Summer here is a bit of a fantasy.
It goes like this : monsoon-like rains begin in early April and continue nonstop until the time when such things might be on the seasonal agenda, e.g March. Punctuated by the occasional teasing day of hot sunshine, this means that for the most part we in the West of the UK spend our summer days bogging around in wellies under grey skies, attempting to ‘manage’ an encroaching sea of vegetation that threatens to engulf our houses and swallow our cats up whole.
Here is my friend, the unruly and generous Alzheimer’s Rose. He doesn’t care, he just falls all over everything else, dementedly throwing out luminous blossoms, glowing before dawn, after dusk, and often till Christmas. He just goes on, his perfect petals hugging deep, warm hearts , scented somewhere between honey and paradise.
He’s like my Dad all over. Who always shared the best bit of his egg with me, especially on grey days….
Is it gin?
I’ll just sit here like a cat in the sunshine and stare at it then.
Dear Mr Tent,
We’ve come a long way together. Had so many adventures…camping has taught me so many useful things. For example…
- That no matter how ‘level’ the pitch, the ‘wee-bucket’ will always mysteriously fall sideways during the course of the night
- That gigantic toads will arise from beneath the groundsheet and stealthily clamber into unoccupied shoes. Squish.
- That every campsite is seeded, pre-season, with slug eggs so that a massive army of slugs will be ripe ‘ n ready to wrap themselves around every forgotten barbecue morsel drape themselves over beer bottles and curl up in your yogurt.
- That the only place to wash your dishes is in an outdoor trough which you will find conveniently situated next to the evil pit where folks empty out the chemical toilet ‘cassettes’. What ?
- That animals will enter your tent at night and you will wake to see the bin bag moving around by itself..
- That for the cost of a few small coins you may purchase the opportunity to stand naked under a piddling shower feeding these into a metal box while foot- juice from the neighbouring shower swirls magically around your ankles.
- That every campsite contains a random dog which will appear from nowhere and cock its leg all over your barbecue and your new chairs.
- That those people who have the same tent as you also have a free range toddler who will on at least one occasion wander into your tent looking confused, or even worse may start to scream inconsolably.
- That hidden in the folds of your bed compartment is a zizzing insect with a spectacular blood sucking proboscis who has been there since you last packed away. He’s well hangry, and he’s going to feast on your flesh….
- That within a day that area just outside the entry-hole of the tent will transform into a rancid quagmire through which you will be forced to walk to escape.
- That if you forget the mallet you will be forced spend every evening on your knees banging the pegs back in with a frying pan.
- That the glorious peace of nightfall is rent by a symphony of snorers, farters and sexual athletes following an intensive training schedule.
- That it is usually possible to keep warm at night by wrapping up in a full set of ski thermals and bedding down on a full size mattress with 6 pillows, 3 duvets, and a blankie.
- That by bringing a small fridge you can prevent your beer from simmering and your butter from running into next week.
- That a portable wardrobe is the only certain way to safeguard against your clean underwear stash being used as an impromptu bat roost.A shoe store is also useful (see ‘toads’ above)..
- And a full sized cooker. In fact, a house would be really handy. Or a hotel.
Yes, I confess to sharing my home with a couple of cats. And I recognise that for many people the appeal of sharing space with 50 claws attached to a random-brained, unpredictable eating machine is something unfathomable and a sure-fire sign of weirdness.
Cats are magic. They have special powers beyond human reasoning.
Here is Tiggy. She is going to demonstrate one such power …
“Behold. By day I am a delicate little poopkin, no bigger than a wickle melon.
By night, my body mass triples, quadruples even, and I expAAAAAaand into a thing of monstrous proportions.
Because of this trans-mogrification I am not allowed to sleep on their bed.
(..in the morning I will get in and Sit on her Face. Heh.)”