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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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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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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You know it makes sense.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Now, although this is being posted on New Year’s Day, I severely doubt whether anyone will see it for a few days.

So – are you the first one to read this?

Ooh! A challenge!

As soon as you read this, why not leave a ‘hello’ in the comments and see who’s the first, and how long it takes!

I know how much you lovely humans love your challenges… Stoptober, Movember, Dry-whatsit. So let’s start as you mean to go on – Beganuary. ‘Cause once you begin the New Year with a challenge, why not carry on?

Cue quotes about always doing what you’ve always done; anecdotes about comfort zones, etc.

Resolutions or revolutions?

As I think I probably said before, New Years Resolutions were traditionally made on the Winter Solstice. Perhaps they lasted longer that way. Perhaps they should call this month Janu-wary, because we’re all a bit sceptical about anyone who announces a resolution and says ‘but this year, I’m sticking to it!’

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So how did this month get its name?

Well, blame it – not on the boogie – but on a Roman god called Janus. He was a two-faced god, with one face er, facing the past, and the other, the future. So in terms of reflecting on what’s gone before and looking ahead to new possibilities, he’s the perfect guy for the job. Well, perfect something. Essentially, a two-faced god of transitioning.

So be very Janu-wary if you catch anyone calling themselves a ‘god/goddess-in-training’ – they might be fashioning themselves after Janus!

What does the new year hold for you?

For me, it’s actually putting together everything I was half-heartedly doing last year. Getting more organised, planning stuff like fitness, and so on and so forth.

But looking on the bright side… I’ve always said that I have the hearing of a bat and the eyesight to match… this is the year that I get 2020 vision.

I’ll get my coat.

Christmas grEATings

And how are you all today? Ready for the annual festival celebrating new hope and over-indulgence?

Or is that Easter?

Anyway, it’s getting close now – only a week away.

Shopping to do…

Shelf elves to coerce…

Frantic buying of reindeer food.

Batman psyching himself up for comments about his personal hygiene.

And of course, trying to remember the actual words to Christmas Carols and not the versions that involve the three kings and various forms of automotive transport.

But this year is going to be interesting in the Everyday household. As you know, my vampire constitution, despite being ox-like, means that eating/drinking animal products is a no/no.

This is why vampires in the movies stick to blood – it’s just easier.

That’s just plain lazy if you ask me. I know you didn’t. But those ones are fictional, so I can be a bit cheeky if I want.

And I want.

Back in the day, I’m guessing finding suitable food – or any food – might have been tricky, but these days we’re spoilt for choice. Need to find something dairy/gluten/sugar-free? There’s an app for that.

But finding it back then? Here’s your turnip, madam. Boxes ticked.

Ah! This Christmas. Right. That’s where I was. Yes. This year, Christmas is going to be a bit different. And Christmas dinner will be unrecognisable.

The hubster has gone vegan. He made the change when he did Veganuary – in February. It was only going to be a month until he looked into it a bit further…

It makes my life a lot easier, I can tell you! Nothing in the fridge, freezer, bathroom can now send my vampire immune system into overdrive.

But Christmas dinner this year? No cooking two different meals.

When does the whole turkey thing come from anyway?

Blame Henry VIII.

He started it. Normally beef or chicken would be eaten, but farmers needed the cows for milk and the chickens for eggs. Did you know that over 80% of humans believe that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without turkey? I don’t think anybody asked the turkeys.

If you watch/read/listen to A Christmas Carol, the Cratchits have a goose, while Scrooge spoils them with a massive turkey. Thanks to old King Turkey Leg Henry, Turkey became the thing that rich people ate. Goose was for the impoverished masses. But nowadays, I’ve noticed that turkey is considered a bit meh amongst humans. Onwards and outwards with different, better birds, it seems. Goose seeming to be a particular favourite.

Except for turducken.

I don’t know how anyone can eat something that has ‘turd’ as its first syllable.

So the whole point of the Cratchits being so poor that they can only afford a goose is a bit lost on modern audiences/readers.

Therefore, is turkey the be-all-and-end-all of a Christmas dinner? Apparently not.

I think we’re having some kind of plant-based roast, with all the trimmings. Stuffing (it’s bread, herbs, onion – nothing dodgy there). Pigs in blankets – now there, there will be a concession. But it’s still just (meat-free) sausages wrapped in (meat-free) bacon. Sprouts (I love ’em, the hubster hates them), carrots, cabbage, peas (did you know peas are a good source of protein?) and of course… roast potatoes.

Actually, just give me a plateful of them babies with some gravy and you probably won’t see me until Boxing Day. The trick is to use floury potatoes that, when they’re boiled, get kind of crumbly on the outside. Once you’ve drained them, rough ’em up a bit by shiggling the pan. Put a couple of spoonfuls of oil in a roasting pan and heat it up. I like rice bran oil, but anything with a high smoking point works.

Then put the potatoes in when the oil is hot, get ’em coated and blast them in the oven for about 30 minutes. Basically however long it takes to get them all golden and crusty and now I’m starting to drool.

Anyway, on that note, I’m off to find a mince pie or piece of stollen. I’m hungry.

What will be on your table this Christmas? I’d love to know!

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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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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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