My new life is gradually taking shape, though so far without accommodating any gainful work. There have been some changes. Now, as soon as I set foot outside my apartment door, I’m in a community. If I wish to eat breakfast with my fellow Brothers (and generally I do), I need to be dressed and on parade by 8.20. The chapel bell rings just before 8 o’clock and some of the menfolk use that as their alarm clock. All very well for them. A quick shave, a comb through whatever hair remains, jacket on, done. We girls need far more time.
My decision regarding which meals I’ll be taking has to be made a day in advance. It’s a small price to pay for being so well looked after. The meal register is ticked, the die is cast and I must put in an appearance. If I don’t, my compadres will wonder if I’ve woken up dead.
After years of servicing a large family I suddenly have few demands on my time. Theoretically I should have plenty of free hours in which to do all those things I have left undone or that I thought I desperately wanted to do. And yet, and yet… I reach supper time, (6.30, self-service, in the Great Hall), and I haven’t made much of a dent in my to-do list. Am I sliding into slothful old age? Or is this how life is supposed to be outside the hamster wheel? I really don’t know. But while I think about upping my game, please peel me a grape.