It’s high time someone spoke up for the mountain goat. Hardly anyone ever does. He’s just left there, like a distant relic from that old TV series of Heidi where the little girl got sent to live up in the mountains with Grandfather and played with Peter (who herded goats but never troubled himself about their psychological wellbeing); and spent some time in a hamlet where she met Clara who was a girl who may have used a wheelchair. (I could be mixing that last part up with “What Katy Did”; there were limited roles for girls and any opportunity to make one stand out in the cast would be used).
Anyway, the point is, no-one really cared about the goats. It was all about mountains and sunshine and that odd sense of not quite belonging to the same world as the characters. I think this is because everything they said was heavily dubbed but it could be because Heidi was happy with a day spent running around mountains, far removed from us, who would just about consent to watching her provided we got to watch The A-Team afterwards.
But even if, like me, you watched all of the episodes of Heidi AND used old treehouses to try and re-create the feeling of living on the side of a Swiss Alp, you probably wouldn’t have thought to include a place for the mountain goat. Because that’s the kind of kids we were. Selfish. Dog-orientated. Unaccustomed to the ways of Grandfather who was so gruff he’d sooner throw Heidi off the mountain than give her an extra hunk of cheese in the morning if her chores weren’t done before the sun was up.
The mountain goat’s given us a lot. Mainly milk and wool, it’s true. But I’d like to think that it’s only a lack of opportunity which have prevented the mountain goat from taking up the place in popular culture that’s reserved for the more dogmatic species – like the dinosaur for instance. Since Jurassic Park, dinosaurs get all the kudos, don’t they? It was just their luck that they were exterminated by prehistoric Daleks (we all know it’s true so don’t even THINK about contradicting me with anything science-related). But think about it – if there were pterodactyl droppings all over your car tomorrow morning, would you be so keen to head to the cinema to watch them in 3D in a few weeks’ time? I. Think. Not.
“I’ll just rest here overlooking that Ferrari.”
It was really just the dinosaurs’ good luck that kept them in the public eye. That, and Steven Spielberg who must also shoulder some of the responsibility.
By comparison, your typical mountain goat just trundles on from one age to the next. Nothing great in terms of evolution. The odd moment in the spotlight whenever someone gets carried away at a Sound Of Music karaoke session singing “The Lonely Goatherd,” or, more disturbingly, certain song mash-ups. These can only be considered a cruel prank considering the mountain goat’s proud bearing (able to withstand the toughest winters; the steepest slopes; would give Tom Cruise a run for his money in the stunt department).
What can we do to re-dress the balance? Give this selfless creature a sense of its importance? A semblance of respect? Is that too much to ask????
Apparently so; so I wrote a poem instead.
Ode To A Mountain Goat
Solemn he stands at the crown of the world,
In the majestic silence,
The crumbling air
Forces a momentous turning of thought.
Silently he stares, riveted by a vision of his future.
O all-seeing goat,
From your hallowed seat
Remember the small beginnings from whence you came.
It’s all very well saying you should ignore them – tell that to a friend of mine who woke up in the middle of a particularly long blast directly overhead. In that limbo state between sleep and waking, a combination of too many alien films and a mobile phone within reach resulted in his making a call to the local garda station, telling them that there was definitely some kind of attack underway. (Yes, the words “alien” and “ship is here” were used. This is one time when E.T. definitely shouldn’t have phoned home).
But if you don’t feel like breaking out the National Guard – (do we even HAVE a National Guard? Somehow I just can’t see them being like the guys in the films who take on the aliens – proper fighting, Hollywood style. Remember Independence Day? Even the President got into a plane!!! Can’t see Inda Kenny doing that somehow – but I digress) – what are you supposed to do?
Being the all-round culture hound that I am, it’s at times like these that I take my cue from whatever I can find on screen or in literature.
For a harmonious creature like me, The Sound of Music was my first stop and it provided me with a morsel of comfort when I watched this clip:-
But would it really work for me? Well, I listened to the words of Maria, the governess -
“You try it! What things do you like?”
Easy, I thought! That bit in The Godfather where Sonny wallops his brother-in-law for beating up his sister! The first few notes that tell you JAWS is on his way to where the oblivious loved-up couple are chilling out in a rickety old boat that the guy named after his gal. Oh, and the bit in Jurassic Park where they open the gates.
“What are they keeping in there, King Kong?” wonders Jeff Goldblum.
No. Something worse. Much, much worse.
Even T-Rex runs from thunderstorms
By the time I’ve sung about all that, there’s only silence from everyone in the room. They’re giving me funny looks. A few are walking slowly backwards towards the door. They don’t seem to be afraid of the thunder anymore. It’s as if they have other things on their mind, only they don’t want to talk about it. At least, not to me.
So I have no choice but to move on to books. Thunder doesn’t really feature that much in books. People tend not to notice what’s going on weather-wise. Unless it’s a Famous Five book by Enid Blyton. There’s always a thunderstorm in there somewhere. I suppose they’re useful if you want to throw a bunch of kids into a mysterious situation – make the power blow and all that. I used to wonder if it was just so she could tell kids they shouldn’t be afraid of storms because there was always a line that read “All of the children loved a thunderstorm”.
That just never made sense to me. Why would they love a thunderstorm? They spent most of their time out cycling around and camping while their parents/aunt/guardians were off at conferences. Wouldn’t all the rain interfere with the sleeping bags? Like, make them completely sodden??
No, I think you were supposed to read it as a kid and think that if even Anne wasn’t afraid of thunderstorms, then there really was nothing to be afraid of. Cos let’s face it, that fact alone was hard to believe. Anne from the Famous Five had to be one of the most depressing characters in literature!!!! Didn’t she ever get tired of her life? I mean, for most of those books, she was what – ten years old, and everyone just treated her like some kind of skivvy?! She was always the one who stayed behind while Julian, Dick and George went off to go swimming. Did Anne go? No. Anne stayed back home at the campsite and made breakfast, using up the last of the lashings of ham and boiled eggs that Julian would have bought from some grumpy farmer for twenty-five pence the night before.
I remember one particularly annoying chapter where Dick (Anne’s brother, one year older but infinitely more independent at 11) remarked that Anne would probably find some way of setting up a little cupboard in the woods so she could keep her brooms and cleaning stuff there. How I wept.
And they wonder why George never answered to Georgina! I know why. It’s because she’d heard all her life about this weird girl cousin who was obsessed with cleaning the Great Outdoors and badly needed to read an introduction to feminism. But it was okay, because she wasn’t afraid of thunderstorms, not one little bit.
"Those trees behind me could do with some dusting," thought Anne, starting to pedal backwards.
Oh, I digressed. Where was I?
Yes, on to more books. There were storms in Macbeth whenever the witches appeared, but that’s not going to make me feel any better. Much more up my alley is Wuthering Heights and poor old doomed Cathy sitting there in the kitchen and talking about how she is Heathcliff and he is her, but she can’t marry him cos it would be beneath her and her big meanie brother wasn’t nearly as helpful as Sonny and just kept on degrading him and oh, it’s all so traumatic. And the thunder really adds to the drama. So maybe it’s not such a bad thing all the time??
Heathcliff and Cathy should be violently together, especially in that version where he’s played by Ralph Fiennes.
Wasn’t it nice of Nellie to let Heathcliff wait until he heard the love of his life say it would degrade her to marry him, then let him run off into the night, THEN TELL CATHY WHAT HE HEARD? Woah, Nellie! Where did you pick up those skills in stirring the proverbial? Jersey Shore?
Oh, you big old fool Cathy. If you’d used your head and learned a proper York-shah accent, you mightn’t have had to put with a curse from the big guy. Cue the thunder.
If looks could kill....he'd still want you to walk the earth restless...
So I move on, my spirit slightly comforted by the discomforting spirit of Heathcliff. Different strokes, people, different strokes.
I’ve had many reasons to be grateful to Bob Dylan, not least for the perfection of Nashville Skyline. And it’s good to know that he too has had his issues with Thunder, specifically on the Mountain. We’re in this together, Bob. Let’s get together and jam. You play, I’ll listen. I’m free next Tuesday. You’ll be right as rain by Wednesday. No pun intended.
Of course, there’s really only one song that does proper, kick-ass justice to a thunderstorm:-
Yes, they’re old men who dress in shorts and wear school uniforms, but wouldn’t it be great fun to play this song at full blast on top of a hill during a thunderstorm?? Maria and the Von Trapp Family Singers could do harmonies. T-Rex might tumble through at some point. (Sorry Anne, I guess you set up your pantry in the wrong place at the wrong time). Heathcliff would pop up to scowl and gurn about his future acting awards when there’ll be nowt anyone can do to stop him from taking over th’ world, or th’ Grange at least. And then Bob Dylan will arrive on a camel to join in on an acoustic guitar and steal everyone’s thunder as usual.
I won’t mind. I’ll just sit it out in a nearby hollowed tree. Everyone else can get Thunderstruck. I’ll be waiting for the sun with Nina Simone.
“I think that I shall never see, a Fork as lovely as a tree,
But a Fork shines bright as you will see, it’s a jewel in a case of cutlery;
So today, let us dwell on the Fork’s ancient treasures,
It’s wisdom, it’s courage, it’s rare simple pleasures.”
Today’s modern world is a busy place. We rush here and there. We are bombarded with technology. We never have time to think about the things that really matter.
Maybe it’s time to change all that.
Maybe it’s time to spend some time thinking about the Fork.
Let's talk about Fork
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “It’s just cutlery, Cora! It’s just an easy-peasy way to pick up garden peas. Forks haven’t given us anything. They haven’t contributed to humanity in any great way.”
But you could not be more wrong! The research that I have carried has convinced me that the Fork is a work of prolific genius. I have decided to use 4-pronged approach to examine my argument.
So what’s it all about?
Well, let’s start at the beginning – the origins. The work “Fork” comes from the latin word “furca”, meaning “pitchfork”. The Fork as we know it today generally has four prongs or “tines” but early editions had fewer tines. Once upon a tine, Forks were thought to be an insult to God because it was felt that humans were given natural forks and so we shouldn’t be trying to improve on His creation. Nonetheless, by the early 19th Century, the 4-tine fork was fairly standard throughout the western world.
It even started to make some inroads into the East, where it ran into direct and strong competition from that wily minx, the chopsticks.
The Fork exerts its will in Asia.
At this point, I’d like to consider the obvious contributions that the Fork has made to culture and civilisation as we know it.
It has revolutionised mealtimes! Tables would be a far sloppier place without the Fork – as anyone who has tried to eat sticky toffee pudding with a God-given Fork will tell you. Through the centuries, the Fork virtually create the world of etiquette. Slowly but surely, with a will or iron – or sometimes stainless steel – the Fork gradually established its prominence in the world of cutlery. As court banquets grew in grandeur and courses, there was always a need for another Fork. Knives and spoons simply couldn’t compete and they dropped out of the race to watch as hapless hopefuls ruined themselves in the eyes of society by using the wrong fork for the wrong dish.
Not for nothing did Oscar Wilde remark:-
“The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”
For the want of a Fork, his oyster was lost.
The Fork has diversified! It’s seen the writing on the wall. It knows that it must grow and adapt if it is to survive the shallowness of the human race. But the Fork is not an implement prepared to rest on its laurels.
As a pitchfork, it has led revolutions from France to Finglas!
As a garden trowel, it’s slaved through soil as varied as the flower bed that won Killarney last year’s Tidy Towns prize and the Hanging Baskets of Babylon.
As a toasting fork, it’s stretched itself out at a thousand campfires, contemplating the stars and it’s destiny.
And when the Great Master Beethoven was having his difficulties, it was there as a tuning fork to try and find him four last notes.
With all of these tines to its stalk, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Fork has no difficulties. Alas, you would be wrong! Today the Fork faces greater challenges than ever before. For the Fork is slowly being air-brushed out of the scenes of its greatest triumphs. Do not be tricked! The Fork is not merely an eating utensil! It is a symbol of everything we have achieve as a race. Luckily, I have trawled through the records so that I can set them straight.
* When King Arthur approached the Stone of Destiny, it was no sword that he drew out – no! Instead, a Fork was brandished in the air!
* When Harry Potter faced off to Voldy, that grim creature ran in despair from the four prongs of a Fork.
* I could not begin to recount the number of leaders who have survived assassination attempts because they bent to pick up a Fork at exactly the right moment.
* “Let them eat cake!” cried Marie Antoinette, little realising that she could have avoided her gruesome fate if she had just offered a nice dessert Fork as well.
Was this where she went wrong??
So what of the Fork’s future? It is not a creature who merely strives through the physical difficulties of life. On the contrary, it is a deeply spiritual, philosophical being who carefully considers its future role. In my research, I have uncovered wall paintings in the ancient temple of the Dalai Lama, showing students enjoying some dessert following some intellectual discourse with the Great Man.
This calm and reflective nature of the Fork has of course given rise to the phrase “A Fork in the road.” I felt that Jim Henson was really the first to get in touch with this side of the Fork’s personality when Kermit and Fozzie met a Fork in the road but chose to keep Moving Right Along in the Muppet Movie:-
Perhaps that’s what we should all take from the Fork – a four-pronged approach to keep us Moving Right Along, ever-calm, ever-secure in the knowledge that there’s always a Fork around when you need it.
Or, in the words of Yogi Berra, “When you come to a Fork in the road, take it.”
A Valentine’s Day taunt to milk phobics everywhere:-
Is there to be no peace?!?
At times like this I can only snuggle further into my bean-bag, put on a pair of earphones and listen to the North Atlantic Lawyers Choral society giving their rendition of the alphabet song, sung in 42 languages and using the Patti Labelle/Muppet version:-
I have to be careful though. As Woody Allen once said, ““I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”
People ask me a lot about my hatred for milk. It’s almost as if it’s something that they can’t understand.
“But I don’t get it,” they cry plaintively, wringing their hands like a thousand lesser known actors in Shakespearean plays gone wrong, “Why milk? Wherefore dairy? What did milk ever do to you?”
(It may be that they didn’t use those exact words, but that’s the gist of it alright).
What can I say? I’ve never claimed to have an explanation. I describe myself as a milk phobic, which surely should put me into that bubble of protection afforded to everyone else who claims an irrational fear of something entirely rational? I mean, let’s face it, it’s not as if all those people with a fear of spiders really think that the big hairy guy from The Lord Of The Rings is going to come knocking on their door some night? (I know there’s a lot going on in the country but I think we’d spot him somewhere between Mordor and Mount Merrion??)
And most people know that lifts are not going to bring them crashing down like that time in the film “Earthquake”, but that doesn’t stop them taking the stairs.
That’s all fine, and people accept it, but mention the fact that you have a hatred for the white stuff and you might as well take your place in the Good Shippe Freakdom bound for Never-Never-Coming-Back-Land.
I don’t know, I’ve tried to work on it, believe me. When I was a baby, I had to be scooted on to solids real fast to stave off, well, death, or a very early form of anorexia, neither of which looks particularly good on the parental record. In school we had this gig where kids could order milk every day. I liked the shape of the bottle that the icky stuff came in (don’t ask; I don’t know) so I got my mum to order it for me. I even drank it for two whole days. (Well, I sipped it before giving it to my friend but that’s got to count for something, right?)
Now that I’m a semi-mature adult, I do my best to hide it. When I’m out to dinner, I’m very subtle about moving the milk jug onto a neighbouring table. I’m so smooth I’m a virtual ninja at this stage. I try not to think about what might be lurking in the fridge at home. (Just because I have this issue doesn’t mean I can’t offer people tea with their own chosen poison).
Maybe the problems really got heated around about the time that creepy ad appeared on TV – you know the one where the kids are studying and a big wooden man comes to life to sing about how bones are all connected blah blah blah. And then he gives them milk to drink. He just seemed like a bit of a pushy sort to me:-
Whatever those kids were drinking, it wasn’t milk.
Recently though, I’ve begun to feel that there might be a new culprit to blame in my devastating milk-history. Russian dolls. At first glance, they seem perfectly normal. So normal, in fact, that I collect them. I’ve always liked the way they stack inside each other and you can really good ones with different political leaders inside them, which I like because that reminds me of political scandals – no sooner do you think it’s over than something else breaks out from inside.
Lately though, I’ve started to feel that they are a bit strange in some way that I can’t quite put my finger on. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up one night and they were spread out around my room, going through my stuff for things they could pawn so they could make enough money to run away to sea. I’m sure the person who invented them didn’t foresee such a catastrophe as all of my Russian dolls throwing themselves off my balcony in the middle of the night so they could just put themselves back together and roll off into the night. Things like that can be hard to predict.
Which makes it ALL THE MORE SHOCKING that I have discovered a link between my Russian dolls and a DEVASTATING PLOT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD VIA MILK!!!! Now, don’t be alarmed. Know this: I am on to them, and I don’t intend to let them get away with it! Luckily, I came across a recruitment video:
Hmmmm. Diagnosis: trouble.
The first time I saw this ad, I could hear the Laughing Cow in the distance. Waving her head in a sneer so that the cheeses she wears as earrings bobbed from side to side, she was sure she had it all sewn up. Because that’s what I realised what it had all been about. The sauces needing a pint of milk stirred in or the whole meal goes bottoms-up; the trauma inflicted by every new incarnation of the Milky Bar kid; the sorrow when you finally have to admit defeat and turn away from the night sky because it contains a Milky Way. It all boiled down to this moment. The cows were out to get me and milk was the easiest way they could manage it.
I knew I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve had an uneasy relationship with cows, ever since I used to go for walks in the country as a kid. They’d stop. And stare. And chew. Right then and there, our cards were marked. It was them or me.
Since then, they’ve done their thing and I’ve done mine. But I feel like we’re headed for a Kill-Bill-style ending. One where I’ll emerge victorious, admittedly covered in milk – (I’ll bear it so that Tarantino can add the dramatic music) – and then I’ll get on with the rest of my life. Strong. Defiant. Lactose-intolerant.
Either that, or I’ll revert to Plan B, which, in keeping with the zeitgeist, involves OccupyDairy. I’m not gonna lie to you, it won’t be pretty, the smell will drive me insane within twenty-five minutes, but at least it will put manners on those Ruskie Dolls.
I bought a new laptop recently. Seeing as I am severely challenged in the technological sphere, I did what every good technophobe does – I threw money at the problem. In this case, I gave some moolah to my brother and told him to go to and do the business in PC World or some such place. He came back very happy and told me he’d made a deal to get me 8 gigs of RAM.
Naturally, this meant nothing to me. Not until someone pointed out that you couldn’t really get any more memory than that on a laptop. And then my eyes lit up.
Eureka! More memory that you could throw a stick at! Finally, I had the power I needed – my time had come! Sweet justice at last! It was time to become a Bond villain!
Now, before anyone gets all judgemental on me, let me explain.
I have good, sound reasons for thinking my future lies in the Bond franchise. I really like a man in a suit, I think everyone’s spying on everyone else all the time, and I like to gamble. Since the demise of the Fianna Fail tent at the Galway Races, I’ve been at a severe loose end. There’s really nothing else for it but to jump on the Broccoli Bandwagon.
And as for the villain bit, well it’s obvious isn’t it? There’s no point in being a Bond girl. History tells us it’s not a good gig. You’ll either end up trussed up in a hammock with a bad case of sand hair, strewn across a bed covered in oil or floating off on a space station with a seven foot tall fifty year old who still needs braces. And if, on the rare occasion, you do persuade Meeester Bond to fall in love with you, you’re a goner. Might as well paint a target on your back and tell him how you want him to get his revenge.
No, I want to be the baddie. And not the sidekick to the baddie either. I’ll have the whole shebang, thank you very much. The big lair inside an extinct volcano, loads of little guys with red jumpsuits and yellow helmets who’ll do anything for me, including testing the nuclear rocket launcher while I watch on a big screen from the shark room. My very own herd of faithful little LEGO men. I’ll spend my Bond sojourn criss-crossing the globe in sleek planes and sleeker hair, double-crossing Bond in the casino with my p-p-poker face and collecting photographs of his traumatised little face as he realises that I am the big catch he’ll never be able to bring in. He hates me, then he loves me. It shouldn’t work, and yet it does. Just like that song with Pavarotti and Celine Dion.
Sure, there’ll be some downsides. My milk phobia would leave me slightly vulnerable but I’m safe until Bond starts drinking cappuccinos instead of martinis.
Besides, maybe the baddies are just misunderstood heroes. Take the most famous of them all – old Auric Goldfinger. Sure, he was a bit of a nut with the whole “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die!!!!” thing, and the painting-every-girl-gold-part was a bit extreme, but hey, at least he didn’t expect her to pay for her taxi home. I blame the parents myself. I bet young Auric spent most of his childhood sitting cross-legged in front of films like this:-
I mean! How could he not turn out to be a crazy megalomaniac with a “liust for gold” after that? It’s enough to drive you potty, what with all the tough-looking men and the cigar smoke and the dictators and the music. De-ne-neh-neh-neh-neh-nehhh. It’s so serious!!!!! Can you feel the tension?!!? And if not, then you’re not trying hard enough. Just remember – if the fiery furnace don’t getcha then the black dust will. It’s all trauma and devastation while that guy sings like a loon and Roger looks on moodily. And all just to put a charm around a lady’s neck. (Too right; us ladies need our charms, although I prefer mine on a bracelet). Nope. There was no hope for Auric after that. True, he got a bit confused between Roger Moore/Sean Connery but it’s an easy mistake to make.
I just hope that someday, after my many years of pillaging and rampaging as a bona fide Bond villain are behind me, someone will drag in Dr. Phil to do the research and discover that all I wanted was to be loved. That, and to extort the GDP of a small country in return for agreeing not to put a shield around the sun. But then he’d tell me from underneath his moustache that I DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO CLAIM THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF OTHERS FOR MY OWN PERSONAL HAPPINESS. Sheesh. Some people are so touchy when a gal tries to be entrepreneurial. Time to set the LEGO men on his Texan ass.
Given the programmes I watched as a kid, I think I have a pretty good idea of how my Bond film would turn out, so here’s a preview:-
Now if that isn’t worth a good gig or two, I don’t know what is.
If possible, try to contact it during periods of extreme floods/hurricanes/monsoons. That way, you have a completely valid reason for not opening the door.
There’s only so many times you can watch old re-runs of “Bullseye” before you start answering every question with “Let’s have a look at what you could have won.”
If you fall sick just after taking part in a Toastmaster competition, you will be visited by hallucinations of previous world champions, giving perfectly executed speeches on where you went wrong. This is to be avoided as it will drive you slowly insane.
To avoid losing track of time, consider marking days off on your wall. To add variety, maybe you could pretend to be The Prisoner of Zenda/Man in the Iron Mask while you whistle a happy tune.
Judge Judy is always right. Except when she’s wrong.
Tweeting when high on antibiotics can lead you up some strange alleys. (Yes, it was a Communist statement; no, I did not support the McCarthy trials.)
You get obsessed with watching bits of old A-Team episodes on YouTube. At 3am.
You just can’t get that riled up over political debates online. So you Just. Lash. Out.
And you know you’re better when:-
You start to read the legal file that you brought home four days before. You start to think fondly of the “to-do” list waiting for you on your desk.
You start to hope that Momma Walton and those two children will actually stay lost on the mountain when their truck blows a tyre/they go searching for a lost chicken/cow/goat.
Scratch the last one. It applies regardless of your state of health.
YOU DON’T WANT TO WATCH ANY MORE T.V. EVER!!!!!!
When someone suggests that you should take another day off work, your reply can only be heard by the dogs.
I met a friend in the Queen of Tarts cafe for lunch today. This is my new favourite hang-out in Dublin. Yes, I realise that this means I am approximately 12/13 years behind everyone else but on the up-side, lots of people have moved on to their next favourite place, so it’s easier for me to get a table.
Today, I sat in the corner beside the big dresser with the bowls of vegetables. I like that dresser. I keep hoping someone will swirl out into the middle of the room chanting “I-a need some onions!” (for some reason they should sound like a gangster in a Scorsese film who’s making bolognese in prison), and then scoop up the whole platter of red onions to the delight of the tourists (and me).
I had tasty chicken pie and chocolate and then my friend left. I ordered some tea in a pretty china cup and saucer and settled down to some story-plotting. It was going very well when I heard a scream. A few tables to my left, panic spread quickly when a pie erupted to reveal four-and-twenty blackbirds who weren’t too pleased to find themselves being baked. Out they flew, attacking the Spaniards at the next table who were stunned into sudden silence. I was on the floor by then, wisely keeping my mouth shut (and my glasses on; I’ve seen The Birds, I know the drill).
When the whole restaurant went dark, I thought they’d got to the power. Lifting my head however, I batted away the wings and saw his silhouette in the doorway. He was tall. He was broad. He was Hitchcock’s worst nightmare. His name was Hearts, Knave-of-Hearts.
I wanted to stay and watch how he dealt with the flock but a wise gal knows when to scoot. Besides, some loon at the next table wanted a glass of milk to help him cope with the shock (Ugh!! Yuck!!! Horror!! Insert crazy word and/or expletive here but only before they deliver the damn icky stuff in its completely GROSS glass!!!). So I made a very undignified exit by crawling through the (sob!) broken china and crushed macaroons and found myself lying in the gutter on Cow’s Lane.
I’ve always liked the thought of looking at the stars at a time like that and Oscar Wilde and the nice people at The Gutter Bookshop agree with me, so in I went. I love this bookshop. I always think that if there had been a bookshop in Roald Dahl’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, it would have been this one. There’s grass on the floor in the childrens’ section!!! How brilliant is that? And puppets too which are just screaming to be played with. I hung around for a while, humming Ooompah Loompah songs in the hope of luring them out from those little caves they live in, but no joy. In fairness, they were probably watching the Knave-related scenes up the road (he’s good but he’s not so silent). So I gave up and bought a book on the Camino Walk instead.
I’m tempted to do the Camino. There are many, many reasons why I shouldn’t – I don’t walk anywhere; I’m so unfit that when I go up to the top storey in work, I have to take a rest before I talk to anyone, otherwise they’ll just hear me gasping for breath for ten minutes; my luggage is always overweight at the airport; I don’t like flat shoes; I’m not really the outdoorsy sort; the list goes on. But they’re all just surface problems, aren’t they? I mean, if I really got into it, I’m sure I wouldn’t have to stop and set up home in some little town in rural Spain because I’m just too exhausted to keep going??
And even if that did happen, I’m sure I’d learn to make great paella. Once I keep the blackbirds out of the kitchen. My mind is made up. I’m off to buy those walking stick things tomorrow.