I think I know where the ketchup went…

IMG_20190424_081339

You know when you’re away from a situation and suddenly a detail comes back to you? It’s like your head has emptied out of all the daily mess and that one detail is sitting there alone and obvious. Well, now I’m away from home, I’ve realised something.

(To anyone who’s not been following this drama, my flatmate Jinjing thinks our flatmate Neville has been sneaking into our rooms for unfathomable reasons – not stealing anything of value, but with definite signs left).

One of the clues that someone had been in my room was that my ketchup went missing. But today I remembered there was some ketchup in the fridge when i left. I assumed it belonged to someone else, but thinking about it I  don’t remember anyone else ever using ketchup. It was a squeezy bottle, half full like mine was. I think maybe it was MY bottle.

Which means someone took the ketchup bottle from my room and put it in the fridge. Which CAN’T be Neville, because he never puts anything in the fridge, not even bacon. Does that even make sense? Or is the clarity in my head just a new type of nonsense?

And if I’m right who moved my ketchup? And why?

Am escaped!

IMG_20190422_192741

IMG_20190423_141557

As soon as the huge bus trundled away through the streets heading out of London, and I could watch the world from up high in my comfy seat, I knew running away was right.

IMG_20190423_124258

Today I felt like I was abroad, with boats and buskers and infinity skies. Turning the corner in an ordinary back street to find an ornate church or colourful building like a gold tooth in a mouthful of stained yellow. Just exploring, getting lost, chatting to strangers.

I already feel like my head is clearing and I’m starting to understand what’s going on back at the flat. It’s so easy to get caught up in drama and feel like there’s no alternative.

IMG_20190423_111726.jpg

A brief see-ya-later…

Calvin ballon
Calvin and Hobbes

The problem with running away is that you always have to take yourself.

Word of the day: Drapetomania – intense desire to run away from home

So at about 9am this morning the battle started. Jinjing picked an argument with Neville about the shower (something to do with his shaving foam leaving a rust stain) and then escalated it into an accusation that he’s been coming into our rooms.

‘Just mine and inkbiotic’s of course!’ she said with super sarcasm. ‘You don’t bother with Hamoudi’s, do you?’

I listened through my door while Neville  insisted that no, he’s never done that, he wouldn’t do that, that would be terrible. I felt pretty sorry for him. Then she started banging on my door, demanding that I tell Neville he was a creep. I needed to wait a bit so it wasn’t obvious I had my ear against the door, then I went out and tried to remain as vague as I could. Neville looked scared, Jinjing looked terrifying. I probably looked bewildered, but I mostly do anyway.

So that’s it. I need to get out, just for a few days. This flat has become too intense and I don’t understand what’s going on. I’ve packed a bag and I’m running away. I’m taking the first bus out of Victoria. Wherever I end up, I’ll stay until my mind stills. Just thinking about it makes me feel free, I’m going on an adventure!

I’ll post if I can. I think my phone does stuff like that. Although it might do it badly, so if I ignore comments please don’t take it personally.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.

Hans Christian Anderson

Mood: up and down

Weather: up

Word of the day: plenilune – time of the full moon

Couldn’t sleep so took a walk as the huge, full moon was hanging at the end of my street with a quizzical expression. While pigeons waddled in the gutter and foxes walked in the shadows at my side, all of us quiet. It was the glimpse of sanity that I needed.

Since then it’s been downhill.

At 10am, Neville cooked up a batch of pork chops while lecturing cheerfully at Jinjing about women’s rights through the ages. I went into the kitchen at one point and she was glowering at him over her cereal while he remained blissfully unaware, chattering without pause.

As soon as he went out, Jinjing  put tape over her door, sparkly sellotape so she knows if anyone has been inside. Neville had left some pork chops on the side, and she threw them in the bin. I tried not to yelp, that was a lot of food.

Does that count as an act of war? Are we at war now?

 

Someone has been in my room (again?)

IMG_20190317_123334.jpg

Trouble is following me around, it’s keeping to the shadows, but it’s there, its long fingernails tapping against the walls.

Weather: sunny sunny sunny

Mood: wary

Word of the day: philodox – one who loves his own opinions; a dogmatic person

We were all out today. Jinjing and Hamoudi were out being sociable with friends, and I was wandering about enjoying my own company. When I got back to my room I found the shiny pink foil of a Quality Street chocolate sitting on the floor. I don’t have any Quality Street. It was over by my desk, a good ten feet from the door. Someone has been in my room, and eaten chocolate, and not left me any. I don’t know which of these events I’m more angry about.

When Jinjing and Hamoudi got home, I told them about the sweetie wrapper I found. Jinjing claimed to have found dog hairs on her duvet.

‘This is proof! Neville has been coming into our rooms.’

‘But Neville doesn’t have a dog,’ I said.

‘I’ll bet he does! Maybe that’s why he’s cooking up all that meat. For a dog. A secret dog.’

‘Not in the flat though.’

‘It doesn’t have to be in the flat. Maybe he keeps the dog in the shed. Or at a friend’s house. He has a dog.’

‘But that doesn’t explain why he’s coming into our rooms.’

‘Because he’s evil!’ said Jinjing. And I think she might be losing all reason in the search for a villain. Neville is annoying, but he isn’t evil, and I’m not convinced he’s coming into our rooms, what would be the point? Although I don’t understand about the missing ketchup and the quality street. Or how my laptop got broken. This is all getting very odd.

Mystery solved?

tube seat
The tube seat pattern

‘I guess, just be careful you don’t wear any negative shoes, or they might get lifted?’

Comment from A gorilla’s existential crisis

Well, it’s looking like the mystery of the black star has been solved. Although the answer itself may be a diversion, a trick to pacify us. Claims of Illuminati, black holes and aliens are still under consideration.

Weather: blazing!

Mood: chirpy

Word of the day: Hypogeal – underground

So the black star update:

The gorilla blogger, Matt Johnson (unusual name for a gorilla) did some searching around and came up with a theory to explain the star (for anyone who missed the beginning of this, there are stars on the ceiling of tube trains in London and NOBODY else appeared to have noticed them or knew what they were).

The website he linked to had this comment, which I didn’t read properly at the time.

And look out for the little star on the ceiling, that indicates the floor hatch for lifting Negative shoes.

Then after posting on a London underground forum, I got lead to another post, which led to some comments under an article about the underground, and this said basically the same as Matt’s research.

The blue stars are an indication of where the shoes are on the train, in case they need to be lifted. They were on all the old Victoria line trains and are on the baker loo as the trains are basically the same.

For anyone confused about negative shoes, this is the wiki description of shoes. Somebody had fun coming up with names for stuff.

Electric railways with third rails, or fourth rails, in tunnels carry collector shoes projecting laterally (sideways), or vertically, from their bogies. The contact shoe may slide on top of the third rail (top running), on the bottom (bottom running) or on the side (side running). The side running contact shoe is used against the guide bars on rubber-tired metros. A vertical contact shoe is used on ground-level power supply systems, stud contact systems and fourth rail systems.

I suspect it’s the vertical contact shoe that needs lifting and is marked by the star (which I still say is black.)

So I’m going to leave the mystery alone for now, but it won’t be forgotten. I suspect London is full of odd little mysteries, I’d like to connect some of them up. Any ideas how?

 

 

And the competition has begun!

 “Hot weather opens the skull of a city, exposing its white brain, and its heart of nerves, which sizzle like the wires inside a lightbulb. And there exudes a sour extra-human smell that makes the very stone seem flesh-alive, webbed and pulsing.”

―Truman Capote, Summer Crossing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Weather: apparently it’s summer now

Mood: everything is great

Word of the day: Cuniculous – full of holes and tunnels; full of rabbits (not a relevant word, this one. Just great.)

Me and Dan were both wearing shorts today, so Mike declared we had now joined the competition.

‘And I’ve got a day on you, so whenever I stop wearing shorts, you have to wear them the next day too,’ he said.

‘Ok,’ said Dan, ‘it’s on!’

‘What? No it’s not,’ said I. ‘I’m just going to wear shorts until it’s cold again.’

‘No, you’ve got to be in the competition,’ said Mike.

‘I really haven’t,’ I explained. Mike looked at me sad and bewildered so I felt guilty. But not so guilty I’m going to freeze my knees for weeks on end.

When I got home Neville was in the kitchen, I wondered if I should mention the plate full of bacon STILL sitting on the counter, but he was being so cheery and nice, I didn’t want to hassle him. And I was sort of wary it would turn into a monologue about food storage, so I grabbed a bag of Doritos and hid in my room.

Annoyingly the tomato ketchup I keep in my room seems to have vanished, so I couldn’t have sauce on my crisps. Which is odd, isn’t it? How could I have lost a bottle of ketchup?

(Update on the star tomorrow!)

It seems we are competing.

sun

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”  ― George Orwell, 1984

Weather: beautiful day to be a gardener

Mood: sitting pretty singing a ditty

Word of the day: Eutropic – turning to face the sun

The sun was bursting out today. Mike was worried and squirted some sun cream onto a tissue (it’s attached to the wall) and brought it round to all of us so we wouldn’t burn. That’s why I love this place.

Mike was in shorts, and at break Dan mentioned he might do the same tomorrow.

‘Ok, but once you’ve put shorts on you’ve got to wear them until December!’ said Mike.

‘Why’s that then?’ I asked, confused.

‘That’s the way it is. You put shorts on, you’ve got to keep them on until winter. It’s a competition, see who can wear them longest.’

‘Alright,’ said Dan, and I boggled a bit, what if it gets cold? That’s just making life unpleasant. If they want competition, can’t they play poker or something?

Another update: For those concerned, I’ve posted a question on a forum about the black star on the tube. Maybe someone knows what I’m talking about. I also travelled on the Jubilee line today, no star. And no star at the other end of the Bakerloo train. So it may just be the last carriage of the Bakerloo trains.

A failed attempt

 

black star

The ongoing mystery of the black star on the tube.

Weather: much sun, some cloud

Mood: vague

Word of the day: scintillometer – instrument measuring scintillation of star

I tried asking the information desk at the train station if she knew about the black star. She said ‘Oh maybe.’ And my heart leapt, she began searching through different message boards on her two phones. ‘I’m sure I saw something here,’ she said, flicking through. So I pulled out my phone to show her the photo I’d taken. Her expression went cold, ‘Oh no, I’ve never seen that before,’ she said.

So then I asked a young, efficient-looking guard in the tube station, his shirt said Happy to help, but he looked at me very oddly, ‘What star? Where? What tube?’ He was annoyed. Another, slightly older guard was walking past, so I asked him, he looked at me like I was mad.

So either I’m mad, or nobody but me is observant, or this is a huge conspiracy to hide the truth about the black star – presumably some secret organisation leaving its mark to watch over us. Any ideas? Of course if it’s the conspiracy explanation I have now warned officials of my presence.

 

Snubbing of chilli con tofu

Creepy-eyes-in-police-sketch-of-window-peeper-go-viral
Image from Police sketch here

What terrors lurk in nightmares? And what if they escape?

Weather: happy

Mood: sunshine

Word of the day: maw wallop – a badly cooked mess of food

This evening I decided to brave cooking. Neville had left a large plate of cooked bacon on the counter, he hadn’t even covered it. Hasn’t he heard of botulism? I started making a big pot of chilli con tofu. Jinjing came in and sniffed around, so of course I offered her some, she’s given me plenty of food over the last few weeks. I don’t think my chilli was up to her standards though.

‘What are the orange bits?’ she asked.

‘Baked beans,’ I said.

‘What are the yellow bits?’

‘Peanuts,’ I said.

‘Oh,’ she said and sat down. My chilli had been snubbed.

‘You have any more weird dreams?’ I asked.

‘Yes! The same one as before. Just this man staring in my window. He was wearing a hoody and his face was really pale, his eyes were dark. I woke up terrified and I couldn’t get back to sleep for ages. It’s definitely an omen.’

My laptop is still hanging together, for those who are concerned, although I have to keep securing the electrical tape.