When my daughter was a small child her favourite book was Little Miss Neat, one of Roger Hargreaves' wonderful stories for children. Before she could read Katy could recite Little Miss Neat and how she found a puddle in the middle of her garden path, sorting it out with a duster after which she washed the duster, folded it, ironed it and put it into the drawer. Little Miss Neat was a big part of my life but she has been overtaken by Little Miss Righteous.
I fee like the poor woman in Hilary Mantel's book, Beyond Black, who has her own spirit, a horrible sort of thing which plagued her, criticizing, never letting her think anything good about herself.
Little Miss Righteous nags at me if I don't hoover the floor. She makes lists where everything achieved has to be crossed off and more damned things get on to the endless list every day. She even points out where a few grains of salt have been spilt in an otherwise spotless kitchen cupboard.
She doesn't like me eating chocolate or drinking wine. She is so smug that I don't smoke. She hates my large bottom and my one breast and my twisted toes. She makes me be polite to people I don't like who bore me. She is even now going on about the unweeded front garden. I feel sure that if she had her way I would be in some very boring job, married to a man who spends his weekends ironing shirts.
At the moment every time I see her I thump her over the head with a frying pan, otherwise she takes control of my life. She loves a clean car, she likes long walks and lettuce and sensible shoes. One of these days I'm going to take her on a car ride and drop her off the end of a pier and come back and enjoy myself all the time. In the meanwhile I have to keep her happy and am off to pull a few weeds out of the garden.