Meredith skypes from Brussels, between meetings with the Euro idiots (I refer to Peter Oborne, who seemed to have downed a few prior to his Newsnight performance, in which he called this poor po-faced EU politico an idiot one too many times, resulting in his walking off screen, leaving Paxman and Oborne squabbling like naughty boys over whether he deserved it). Anyway, Meredith is being feted by yet another European Count. I've lost count of her Counts. She seems to have one in every member state.
'So how's the job-hunting going, sweetie?'
'Well...' I play for time. 'The thing is, this Daily Haiku Challenge is taking up a lot of time.'
'What are you talking about?' Even though she's breaking up on screen, I can see the scorn radiating from every pixel.
'Well, I went to see Uncle Maurice, who's not exactly an uncle but some sort of distant cousin by marriage, and he was shocked that my memory was going at such a young age, and he said he had an excuse at 80, but actually his brain is as sharp as a dye, and anyway, he asked what it was like living in the country and I told him it was nice but a bit quiet and backwatery and he said, "well then, you're going to die," and he said when it came to the Day of Judgement, as I stood at those pearly gates, they might let me in if I'd done something a bit more edifying with my time than watching Love Films, such as writing poetry.'
Meredith has folded her arms, presumably in exasperation. Or boredom.
'Anyway, so then he sent me this postcard, challenging me to write a haiku a day - he said it would sharpen my brain.'
'OK, Eliza, my response to that is:
a) you are not a poet and you never will be, so don't waste time writing second-rate poetry
b) it's sharp as a tack, not sharp as a dye, and he doesn't know a thing about the menopause, because every woman I know of our age is suffering from their memory and eyesight fading
c) it's distracting you from getting a job
d) you need the money.
So tell Uncle Maurice to go sit on his hands!'
Hmmm. With Dusty off walks and Lily at school, it's about the only thing motivating me to get out of bed. That and the sourdough bread. Argh! The sourdough! Keep forgetting to feed the starter! It's been lying, dormant, in the fridge for days now. If it were a goldfish, it would be dead.
'How is Lily?' Meredith is asking in honeyed tones, perhaps to atone for the haiku assassination.
'Still wanting to board full time, but I still want her home on a regular basis. When she's out of my grasp she goes a bit feral.'
'Oh you're doing the right thing, sweetie. As much time as you can spend with her during her childhood is a gift that she'll value later in life.'
'Hmmm. Might turn out to be a poisoned chalice.'
'Enough of your nonsense, Eliza! Right, I have to go into another meeting. I'm going to skype you tomorrow and I want to hear that you've applied for three jobs between now and then. OK? Grasp the nettle!'
The screen goes black before I can tell her about the Entrepreneur Evening and turning Passion into Profit and Cass's and my pop-up restaurant plans.
I suppose I'd better check out this week's Candlebury Advertiser.