I was a little nervous, to be honest. There have been points this week when I thought I might be going mad. I tried to put that into accurate terminology, but I always find it sounds more serious when you say it how it is. Mid-week there were instances of paranoia, where I became really extremely upset about my influence on events which had absolutely nothing to do with me – only to realise that there were other explanations literally hours later. I had been over-doing things coping with everything, and I thought I might have snagged a wire loose.
Now I’m thinking it was probably a combination of things; exhaustion, meddling with my painkillers and a profoundly exaggerated startle reflex which at one point had me crying out loud and then trying to work out what noise or movement had set me off. This was further exacerbated by deteriorating co-ordination which meant that I was bumping into things all the time – and then jumping out of my skin every time I did. Then several nights running I had such terrible, violent nightmares that I would wake up early in the morning unable to get back to sleep. To say I was a nervous wreck is a cliché, but if the hat fits...
So I’ve been in bed for a few days. It has rained a lot against my window, which is nice. Rosie phoned and talked endlessly about baby matters. When I have finished the Alphabet Cards she wants me to make Tinker a cloth book about the adventures of Weird Beard. She said, “I want Weird Beard in my child’s life!”
Weird Beard was a character from our childhood, of my invention. Remember the eighties craze for Top Trumps? Well R and I made our own pack with these odd characters we drew and gave certain attributes to. I can't remember many others, but I created Weird Beard, a character with few discernible features beyond his long multicoloured magical beard. Rosie thought it was hilarious and the idea of Weird Beard became a running joke. We have since raised the subject of Weird Beard in all sorts of inappropriate circumstances.
Another thing we discussed was how to introduce Tinker to The Sacred Language of Cheese and Ham. We were on holiday in Yorkshire and were having a picnic. Only it was raining so we were stuck in the back of our parents' car. Mum had labelled our sandwiches Cheese and Ham and for some reason the car was stationary long enough for us to get immensely bored, tear up the labels and create a whole new language based on the letters of Cheese and Ham and spoken with a Yorkshire accent.
“Eh Ehcemas,” was the initial greeting, which should be answered with “Eh Ahcemes.” and so on. I must say the complexity of this language, consisting of only six different letters and a maximum of one C, A, M or S, two Hs and three Es in any given word or phrase, was rather limited. Also the fact that we developed the whole thing from scratch in the space of half an hour – probably had as much chance as Esperanto in the greater scheme of things.
I don’t really fancy making a cloth book that a baby can play with. What kind of story can you get into a book made of cloth? Instead, following the (if I say so myself) success of Kettle, I may actually attempt to make Weird Beard as a soft toy. I think he was some sort of wizard. I thought if I made his beard out of several different colour and texture fabrics… Is it possible to have some sort of pathological creativity? Is this what I do instead of making babies? Or um, writing books…?
Really I will do something useful soon.