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Surreality

We’ll start today, dear readers, with a round up of events – for the good reason that today has been a Rather Interesting Day.

It started out normal enough; me waking late with a body made of lead after a night rendered sleepless by virtue of two happy catlets (too old to be kittens, too young to be cats) performing the feline equivalent of popular West End show Stomp! all night. (Whoever suggested cats move about sliently has clearly never lived with them. Their ability to find all manner of things that crinkle, bang, crash, tinkle and rustle – but only ever between the hours of 2am and 7am – is quite phenomenal.)

At the office, the morning’s Performance Review Meeting passed merrily enough; we talked about my new part-time role (terrifying – given that this month I’ve yet again been unable to find money for the mortgage – but essential if my life is to change for the better). My manager was encouraging about the possibilities for my fledgling consultancy business. Later in the day, another kind colleague made similar encouraging noises, so I shall take this to be a Good Sign. After all, we in the West have a great capacity to make our own destiny – should we be prepared to use a bit of elbow grease.

Lunchtime was given to a freelance Editor of women’s magazines. A charming woman who listened intently to my brain infection story.  As the audience is women, I was careful to include inspiring words of advice – notably; Life’s Too Short for Housework and Don’t Look to Relationships For Happiness – Make Your Own. Sadly, so engrossed was I in our conversation that I ran straight through lunch and into my next meeting. The consequences of which were two: a parking ticket for the car I forgot was in the car park, and Emergency Biscuit Eating for the remainder of the day – on account of skipping lunch. (Although a colleague did throw me a banana. She does so enjoy my Hungry Chimp impression. (Today’s animal impressions also included ‘Bearded Dragon’. Always a favourite of mine; closely followed by ‘Eyeball-licking Gecko.’ I can’t really lick my eyeballs, but it makes me happy to pretend that I can.))

Continuing the media-darling theme, I also made arrangements with a chap from the ITV channel. He’s visiting me at home in the morning. Which means I ought to type quickly. If I start the housework soon, I might have an almost presentable hovel come 10am tomorrow. (Note to self; remove large undercrackers from radiator…)

Whilst preparing to leave the office for the evening, I was momentarily distracted by our local part-time Escapologist (as in ‘does the thing with the manacles’, not  ‘manages to abscond with surprising regularity’) skipping past my desk in a credible rendition of Eric Morcombe’s ‘Give me Sunshine’ dance. This is such an unusual occurrence at Southend Council that it’s worthy of note. He also performs Laurel and Hardy sketches. (Contact me for bookings.)

Following this incident – of the type that leaves me wondering whether the worms in my head really are gone – my Mum rang. This is also worthy of note as it usually means there’s been/is a crisis. Past calls have alerted me to such emergencies as ‘mouse rescued from drain’ and ‘hedgehog with gammy leg in garden’. This call, however, was rather more worrying. Dad has two brothers. He never sees either of them. One lives in the north – we’ll call him Fred for identity protection purposes – and the other lives locally – we’ll call him Dan. Mum had been called by Fred to say he’d been unable to get hold of Dan for over a month. Dan wasn’t answering the phone, nor even, when Fred made the trip down, his front door. This was causing some alarm. Dan lives in a tower block that’s easy for me to get to, so I offered to investigate.

I too received no answer from the buzzer at the entrance to the block. However, given that I have a trustworthy demeanour, a neighbour let me in. I headed up to where we believed Dan lived with his wife. Although every person I passed inside the building was friendly, this is not the happiest of places to live. There’s a worn out, dilapidated look and feel to everything; as if the building (and by extension the people therein) aren’t worth the bother.

I knocked and waited.

And waited a bit longer.

And then heard footsteps, followed by the unlocking of many locks and, finally, the smallest part of a face peering from behind a chain. ‘Uncle Dan?’ says I ‘I’m Sherry, your brother’s daughter’ (this introduction was necessary as it’s been, sadly, many years since he’s seen me.) Happily, he believed I was who I claimed to be and invited me in. He and his wife were alive and well. They simply tend to spend little time at home. Mostly they’re out and about taking photographs. We chatted about this for some time – given that photography’s also a love of mine. We also talked about our shared love of dogs, and the outdoors. It was good to report back that All was Well. Let’s hope this encourages the brothers – all getting a little older now – to get in touch with one another more frequently. For my part, I promised to return for another visit soon; accompanied by the dog.

There was more family-related excitement when I arrived at Mum’s to collect said dog. A parcel had arrived from our folks in Canada – containing copies of some of my aunt’s extensive family history research. Wonderful photos – some dating back to the earliest days of portraiture: my grandmother and her brothers, my great-grandmother and her family and even one of my great-great-grandmother. And remarkable pictures of young, heartbreakingly handsome, grand-uncles in service uniforms. So many stories!  If the consultancy work picks up sufficiently that keeping a roof over my head is less of a priority, then I vow to make a long overdue trip to Canada to listen to the stories that accompany these images.

After the photo perusal and the regulation Cup of Tea, Lexi and I headed to the park; where she gamboled about in the rain with a deflated purple mini-football that’s currently her prized possession. She played with a beautiful bear of a German Shepherd for a while, until he showed an interest in her toy, after which he was given a haughty cold shoulder. ‘Sniff my bum all you like mate, BUT YOU DON’T EVEN LOOK AT MY TOY!’ She’s not that possessive really. She’s just a lady that knows what she wants and what her boundaries are. There’s a line, bud, don’t be crossing it.

And the day’s adventures still hadn’t ended, despite it now being nigh on nine pee em. For a package awaited me at the homestead; nestled against my door. A package – not another FINAL DEMAND! to go on the ‘I’m far too scared to open it’ pile. The package smelled of wondrousness and magic. It announced itself to be from a very special lady that recently returned home to New Zealand. I knew this was likely a birthday gift but, being not so great on delayed gratification, I opened it. It contained two luxurious bath indulgencies and a card full of warm words. I could not have been happier had it contained Hugh Jackman and ten bars of gold. How delightful that a friend from afar had been so thoughtful. A smashing end to a strangely eventful day.

It fair makes me wonder what tomorrow might bring. And on that note, pray excuse me whilst I remove my undergarments…

…from the radiator and return them to their proper place on the bedroom floor.

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