September 23, 2010

Today, I ate five prawns. This is a record.

I think it is a sign of contentment.

The Mushroom is happy. Properly, singing-in-the-shower happy. I’d forgotten she could do that, be happy.  Who’d have thought that all she needed was a) a house that has windows, b) people and c) a dishwasher.

I like the window bit too. I’m indifferent to the dishwasher. I’m well pissed off about the people.

People keep coming round. And these people have children. It’s as much as I can manage with the one we have living in our house all the time, and even my Dad took ages to acclimatize, as this conversation from the Early Days demonstrates:

 “I can’t sleep.”

“Why not?”

 “The light. THE LIGHT!”

“It’s a frigging star night light from Ikea. It’s 5 watts. Shut up.”

 “It’s like trying to rest under the Eye of Sauron.”

“I can’t turn it off. If I turn it off I can’t see the baby.” 

My Dad gets out of bed, stomps about in the kitchen opening cupboards and closing them, then returns brandishing something for The Mushroom.

“When you want to see The Baby, just shine this torch on her.”

“SHINE A TORCH ON HER? We’re not paramilitaries.”

Anyhoo, the house is being invaded. By Talking Small People.

“Could you just close the door for me, please? I’m scared of cats.” said  Talking Small Person as she entered my house. She’s two and a half. TWO AND A HALF. I’m pretty certain you’re just supposed to be able to make mooing sounds or something at two and a half, not ask for the door to be shut.

“Oh, it’s only Zeebies.”, said The Baby.

This reply, I take issue with on MANY LEVELS.

Firstly, Baby, let me point out to you that you have no hair.  People with no hair have no business using the word ‘only’ (by this I mean people who have not yet grown hair, not the prematurely balding or the just maturely balding. They can use the word ‘only’ as much as they like, and probably do, as in, ‘If only I had hair.’). You may be freakishly tall and have giant, puppy feet, but you have no hair.

Secondly, ‘it’s only Zeebies?’ ONLY Zeebies? So Talking Small Person may be scared of cats, but she has no need to be scared of me?  Do I not count as a cat, or I am such a pathetic specimen that I simply don’t cause fear in the young? Cos I’ll have you know, baldy, that I’m FEROCIOUS and also black and black cats are well scary.

And thirdly, why do I get locked out of my house by Small People? The fact that I had voluntarily gone outside and was sitting in the garden is irrelevant. I’m pretty certain you wouldn’t like it if I invited a load of my cat mates round and then turned to you and said, ‘Oh, sorry, Baby – we’re scared of children. They make a lot of noise, are unpredictable and then make a load of fuss when we scratch them. Just sit outside for a bit whilst we talk about Purina Party Mix, would you? There’s a love.’

They shut the door. I snuck back in through the window. IN YOUR FACE.

And this is why I ate five prawns today. I may be indifferent to the dishwasher, and pissed off about the people, but I properly, hugely, love windows.


Welcome to the Neighbourhood

September 17, 2010

We have moved.

One week, there we all are, living with The Hippy and The Cave Troll, with no money, no job and a broken jeep. The next, we are house-hunting and moving to the shores of Lake Ontario and we have some money, a job and a less broken jeep.

Exciting times.

I don’t get to go house hunting. Moreover, they tend to pretend I don’t exist when house hunting and then, if landlords ever come round and see that I do, indeed, exist, I suddenly belong to somebody called ‘Uncle Dave’* who has gone on holiday.

*Everyone my Dad ever makes up is called ‘Dave’. He knows a fair few real Daves, too. Dave who ran The Morden and dribbled a bit when he talked, Dave who worked behind the bar at The Morden and was obsessed with boobs, Dave From The Prairies who had seventeen children and once tried to kiss my Dad because The Mushroom dared him to and That Bastard Dave, who tried to kill me and Is Evil.

House-hunting – Day 1:

The Mushroom: I really liked that third house.

My Dad: That third house was painted puce.

The Mushroom: But we could repaint it…

My Dad: And it had a giant slide in the living room.

The Mushroom: It wasn’t a ‘giant slide’. It was a staircase cover.

My Dad: Yes. A giant slide. I don’t want to sit and watch TV in a room that is painted puce with a giant novelty slide in it.


The Mushroom: What about the second one?

My Dad: It was in the middle of an industrial estate.


The Mushroom: And you really didn’t like the first, either? Cos of the uneven floor?

My Dad: It was sideways. It was like being on a frigging ship.

House-hunting – Day 2:

My Dad: I think we should state, as a rule, that we do not wish to live anywhere again that smells of urine.

The Mushroom: (sighing) Okay.

My Dad: Or where the landlord says he will ‘pop by’ every day to empty the dehumidifier.

The Mushroom: Alright.

My Dad: And I think it’s probably best not to ring back the woman who wanted to do our birth charts.

The Mushroom: Gotcha.

House-hunting: Day 3.

They come back all happy. They have found a house. The Baby loves it. We’re moving in two days.

Moving Day:

If I were to give my Dad a bit of advice, it would be this: when saying yes to strangers who stop and ask if you want a hand moving boxes, keep an eye out to see if they steal your wallet from where you’d left it as they place said box in your house.

Oh, and your sunglasses.

But anyway, we have now MOVED.

There is a part of me which quite likes moving around a lot. It’s interesting, more interesting than just staying on the Holderness Road or what have you. You meet a lot of people, you see how different folk in different climates live, their mores, their strategies for coping. It widens your perspective on what it is to be alive and maybe, more than anything else, that’s what life is about – a making sense of your own existence, and then validating it in some way by doing something useful or good or both.

I like it, though, only in theory. In reality, I want a corner of somewhere that is warm and smells of me and is mine.

So far, I really like this corner.

 Apart from Jumper Wearing Unsmiling Neighbour.

I don’t trust jumpers. It’s like a pathetic attempt at being a proper mammal. Quite frankly, since you started that Walking Upright business and making wheels and dishwashers and things, your fur has gotten less and less until now you just have these weird patches of the stuff (pregnant Mushroom notwithstanding) and I think, personally, that that is nature’s pay off. You want labour saving devices and a telephone? Excellent. Fill your boots. But I’ll be having your fur back, thankyou. So when I see a man wearing a jumper, I think, amongst other things: twat. You’ve got no fur. Stop pretending.

 Don’t start me on people wearing actual fur. It’s like watching somebody wandering about wearing somebody else’s ears.

Hello!” says my Dad, raising his hand to Jumper Wearing Unsmiling Neighbour as the latter got into this car one morning.


“Good morning!” called The Mushroom, as Jumper Wearing Unsmiling Neighbour got out of his car one afternoon.


“Hello!” said The Baby, as Jumper Wearing Unsmiling Neighbour took stuff out of his car one evening.


These are my theories regarding Jumper Wearing Unsmiling Neighbour:

1. He is blind. If so, he probably should be driving less.

2. He is scared of English people.

3. He hates English people.

4. He’s really shy.

5. He’s a mentalist.

Personally, based on how hot it’s been, I’m going to go for 5 because even when it was so hot all I could do was sit very still and hope that someone  let me in and put the air conditioning on, he was still wearing a jumper.

We shall see.

Lake Ontario is so very big that it is really a sea. Lots of seagulls here. If anyone can think of a way of letting the boys back in Saskatchewan know, give us a shout.

Every Cloud…

September 1, 2010

If any of you have been wondering why I haven’t written for a while, then I’d like to say it’s because a lot has been happening here. This is kind of true. A lot has been happening here. But an awful lot has to happen before ‘things happening’ affect me in any shape, way or form, as, to be fair, I mostly spend my time a) sitting and b) licking my feet,  so the hiatus has been mostly due to me being too hot.

But things, indeed, have been happening.

One such happening is the discovery that a sure-fire way of pissing off my Dad is to steal his Jeep from the driveway in the middle of the night, take all its contents, including The Baby’s carseat and toys, drive it so badly that all that remains of the two week old fan belt is a two millimetre wide scrap of rubber then leave it, engine smoking, with the doors open, in the middle of an Indian Reservation.

Whilst I could have hazarded a guess that this would annoy him, it’s good to know these things for sure.

Make this happen just two weeks after he spent $3000 on repairs, and he’ll be more pissed off.

Ensure this happens on the night he forgot to lock it so that it’s not covered by insurance, and he’ll rapidly lose the ability to speak.

 “We have no car, no job and no money.” said my Dad to The Mushroom.

Things were looking quite bleak.

I really fancied some Iams.

It’s difficult in the animal kingdom for any of us to ‘steal’, being as we kind of make like the Carmelites and don’t own anything. However, if I saw another cat with a mouse, I’d think, hello, you’ve caught a mouse; well done you! and then I’d go about my business. Going and trying to steal the mouse from him would be a bit weird. It’s his mouse. It would just start a fight. Nobody’s going to fight over a mouse, unless you’re another mouse. The probable consequences of trying to take the other cat’s mouse would take far more energy than going and catching my own. No cat would ever be arsed.

This probably isn’t a brilliant analogy.

In any case, naïve though it might be, I  am utterly bemused as to why anybody would want to steal my Dad’s jeep. They didn’t even want to keep it. They just wanted to drive it about a bit, nick The Baby’s stuff then break it. Perhaps their parents never took them gocarting or something.

And who would want ANOTHER CHILD’S carseat? ‘Oh, what’s this you have for me? A car seat? Covered in crayon? With raisins and little bits of stale croissant in the corner? Oh, that is lovely. Thankyou so much!’


My Dad got his car back, albeit mostly broken, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who found it, towed it to Canadian Tire, charged my Dad All The Money He Had Left for the privilege, and tried to make small talk whilst showing him the paperwork.

“So, I see here the vehicle was bought in Saskatchewan?” asked Chipper Copper, at 3.45 am to a shell-shocked Dad dressed only in his lounge pants.

“Erm, yes, yes I bought it there.”

“Long way to go for a vehicle.” says Chipper Copper, suspiciously. I skulked in a corner trying to work out if there was any kind of crime scenario which would necessitate buying a car in Saskatchewan. I couldn’t.

“I used to live there.” replied my Dad.

“Oh!” said Chipper Copper, “I have family out there! So how did you find Saskatchewan?”

My Dad  looked at him. “I just drove West.”

Chipper Copper nodded. He didn’t smile. “Right.” he said.

There was a pause.

“So, you’re English then?” continues Chipper Copper. My Dad couldn’t be less in the mood for this. He nodded, almost imperceptibly.

“I have a friend from England.” My Dad looked at him. “From Glasgow.”

My Dad continued to look at him.

“Right.” he said. “Now, about my Jeep…”

“Yeah,” said Chipper Copper. “You really should have locked it.”

For six days, my Dad licked his wounds. For six days, he hardly spoke, hardly slept, hardly ate and spent a lot of time staring at walls. No job, no money, no car. The Mushroom hovered around him, suggesting solutions which couldn’t work, offering him morsels to eat, worrying.

“Should we just go home?” she suggested.

“We are home.” he growled. “I’ll sort it. I promise.”

The Mushroom stroked his head, and worried some more.

And on the seventh day, he got a job. A really really really lovely, well paid teaching job.

And everything changed.

And now we’re moving again.

Please let there be no other cats please let there be no other cats please let there be no other cats…