The Wife

“You should write a blog” Maura told me recently on holiday in Wiltshire. Interesting idea. Don’t know how to blog and I don’t really write these days much more than a standard length work email. She did offer her services as a ghost writer, but she is a busy lady and so I must try and be creative all by myself. This could be painful.

So, the 80 days has commenced. We sent Neil on his way with a few gifts: a tweed racing cap, Red Bull and some Refreshers, and a pen I had cleverly engraved with the initials ‘attied’ (around the tracks in eighty days). Inspired. Until Neil informed me he had changed the name of his challenge to ‘atried’ (around the races in eighty days) to avoid confusion with a journey around the railway tracks of the UK. As for the Refreshers – they are low points for weight watchers. Don’t know why I bothered as I note from The Husband’s blogs that there seems to be an awful lot of ‘having a quick pint’ references (yes husband, I do read them!).

The boys seem supportive of their father’s endeavour, although perhaps slightly bemused. Our eldest said to me: “I suppose with you in charge we will be having Dominos and chicken nuggets for the next 80 days?” Astute my children, very astute. 27 days in and they seem fairly happy with the food situation – let’s see how they feel by around day 60. You see, the problem is that, just as I can’t blog, I also can’t cook. I don’t iron; I don’t clean the house; I don’t do the food shop (in fact I am banned from the shop as I get too excited by the ‘shiny wrappers’ and buy things that we don’t apparently need); I am struggling to tell you what I do in fact do, and as I write this blog it dawns on me that the husband’s quest for glory around the racecourses is actually just a smoke screen to get out of the household chores for a few months!

The set menu

The set menu

So perhaps this is my chance to prove myself. It is a big responsibility – the husband is even allowing me to single-handedly load the dishwasher, a first in our 18 years of married life. The first 4 weeks have actually been ok. I am in the swing of things. The boys are remarkably self-sufficient. Provided I put pizza or nuggets in front of them 3 times a day, they just get on with things leaving me time to work out why the burglar alarm has gone off at 9pm on a Saturday night despite it not being turned on, and why it sounds as though there is a squirrel running around in our loft (because, I discovered, there was!). I do not have to battle for the TV remote and can watch Grey’s Anatomy or Nashville to my heart’s content. Slight issue is my inability to speak to anyone at the end of the day due to exhaustion after a day at work and slaving over a hot oven full of chicken nuggets. However, our youngest spends much of his time wearing headphones on Skype with friends and our eldest is a teenager and doesn’t want me to talk to him anyway – so perhaps my silence falls on deaf ears!

I am being asked a regular question by friends: “Why are you are letting him do this?” They have a point. Why did I agree? I was given a choice: Husband: “I would love to fulfil my lifelong dream of going around the races in eighty days. It is something I have always desperately wanted to do and don’t think I will ever get the chance to do it again. But I won’t do it if you don’t want me to”. Reminds me of the choices I used to give my children: “Stop playing with your toys and come to the dentist or I will remove your teeth for you in the kitchen”. Never failed. I have sporadic moments where I agree with my friends but I must say this – The Husband seems to have ‘woken up’ recently. He has a new-found enthusiasm and energy – something I have not seen so much in his latter years of teaching. I love reading his blogs – he makes me laugh and I am reminded how talented he is, if not a little bit crazy; but I think I knew this when I married him.