Say no to the toe

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 ugly* feet away.

The thing is, you see, where we live now, September is still summer – just without the tourists and their grocklewuffs. Well, there are 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 is where glorious autumn starts kicking in. And by November, everyone can 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 ugly, 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 shoe sizes two or possibly more sizes large 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!

Bonfire Night – a season for treason?

Are we sitting comfortably?

No?

Good. Then I’ll begin.

Let’s start today with a little bit of etymology. No, not the online study of people called Tim. That’s called cyberstalking. Quite a different thing.

Etymology = study of words

You see, yesterday, in the UK, we celebrated Guy Fawkes Night, aka Bonfire Night.

And here we go.

Bonfire.

bon=good. Did they think this through?

I guess if you’re throwing a few baked spuds on, or toasting marshmallows, or what are they called in America – s’mores?

But… people?

So, this is a whistle-stop bit of background to Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night. Basically, this is what I was taught about it. Apologies for the inevitable oversimplification and probable inaccuracies. For a more accurate description, click here or here.

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Back in the 1600s, England was predominantly religion A. Then the place was under new management and became predominantly religion B. So much so, that you became pretty much a second-class citizen if you were an A-ist.

The B-ists dominated government. Like the popular kids at school nicking all the best tables in the lunch hall. The A-ists felt they were not represented fairly in government and in the end, drastic action was decided upon. Something big. Something really big. Something that would shake everything up.

Blowing up the Houses of Parliament.

But they needed someone to help. Enter one Guy Fawkes. Long story short, he got caught. Whether he got ratted out or whether it was just plain bad luck, I’m not sure. Anyway, he got caught and the plan to blow up Parliament has passed into legend as the Gunpowder Plot.

Cutting to the last page – he ended up being burned on a bonfire. These days, we’d call that a wood-fired artisan barbecue. Apparently, he was hung, drawn and quartered first. And no, that’s got nothing to do with those four-panel Andy Warhol portraits.

So there you go. Capital punishment as national holiday. Although I’m not sure how many people actually know the full story behind it…

As I’ve said before, I don’t do Guy Fawkes Night. And neither does the furball. But that’s another story. It’s the fireworks. Did you know you can actually get quiet fireworks? Worth a look.

Stay safe.

 


 

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Pleased to eat you

We have a lot of indoor markets here. It’s kind of a thing in these parts. Amazing places. Looking for something? Go to an indoor market. If you can’t find it, you probably didn’t need it. They have everything. One stall that I never, ever shop at (you’ll see why) has this brilliant slogan – ‘We’re pleased to meet you and we’ve meat to please you.’ Clever. I don’t eat meat, but dang, I can appreciate a good play on words.

To each, their own. Live and let live. That’s my motto. It kind of has to be, really. Just let me get on with my life, and I’ll return the favour (for some reason, the predictive text suggested ‘book’ rather than ‘favour’). As I’ve said before, I have multiple allergies to animal-based products, so I’m vegan by default. Although, I have gradually made it a principle thing too. At least that way, I can pretend I had a choice.

I don’t even bother explaining anymore. The few people in the past I’ve tried to explain it to think I’m just being awkward. The number of comebacks I’ve had… look, you can give me all the anti-plant-based rhetoric you like, chum, it’s not relevant to me! Why do people want me to eat something that’s going to make me ill? And why do you think the legends all bang on about vampires not eating? Here’s a couple of the top irrelevant statements…

“Animals in the wild eat meat!”

Well, when was the last time you saw a lion picking up its weekly shopping in Tesco/Walmart/Aldi? I tell you what, they’d be absolute nightmares at the till. A coupon for everything and guaranteed they’ll want an assistant to pack for them. Plus they can’t park for toffee. They always end up taking up two spaces with their customised jeeps.

“Where do you get your protein from?”

Try asking a gorilla that question. Go on, I dare you. I double dare you. Just be grateful that I tend to avoid blood which, ironically, is the one thing my tummy is happy with. Well, human blood, at least. I can’t remember, to be honest. It’s been so long. Surprised? Shocked? Hello..! Vampire… Nah, we’ve covered this before.

”But it’s what our ancestors used to eat!”

Tricky. And do you know why? Because it kept running away from them. Now I don’t know about you, but if I’m about to have lunch, and my food runs out the door, I’m guessing that stuff ain’t cooked properly. I’m letting the sucker run.
I prefer food that doesn’t have the ability to run away from me. Take a potato, for instance. And when I say take, of course I mean ‘get your own’. You come anywhere near me with the intention of nicking my chips/roast potatoes/mash, I will stick a fork in your hand.

And sometimes, it didn’t run away. Sometimes, you would have been the one running.

Anyway, the potato.

So versatile. So tasty. And they just wait there for you to come to them. In the soil. All nice and cosy. Flash a little bit of skin in the autumn. ‘Ooh, give me a bit more soil, you bad bunny.’ Let’s face it, the potato is a multitasker par excellence. It’s given us mash, chips, crisps, hasselbacks,  those twisty fried things (apparently they’re called Tornado Potatoes? Makes sense), even vodka. It makes the other veg look like total slackers. It doesn’t even brag, does it? It’s always referred to as the ‘humble potato’.

Have you ever actually come across a conceited vegetable though? I’ve often thought asparagus had ideas above its station, but then I realised that’s just a defence mechanism. Rocket/Arugula is another misunderstood plant. I mean, imagine being named after a starship or the sound a klaxon makes in an emergency.

But, our ancestors…

It can’t have been much fun, knowing your food had the capacity to chase you. I mean, certainly nowadays, food choices can kill you but in this case it was literal. ‘I’ll rip off your head and poop down your neck’ – said no veggie burger ever. Okay, so I imagine the animals that our ancestors hunted never said it either, given that they didn’t have the power of human speech. And the fact that they were too busy dealing with indigestion while also trying to find the loo roll.

These days, of course, too much of the wrong food will still kill you. But it’s gotten sneaky. Rather than going with the whole head-biting thing, it’ll do it from the inside. ‘You just wait. I’m gonna fur up your arteries. I’m gonna fix your gut so you can’t be trusted in a crowded lift.’

Seriously, though, I’m plant-based.  Because I am one of those people who can’t be trusted in a crowded lift. I’ll only eat stuff that grows in the ground. Let’s face it, we’re all going back there someday, so I’m getting to grips with my potential neighbours now. Good thing is though, potatoes, carrots etc aren’t known for their revenge tactics.

Hollywood has never made a film called ‘The Usual Saucepans’, or ‘Kill Dill’.

You get what I’m saying.

When I used Google Maps, got lost, and met some nice people along the way

Actually, that’s pretty much the whole story – right there.

You’ve probably heard the saying  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Well, in this case it was true.

Okay, so it wasn’t a step, it was a crack.

And it wasn’t actually a thousand miles – it just felt like it at the time.

Let me explain.

It all started with having chips for tea. I broke a tooth. Right there and then, I made an emergency appointment for the next day. I’d wanted an excuse to go into town – that wasn’t the one I expected. I get there. It’s over in 10 minutes. It’s a very common thing, apparently.

Being a vampire, I’m a bit paranoid about my teeth. There. I’ve finally admitted it. But another part of the vampire package is the empathy & being able to read people (hence the myth about us being mindreaders). That all leads to stress. And that leads to bruxism (that’s the fancy word for teeth grinding). It happens at night, so I can’t control it. This puts pressure on fillings, which in turn can pop the side of the tooth off. It hurts when it happens, but the pride is the thing most damaged.

I decide to make the most of my enforced trip out. Earlier that morning, I had some time to kill before I left for my emergency appointment. Where else can you successfully waste a few minutes, but on the internet? I had noticed on social media that a new vegan supermarket had opened in the same town (I’m sure I’ve told you how my vampire gastrointestinal tract throws a diva-like hissy fit over animal products). I decide to walk there after my appointment (as long as I’m not off my face again after the anaesthetic). Apparently, it’s only 10 minutes away from where the dentist is. I tried Google maps. He tells me it’s 40 minutes away.

(no anaesthetic was needed in the end)

Oh well, the walk will do me good and I’m sure the shop will be amazing when I get there.

I basically end up halfway back home. I follow the map rigorously. After over three-quarters of an hour walking, I reach an apparent hill. It seems Figs Road leads to Kumquat Hill, at the end of which is my destination. Now there’s a thing – Figs Road is a hill, but Kumquat Hill is actually a Road (how does that work?) Anyway, having gone up the road and along the hill, I find myself somewhere completely deserted.

Luckily, I hear two men at work. I ask them where such and such address is. At first, they weren’t sure but I told them the sort of thing that I was looking for. The younger one said the only one he knew of was this new vegan supermarket that was opening that day, to which I probably got a bit overexcited and exclaimed, “That’s it!” and then we got into a discussion about how much such a place was needed in the area.

I dropped into conversation the fact that a well-known celebrity vegan chef would be there later and a separate conversation ensued between the man and his older colleague as to who this celebrity actually was, and what he’d ‘been in’.

They then gave me the most amazing, clear instructions of how to get to this place which I duly did in about 10 minutes. And guess what? The place was amazing. It had everything imaginable in there. I told them my plight and they were very friendly – even offered to drive me back into town. I declined, determined to discover the correct route between there and the town centre. As long as you’re sure, hope to see you again. After my impulse purchases (I may have gone a little crazy), I decided to head back into town.

And guess what? (again)

The chap talking in the social media post had been correct. It was actually only about 10 minutes from the centre of town. I had indeed walked so far out of the way that I was in danger of being close enough to just walk back home instead of taking the train home. So glad I didn’t.

I went into the shop the following day with the hubster. The nice men I’d talked to the previous day had actually popped in! They’d mentioned bumping into me, and the chap in the shop had remembered me from the day before… Now that’s customer service!

And the moral of the story?

Be careful what you wish for.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Bad days and good days have one thing in common – they’re both only 24 hours long. And sometimes, you have to wait a bit for good to come out of the bad and sometimes, you don’t have to wait long at all.


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Oh, and here, too. Of course.

Telepathetic

You know what? I’ve just remembered what I was going to talk about a couple of weeks ago.

Typical, isn’t it?

Now I don’t know if it’s the vampire brain, or whether it’s just me, but I do find sometimes that there’s something stuck in my head and I can’t get to it for ages.

It’s like that pen that falls down behind a cupboard and you do your darnedest to reach it, but no matter how much you stretch your arm out, you can’t even get your fingertips on it…

Well, that was my problem last time.

And now I’ve remembered what it was.

I’d be great on a debate programme, would I?

Oh yes, I’d have my devastatingly astute comeback at the ready. Give me three weeks, and you can have it.

It was all to do with another myth I heard about the other day.

Apparently, vampires can read minds.

What?

Heck, no!

I’d be even crazier than I already am!

I’m already an empath, so I can feel other people’s emotions, but having their thoughts dumped on me too?

Gahhhh!

No, that’s not the case, (un)fortunately. While yes, it might be useful on occasion, I doubt it’s something you could turn on and off like a tap.

This is actually what’s going on, should you ever meet a vampire…

It’s the turbo brain thing. The vampire brain moves so fast, it collects information at a rate that computers are probably envious of. If computers could feel envy, or indeed… anything.

We watch you.

We read your body language, your facial expression, the way you blink your eyes, the way you twist your mouth as you talk. Every single thing. And every single one of those things is an insight into what you’re thinking. Your face and your body are simply the hand-puppets of your brain.

We know if you’re lying. We know if you’re in pain. We know every single thing that you want to hide. And it’s got nothing to do with telepathy. Nothing at all. At the risk of sounding like a zombie recovery counsellor, your brain is safe.

There.

That’s either made you feel relieved or really creeped out…

I’d love to know which…

 

Cry havoc…

.

…and let slip the dogs of walkies!

Ahh…

A new year.

Mini tourist season is over until the next big holiday.

*sigh of relief*

As I was picking up my groceries the other day, a rather fiercesome human barged past me and announced to his equally clueless family in an accent that was clearly anything but local: “Is this it? They’ve not got much here, have they?“ Well, bog off to Brighton if it’s shopping you’re after, mate!

How on earth did this man choose this as the perfect destination of his Christmas break? Stick a pin in the map?

(In case you’re wondering, I had a lovely Christmas, surrounded by family. We did everything from scratch and we planned everything meticulously a long while previously. It was our Christmas, we made it, nobody else had to).

And of course, with tourists comes that other delight. The tourists’ dog. You know the one that they’ve had since a puppy and in all that time they’ve not trained it to do anything more than sit, stay or possibly a cute “rollover “trick? You know the types. The dog that has never been trained to come back when it’s called… 

The dog that, when it runs off and starts picking fights with other dogs, promptly ignores its owner screaming its name repeatedly. Because, yeah, you scream my name like that, I’m gonna come back to you, I don’t think. I’m outta here, you two-legged sucker!

Free to roam.

Free to… well, do other stuff.

How many times have I heard the owner of a free-range pooch exclaim “I don’t know what’s wrong with Mister Woofles this morning; we’ve been out for over an hour and he still hasn’t done his business yet!

Oh yes, he has. Mister Woofles unloaded the minute you let him off the lead.

Mister Woofles has in fact left such a huge deposit that it has its own postcode. Whole generations of dung beetles have moved in and are celebrating with a ticker-tape parade. Their appeals to the dung beetle deity have been heard and answered. Mister Woofles’s contribution to the environment has ushered in a new Golden Age of dung beetle prosperity.

And then I saw this yesterday…

What sort of dog owner puts a sticker on the back of their 4×4 saying

Beware of the dog. It bites. You have been warned

and then lets them roam free – without muzzles – on a beach popular with dog walkers during doggy rush hour?!

If you’re going to do that, my dears, please make sure that the dogs are muzzled and please include yourself in that number.

So… you’re acknowledging liability for your animal being potentially dangerous, but if it bites me, it’s my fault?

Huh?

But you can’t say anything, can you? Nothing freaks out the passive-aggressive more…

Which reminds me…

Don’t you just love passive aggressive people calling other supposedly passive aggressive people out for being passive aggressive by using passive aggressive means to complain about the passive aggressive behaviour?

As with that now practically traditional Social Media post of “if u got a problem with me tell me 2 my face“ There are two problems with this…

Number one: tell you to your face? Which one?

Number two: could you be a little bit more identity-specific please?

And there’s always some sucker (who is probably completely innocent of any charges) who rises to the bait, bites and replies, asking if they are the target of this barblessly barbed comment. To which the reply is invariably “if the shoe fits, wear it.”

Well, that’s all fine and dandy, except…

Those kind of statements aren’t shoes, are they?

They’re flipping flipflops.

Designed to fit everybody. Guaranteed to make everyone uncomfortable.

Always remember, folks… Flip before you flop.

 

 

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!