ANTONIA ROLLS ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE NEWS. An account of an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis. Worthwhile, but exhausting, so pour the tea and make yourself comfortable...(this painting is a family portrait, about 2'x 3', oil on wood. It is the Ross Family, each family member with items that describe them best. And at the front, on the grass on the right hand side, is a photo of Grandma, sadly missed.)
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Feeling Tough And Tight-Lipped And Meaning Business
And a life to live. I woke this morning with the same feeling of hopeless exhaustion that I have been waking with all last week. Even though I knew it was Sunday morning and nothing, nothing at all, was planned for the day, I groaned as the day broke through my window. "Woe," I said to myself as I curled into a tiny ball of Go Away World. "Woe," I said again "and a smelly old pile of pooh." I had woken all last week to uncertainty as to where Son No 1 was sleeping. He for one reason or another had made himself homeless and had seen it out to the bitter end. Much of last week, day and night, was spent on the phone to social workers, police, solicitors, more social workers, more police, welfare officers and social workers again. I didn't know where he was, who he was with, and where he was sleeping. And the worried welfare calls kept coming. "Your son has presented (he has presented??) as homeless and as a vulnerable young adult I am here to plead his case and can he come home" "Yep." I said. "He can come home?" they said. "Yep." I said. Then a little while later "Police here Madam, I believe you have a son (yes, I do, two of them and you can lock both of them up - oh sorry, you are not offering. Not to worry Officer, maybe next time) and your son needs to find an urgent place to stay. I hear that his family are all Mafiosi and you are a known psycho killer. Could you confirm that?" And so it went on. In the end, I went up to London in the car and by the evening left with Son and All His Belongings. He had to sit in the back under the black plastic bags of clothes and picture frames, under suitcases and televisions, tables and bottles of ketchup and so gaunt and grey and haggard he was, that he fitted in the little spaces between the bags perfectly. In the front, having had a day out with Uncle at the rugby, was the Boy Rambo, Son no 2. And a big tough, rosy cheeked fellow he is too, contrasting ridiculously with his shadowy older brother under a box in the back. Son no 2 is finally cleared by his ear consultant to take up boxing. So he is a changed boy. A now Happy Thug, no longer an Unhappy Thug.
Back then to this morning. Dawn breaks outside and I fear the start of the day. Until I remember that both my Blinking Boys are asleep and fed in their beds and I know where both of them are and they are not only here, in this house, but clean and full up and dreaming of fluffy bunnies and lambkins in the Spring. And I say to myself, Ho, Antonia. Make a List. This is now your day. Get back on track and get some goddam order in your life. So I did. I made a list and got dressed and had breakfast and that is when I noticed I was pursing my lips. This, I thought to myself, means that I mean Business. I did go to Arundel and to Chichester and put up leaflets about the Art Fair you are coming to next Sunday, the Eileen and Antonia's Art Fair in Arundel Norfolk Hall on November 28 from 10 am to 7pm - you remember, that one. Oh yes, that one. Glad to be going to it, I hear you mutter reassuringly to yourselves.
And so today has been a day of catching up with things I could not do while Rambo Boy was excluded from school and in disgrace, and Hobo Boy was going mental on the streets of London and worrying me half to death.
Tomorrow, I try and get Older Son to the doctor. The next day I take Younger Son to a possible Boxing Club. Tuesday evening I have been asked - funny how absolutely unexpected this is - to dinner on a fancy boat in Chichester with a Flirty Captain. Why me? I am accompanying a friend's other half and how lovely that I have been asked. I know the Flirty Captain a little, and he will be a wonderful host, but I am not sure I can cope just now with Flirtyness. I will have to see whether I still have the Flinty Look in my eye and the tight lipped tell-me-no-jokes-I-have-no-sense-of-humour expression on my face. It could be a little light relief and just what I need. Oh but I know I am expected to be jolly and funny and on the ball. My light relief at the moment would be a remote cottage on the Arran Isles for a week. That's how funny and witty and light hearted I am. Play my cards right, and maybe the Flirty Captain will sail me there and leave me there snarling and muttering and cursing. "Not asking her to my dinners again", he would say as he puts the throttle on full and leaves the Arran Isles at full tilt, "dreadful flinty tight lipped humourless old bat she is. And she seemed to jolly at first. Not going back to fetch her, she can swim home."
Sleep now. Tomorrow, says the wise man, is another day. One boy goes skipping like a frolicksome pony to school secure in the knowledge that he can very soon smack the living bejeesus out of a punch bag/other boy in a controlled environment, and the other boy is going to do housework for me for some money and is quite excited about it. I may get him to finish the half completed kitchen. That would surprise him.