Say no to the toe

A One of the things I love about autumn (as if there weren’t 1 million things already) is the return of shoes and boots to the general human populace. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, everyone will be putting their grim* feet away.

The thing is, you see, where we live now, September was still summer – just without the tourists and their grocklewuffs. Well, there were still tourists, but they’re mostly the silver surfer types. More interested in finding the nearest tea-room than taking over the beach and letting their feral offspring attempt a kind of sandcastled world domination.

(A partly rhetorical question – are all undisciplined ‘friendly’ free-range mutts called Olly or Milo? Please let me know if you have a well-behaved furbaby by one of these names. I’d genuinely love to know as I’m in danger of developing a neurotic reaction to the names.)

Anyway

October was where glorious autumn started kicking in. And by November, everyone could breathe a sigh of relief.

Footwear.

Back on topic.

The sandals and flip-flops have been put away for another year so we’re spared from the horrific sight of tangled toes and mangled toenails. I’m sorry, but putting sparkly nail varnish once a year on those otherwise totally neglected toe-talons does not make your fungal footsies ‘sandal-ready’.

*This is what I meant by grim, oh thou easily triggered masses. I meant feet that have been neglected and/or thoughtlessly warped and tormented for the sake of ‘fashion’.

The things humans do (or don’t do) to their feet…

I’ve heard of people who had toes amputated so they can fit into a particular brand of ultra-narrow designer shoes. Can you imagine what future anthropologists are going to say when they dig up these poor beggars?

As for me, I have hobbit feet. They are literally half as wide as they are long. And when I say literally, I literally mean literally. I’ve actually measured them. Very small and – as you can imagine by the ratio I’ve just given you – extremely wide. I usually end up having to get shoes two or possibly more sizes larger just to get all my toes in!

Now, I don’t know if that’s a vampire thing or not. All I know is that I suddenly have bouts of footy claustrophobia if there isn’t a good couple of centimetres/an inch of space at the front of my shoe.

I hate to say it, but I’m grateful that my parents made me wear boring, properly-fitted shoes as a child. My feet, though weird, are now actually quite cute (so I’ve been told). No bumps, no lumps, no twisted tootsies doing the foot equivalent of duck-facing. My toes do not photobomb each other. Wearing lace-ups to school was never going to end well. Let’s face it, I was going to get picked on, no matter what shoes I wore.

I remember when slip-on shoes were all the rage. I was finally given the option to go choose my own shoes. I bought them and proudly wore them on the Monday, only to get picked only for wearing ‘slippers’. Moccasins had, apparently gone out of fashion exactly  28 seconds after I bought them. Oh well.

Anyway, I’ll stop ranting and finish with a bit of advice I was once given by someone I worked with. It’s concerning good sleep and good shoes –

“Two things you should never scrimp on – decent shoes and a decent bed because you spend most of your life either on your feet or on your back.”

Well said.

Say no to the toe. Two hoots for the boots.

Happy Autumn!

Hello, Autumn. Again.

Well, hello there!

Oh yes. Summer is over.

Did you have a good one?

Did you wish it would never end?

I’m having my summer now. Actually, it’s still quite nice here during September. So I can have some nice weather (not too sunny, thank goodness), with all the peace and quiet that takes over when all the tourists pack up and shuffle back off to the hum-drums.

I know I’m not the only person glad to see some people leave…

I was just walking up the road from town when I saw a lady very enthusiastically waving goodbye to visitors leaving in an overly smart car.  Her enthusiasm led me to believe one of two things – the second being that she was pleased to see them go. As in, really pleased. Within a few seconds, I had my suspicions confirmed.

She went into her house and I heard a very strange noise. Sort of like a scream. I paused, wondering what was wrong. And then I heard her voice yell at full volume: “I’m FREEEEEEEEEE!”.

Ah yes, the summer holiday season is truly over.

As ever,  I spent the summer hiding away from it all. I know I started spectacularly early this year. Sorry about that. Normally I disappear about July but this year, the hot weather kicked in particularly early.

Did I go anywhere? As in a proper holiday, rather than just lurking in any available shadows?

Sort of.

We went camping. We didn’t go away very far. We had the furball to think of. As we’ve never taken her camping before, we didn’t want to take the chance of her freaking out. Because then, of course, there’d be the inevitable ensuing chaos. After all, we had to find somewhere where we could take her which meant one thing: other people would be there with their little furry bundles of joy.

Dealing with grocklewuffs on home turf is one thing, but dealing with grocklewuffs when you are one, is another matter altogether.

The upshot? Of the three of us, our furry little princess slept better than either of us. All those snuggly corners to nest in. Sleeping bags to invade at 3am. Doggy bliss. And sleeping on a surface that wasn’t super soft? No problem. She loved it.

Us?

Not so much.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love camping. I just love my bed more. When you find yourself groaning with the physical effort of turning over on your ‘deluxe’ bedroll because every. single. vertebra has locked in place and you now have an iron rod for a spine and padlocks where your joints used to be, you know you’re not going to get much sleep.

This was not so much glamping as glumping.

But I’m back now and looking forward to seeing what the new season has in store. Glad to have you along for the ride!

Happy autumn!

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Tumble crumbles

“Autumn falls, tumbling, crumbling down a dying hill of gold.”

…is a line that never made it into a book. I know. I read the manuscript. The original one. Funny how so much of what we plan ends up on the scrap heap. While this wasn’t the most eloquent piece of prose ever (probably why it never made the final cut), when I read the published book, I was quite surprised at how changed it was.

Life, eh?

If you hang around long enough, everything changes.

If you hang around a bit longer, everything changes back again.

So, autumn’s here. The clocks go back soon. Longer nights. Yippee!

And no, that wasn’t an ironic ‘yippee’ either.

Everything is quieter now.

Bliss.

Of course, it’ll get crazy at the end of the month (Halloween). And then next month everyone will be celebrating the ritual burning of a political scapegoat. I’ll be avoiding the firework fumes while dealing with a freaking-out furbaby. Bonfire night will no doubt be spent in the bathroom (her current hidey-hole) listening to Chopin. But as life goals go, that’s not such a bad one.

Ah. Life Goals.

You know how everyone does this whole ‘summer body’ obsession? Well, in our house we get ‘winter body‘ ready.

And no, that doesn’t mean we spend November eating celery so that Christmas Day can be spent repeatedly eating our own weight in mince pies and pigs-in-blankets. Who the heck came up with that name? Have you ever seen a pig, or indeed any farm animal, wrapped up in a blanket? Outside of a YouTube video, that is. I’m sure there must be some. Let me know if you find any.

And these days, why aren’t they called Heritage-breed-in-duvets..?

Stop rambling!

Right. Note to self, taken.

It’s all too easy to disappear in hibernation mode at this time of year. Vanish into the marshmallow-morass of duvet-days, hot chocolate, and comfort foods. The one episode of a favourite tv show becomes a binge-watch of the entire series.

You know what I mean.

It’s okay, I won’t tell.

So, the following plan has been put into play:

  • drink more water
  • go running more often
  • start eating more raw stuff
  • YOGA!!!!!
  • get more sleep

Okay, I had to stop after the last one. Combination of laughing too much to type, and the temptation to follow it up with ‘find where the unicorns live‘…

So, as it’s the 1st of October, I’ll close by saying:

White rabbits, everyone!

 

It’s Good To Be Back!

Well, hello there!

How was your summer? Did you know that uploading your holiday photos on your screensaver at work (if you’re allowed to) is a great way of dealing with those horrible down-in-the-dumps feelings you get when you have to go back to work?

And boom! Straight in there with some useful info. Ah, I’m glad to be back home. Since we last spoke, I’ve got myself a new office. Very light, very spacious.

Light? I hear you say… Light?

But you’re a vampire.

You don’t do light.

Bright light, I don’t do.

Glaring sunshine, I don’t do.

But I also don’t do trying to write in the pitch black. I’m not an earthworm. Have you ever tried typing in the dark? Admittedly it’d be doable on a tablet or smartphone…

So here I am, dealing with a digital mountain of work that has built up in my absence. Where I was staying is infamous for having no phone signal, and wifi that couldn’t be accessed, even with multiple sacrifices to the gods of technology. Not that we bothered. It was actually really nice to shut off from the world… You know what I mean.

And here I am. Home. The furbaby’s gaze is boring into the back of my head. She wants to play. Oh, yes, she has a sofa in here with me. We got a new sofa, you see, so this one got moved in here. She thinks it’s hers anyway, so it made sense.

And here comes autumn. The evenings are that little bit cooler, the sea that little bit wilder, the atmosphere that little bit easier. I’m looking forward to getting back to these chats with you.

And… relax.

Coldsore salad

Pardon the gross title. Heh heh heh…

Aaand I’m back! Happy autumn, everyone! I’ve been away, in hiding/hibernation/cold storage. I have to do this every year, just in case we have a decent summer here in Britain. It’s yet to happen, but I would hate to get caught out!

So, here I am, with more raves, rants, and seriously random health tips…

And I’m not the only one that’s back. The students have started reappearing in their case-dragging masses. Which means one thing: very, very late loud nights. Now, this really shouldn’t bother me, what with my being a nocturnal animal and all that. Sadly, just like humans, I still have bills, and those bills say that I have to be a diurnal animal (luckily, I love my job!). This means that (like a lot of humans) I have to sleep during the night.

This is made extremely difficult because I’m constantly being distracted by my animal loving side hearing what sounds like a hundred cats being strangled outside. Of course, it isn’t a hundred cats being strangled at all: it’s just a hundred drunken teenagers let off the leash for possibly the first time in their lives.

But you really know when the students are back when you’re in a supermarket and it takes six people to buy one chocolate bar. And then the following conversation ensues at the till:

A: I’ve only got 47p I need 79p. B, can you lend me the rest? I’ll pay you back later.

B: I’ve only got 20p on me but I still owe you £1.50 from last night so if I give you the 20p would that do for now?

C: I tell you what, B owes me £1.70 for that bottle of water, so if I give you the money, she can owe me.

A: Great, thank you!

C: Oh, but I only have a 50 pence coin on me at the moment… I know, if-

Just buy the wretched chocolate!!!

Then, to add to the externally imposed sleep deprivation, there’s the meteorologically based skin problems…

Sunburn: no problem. Eat loads of tomatoes; cover up, aloe vera for the unlucky bits.

And then there’s the real villain: cold sores. Now, I know most people get these during winter, but for me, when I get them, they’re triggered by sunlight. But here’s a little secret that the pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know about: Lysine.

Here comes the science bit…

Our DNA is made up of strands of four chemicals (called base pairs) holding hands: Adenine with Thymine, and Cytosine with Guanine. The only time they let go is when your body’s cells split to make new cells. Viruses like cold sores have their own twisty-windy thing called RNA, which is basically a cheap knock-off, using the pairs Adenine/Uracil and Guanine/Cytosine. Viruses con your body into replicating them instead of your own cells. So when your DNA unzips itself, ready to get all jiggy and replicatey, the viral string of RNA slips up in there and tricks your cells into making another one of it, rather than another body cell. Rather like when you go to make a cuppa and your lazy toad friend says “Hey, make me one while you’re there!”

So, in steps Lysine. It interrupts the process, acting in much the same way as a vet in the same room as a male dog and a big pair of scissors. Take this and it will stop them in their tracks. Until of course, you catch the next one!

Okay, so I’ve probably just lost any readers who are biologists with my simplifying and Everyday-ifying this. Oh well.

Just…. Trust me on this.

It’s good to be back.

 


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It’ll be fun. Honest.