Going to The In laws 2 – Decorating

Having fought of the hordes of gonad grabbing kids and having done the usual hello how are you bit, kissing of cheeks and shaking of hands etc I broke free to go and get the bags from the car.

I came back in and MIL was talking to L.

“Oh Norman dear, we have a house full so I hope you don’t mind sharing”

“No not at all” I said thinking I hope “I don’t have to share Mad Jack the bed wetter again.” Great kid suffering from an all together too common a complaint. Being pissed on doesn’t bother me, its the interrupted kip and having to change the bed at some unearthly hour that gets me. Still I am no position to point the guilty finger, I was a bed wetter as a kid and my mum made not big deal of it. So, I tried to do the same on the numerous aquatic occasions I have shared with Jack, I do believe I have managed to conceal the irritation of being woken with a golden shower. Water sports are not my bag baby.

“I know you and jack get on well, and he loves to share with you, because you have never told him off for having his little accidents” MIL said. The woman’s a mind reader I tell you!

“But you know the funny thing is that he hasn’t done it since last time you were here. He says its because you told him you had had the same problem and for some reason after that hey presto a dry Jack” She continued flapping her arms in the air like a gospel singer
“Any way, the thing is I am rather pushed for space this weekend so I do hope you wouldn’t mind sharing with L”

Did I detect a hint of a sideways glance between the two ladies. You will be in the room over the wing. I looked at MIL and she held my gaze.

“You know the room I mean dear”

“Err yes I err” I stammered like and utter arse
“Well go on Norman take L up and get yourselves sorted there’s a a good lad” and she patted me on the cheek gently.

“You have to excuse Norman sometimes, he can be a bit slow” Said MIL to L.

She then leant towards L and said in a loud sort of whisper “I think it could be what they call shell shock you know.” she tapped the side of her temple “Sends chaps a bit odd sometimes, but don’t be too harsh on him he means well”.

“Thanks” I huffed

“A pleasure dear, now chop chop so we can sit down to eat”

I went upstairs and got to the door of the bedroom.I had not been in this room since the funeral. It had remained ostensibly unchanged since Alison had been a girl. I must be honest I was uncomforatble with MILs sleeping arrangements. It was not the sleeping with L that was the problem, it was the simple fact that this room had been Alisons, It was the last tangible memories of her baby. I knew what it meant to Cynthia. I turned the door knob and pushed the door open.

It is a long wide room with an ensuite shower room. There are large windows over looking the garden at the back of the house . I was amazed at what I saw. The whole room had been re decorated and re furnished. It was bright light and airy. A transformation. L walked straight into the room put her jacket on the bed and went into the bathroom and shut the door.

I stood in the doorway and then walked slowly into the room. I was alone for the first time in Alisons room since the day of her funeral. Nothing of Alison’s remained except a small photo of her on our wedding day. She looked out at me from the frame a big smile on her face and that twinkle in her eye. She looked so radiant and beautiful and fior an instant I could almost smell her Clarrens perfume.
I looked at her and then nearly jumped out of my bloody skin when I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder.


“No dear only me” Quipped Cynthia. “Do you like the room?” she asked.

“Yes I was just a bit taken a back” I managed to say
“I gathered. You know Norman, letting go and moving on doesn’t mean forgetting. I had left this room because I couldn’t bear the idea of her being gone. All I could see was my little baby girl. Memories so many memories. I would stand and look around this room and see drinking her milk at night in bed, me doing her hair after baths, her playing with her dolls, the nail varnish on the carpet when she 12. And the growing up and then being so in love with you, and being a mummy herself…… She loved you so much and I know how much you loved her. You know Norman, I have never said thank you for looking after my baby as well as you did and still do.”

She looked at me almost sternly but with a kindness which I simply cannot convey in words.

“Stop trying to kill yourself fighting other peoples battles and wars. You have a chance here to live and love again with a beautiful kind young woman”

I nodded.

“Don’t just nod at me, do something about it before you fuck it up”

I have very rarely heard Cynthia swear the odd bloody and shit now and then, but F word is a real no no. I was stunned.

” L has helped me with the room and colours” Cynthia went on ” I wanted a total change a new beginning, move on, celebrate life not mourn death”

“So I see ” I said nodding in approval “I like the photo you chose”

“Oh Good. I have to tell you L and I had a very big fight over it”

” I don’t see what right she had to stop you puting a photo of your own daughter up in your house and in her old room for that matter!” I said rather angrily.
“L said that it was not right NOT to put something up. I wanted to clear the room of everything and she said more or less what you said. She found that photo and thought that Alison looked so happy and beautiful that she had a right to be in her room. She said If I didn’t put the photo up she wouldn’t stay here”
“Oh I see”

“Move on and start enjoying yourself while you can. Oh and by the way in case you have any hang ups, it is a brand new bed, it hasn’t been used at all” she said with a slight smirk and glint in her eye “But after dinner please Norman we are all starving”

6 Responses to “Going to The In laws 2 – Decorating”

  1. Oh, what a lump there is in my throat.

    Utterly beautiful.

    In the words of a wise and wonderful woman,
    “Stop trying to kill yourself fighting other peoples battles and wars. You have a chance here to live and love again with a beautiful kind young woman… do something about it before you fuck it up.”


  2. me says:

    wise words indeed from your MIL – hope you realise how lucky you are to get a another chance at happiness and to have such a fantastic and understanding MIL

  3. dl says:



    …you’re something of an enigma!

    Can so much sensational stuff really be happening in one person’s life?

    We see so many blogs which are clearly the product of a fertile imagination. In your case I just don’t know. If someone were setting out to create a work of fiction, I’m not sure that they would come up with the episodes which you’ve kept us enthralled with over the last few weeks (and probably previously as well – as a relative newcomer I can’t comment).

    But if it’s all true, how can your life be so totally different to that of everyone else I’ve come across, in both your personal life and your work? The one is really very moving, and the other is really quite scary. My life certainly has its ups and downs, but it’s completely humdrum compared with yours.

    I suppose at the end of day it doesn’t really matter. I – and your other readers – keep coming back just because it’s a really compelling read. So hats off to you for that!

  4. Uncle says:

    Minx – I was so taken aback by her use of strong language that I have taken her words on board. I think I had decided that I would be leaving the hard side of what I do alone. I have a story to tell which will explain all.

    ME – Thank you for your comment. MIL has turned out to be a real diamond and has made me see what good people are about. Some people have emailed me saying she is domineering, but she isn’t really. Well maybe a bit, but maybe I need it.

    DL – I can fully understand your comment. No offence taken and please feel free to air your thoughts. I air mine.

    How can life have two sides that are totally different? I suppose it all comes down to balance – ying and yang if you like.

    Life dealt me a kick in the nuts and I have had to get on and deal with it. Not very well at times, but it has taught me to try to see things from both sides.

    I think MIL was right, in that I have had a sort of death wish. I known that now and through chance am regaining the balance.

    However as they used to say on an old TV programme. The stories are true but the names and places are changed from time to time to protect the innocent. I hope you will keep coming back and commenting.

    Thanks ever so much for your comment.

  5. dl says:

    But can the new soft-centred existence be compatible with life as a “soldier of fortune”?

    Or will UN renounce his globe-trotting “problem-solving” career and settle down as an insurance clerk in Surbiton?

    Not sure a leopard can change its spots that easily.

    Perhaps UN himself doesn’t yet know the answer to these questions…?

  6. Sally says:

    Surely there are other soldiers with a soft side are there not DL? Can both sides not be compatible?

    Great post UN. It made me cry.

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