- Write On.
Hi lovely people,
First of all, thank you for reading the Vanessa Wilde blog and for all your support thus far.
There won’t be any Sunday night posts for a while as I am currently working on a Vanessa Wilde book. I’ll let you know how I’m getting on from time to time and you will, of course, be the first to learn any news should I get past Chapter One.
I’ve never written a novel before – only a funny fishing book called ‘Extreme Fishing’ – which my friend always reads incorrectly. Extreme Fishing, Maurice. FisHing! Some people – dirty, dirty minds.
I’ll keep you posted with my progress on the steep, arduous climb to obscurity.
With love and good wishes,
PS Margaret Atwood is coming with me on the writing journey via Masterclass (which I thoroughly recommend to all budding novelists) and bestselling British novelist extraordinaire, Katie Fforde, has agreed to hold my hand when I get scared or ‘can’t go on’. Thank you, Katie.
- Doctor in The House.
The morning starts chaotically with me running late to drop Sienna at Nursery. Vita is in the buggy still eating her Marmite soldiers and dippy egg, unaware of the speed she is travelling across the tarmac of The Close. “Why are we always late, Mummy?” shouts Sienna trying to keep pace, carry her bag and Tiggy and Taggy, her cuddly hedgehogs.
“Come on!” I call. Sienna suddenly stops and refuses to go any farther. “I don’t want to run.” I pick her up, throw her on my back and we gallop to Nursery, Sienna giggling in my ear.
As I stroll back to the house, I can see a very pale Doctor Nick looking up at the windows of his house, pacing this way and that. He tries his front door handle and looks under the welly rack outside the door. “10 stabbings and now this,” he says kicking a terracotta plant pot. “Ow!” He hops holding his foot.
“Morning,” I say
“Nessa!” He is VERY pleased to see me. “Oh thank god.”
Me: “I wish my husband would say that.”
Nick: “Did Nanny Sara leave the keys with you?”
He looks dejected. “Been on nights,” he says looking under the doormat but there’s nothing there. “Just done 18 hours straight.” He suddenly brightens, “You have our spare key! With the Legoman In your cupboard.”
Me: “Come in and have a rummage.” I say, unlocking my front door.
He follows me into the kitchen and opens Si’s key cupboard, colour-coded and organised like a serial killer’s mind. He searches up and down the rows and then looks at me disappointedly. There’s no spare key. His eyes are like two piss holes in the snow and he is swaying a little. “I need sleep,” he moans.
Me: “Crash in our spare room. I’m in and out all day. Make yourself at home. Help your self to anything.”
Nick: “Anything? You sure?”
I rescue a wailing Vita from the buggy outside, shake the egg and toast crumbs onto the grass and bring her inside. Nick is already halfway up the stairs. “Spare room’s first on the left. Have a good one.” I say, internally congratulating myself for being so neighbourly and so grown up for being able to handle a hot man sleeping in my house, unchaperoned.
I hear the spare room door shut and I make myself another coffee. I would do anything to go back to bed too but I’ve got to get ready for ‘baby swimming’. Groan. As I pack Vita’s nappy bag and organise her swim stuff I have a flashback to Nick, sporting his yellow lycra, climbing up my ladder and pressing into me whilst I was attempting to rescue Sienna, trapped in her room. No-one looks hot in lycra – especially a neon shade of urine – however, Doctor Nick does. Or is it the outline of his willy which makes the shiny cheapness of the material and lurid colour fade into insignificance? Maybe. Definitely.
I ponder other packages on The Patch. Si has a lovely package but his is better encased in black Calvins, and navy chinos, teamed with black loafers. He has an all-in-one lycra cycling leotard. And. It. Frightens. Me.
I strip off my clothes at the bottom of the stairs to change into my swimming costume and realise it’s in my room. I jog up in my underwear, open the door and let out a scream. Doctor Nick is in our bed!!
Nick jumps out of bed with a yell. He is butt naked and I get a full-frontal eyeful.
Me: “The spare room is next door!”
Nick: “I’m dyspraxic!”
Me: “Then why did you become a trauma doctor?”
Nick: “I like a challenge.”
I hear the front door click open. Si walks in and looks straight up the stairs to see a naked doctor and his wife, sporting nothing but over-laundered peach underwear. Nick’s eyes are bulging out of their sockets. He knows how this looks. “Morning.” He says feigning nonchalance.
“Hello, Doctor!” says Si, carefully picking his way over my discarded clothing in the hallway. He greets Vita in her bouncer in the kitchen. An exhausted Doctor Nick pleads, “Can I go back to sleep?”
Me: “Yes, of course. Sorry.” I rummage in a chest of drawers, find my costume and am outta there in a flash (so to speak). As I close the door quietly, he says, “You’re a peach.”
I rush downstairs, pick up my clothes and enter the kitchen. Si is making himself a coffee. He smiles at me. I am cross he is so cool. “We could have been shagging! Why are you not angry?!”
Si: “He’s obviously come off nights and forgotten his key. Am I right?”
Me: “Yes. But..”
Si: “That annoys you?”
Me: “Because you don’t think I’ve got the magic anymore! You don’t think I’m a ‘hot piece of ass’!”
Si: “Reverse that ass over here…”
And, dear readers, while the good doctor slept soundly in our marital bed (and Vita watched Mr Tumble), we had a little tumble of our own in the kitchen, shaking the key cupboard so vigorously Mr Legoman dropped out. Oops.
- Bathtub Curve
If only our bath looked like the one in the picture. Military accommodation is more circa 1978/79 – the Winter of Discontent-ware – not avocado but poo brown and cheap.
Anyway, the other day I knew Si was coming home midweek to spend a rare night with me so I got the kids to bed early (and they actually went to sleep), had a bath (I know), put oatmeal on my face, pumiced my feet, shaved my legs, pruned my lady garden, and did all the stuff mothers never have time for anymore to make me look less circa 1978 than my bathroom. I massaged my body with almond oil and found a silky negligee I hadn’t seen for seven years and popped it on. I was up for a very early night.
Si unlocks the front door and walks in, muddy and still dressed in camouflage. He jogs up the stairs and is sad he’s missed story time but is very pleased to see me in my slutty negligee, my hair carefully tousled, with just a hint of red lipstick.
He starts taking his clothes off in a hurry. “I just need to jump in the bath, I’ve got sweaty balls after the live firing exercise on Salisbury Plain.”
“You were firing your balls?”
“No, but you can standby to receive some nut-juice tonight, love, ” he says adopting his an ancestral Yorkshire accent, with all the charm of the North to boot.
“Your powers of seduction know no bounds,” I say huskily. I’ve had that cold that’s been going around. I give my nose a rub and then blow it noisily.
Si does a little-naked dance shaking his willy in alternate circles. It’s like snake charming on speed. He flexes ‘his guns’ (biceps) and – I know what’s coming next… “These swans need feeding,” he says as he makes beaks out of his hands so he arms look, not so much like swans but maybe duck-billed platypuses. His kisses each of his impressive biceps and runs into the bathroom. I hear a splosh and that’s when I suddenly start stuttering, “No. Wait. No.”
I creep into the bathroom to see Si reemerge from under my bath water – “ah that’s better,” he says but it doesn’t look that way because his whole body is now covered in my hairy trimmings and he has turned into a werewolf. He peeps down at his Jack Nicholson chest and the hot romantic mood that we had going changes. “Have you been shaving your bits in the bath again?”
“No.” I say weakly.
- The Return
So just when was I beginning to get some work done (apart from my bloody chair keeps going down as I’m trying to type. I have to keep pumping it up and pfffffff, I’m going down again and not in a fun way. And weirdly it used to be, didn’t it? Can’t think of anything worse now. I’d want to squirt it with Milton first. I mean look what happened to Michael Douglas. HPV people!)
Anyway, just as I’m beginning to start writing important articles again for Country Matters like ‘Should Dogs Be Allowed on The Bed?’ and a cut-out and keep guide to Trug Making, forgetting all about the neighbours and their strange and treacherous goings-on, this happens:
The bloody removal lorry that took the Smiths away a few weeks ago is BACK and so are the Smiths, complete with their strange ruddy child and incontinent Dachshund. Si and I twitch behind Vita’s curtains unable to believe our eyes. They are moving into the house two down from their old one. A really lovely couple we know had been allocated the house because it was easier to get to GOSH (Great Ormond Steet) with their special needs baby. “They’ve been sent to Shepperton.” Says Si. “And now we know why.” Teflon Fiona looks up and waves. We are forced to wave back. Shepperton is twinned with Chernobyl for social life and architecture (but slightly less radiation).
Si gets on the blower to Buck. He and Mandy are watching from their window, too. Buck has ‘intel’. Apparently, the residents barricaded the entrance to the married patch in Catterick – they didn’t want traitors living there. Si hangs up and there is a pounding on our front door. We look at each other. “You go.”
Si: “No, you.”
Me: “This is your shitty line of work. Nothing to do with me.”
Si sighs and pads down the stairs to open the door. He looks through the spyhole. “It’s Dr Nick.” He calls up the stairs and I start inhaling again.
Nick: “Jesus, let me in. I can feel her laser beam eyes boring into my back.” Si bundles the doctor in and puts the chain on the door.
Nick: “That year seemed to go in no time. It seemed just like weeks since they left.”
Me: “Did you speak to them?”
Nick: “No. I was putting the bins out when they got out the car. I didn’t know what to do so I strode over here with purpose, avoiding eye contact at all costs. I thought she was meant to be in jail.”
Si: “Trial’s not til next month.”
Nick: “And she was definitely selling stuff to the Russians?”
Si: “Yup. We’ve got surveillance of the last 30 ‘drops’.”
There’s a knock at the door. Sienna comes out of the kitchen from drawing and wants to answer it. We all tell her she can’t. Dr Nick looks through the spyhole. “It’s Mandy and Buck.” He puts his hand to his chest to calm his racing heart.
Mandy: “Quickly! Hurry up!”
Nick closes the door behind them. Now what?
I scoop up Vita from her, awoken by the visitors and we settle down in the sitting room, while Si makes tea.
Buck: “I’m not living next to traitors. End of.”
Nick: “Innocent until proven guilty?”
Buck: “With respect Nick, if you’d seen the file… That woman’s put 100s of lives at risk, including Prince ‘Arry; she’s f*cked up loads of counter-terrorism operations all over the world and made hundreds of thousands while she’s at it. I hope they throw away the key.”
Si: “I’d like to see her head on a pike outside the Tower, like in the good old days. But we have to act normally, especially as none of the wives or you Nick are meant to know anything.”
Me: “What? I didn’t know that.”
Si: “I told you not to tell anyone. I made you swear on the Bible!”
Me: But I’m not religious. I didn’t tell anyone… But I Might have posted it on Facebook. But that’s all.”
Buck / Si: “What?!”
Mandy: “I didn’t tell a soul, Buck.”
Buck: “Well done, pumpkin.”
Bloody Mandy is so disloyal. Talk about throwing me under the bus.
Nick: “I told loads of people because Nessa didn’t tell me it was a secret.”
I glower at him. “I’m joking,” he says. He squeezes my thigh until he becomes aware Si is staring at him and awkwardly coughs taking his hand to his mouth. I look at him. There is something, isn’t there? I feel noticed. I can still make men spontaneously grip my thigh! Dr Nick and that new brain surgeon in Fiona’s old house, they could have a thigh each. Is it okay to think that? Yes, I tell myself, smiling at Si, who is currently holding court. He’s hot too when he shuts up. But he does go on and on… He’s speaking in acronyms now. “JSOC, SO2, SO4, MOD..”. Some days I think I’m Lynn and he’s Alan Partridge in the Army. ‘Er. Lynn, report to the cutlery drawer. There seems to be a problem with pieces cutlery occupying the wrong territory. The spoons have invaded the forks and the knives have annexed the teaspoons. Would you like to explain how this happened?’ And I say: ‘Yeah, I tipped the cutlery basket into the drawer, slammed it shut with my butt and it just sort of happened.’ And the blood would drain from his face as he tried to process the sort of person who would do something that. The sort of person he had married.
The doorbell sounds and we all stare at each other, panicked (yes, even the trained killers). Si asks me if it’s another one of my Amazon deliveries but I shake my head. “Vains” he says, which is our very mature game where whoever says vains first is exempt from doing a particular task, usually nappies. I habitually win but today I have lost the door. Urgh.
I peer through the spyhole. “Is it Granny?” says Sienna. I shake my head. It’s the TRAITORESS. I rush back into the sitting room. “I can’t do it. Maybe she’ll just leave?”
Si: “Go! Act normal.”
Mandy: “That’s a bad idea for Nessa.”
Everyone laughs. I need to have a word with that so-called friend. I walk to the door about to turn the handle but I freeze. I don’t need this stress. This isn’t my gig. I turn around.
Si: “Open the bloody door!”
I open it. A quick peek and there’s no one there. I let my shoulders drop from around my ears and close the door, but a running shoe stops it from shutting. I push on it. I don’t want her in. “Ow!”
Me: (out loud) “Go away!”
“Oh. Come in. Sorry. I thought you were in Africa saving lives.” I open the door wide and standing before me, instead of Dr Nick’s wife, Anna, is FIONA.
Arghh! I run from the door. Everyone in the living room, including Sienna, whispers to me: “Act normally.”
I run back to the door and say I was in the middle of my HITT. I finish with some star jumps as she regards me.
Fiona: “In your slippers?”
Me: “Yes. Welcome back. Seems like no time at all.”
Fiona: “Catterick was lovely but it’s good to be back. Looking forward to Book Club. Mandy said you were hosting this week.”
The blood flows to my face and my cheeks start to burn and that’s when I hear myself say, “Mandy’s just in the sitting room. Come in and say hi.” Because if I’m going to be thrown under the bus I’m taking every other bastard with me.
Me: “Look who it is!”
Everyone jumps up and there is a chorus of ‘hi’s’ and ‘how are yous?’, their voices a little higher pitched than usual. Mandy is particularly shrill. ‘Hi! That’s great you can make book club. I put the message on the Patch Facebook page and it must have automatically come to your email,” she says looking at me pointedly. But that doesn’t wash with me because I’m going to have to host a Russian double agent at Book Club now and I didn’t even want to host bloody Book Club in the bloody first place.
Me: “Mandy was just saying how much she missed Basil. Now you have your dog sitter back.”
Mandy’s eyes flash at me. “And your babysitter. You know how fond Nessy is of little Fenella.”
Fiona: “Ah, well I’m ahead on that one. Vaselina’s coming to work for me fulltime.”
Fiona: “Gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse.”
And, in that moment *poofff* goes my newly arranged childcare – enabling me to WORK – and the entire Patch’s babysitting.
Will this woman stop at nothing?