Murder and the drama llama

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I took this photo by the river in Waterloo. According to a guy there, many bones lie scattered on the beach. It isn’t connected to the cat, but kind of fits with the mood.

Mood: I don’t even know

Weather: drizzly

Word of the day: Cataplexy – condition feigning death used by animals

The police came by to see the cat’s head. They deny it’s murder, since the famous Croydon cat-killer is a case considered solved, and that the killer never existed. ‘Could this be a different cat-killer?’ I asked. ‘No,’ the policeman said firmly. However, we still have a body-less head that looks to have been cut with a knife. I feel like we should do investigating of our own. But where could we even start? I’m sure I had a book about how to be a detective as a kid but I don’t remember any of it now.

Saw Hamoudi in the kitchen. He seemed pretty cheerful, not seeing dead people or receiving gifts from strangers. He was wailing about his lack of vegetables so I offered him a tin of sweetcorn I’ve had sitting in my cupboard for some time. He explained  he can’t eat yellow food – not pasta, yellow peppers, nor chips, and not sweetcorn. When I asked why he said yellow food always caught in his throat. He demonstrated with choking retching sounds. I’m starting to suspect he might be a little bit of a drama llama.

All in a day’s work…

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A pretty Melianthus flower to offset the disturbing blog

Miss Marple probably was a murderer.

Word of the day: psychagogue – conductor of souls to the underworld

Weather: blue skies

Mood: pensive

Bit of a grim day at work today. Jessica found a cat’s head in the kid’s playground. It looked severed rather than eaten. She threw it in the bin, but it turns out the police want to see it in case it’s murder. So work has gone a bit Rosemary and Thyme, for those who don’t know that’s a detective duo who work as gardeners, but keep discovering dead bodies. (Why nobody ever pegs these amateur sleuths surrounded by murders as the ones responsible, I have no idea.) Anyway, I’m pretty sure Jessica wasn’t responsible for the decapitated cat, but I’ll keep an eye on her.

At home, tensions haven’t ended, with snapping and glares between Jinjing and Neville. Neville’s sudden painting of the hallway left a few green footprints on the stairs, and he half-painted the skirting board.

‘Why even do it if you’re not going to do it properly?’ Jinjing said. She is mortally offended by his ineptness. I’m used to ineptness, it doesn’t really bother me.

Destiny? Or pseudo-mystical nonsense?

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Word of the day: Athanor – an alchemist’s self-feeding digesting furnace

Weather: grey

Mood: ho hum

I woke up in a bad mood, and it has hung around me like a buzzy fly all day. I cornered Hamoudi, he-who-sees-dead-people, while he was eating cereal. I made no pretence of politeness.

‘So what did the mysterious woman say? In the café?’

He wiped the milk off his chin, leaned over our small kitchen table and said intensely,

‘She said all the strange things happening to me, weren’t happening by chance. That I was on a path and nothing could stop that journey.’ This sounded kind of cheesy and vague to me, but maybe I’m just jealous.

‘So why leave?’

‘Because it wasn’t a good path. She didn’t go into specifics, but she made it sound like I was heading into trouble. She said I had to be careful who I trusted. I’m no good at that! I trust everybody!’

‘But if it’s all true,’ I said, ‘surely coming to London is part of the path as well. You can’t abandon destiny by moving.’ He looked at me blankly, and then alarmed, so I changed the subject. We talked about the ongoing battle between Jinjing and Neville.

‘She won’t let it go,’ he said, ‘when she thinks someone’s wrong, she keeps at it. She’s like a terrier.’

Oh good, the drama continues then.

And I’ve thought about it, I’m definitely jealous. I want to be told I’m on a path by a mysterious stranger, even a bad path, rather than wandering aimlessly and ending up lost all the time. Does that make me naive?

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.

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

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?

Picking up skills and massacring animals

 

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Look at those eyes! They have seen horror.

Monday is a shock it takes me all week to recover from.

Weather: a bit iffy

Mood: hermit crab in a bucket

Word of the day: Decarnate  denied or deprived of physical bodily form

Really enjoying my new connection to Mateo. Today he taught me how to make a simple bomb using a bolt, two nuts and some match heads. ‘For if you ever need to fight off the police,’ he explained.

For his birthday, Dan brought in a selection of cakes. One of the cakes was a large cute hedgehog (in pic). So cute that nobody could bring themselves to cut it.

‘I can’t do it!’ cried Mike. ‘Just look at his face!’ Over break everyone was milling in and out of the room, looking at the delicious cake sadly, unable to take a knife to it. Finally, somebody greedy enough (it may have been me) cut off the arse end. Slowly, everybody took a slice, reducing the cake bit by bit, leaving the face. Nobody could cut the face, so it now sits in the fridge. I’m told this is the only time a cake hasn’t been completely eaten in one sitting.

Duel identity

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Before today, I hadn’t noticed the fruits of an Elaeagnus. They’re like jewels.

Weather: Sun and hail happening at the same time, that should mean a magical rainbow, but there was NOTHING.

Mood: a bit dazed

Word of the day:  Aceldama   (n)  site or scene of violence or bloodshed

Last night the bathroom light cord wouldn’t switch on, no matter how I pinged it, so I had to clean my teeth in the dark and then wait until this morning to see if I’d sprayed toothpaste everywhere.

Got to spend the day with Mateo today, he always avoids me when we walk the same way to the tube station, so I assumed he didn’t like me much. It turns out he’s generally reluctant to talk to anyone, but once he relaxed a bit we got on well. He looks like a weathered Leonard Cohen and can build anything out of anything. If we find a bit of metal tubing or a sheet of plastic dumped in the gardens, our boss will say, ‘Take that back to Matee-o [how everyone pronounces his name] he can build something with it.’

Anyway, today we were building a climbing frame for Clematis out of some packing crates. Went pretty well in that nothing collapsed and it looked smart at the end. I also got to hear Mateo ‘s story. I started by asking him if his name is really pronounced Matee-o , which is what everyone seems to call him. He said no, ‘it’s pronounced Azider’.

‘Ah,’ I said, ‘of course.’

Turns out that he’s a Basque separatist, and grew up under the oppression of the Spanish. Not allowed to speak his own language in the schools, not allowed to have his own name on any official documents, so officially he is Mateo, but it isn’t his name. He reckons Azider is too difficult to pronounce for English folk, so keeps it simple (even though we can’t get Mateo right either).

His teenage years were spent in and out of prison because of fighting with the police. To him it was a war, to the government, they were terrorists.

(The conflict ended in 2011)

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.

Curmudgeon Avenue and an update

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I’ve been a bit absent recently, I’ve been wildly busy dancing with aliens and building underground tunnels ready for when the Earth’s surface turns to fire. Today I have a fever, so I’m taking a break from all of that to introduce to any of you who don’t subscribe to Samantha Henthorn’s blog, a chapter from her just released book, because I thought it was great. I love its energy and strangeness. For some reason I couldn’t get it to reblog, so I’m just going to post an extract with a link. Go and have a look at the whole chapter, plus the new one that’s just  gone up, they’re ace! Or just buy the book, go on! Note: any incoherence in this post is due to the fever, and not due to incompetence, for once.

Curmudgeon Avenue Chapter 10: ‘Todger’ wanted

Things were really not going well in Edith and Edna’s search for a todger. I mean a lodger. Wantha and Toonan were the first of a long line of unsuitable potentials. First, there was the woman Edna was convinced she had seen on the reality eviction programme. Then there was the man Edith thought had a liking to one of the mug-shots of local ‘wanteds’ from the local paper. Then there was the family with all their belongings squashed into checked launderette bags. It took all of Edna’s posh-voice-strength to explain that the room was for single occupancy only. ‘For goodness sake! Please stop unpacking your chattels!’ She had screamed.
Of course, Ricky Ricketts heard on Wantha’s grapevine that his mother had a room up for rent. He appeared in the vestibule of number one, Curmudgeon Avenue on a day where the sky looked like porridge. Skies, of course, do not really look like porridge. Unless we are talking about the sky on one of Edna’s pieces of art, a painting that she painstakingly continued with when she heard Ricky Ricketts’ voice.
‘I need you to transfer two hundred quid into my account, otherwise, I’m gonna be overdrawn. I can’t tell them it’s my mum’s fault can I?’
‘Right… I’ve told you, stop looking over my shoulder when I’m on the internet banking Richard!’ Edith’s shaky little voice was observed by Edna upstairs. She would not come down, she hated her nephew and scolded her sister for being so soft with him. She carried on painting her picture of lumpy sky in cheap acrylic (white paint is most likely to run out first, and Edith had Edna on a strict budget because of the roof don’t forget). Yes the sky painting would not be finished until Ricky had left, exiting with the roof fund transferred into his current account. It was too cold for naked self portrait painting, unless she put the heating on. But that would mean more expense, and more risk of bumping in to her horrible nephew downstairs. Edna continued painting. She opened the skylight out wide to take in inspiration of the outside world of Curmudgeon Avenue, Whitefield on this miserable Saturday. She observed two cars passing each other on the road below. Sliding around like the sausages in a tin of beans and sausages, gliding and almost colliding slowly. Slowly enough for the drivers of each car to glance recognition at one another before speeding off in opposite directions…

Continue reading here

To buy, click here!

Samantha Henthorn copyright 2018.

Curmudgeon Avenue; The Harold and Edith Adventures’ will be released later this year.