It’s V.E.T. day for the cat, there’s a blizzard blowing outside and the Internet is down. Although I am writing this at noon my time by candlelight, I’ve no idea when it will arrive in cyberspace… So while I am cut of from the collective, I’ve thrown another log on the fire, stirred my cauldron and picked up a book, a gift given to me by a very good friend before I left Edinburgh. It’s a book of Scottish Traditional Tales, so that I wouldn’t forget my time in Scotland, and those of you who know me, know how much I love folklore…So gather around.
I let it fall open, the candle flickers and page 50 begins “Once upon a time…” great! It’s all about a miller and his pregnant wife. She is craving liver in the middle of the night (can anyone say zombie apocalypse?) and sends him into town to buy some. Well, the shops won’t be open for hours and the miller, wanting to please his wife but also wanting to get some sleep, cooks up a cunning plan. Remembering that a corpse has very recently been buried in the graveyard, he digs it up, removes the liver, takes it home and cooks it. Perfectly reasonable. The wife is unaware of the origins of the liver and gobbles it up! Later on, the miller goes to work and there’s a knock at the door. It’s the corpse. Obviously. So she asks it why it looks rotting and why it’s entrails are hanging out and where oh where has its liver gone (again, don’t you love the logic of folktales?) And ‘It’ shrieked, “you ate it” and tore her to pieces, naturally. The End.
Part of me thinks this is a little unfair – the woman had no idea she had consumed the liver of a dead corps, her husband the miller, dug up the corpse, removed the liver, cooked it up in the middle of the night and fed it to his pregnant wife… Great guy… I know, I know, cautionary tales keep us on the straight and narrow, teach through gruesome and grizzly stories what not to do. In this case, eat dead humans. I can see the value of this in the light of CJD (mad cow disease), Ebola and a whole host of other bad things, like becoming a zombie, a vampire or just a common or garden cannibal. And clearly, ignorance is no defence! Which is why the wife, ignorant of her crime was torn to shreds.
However, what really struck me is the section of the book this tale was in – Children’s Tales. Teach ‘em early…
Why am I watching The Shining alone at midnight? I don’t know what scares me more, Jack or that 70’s orange carpet. Oh no, the cook’s just arrived, I really hope he doesn’t get it. But he just did. And I screamed and scared the cat. I’ve just realized I’ve never seen this all the way through… It’s the music, the red bathroom, that crazy man in a bear suite, and that even crazier elephant cord dress the wife is wearing. I can’t believe the poor cook came all that way to be axed. Literally. Hope I didn’t give the plot away to anyone…
Redrum, redrum… there’s so much blood!
I need Flossy the cat to come and protect me, or at least a pillow to hide behind… Run! Run! Run to the snow cat and don’t’ drop the knife!
All work and no play makes Jack and Dull boy…
Phew, it’s all over… I’m such a lightweight, Jack scares me, the Overlook Hotel scares me, heck even the orange carpet scares me. I think I need to watch The Little Mermaid or The Muppets before I can go to bed….
What is going on in the world? I’ve just turned on the news. Those of you who know me may be shocked, but I’ve seen the episode of Miss Marple being aired so I’m on Aljazeera and what do I see? Smog in Delhi has visibility down to 15 metres, a piece of whale puke sells for $100,000 – I’ll expand on that it a moment – and someone has blown up a mosque! What?? Where do I start? With the mosque. Although I’m not a follower of any institutional religion, I respect anyone’s faith and recognise that religious belief provides millions of people with enormous comfort and provides the more wayward among us with a moral compass. Thus, I am horrified that anyone thinks it’s in anyway acceptable to bomb a place of worship. The smog – what are we doing to our planet? And finally, that oh so valuable whale puke… Dug up on a British beach by a man and his dog, the aromatic mass is valued at $100,000. Used in high-end perfumes for its musky aroma, the ball of vomit – which looked like a mouldy cheese, matures over time to become… priceless. So we spray ourselves with mouldy whale vomit? I’m speechless… Crazy as my life is on Chicken Road, I think I’d rather live with the three c’s; kids, cats and coffee. The only sensible thing I heard on the news came from Hilary Clinton. She said, and I paraphrase horribly, that women and girls should be treated as equals, with respect and dignity, this will change the world and the global economy. I couldn’t agree more – where do we start?
Is Hell. If it’s not ‘the child’ racing around naked, screaming and doing very bad things with his potty, it’s that Hell-spawn; Flossy the rescue cat. And better yet, the two compete for my attention and my lap. It’s Clash of the Titans in miniature; he’s three and a half, and she’s a big, fat, hairy, house cat – they’re about the same size, only one has superior teeth and the other a superior brain. I’ve yet to decide which is which…
Anyway, this morning I was rudely awoken by a lot of noise in the bathroom, next door to my bedroom. Apparently a plumber had been called. Nothing to do with me I might add. It was 8.30 am – middle of the night! He was very noisy, as was the plumbing and ‘the child’ who insisted on a loud and running commentary with his as yet, undecipherable speech, of the plumber’s activities right outside my door. By 9.15am I could take no more a blearily removed my eye-mask and stumbled towards the kitchen and the Blessed Coffeepot. I didn’t make it. Accosted by both Titans, Flossy and ‘the child’. I should point out that neither Titan belongs to me. They just blight my existence like a couple of harpies, sent by the Gods to torment me. Flossy was demanding food with the wrath of Zeus in withdrawal, ‘the child’, a hug, a kiss and that I help him with a jigsaw puzzle. He refuses to wear clothes. He dragged me by the hand to the offending puzzle, which I was expected to piece together, uncafinated. Not to be thwarted by a three year old’s jigsaw, I struggled on, only to discover there were in fact two jigsaws mixed together and pieces were missing… Ye Gods! And did I mention it was only 9.15am and I’d had no coffee?
Opportunity presented itself and I escaped to the kitchen, only to be followed by ‘the child’ who informed me that he wanted a wee, did it in his conveniently located potty and then, as I was filling the Blessed Coffeepot, he helpfully informs me that he is emptying it – I turn to see him upend the offending wee-filled potty into the sink and all over the dishes… Joy!
“I want to sit on your knee!” He screams, but so does the cat. They eye each other, then jostle for position, Flossy attaches herself to the knot of my dressing gown belt and proceeds to suckle on it, ignoring ‘the child’ who pulls her tail – an act of war – as I raise the mug of Blessed Coffee to my mouth….
This, my friends, is a slice of life on Chicken Road….