Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I thought I’d tell you a bit more about myself. Firstly, my name isn’t really Salvadore Vincent. When asked to blog-sit for Unlucky Man earlier this month I spent longer trying to think of a pseudonym than I’ve so far spent writing blogs. Eventually I realised that this search for a new identity was taking over my life, so I went to www.mypornname.com and promised that I would take whatever it gave me. Could have been worse. But don’t bother going there and typing in "Salvadore Vincent" to find out who I am, as it doesn’t work like that. I’m not sure of the exact algorithm involved, but in mathematical terms it looks like a "many to one" mapping. I.e. my name (and probably an infinite amount of others) will always map to "Salvadore Vincent", but there’s no way, even if you knew the algorithm, that you could use the inverse of the function to find out who I was.

If you’re really keen to know who I am, read my postings at Unlucky Man’s site, and all you need to do is find out the movements of 60 008 that day, look along that railway line for blocks of flats with nicer than expected gardens and cross-reference that postcode of the electoral roll with television writers at www.imdb.com. I really am making it too easy for stalkers.

But even if you did find out who I was, you wouldn’t be that impressed. I promise that you won’t have seen me in the pages of "Hello". My show-biz life revolves around watching the trains go by, avoiding my gardener and rebuilding bridges with the local Polish community. The list of famous people that I have met as a result of my "job" reads as follows:-

An ex-sitcom star who is now a TV presenter. He was very nice.
An ex-sitcom star who I only found out this morning died two years ago. She was very nice.
An actor very famous for one film role, now quite famous for a role in a series of adverts. He was very nice.
A retired sports presenter. Actually I only rang him up, so I’m not sure if that counts as "met". But he was very nice.

However, all this could change as I have been invited to a book launch tomorrow night. There may be all sorts of celebrities there. My friend has also promised that there will be models there dressed only in spray paint. I assume that he doesn’t mean Airfix models, though we’ve already made a puerile joke based around the word "Fokker". I’ve never seen models dressed only in spray paint, I mean been to a book launch before, so I’m quite excited.

The only thing is that it clashes with the football.

So I’m placing my fate in your hands. Leave a comment: "spray paint" or "football"? The one with the most votes wins.
OK, this was what I wanted to do.

You've just realised that the supply teacher can't control the class, haven't you?
Hmm, that didn't work, did it? It was supposed to link to one of my previous blog-sitting entries for Unlucky Man on June 17th - you'll just have to scroll there yourselves now.

Less the David Fairclough "super-sub" of blogging, more the Emile Heskey...
If you blog it, they will come.

The Pullman train went past this morning.

It's going to be a good day.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I need to post a letter containing some samples of writing work. I am about to stick a 1st class stamp on the envelope when I have the nagging feeling that it might weigh more than the 60g maximum. It would obviously create a bad impression to my prospective future employer if his first contact with me were to be paying my excess postage, so the kitchen scales come out. But they only measure in 50g intervals. The letter appears to weigh somewhere between 50 and 100g, perhaps nearer 50, but I don’t trust them as nothing I’ve cooked has ever come out right when it involves weighing.

I could, of course, just do what most people would do in this situation and stick another stamp on it to make sure. Do that "weighing it in the palm of your hand whilst looking thoughtful" gesture then say "another one should do it". But stop and think how much extra revenue the Royal Mail makes from such foolish actions.

Closing post offices is a double bonus for them – not only do they save money on premises and staff, but more people can’t be bothered to walk further and get things weighed properly, so say "I’ll stick another stamp on to make sure". Well, they’re not going to get an extra penny out of me I tell myself as I set off on the 20 minute hike to my nearest post office since they closed my local one.

Of course, when I get there the queue is enormous as they’ve closed all the surrounding post offices. Though this does give me plenty of time to think.

Even if I bought some more accurate scales (I know – why should I? But let’s run with the idea), my problem wouldn’t be solved as after I had weighed my letter on my super-duper accurate scales I would still need to walk to the post office to buy the correct stamps.

But maybe I could just buy sheets and sheets of 1p stamps – I could thus weigh my letter at home (again, at my expense) then use the correct number of 1p stamps to make up any value of postage. The downside here of course is the original "looking bad to prospective future employers" argument that got me here in the first place. Plus a concern about my ability to produce enough saliva.

"Cashier number three please."

I put my envelope on the scales. It weighs 59g. Which means that I’ve wasted the best part of an hour. And that I’m a crap cook.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Hello, I’m Salvadore Vincent and I’m blog-sitting for the week...

It was my 34th birthday at the weekend. I am still in my early thirties though. Until 33, your thirties are divided into early (30-33), mid (34-36) and late (37-39). But now there are only two divisions – early (30-34) and late (35-39). I am obviously not in my late thirties, and early is the opposite of late, so I must therefore still be in my early thirties. This time next year I will just be "in my thirties".

However, last week someone asked me how old I was going to be, and I couldn’t remember. I know what year I was born in, and I know what this year is (except sometimes when I’m writing a cheque), but I’m now at the age where I have to do some subtraction to be sure of my age. This seems like a milestone, and not a happy one.

Other things I have noticed recently:-

It’s obvious to say that everything on Top Of The Pops and daytime Radio 1 is rubbish, but I’m now not sure about things such as if Orbital and William Orbit are the same person. They might be, or they might not be, but I don’t feel too inclined to find out.

I don’t get Bo Selecta. I’ve really really persevered and once thought I got it when drunk, but now I don’t any more. I therefore don’t see why it’s on in a timeslot previously reserved for comedies that I do understand – could they not put it on another channel and keep showing things that I get instead? I remember the glorious feeling on first watching The Young Ones that someone had written something especially for me. I expect that younger people now think that about Bo Selecta and are glad that even people still in their “early” thirties don’t get it. This is the first time I’ve thought this about a new comedy show (as opposed to just not liking it), but I suspect that it’s the first step to a subscription to UKTV Gold. And the day you realise that you’re listening to Radio 2.

My Euro 2004 guide tells me that for the first time, every member of England’s tournament squad is younger than me. (David James would have been in the same school year, but this does seem like clutching at straws). After Ronaldinho’s chip in 2002 there weren’t many people hoping that David Seaman wouldn’t retire, but I was wishing he would hang on a bit longer (perhaps as a reserve) to avoid another milestone for me.

Another recent milestone is that I now really notice draughts a lot. I could never previously understand why my parents had wanted me to close doors behind myself, but now on entering a room, potential air currents are the first thing I look for. When choosing where to sit in a restaurant I would rather be between a table of chain smokers and the gents toilets than anywhere near a window or a door. I can’t remember the first draught I noticed, but now I can’t stop feeling them. It’s like Death is standing behind me, stroking my neck to remind me of his presence. Tapping his icy fingers as he mocks my shallow, futile, meaningless, existence and how soon it will all be over. A memento mori in breeze form of the inevitable and ever-closer day when he will return me to dust.

Which is worrying, but not half as upsetting as the crushing realisation that Sven’s probably never going to pick me now.

Friday, June 25, 2004

I have some raffle tickets to sell. For the village fete.

Would anybody like one?

The prize is £50. Then wines and spirits. ‘And other good prizes’.

They are 20p each, and I will be operating an honesty box system.

That is, leave a comment here if you’d like one. Then, the next time you go into a shop with a charity box, drop 20p in there and you will have paid for your ticket.

I will know if you have not paid, as I will tell from the writing style of your future comments, using my Derren Brown-like powers.

In the meantime, I will pay for your ticket at this end. And then, when one of my readers wins, I will send them the £50 minus what I have paid for everybody’s tickets. That seems fair. I’m not made of money you know.

If a reader wins one of the subsidiary prizes, we will come to an amicable arrangement. Probably this will involve me drinking it, or doing whatever one does with another ‘good prize’. I will then post an amusing story about it, which will be worth far more.

Nothing can go wrong. Leave your pledges below. One ticket only per person.



I will be on holiday next week. I haven’t quite decided where yet, but I’ll find somewhere nice.

In my absence, this blog will be guest-edited by Salvadore Vincent. Salvadore is an old friend of mine, and a genuine real writer off the telly an’ that. He did a few days on Unluckyman recently but this is the big time now, so please support him and leave lots of nice comments.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I travel to London.

I lived there for ten years. Worked there for longer. I know London.

‘Farringdon Road, please’ I ask the bus driver.

‘Mumble mumble mumble machine’ he replies.

‘Sorry?’ I reply.

‘Mumble mumble mumble machine’ he replies.

‘Sorry, you what?’ I reply.

‘You need to buy a ticket at the machine,’ he replies.

All this replying has already delayed the bus. I was last in the queue, so it’s fairly clear to everybody whose fault it is. I am carrying a suitcase as well, so I look like a tourist.

I give the people on the bus an ‘I’m not a tourist really, honest’ look, and turn to find the machine. There is no machine.

‘Sorry. Where’s the machine?’ I ask.

I am officially now the Most Unpopular Person on the Bus. The driver, however, is kindly and patient. It is, he explains, outside at the bus stop.

I apologise for the confusion, and say that I’ll get the next bus. I’m not in a hurry.

‘No problems, I’ll wait for you’.

I give my other passengers a weak look. One man looks at me as though I was the man responsible for introducing Scrappy-Doo.

I drag the suitcase out and fumble for change at the machine, which prints me a ticket. By this point, Steve Norris is considering ‘Banning JonnyB from the city’ as a key plank for his next manifesto.

I re-enter the bus and show the driver my ticket. He pulls away. I stare furiously out of the window.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I have an old git moment.

I haven’t had much relaxation over the past few weeks, due to the recent building work. So I settle down late evening to watch the scheduled programme about the Goodies.

Except the BBC has replaced it with a special edition of Panorama.

I can hardly believe it. I had cleared off the comfy chair especially.

When will the BBC tackle this incessant dumbing-down?

To be honest, it’s not been a good day, and I am gloomy.

Firstly, I missed the Kirstie Allsopp show.

Secondly, the Cheerful Builder has finished.

For six weeks, he’s been my constant companion, beavering away at the cottage whilst I juggle trying to earn a living with making inept attempts to give him a hand.

He arrived an employee and left a friend.

I wanted to ask him why he’s always so cheerful, as we had our usual morning drinking coffee and chatting about music at £12 an hour. I will miss his company and his banter. I will even, very very slightly, miss Steve Wright.

So we return to normal, which means being alone in the cottage all day with nothing but the birds and the rabbits for company.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Friday.

I wake, hungover. The LTLP has disappeared downstairs.

Something does not feel right.

Under my outstretched arm the bed seems a bit... gritty.

I need the toilet anyway, so I sit up and pull the duvet to one side.

Her allocated half of the bed is smeared in dried mud. There are leaves and a couple of yellow petals stuck to the sheet. I stare at this, goggle-eyed.

This has not happened before.

I don’t know much about such things, and at first I think she must have had some sort of very unusual kind of women’s period. But I do recall her sleeping in her clothes, so this cannot be the case.

Then I remember pulling her out of the garden hedge last night.

Honestly.

In real life she is Doctor LTLP, a fairly eminent scientist in her field. This sort of drunk behaviour is inexcusable.

Garden hedges indeed. It is undignified.

Sunday.

I wake, hungover. The LTLP has disappeared downstairs.

She reappears, cross. Apparently last night I had to be picked up from Big A’s floor and assisted home by her and Short Tony. Then I wouldn’t stop trying to sing and play ‘My Generation’ on the guitar.

However, I have always worked in what’s wankily known as ‘The Creative Industries’ and am a fairly arty sort of person. Therefore such drunk behaviour is bohemian and daring, and exposes the fascinating contradictions behind my tortured soul.

That is unfair, I know. Double standards.

But I don’t make the rules.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Short Tony has a better telly. So we went next door to watch the football.

He has bought two new ‘Jimmy White’ cues for the snooker table. Signed, a picture of him and everything.

I have always felt a bit of a natural bond with Jimmy White, neither of us having ever won the Embassy World Snooker Championship.

However my respect for him has shot through the roof, getting to the level that he has whilst using a cheap lightweight plastic wood-effect cue. The man is clearly a genius.

Presumably as he has never won the thing, he can’t afford a real wood one, as used by the Hendries, Reardons, Griffithses etc. If all his fans actually put their hands in their pockets and made a solid contribution rather than just sit there occasionally shouting ‘come on Jimmy’ and getting told off by Len Ganley then the big prize might one day be his. (Note to self – must check if Len Ganley still does the refereeing.)

Talk is cheap, boys.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

That’s it!!!

There are no excuses, and Dulux has been transcribed onto my corporate boycott list of death. They join the New Covent Garden Soup Company, Serviceteam, Egg and Halliburton.

Actually, I am not quite sure whether it should be Dulux or ICI (parent company). I have ranks of corporate lawyers working on this at the moment. Just because you have a cute dog on the payroll does not mean that you are not an evil corporation.

When I buy four tins of ‘Once’ paint, I feel entitled to expect that I will only have to paint once. ‘Once’, you see. It is quite straightforward. ‘Once’ = once.

It is my opinion, I told the Lady in Customer Care at Dulux, that your ‘Once’ paint should not be called ‘Once’. It should be called ‘Twice’. In fact, on some bits of the wall, I would be justified in referring to it as ‘Three Times a Lady’.

They offer a money-back guarantee that ‘Once’ = once.

But I do not just want my money back.

I want compensation for the fact that, us being averse to spending our weekend painting, we ignored all sorts of interesting colours in the shop and considered only those available in the ‘Once’ range.

I want compensation for the aforementioned weekend, spent painting.

Most of all, I want compensation for the consequences of my initial comment to the LTLP that perhaps the paint wasn’t working because she wasn’t brushing it in properly, and it was typical, and let me have a go.

Once. My arse.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Sometimes I hate this being English thing.

No, that’s not an allusion to the football. To give you all a rest, I have resolved that this blog will be a mentioning-the-football-free-zone for the next two weeks.

It’s to do with the way ones mind is conditioned to work.

Here’s an example. Friday. The station car park. I am approached by an unshaven and slightly wild-eyed stranger, who mumbles a request for a lift.

My very English thought processes go, in this order:

- I cannot refuse point blank, as this complete stranger will think I am rude and there will be awkwardness.
- I cannot pretend that I am not going in that direction, as somehow he will find out that I am lying, think I am rude and there will be awkwardness.
- He might be a maniac. However, being chopped into little pieces seems worth the risk, to avoid being thought rude and the ensuing awkwardness.

I therefore offer him a lift, with all the insane generosity of a Stephen Gerrard back pass.

Damn. Football-mentioning-free-zone starts now.

Our few attempts at conversation peter out. He stares out of the window a lot. Occasionally, he takes a packet of pills out of a bag and studies the instructions.

There is silence between us. Not the easy silence that you get between friends, but the awkward, awkward silence of awkward awkwardness. Damn you, this being English thing! I live a life doomed to awkwardness.

It’s that sort of silence that you get when you invite Arial Sharon and his wife to tea, only to find that you’ve double booked with the Arafats.

We drive a few miles. I concentrate very hard on the road.

Still. He does not seem to be a maniac. This is a bonus. It just shows. Just because somebody is wild-eyed and unshaven does not mean that they are a maniac. Thinking that would be akin to racism.

“What’s with the pills then?” I finally ask.

“I’ve been to a Chinese healer. He was amazing. I walked through the door, and you know what he said?”

“What did he say?”

“He said: ‘I can tell you get angry very quickly’.”

“And do you get angry very quickly?”

“Oh yes. Really, really angry.”

The wild-eyed, unshaven loon.

Silence fell again. By this point, we’d moved on from the Sharon/Arafat tea party debacle. It was now the type of silence that James Herbert would have featured, had he written a book entitled ‘The Silence’, about an evil silence that goes about turning people mad. Except this WASN’T a James Herbert book, so I couldn’t even skip to the porn.

We drove another mile. I dropped him at the petrol station.

Friday, June 11, 2004

This post originally appeared on Naked Blog.

I go for a run.

Run! Run! Run!

Past the duckpond then right onto Cuckoo Hill. Haven’t been for ages and it shows.

This is a milestone run for me, in that I am wearing my NEW BRANDED RUNNING SHOES.

I don’t think I’ve ever had cool branded trainers before. I was a geeky unfashionable child with a mother who did not understand the importance of youth culture. This is probably why I am so excited to be one of the New Wave of Brit Bloggers (© 2004 Peter McNaked).

They are Nikes! I feel like the dog’s bollocks as I run, and make trendy street hand signals to the village kids with my thumb and little finger. Run! Run! Run!

When I bought them, I was torn between a cool brand and specialist running shoes. Then I found that Nike makes specialist running shoes and my problem was solved. They also make specialist badminston shoes, volleyball shoes, basketball shoes, squash shoes, discus shoes and table-tennis shoes. It is important to buy a pair for each sport you do, otherwise you will not perform to your optimum.

The point was that I was after serious sports wear, not fashion. I actually got them a few months back, but haven’t worn them up to now as I didn’t want to get them muddy. Run! Run! They are comfortable and bouncy.

I am concerned about Nike’s reputation for exploiting a vulnerable workforce.

However, I have the bright idea to make the run ‘ethics-neutral’. So, every ten paces, I make sure I think a very liberal thought. That way it balances out. I also resolve to read the Guardian extra hard when I get home.

The Cheerful Builder is beavering away on my return. By this point I am gasping for air, but the air is a combination of plaster dust and paintstripper (and air), so I sink into a patio chair outside. I need more exercise.

* * *

I'm home! So I'll make myself a cup of tea and check out Hackney Lookout.

During my blog holiday very many interesting things have happened. Rabbits, hitchhikers, the works.

Back to normal next week. Have a good one.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

This post originally appeared on Naked Blog.

We are a three-church village.

There’s the main one (used most Sundays but not, shamefully, by me), a smaller subsidiary one (occasional services, somewhat overgrown) and a spooky disused one (spooky and disused).

The main one is directly opposite the cottage. Dozing in bed on a Sunday morning listening to the bells is one of the pleasures of country life.

Many generations of villagers lie in the churchyard, including the long-ago residents of our place. The same surnames crop up over and over.

* * *

In the corner of the plot are the war graves. The RAF station on the edge of the village provided the occupants of this – pilots that had been downed (or crashed) over the region or who had been pulled out of the sea off the North Norfolk coast.

It could define ‘military precision’. Immaculately uniform, the stones stand to attention like pawns at the start of a chess game, equally spaced to the millimetre and looking as new as when they were first placed. The grass is as beautifully kept as any golf course. Somebody still cares.

Probably one third of the interred are from Canada, Australia or New Zealand. As you walk around, you can’t help yourself from thinking that it was a bloody long, long way to come to die.

* * *

If one third are from the Commonwealth countries, another sixth are German. Of course, they died here too, in flames in the fields or washed up onto the shore. Even today it’s still a shock to see the insignia on the headstones in this context – sixty years of war films have preserved its sense of menace.

At first, when the powers that be discovered that a German had been buried in the same line as the English pilots, they planned to exhume the body and put it elsewhere. The villagers, however, refused to disturb the airman, and he lies there to this day. Future German burials were grouped together, facing the Commonwealth stones, with equal reverence and dignity.

* * *

In my continuing quest to share any returning Naked Blog traffic with newer bloggers, I love All's Well Jezebel. She is the younger of a blogging family, the Coleen Nolan of blogging.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

This post originally appeared on Naked Blog.

The Village Shop Lady hands me a paper bag.

It’s from the Parish Council (Church Fete Organising Sub-Committee).

Instructions are stapled onto the side. I study them closely as I return to the cottage.

I am to put something to the value of one pound into the bag, seal it, then return it to the shop. Then it will be sold for a pound at the Fete in July.

I am better with words than figures, but even I can spot the flaw in this plan. If I put something in that’s worth a pound, and they sell it for a pound, then I am personally down by goods to the value of a pound.

These politicians think that we don’t notice, but once more they are taxing by stealth.

However the LTLP points out that I can buy a bag myself while I am there. And as long as the person concerned has honestly filled it with goods to the value of a pound then we will be all straight.

She is clever.

I am a bit nervous about attending the Church Fete. I’ve been watching a lot of Midsomer Murders recently, and am afraid there will be a bloody ritual killing. But I feel I should go. I just hope that they don’t ask me to open the thing just because of my Naked Blog celebrity.

But what to put in the bag? It’s unlikely that I can hit EXACTLY the pound mark, unless I went back to the shop and bought one hundred penny chews, which would kind of give the game away.

If I’m a bit under then there is a chance that I might be discovered. A bit over and I will have to ask for change, and I would hate there to be any unpleasantness.

The anarchist in me thinks I should include a bit of weed, or an old jazz mag. But again the risk of discovery is there, and my pound loss would pale into insignificance against the cost of having to move house and change identity.

I shall give it some thought.

* * *

Today’s recommendation, Diary of a Nobody. You may have seen this before. It’s funny but I’m not convinced it is genuine. Charles Pooter was the Belle de Jour of his day.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

This post originally appeared on Naked Blog.

I wake to the sound of gunshot. Three shots. Bam, bam, bam!

It’s just after 8am. Another shot. Bam!

It’s joyous to be living somewhere where the sound of gunshot means that there’s a ‘shoot’ rather than a ‘shooting’.

I don’t feel particularly refreshed, having drunk too much last night then watched the scary Anthony Hopkins Eats People film. Beside me, the LTLP snores gently like a baby – I want to reach out and gently touch her hair.

Oh that this was true. In fact she is snoring like a big heffalump, and I want to reach out and gently bash her over the head with a wok.

Sensing that this would not get Sunday morning off to the best start, I ease myself gently out of bed with the grace of a ballerina. I grab some clothes and slip downstairs.

Having been recently appointed as a very important guest contributor to Naked Blog, there is a swagger in my step as I walk into the village. (The village, not the Village). A few people are up already.

“Good morning!” I say to Lady in Her Front Garden, as I pass by.

“Good morning!” she says in reply.

“Good morning!” I say to Man With Beard, on the corner of Church Lane.

“Good morning!” replies Man With Beard.

Honestly, this constant social intercourse is just exhausting.

None of them mention the Naked Blog thing. That is what I like about Norfolk. People take folk as they find them, and they would not dream of treating me any differently just because of my celebrity status.

The shop is closed on Sundays, but newspapers are left outside.

I pick up the paper, chuck the money into the honesty box and amble back for a cup of tea.

* * *

Try Boogie Street. It’s a blog! It’s art! It’s a blog with art!

Monday, June 07, 2004

A couple of useful background archive posts can probably be found here and here.

Today’s reading recommendation: Smacked Face. Jen writes a blog that makes me long to rush to London and the bright lights. It fills me with nostalgia for the days when I could cheerfully go out drinking on seven consecutive nights without any ill-effects. Hell, I’m half tempted to get a sex change and prowl the bars of South London in five-inch heels.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

For one week only: I Don’t Believe it 2!

Peter has kindly asked me to guest on his blog next week.

So my posts from Monday to Friday will appear on Naked Blog.

Here, you’ll get an exciting TOTP-style mix of classic gold archive material (er – links to old stuff) and links to other blogs with whom I’d like to share any returning Naked Blog traffic. That seems only fair.

Also, please visit the blogrolled sites on the sidebar. They’re all super, and are there because I love them.

Music soundtrack can be provided by the excellent A Free Man in Preston – follow the links on his site to download MP3s that will entertain and delight. Or just read the blog.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Mood: hungover/possibly still slightly pissed. Internal jukebox: $1000 Wedding – Gram Parsons. Insert terror alert/moon thing graphic here.

In which our hero attempts to write a ‘proper blog entry’.

OK. Something different today. A stream of consciousness of FEELINGS and STUFF ABOUT THE BLOG that I never normally do, rather than your usual daily dose of ATTEMPTED PROPER WRITING and COMIC BOOK OBSERVATIONS that are my BARRIER AGAINST LAYING MYSELF OPEN TOO BARE.

So if you’re here for the first time, better skip this one. Go and read an old post. One of the funny ones.

What’s brought this on? I’ll come to that.

A while back I mentioned that I’ve got a couple of rules. And Torturette left a very polite comment wondering what they were, and I ignored him. That was rude and arrogant of me, for a new reader whose blog I love – check it out, he can WRITE.

So in answer to your question, Torturette, I never write about blogging. Quite happy for others to (big of me), but it’s not for me. Too self-referential. Too easy. Too dragging-me-in-further.

Too worried about being presumptuous.

And while I’m on that subject, I love your comments. Thanks. I really do. And I’m sorry I haven’t been replying to many recently. Email if you like, and I’ll guarantee a reply. Probably. But I love you lurkers as well, lurking away, lurk, lurk, lurk. Lurk. What a great word!

(If anyone can tell me why Haloscan pretends there aren’t any comments on posts older than a few weeks then I’d be very grateful).

Anyway. I digress. Broken that blog thing rule. What else? Well, here’s the big one. The absolute killer, never-to-be-broken. I DO NOT MAKE THINGS UP, NEVER, NEVER, EVER, OH NO. I paraphrase sometimes, but I don’t make up events or situations, or put reported speech into people’s mouths. I did put a small fib in a very early post to make something funnier, but I felt soiled and cheap, owned up in the comments box and never did it again.

Where there is a joke it should be obvious that it is a joke. Clearly, Ms Jones did NOT buy me a five grand Internet fridge for my birthday. The tight cow. I have transcribed her name onto the list of death.

What’s brought this on?

Well – an attack of paranoia, self-doubt and insecurity following the latest big personal disaster that has happened to me. So I get through this disaster, heart pounding, sweating, that horrible feeling when you have REALLY FUCKED EVERYTHING UP and sit down to write about it. And I’ve completed the first sentence (“The rabbit has escaped!!!”) when I look back over the previous two days’ posts, building up the rabbit business, take a deep breath and admit to myself that you really, really can’t be expected to believe that the bloody thing got loose without some sort of formal statement of intent.

It would have been just too... neat. Too convenient. Too slick. Things like that just DON'T HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE, even though it did.

It would have made a great post. The rabbit escapes. Not even the one that was expected to die at any moment. It runs off at speed. Me chasing it, a feeling of horror welling up inside me at what I’m going to tell Tony, and, more to the point, what he’d have to tell the kids.

Me crawling for twenty minutes in the hedge and undergrowth that Tony chucks the dog shit into, actually – get this – WAVING A PIECE OF GREENERY and cooing ‘come on! Come on!’

The almost-grabs where the long-eared rat thing veers in and out of reach coyly, before bounding off in a different direction.

And my final struggle where I apprehend it – not quite picking it up by the ears, but near-enough, struggling with its legs going nineteen to the dozen, throwing it back into the cage and then that huge post-adrenaline rush that makes you feel sick and say ‘fuck’ a lot.

Anyway, the rabbit escaped. I assure you.

Perhaps I should have had more trust in you all. I guess you wouldn’t have really cared. But it matters to me, and it’s my blog. I demand the right to be pompous occasionally.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I feed the rabbits.

They seem pleased to see me. Two rabbits, two cages. I don’t know their names, so I call the big one Chas and the little one Dave.

The food is stored in a biscuit tin under Dave’s cage. I have also brought some lettuce, which I understand from children’s literature is what rabbits like to eat.

It’s also iceberg lettuce, which I want to get rid of. Note to guests chez Billericay – if you come to stay, bringing an old iceberg lettuce ‘because otherwise we would have thrown it away’ is unnecessary. Even I wouldn’t stoop to that.

Iceberg is the Steve Wright of the lettuce world.

The rabbits are heartbreakingly flopsy and beautiful. Dave is black and white, small and perky, his/her ears alert and pointy, scurrying around the cage in little bursts. Dave is overjoyed by my iceberg lettuce offering and munches away happily, ignoring the coloured cardboard that seems to pass for professional rabbit food these days.

Chas is large and lugubrious. He/she doesn’t seem to move much, but occasionally makes a lazy lollop to another corner of the cage. Chas has clearly been there, done that, and feels no need to put on an entertaining rabbit show for visiting humans. For some reason he/she reminds me of a rabbit Stephen Fry, perhaps slightly hungover after an evening at the Groucho.

Chas isn’t interested in the iceberg lettuce. I have fallen for him/her so may bring some romaine tomorrow.

After about ten minutes (far longer than needed, but it’s nice to get out of the house) I realise I have been talking to the rabbits. “Here you go, some lettuce, nice lettuce, yesss, you like that don’t you?” (etc).

I’m a bit shocked by this. But it fits in with my increasingly nagging, getting-to-me feeling that keeping rabbits in cages is not something I like. I actually find it quite upsetting, which surprises me.

There. I’ve blown my rugged, hard-man image.

I wave goodbye to my new rabbit friends and return to check on the Cheerful Builder.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Since leaving the corporate environment, my responsibilities have consisted of the following:

Make LTLP’s packed lunch in the morning;
Have dinner ready for LTLP’s return;
Between these events, try not to burn down house, crash car, run up huge gambling/prostitution debts on joint account, etc.

Clearly, there is my own business to mind. But I have no people to worry about, either under or over me. And that’s what caused the most stress. I am happy. Serene, even. NO MAJOR RESPONSIBILITY.

This Utopia was rudely carpet bombed at the weekend, when Mrs Short Tony stuck her head round the door.

“We’re going away for a few days,” she said. “Would you look after our rabbits?”

I couldn’t say no. We had a short conversation about rabbit-keeping. It seemed straightforward.

Just before she left, she added as an afterthought:

“Oh – and don’t worry if the big floppy one dies.”

I was impressed. I know she trained as a scientist, but I had no idea that she had developed a way of bringing rabbits back to life.

“If it dies,” I enquired, “can I chuck it into our cesspit?”

She looked cross at this, and unconvinced by my explanation that Auntie Miriam told me to always chuck a dead rabbit into a cesspit, to get the bacteria going. The New Zealanders are way ahead of us in effluent management technology.

If it dies, apparently we have to bury it in the garden with a little cross, so that the kids won’t get upset. Then dig it up when they aren’t looking and sling it in the wheelie bin to avoid a repetition of the last time, when their thick dog cheerfully exhumed and returned it.

(When I say ‘the last time’, I am pretty sure that it was a different rabbit, despite Mrs S.T's claims to have discovered lapin re-animation).

I am determined to make my new job work. I have all the plans worked out RE food/water etc., and I won’t let her down.

It is the first time I have worked for anybody for a year. Granted, it’s not President of Iraq, but I am already feeling the pressure.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

People who bought me a birthday present:

  • The in-laws (2 soft rock guitar tab books/hand-knitted jumper)
  • Generous friends (decanter)
  • My mum and dad (2 pairs of pants, sizes XL and L)
  • Ms Jones (Internet fridge (awaiting delivery))
  • The Cheerful Builder (bottle of wine)
  • My grandmother (paying for future services of piano delivery man)
People who did not buy me a birthday present:

  • The LTLP (unable to find suitable purchase)
  • My sister (‘to follow’)
  • Rest of family (live abroad therefore excused)
  • Everybody else in world (do not know me/do know me but did not know it was my birthday/do not like me enough to buy me a birthday present/are imaginary internet people/live abroad therefore excused)