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.

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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.

 


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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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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.

It’s my vampyversary!

It’s  been 5 whole years since I started sharing my brain space with you. Time fries when you’re Sally Lunn.

Or something like that.

October 2014, to be exact. To be precise, I started this blog back on October 31st 2014. Yeah, I know the archives bit says November, but that’s because I did something a bit silly. For my first Vampyversary in 2015, I reblogged that very first post, thinking it would just upload a copy. It didn’t. It shifted the whole thing a year into its own future, so now, the October 2014 post doesn’t exist. Ah well, that’s a lesson I learned pretty much instantly – a quick tip there for anyone planning to do something similar.

Just copy and paste, okay?

Okay, so that’s 5 years with a bit extra. I mean, I did intend to do it tomorrow, but tomorrow turned out to be a month later. Surely that can’t be just a vampire thing? This picture kind of sums it up nicely…

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My view of time continues to be somewhat warped.

From time to time, I see people that I know who have very small children but then the next time I see them – I swear it’s only a few months later – the same people have inexplicably become grandparents. Other people’s lives seem to flash before me. The only time my own life flashed before my eyes was when I tried running for the first time.

Ten minutes sprinting full pelt with absolutely no preparation and I swear it took probably as long again for the whole thing to play out. And to show my age, it was in black-and-white (and not widescreen either).

There are so many words for it… Eternity. Forever. Timelessness. Infinity.

Hm.

Eternity is waiting for a train. Forever is when you finally catch it.

Other than that, all bets are off as far as my perception of time goes. Now, you can ask me what the time is and I can guess that pretty accurately, but ask me when I last did something or saw someone and I’m afraid my face goes blank. That’s probably why the Sphinx has that expression on its face – it’s probably trying to remember how long it’s been since it had its nails done.

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So, happy anniversary to me, and a wonderful week to you. It’ll be the weekend before you know it!

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!

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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