Friday night fight

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Word of the day: nu tog fan bofinken (Swedish) – now that’s done it! Literally the devil took the chaffinch

Weather: beautiful

Mood: querulous

A gorgeous day at work, filled with sun and weeds. But when I got home I couldn’t go to my room because Jinjing and Neville were having a huge row in front of it. I hid in the kitchen, where Hamoudi was also hiding. We shared my popcorn and listened to the shouting. It seemed the argument had started when the cleaning products Jinjing had left outside Neville’s room had been moved to the side by Neville, with no attempt at using them. To be fair he might not have understood the message and thought they got left by accident.

However, once he knew that cleaning was the issue, he said that he saw no reason to do more housework, since he already did quite enough cleaning in the kitchen. When Jinjing asked him to specify what, it turned out he meant cleaning the burnt fat off the cooker after cooking bacon, sausages, burgers and assorted meat products. Jinjing said that didn’t count.

Then Jinjing called Neville a ‘spoilt little boy’ and Neville called Jinjing an ‘utter child’. And they both slammed their doors. Hamoudi and I shared out the last of the popcorn and I went to my room. I had to climb over the mop and bucket to get inside.

The best laid plans of mice…

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‘Aw look at his little snuffly nose!’

‘Argh! Get it away from me! It’s a monster!’

 

Weather: grey skies later dissipating into a Simpson’s sky.

Mood: alright.

Word of the day: teratogenic – producing monsters or abnormal growth

Today the mice came out to play and were darting around under the benches in the smoking area. With much shouting, Mike climbed onto the bench and refused to put his feet down until it was time to leave. Mateo was throwing down a few crumbs left over from lunch. He thinks we should fatten the mice up and have a roast. I suggested we get a cat.

Back home Jinjing left a load of cleaning products outside Neville’s room, the mop, the bucket, floor cleaner. Hamoudi was standing about looking doleful. This feels like the beginning of a war. I made sure to stock up on snacks so I can stay in my room if need be. I’ve been hiding in my room since, Neville should be home soon.

So cats eat blossom?

 

 

bigger cat

These pictures show my neighbour’s ginger cat, sitting in a small tree, licking the blossom. He was up there for ages, shuffling about, slurping away. Very odd. Have any of you seen this before?

‘Sometimes even the wrong train takes you to the right station.’

The Lunchbox.

Weather: sunny

Mood: good

Word of the day: Cowcat – person whose function is to occupy space

Coming home tonight, all trains going my way were cancelled. So I just grabbed the first train leaving the station and tried to work out where it was going by looking it up on my phone. There were signs up – on the platform, in the train, but they all said different stops to each other, so that didn’t help. My phone stuttering in its connection wasn’t ideal. Then the tannoy announced ‘Ignore all the signs saying where this train is going. They’re all wrong! This train is going to mumble mumble mumble.’ So that didn’t help either. I made it home by sheer luck. You’d think that train companies would have learned how to deal with a crisis by now.

Jinjing and Hamoudi were in the kitchen cooking up soup. I made some toast, hoping that Hamoudi would elaborate on the dead people tales. Instead I listened to Jinjing slagging off Neville because he never cleans up after himself and leaves plates of meat lying around for days.

‘I mean, has he ever done any cleaning since he’s been here?’ asked Jinjing. Hamoudi nodded, keeping his head low as if he could duck beneath the anger. Anyway I got a bowl of soup out of it.

cat in tree

It’s Friday! And I’m wrecking things!

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”      

Pablo Picasso

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Weather: somebody washed out the world and left it colourless

Mood: see above

Word of the day: POETS – learned this today, it means Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday. Mike is trying to introduce this to boss Jill as a concept, talking about it loudly when she’s around, asking her “Who’s your favourite POET, Jill?” Jill responds to most of Mike’s schemes with a weary sigh. She has the patience of a table.

I waited until everybody was out of the kitchen, then threw the hedgehog cake-face away. Couldn’t stand the decapitated cuteness anymore.

I was driving the van in our yard today, and had to do a 360 degree turn in a space that doesn’t really allow for it. I still haven’t figured how to know how close you are to things behind you, so I managed to back into a fence. Got the wire hooked into the back of the van, didn’t realise, drove forward and ripped it apart. No one was around, and it was a lazy day, so I spent it putting up a new fence. The one I damaged was pretty shoddy anyway, and I found a nice bit of hazel fencing out the back. For the rest of the day Mike was being all nice, saying,

“You see, you just saw that fence didn’t look good and sorted it out. That’s what you’re like, you’re a fixer. You always sort things out, don’t you?”

Which was a very sweet thing to say, so I didn’t mention that it was my fault the fence was wrecked. Think I got away with it.

I was hoping to see Hamoudi and hear more about the dead people he says he sees. Does he see them here too?

Instead the kitchen was filled with Jinjing and Neville. Neville was cooking up a roast. I don’t want to be judgemental, but he either eats a LOT of meat or he’s throwing it all away. Neville was lecturing Jinjing on Chinese history, listing the dates of all the dynasties. Luckily I’d bought some popcorn on the way home, so dinner is sorted.

I’m sorry, you said you see what?

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Time to re-enter the world of other people? Or time to rearrange my sock drawer?

Word of the day: Bewray – to reveal; to betray; to divulge

Weather: nondescript

Mood: curious

The hedgehog cake face is still in the fridge at work. Every time somebody goes to get milk you hear a cry of dismay as they see the disembodied face staring back at them.

It’s been a few months now since I upended my life and shifted across town. Since then I’ve been in hiding. I work, and it’s healthy superficial fun. I go out exploring London and talk to strangers. But I’ve been careful not to make friends. I can’t go on like that forever though.

Thinking this inspired me to leave my room and spend time with my new flatmates. I met Hamoudi and Jinjing, two Canadians who travelled to England together. They were in the kitchen preparing food for some guests they had coming round.

‘We’re just friends,’ said Jinjing, ‘everyone thinks we must be sleeping together, but we’re just friends.’ Hamoudi looked at her adoringly while she said it. He looks like a huge friendly bear. I asked why they came to London, and their demeanour changed from perky to hollow.

Jinjing said intensely, ‘Sometimes you have to get out, you know? You just have to leave.’ Hamoudi nodded, his eyes haunted.

‘What happened?’ I asked.

‘Well, we worked together at the local Walmart, and we had this boss and she was a super bitch. I mean she was awful. She used to bully us, make us do all the horrible jobs, shout at us. We both used to hide in the stockroom so we didn’t have to deal with her. And that’s how we became friends. But there was a point where we said, “No, we have to get out of here”.’

Hamoudi nodded, ‘And I had started seeing dead people, anyway,’ he said.

‘What?’ I said, but the doorbell rang and it was their friends, so I went back to hiding in my room. But, dead people?

Another chat with Neville

 

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I’m not ready for this kind of commitment! I have Netflix to watch!

Weather: beautiful sunshine, HAIL! beautiful sunshine

Mood: yellow with a splash of blue

Phrase of the day: vrane su mu popile mozak (Croatian) he’s crazy. Literally meaning ‘cows have drunk his brain’.

I decided to take the plunge again and be sociable. I went into the kitchen where I met Neville for the second time. He was cooking sausages (I wonder what happened to all the bacon.) We got into a conversation about the whole Brexit Bollocks. It was a good exchange of views at first, but then he started telling me the history of the EU, with all the dates, who started it, why, who else got involved, why etc. I didn’t really need to know all this.

I interjected with a wrong fact (I thought Switzerland was in the EU, I was just trying to get him to stop) and so he began to list every country that’s a member.

Ok, so I tried to change the subject, but he started listing every country that wanted to be in the EU, but wasn’t. And then countries that had entered or left. At that point I edged my way out of the kitchen to end the conversation, but he just couldn’t seem to pick up on the cue. I had to close the door while he was still speaking or I’d have ended up digging my grave in the kitchen. Or his. He may still be there now, listing things he knows. This is why I don’t cook.

I’m leaving my room! I’m going into the kitchen!

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When you think about it, the whole world is a ‘lifestyle café’.

Weather: the kind of wind that tries to snatch you out of the world by your hoody

Mood: adventurous

Phrase of the dayHablar hasta por los codos (Spanish) to talk non-stop, literally to talk even through the elbows

I took a walk down my street to see what changes have happened this week. There’s always something. Either somebody will have knocked down a wall to reveal a toilet in their garden or they’ll be a gathering of body builders at the church.

About half-way down the road is a furniture shop with no particular wares. Last week they had thirty washing machines, before that it was microwaves and sofas. I’m assuming it depends on what warehouse got broken into. The guys who like to hang out there are sociable and friendly, always playing music and having a smoke and a chat together. I walked past it today and it had turned into a garden centre. It had the same group of guys hanging out, but with rows of dry brown box bushes and withered geraniums.

I’m impressed they managed to change their entire product line and kill it, all within a week.

Bolstered by this go-getting attitude of can-do, when I got home I decided I wouldn’t spend the whole evening hiding in my room. I’d venture out and talk to my new flatmates. As I’ve mentioned, I tend to hide from them and only sneak out long enough to get some cheese from the fridge. I keep the crackers in my room. That’s dinner.

However, today, when I heard someone bashing around the kitchen I went out to say hi under the pretence of getting some cereal. And I encountered Neville. Neville is super woke, super friendly, and was wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Feminist as fuck’. He told me about his hometown in Delaware and how he grew up poor in what sounded like a mansion (three flights of stairs and a pool??), all the while he was cooking up a big pack of bacon. Just putting slice after slice in the frying pan. Then he began telling me all the countries that are good at making bacon and I felt the need to escape the conversation. This was more words than I’d heard in a long time and my brain was also starting to fry, but it was difficult to find a moment of pause. Apparently Denmark is not the best country for bacon, that’s just PR. In the end I had to shout that I’d heard my phone ringing and run for my room.

Still, that’s a first step in becoming a fully integrated member of society. I’m on the up and up!

Stop asking questions!

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“I can’t reason things. Things ease themselves out from amongst the debris.”

Weather: the tail end of Storm of Gareth

Mood: half asleep

Phrase of the day: más loco que un plumero (Spanish) meaning ‘crazier than a feather duster’

I talked a bit about Mike yesterday and I want to talk more today. He’s a lovely guy, a funny, big-hearted granddad with tattoos of all his grand kids’ names on his legs, but he’s also cuckoo and sometimes I struggle to work out the logic of our conversations. Like today, when we were talking about Easter Sunday (we get the Monday off) and the following discussion happened. It was nearly home time and we were sitting in our mess room, the rot and the mouse poo slowly seeping into the soles of our boots. I asked Dan,

‘How do they decide when Easter is?’

Dan: Oh, I don’t know. Ask Mike, he’ll know that.

A wiser person would have looked it up on their phone, but why be wise when there are so many other options?

Me (speaking over my shoulder): Mike?

Mike: I’m right behind you, no need to shout.

Me (confused, I wasn’t shouting): Ah yes. Ok. Mike, how do they decide when Easter is?

Mike (slightly irritated): What do you mean how do they decide? It’s different every year isn’t it?

Me: Yes, so how do they decide?

Mike (becoming indignant): Well, they don’t have to decide, it’s different every year.

Me (not good at letting things go when they don’t make sense): But how do they know when that is?

Mike (proudly): I’ll tell you what, I know the next leap year isn’t going to happen.

Me: What?

Mike: There’s not going to be a leap year next year. Or it might be 2040. It was a question on the Chase! [UK quiz show]

Dan: What, there won’t be a leap year?

Me: Wait minute, I want to know how they decide when Easter is.

Mike (now very annoyed): I don’t understand the question! Easter just changes every year, they don’t need to decide it.

Me (tenacity is the thief of joy): But how do they know when that is?

Mike: Well it’s something to do with astrology, isn’t it?

Dan: Why isn’t there going to be a leap year?

Mike: It was on the Chase! They had this chart.

At this point I gave up. Why didn’t I give up sooner? I often ask myself that question, it may need to be carved on my headstone.

For those who feel they’ve invested too much time in reading that and want some knowledge to take away:

In 325CE it was decided that Easter would be on the first Sunday after the Full Moon occurring on or after the 21st March (the vernal equinox).

Leap years don’t happen in Centennial years not divisible by 400. So there was one in 1600 and 2000, but wasn’t one in 1700, 1800, 1900 and won’t be one in 2100. 2040 will have a leap year.

Do you ever have conversations like the above? I feel like I have them too often.

Anyway, the Metro had a discount coupon for Burger King, so I got a burger. I hate Burger King and now I feel a bit sick. I’m going to have to leave my room and use the kitchen at some point. But not yet, I’m building up to it.