Yay! For once I can do what is always my aim for in my Sunday posts, and give you up-to-date news, on Bink, which is encouraging.
Which is a bit of a surprise, given Friday’s post.
This time last year, there I was, pinning all my hopes on the Priory. Year’s time, I thought to myself, Bink will be running the country and happily married with fifteen children. Yes, yes, I know: you can be a tad too optimistic. But actually, not in a Bink situation you can’t, really: you have to find a way of surviving, somehow.
(And you’ve got to admit: Bink would be better than Boris, right?
Even if he is a friend of mine. Which is slightly overstating the case. But if he does become PM, the first thing I’ll do is look out the interview he did of me when my second novel came out, and frame it.
Silver lining to everything.
Talking of which...)
Now, here she is. Here we are. Back wasting dreary evenings in A&E for absolutely nothing. After discharging herself on her birthday, 1st March, it seems Bink is now back on trillions of harmful drugs, half of them illegal.
Well, actually, no…
Turns out she was overstating the case, too.
There ain’t no heroin, for one thing. Not anywhere near Bink. In her possession, let alone in her system.
(I must say, I was a bit surprised. Something Bink has never been, despite all appearances, is suicidal.)
I have to be careful here, because one of the first things mental illness makes you do, is panic. And one of the first things panic makes you do, is lie. Presumably a bit like torture. Which, actually, is exactly what mental illness is.
She now says when she said that about having a lethal dose of heroin in her possession she was actually talking eyewash. Or rather, she said she didn’t exactly say that. Not in those exact words. Just gave that impression. Because sometimes she would like to take a lethal dose of heroin.
Why heroin? What does it even look like? I say. I dunno, she says. No, nor do I.
Right pair, we are.
So, I say, just to get this clear: we don’t need to tell the people you’re living with that you have lethal doses of horrendously illegal drugs stashed under your bed and they might need to report you, or get into trouble themselves, or whatever it is you do if you find someone in your house has illegal drugs?
I mean, I wouldn’t know, because I always told all our lot that if I ever so much as suspected a whiff of weed I would call the police. Fat lot of good that resolution did, when Serena said there were visible clouds of the stuff at the bottom of our garden last weekend, when those footballers booked themselves into our house on Airbnb, and I couldn’t even persuade Shaun to wander across the lawn and read them the Riot Act.
Or even, just ask them very politely would they mind, um... well, when they were quite finished (they were quite big, those footballers; and there were over twenty of them) could they kindly remove their weed-butts?
Anyway, back on the range as they used to say in comics before I was little.
As you have deduced, Bink rang me on Friday. I mean, gosh. On Thursday night, I said – somewhat fed up – ring me on Friday, Bink.
And she did! She b***** did.
Which has got to be a first. That she agrees to something as difficult as a telephone call. And then delivers.
And sounded pretty sane and sensible, though she often does that.
And then rang me again yesterday!
So, here is the good news:
She thanked me. I had told her, on Thursday night, that I am thoroughly sick of measuring out my life in utterly dreary crisis-dashes to A&E. In future I only want to help her with genuine stuff. Getting her life on track. Finding a job. Joining a therapeutic community. That sort of thing. Not stop-gap emergencies because she things she needs a fix. It was, I said, a complete waste of time. It really wasn’t, she said. You got me to see the head man. And that was really helpful. Talk about nuts. All he said was that there ain’t nothing out there, which we surely know now after two decades. Yes, she said. But he said it with authority. I wouldn’t have believed it from anyone else. (And, in truth, with kindness, sincerity and very deep regret. He was a lovely, lovely man. If you’re ever thinking of a crisis dash to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, ask for the head of A&E... He’ll thank me for that. Not.)
She wants to see a shrink. I agree, that wouldn’t usually be cause for celebration. But it’s a lot better than self-medicating, isn’t it? And she’s found one she really, really believes in (she’s mentioned him often before) whom she says I will like every bit as much as Prof Veale (you mean, there are TWO good shrinks in the world? Even more miraculous than Bink ringing me back) so perhaps I really can give her some long-term help after all.
And she rang me AGAIN on Saturday. Sounding even more sensible than on Friday.
And she is planning to go to the mini-Viking’s second birthday party. If she can get organised.
And hoping to come to the seaside with us in August.
And... you know. Stuff.
I am generally full of hope.
But then, I generally am.
And there is a wood pigeons’ next just outside our bedroom, beyond the window box. (Still ruby-themed: left over from last summer’s party.)
I love wood pigeons. The sound of them. All my summers as a teenager, biking to play tennis in Oxford. Coo-coo; coo-coo. Punting on the Cam, up to Grantchester. Coo-coo…
Let me tell you about pigeons’ nests, just in case you didn’t know. They are insane. A couple of twigs balanced in the fork of a tree. That’s it. They somehow then balance a couple of eggs in there.
And then sit and wait.
Full of hope.
And surviving, somehow.