If you haven’t heard of the ice-bucket challenge…what planet are you on? I thought I had got away without being nominated, but no such luck. So this is my contribution to the challenge – I am donating to UNICEF!
Entertainment in the form of conversation with a two and four year old is hard to beat. I spent the weekend with my brother’s family and was immersed in a world of dragons, dinosaurs, strange children’s stories about moles with poo on their head, growing crystals, modelling chocolate, kings and princesses, train rides to Africa and much, much more.
It was my nephew’s fourth birthday and 95% of his presents were dinosaur based, right down his birthday cake and dinosaur tattoos. He told me that dinosaur means terrible lizard and that a t-rex and a pterodactyl merged to form a terrifying flying menace which flies around Edinburgh. To kill a T-rex, you must stab it in the stomach with a sword and run between its legs. I think the first bit is true at least.
My two year old niece on the other hand, is happy making pretend tea and moving beans from one pot to another whilst chattering away in pidgin English. When she is out and about, she is permanently attached to a toy buggy which she pushes everywhere with great determination regardless of whether it is occupied. She loves her guinea pig and insists on stuffing carrots in its mouth while it dangles desperately off her tiny knee. My world seems positively bleak now that I’m back at home.
In this life there are spooners and shakers. The spooners like the comfort of boundaries. When someone says “I’d like half a teaspoon of sugar with my coffee”, a spooner will diligently measure the requested amount of coffee and sugar, and you can be assured that your hot drink will be served at a reasonable strength and just sweet enough.
Shakers, on the other hand, live life on the edge. They have no need for utensils! Instead they prefer guesswork. You cannot be guaranteed consistency with a shaker. One day you might receive a potent, dark coffee that’s bitter and acrid until you hit the bottom where the unstirred heap of sugar (measured by eye) makes you gag and gives your pancreas something to think about. The next day, you may have a cup of slightly caffeinated, watery gnats wee and you chastise yourself for relinquishing control of your morning coffee.
I say this because in an office where people regularly offer to make you a drink, you have to choose wisely. Knowing who the spooners and the shakers are can be the difference between a good Monday morning and a bad one. However, there is one pitfall with some of the muckier spooners which could muddy the friendship between tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. It’s dirty habit which led to my cartoon of the week…
Last week my good friend and colleague, V, left our little team of four to return to her homeland, Ireland. In the year since I started, the four of us had become a well-oiled machine and despite having quite different personalities and interests, we gelled remarkably well.
V was perhaps my closest colleague and I enjoyed our daily routine of coffee making in the office kitchen where we would put the world to rights, discuss the weather, children, holidays, work and inevitably our weight. She’d often bemoan the fact that she’d expanded out of control since having her daughter and I’d tell her how I used to play a variety of sports that meant I could see my feet without having to physically lift my belly upwards and inwards. Ironically, and more often than not, these conversations took place as we both reached for a piece of cake from the endless supply of calorific goodies brought in by colleagues celebrating birthdays, holidays, house moves, the Grand Depart, football or just living.
There were two such conversations that still make me giggle when I think of them. The first involved an ill-fitting cream dress that V had shoehorned herself into. She exclaimed that the multiple rolls of flab, accentuated by the tight dress made her look like a giant ‘witchetty grub’ – an image that fills me with mirth. I hasten to add that V is not actually very large at all which makes the stories all the more entertaining.
I decided to draw the second conversation because it just sums up our chit chat. I shall certainly miss V as I make coffee on my own and look longingly at the cakes.
I often get suggestions for stories but have yet to meet someone keen enough to put pen to paper. My skills as a writer are pretty limited, so although I have a bank of ideas, a creative story arc is unlikely to flow from my grey matter.
My sister in-law once wrote a short story about a seagull in Edinburgh. I have sketched the character but need to spend find some time illustrating the landscapes for the background – something that doesn’t come as easy to me as character design.
After doodling a few rabbits and posting them to Facebook a few months back, my sister in-law’s mother penned the first paragraph of a possible story (clearly writing is a family trait). I liked her intro and thought I’d post it here – it was an excuse to draw more animals!
Perhaps, if someone feels the urge, they could draft another paragraph or two – it would make a nice little series of blog posts! So , Nicky, thanks for your contribution….
We rabbits are numerous, though like icebergs and Russian spies we are more under than over ground.
We have a long history of storytelling – from the epic Watership Down, through Peter Rabbit and of course the proverbial Bre’r Rabbit.
Some might think hares are more elegant – but we don’t waste our time gazing at the moon. While they gaze, we graze. Hares are distractible, hence their inability to win races against tortoises; we rabbits can not only beat a tortoise, we have even won races against Porsches – those loud, often red animals who drink evil smelling liquids and regurgitate humans.
Unlike you humans, we teach our young by telling stories – a flat screen cannot convey the detail, especially moral and emotional, of a good story told by Granny or Aunty.
Here follows the fabled rabbit story of how William Rabbit won a race against one of these Porsches, which I believe has never before been translated into a human language.
If you think you can see where this story is going…why not get in touch?
Passport Office strike or not, I need to get mine renewed before I head off to France in November. One hopes that 4 months is sufficient time to complete this rather expensive and time consuming process. First port of call is the dreaded passport photo – can someone please tell me why it is necessary to make your picture resemble a mug shot? “The person in this passport was once the life and soul of the party but now they are just an empty shell, devoid of emotion or personality. Let them into the country”!