Still waters

Okay, so I know I went off on one but last time.

My apologies.

Vampires don’t exactly have anger issues (apart from those associated with the inherent ADHD) but sometimes humans do annoy us a little. I bet that’s a shock, isn’t it? I’d say I was pulling your leg, but you might worry I was going to pull it off and eat it, to misquote Butcher Beynon from Under Milk Wood (I’m surprised this didn’t AutoCorrect his name to Beyoncé!) As I’ve said before, I love to read.

Or have I said that before?

Oh well, my memory…

Anyway, last time I was complaining about somebody complaining. I will now try to redress the balance by saying something positive that I overheard. It was another family of tourists who had come to visit the universe’s favourite corner of the Earth (aka my hometown).
It was a comment that made me really appreciate the beauties of nature and my surroundings.
“Everything is so green here.” he said, with a note of awed wonder in his voice.

Of course it is. This is Wales. It’s constantly raining.

Well, perhaps not constantly but clearly enough to irrigate the spectacular greenness of the local area. I have a Weather app on my phone that tells me the percentage chance of it raining. I have discovered since moving here that anything over 5% in theory equates to 100% in reality.

Which brings me to one myth that I have never mentioned before. To wit, the myth about vampires hating running water. As with most myths, there is a nugget of truth in this as I shall explain.

Vampires like myself have a deep respect for nature. We know it’s not mucking about. Let’s face it, when you’ve been around long enough to see a house built in a field near the sea, watch the field turn into a cliff and then watch that house fall off the edge, then you have a pretty good idea.

It’s not like with humans who see a couple of talking lion cubs in a cartoon and think that lions are all cute little kitties. Cue disaster story on the news of person being eaten by hungry lion.

Fact: if water is running somewhere, then you can be pretty sure there’s going to be some other stuff going on at some point.

Fancy dicing with that?

Now, I’m lucky. I’m one of the few vampires that learnt to swim. You see, swimming lessons generally tend to be during the day. This can be problematic for some vampires.
Rivers deep enough to swim in tend to have undercurrents. The sea can be rough. Don’t listen to any singing lobsters.

In light of this, I just happen to be very good at holding my breath. I have the bullies at school to partly thank for that. As a side note, I’m also a whizz at pulling sink plugs out with my teeth. Yes, it comes back to the teeth again.

Also: if you’re stuck out at sea, there’s not a great deal of shade available out in the middle of the Atlantic, say.

So you see, if a vampire doesn’t like running water, there’s sure to be a good reason for it.

Ever seen a vampire on an Olympic swim team? Probably not.

Or have you????

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Drat!

It happened again, didn’t it?

Not only did I lose all track of time, but I said that last time I would write something about the internet, but I didn’t.

Not only do vampires have an absolutely rubbish sense of timing, but we (I say ‘we’, but…) also get distracted horribly easily.

What distracted me?

Well, not surprisingly, it was something shiny. I’m telling you, if anyone ever drops a pin or the back of an earring, I’m your vamp. I’m also great at spotting bits of foil, coins, suspicious wet patches on the pavement… The list goes on…

There was this one time when I was living in London and I went to a twmpath. It’s essentially a Welsh barn dance. Okay, so there aren’t that many barns in London, but there is a surprisingly large number of Welsh people there.

(Oh – pronunciation… in Welsh, ‘w’ is a vowel. It makes the same sound as ‘oo’ in ‘good’)

So, anyway, at the end of the evening, the person I went with is a friend of the band, so we help them take their gear back to the storage – which just happens to be in a crypt in a graveyard somewhere in the eastest of the East End. There were riots going on at the time, so we got an impromptu police escort to the church.

We drop everything off. We head back to Leicester Square (why, I have no idea), and from there, watch the sun rise over Taco Bell…

At which point, the guitarist starts complaining about his eyesight being fuzzy.

Cue jokes about putting more water in it, being emotionally affected by the sight of a sunrise etc.

I’m fine with sunrises, by the way. As long as the light isn’t too bright. I just have to be asleep before the sun comes up because after that, there’s no chance. I just have to wait it out till the following day.

And as soon as someone cracks a joke about ‘something in your eye?’ that’s when he realises… No, there isn’t something in his eye – but there should be!

He’s only gone and lost a contact lens, hasn’t he?

Now, in those days, they cost a fortune. None of this daily disposable thing. They were the equivalent of designer bespoke tailoring for your eyeballs.

Everyone looks around the immediate area.

Nothing.

Bad luck, mate.

You’ll have to be more careful in future.

Why don’t you just wear glasses?

So we all peel away and return to our various abodes. Most to sleep like the dead; me to, well… stay awake until the next sleep window comes around.

Then that brain worm starts niggling. It niggles me until I admit defeat and grab my coat. I head for the cemetery, which now looks quite different in the (rather bright) Sunday morning sunshine.

And no – I know what you’re thinking. Cemeteries are not like a second home for me. That’s a myth. They’re just nice quiet places where a vampire can sit and gather her many (many) thoughts without being distracted / pestered / annoyed by the residents.

So… I walk around a bit. The grass is lovely and wet around my ankles (please let that be dew, I’m thinking). And there it is… twinkling like an errant diamond (or a half-sucked Jelly Tot) in the grass is the missing lens. I managed to find this tiny piece of whatever in an area of over an acre of grass, gravel and tombs.

What was I talking about?

Oh. Yes.

The sun.

It was the sun that distracted me.

Bright, yellow and very, very shiny.

And almost unknown in this part of Wales (or any part, come to think of it)

Here comes summer?

Domus Melis Domus

Yeah, I know.

Worst Latin ever.

I did learn Latin as a child. Before you ask – no, I’m not a native speaker of that as well. How old do you think I am?! I know I said I was old right at the very beginning of all this, but I ain’t that old! And no, I don’t remember the dinosaurs either!

I do remember things like:

  • humans landing on the moon
  • if you missed you favourite television programme, tough – no video recorders, no cable, plus only having three television channels
  • colour televisions being a luxury, not a basic life staple (as were cars)
  • Non-decimal money, often referred to as L.S.D. No, nothing to do with lysergic acid, but back to good old Latin again… Librae, Soldi, Denarii. Don’t know if it was some kind of joke (and why would I have cared anyway?), but it was meant to be the Roman equivalent of pounds, shillings, pence
  • BYO carrier bags
  • encyclopaedias, not Wikipedia
  • ‘Burger’ being something you muttered (quickly) under your breath when something went wrong

Oh. Massively off track as ever.

Focus!

So, it’s been nearly six months in our new little safe haven.

People are lovely here, and no one has a clue what I am.

So far, so good.

Long may it remain like that! One of the good things about living here is that it’s not an area exactly known for its sunny weather, so that in itself is a blessing!

With the differential in house prices in the two areas being what it is, we have moved from a one bedroom flat (no kids or dogs allowed) to a simply huge four bedroom house with a massive garden that one can get lost in! And dogs!

Well, we already have the dog, as you no doubt remember from the previous post

Like me, the house is something of a mongrel.

It had been in the same family (not mine) since Victorian times (when it was built) and each generation has added something to it particular to their lifetime. It’s a live-in Museum in its own right. You can walk around the house playing “spot the era”. There are things here from the 20s, 30s, and so on and so forth. The 70s were a particularly active time in this house’s DIY history… Heaven help us…

A lot has been added to it. And when I say a lot I mean a lot. It had a patio, that became a conservatory that became a workshop, that became a kitchen. Well, the kind of kitchen that Dr Frankenstein would wake up in the night having the shakes over. Every time we prepared a meal, the uppermost thought in our minds wasn’t “Now, what drink would go well with this?”

No.

The uppermost thought was “Will I survive long enough to actually eat this?”

But it’s now a kitchen, a proper one!

A proper bathroom was added on. As was a utility room (that’s actually quite utile), which is about the only part of the house that doesn’t need something doing to it. Thankfully, It’s all cosmetic. But it’s a level of ‘cosmetic’ that would have Max Factor running for the hills.

But we love our conservatory. As does the dog. She can often be found in there, sat on the sofa, surveying her kingdom. When we want to get into the garden, sometimes we’re too lazy too unlock the back door, so we just go through the conservatory windows instead. I was born by Caesarean, so I have absolutely no problem with this.

There’s a lot to do.

And doing it is a cross between Pass The Parcel and Russian Roulette. While channeling Heath Robinson, who I believe may well have been the inspiration for much of the original alterations…

So here I go, paintbrush in hand.

Wish me luck.

 

Strictly Come Prancing

Or Rudolphing, or Dashing or Whatever.

Though I don’t think there was a reindeer called Whatever. But there should have been. He’d have been the world-weary one at the back who got the full brunt of the other reindeers’ dietary habits. He’d be the one with the peg on his nose. He’d be the one demanding emissions testing for reindeer and other magical flying animals.

So, yes, it’s that time of year again. And instead of everyone singing “I’m Dreaming Of A Wet Christmas” (just like the ones we always get), the weather is doing something very strange… It’s been snowing.

Yes, folks! It’s time for the Christmas Foxtrot!

Snow, snow, thick thick snow.

Well, hopefully. Hopefully?

Depends, I suppose. There can be winds. People simply complain about losing their dustbin lids. Never mind the roof tiles, bridges being shut down. There can be heatwaves. People simply whinge about it being too hot. Never mind the sunburn, dehydration and general dangers.

But one snowflake…

And people lose their freaking minds and turn into apocalypse preppers. Everything closes down and you can’t find toilet paper for love nor money. Because yes, when the end of the world comes, those extra rolls of double-soft quilted embossed will be so handy.

I don’t know if things are different from when I was little, or whether it was just because we didn’t have a car (long story) but I don’t remember all this end-of-days obsessive panic. Or perhaps it was just because I was a child and saw snow as lovely stuff that I could play with during – say it in hushed tones of reverencesnow days.

The grammar school I went to was surrounded by 6 foot high (2 metres) hedges and when a friend and I went out walking / mischief-making, we found ourselves walking well above the level of those hedges, and probably on top of a few abandoned cars too, unwittingly. There might have been a bit of ‘wittingly‘ about it had we known.

As we headed across the school playing field (with rugby posts poking apologetically out of all the white stuff), we saw a helicopter overhead. Being the ‘friendly’ sorts we were, we decided to wave to it. Oh yes… we waved and waved.

And it started descending onto the field.

I don’t know if there is a land speed record for ultra thick snow, but I think we may have broken it. We both charged back home and waited for the worst. What the heck had we done? We were both pretty sure it had been a military helicopter and our imaginations were running wild. We were praying we weren’t going to get into major trouble…

And that evening, our curiosity was rewarded, if not our panic. The news came on.

“And in local news…”

Which is what they used to say before the now ubiquitous ‘News Where You Are‘ (does nobody know what ‘local’ means anymore?)

It was a great story. A pregnant woman, living in a tiny village cut off by severe snow fall had gone into labour. No way in or out of the village was possible. A helicopter from the local airbase had been drafted in to get the woman out and off to the nearest hospital. But disaster had struck. The snow was so bad, the helicopter couldn’t see where to land.

And that was when the ‘miracle’ happened…

The crew of the helicopter suddenly saw two figures standing a few yards from the woman’s house, waving them down frantically, before disappearing into the drifts.

Yup. You guessed it. It was us. It was our village.

Anyway, hospital reached. Baby born. Everyone doing fine.

Stay safe everyone. And remember – getting your prayers answered is good, but sometimes it’s nice to be the answer to someone else’s prayer…

Keep your toilet rolls handy…

 


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You know you want to.

Because you’re worth it…

Keep young and beautiful

I know it’s imperative to look after your skin. Obviously. People like to look young. Or rather, I think people are scared of growing old. I think that may be more the case. I personally just like to look healthy. Not easy when you’re naturally blessed with the complexion of a three-day-old corpse. Okay, so perhaps I am exaggerating a little but let’s just say… I’m pale. Very pale.

I come from a generation where, as a child, you would sneak into your mother’s room and see all the little miraculous pots and sticks and stuff. Particularly that ubiquitous little pink pot with the black lid: the Oil of Ulay. What a magical sound it had. And you would always try to sneak some on but it smells so much like baby powder that you knew you would get found out.

Mother had a big thing about skincare; she felt it was vitally important. I grew up in the wilds of West Wales and at the time I lived in a windy, hilltop farming community. You were constantly blasted by wind and rain and leaves. So keeping any skin on your face at all automatically put you ahead of the game.

Mother was always on at me to keep my skin nice. She would say to me “You must keep your skin nice. Boys like girls with skin.” Yeah, I think that goes for most humans, Mother. Of course she could have been pronouncing ‘skin’ with a capital S. I’m not sure. That could of course have had a completely different meaning, one that even to this day totally eludes me.

Her next gambit would always be “Nobody will look at you if you don’t have nice skin!” She would be quite emphatic about that. My response was always the same: “Mother, I wear glasses. Skin is irrelevant at this point!”

So, growing up I saw all these wonderful articles in the teen magazines in shops, things like ‘10 tips for fantastic looking skin!” and ‘Get glowing skin – now!’, while my mother’s magazines said things like ‘moisturise your way to younger looking skin!’ – you can see the shift in emphasis right there, can’t you?

When I was a teenager, I thought well, perhaps when I hit 30, then I’ll consider having a skincare routine. I’ll be old then. 30 came and went. So did the skin care plans. My actual aim for when I hit 30 was to avoid growing up as much as possible. Growing old didn’t bother me. I just didn’t want to grow up. I still don’t.

I thought that when I hit 30, I would have to cut my hair, start wearing suits, and start listening to Beethoven. As it turned out, none of those things happened. Okay, I will listen to Für Elise if it’s on. But that’s it.

And then after I hit 30, I thought perhaps when I reached 40 I really had better do something with my skin. Then 40 passed. To cut a long story short (too late!), I thought perhaps I better do something…

Going off at a tangent slightly, Helena Rubenstein said that in terms of make-up, all a truly beautiful woman needed to wear was mascara and lipstick. I think Mother must’ve adhered to this but she was of a generation they didn’t have 20 or 30 different products you had to slap on before even thinking about leaving your room in the morning. Personally, I reverse think this one.  I wear only lipstick and mascara on the premise that… oh, well… you know.

Back to Mother’s dressing table. There was the old cold cream to cleanse; followed by this magical little pink pot (which was the height of luxury in those days). Of course in her day, makeup was basically a bright red stick of  some sort of fudgy lipstick (always bright red) and mascara took the form of the dolls house pot of shoe polish (always black) and a tiny dolls house hairbrush. And that was make up for her. I never dared trying the dolls hairbrush and shoe polish thing but I did, on occasion, risk trying the red lipstick. As you can imagine, I was not expert at putting this stuff on! I’m still not, come think of it…

There was only one problem: it readily smeared and it did have a tendency to stain. You could never quite eliminate all evidence of it on your face. So of course when Mother would see me standing there with the bright red smears running down my chin, she would ask me in an agitated manner, “Have you been trying on my make up? “ I would always deny it vehemently.

Just picture it – a small vampire child (with fangs now very much apparent), stands there with a red dribbling down her face from her mouth, desperately trying to deny that no, no, no, those red smears aren’t make-up. What conclusion what would you come to?! Not the smartest answer I could’ve given, thinking about it. I’m sure she probably went around and checked all the pets and the neighbours’ children. I guess that’s probably why I wasn’t allowed to bring anybody home to play with. I suppose she always had a thing about me not playing with my food…!

But here’s where I share another secret… Coconut oil. Cleanser, moisturiser, face pack. And you can eat it. If you can’t play with your food, then how about eating your beauty products..?

What would Mother say? Pfft.


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