My lofty life: Carole Hayman is in the market for flowers and vice

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Spring is in the air. Rise, stretch, song bubbling to lips. Wave to hard-hats on building site, now practically in my bedroom. They've seen me in bra and knickers more times this week than the boyfriend.

In spring, a young girl's fancy turns to ... well, fancy. But a middle- aged woman's turns to gardens, and Sunday finds me dragging the reluctant boyfriend up to Columbia market. "Look, babes," he says plaintively, "what's the point in buying plants when we haven't got a garden?" Explain idea, which only entails blasting a hole in the roof (have spoken to Syd about gelignite) and obtaining a 12ft ladder. Suggest hard-hats might be willing to help out for further displays of me in the nude. Boyfriend says, unchivalrously, that he doubts it.

Fed up with hunting for my novel in bookshops (might have more luck in grocers). Boyfriend had forbidden me to enter any more, after I ran amok in Ditchword, kicked over the bestseller stand, tore up a Deen Perry (with my teeth) and threatened the shop assistant. Also enraged with the Sunday papers. Assured by my agent, "reviews don't count". To whom, I wonder? Market safer and more soothing. Grab bushes, trailers, climbers, creepers. Dream of gambolling with Bullit in summer luxuriance.

Monday, dream shattered. Threatened with knee-capping by Hoxton mafia, determined to open a bar next door with late licence for line-dancing, bottle smashing, and Eurovision hits Karaoke. I'm dragooned into heading resistance movement. Supported by Tatiana who wants to turn the premises (an abandoned ambulance depot) into a brothel. "I'm tired of pounding the pavements, Kaz, I've 'ad bronchitis twice this year. My chest's chronic." True, much of it is on display in all weathers. "Don't see how the council can say no. It's goin' in for this night-time economy, innit?" Point out the council probably has bars and restaurants in mind, rather than full-time knocking shops. Still, if she's prepared to join the Masons. No one's better qualified to dress up in pinnies and give funny hand-jobs. "Much quieter than a club," assures Tatiana. "I mean, the most you'll hear from my clients is the odd 'owl or whimper." Sounds remarkably like Eurovision Karaoke.

Called to gloomy community centre for hearing by Hygiene and Licensing Services. A quasi court of grim-faced councillors ranged around a table. Tatiana and I are placed in the dock in full view of Hoxton Mafia. My knees begin to knock in anticipation. "Don't worry, Kaz," says Tatiana in a loud stage whisper, "I know that councillor." She points to Gradgrind type with (now) red face. Wonder if he's a howler or a whimperer. Protest that we live with constant scream of traffic, shriek of drills, grind of diggers, squeal of cranes, drum 'n' bass (neighbours). No green, no trees (get tearful), nothing but scaffolding and rude mechanicals. "Yeah," butts in Tatiana, "if you give it to me, I'm gonna landscape the yard. Rockeries, fountains, gnomes, flowers. No liquor, no leerin', an' as far as 'ygiene, I always make 'em dip it in disinfectant." She pins Gradgrind with a look that can shrivel at 30 paces. He sinks beneath the table. Tatiana triumphs. She (and I) will get her bit of paradise. Imagine sunning myself in jasmine bower, while Tatiana tortures assorted councillors.

Repair to Banana Bar, where mate, Denzil, is spinning the discs. Hoxton Mafia come in and glower in the corner. "Wanna buy some CDs?" says Denzil, "pounds 2. Found 'em in a skip." Examine covers, Mmm. Eurovision Hits 1970s

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