Dear sweet Charlie. Fell fast asleep playing with Dave. Charlie likes licking catnip out of Dave ears. He must be having some far out dreams about now. What a lovely pink nose he has.
Squiggy. Mid-stroke. Sound asleep one minute, on top of me the next. He likes a good scritch scrotch, twice a day for about 5 mins. He’s got soo much fur. He’s a dribbler. Droplets pool on his whiskers. He doesn’t like his paws being touched 😬 His best friend is called Charlie.
My parents were quite well to do. They had a neat garden and a nice drive so it was a surprise to me (later on in life) that they decided to park an old black rover car in the front garden and leave it there for years going rusty on public display. People walked past it everyday and Mrs King, the next door neighbour, had a few things to say about it. For us kids though, it became the best den in the world. A haven of fun for everyone allowed in. A haven of desire for everyone else. I got to choose. There was an aroma from the brown leather seats, crumbling, weathered and picked apart by small curious hands that is probably my favourite smell of all time. Rich, deep, complex and simple. Primal, cosy, oily, just right.
When people walked past our car we beeped the horn at them and hid below the window line. It was hilarious. An amazing steering wheel horn which eventually ran out of horn because we pushed it so many times. We grew up in that car. It knew all our games. All our secrets. It had secrets of its own too. In the boot…
We found a treasure trove of goodies when we opened it. One of those lovely silver twist handles with a smooth action. We could not believe our naughty luck. Inside lay hundreds of postcards. Not any old postcards though. Rude ones with boobs and bums on them. Seaside caricatures of ladies and men being cheeky with one another. They were great. We loved them so much we decided that everyone else needed to see them too. So we ran round the area throwing them into people’s gardens. Hundreds of them. I loved flinging then up high. They went further that way.
Don’t you just love Jeff Bridges? He’s been old to me ever since I was a kid. He’s truthful when he acts, with a great screen presence. He made me laugh so much tonight. He turned up as a Texan law man from the 1800s (RIPD). He was totally hilarious and looked younger than ever. 🍿
I love this wall. I love this light. I love all the birds. I love their songs. I love the green grass. I love the cream cat. I love how I’m standing in space. I love my feet balancing on the ground. I love my body. I love how it spins when I dance to Phantom of the Opera.
I spend almost every second of every day with this man. Simon. What a gorgeous hunk of a human being you are. Life is kinder and funnier with you in it.
While school was fun, home was even more so. By this time my house was full of animals. Four cats and three dogs after our original dog and cat got pregnant at the same time. I don’t know what mum was thinking. What a challenge for her. I loved the kittens and played endlessly with them. I found my soul sister in a little Siamese cat called Amy. We were best friends for her relatively short life. I could often be found skipping and singing round the house holding a long piece of string with a possé of cats and dogs chasing after me. They were good times. I was lucky to have so many animals siblings. It was wonderful.
I had human friends too. Angela was my best friend. We played out together though her mum let her stay up later than mine. Once she did a poo in the garden because she was locked out the house and her dog ate it. I was astounded and repulsed in equal measure. We laughed a lot about it and thought her dog was weird. I shouldn’t have been so surprised as my dogs liked eating cat poos from the litter tray and were always getting told off about it.
There were the two boys who lived next door. Paul and Richard. We’d play Lurkey (hide and see but where we’d run back to base to be in) ‘Lurkey Lurkey 1, 2, 3, Holly in!’ I’d call. British Bulldog, a dodging game and we loved a good water fight. It would be girls vs boys and we’d have the advantage of having Angela’s hose pipe. The boys didn’t mind getting wet. They’d stand in the hose getting drenched and we’d cackle with delight.
Brookfield Primary School was a new fresh school and looked like a gigantic bungalow. There was an old oak in the playing field where children collected acorns and made bird’s nests out of mown grass.
I was nearing 7, an honest girl who’d learnt to keep quiet in certain situations. Once a teacher sternly questioned the class about someone putting paper towels down the toilet (me) and asked for the child who did it to admit to it. Well obviously that wasn’t going to happen and I learnt how to be cunning.
Another telling off I had in the toilets was because someone grassed on me for using too much liquid hand soap. I’d enjoy pressing that button four or five times and watching the soap emerge all gooey. It made such a nice pool in my hand. Too much for some people’s liking. How boring they were. I just had a feeling that the girl was going to tell on me. What a b#@£h.
By the way, what is it with kids looking under/over toilet cubicles? They’re so nosey.
I’m reminded of a time when I was a teacher and I walked in on a couple of four year olds laughing merrily as they threw used toilet paper into each other’s cubicles. Kids 🙄
I liked being nice to the teacher and getting praise in return. I loved messing around with friends. I was banned from working in the library once (where there was no teacher so we could have lots of fun) for ripping Hayley Capewell’s exercise book though, for the record it wasn’t on purpose and I didn’t even know I’d done it. Miss Abdullah was a nice teacher who taught me to write a European 7 with a dash through and eventually, let me back in the library again.
Some moments outside in this secluded garden where birds feel safe and flowers grow. Nothing much happens here. This is my recharge. The breeze is fresh and caresses my neck. I’m enjoying breathing in the scents of the flowers. I love this wall. A piece of art.
Day 11. Had a bit of lumber pain recently. Those showgirl moves taking their toll. But then it disappeared. Like a growing pain. My body strength has increased and my balance too. It feels wonderful to twirl like I’ve never twirled before. Not even getting that dizzy. 🤪
My final year at infant school introduced me to how mean girls could be. Now with Michael Bingley in my class, we would sometimes play PE outside. No games kits back then, just vest and pants. I didn’t have a vest on one particular day so Mrs Beaver made me do it just in my pants. I felt awkward going outside like that but how could I express that to an adult? It would be so easy to say ‘no’ now, but back it was a key I did not have.
I was born with an old 50p sized birthmark on my back. It felt like a big deal. Back then I was already self-conscious about it, aged 6. Walking outside, Christina Angus, a girl who would bully me on and off started pointing and talking about me to her friend. I couldn’t hide my back. I couldn’t reach to cover it. That was mortifiying - and so young to be experiencing that, over something so natural. School has a lot to answer for.
I wish I’d been stronger in hindsight, but I did have other heroic moments.
Back to this PE lesson. The one saving grace was we played ‘Boys after Girls’ which meant Michael Bingley would chase and catch me. Tingles of excitement. Me and Michael - keeping our love alive. I wasn’t difficult to catch. I was always the first to be caught.
I became obsessed with marshmallows after seeing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1972 (with Michael Crawford - of Phantom fame - playing the White Rabbit). There’s a scene where Alice finds a pink sweet which says ‘Eat me’ on it. Watching that scene again as an adult, I find the sweet scarily garish and something I would never eat, but back then it was the most delicious looking thing ever and in my child’s mind akin to a soft, yummy marshmallow which had to be devoured. And so began the period of my eyes lighting up over Flumps and any other super soft, squishy marshmallow I could get my little hands on.
Marshmallows were a thing of beauty to behold and I used all my senses to explore them. I held them gently in my hand feeling their smoothness and stroked them across my lips before biting into their soft centre. I let them melt in my mouth. My eyes swam in their colours (yellow body with a pink swirl - my fav). They were tactile - I could squish them with my thumb and finger into a gooey ball to play with. They smelt of sweet rainbow fluff. I tested how many I could fit into my mouth at a time (too many to remember exact figures). Like all children, I dissected and tested (I did this with KitKats, Marsbars, anything that could be taken apart).
These days, knowing what’s in them (beef gelatine and sugar) my relationship with marshmallows is over. But those delightful moments as a child, where I could go into realms of magic and wonder over a Flump, will stay with me forever.
Just listened to The Music of the Night and the love I have for this song remains. It truly builds in power and imagination. What an amazing storyline. The lyrics are quite exhilarating. I would stay with the Phantom in his opera house if he sang to me like that. 🎶
I remember vividly listening to Phantom of the Opera at home as a child. Dad would crank up the volume. He always had classical music on but these melodies stood out more than others. I dove into a depth of feeling so palpible it made me fly into melancholic sadness sometimes. Michael Crawford sung so sweetly and passionately. I’m going to have a new listen, with 39 year old ears. Thanks dad. You introduced me to beautiful things. 🎶
There’s a fair few cat toys at this house-sit. In a pile. It wasn’t until flies started circling I realised one of the mice wasn’t a toy 😬
I’m watching an awesome series with Tim Roth - Lie To Me - I’m enthralled by the clues, twists and turns. Great actors. Great concept. Great fun. 🎥
I’m a full time housesitter and look after people’s pets when they’re away. I usually only look after cats but I’ve looked after dogs in the past and sometimes I think about looking after dogs again, especially when they look so cute and cuddly in their profile pics.
This is how I begin my thoughts on dog-sitting.
Idyllic dog-sitting fantasy: Running free through a flower meadow with a well behaved, relaxed dog running alongside, smiling up at me. They play and bounce around happily with another dog friend. The sun shines down on the delightful scene of love and joy. I laugh. Doggie comes when I ask. I trust doggie implicitly. Doggie sleeps soundly at night waiting patiently for me to wake up and greets me with loving cuddles, sweet licks and tail wags.
Then I remember…
The reality: I’m being pulled along a suburban street by a strong, highly stressed dog who barks at everything. In the woods, doggie will bolt if they smell deer and be found hours later by another dog walker, exhausted, wandering, covered in bracken. Doggie, suddenly becomes hyper freaked out and chews instantaneously through their lead. I’m miles from the car. I have to shout louder than I’ve ever shouted before for them to stop as nothing else works. My holler can be heard echoing across the hills and valleys on this peaceful day (for everyone else). Doggie finds a rabbit hole and has to be pulled out by their back legs, snapping and growling (pure comedy seen for an observer) in case they disappear down the tunnel for days. I laugh hysterically because that’s how I behave in emergency situations (can be awkward if you need to run fast giggling your pants off). At home doggie has a habit of ‘wazzing off’ on their favourite toy. Or, I’ll be greeted with a poo on the kitchen floor each morning after they’ve barked me awake at 5am.
Extreme of course, all experienced by me (except the bolting bit because after I heard that story by the owners, that dog was kept on a lead the entire walk 😉). Always a possible reality for the innocent, eager dog-sitter. I used to be one of those. 😃
A video about never giving up. It’s old, you’ve probably seen it but it’s worth watching again. I wept with joy. Amazing. Never Give Up
Day 11. Words can’t begin to express how happy I am this evening. I went on an epic journey into my body and explored how I’m put together. I figured something out. Basically, that my ball and hip joints aren’t fully understanding where they’re supposed to be in relation to the rest of my body. They’re lost and need guidance. It’s like that area doesn’t exist in my mind. It’s never had to work before. My back has always taken up the job that my hips should be doing. What a revelation.
Tonight I felt a shift. I felt a seed of importance being dropped in my psyche. I felt how important this particular hip and groin stretch is to the wellbeing of my entire frame. I can walk taller and stand more balanced. My legs lift higher when I ask them to. My bum tightens, my chest rises and I look less like the silhouette of a pregnant woman and more like the woman I want to become. It’s a bit of a mind bender when you resign yourself to a situation (the mechanics of your body) and it turns out they can be changed for the better. I’m super excited.
Now if I can just keep remembering this reality, I’ll be onto something massive. Something life changing. This discovery comes from dancing everyday to an epic musical drum and base soundtrack (from Spotify radio). I devour songs. My whole body sings, jiggles, leaps and sways. I’m on a journey of self-discovery finding the light-footed feet I never knew I had.
Here are two pictures of me from the side. The first is taken unconsciously - see how my neck is forward and my head looks up scrunching my neck. It creates stress and pain in the shoulders. Then the second picture where I am more relaxed in my neck and therefore more aligned in my spine = happier neck for sure.
Fav song - Electric Echo - Metrik and Gunship. Felt like I was in a futuristic 80s nightclub where the music is pumping and amazing synth sounds keep coming on waves of pure velvet.