Friday, 28 July 2017

I have opinions

Animals I have unfollowed on Instagram

1. Bald guinea pig (cutesy accessories/positive affirmations )

2. Capybara (bit boring, too many attempts to sell me socks)

3. Tiny pony horse dance training (preachy, with a side order of veganpreachy)

4. Giant pig (turns out I’m not that into giant pigs)

5. Damaged goats (too much drama)

6. That racoon who is friends with a dog (dunno, it just wasn’t doing it for me. Nothing they said to each other really worked for me, you know? WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION TOFFEE)

Animal accounts I continue to follow faithfully and with a degree of joy and yes this is in order of goodness

1. meagletrainer
So Many Capital Letters And Emojis Guys. Such Mystery. And yet, he has solid weird bird and giant fish action that fills me with love, intense puzzlement and joy. If you aren’t following meagletrainer, you are missing out on the essence of animal Instagram. I miss that pelican he used to have though.

2. arc4raptors
“Avian reconditioning center”. I mean, come ON. Quality raptor based account, with interesting scientific information as well as top notch hawks.

3. ojairaptorcentre

4. This Girl Is a Squirrel
For the weird, asmr style squirrel fur stroking videos which soothe the lizard brain.

5. kpunkka
Not all animals, but all amazing.

6. zsllondonzoo
For loyalty, but also for excellence and in hope of appearances from Mr Wu, the giant salamander. Or the tortoises.

7. weratedogs
I know it’s actually a hedge fund in disguise or something, but I like it, ok.

8. evpcambodia
An infrequent but deeply pleasing poster of retired Cambodian elephants enjoying just being elephants.

9. choochoocharlies/neville jacobs
I think both these dogs belong to Marc Jacobs? Possibly? The pics are good and the captions non-annoying.

10. jc_wings
All birds, no filler. They're good birds, Brent.

11. avianrecon
Some birds. Birds are awesome says Allison. She is not wrong. Allison, that most recent picture is not a bird though.

12. birdsbrussels

13. whippetsinwool
Highly specific occasional amusement

Conclusions for animal accounts wishing to retain my patronage: 

1. No positive affirmations of any kind

2. No drama

3. Do not tell me what to do

4. Captions should be either genuinely funny, SCIENTIFIC-slash-informative or meagletrainer. There is no other way.

5. No cats.

6. Birds are always ok.

Obviously I am not including or opining on personal accounts which are heavy on pictures of pets (several of which I follow and enjoy) because that is a whole other ball game.

Am I missing out on Instagram animal greatness? I feel like there must be good farm stuff I am missing. More normal goats. Some splendid hens? Fill me in.

In other news

Ouipette is still sick at the vet's. My life has lost all meaning. Send him your good thoughts. He will greet them with utter disdain.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

I have actually done some things actually

1. Tried and failed to get L’s passport renewed

This meant a futile day trip to London, which, although a total failure as far as its intended outcome went, was not wholly futile for the following reasons:

- Gail’s Bakery cinnamon bun

- Lunch at Roti King with M

- Purchase of books (Plot 29, The Outrun, at last after 700 insistent recommendations)

- Potter round Liberty

- Spotted this excellent language school rucksack:

Utter exasperation is definitely what I want to convey when I name my language school

- Bizarre return journey partly spent in company of woman eating approx 8 hard boiled eggs and occasionally nibbling at a WHSmith bag full of samphire, only tolerable thanks to 2 x TRAIN GIN.

2. Two trips to Paris on child-depositing/collecting missions

On trip 1 I walked all the way from Montparnasse to Bastille, stopping off to stare into cake shops, take pictures of Saint Sulpice for my friend F and Parisian dogs and Garde R├ępublicaine horses for myself

 Also ate Berthillon ice cream and said hi to my book in a PACKED Shakespeare & Co. Very satisfactory.

On trip 2 I had at least one child with me the whole time, but forced child #1 to Boulangerie Utopie (“this is pointless”) for amazing curried sesame baguette (YES AND SOME FLAN WHAT OF IT), then forced child #2 down into the Catacombes (“how long will this take”). He was actually fine with it once we got there and we had a jolly time, trying to speed past a very pompous tour guide intent on explaining The Middle Ages and Death to a large group of people who just wanted to take skull selfies.

Trip 3, final, is this Friday. Trying to see the Hockney at the Pompidou, avec ou sans enfant, plus a scavenger hunt through whichever bakeries haven't closed for the summer.

3. Went to an exhibition

Bastarding Hokusai at the British Museum was full, after being CLOSED on my previous trip to London (I am furious about this), so not that. But I did go and see Fabulous Failures in Brussels and it was weird and quite cheering. Recommended.

4. Received the following PR emailed offers I will not be taking up

- Jeans you can sleep in
- Follow in U2’s footsteps
- Discover your inner goddess (nope, we all know she's this one)
- Take your pet on a luxury spa break (I could be tempted if I could take a tortoise)
- Swim across Windemere

5. Dog drama

Spent the day chasing around after multiply explosive upset stomach dog with kitchen roll, bleach, Marigolds and gritted teeth. Then in the evening he got worse, so I had to carry him down to the vet. He has stayed there overnight but she said she’d call if it was anything terrible, so it looks like it will prove to be a ruinously expensive bug/something gross eaten off the street. Knowing how unhappy Ouipette looks at the best of times, you can imagine the unspeakable misery of it all.

This was taken just after he came up 4 stories specifically to be sick on my office floor, then left again. He got even sadder as the day went on, poor Ouipettte

6. (Reason for post) 

I have updated the reading page for June. Generally good! Many highlights!

7. I can't believe I forgot this one

I was on the radio! A man from the BBC called when we were on holiday in Spain and asked if I could be amusing about boring holidays for a minute or so. Apparently I passed that test, because they recorded me talking about boring holidays from our boiling hot Spanish cupboard, between the many chimes of the many church bells. I haven't dared listen myself, but if you are so inclined, it's towards the end of this hour, I believe. My dad managed to find it and declared himself "deeply hurt" by his characterisation. I didn't even tell them about the time he locked me and my brother in an outhouse in the Dales without our shoes and with only a decomposed bullwhip and some mildewed Encyclopaedia Britannicas for entertainment because we were annoying him so much.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Things that happen every summer Pt 1

(It's bin day so O has followed me into the cupboard to ensure I know how miserable he is)

I simultaneously hold the following 3 thoughts in my head all summer long:
- I will never work again and am worthless and unemployable what am I doing with my life
- This work I am doing is so boring I think I might die. Can a person die from copywriting? I am pretty sure that is about to happen here what am I doing with my life
- I have some amazing ideas and come September will set the world on fire (no, not now. There are still 4 episodes of Drag Race I haven’t seen).

Some catastrophic scheduling/transport/logistical fuck up comes and sits in the middle of my otherwise well-laid plans. Many, many, many hours and brain cells are lost trying to find a workaround. THERE IS NO WORKAROUND. Accept the fuck up, eventually.

I start scratching the dry skin on my left foot on 30 June and do not stop until 1 September. By then, my left foot ressembles something my stepmother would have had to collect from the special sealed box at the medical photographic library she used to visit when she worked in medical publishing.

Food & Beverages
I become mutinously resistant to cooking and dine on salty snacks, takeaway or cheese for 2 months, then wonder why I am so fat come September. The good pizza places all shut up for the summer so I roam the streets ever more angrily looking for someone who can produce a thin, quite burnt, crust (in vain). Every night feels, on some level, like the weekend, therefore every night it is time for drinking. Weird drinks become desirable/acceptable. White port. Cider. Some kind of sketchy homemade mojito full of greenfly-ridden mint. Vermouth. Sticky bottles of whatthefuck from the back of the cupboard.

My family no longer require me to entertain them. Their preferred option is that I should make absolutely no attempts whatsoever to entertain them, but rather leave them well alone (apart from providing the building blocks of sandwiches and ensuring the broadband works smoothly). Really, there is little to complain about, and yet, and yet. The energy of the house changes when it is full of other people. There they are, lying around, eating, breathing, talking to internet strangers about their joint killing strategies, abandoning banana peels in horrific places and leaving all the lights on. Within days I develop a violent desperation to be alone. I moan, both online and IRL that  “I can’t WORK with them in the house” and stare balefully at the tidelines of detritus that mark their movements around the house. Whenever anyone asks me where something is, I snap, viciously, then retreat to the basement to sit in companionable silence with my friend the washing machine.

As soon as they leave and the house is empty, for a couple of days, I find myself entirely unable to concentrate on anything other than watching back to back episodes of Drag Race. After approx 1.8 days, I begin to miss them and their waves of detritus, the musky Axe Carbon-hormone bouquet and surly one-word conversations and their appearance in the kitchen still wearing headphones and watching YouTube videos as they ask what's for lunch AS IF I AM THEIR HOLIDAY CONCIERGE DAMMIT.

Every day is like Sunday, but old style Sunday, a 1970s Sunday, like back when I was little, when even the dust motes seemed to move more slowly. All the shops shut for a month. No one around but cats, the very elderly and career drunks.

Dribbling out of one ear verrrry verrrrry slowly.

What happens to you every summer?

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Spam Is Driving Me Insane

Writing this from a bar in the north of Spain, just me and a selection of fully-clothed, silent pensioners who understand that OUTSIDE IS BAD.

Me, with my people

It is hotter than Satan's armpit, including in our non air-conditioned apartment and on every inch of the merciless seafront, full of lithe brown bodies. The elder of my ingrate children has spent a considerable amount of time telling me that the sea is boring.


Also boring

The younger is constantly afflicted by puzzling ailments which have exhausted my limited pharmacy Spanish (no, no pictures of that, be grateful). Our tiny apartment is crammed with my spouse's diving gear. Other than that all is marvellous.

(it's fine really)
(it is very beautiful round here)
(we saw four small foxes last night)
(there are cakes)

(also, it hasn't actually got above 28°C I am just a wimp)
(and you can legitimately do nothing whatsoever between 2 and 4 due to heat, so I have read an indecent amount)
(I did however manage to burn one knee in 15 unguarded cloudy minutes sitting on beach)

Anyway, I am writing this simply to say that the fucking spam is driving me so crazy I have had to try and change the commenting, er, settings? Which means you can't comment anonymously. I don't even know if this will help or if it will stop all the excellent REAL people on here commenting, so consider this only experimental and subject to change. If it means you can't comment and want to, would you email me and say so?

Back on Sunday. Will return. I'm spending most of July on trains transporting children hither and thither which may or may not, depending on Thalys's shonky wifi, be good for blogging.