Alive and Crazy: 2013 365 Challenge #147

Inchcailloch island

Inchcailloch island

We arrived back from Scotland at 1am this morning, after heroic hubbie drove through the night to minimise the amount of turned-round parenting I had to do in the car. The journey up wasn’t hellish, but we did learn why most people with preschoolers choose to travel at night.

The holiday was great. I have to take my husband’s word for that because a combination of lack of sleep and chatty children means I spent proportions of it in tears and therefore assume I ruined the whole week for everybody. It’s hard to keep perspective when you’re under a cloud.

I’ll probably write bits about the holiday now we are back and have access to the pictures. Scotland was beautiful and did us proud, with fabulous weather nearly every day. I managed to get sunburnt on the last day, just to feel like it was a proper holiday!

Paddling in Loch Lomond

Paddling in Loch Lomond

Today, though, I wanted to write about my crazy husband and his crazy schemes, and why we work as a couple. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I wonder why he puts up with me, with my tears and tantrums, self loathing and self doubt.

And then he does something like he did today. Which was spend £8,000 on a whim. Knowing I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Which I didn’t.

I might lose sleep over dropping a pound coin or paying too much to get into a safari park or worry about £5 paninis at the service station. But the big things, for some reason that’s okay. It’s an investment and I have faith in him that it will pay off. Besides, he says he feels alive, for the first time in far too long. You can’t put a price on that.

My water baby

My water baby

The way it happened is this. Hubbie has needed a project for a long time. He’s been caught in the family trap, not knowing how much of his own life he is allowed, with young children demanding his attention. Hubbie likes projects, the bigger the better. He doesn’t go to the pub, attend football matches or play golf. He likes to build things and spend/make money.

So far his projects (since I married him) have all been house related: a shed, a garage, a loft extension, a new office. Recently though he’s wanted something for him. After watching too much Wheeler Dealer he decided to get a new engine for his Caterham Seven. A few hundred quid, a nice project for someone who might be out of work by Friday if his contract isn’t renewed. Sorted.

Then this morning, while the kids were clambering all over him and talking incessantly, he asked if he could spend ten grand on an investment. I said as long as it pays back in three months, fine. Turned out instead of buying an engine he decided to buy a whole car: a racing Caterham Seven to be precise. Got it for a bargain too.

And that’s why we’re still married. I might sweat the small stuff far more than I should. But when it counts, I say things like “do you want to watch the football?” and “you sit down, I’ll cook dinner,” and occasionally, “of course you can buy a car.”


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


Claire curled over towards the window and buried her nose in the pillow. This is meant to be an all-female dorm. Why am I stuck with two snorers and a person who farts like a lager lout loaded with kebab? Screwing her earplugs in tighter, Claire fumbled under the covers for her phone. 4a.m. What the…?

The snoring from the bunk beneath resonated through Claire’s mattress, undermining the work of the earplugs. I guess there’s a limit to what they can do against that industrial sawing noise. Swallowing her frustration, Claire pulled the duvet over her head and tried to return to her dream. It had been a rather pleasant one, featuring a leading man that was a morph of Josh and Anthony. Josh’s personality and Anthony’s availability.

She smiled, pulling the images back into her head to encourage her dream-self to return to the same place. The snoring beneath her subsided and Claire exhaled.

At least they won’t be up early.


The sound of doom-laden rap over a bass beat dragged Claire from slumber. She lay in the pool of light seeping through the curtains, trying to figure out what Eminem was doing in her dream. He’s not romantic hero material, even if his lyrics are rather clever. What’s more intriguing is what he’s doing in my head. She lay considering the problem for several moments before a surge of activity beneath her drew her attention to the real source of the music.

“Bugger. Sorry!”

The hissing whisper was loud enough that Eminem probably heard it across the Atlantic. More fumbling was followed by the blissful cessation of noise, as the girl located her phone.

Claire dropped her head into the pillow with a groan and tried to return to sleep.

Strange time for a phone call. I hope she’s had the sense to turn that damn phone off now. The bunk beneath her began to pitch and rock, like a small boat in a choppy sea, and Claire felt a sigh escape before she could swallow it. She tensed, waiting for retaliation against her obvious displeasure, but it didn’t come. The girl in the bunk below continued to mutter in a strident whisper.

With a shiver of fear, Claire wondered if the girl was entirely sane or sober. Then she realised the whispering was directed at the occupants of the other beds.

“Come the heck on, girls. We’re going to miss the bloody bus.”

The words were followed by a nerve-tingling sound that Claire identified as the rustling of a plastic bag. She lay motionless in the darkness, waiting for the awful sound to stop.

It’s six in the morning. Surely you’re not packing now, if you’re leaving today? Apparently they were.

One by one, the five women slid, climbed or fell from their beds and began rummaging in plastic bags until Claire thought she might scream. Her skin felt raw, like it had been scrubbed with wire wool.

The harder the women tried to be quiet the louder they became. I should just tell them I’m awake. The thought revolved in Claire’s head, but somehow the words would not come out. Instead she lay in rigid silence, praying for the noise to stop so she could go back to sleep.

When I have my own hostel I think I’ll ban plastic bags. Or introduce a curfew. Maybe I’ll have quiet rooms, like the quiet coaches on the train, where there can be no silly alarms, no packing before 9am and definitely no snoring. Well, maybe I can’t enforce the last one, but the free ear plugs will help.

Trapped in the murky world between sleep and wakefulness, Claire wondered where the hostel ideas kept popping up from. When this assignment is over I’ll be perfectly happy if I never see a hostel again as long as I live.


3 thoughts on “Alive and Crazy: 2013 365 Challenge #147

  1. Pingback: Hanging On: 2013 365 Challenge #153 | writermummy

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