I’ve just returned from a lovely week in the lovely France, where the lovely Miss-Matic and I attended the lovely wedding of a lovely French couple, who were, quite frankly, lovely.
While we were there we did a number of touristy things, ate at number of cafes and restaurants, and stayed at a number of hotels, like tourists tend to do. But this particular tale begins with our arrival in a small village somewhere south of Lyon.
Miss-Matic and I disembarked the train and walked the mile or so to our hotel. It turned out to be a cross between a low-budget located-on-a-roundabout-near-an-industrial-estate type chain hotel, of the kind you might see in a British film, or a British TV show – or in Britain – and a cheap motel such as you might see in an American movie, or an American TV show. Or, indeed, in America. The result was the type of accomodation you might expect to find in a joint British-American film production, or TV show, or in whatever province might have resulted if the colony hadn’t gone off in a huff, demanding independence like a stroppy teenager with bad hair and an obsession with ‘freedom’.
Except it was in France.
Picture this, if you think it wise:
After a long day – or even a short day – of being a person who gets stuff done, I like to get myself a beverage, take off my trousers, and sit around in my underwear for a while.
The other day I was sitting on the sofa, elegantly sprawled and scratching bits that needed to be scratched, when I noticed a big bruise on my thigh. It was the kind of bruise that says ‘Hey!‘
So I looked at the bruise, said ‘Hey,’ back, and wondered where it had come from. My curiosity didn’t last long – I got distracted by my beverage, which on this particular occasion was hot, and had a half-biscuit floating in it.
A couple of doors down from me lives a pizza beast.
The pizza beast lives exactly where you might expect a pizza beast to live – in a pizza shop.
The pizza beast and I have a wary kind of relationship. We’re like the daddy lions of neighbouring prides; rival wizards whose sorcerous towers overlook the same enchanted forest, or the last two bruised apples in the supermarket, desperately not wanting to be the last bruised apple in the supermarket.
Yep. We keep a wary eye on each other.
Right now, as I type this, a creepy toad ornament is looking at me.
This particular ornament is a little smaller than the size of a fist, made of dark wood. The upper jaw/head/back section is actually a lid, which conceals a small cavity for storing half-digested flies, lily pad crumbs, long-lost surgical forceps, or whatever else might be found inside a toad.
The creepy toad ornament came from somewhere in Sheffield. Miss-Matic saw it, and decided her life really wasn’t complete without a creepy toad ornament, and so it came home with us.
Although the creepy toad ornament is ugly, it isn’t inherently creepy. It’s creepiness comes from the fact that it watches me.
I’m good at dropping things.
So good, in fact, that sometimes my natural dropping-things instincts kick in when I’m not even trying.
This is usually fine, except when I’m holding a thing – especially a thing that should not be dropped – like a baby.
Dropping babies is the kind of thing that can get you in trouble with babies’ parents, concerned bystanders and officers of the law – not to mention make you generally unattractive to women. I’m also informed it’s not good for the baby either – but what’s it going to do, beat me up? I’m more concerned about the women.
I live opposite a pub – which would be great if, a) I was deaf, b) I could afford to drink, and c) it wasn’t full of morons. Unfortunately, none of these things are true, so instead of going there I usually content myself to lie in bed in the small hours of the morning, listening to the drunken patrons screaming at each other like taxi-seeking monkeys, entertaining me with loud stories of the time they flung their favourite poo at a fellow monkey before trying to get it into a threesome with a genetically not-dissimilar kebab.
But Miss-Matic and I had a guest to stay the other day, so we scoured the back of the sofa for enough loose-change to show him the sights and sounds of our small town, starting by going across the road for a drink.
Upon arriving in the pub, pre-lubricated with wine and beer and the smell of a suspicious vodka that I didn’t allow closer than arm’s length, we discovered that a band was playing to a bunch of locals and their mothers. A girl with reddy-pink or pinky-red hair was screaming into a microphone. I couldn’t really discern what she was singing, but she sounded rather angry.
I was lying in bed the other night, working out exactly how I would melt the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to drown the low-lying areas of the world if I were a supervillain, when my musings were interrupted by a bong.
By this, I don’t mean that an oversized piece of drug paraphernalia flew through my window on smokey wings of purple haze and struck me on the head, saving coast-dwellers around the globe from getting their socks wet – but that something, somewhere, went bong.
I started this blog a year and a day ago.
In honour of this – and in anticipation of a deeper writing-related post on the horizon, I’ve dug up an old short story for you – the first I’ve posted here. Enjoy.
Yesterday I left the flat to go job hunting. Everybody goes about this arduous activity in different ways, but for me this involved walking down the street with my hands in my pockets, kicking a stone along, and wishing that I had a treehouse.
Every so often I would look in a shop window to see if there were any signs advertising vacancies for in-store writer wannabes, bed testers, or beer tasters – but there weren’t any.
I did a circuit of the library and the town’s two bookshops, hoping to see signs stating they needed someone to check the plots – but there weren’t of those either. My final option was the Job Centre, but that was just depressing, so I did the bookshop-library-bookshop circuit another couple of times in case a sign had gone up in the meantime.
If there’s one thing I have in common with Miss-Matic, Miss-Matic’s mother, and our cat – who adopted Miss-Matic’s mother only to be subsequently adopted by Miss-Matic and I under the somewhat false pretense that we would be entirely responsible for its residency, and who still lives with Miss-Matic’s mother several years later and is most definitely still our cat despite appearances and quite possibly legal definitions to the contrary – it is that we all like to take naps.
As we step into a brand new year it is important to set one’s goals and agendas up front – this is why we make New Year’s Resolutions after all – and so I have decided to spend most of 2013 missing 2013 by napping as frequently and lengthily as possible.