Just to prove we are as strange as you always suspected…
Some nights ago I was sitting watching TV with my favourite teddy, Bear, who went with me to university. Mum held out a photograph for Bear to sniff. I gave her a puzzled look, and she said, “it’s just that the photo smelled odd and I thought Bear would have a keener nose than us.”
“Well, normally,” I said, “but he says it’s a bit stuffed up this evening.”
Today just disappeared – do you know that feeling? I got up so full of energy and things I meant to do, and only did one or two of them. After supper I was very sleepy and didn’t even want to go out in the gusty cold twilight to bring my washing in. So it will have to stay out for another night.
I thought I hadn’t seen Spiderman 2, but it turned out I had, so I surfed the channels (whimpering disappointedly) looking for something else. There was MASH, which Mum likes, but no subtitles. I ended up on Frasier, which we both like, and that did have subtitles… I would have whimpered even more if it hadn’t.
After a couple of shows went by, we had the following conversation (or how it seemed to me):
Mum (in a matter of fact voice): “Good, you’ve stopped groaning.”
Me (surprised she was talking about that when Frasier and Niles had been keeping me quiet for the past while): “Oh. Why?”
My brain has just got stuck in a sleepy tangle… will wake again in a minute.
OK, the rest of it went something like…
Mum: “No, I said…”
Me (struck by sudden doubt): “oh wait… what did you say? Did you say I had, or I am?”
Mum: “I said you were.”
Me: “But I wasn’t….? I haven’t said a thing.”
Almost immediately, as we kept an eye on the TV, yet another commercial began, and I let out a gusty sigh.
Mum pounced. “What do you call that?”
“That’s not a groan. That’s a sigh. It’s because of all those commercials.”
“Hmm. We shouldn’t be paying for Sky when they put so many on.”
Then we saw part of QI… sometimes it’s not very good, but tonight it was funny. Alan Davies said he saw something run across the snowy winter backdrop behind them, and Bill Bailey said it was a Velociraptor. (How do you pronounce that? Do other people let that trip off their tongues as a matter of course? I’m impressed). I thought Alan was just joking, then something streaked across the snow again, quite far away. The people on the show missed it and were determined to see it next time, so they all sat staring behind them, waiting for something to happen. One of them (probably Alan but I’m too sleepy to remember) said “the little things matter.”
I was laughing so hard that my throat hurt – it was a strange feeling. I would start choking if I kept it up, so I stopped. That’s what happened last time I laughed that hard, which was…. erm…. months ago! I can’t remember what was so funny then. Might even have been QI.
How often do you laugh really hard, and why? The other day the TV happened to be on and I was watching something that looked like You Have Been Framed (but wasn’t). You Have Been Framed annoys me enough, but this thing was awful. Nothing was funny. Some things were upsetting and others were very normal… there was a clip of somebody falling over on the skating rink. He didn’t cause a pile-up – he just slipped and fell.
I got up and went to find Mum (who had left this dross playing on the TV) and said to her, “they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel… they must be desperate.”
“Oh, if it’s that thing,” said Mum, “it’s dreadful. They send in films of things happening to people which are meant to be funny, and they’re not.”
I’m surprised I’ve managed all this … I’m too sleepy to finish it properly. Night, all. No falling out of bed or videotaping it. I fell out of a bunk bed once…. had to avoid squashing one of the cats, who caught me by surprise, so I fell out instead.
This video made me laugh out loud – it’s the reason why we have cat flaps. Cat flaps don’t save us from such behaviour indoors, however.
Delilah has just watched it all the way through. When the cat fell off the door handle, she flattened her ears.
Yet more motherly moments…
Whenever it rains hard, there’s a Very Big Puddle that stretches from one side of the road to the other. I was so deep in thought when walking Thundercloud that I only noticed it was there when we were right on the lip of it, with two cars poised to barrel though.
“Uh oh,” I said, and stopped dead. Thundercloud looked apprehensive as well.
Fortunately the cars tiptoed gently through, and the puddle did no more than ripple.
At home I said, “I expect it was because of Thundercloud. ‘We can’t get the nice dog all wet.'”
“Absolutely,” said Mum. “If it had only been you, they have roared through it.”
Boxing Day Crisis – my cat Sharky came along and sat on me, stared intently into my face, and started to heave ominously. ‘Hyuk-hyuk-hyuk…’
Not wanting a hairball in my face, I picked him up and hastened to the back door… which was locked! With the cat still hyukking in my arms, I wrestled with the key in the lock, praying it wouldn’t stick. Finally got the door open and pushed Sharky half outside, where he obligingly brought up a small puddle of grass and foam.
Sigh. I think he does it to bully me. It’s his way of saying “I was so hungry I had to eat grass.” There is dry cat kibble both upstairs and downstairs for snacks – Mum called him Oliver Twist only the night before, when he got some turkey out of her at bedtime and then a foil pouch of meat out of me.
Leaving the kitchen, I grumbled “the back door always seems to be LOCKED!” and stumped off upstairs to wash my hands and check myself for any damp patches.
When I returned downstairs, Mum seemed genuinely puzzled, enquiring “what was all THAT about?”
When I explained, she laughed and said, “ohhhh, I see. I should nominate you for the Olympics.”
After a moment she chortled again, saying, “it certainly woke you up. There won’t be any more of that noisy yawning.”
My littlest teddy bear yawned very loudly at that point, and Mum glared…
Some of the TV was so boring it led to some real whimpering gapes from me… I couldn’t help it. The only two things that engaged my attention on Boxing Day were Garfield and… actually, that was about it. When watching the other things, I kept oozing away to sort out some of the stuff in my cubby hole.
I completed a What Lord of the Rings Character Are You? questionnaire. In one that doesn’t exist any more, I was Pippin, but when I did the above different one, it said I was Frodo.
I told Mum this, and at first she was bewildered (despite having read the book and seen all the films). “Frodo? Which one is Frodo??”
“The one with the Ring!”
“Oh, THAT hobbit, I remember now.”
Short pause. Then…
“You’re definitely a Frodo, I quite agree. Frodo was the mournful one.”
Big Sister has her moments as well. She bought Mum an iPod for Christmas, and we were sitting in the coffee shop (having left Mum coughing and sneezing at home) discussing in my notepad what else we were were going to get. Sister said, “I’m thinking of getting an iTunes card – either £15 or £25?”
I said “I suppose you will have to download something the first time, to show her what to do.”
She took the pen and scored out ‘you’, replacing it with ‘you’.
I had a funny feeling I was reusing old titles without remembering. I would have called this one Mother Wit if I hadn’t been reposting my old posts from Blogigo – it’s seems there’s a Mother Wit already there.
More recent motherly moments…
Me (watching a cat sitting with her chin and paws on the doorsill of the new cat bed): “Has Cheeky left it at all today?”
Mum: “She popped out for some supper then went straight back in.”
Me (with a heartfelt sigh): “Oh! I would love to be a cat if I could live a life like that.”
(Cheeky gave me a good long green stare from under her eyebrows).
Me: “Can I be a cat please? …Why not? …she’s giving me a lowering look.”
Mum: “She says you haven’t the genes for it.”
On TV a young woman was being interviewed. She stated that whenever she went shopping she took a family-sized bar of chocolate with her. Whenever she got in a bad mood, her mother made her eat it and she was so much better afterwards.
I mused over this a little, then turned my head to find Mum fervently offering me a bar of chocolate.
After shopping, we got into the car, and Mum said “we’ll just go home and have lunch, rather than go to your house.”
“OK,”I said, relieved. “My stomach was rumbling in all the shops.”
“Was that you? I thought it was a thunderstorm.”
Getting into the back of my sister’s car, I grumbled that it was full of leaves and twigs from the last lot of garden rubbish she had taken to the dump. Mum turned round and enquired, “is there a hedgehog hibernating back there?”
(One of the fall-outs from restricted bin timetables – you can’t get into our cars wearing anything nice, and sometimes you can’t stow anything in our cars because they’re already full of stuff waiting to go to the tip. Once Mum had to drive round the recycling plant in a complete circle then start round it all over again because it was clogged with all the other people who had driven in to recycle things).
We finished watching The Hogfather DVD and I’ve decided I like it. Not just a little, but a lot. I appreciate his message – and the second episode seemed less dark than the first. There was plenty to chuckle at (seeing as my complaint in Terry Pratchetty Thoughts was that we weren’t laughing).
When we watched the first part, we were tired and not paying that much attention to the details, which is a mistake. When you’re processing them in your own mind, the story makes more sense.
Yesterday we were still confused (and still are about a few things, but that’s like having further gifts under the tree). We stopped the DVD at the end of Episode One, and I said to Mum “why was the Oh God of Hangovers in the Castle of Bones – and what was the Castle of Bones supposed to be anyway?”
“Why are you asking me – how should I know??” she screamed.
“You know it better than me,” I said, sulkily.
“True, I read The Hogfather more recently, but not that recently.”
“You know how you said last night you weren’t sleeping well because you heard jangling, and you didn’t know what it was?”
“Maybe it was the Oh God of Hangovers popping into existence.”
“Oh.. don’t start confusing The Hogfather with reality!”
She said tonight she worked out what the noise was – it was Grumble, scratching his ear. Every time he did that, his bed grated against the radiator.
Hmm. I prefer my theory.
I will read The Hogfather again to try and figure out all the things I’m still confused about, though that Mr Teatime depresses the heck out of me. He’s a sort of Bill Sykes, only sharper and deadlier.
One of the gifts I gave Mum this Christmas was The Hogfather DVD. We watched it last night but had to stop halfway through as it goes on for 185 minutes. I should probably have paid attention to the Episode 1 / Episode 2 choices in the menu.
Anyway, we got around to discussing it. I said it reminded me of Dickens – stories like Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. That’s probably no accident, but it’s a while since I’ve read The Hogfather. The DVD is actually pretty sober, and we didn’t laugh very much.
Mum said when she read it, she felt it was a good idea but…. it didn’t quite cut the mustard for some reason.
“Something was missing,” I agreed.
“I don’t know why that Susan was so involved in the plot.”
We thought about it for a minute, rather sadly.
“What I think is,” I said, “Terry Pratchett stretched himself too thin. There are all these different characters in his books, but the ones you got fond of sometimes disappeared, never to be seen again, and then you would have to try to be interested in a different group of characters.”
“Yes, I think that’s true,” said Mum.
“One of the characters I was fond of (but disappeared) was Rincewind.”
“And the Luggage, and the little dog,” said Mum.
Actually I forgot about the little dog… but not the Luggage. Jolly the Trolley is related to him.
That’s Jolly the Trolley on the left.
I just had to squeeze that in, didn’t I? It’s a joke of ours – but Terry Pratchett did base the Luggage on a noisy trolley some lady was pulling along, rattling and bumping busily (a very ‘Jolly the Trolley’ habit) so for all we know, they really are relations…
“Also…” I said, getting into my stride, “something I remember thinking about some of the books is that the plot was hard to follow. He had a tendency to say ‘such and such happened’ then abruptly switch to something else without explaining it. You had no idea what any of it meant till you got to the end of the book and then, IF you looked back, you might understand what some of those odd episodes were about.”
“You don’t fully understand some of the jokes till you read it for the second or third time,” said Mum.
She HAS read them two or three times. I read some of the earlier books twice but the rest of them just once. Mum liked them enough to reread most – and I think that’s a point worth making.
This blog post is not a complaint about Terry Pratchett – I love his books. I did sometimes lose my way in them, but I appreciate the whole idea of the Discworld; I understand that it wouldn’t be a ‘world’ without all those characters in different areas and countries to meet and find out about. We have our special favourites amongst the books – Mum likes Wyrd Sisters and Interesting Times. I’ve not made up my mind yet, but Wyrd Sisters is high in my regard too, and I loved the one where Greebo the cat went to the opera… Nanny Ogg was in that, though Granny Weatherwax was more my cup of tea.
I’ll read them all again (in order) – I might understand them better next time round. Something that Mum keeps talking about is worth mentioning here as well… people say they don’t find the prospect of dying quite so frightening after being introduced to Death in the Terry Pratchett books. I have to say, of all the Discworld characters who romp through the books, Death’s the one constant.
Anthropomorphical personification – it keeps us from going off our trolleys. Or is that a paradox?
Having a quick break while the washing machine sloshes. Do your cats reserve a special look for you?
This morning I asked Mum that question, and she said yes, her cats do. I said my Siamese cat, Fusspot, sits there looking at me, and the stare is half irritated, half fond, as though he’s saying “oh, you’re terrible, but I…”
I hesitated, and Mum finished “… love you anyway! Yes. They do look at me like that.”
All my cats have variations on that look, but Fusspot’s is particularly amusing. He was sitting next to me on the sofa with his back to me, thinking about something else, and the other cats had left the room. I picked up a plush toy cat and sloshed him with it, whipping it away quickly. Fusspot jumped and started to twist round, wondering if one of the other cats had sneaked up on him, but then he realized it was me, and before he had even turned round fully, that look started to creep over his face…
…and there it was! He stared down his nose at me with a resigned sigh, and drooped his ears, and smiled, as though to say “oh, dear… WHAT are we to DO with you?”
Some of the daft things I’ve been doing over the past few days:
- telling Mum that she wasn’t my first footer this year – a ladybird was. “That’s not a first footer,” said Mum – “that’s a first six footer”.
- feeding a clementine to an earwig in my kitchen (well, if it doesn’t eat clementines it shouldn’t have been wandering around in my fruit bowl in the first place. I asked it to leave, but it complained it was raining).
- goggling at a mixed flock of birds pecking in the neighbour’s garden. I couldn’t see what they were eating, but they were ignoring ‘wild bird’ grain in my own garden, only a few feet away! It occurred to me it’s like watching readers flocking to other people’s blogs instead of my own.
- asking my sister if she thinks the font size in this blog is too large. It immediately struck me that’s another version of the question “does my bum look big in this?”
- writing in my diary that I could have done without this entire life experience… then making plans to buy a better camera in town tomorrow. Is it so I can have some glossy snaps when it’s all over?
- staring hard at a sunset photograph of the town where I live, thinking “it looks like a sleeping bear.” Getting ready for the Big Freeze, no doubt.
- observing the thick Scottish mist outside even as night draws in, and being reminded of The Hound of the Baskervilles. I should (but won’t!) paint my pale spooky Siamese cat with phosphorus so he can slink around the neighbourhood wailing “aaoooww!” Mum said “that would start some fun in the local paper.”
- wandering into the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, looking in all the baskets on the floor for furry insoles for my boots – what I found was a basket filled to the brim with a huge furry ginger cat, sleeping soundly.
I have a mind to copy his idea – though not in an Edinburgh Woollen Mill basket!
Doubtless there will be more daftnesses to celebrate in the year ahead.
Here’s a blog entry about my mother! She has a lighter touch than I do; a gentler hold on life. Philosophical is the word, but not in a sad way. She could be quite fiery and my sister and I knew better than to get her riled, but she’s mellowed over the years. The humour is still good and the temper is less short (unless we’re on holiday). I hope I will be the same, as it’s no fun getting in a strop about everything.
An example of her type of humour: she picks up on detail that you’ve forgotten! She was helping me with something in my garden a while ago – I kept saying to her “be careful when you go over there – don’t step on the woodlouse, spider, earwig or snail!” (I was too late to save the wasp). She didn’t comment much, but some time after that my sister and I were helping her in her garden. She turned to me all of a sudden and said “don’t rescue any snails! I don’t WANT any snails rescued!”
“I haven’t SEEN any snails,” I said, and she said they sneak up behind you and give you a scare, they’re so big.
A wee while later I said to her “you didn’t say I couldn’t rescue any spiders”… I also managed to rescue several worms, a ladybird, a shield bug, a cochlea-shaped thing (unidentified) and a strange flat spider lurking on the underside of a board. Mum sneaked up behind me with a snail and said “boo!” I looked at it, unimpressed. “I’ve got BIGGER snails.” All the same, she knows me well….