P Perdix eavesdrops on a couple’s disagreement

Roz and Jeb are arguing again...

They love each other and they love their baby daughter, Tilly, but they are both tired and stressed most of the time. The argument when it started was about money. Debts have been piling up since Roz had to stop work. Jeb is worried he might be downgraded at work because people are commenting how tired he looks. Jeb thought they should cut back more on spending.

Roz reminds him how expensive Tilly is; the special buggy, the therapy, the taxis they have to use to the hospital since she gave up her car. Roz says they have already given up the coming summer holiday with her sister’s family and the proofreading course that she had hoped would lead to an extra income. She does not buy new clothes any more. What else can they cut back on? She feels she has had to put her life on hold since Tilly was born and she can see no end to it.

Jeb suggested he could try to find extra work for evenings and weekends but Roz is horrified at the thought of having even more time on her own at home with Tilly. Jeb says he knows how tired Roz gets but says his life is not easy either, trying to run staff training sessions when he has had only three hours sleep.

He then tries to lighten the mood. He tells her Andrew and Pavel have invited them to their civil partnership celebration barbecue on Sunday afternoon. Roz is pleased to hear from them because Andrew and Pavel are the only neighbours who have ever taken an interest in Tilly. They actually came round to ask why Tilly had stayed in hospital after Roz came home from the maternity unit. Roz feels bitter that other neighbours, whom she used to think were friends, have been avoiding her. A couple of them actually cross over when they see her coming with Tilly in her buggy.

But, she says, she cannot possibly go to the barbecue because her hair is a mess, she feels drab, she has put on weight and she has absolutely nothing she could wear. She adds that she would have nothing to talk about anyway since she gave up her hotel job and her life now has such a narrow focus on looking after Tilly. Jeb tries in vain to persuade her. She wants Jeb to go with Tilly and leave her at home. She will catch up on some sleep.

Jeb has another good idea. They could ask Roz’s mum to come and baby sit so that he and Roz could go for a ramble over the hills as they used to before Tilly came along. This will not work, says Roz, because her mother is afraid to look after Tilly since she saw her having one of her fits last week. There is no point asking her to baby sit again. Jeb does not want to give up. He could ask his mother to baby sit. But Roz feels strongly his mother is already hard pressed looking after his father and probably could not leave him in the house on his own.

Roz has been thinking; while Jeb and Tilly are at the barbecue she could bring Tilly’s cot into their bedroom and arrange the put-you-up for Jeb in Tilly’s room. That way he would get more sleep and be more effective at work. Jeb has no answer to this and goes upstairs because Tilly has woken up and is crying.


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