Is it summer yet?

 

Or did I miss it?

As you know, this is the time of year that I usually disappear to cooler climes. But I already live in cooler climes… although you’ve be forgiven for thinking that we’re somewhere near the equator today!

Plus disappearing off anywhere at the moment is a definite no-no. We were out earlier, giving the car its weekly run-out. Great excitement – we even had to fill up with petrol!

I need to get out more…

…says pretty much everyone at the moment.

Only we can’t.

Not everyone, everywhere, at any rate.

But if we can, we can, and if we can’t, we shouldn’t, so we don’t.

Huh?

Anyway!

And while we were queueing up to pay in one shop (because what else is anyone doing at the moment?), the cashier had to call “next please” a few times, and with increasing volume before the lady in front of us realised it was her turn to approach the till (with great caution, naturally).

Her response?

“Sorry! I was miles away.”

And I had to fight so hard to stop myself from replying “That’s probably the only traveling you’ll be doing for the next couple of months…”

You see, things are different here.

I know that in England, things are starting to relax a bit and humanity is starting to creep back outdoors and spread across the map again, with human-friendly places starting to re-open and folks starting to be able to congregate in a socially responsible manner but it’s different here. No creeping. No spreading. And definitely, definitely no congregating, no matter the levels of responsibility being shown.

So this year is going to be different.

Well, that’s an understatement, isn’t it?

This year, I’m staying put. But still disappearing, if only in the metaphysical sense. Because this year, I think that the world I’ll be running away from will probably end up on my doorstep.

Hello, over-excitable tourists. Hello, free-range grocklewuffs.

It should be a good summer. Should.

Stay safe. Be kind. Have fun.

I’ll probably speak to you again before I go off-grid. It’ll no doubt take me that long to find the grid.

The Wisdom Of Nostalgia

Or

4 Things My Mother Used To Say Constantly To Me When I Was A Kid That Now Annoyingly Make Sense

Ever catch yourself saying something and think ‘oh boy, I’m turning into my mum/dad’?’ Seriously, even if you don’t have kids. There’s things I find myself saying to the dog (yes, the dog!) and I have to stop myself and think, I can’t believe I just said that. Although, in fairness, that might also be precisely because I am talking to my dog or, more perturbing, the fact that she’s answering me. In disparaging grunts. I guess that’s where the word ‘disgruntled’ come from…

Does anyone else have a dog that’s a cross between a furry toddler and a fuzzy teenager? And are they ever gruntled? Anyway, I’ll leave you to guess which one of these I’ve said to my dog!

“Eat your greens”
Apart from anything, I find now as an adult that I actually love green vegetables. I also know that there’s an actual reason why small children don’t like the taste (or even the sight) of green vegetables. Dang, if only I’d known that when I was five. The Battle Of The Broccoli could have been won before the stuff had even stopped steaming on my plate. But now? Oh, those leafy greens. Those yummy vitamins and minerals. And oh, the annoyance of knowing the mother had a point.

“Look where you’re going!”
For so long I wondered ‘what does that even mean?!’ And then the great light of ‘duhh’ shone on me and I realised it means. exactly. what. it. says. How did it take me so long to reach enlightenment? I think watching pedestrians’ obsession with their mobile phones cleared that one up nicely. As the third/fourth/fifth person slammed into a lamppost while checking their phones, a lightbulb went on over my head. Actually, it was probably the lamppost, come to think of it. Either walk and focus, or stop and look. They are not interchangeable pairings.

“Don’t make that face. If the wind blows, you’ll stay that way.”
Okay, I’ve got nothing. Nothing. I have absolutely no idea why this one was (and continues to be) so popular. But for some reason, I’ll always associate this phrase with broad beans…

“You look with your eyes, not with your hands!”
The biological ramifications of this one blew my mind as a kid. Or bio-illogical… unless… was it just possible that there was a strange kind of mutant out there that could actually see with their hands? What would they look like? Were they magical beings with eyes in their hands?

Was it some kind of telepathic divination?

Nah.

The mother just wanted me to stop throwing baked beans and chocolate into the shopping trolley while she wasn’t looking. Or touching e.v.e.y.t.h.i.n.g. on the shelves after she’d taken me out of the child seat in the trolley because I was single-handedly (I was using both hands, though) doubling their grocery bill.
And this is the one I kept hearing in my head more recently. Social distancing became the new normal. Gloves and masks became mandatory. Hand-washing became obligatory. Going into a shop meant only buying things I had bought previously because I couldn’t pick them up to read the labels. I couldn’t take the chance with my own health, and I certainly wouldn’t take the chance with anyone else’s. And that’s when it hit me. You look with your eyes, not with your hands.
“Oh! That’s what that means!”, quickly followed by “Oh. Dang!”

But I’m still hopeful about the telepathy mutant thing…

How does your garden grow?

And today, I’m going to be a total and utter bore. I’ve been gardening. Yes. Outside. In daylight. In… *gulp* …sunshine.

Okay, so, I may have exaggerated slightly for effect there. And I may definitely have overestimated the amount of the glary stuff. Let’s just say, there’s been an absence of rain.

Yep. That’s more accurate.

When we moved here nearly 3 years ago, we inherited a large garden full of jungly weeds and concrete. Indiana Jones never did show up to help fight our way through it. Oh well…

Nature is really a really important part of staying healthy (physically & mentally), and not just for humans! So I’ve been having a go at growing stuff in the garden. But I have one rule… I won’t grow anything just because it’s pretty. So no cutesy flower with some unpronounceable names. And let’s face it, they’re all unpronounceable. 

So, I’m going for herbs, vegetables and fruit. And there’s some really pretty herbs out there. And you don’t need a garden to grow them in, either.

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(I don’t have any gnomes in the garden – thought I better point that out!)

I did buy some seeds, but apart from my trio of blueberry bushes (which can be from indoors, apparently), all my other plants were, er, acquired.

And this is where I get really boring…

I’m going to list them!

Thyme & Rosemary – these were both those ‘growing herbs’ that I got from the food section of the supermarket. I kept them waaaay past their sell-by date and they suddenly went feral. They’re now sat in their own tub outside. The bees love them.

Garlic, Mint & Celery – I stuck some over enthusiastic garlic cloves in the soil. Up they popped. I had to be careful though – they look a bit like grass. The mint was a pack of cut stems – again from a supermarket. I put a couple of stems in a glass of water until they grew little roots. It took about 2 weeks or so. I put the strongest one in a little yogurt pot of soil and when it got too big, I replanted it outside.

It’s now planning world domination. 

The celery was a similar thing. Rather than ripping the stalks off, I cut them off. When I’d eaten all the sticks (try one, finely  chopped with grated vegan cheese and mayo in a sandwich or spread with peanut butter and topped with raisins). The stub was sat in a saucer of water until the roots kicked in. It’s now sat in a little corner with the rhubarb (which was here before we moved in), minding its own business. It’s slow growing, but hey ho.

You don’t always have to spend a fortune on plants, you see. There are others,  but I’ll spare you.

I’ve even got house plants now – first one is Spike. I have no idea what he is. Naming them after fictional vampires. Looking for suggestions. 2 yucca – Louis and Lestat.

Aand those seeds… one tip. Pay attention. Serious attention. And I was doing so well, too. I’d carefully prepared the soil, made a straight line with those couple of pegs and string things, made a furrow for each line of seeds. The works.

I sowed one lot of seeds and carefully covered them with the soil…

And then I had a “SQUIRREL!” moment.

And planted the second lot of seeds on top. I did wonder why I’d forgotten to make a furrow for them. Until I saw the other (empty) furrow the recommended distance away (thank heavens for YouTube).

Anyway, a lot of something has sprouted. I just have to wait 2-3 weeks until I can tell which is which…

Think I’ll go and talk to Spike, Louis and Lestat… They won’t judge…

…and the days all melt into one

How are you? I hope you and yours are well and happy and have binge-watched yourself into blissed-out oblivion. I’m sorry I haven’t spoken to you in ages but I’m afraid I’ve been losing track of the days a bit. I was doing it before, admittedly, but now it’s a daily occurrence.

You know I was saying ages ago that I have a number of alarms set up throughout the day? Well, I’m now considering to streamlining it to one a day, that just tells me what day it is and whether or not I need to shower…

Hm. Can’t believe I just said that.

Forget I said it.

Anyway…

(she says, changing the subject quickly)

That header quote…

“Be happily positive and you will be positively happy.”

 ~ me

Okay, so I know saccharine sentimentality usually has me rushing to talk to the deity via the porcelain telephone, but I’m quite happy with the above quote thing. I like playing with words.

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And talking of words…

The furball is loving having both her furparents at home at the mo. And when we’re out, she becomes the highlight of every toddler’s day. We regularly hear excited shrieks of “doggy!”, “bow-wow!”, “Ci!”, “Woof-woof!” and “Goggy!”. I think there’s probably more, but sometimes the kids go supersonic so not even I can hear them and we can’t get close enough to lip-read…

I don’t care how exciting your life is, or how superbly stimulating your home environment is. Your parents might even be regularly featured on “Lives Of The Rich And Famous”, when you’re two years old, seeing a dog always feels like it’s the greatest thing that ever happened to you and you would be forgiven for completely losing your…  er … poop. And when you haven’t yet finished potty training, losing your poop is a very real possibility.

For some reason, autocorrect wanted that to say “lives in the fridge and famous” and to be honest, I think that’s way more appropriate right now.

Which gets me into autosuggestion. The next sentence you see will have been generated using only the autosuggestion buttons on my iPad keyboard…

I do not get the word to the point where it will not get the word.

And that, human ladies and gentlemen, is why we shouldn’t be worrying about machines taking over the world just yet. To be honest, they could barely apply for a bank loan with this level of grammar. Though I’d love to see one try!

Coming back to that fridge…

I think I heard something in there and I better investigate.

Stay well.

Stay positive.

 


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Fang you very much.

Spring is springing

First off… the most important question. How are you? I truly hope that you and yours are safe and well.

Did anybody notice the equinox? Well, it went ahead anyway. That’s Nature for you. It’s got its own schedule. I wonder if there’s anyone out there who thinks it’s something to do with horses?

And it’s officially Springtime!

Yay!

And the clocks are going forward this weekend!

Another yay!

An hour less to stay indoors.

What is everyone up to? I’m making the most of the garden and planting out our blueberry bushes and herb plants. I’ve even been doing some yoga in the garden. Do not – I repeat, do not – get the two mixed up.

Some things can never be combined.

So, should anyone see me with a trowel in my hand, touching my toes… no, I’m not trying to do the Big Toe yoga move (where you bend in half and hang there, touching your toes), I’ve just been bent over weeding for just a little too long. Hyperfocus and gravity are not good bedfellows.

The stupid thing is, like a lot of other people, I’m taking this time to do crazy things like yoga in the garden, planting plants etc but the reality is, I was living like this before, so why wasn’t I doing all this before?

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And why is plant a verb as well as a noun? What other ones are there? Please let me know. It’s like how orange is a colour as well as a fruit. And luckily the fruit is actually that colour. I mean, how awkward would that be otherwise? Again, please tell me any you can think of. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s got random rubbish floating through their brains at the moment. Or, as I like to call it – every day. Hey, that’s why they call me the Everyday Vampire.

Well, no. Not really.

‘They’ don’t call me that because (hopefully) ‘they’ don’t have a clue what I am. Just as I have no clue who ‘they’ are. And that’s how I like to keep it. After all, last time I had a ‘they’ situation, it ended up with me leaving the country.

Anyway.

We have sunshine here. As in, that big yellow thing in the sky is making everything bright and – gulp – warm.

Spring cleaning – that’s the elephant on the To Do list, isn’t it?

Once upon a time, I saw an advert for a carpet cleaning machine in a nearby supermarket. Apparently, it ‘brings your carpet back to life!’ which would be fine for our living room carpet. But the one in the bedroom?

Sheesh. That bogger should be buried deep with a stake through its heart.

…and I can just hear the Politically Correct brigade now.

”You can’t make jokes like that! It’s offensive to vampires!”

They probably wouldn’t use the “V” word though, would they? It’d more likely be something like “haematologically challenged” or “differently dentitioned” – even though I’ve made it quite clear I steer clear of biting people (although, sometimes…) and I don’t have fangs…

…Anymore.

Well…

There is still that one tooth that the dentist didn’t quite fix…

And on that note… I better go walk the furball. And make the most of the sunshine. Gahhh…

Stay safe, everyone!

Myths and Mysteries

Right. What shall we talk about today..?

I’m thinking this should probably be a part 1 kind of thing.

Actually, now might be a pretty good time for a bit of a recap. If you’re new to all this, it’ll save you time and if you’ve been with me since the beginning, then you know my tendency to repeat myself. Well, at least this time, it’ll be on purpose.

And if you want to be thorough, I’ll link in previous posts… ’cause I’m pedantic like that.

First off, let’s get the biggie out of the way.

Yes, vampires do exist. Obviously. Or I wouldn’t be here, talking to you.

Okay, so I’m technically not here. Well, not your ‘here’. I mean my ‘here’. And technically, I’m not talking. Unless you’ve got one of those cool apps that reads the text off a screen. Actually, I saw this really neat gadget the other day that you attach to glasses that’ll do exactly that – but I’m distracting myself. Terrible problem.

And I just love the dictate function on tablets and phones etc. Seek and ye shall find? Well, this is speak, and it shall type. So handy. Especially as sometimes my brain works faster than my fingers. My mouth doesn’t work as fast as my brain either, but it does go a darn sight faster than my stubby little digits.

And there I go again. I go off track more often than a dirt bike.

There are so many myths surrounding vampires. Some are spot on. Some… well, let’s just say that some people got the wrong end of the stick. I can’t believe I just said that. And some are partly true – but not for the reason you’d think.

So here are a few FAQs…

  • reflections – yes, I have one. So does pretty much anything. Including the wall opposite the mirror. But I do hate mirrors, although you can chalk that one up to childhood trauma (as can about 90% of human experience).

 

  • sunlight – no sizzling, fizzling or spontaneous combustion. Just a tendency to walk into things because I can’t flipping see in normal to bright sunlight. And there’s the sunburn.

Don’t forget the sunburn. I know I don’t.

 

  • bites and turning – I have to admit, I’m not sure. Not really much research. I know the Monies Powers That Be will fund some glaringly obvious studies (e.g. sword-swallowing can be dangerous – who knew?!), somehow rocking up to a finance committee asking for £300,000 to go ’round biting people wouldn’t go down too well. Or it could be the best ever episode of Dragon’s Den. Not that I watch it but, you know, you hear things…

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  • reincarnation/one true love – faces, like history, keep repeating themselves. but I’ve only recently talked about that one, so…

 

  • immortality – well, I’m still here, into my 2nd glorious century! But then, so is anyone over the age of 20…

 

  • the drinking blood thing – vampires are usually portrayed as avoiding all human food… well, there’s allergies – food allergies abound. Traditionally, vampires stick to blood because trying to find food that won’t have us impersonating the Trevi Fountain is just too much of a faff.

 

  • turning into animals –  have you ever noticed that the animals that vampires are supposed to turn into tend to be ones that get used as insults? Daft old bat, hound, what a dog etc. You can just imagine it, can’t you? The postman has just delivered post to the Dracula household. It’s bad enough that he’s had to traipse up a particularly precarious slope to reach the manky, gloomy old castle teetering on top of an especially treacherous precipice (someone should really call the Council). but then he knocks and for once, waits for an answer. None of this tickling the doorbell then leaving a “Sorry We Missed You” card.

And, because it’s about ten-to-sunrise o’clock, the door gets opened by the grumpy resident, who’s more interested in getting some kip than receiving all the latest offers from the local pizza parlour. He grabs his mail (including the blackout curtains he ordered from eBay), growls at the hapless postie and beats a hasty exit to avoid the oncoming daylight.

And the postman gets back to the office, exhausted from the climb (and no doubt the stumbling back down – remember precarious?), cheesed off because it’s only the start of the shift and he’s already been barked at (see where I’m going with this?). A colleague asks what’s wrong (because the postie’s colleagues are a caring lot).

“What’s wrong?” he says. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong. I nearly got killed delivering a parcel to that castle on top of the hill. And when I get there, some grumpy old bat answers the door, growls at me then disappears like a puff of smoke!”

“He’s a bat?!” yelps the colleague, “Then he turns into a dog and vanishes into a puff of smoke?”

And that, folks, is how rumours start.

And then the rumours become legend.

 

  • sleeping in a coffin – no, but it’d be about the only way I’d ever sleep on my back. I just prefer sleeping on my side. Coffin with a stretchy lid, perhaps? Otherwise – shoulder problems. Those things aren’t very deep, and I’ve got broad shoulders. Plus I’m an awful fidget – especially when asleep. Ever seen a jumping bean? That’d be me, trying to sleep in a coffin. Plus – claustrophobia!

 

  • Being invited in? It’s just manners. Picture this: someone knocks on your door. You open it. They barge in. How would you feel? Threatened? Uncomfortable?  Most people with manners will wait to be invited in. I say most… I mean the ones who have retained any sense of decorum and etiquette.  I suppose vampires just take things a step further.  There’s the tendency to extrapolate. Or, as I like to call it – overthink. So if you let a vampire in, you’re giving them carte blanche to do… well, what vampires do. Me, it’s mostly sit quietly and eat biscuits. Those nice pink wafers if you’ve got them. I like pink wafers. You see, we are asking permission not just to have that carte blanche, but to keep it handy whenever we need it. I say we

Oops, I’ve been rambling again, haven’t I? Thanks for the patience. You’re definitely one of the better humans. This is definitely going to be a two-parter, I think.

Got a burning question? 

Then just leave it in the comments!

Ask, and I will answer. Or at least, I’ll have every intention of answering, but I might get distracted. No, I will answer. Honest. But I do get distracted… I’ll absolutely do my best. Ooh, what was tha-

 


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Some things are left better unsaid…

…or conversation for the socially awkward.

Do you ever have days where you manage to stay sane; interact with lovely people or – better still – no people at all?

Do you often have days where you seem to run into every nutter going? Or as I like to call it – Wednesday.

I just seem to attract all forms of crazy and awkward- in the form of people, conversations and situations. Today was no exception.

I’m coming back from visiting someone and on the way back to the train station, I bump into one of their more verbose neighbours. So there I am, with 26 minutes to do a walk which a nearby signpost reminds me will take 17 minutes to do, with my darling furbaby in tow who is determined to sniff every. single. goldarn. blade of grass going and up pops Mrs Verbose, with clear plans to tell me her life story for the I’ve-forgottenth time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I did stop and talk. I know that much about humans.

I’m not rude but at the same time, I could almost hear the tick-tock countdown in my head. I spend about 10 painful minutes of nodding and making what I’ve learned are mollifying sounds. I’ve watched you humans carefully on this one. As long as I nod, and say things like ‘really? Oh, that’s good/bad’ (Note to self: do NOT mix those two up), I can go on auto-pilot while I plan my escape.

Long story short: even with the unexpected accompaniment of a lovely person who thought I was talking to her and not the furball, I actually managed to get on the train and get home before crumbling into a pile of introverted angst.

Awkward conversations…

Which, if you’re me, is pretty much any conversation.

awkward

I mean, we’ve all heard this one, or something similar, I’m told…

You know, this one.

Stranger: Where do you live?

Me: I live in south Wales.

Stranger: Ooh I know someone who lives in south Wales –  their name is Jones. Do you know them?

I think everybody’s had that one at some point or other but how about some of the other clangers?

Like, for instance, the person who doesn’t speak to you for ages and then when you do speak to them, they only seem to be interested in finding out how much money you earn. And they won’t let it go. And they keep coming back to it. Especially if you work in something unusual.

Does anyone else get this a lot?

And then there’s this one…

Something similar to the “Do you know the Joneses” is the person who rabidly insists on describing the other person’s character, appearance or domicile in great enough detail to browbeat you into admitting that yes, yes, you do know them… Now please make it stop…

This is the location variant…

It starts simply enough. You’ve answered the ‘Where do you live‘ question correctly. Then you get told that their cousin’s friend’s brother-in-law lives in the same area and do you know it? It’s just around the corner from you!

And as much as you’re trying to tell them no, they will not let it go. It’s right up there with the Mr ‘oh-I-know-someone-who-lives-about-30-miles-away-from-you-but-it’s-all-the-same-area-so-you-must-know-them‘. In this case, they give you all manner of landmarks that you don’t know and you keep telling them that but does that stop them?

Heck, no.

It’s like getting caught under a boulder rolling downhill.

They come up with things like ‘they live a couple of streets away from the butchers‘.

Butchers?

My eyes glaze over.

They still don’t take the hint. Yes, you know the butchers – the one that does the amazing sausages.

I’m vegan..?

But even that doesn’t stop them. They keep going but clearly haven’t picked up on the fact that you really have no interest where this complete stranger lives and you really don’t want to be bullied into admitting that you do know where such and such a place is. Even if you don’t. Which is more often the case.

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Of course, there is one risky prospect which, as long as you can stop yourself from gnawing your own elbow to stay conscious, does work. That is to get the other person talking about themselves.

And humans just love talking about themselves, don’t they?

So if you can keep your eyes open during their TED-worthy speech about the benefits of different densities of concrete, you’re onto a winner. But you have to remember to do the thing with the head and make the correct noises.

TIP: try to sound as genuine as possible. I can’t do it and apparently, I don’t do sarcasm either so I’m really onto a loser with that one.

Oh well.

 


Are you following me here yet?

I mean, in a non-creepy, follow-this-blog kind of way…

You know what I mean.

Do you?

Sheesh.

I hope so.

I’ve seen that face before…

One thing I forgot to talk about a short time ago. About time. The myth about the vampire’s soulmate – the one true love.

We always get the old cliché in the films of the vampire pining for his Lost Love. Naturally, she’s always exquisitely beautiful and always, always featured in a huge oil painting that dominates somewhere or other in the vampire’s gothic bachelor pad.

And then a modern beauty appears (who’s played by the same actress that posed for the portrait during the film’s pre-production period), and the vampire and his companion exchange comments about how very like ‘her’ ‘she’ is.

They finally meet; everyone assumes ‘she’ is the reincarnation of ‘her’ and all goes swimmingly until someone (usually the young woman’s current significant other) kebabs the vampire with a stake. Usually a sharpened chair leg. You just can’t get decent stakes from B&Q / Homebase / Home Depot.

Reincarnation? Pfft. More like the lookie-likey thing. Having ‘one of those faces’…

It’s the time thing again.

A month goes by for a human, but for a vampire, it only feels like a few minutes. So, when Dracula saw Mina, he probably just thought it was his old girlfriend who’d simply been a little longer than usual popping out for the newspaper and a pint of milk.

But of course, it wouldn’t have been milk, would it?

“I never drink… semi-skimmed.”

It doesn’t work, does it?

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Sorry, I couldn’t help but have a little play with the clichés. You know what I’m like. We could actually play a game, couldn’t we? “Spot the Cliché”. A bit like “Spot the Difference” but without the nagging certainty of failure. I’ve spotted four. Please feel free to comment if you managed to find more!

I’ve done similar things. I’m regularly getting ready to say hello to someone until I realise that it’s not them. In fact, ‘them’ is actually back in the English town I left nearly three years ago.
Like, last week, I bumped into the caretaker from somewhere I used to work. But it wasn’t him. Of course it wasn’t. Him would be back in England, caretaking, and not trying to avoid treading in a puddle in South Wales. These poor souls just look like ‘them’.

Oh! And yesterday, I popped out to the shop (not for milk, obviously), and I saw someone I met when I first moved to England. I was about to wave and say “Hi, Janet!” but stopped myself just in time. One reason being – again, obviously – that her name isn’t/wasn’t Janet. I’ve changed it, haven’t I… The main reason being that the ‘Janet’ I knew was in her late 20s when I met her. And yes, while this ‘Janet’ was also in her late 20s, the realisation hit me – I met JanetJanet’ over 30 years ago.

Thank goodness I wasn’t going in for a hug…

Over the years, I’ve seen dozens of people I thought I knew, only to realise in the nick of time that it couldn’t possibly be them.  And that’s only a few years.

So how messed would your memory get after a couple of centuries?

May I just point out one thing – unlike the fictional vampires in the movies, I don’t keep portraits of anyone on the wall, however well I knew them…

Just in case you were worrying.

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Getting lost again

Remember that time when I got lost trying to find a newly opened shop?

Well, it happened again.

The getting lost bit, I mean.

And this time, I have nothing to blame but my own vampiric little self.

Vampires get easily distracted. You do know that, don’t you?

ADHD/OCD are as much a part of us as capes and widow’s peaks aren’t.

Suffering as I was from a bit of post-Christmas cabin fever, I decided on a little jolly to a town that’s only five minutes away by train. Let’s just call the place Llanbobl, shall we? Yes, vampires do feel the need to get out and about occasionally. Weird, eh?

I suppose it was different in the old days when you had acres of dilapidated castle to wander around. Or a village where you could move around freely at night because the villagers would have been fearfully tucked up (ooh, careful how you say that bit!) in their beds by then. Ah, the peace and quiet…

The last place I lived, it was more a case of police and riot.

I’m joking, of course – but only about the dilapidated castle and petrified locals. Those things aren’t real.

Well, they are, but in a different context.

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These days, anything dilapidated will either be razed to the ground (that’s never sounded right to me – how do you raze/raise something downwards?) to make way for offices, a shopping centre or so-called ‘affordable housing’.

And the terrified villagers? We have other things to suck the life out of you these days. Taxes… Online gambling… Reality tv…

But I’m rambling now.

Nothing New There, I hear you say. How well you know me.

Anyway, I’ve had my jolly little jaunt out to Llanbobl and it’s time to go home. I start marching to the station, knowing that I have a good fifteen minutes to wait when I get there. Great. No rush. I’ve got the furbaby a little treat (as I’d promised her), so she’ll be happy to see me whenever. Indeed, once she’s said an enthusiastic hello to me, the next thing she usually does is bury her head in my bag to see what I’ve brought her.
Next, I find an amazing shortcut which saves me another few minutes. Okay, so now I have twenty minutes to kill at the station but I have food, so that’ll keep me busy.

I get there and…

My train is running late. Indeed, the one that comes after it will have to share the same platform (as they come in from different directions). Some stations have even named their platforms ‘A’ and ‘B’ to accommodate this duality.

Yes, what is that with half platforms? In the town where I used to live, there is one platform that’s actually two. I think it might be platform 6/7. So, even though there’s only one train there,  because the doors are all automatic these days, if you get on the wrong side of the train, you then have to go all the way up the stairs, across and down to get onto the same train you would’ve been getting on anyway!

Anyway…

My train comes in. It’s a funky, old-fashioned train for a change and I jump on gratefully. It sets off.

In the opposite direction.

It turns out that my train was so late that the train after it has come in first. I should have checked a bit closer but the display board is doing that thing where it bounces between trains. Plus, my glasses are soaked, so I can’t see properly even if I tried to dry them off.

Trying not to panic, I explain to the guard my little vampire blonde moment and he’s an absolute sweetheart about it. Really helpful. What’s the first station I can jump off at and go back?

His face falls. This is the Heart Of Wales line. It visits all the otherwise inaccessible bits of Central Wales. If I get off anywhere, I could be waiting hours (in the rain) for the next train. The easiest thing, he says, is to stay on the train. He says he’s getting off at Llanwrtyd Wells, crossing the platform and grabbing the next train back. I can follow him. It’s the quickest way.

I’d heard of the town before. How long will it take? I ask.

Three hours.

Three.

Whole.

Hours.

So I’ve caught the wrong train home and am now somewhere in mid Wales, with only 1% on my phone!

What to do?

Luckily, it was actually very pleasant. But it was quite weird. Because I hadn’t brought my usual bag with me, I didn’t have a notebook and pen nor a charging cable for my phone. So I had three hours of doing literally nothing. On the way out, the scenery was lovely. All fields and farms and pretty little villages. On the way back, of course, it was pitch black but it was fun to look into people’s houses ha ha!

If you ever have to get lost in the middle of nowhere, I highly recommend this particular bit of nowhere. Every other station was Llan-something. Actually, scratch that. About every one in four stations wasn’t Llan-something. And there were some very pretty little stations, with some interesting details.

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But Heart of Wales?

Heart?

Wrong organ.

In the nicest possible way, I’d go for small intestine – winding and seems to go on forever. It was roughly a 100 mile round trip at final count!

All that apart, as I said to the lovely guard as we crossed the tracks, it was actually a rather nice day out in the end.

Have you ever been on the train, seen a splendid house and thought ‘what a beautiful house, I’d love to live there’ and then realised ‘hang on, the only way I’m able to see it is courtesy of  a dirty great train line at the bottom of the garden.’ So, no. I’m actually glad I don’t live there.

I was supposed to get home just after 3pm but ended up getting back sometime after 6pm. In fact, the hubster had gotten home, made a fuss of the furbaby and gone out for a run all before I arrived home. The treat I’d bought for the furball had by this time turned into a peace offering. She was nevertheless very pleased to see me.

And will I ever live this down?

Will I heck!


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The Old New Year

No, I’m not going to wish you a Happy New Year. Again. Been there. Done that. Besides, it’s waaaay past Calan Hên now.

Oh, not sure what that is?

I have already spoken about it, but it was a while ago (5 years ago, in fact), so maybe I should just refresh your memory.

I’ll just get straight to the point and not bother with the previous pre-amble.

In my home village, on the 12th January (the ‘original’ New Year), the New Year loses its newness so you can’t really say ‘Happy New Year’ after that. Of course, I’d been brought up to think it was actually the 6th… But, check out my previous ramblings if you want to know more.

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But there are some other odd traditions out there that I’ve come across over the decades… Noise seems to feature quite prominently in many cultures. Scaring off demons et cetera.

And vampires.

It might not be intentional, but trust me, it works well on vampires too.

And then January tends to drift on in a kind of regretful bleh. But I like it… the dark nights. Staying in. Watching films. I’m always up for horror or silly comedy. I don’t know why the hubster even bothers asking anymore.

But I do have a terrible tendency to rewatch films. Just like on the very rare occasions when I eat out, I tend to stick with what I know. There are far too many annoying trailers out there that promise a comedy and deliver depressing melodrama.

I miss the old-style trailers.

Is it just me or did trailers use to be a good indication of the film? The number of times I’ve been fooled lately by trailers!

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Yes, I think that was back in the days when you had that gravelly voiced man doing a voice-over basically telling you the plot!
(*Puts on a 60 – a – day growl*)
“It was a day like any other. Until Bob opened the door to a house of horrors. Would he survive the day? Did anyone care?”
(*Coughs like crazy, reaches for throat lozenges*)

Yeah, what did happen to Voice-over Man? And it’s funny how it was always horr-or never horr-uh like normal people say – always horr-or!

And his voice always put the emphasis in the weirdest place on all of the words.
Oh boy.
I really got off the point there, didn’t I?
Better stop there before I end up who-knows-where.
But I’ll be interested to see who comments first with their favourite horror-comedy. Then I’ll tell you mine!
Mwah-ha-ha!
Till next time….

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