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November 6, 2012 / Kate Gross

On the joys of mail

There will be two posts this week. The first reveals my avaricious and mercenary love for presents; the second may restore your image of me as a caring and pleasant person whose blog is worth reading.

Could there be anything better than the postman delivering a hand-written envelope or a parcel delicately wrapped in tissue paper? Truly, my enjoyment of the finer things in life has only increased since having the Nuisance diagnosed. In fact, the Nuisance already has taught me an important lesson: what really matters in life is love, friends, family and having Nice Stuff around you. When all this is over I shall be so used to the postie’s knock at the door that I shall have to start gifting myself. It could be ruinous for the Gross-Boyles. And because you are all so very, very kind and generous – and because you keep asking me what I “need”, let me share with you my new rules of post for the poorly.

Rule #1: Getting things in the post is ALWAYS exciting. Ok, so it’s a bit like when you’ve had a baby, head just down for a nap when there is a knock at the door. But honestly, who are the ingrates who let this spoil the delight of a letter or parcel? Write me, people, it’s lovely and beats emails any day. When you are all far away, when it’s cold and dark and wet outside, there is nothing like getting a little piece of you through the post.

Rule #2: 47 Ross St is open for flowers again. I love to look at them, especially as winter descends. But friends, please never, never bring me carnations or other funereal arrangements. Interflora has a lot to answer for; you could probably get nicer bouquets in a petrol station forecourt (though to my mind those too should be avoided). And though the books say you should, there is really no need for those built in vases beloved by M&S. We now have gazillions. STOP PRESS: amazing flowers arrived in the last 24 hours, as if by magic. if you are thinking of sending, maybe ask my Mum who is taking on a new role as Flower Tsar, making sure there aren’t weeks where we are over-indulged with flowers, or indeed totally bereft. Thanks mum.

Rule # 3: In another life I would have a house like Kat’s, with perfectly plumped cushions and scented candles lit every evening. You can help me realise this dream by visiting Jo Malone, Diptyque or the White Company.

Rule #4: A girl can get a bit cut off from the world in her attic. This can be very pleasant, and you can assist by sending your favourite novels and poems (though not for a while, I’m backed up with Wolf Hall, Billy Collins, and A Suitable Boy which I suspect will keep me going till 2013). But, there is a big world out there and I still want to be part of it. Big props to those clever people sending blogs, articles, non-fiction and their own thought leadership (ahem). Keep it coming (you have permission to use electronic methods for things with read-by dates).

Rule #5: Cards are not just for birthdays. Deciphering your inky scrawl is a treat, and somehow the dreaded cancer lexicon completely disappears in print. Your messages are messy, but they read like you talking to me. And the outside of the cards are decorations for my attic room which remind me of your marvellousness – I’ve especially enjoyed my Liberian girl and pictures taken John and Ally of life in Africa.

Rule #6: Girls. If you want it, I want it. Does it smell nice? Will it make me look pretty? Is it soft and does it drape well, hiding my unsightly post-op, post-twins tummy? Does it shine around my neck? Just because I’m not getting out much doesn’t mean I don’t want to look good (or to read about looking good in Grazia, which is also welcome).

Rule #7: I’m not the only one in this. Billy doesn’t appreciate most of the presents I get (but then, I don’t appreciate many of the presents he gives me. Too much electronica over the years). But he has welcomed the whiskey Ian bought for *me* very much. There are also two small boys in the house who have no idea what the Nuisance is but who are very, very grateful for the transformers, workbenches, sticker books, puppet theatres, cakes. We are also grateful, especially for small, fiddly things which Billy or Bon Pa have to assemble.

Rule #8: If there is one thing about my life thus far which I could change it would be to go back and NOT have watched The Wire, West Wing, or the Killing. Or indeed any other box set in the past 10 years. But we had kids, stopped going out, and now there is barely a series I haven’t seen. So do recommend your favourites to me. But don’t send DVDs, because the chances are I will have seen them already (or Billy will be able to use his magical powers to get them from the internet for us). Nb this rule doesn’t go back before 2000, so 1990’s TV is still a winner – thanks Tammy.

Rule #9: Don’t all write now. This is going to be a grotty and long slog, and I will want to hear the postie’s abrasive knock on the door in January and February even more than today. Some of you, please save your messages and thoughtfulness and presents till the gloom really sets in next year! Incidentally, this rule also applies to visits, in spades.

Rule #10: You always need 10 rules, apparently. I will come up with another one.

Btw, I reserve the right to post an entirely new set of rules when I start treatment. These may revolve more around food and practical help – or perhaps just more scented candles. Who knows!

9 Comments

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  1. acasoanalytics / Nov 6 2012 5:45 pm

    Please no toys that require assembly – it is embarrassing to have to explain to two three year olds why their daddy is incompetent when it comes to building lego designed for kids! billy

  2. Emma / Nov 6 2012 8:41 pm

    Grosster, a few people have asked which email address is best- still your work one?
    Looking forward to seeing your scented cashmere lined boudoir this weekend
    xx

  3. jean gross / Nov 7 2012 3:38 pm

    Hi

    This is Material Girl’s (sorry, Kate’s) mum . Just so everyone knows exactly where she gets her tendency to organise everyone from , I’d like to offer to coordinate flower deliveries so they come at regular intervals over the next long months. If you want to send flowers (NO obligation whatsoever) I will allocate you a date.

    I no doubt should do this by some elaborate Google calendar affair or an amazing Flower Sync App but have no intention of complicating my life . I shall use paper and a fine quill pen, which will be just as efficient.

    As I say, no obligation at all, only if you were thinking of this anyway.

    My email is jean.gross@btinternet.com

    Jean

    Jean Gross CBE

    Montague Cottage

    Morden Lane

    London SE13 7NS

    Tel : 07748 775902

    e-mail: jean.gross@btinternet.com

    Just published Beating Bureaucracy in Special Educational Needs 2nd edition http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415533744/

    Coming soon , also from Routledge/Fulton/Nasen Let’s talk about it: Implementing Outstanding Practice in Speech, Language and Communication

  4. Jean Gross / Nov 7 2012 3:44 pm

    This is Material Girl’s (sorry, Kate’s) mum . Just so everyone knows exactly where she gets her tendency to organise everyone from , I’d like to offer to coordinate flower deliveries so they come at regular intervals over the next long months. If you want to send flowers (NO obligation whatsoever) I will allocate you a date.

    I no doubt should do this by some elaborate Google calendar affair or an amazing Flower Sync App but have no intention of complicating my life . I shall use paper and a fine quill pen, which will be just as efficient.

    As I say, no obligation at all, only if you were thinking of this anyway.

    My email is jean.gross@btinternet.com

  5. Liz / Nov 7 2012 6:08 pm

    Hi Kate. Thank goodness I sent you a card, just before I read your blog, not an email! Also one to your Mum. Hope you don’t mind Emma copying me in to your blog. Sorry I probably said you were strong in my card, but then you are!
    Re DVDs. A really good feel good box set we enjoyed, and Billy will like it too I am sure, is Friday Night Lights. It’s all about American football!! Can’t believe I enjoyed it so much, but I did although not understanding how that is played or the rules, and even after watching the whole first series we still haven’t a clue. But it’s great fun and very addictive. All about the people from the Coach and his wife and the lads in the team, and the cheer girls, set in an American High School. It was written up last year as best boxed set which is how I discovered it. IOnly series one available yet at a sensible price for Uk viewing.
    Do you remember us having lunch in Cambridge just a day or so before the boys were born? Goodness how time flies.
    Have a great time with the Urban Family on Sat.
    All my love
    Liz (Emma’s mum)

  6. Sasha Howard / Nov 9 2012 12:24 pm

    Rule 8: The Mentalist. Absolutely awesome series, James and I got completely addicted and watched every single one (I think there are 4 series). It’s pretty easy going viewing and if occasionally a bit silly we forgave it for the hours of entertainment it gave us. I think we have all the DVDs & can easily post them over but as the rule states won’t bombard you with them unless requested.
    Other rules: Can I pretend the reason I have failed to send card/flowers/ presents so far is that I am saving them up for 2013 and not because I’m rubbish/ disorganised? Actually it might be true…
    Lots of love as always Sx

  7. Josie / Nov 12 2012 2:52 pm

    I have a Liberian girl watching over me too, keeping an eye on me in my new student room. I think she does a good job of keeping an eye. xxxx

  8. Claire / Nov 26 2012 10:29 pm

    I wish I had a Liberian girl looking over me at the moment. Instead I have an absolutely terrifying Bassa mask which I mistakenly bought in Monrovia, thinking it would make my lounge back home look all sophisticated, and have been scared of ever since. I’d take it down, only I’ve now imbued it with some sort of voodoo magical powers and I’m sure something bad will happen if I do. My ethnic craft fetish has become all too literal.

    Lovely to read your blog Kate and feel your irreverent wit jump off the iPad screen. Sorry I have been so lax at writing but now I have your address I will do so at a time that creates maximum surprise.
    Cx

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