No one has ever thrown a surprise party for me and I’m not sure if this says more about me, my friends or my relationships. I know I would hate it, hate it to the DNA of my soul. I would hate it even if I was dressed neck to instep in Chanel and Louboutin, been manicured, pedicured, coiffed and vajazzeled within a millimetre of my remaining days. Even if my best friends and best acquaintances were having the best of times, on me. Hate it because I would be out of control.
My friends tell me I am not the worst control freak they know (I may have forced them to say this) but it is true that I do prefer to have my hand on the tiller. I prefer to drive than to be driven. Yes, Mr Carmichael your near misses and refusal to use the foot break has contributed to this state of affairs not to mention the driving instruction I have ‘willingly’ provided for my three, soon to be four, daughters……arrrgh.
I am happier shopping for and cooking dinner than to have it done for me because I know I’ll like it. I prefer to organise my daily timetable than have it prescribed by others. And I really prefer it when people do what I ask. The first time. Quickly.
However, I am not adverse to being delighted unexpectedly, not at all.
Yesterday I was delighted by a chemist shop. Mary Portas, I think, would be equally delighted because she could whisk it into a million pound success. Behind its dull dressed windows lurked an Aladdin’s cave, a Mary Poppins’ carpet-bag of delights. I went in for lip salve (daughter no. 2), Senacot (Mr Carmichael) and nail varnish remover (me). One abracadabra later and I emerged clutching an understated plastic bag filled with Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream (daughter no. 2 can borrow); OPI top coat, base coat and Aphroditie’s Nightie, a vibrant shade of pink (me); a bottle of Allure parfam (me); a couple of testers from Crabtree and Evelyn pomegranate hand and body lotion (me) which I will, after testing, be buying full size when I return and a restraining order on my current account. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I forgot Mr Carmichael’s laxatives.
Yesterday I was delighted, most unexpectedly, by daughter no. 4 unloading the dishwasher unbidden. And the day before by Andy Murray winning his first Grand Slam. I have never been a fan of Mr Murray’s, preferring the legs, looks and talents of Feds, Nadal and Novak Djokovic and I still wish that Andy would buy some new clothes but I surprised myself by wishing him well from the top of the match and was therefore delighted by the outcome.
At times I find a house, room or object in a design magazine so wondrous that I must turn the page immediately to prevent combustion from unexpected delight. This might be due, in part, to my age.
A frisson of fervour surprised me at a party not so long ago when an old amour walked onto the veranda. I am delighted my blood pumping, butterfly churning cells are still functioning without HRT. Never mind he’s bald now, the voice does it for me every time. I should make an appointment for botox or would that be silly?
Iris Murdoch’s The Sea The Sea has truly delighted me by meshing a page turning plot with Booker prize winning language. Stunned that I have never been drawn to her before, I shall devour her back catalogue. Thank you, T……..for giving me that forty minutes in Waterstones to discover this talent but please don’t be late for lunch again.
On holiday many years ago, when the girls were young, we loaded all four into a hired jeep and set off to explore our island. The morning did not prove to be the success we’d hoped (shipyards, monuments and a Caribbean soaking) so the highlight, for my daughters, was the fly blown donkey that Mr Carmichael, at very slow speed and still not using the foot break, had to circumnavigate on the way home.
Exhausted and mildly ratty we pulled over at delightful, diamond sand beach for Mr C to rest his clutch foot so I suggested a swim. Three of the four agreed they wanted to go back to the hotel pool.
“I’m hungry,” whined the fourth. “When are we having lunch?”
She may have said more but I was swimming away from her to join Mr Carmichael who can move fast when he wants to.
“Mummmmy,” I heard and guilt turned me to ensure all four were heads up. Treading azure, bath warm water I looked back to the beach and there, above my protesting offspring was a beach shack cafe hidden from the road by banana plants and a precipitous driveway. Talk about unexpected. Shout about delightful. The yummy food an added extra and the dead donkey relegated to second place.
After a few years in the wilderness I have started writing again. It is not so much the output I am delighted with as the fact I can’t sleep for ideas and still I look forward to getting up and writing. I have also bought myself some expensive pencils.
So, afternoon delight (not too much now), turkish delight (only in Turkey) but unexpected delights (on my terms) I’ll say, “yes please” to those.