reorganised the unused paint-brushes, and sighed a lot.
Early afternoon came, and we decorated her new playhouse in the garden. In doing so I happily discovered that Betty is just as happy with a framed photo of her beloved duck comforter (which I had hung on the wall) as she is with the real thing. This takes the pressure off me slightly as the real thing is on its last legs and I have been having sleepless nights about it recently. Once the house was decorated we then hosted a play-date in it for two of Betty’s lovely friends, Daniel and Molly, in the afternoon. They all had a great time pouring each other cups of tea and dismantling my arrangements. I was then out there at 11pm last night with the hoover and an extension lead, knowing full well that I wouldn’t sleep easy knowing that there were crisp and biscuit crumbs littering the carpeted floor.
Throughout the day we also managed to fit in a trip to the garage to see a man about a spark plug, read what felt like 300 books, and baked some fairy cakes. By 6.00pm Betty was practically begging me to put her to bed and when I tried to sing her usual bedtime song, she shook her head crossly and forcefully said: ‘Da. Da. Da,’ which in this case I think meant: ‘Please put me in my cot now and go away.’
I don’t sleep very well when Tom’s not here. Last night I just lay there, feeling petrified. All sorts of things were going through my mind… fires, burglars, murderers, mice in the playhouse, Betty waking up during a power-cut and me not being able to find her, me getting food poisoning and not being able to look after her. I finally fell asleep at 3am, whilst trying to plan back-to-back activities for Betty today, and having just received a text from Tom saying that he had arrived safely in Abu Dhabi.