Strictly Come Prancing

Or Rudolphing, or Dashing or Whatever.

Though I don’t think there was a reindeer called Whatever. But there should have been. He’d have been the world-weary one at the back who got the full brunt of the other reindeers’ dietary habits. He’d be the one with the peg on his nose. He’d be the one demanding emissions testing for reindeer and other magical flying animals.

So, yes, it’s that time of year again. And instead of everyone singing “I’m Dreaming Of A Wet Christmas” (just like the ones we always get), the weather is doing something very strange… It’s been snowing.

Yes, folks! It’s time for the Christmas Foxtrot!

Snow, snow, thick thick snow.

Well, hopefully. Hopefully?

Depends, I suppose. There can be winds. People simply complain about losing their dustbin lids. Never mind the roof tiles, bridges being shut down. There can be heatwaves. People simply whinge about it being too hot. Never mind the sunburn, dehydration and general dangers.

But one snowflake…

And people lose their freaking minds and turn into apocalypse preppers. Everything closes down and you can’t find toilet paper for love nor money. Because yes, when the end of the world comes, those extra rolls of double-soft quilted embossed will be so handy.

I don’t know if things are different from when I was little, or whether it was just because we didn’t have a car (long story) but I don’t remember all this end-of-days obsessive panic. Or perhaps it was just because I was a child and saw snow as lovely stuff that I could play with during – say it in hushed tones of reverencesnow days.

The grammar school I went to was surrounded by 6 foot high (2 metres) hedges and when a friend and I went out walking / mischief-making, we found ourselves walking well above the level of those hedges, and probably on top of a few abandoned cars too, unwittingly. There might have been a bit of ‘wittingly‘ about it had we known.

As we headed across the school playing field (with rugby posts poking apologetically out of all the white stuff), we saw a helicopter overhead. Being the ‘friendly’ sorts we were, we decided to wave to it. Oh yes… we waved and waved.

And it started descending onto the field.

I don’t know if there is a land speed record for ultra thick snow, but I think we may have broken it. We both charged back home and waited for the worst. What the heck had we done? We were both pretty sure it had been a military helicopter and our imaginations were running wild. We were praying we weren’t going to get into major trouble…

And that evening, our curiosity was rewarded, if not our panic. The news came on.

“And in local news…”

Which is what they used to say before the now ubiquitous ‘News Where You Are‘ (does nobody know what ‘local’ means anymore?)

It was a great story. A pregnant woman, living in a tiny village cut off by severe snow fall had gone into labour. No way in or out of the village was possible. A helicopter from the local airbase had been drafted in to get the woman out and off to the nearest hospital. But disaster had struck. The snow was so bad, the helicopter couldn’t see where to land.

And that was when the ‘miracle’ happened…

The crew of the helicopter suddenly saw two figures standing a few yards from the woman’s house, waving them down frantically, before disappearing into the drifts.

Yup. You guessed it. It was us. It was our village.

Anyway, hospital reached. Baby born. Everyone doing fine.

Stay safe everyone. And remember – getting your prayers answered is good, but sometimes it’s nice to be the answer to someone else’s prayer…

Keep your toilet rolls handy…

 


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Time and tide wait for no vampire

Eight months.

Yikes.

Yeah… sorry.

I know I normally disappear about June or July and pop back up again in September or October.

This year was a bit different. The summer was rubbish, but then you knew that already.

We’ve moved again. Had to. Well, I say ‘again’, but it’s only ‘again’ for me. The hubster is swearing on any and everyone’s life that he’s never ever, ever (with extra ever) going to move again. It was a long and drawn-out process and one which was bereft of wifi.

Modern savagery, right?

How did we survive?!

I don’t know, but the trauma will no doubt last for a while. Just joking. But it was a nuisance.

I’ll just check my bank baI can’t.

No time to go food shopping, I’ll just do it onlidang.

Ooh, I need to email Bob abou- Gahhhhhhh!

#FirstWorldProblems, as they say.

Anyway, we’re here now. And I’m able to talk to you again. I’m really glad about that. I’ve missed you. I’ve missed talking to you.

Okay, at you then.

Blame the jet-speed brain again. That’s how eight months have gone by so fast. Or so slowly. I don’t really know which it is. Another weird thing about being a vampire – our (is there an ‘our‘, or is it just a ‘my‘? I don’t know…) sense of timing varies between brilliant or non-existent.

And when I say ‘varies‘ what I actually mean is – it’s one thing or the other, baby. No in-betweens for this puppy.

(Did I ever mention that my favourite clock runs anticlockwise? It’s so much easier to tell the time by it…)

So either

NASA could set the clocks on the Space Station by us/me.

or

I do everything now in a minute

Mind you, that second one’s more a Welsh thing than a vampire thing.

Historically, it could have been a vampire that named The Hundred Years’ War (116 years). Or The Thousand Days’ War (1130 days). Or The Thirty Days War (304 days)…

But not The Eighty Years’ War – that one actually did last eighty years.

I was walking back home with the hubster today after a little trot into town. I confused him. I often do. I mentioned something about a lady in a Burberry scarf walking on the other side of the street. She looked so smart.

Then about ten foot-dragging minutes later, with much reflection and cogitation on my part, I wondered aloud whether our dog was alright on her own (oh yes! That’s another bit of news – we have a little rescue dog now).

Did I say ten minutes?

Apparently it was less than a few seconds. The hubster was puzzled as to why I was so concerned whether Scarf Lady would need to be let out for a poo.

Yeah…

(((cringe)))

Til next time. Promise not to leave it eight months.

 


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Let’s Dance

An inevitable move is approaching. A vampire can’t keep their head down forever. Except on a sunny day. But this is Britain, after all, so… no…

Taking a break from keeping the heads down, the hubster and I decided that, given that there’s not a blue moon due any time soon, we would throw caution to the wind and socialise. The operative word here is caution. On so many levels. We went bowling.

Yes.

Bowling.

Essentially throwing a  heavy lump of plastic at a bunch of other bits of plastic (or wood – not sure which), hoping that they’ll connect and fall over. So then, the opposite of what we all try to do in our daily lives – which is not knock things over. I mean, since we’re first able to walk around by ourselves, our parents and well-meaning adults move everything possible out of our way so we don’t knock everything over. For years, it’s

“Be careful!”

“Look where you’re going!”

“Watch out for that [object]!”

“Mind you don’t knock [item] over!”

And then you find yourself in a bowling alley in rented shoes, and suddenly you’re let loose with a load of deadly balls and told to go nuts.

What?!

As we all know, knocking a few things over is usually annoying. Case in point: there’s a whole bunch of YouTube videos about cats knocking things over and I don’t hear anybody congratulating the little furballs…

And what is it about bowling that suddenly makes it alright to do strange little dances?  Who does that in everyday  life?!

“I just put the milk back in the fridge… oh yeah ah-ha.” [does an elaborate wiggle/fist-pumping combo]

“I’ve just done the washing up and I’m doing the robot.”

Well, if you get excited over doing the washing up then it’s because of one of two things :

one you’re extremely easy to please or…

two  dinner around your house must be an adventure because if washing-up is such a big thing then… yikes?

(You know I’m joking!)

And those shoes… Yes… they say you don’t know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Well, a good thousand or so people had probably worn those shoes before me, and I still don’t have a clue about any of them.

Okay, so I didn’t walk a mile in them. It just felt like it. Okay, I didn’t walk at all. I may have tottered, strolled, skipped (slightly), skidded and occasionally ended up on my backside in them, but that’s besides the point.

I also saw a sign in the same place for a silent disco. So how does that work? I mean, yes,  I know how it works, but it got me wondering… what happens if you go to a silent disco with someone you like and they want to make a move?

What happens when they want to listen to something really smoochy and you just want to listen to Uptown Funk?!

I reckon there’s going to be a whole load of mixed messages going on right there…

And the potential for a whole load more YouTube videos.

 


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You know it makes sense.

Don’t look now…

I’m being very good today.

I got up.

Hey, don’t I get brownie points for that?!

Things have been getting a bit weird around here. Oh, okay then … weirdER.

I recently realised that I’ve been living in this country a quarter of a century. Nearly ten years in my current location. And that’s way longer than I ever tend to spend anywhere. Normally, after about 5 or 6 years, people start noticing things, and life starts getting awkward.

Then I move on. In fact, it’s normally a lot less than that. But, I guess that’s a big city for you. Noise, smells and a whole big bundle of Couldn’t-Give-A-Toss. This is a place where people would prefer to barge into you and say ‘sorry‘ than say ‘excuse me‘ and go through all that lengthy hassle of waiting a whole two seconds for you to move out of their way.

Sorry, I put ‘move‘ in bold because when I looked up at the screen, I realised I’d typed ‘love‘ instead.

Freudian slip?

I’d like to think so.

Sounds better than ‘Omigosh, my typing sucks‘.

But I think I’ve seen you. You’re the person that always says ‘thank you’ when I stop to let you go past. You always seem concerned whenever you see someone who may be in distress, and you’re always the first to help when you find that they are, rather than pointedly staring at your phone instead.

Talking of which, I saw someone the other day, walking along a tempestuous pavement, glued to their phone screen. Oblivious to everything else. They say flying is simply throwing yourself at the ground and not hitting it… Well, this guy practically flew, in that case.

Foot + pavement-bump + diverted attention = Faceplant

Or so you’d think…

It was a spectacular save.

He fell.

He got about three quarters of the way down.

He righted himself.

He carried on walking, still glued to the phone.

Now that’s style.

I salute you, young sir.

At least folks like him aren’t the cause of my current predicament.

Ah yes, that.

They’ve found me again.

Well, I think they have. And no, I’m not entirely sure who ‘they’ are, exactly. But ‘they’ have an unerring knack in discovering creatures like myself and, er, encouraging us to be geographically adventurous. I’m sure there’s some kind of -ism or -phobic that covers this, but let’s face it, you’re  never going to get anybody out with placards protesting.

Well, you may do, but it’s going to have to be at night, so probably not much to be achieved there.

Dysons and glowsticks at dawn it is, then!


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Tempus forgets

Oh boy…. I’ve just noticed the date.

What happened to the past few months? I mean, I know what I’ve been up to. At least, I think I do… Does anybody else do this thing where they intend to do something, and they keep telling themselves that they need to do it, and they tell themselves so frequently that they end up actually thinking they’ve done it?

And… they haven’t.

Well, that’s me.

I heard an interesting thing the other day. It’s to do with forgetting stuff…

Apparently if you walk from one room into another with the purpose of doing something, the very act of walking through the doorway draws a line under that thought. It wipes out the thought that you were bringing in with you.

Me: I will leave the living room and go to the kitchen to fetch a sandwich bag to put this assorted batch of pencils in.

My brain: And she’s left the living room! She made it into the kitchen without any injury. Good job, brain cells! Shut off any living room-based thoughts. Bin them. Let’s make space for incoming! Now let’s move onto all things related to ‘kitchen’!

Me: What the heck did I come in here for?

I once did a study of facial recognition/memory. And I found out something fascinating. Did you know your brain has a little database of useless information about each person you know? Well, chief amongst these is the location you usually see that person. In fact, it’s one of the first pieces  of information your brain scrabbles for. So…

Me: I know that person…

My brain: Hang on!  I’ll just check. (checks through a veritable Where’s Wally/Waldo of snapshots). Nope. I got nothing. Gahhh!

The other person then sees the stupid look of blank horror on your face and basically tells you their life story until you twig (usually at the point when they mention the actual place you know them from) who they are.

My brain: The library?! Omigosh! Of course! (grabs the picture of the library and does a lap of honour to the internal strains of the Hallelujah Chorus).

But, as I always say – it’s better to remember that you’ve forgotten than to forget that you’ve remembered…

 

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A hot topic

Wow, I was on a full-on whinge last time, wasn’t I? Sorry about that. Blame the weather. Go on, blame it. I intend to.

It’s hot here. As in, Tarmac-melting hot. 38 degrees. Certainly way hotter than my body temperature. Now, at this time of year, it’s usually safe for me to come out of my hidey-hole and embrace the autumnal lusciousness.

Only there’s very little autumn about, and even less lusciousness.

As I’ve said before, clothing is an issue for an everyday vampire. There are two choices: Cover up/overheat or wear less/burn. There is a third option: Hide. Guess which one I opt for.

Of course, there are occasions when I do have to leave the house, so wearing pale colours is my only option. And when I say pale colours, of course I mean white. I. am. not. going. to. wear. pink. Ever.

I’ve had people inform me that goths shouldn’t wear white. You know the types… So I just smile and let them carry on with their rant. Because that’s what you humans do, isn’t it (present company excepted)? They see this metaphorical snapshot of you and launch into a judgment based on that fleeting glimpse.

It’s like, the other day, someone slapped my wrist for making a joke about something that has, in the past beleaguered me and caused me a lot of personal anguish. ‘You can’t make jokes about that.’ he said, ‘You don’t know their story. You don’t know what they’ve been through.’ And you don’t know what I’ve been through, so shut up.

So, because I’m ‘so obviously a goth’, I’m not allowed to wear white. Okay, mate, whatever you say. But it’s not like I can tell them the truth, is it? I bet you’d like to be a fly on the wall if I did that?

So I’ll wear what I want. It’s quite sweet, because when small children see me, they’re convinced they’ve just seen an angel.

But conveying your personality to the world via the medium of fabric (and ink) is such a human thing, isn’t it?

How often have you seen some poor teen out there, swelteringly encased coffin-like in black leather despite hot weather warnings, with so much melted black eyeliner on that they’ve stopped looking gorgeously waifish and now just look like an anxious Alice Cooper?

To all the gothlings  out there:

You are allowed to forego the black leather, you know.

Gothling: No, I must wear head-to-toe tight black leather. How else will ordinary people know what I am?
Ordinary people: You’re an idiot. We just guessed.

See you in A&E. Heatstroke.

Oh, and going off at a tangent (so what’s new?) There is that one staple that the snapshot-judgement-jumpers always pounce on me for.

Tattoos.

I don’t have any. Nope, not one. Oh, I mean, I love getting the odd henna tattoo when I go on holiday. Like memories, they fade…

Well, I made an interesting discovery the other day. I can’t actually have them. They won’t take.

Yep.

You read that right.

They won’t take.

I know, crazy, eh? Now, before I get started, Tattoo 101, as they say. In much the same way that some believe that chips (=fries) come from plastic bags in the freezer, many people believe that the only way to get a tattoo is to visit a tattoo parlour. Which means if you were a sailor living 400 years ago, you were screwed. Let’s get the principle straight. sharp object+ink, piercing skin= tattoo. I know. My mates used to do it in class. Usually Maths (compasses!).

One guy I know was trying to do “Unforgettable Annie” (his current girlfriend’s name; seriously, he should have just had a ‘fill-in-the-blank’). Unfortunately, the poor lad’s pain threshold wasn’t that high, so he got as far as ‘Unforget‘ and passed out. She dumped him. But he never did forget her, so…

Anyway, this is why I (and probably anyone born a vampire) can’t have tattoos. Again, please let me know if you happen to be the exception to the rule. I was drawing with one of those lovely free-running ink pens (sharp object+ink: still with me?) and, distracted by someone talking to me, I rammed the pen into the lid with a little more force than usual. Of course, it wasn’t the lid, it was my thumb.

It bled like a pig. And then stopped. And a couple of hours later, it was healed. As usual. But I had a black spot there. Oh great, I thought. An accidental tattoo. And it looks like a blackhead. Wonderful.

Until the next day. To cut a long story short (too late), my thumb spontaneously opened up, spat the ink out, and closed up again. I wish I’d filmed it now.

And that’s why vampires (well, born ones, anyway) don’t have tattoos.

Do you want a moral-of-the-story? Ych. It’s the same as ever. Don’t judge people when you look at them. Or, actually, just don’t judge. Full stop.

“I have that within which passeth show. These but the trappings and the suits of woe.”

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2, Page 4


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Go on…

Where’ere thou art…

“Where’ere thou art, act well thy part.”

I have acted. Many people are surprised by this – that I can be on stage, watched by hundreds of people, being any one of a thousand possible characters, when offstage I find it difficult to make eye contact… It’s not so incredible, actually. I wear people like some folks hide behind make-up or loud clothes. You can go on holiday to escape home, work, family, friends, routine, but nowhere on earth will you ever escape yourself. 

That’s why I took to acting with such enthusiasm- the only way to escape yourself is to become (temporarily) someone else. 

I believe an actor has 100% to give. It is their choice how much of it they use on stage. The more you use off stage, the less you have to offer when the lights go down. I prefer to reserve my hundred percent for when I’m on stage. Although I do borrow from it from time to time to help me deal with the more awkward moments in life, like… Well, life really.

I was out the other day and heard such a wailing and caterwauling that I wasn’t sure if some disaster had happened. It turns out it was merely a local act-or out for a few moments of quiet reflection, as he hugged and ‘mwah-mwah-dahling’ed everyone within arm’s reach. And not all of them particularly wanted to be mwah-mwah’ed either.

Loudness of every kind appals me. It’s not snobbery. It hurts. Literally hurts. And when I say ‘literally’, I genuinely do mean literally. It causes me actual physical pain.

I’m sat on a train, escaping to the sea for the day to recharge the emotional batteries, when in swagger a gang of students. They swarm and mewl and raise the rafters to contain their wonderfulness. And I look at them, shutting off my ears and see their self-presumed omnipotence as nothing but a matrix of statistics: height, weight, age, IQ, EQ, life expectancy…

And each generation leapfrogs each other in outrage. One minute you’re one of the caterwaulers… The next, you’re disgruntled at the wailing and the next, you’re considering whether you should just report them to the police at 3am and finally get back to sleep. And of course, when I say ‘minute’, what I actually mean is ‘couple of decades’. That’s what time feels like to me. In a twinkling of an eye you go from the Angry Young Thing who’ll save the world with your Mixed Arts degree to being Outraged of Redhill.

Choose who you want to be. Change your choice every day if you have to. After all, you can always take holidays from yourself if need be.

And me? I’ll just keep away from Redhill for now…


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Fang you very much.