I wonder if there is ever a normal Monday but certainly today did not start well. I was lying in bed waiting for my alarm to go off in five minutes. The alarm is set so that I don’t forget about the Monday morning fifteen-minute tidy. Literally seconds before the alarm goes off, my wife comes into the room and goes into the en-suite and has a shower. This is a problem in a number of ways. First I like having the room to myself when I get up. Having somebody around feels too crowded to me because we spent time being in the way of each other and I can’t just get doing my thing. Secondly, somebody being in the shower means it is not the best time to flush the toilet since the water will change temperature rapidly, though since it goes hot perhaps my wife wouldn’t mind. Thirdly is connected with the toilet, I would struggle with not having a pee when I first get up, it is part of my normal routine. Fourthly, starting tidying later will mean I am more pressurised for time in getting at the cycling meaning point; though unusually there are no text messages yet.

I consider using the main bathroom but this is the time my daughter is usually leaving the house and I realise I haven’t left her dinner money out on the side. Since she hasn’t complained yet, I assume she is still around in the house. I get up and go into the hallway. No sign of my daughter. I pop my head into her bedroom to check she isn’t asleep still. I am fairly sure I cannot see her in the dark of the room and go back to the hallway. The dog was on her bed and jumps off and runs to me in his usual morning greeting. Money collating is delayed while the greeting is returned. I can on find £5 in change for dinners but that will keep her going a few days and so I pile it up in the standard place. It looks like my daughter is in the main bathroom.

The bathroom door opens whilst I am standing there and out comes my daughter. I go in to make use of the facilities but don’t flush. I wonder whether our Japanese lodger slept here last night. Still no cycling texts so I have to decide whether to get my cycling gear on or not. This is a puzzle, did the normal organisers say last week they couldn’t make it this one? It is possible. I have a vague recollection of somebody saying it at sometime. I decide to wear my cycling gear and think to check the temperature; it is pretty cold outside I am going to have to put on fleecier clothes if I do go for a ride.

I decide to start the tidying by myself since there is still some leftover things from last Thursday. I go upstairs to put some little nick-knacks away in my “these things are small and may never get used but better keep them just in case” tin. Strangely enough the tin is full. I return to our bedroom to put a sleep bag compression sack away and my wife appears. The task for today is to finish the chest of drawers in the hallway, but I did that last Thursday (where I spent considerably more time than 15 minutes on!) but my wife is focused on the area around the unit. There are a pile of cables down below which she randomly pulls out; that’s the internet and the moveably house phones off line then. She has moved the unit out and says she wants our cleaner to hoover behind there. For some reason (probably to do with cables being pulled out on reflection) I say I think it would be better if we did the clearing up of the dust. I do the hoovering and push the unit back. I also put back in all the plugs and it seems everything is okay again.

Tidy time is over and so I check my mobile again. There are still no cycling messages so I decide to send one to my friend to see if he is cycling. He replies saying his partner is in the local hospital with an undiagnosed illness and will be going there this morning. In the UK we find it shocking when somebody goes into hospital, it means something serious is going on at least that is the conclusion we jump to. I remember my last stay over a piece of chicken stuck in my throat which wasn’t serious at all, just annoying really and I was surprised by how serious my friends took it when I came out (hospital and home visits). My own concern over my friend’s wife’s visit explains their reaction though. I go into the kitchen to tell my wife the news then text my friend back to offer help. I stand looking out of the kitchen window thinking about my friend and wondering what is going on. I could phone to see how they are but I know that would partly be because of my curiosity and the focus needs to be on them. They need to be able to concentrate on the situation, not fend off calls having to explain the situation again and again. No, the text message is enough; I have to wait for him to contact me for further information.

I notice my wife has put things that normally sit on the floor, on the kitchen chairs. She wants to cleaner go behind this things too. I walk into the front room pondering on whether I want to ride at all. The forecast said it was going to get very sunny, but at the moment it is grey and cold and I don’t want to go out. There are boxes on the chairs in the front room too, and I feel a bit of a failure because I haven’t dealt with these ones despite my intentions. I look into the front garden, more things I intend to do but haven’t yet.

I realise that I can go back to sleep for a bit and it seems like a good option, cycling or swimming can wait until later. Where to doze though? I thought my bedroom but that would leave the dog alone so I head for the sofa where we can both benefit from each other’s heat. I snuggle down under a fleecy blanket and when I am comfortable, I tap my stomach as a sign for him to jump up. To my surprise he settles on my chest. At first I think he is a bit close to my face, but it seems to be okay so there we lie. I let my thoughts drift and after a while I move on from the things causing anxiety on some level to my imagination and I fall asleep.

When I wake up it is sunny outside. I lie there awake, the dog sprawled over my chest now rather than curled up. He becomes alert to something and a few seconds later I am aware the cleaner has arrived. I get up and decide to do some writing. The sun is shining on me and I feel relaxed, this is a good time to write.  I discover our connection to the internet is not working after all.