Was walking to the station early on Friday morning and saw this sparkling fizzy pop of a car. In case the picture doesn’t make it clear, it has the texture of glitter ball deely boppers, in the colour of an orangeade-cherryade mix.
I have no idea what I think of it. Is it a daring and dashing fashion choice? A practical joke? The car of a disco champion reliving their glitterball hey-day? Did someone end up with too much glittery wrapping paper and became inspired?
Today’s ridiculous drama: I had just driven back to base and had gracefully leapt from the van barely stumbling at all, when Mike appeared from the shadows and said earnestly, ‘I’ve got vapers’ tongue!’
‘What?’ I asked politely, pressing all the wrong buttons on the key to lock the van.
‘It’s when you lose your sense of taste because you’ve been vaping too much. See?’ he went on proudly. ‘People thinking vaping is simple, like smoking, but actually there’s a lot to know.’
Finally I stopped faffing about and started listening. ‘Wait, you’ve lost your sense of taste? Isn’t that a sign of the virus?’
‘No, it’s vapers’ tongue,’ said Mike.
‘And you said you were coughing earlier. You’ve got the plague! Stay away from me infiltrated one!’ I tried to ward him off with the van key, holding my sleeve in front of my mouth.
‘It’s vapers’ tongue!’ said Mike insistently. ‘I’ll get my sense of taste back once I have some chewing gum. It’s all fine. My vape dealer explained it all, it’s vapers’ tongue. Have you got any chewing gum, I need mint!’
I watched him carefully for the rest of the afternoon. No more signs, but I’m ready with a net, a cross and a plastic bag. We’ve already made plans for how we can survive in the gardens if the plague takes over London, but if one of us get it, then we’re screwed.
I know it’s tacky virtue signaling to put heroic acts online, but some discoveries must be shared.
This morning I discovered something terrible: A spider had built a web from the fire escape leading from my flat and across the garden gate, meaning I couldn’t get out my gate to the shed. It was an impressive web too, with many circles of silver thread and many flies caught – including a number of mosquitoes, who are, quite frankly, bastards. I didn’t want to ruin this spider’s good work.
However, I needed to get my spade from the shed, so I tried to see if there was another way – leapfrog over the fence? No, will end in broken nose. Limbo under the web? No, I have no limbo skills and will only end up destroying it anyway. How about just moving one end of the web to the other side of the gate? A crazy idea, but it might just work!
So I moved my arm into the threads so that they caught on my hoody, lifted them and wrapped them around the other post of the gate. And they stayed! And they’re still there now! I didn’t even know that was possible! I’m practically a spider myself.
Turns out it’s not possible.
When I went back later, the had web broken.
There’s still enough of it up that the spider should be able to salvage the flies that he’d caught, but he’ll have to build a whole new web.
So I was trundling along the path with my wheel barrow, when I saw some jays flapping around with a tufty looking bird nearby. I thought he might be a young jay, but he had a long beak, and after he turned around a few times, I saw there was a red tinge to his head and green to his body. He wasn’t fully colourful because he still had his young fluffy brown feathers, but I could see his shape was distinctively a woodpecker.
Woodpeckers are ace!
By now he had hopped a bit further on and was standing with his chest puffed out. I crept closer and took a photo. He didn’t fly away so I kept on creeping. My phone is shitty, so I knew the photos wouldn’t be great, but I kept on creeping up to see how close I could get. At one point Mike walked up from the opposite direction and saw me. He stopped where he was so he would scare my new fluffy friend away. Woody Woodpecker gave me a few more poses, hopping around before flying off.
Then I realised unfortunately that my new manager (my boss’s boss) was standing watching all this. Fortunately he thought it was hysterical to watch me sneaking up slow footstep by slow footstep, especially since from his point of view the bird was obscured and he thought I was creeping up on a tree.
‘I’m actually working very hard!’ I shouted over to him and he seemed to accept it.
Here is what the woodpecker will look like as an adult, you can see that proud pose already forming in the photo I took:
I worked with Mateo today and got to hear another strange story.
You know how a rat steals an egg? Because rats like eggs, but they can’t carry it in their paws and still walk. But I’ve seen it, what they do is get another rat. And one holds onto the egg and the other pulls him by his tail.
The image of little Edgar rat (no reason why a rat shouldn’t be called Edgar in my view) with his paws wrapped around an egg, while Bertrude rat pulls his tail over her shoulder and drags him along, is just great.
After I posted about the cheeky fox at my work, Darnell and Calmgrove came up with the excellent fox names Talbot and Reynard. However it turns out that Shaily guessed where the story would go. Because the foxes (I found out there are two, conveniently since I have two names) have chosen a twisted path.
I was walking back from lunch and was surprised to see one of the foxes, Talbot I would guess, walking down the main path. Normally in daytime, when there are a fair few people about, the foxes are nowhere to be seen. Certainly not out in the sun. Then I saw that he was walking towards a toddler. Not quite stalking, but Talbot would stop every few steps and stare at the kid waddling about in a white jacket, then walk closer. This did not look right to me. Foxes don’t do that. It also didn’t look right to Jess and Mateo, who I saw were walking fast towards them.
Fox Talbot saw the two gardeners heading for him and did a few steps at a half-run, then stopped and stared at them. Then a couple more steps and then stood waiting. He didn’t seem afraid at all. When he did wander off, he sat a few metres away under a bush and had a bit of a roll around in the grass.
By now I’d made it over to the group and heard the child’s guardian explain what had been happening.
‘The foxes do come up to the kids sometimes. They’re not scared. Yesterday, one of them stole William’s ball. William chased after the fox to get it back, so the fox ran off. But then he came back with another fox, like he got reinforcements.’
I refuse to believe that Reynard and Talbot are bad foxes, they’re just misguided. But it does look like they might have set up an extortion business intimidating small children in order to take their toys.
This little guy was hanging about at my work today. Excuse the crappy photos, hopefully you can still see he’s a character from an unwritten children’s illustrated book. Unfortunately Fantastic Mr Fox is already taken, so I’ll need a new title – if you’ve got any ideas??
Erk! Having looked it up to check, I’ve discovered that Fantastic Mr Fox got made into a film where the fox looks like a chewed slipper. My fox would do a way better job. Look at that quizzical smile, those bright eyes.
Presumably at some point me and the fox will have a tea party together along with a cranky elf. We’ll go through a magic door, and then work out how to fly a rusty car abandoned in a field.
I was doing a lot of watering today. Apparently it dissolved the glue holding my boot together. All of a sudden, my boot was flapping. I was at a garden in the middle of nowhere and had no shoes to change into. Fortunately, a colleague had a spare hairband I could wrap around it. And then I had to limp home on the train, trying to not lose the sole on my shoe altogether.
Other news, I was on an escalator with some teenagers this morning and one of them pressed the emergency stop button. It wasn’t much of an emergency stop, more of a carry on for thirty seconds then trundle to a halt button. The teenagers ran off, and the five staff who all came out running a moment later paid no attention to me, but started shouting into their radios about where the kids had gone. So if you want to get away with pressing the red button, make sure there are some teenagers around who’ll get the blame.
And those are the most interesting things about my day! How about you?
Mateo doesn’t talk much, but occasionally he just won’t stop. Today was one of those days and I got to hear some great stories of life in the Basque country.
DON’T EVER DO THIS!But…
…one of my favourites was about how when he was young, Mateo would get some extra thin fishing wire, tie it around a bumble bee, and the bee would fly along beside him on the end of the wire like a balloon or an upside down dog. Occasionally the bee would get tired and sit on his shoulder, but after a while he would flick it and it would fly up on the end of the wire again.
DON’T DO THIS EITHER
He also told us a story about his dad playing as a kid.
‘When my dad was eight, he and his friend didn’t have any toys. So his friend would swing around this thing.’ Mateo mimed something swinging round. ‘And my dad would jump over it.’
‘You mean a skipping rope?’ I suggested.
‘A stick? A pole?’ said Dan.
‘No you use it to cut corn,’ said Mateo. ‘And Death has one.’
‘A scythe? They’d jump over a scythe?’ asked Dan, slightly high-pitched, as we start to realise where this might be going.
‘Yes,’ said Mateo. ‘But then it went wrong and he didn’t jump at the right time. So the scythe went into his leg. And it was deep, you know. Like muscles and tendons cut, and blood everywhere. I saw the scar and it went half way round his leg. But this was during the Spanish civil war and there were no doctors around, so my dad went back to his dad. His dad got a load of vinegar and a load of salt and filled the hole in his leg and then sewed it up with a needle and thread.’
Me and Dan were wincing quite a lot by this point.
‘It was weird too, eh?’ went on Mateo. ‘Because if you get a cut that deep, and cut the tendons, it shouldn’t ever recover. Your leg is never ok again. But he was fine, all he had was the scar .’
Shaily answered my questions! And the answers are ace. 🙂
A quote from it:
One of my frequent dream destinations is an ancient temple on a mountain. Not sure what deity or what religion…but it calls to me. It is dark, mysterious and beyond time. I only get to see it from a distance though. Every time, I spend all my time trying to reach it–walking up the mountain road, sometimes trying to persuade my companions that it is worth it but failing, sometimes stuck in the small colorful market that falls in the way wasting precious hours, and sometimes climbing up and down a maze of overpopulated stairs.
She also writes great short stories, sometimes sad, often beautiful, and posts fascinating nature from India, so have a wander through her blog. You won’t regret it.
For anyone else who fancies answering some questions about their writing, here they are:
Do your dreams ever give you inspiration for stories? If so can you describe one that has?
Do you feel comfortable writing characters of other races/ genders or with extreme experiences you’ve never had? What are your no go areas for characters?
Have you ever written anything that you wouldn’t write now? What was it and what’s changed?
How about a genre? Do you always stick to the same one? Is there a genre you’d like to work in, but don’t know how?
If you’ve written a novel, what was your method? did you plan it all out beforehand with flow charts and lists? Or did you have a vague idea of what would happen and just start writing?