Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Weiden

The Madness of Idle Hands

The sky is a heavy blanket of white, white, white and the church bells just went off. There are several old people in enormous jackets milling about outside. I don’t know where they all come from. I am trying to find out what kind of medical facility, housed in a quaint, yellow, pointy roofed building, my study window faces and whether it is responsible for the daily elderly milling. All, in my hood, is as it should be.

What's your story, yellow building? Who are you?

Two weeks ago, I was looking forward to a little holiday. Moving down here was going to mean a few weeks off from work, as my new employers looked for clients to thrust me upon and, frankly, the idea of a forced break was an appreciated one. I was going to use it to get my health back on track, to write endlessly and settle into my new home. I was going to spend my days in my new grey, cotton maxi skirt and a cropped camel cable knit, cradling a cup of coffee, banging out a breezy chick lit novel in my spanking new writing room.

Cut to today. Over 48 hours, I have devolved. From last week’s whirl of productivity, I have ground to a slow, squeaking, unglamorous halt.

There’s no maxi skirt (to be fair, there never was, that remained a distant dream). I am in man tracksuit pants, a shapeless sweater that inexplicably smells like smoke and a towel turban. The breezy chick lit novel, since last Friday, has been extended by about 3 pages. The state of my health remains an enigma because my former doctor is shocking when it comes to communicating and seemingly never in the surgery.

And I am going absolutely mental.

In particularly low moments, I question my entire existence. In all other moments, I loll about on the couch eating caramel waffles, watching back to back episodes of Revenge, Ringer, New Girl, Law & Order: SVU,  Up All Night and Cougar Town, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for an email to pop into my repeatedly refreshed inbox, telling me ‘put on a suit! Brush your hair! Work is nigh!’

My current mental state, I suspect, has come about for two reasons; 1) I am not particularly good at taking forced work breaks and 2) I am a massive Billy No Mates. Last week, the first week of being here, the first week of my forced work break, there was always something to do. And Lord, was I productive. Daily, there were visits to the hardware store, the nursery, the various furniture shops Weiden seems to be stuffed with. There were boxes to unpack, furniture to be built (not that I built anything, I am utterly incapable of following practical instructions, just ask my Year 7 Design and Technology teacher who privately despaired of me daily) rooms and shelves to decorate, kitchens to celebrate, staple groceries to buy – and forget, so a return to one of the millions of grocery stores Weiden seems to be stuffed with, was deemed necessary. And because there were so many things to do, there were a lot of things to write about! Hello daily blogging! Hello the direct result of daily blogging, creative writing! On the weekend, I even had a job-related date in the neighbouring (and much better looking) city, Regensburg. It was lovely. And then we had a lovely dinner with the lovely family of SG’s lovely friend.

There were tea cups to organise and photograph ...

But then yesterday happened. The dawning of the second week. The frenzy has died down. The house has been moved into. There is one more piece of furniture to build up and I am not touching that thing. I am at a loose end. I am a pair of idle, uninspired hands.

There are times, over the past couple of days, I have become some sort of crazed hausfrau and dusted everything in sight, including imaginary crumbs into my cupped hands, beat the doona until it is completely wrinkle-less, sorted washing like a mad thing, in preparation for the delivery of our new washing machine this week, asked SG every five minutes if I can make him something to eat or drink, whilst he builds up the mind bogglingly complex – and yet visually so simple – bathroom suite.  There are times – fine, one – I have crept out into the public eye with wild hair, for more biscuits and wine. Mostly I have just stared, beady eyed, at the elderly people and loud youths who walk down our street and muttered something nonsensical under my breath.

What one shouldn’t do, when one is in a sack of an outfit, with a soaking towel turban wrapped around one’s wild hair, is read blogs about any of the following: enjoying small things, romancing the everyday, finding beauty, being inspired, colouring life, sprinkling magic dust, blooming, hearts bursting, pulling joy from mediocrity, picking flowers, painting. And yet, that is also what I have been doing. My idle hands lurch from one blog to another, soaking in other people’s sunshine, sucking it up and converting it to scorn to pour on my own, magic-dust less existence.  And it has only been about 48 hours since my existence lost its magic dust (aka productivity). I am barely two weeks into a break I sorely needed and one I knew was coming. This is how rapidly I can devolve when my grandma hands are idle.

The second point, being a massive Nigel, I can really do nowt about, short of hanging out in cafes and creeping in on people’s coffee dates. Friends come when networks are expanded and networks are generally expanded in new towns when one starts working. And we all know I am not working. We all know only too well.

So for now, my friends are the cast of Revenge and the packet of caramel waffles I bought yesterday. And blogs about sucking the joy out of gardenias. I once sucked joy out of gardenias. Now I suck it out of wine bottles and biscuit packets, waiting for the email or phone call that will put me out of my misery.

‘Liv, it’s your employer. We have work for you!’

Until then, see you on the couch.


  1. kailashsrinivasan

    13 March, 2012 at 9:32 am

    but the grandma idle hands is what prompted this post, so, it’s a good thing? 😉

  2. admin

    14 March, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Hahaha everything happens for a reason Lash … obviously … now if only this post were a book and the book got snapped up by a London agent and then I could REALLY say, ‘well, at least my madness led to this brilliant book deal!’ Alas, it led to a rambling blog post.

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