Monday, 21 May 2012

Cemetery Displacing Filler

"You need to get rid of that cemetery" says M. "Too depressing".

"I KNOW, but I have had literally no time. None. No time. I have had to correct about 500000000 lines of dense Wronglish*. And write about nightclubs. And look at some seven figure reference numbers on some documents until I thought my eyeballs would start bleeding. And that's before we even mention my disastrous double trip to the bank".


"It's true! Anyway, when did YOU last update your blog anyway, hmmm?"

"The day before yesterday".


So here I am, taking that cemetery off the top of my blog, because I am nothing if not scared of my brain twin.

We have been to London! It was fraught! And then less fraught, and then more fraught again when Lashes started vomiting in the middle of the night and so on until we were all so exhausted we fell into a fugue state in front of the magazine racks at St Pancras WH Smith and nearly didn't make it home at all. However, once the vomiting started we recalibrated our ambitious programme down to "try and stay alive and not get covered in sick" and applying those metrics, our weekend was highly successful.

High points according to children (not necessarily in order):

1. The crystal skull in the British Museum that features in their Enormous Book of Freaky Shit And Lies.

2. Throwing water bombs in Green Park with some very very very posh boys.

3. The bit - also in Green Park - when we saw an alabatross sized seagull creep up to a group of pigeons on tiptoes, and try and seize one and carry it away. The pigeon escaped, just, and the bloody-beaked alba-gull had to fall back on some pre-dismembered pigeon bits.

"I see the seagull" said Fingers walking back towards where I had more or less passed out on a bench "Wiz the pigeon 'ead".

"Lovely darling".

High points according to me:

1. Staying in the same hotel as Kim Kardashian, although we did not see her. I have decided this is because she is in fact invisible to the naked eye and can only be detected using a large lens. So, basically, I DID see Kim Kardashian. Probably. The entrance was constantly surrounded by misguided teenagers autograph hunters and grumpy men with long lenses and black anoraks. I had some difficulty explaining Kim Kardashian to the children, though "She's this really tiny lady who married an incredibly tall man" seemed to satisfy them.

2. Acquisition of Hilary Mantel, Dan Rhodes and two Peanut Butter Chunky KitKats. THE PBCKKs are still absurdly rare. I cannot decide if this Soviet style scarcity is imposed on Nestlé by some kind of anti-obesity Quango, or if they are managing supply in the manner of war profiteers. Either way, it is deplorable. Set the PBCKKs free!

3. Extended Nostalgia Tour, taking in Spitalfields (our old neighbour told me breezily I was looking a lot fatter than when I lived there, which whilst indisputable, was not massively welcome), Soho and Bloomsbury, saying things like 'this is where you learned to walk' and 'we used to come here every time it rained' and 'that is the sheep you used to be terrified of' (I am sure it was the same sheep, it was the same colour and had the same world weary look in its slotty eye). Avoided saying other things like 'I remember standing on this traffic island and crying so much an old lady had to help me cross the road when you were six weeks old'.

I think I have finally accepted we will probably never live in London again. My children are plainly not Londoners, they cling to me, fearful and awed in crowds, they stand on the wrong side of the escalator and dawdle into the path of buses. Frankly neither am I any more: I kept saying 'merci' when anyone held open a door for me (this was not helped by the truly vast numbers of French people in the city over the weekend, which confused my ailing brain still further) and even though I find my way around without conscious thought, know which buses go where, it's been too long for me really to claim it as mine any more. I'm not sure I can imagine living there again - which is not to say that I wouldn't want to, I would, absolutely, just.. how? When? With the largesse of which kindly billionaire benefactor? Hmm. I don't really know what to do with that thought, I just observe it to be the case. We are anglo-franco-belgo-confused. How modern.

Now we are back and Fingers has gone off for the week on a special Green Gulag somewhere in a field in the Ardennes. I am not sure what he is doing but it requires a ludicrous number of towels. Answers on a postcard. Lashes and I are trying to entice the rats to engage with us. The friendlier one deigns to accept the odd Cheerio. The unfriendly one sits in the middle of its tube where it is completely inaccessible and sulks. I think it ought to work with me a little more. I will take any rat training tips you have.

This is all I have, but at least I have displaced the cemetery. That might be my new expression for being shamed into updating your weblog after an unconscionably long time.

*More on my daily battle with Wronglish anon, when I, and my plugging force are stronger.


Fat Pony said...

I am quite disappointed you did not mention the POWER OF MJOLLNIR in this post. Quite disappointed, Sir.

daisydot said...

Rat training....eeek! (as they used to exclaim in the Beano and the Dandy). My sister is currently defending her back garden from a rat invasion or more aptly, occupation. They are under the shed and surviving on the bird food. The rat catcher has been round and laid down poison (first two visits free, then she has to pay per visit. Rat catcher marketing is a tricksy business!!) The next door neighbour is also fighting the occupation. BUT, the other neighbour has taken a 'no furry creature shall be harmed' stance.This is going to get messy!

Waffle said...

FP - I thought perhaps you wouldn't want the whole world to know about your NORSE SHAME. Clearly I was wrong.

(PS. T has explained to me who the man at the end was)

soleils said...

Wow, this is the mother of fillers, Waffle. Beautiful, evocative, bittersweet. Love.
Are you sure the alba-gull wasn't a pelican? I would never dare question your supreme wildlife-spotting talents (oft-confirmed in your blog), it's just that last time I went to Green Park, I saw a pelican and thought I was hallucinating, but no, this was confirmed to me (not the hallucinating) by the many children I was accompanying on a school trip that day. And it was beautiful, if slightly incongruous.

Accidental Londoner said...

Ah, you were clearly patronising the wrong dodgy cornershops on your recent visit; I discovered a positive hoard - a hoard I tell you! - of the legendary PBCKKs in a newsagent in Fitzrovia. Next time you're over I can send directions! Maybe sad old pigeons are to Alba-gulls, the birdy alternative of PBCKKs....

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you really want to know this - here is video of pelican in London successfully eating a pigeon - oh dear!
Only for verification purposes and to be avoided if squeamish!

Waffle said...

It was definitely not a pelican. Just a really, really ambitious seagull. Follow your dream, crazy seagull!

Pelican eats pigeon is an intense viewing experience, however. I thank you.

Sewmouse said...

Rat Training:

(My bona-fides: I helped take care of the rats and mice in the Science lab in high-school)

Handle, handle, handle the rats. Grab them, make them run over your hands, pet them, keep them near you as much as possible. Mice who were exposed to humans early on would easily submit to handling. Mice who did not get any handling at all would get wild, fur all standing-up and bitey.

Don't let that unfriendly rat sit in his tube - pour him out and make him play with you. You may get bit, so you might wanna watch out for that until they get used to it.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I love how you recalibrated your vacation goals to staying alive and not getting puked on. Also love the seagull story. Sometimes animals are so absurd they could almost be people.

Waffle said...

I think those are the goals of most of my vacations, Patience. No fights in which things that cannot be unsaid are said is a good additional one, but rarely achievable.

Anonymous said...

Thank god too that PBCKK's are back, I think they won but for a few weeks there was a national shortage and I went into a kind or mourning, Reeses cups just don't cut the mustard.
I grabbed a couple today at petrol station and ate one, have you any idea of just how fattening they are? prob 3000 calories a bar, didn't stop me shuffing it in my mouth though!

Lindsey said...

You have NO IDEA of the super-human levels of self-control I have had to employ not to eat the 15, yes 15, peanut butter chunky Kit Kats that I have for you. I DESERVE SOME KIND OF MEDAL! Sorry to have missed you on this trip, I have hidden the stash somewhere suitably shady (inside head of child's doll, in the freezer etc) in readiness for our Wire-esque handover...


Waffle said...

OH GOD LINDSAY, I AM SO SORRY. Do you need to eat them? I can be strong, truly I can. (I CAN'T).

Back on 19th June. Can you make it 'til then? I will bring Côte d'Or....

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are back! The cemetry was beginning to depress me . .

Anonymous said...

On rat- training: Don't give them something they can grab and run away with. Put yogurt or applesauce on your finger so they have to stay next to you to lick it off. With especially skittish rats you may have to take their food out for a day to make them hungry enough to approach you. I never grabbed my rats out of the cage; it's better to just keep a flat hand at the entrance of the cage for them to climb on to, with the far edge of the hand smeared with something tasty. I think a hand
swooping down on them is always scary, since it's
similar to how an owl would swoop on a rodent in the field. It's easiest to start out with friendly baby rats, since the well-socialized ones are always eager to be around people, but it sounds like yours just weren't handled enough at the store. Also, they like to be petted very gently around the head and ears.

P. S. By the way, have you guys named them yet? You should put up some pictures!

P.P.S. Everytime you write about the delicious PBCKK I start to salivate. Sooo good

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