Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Call

I'm getting that urge again.

As reliable and inevitable as the tides and driven by the turn of the seasons.

It is time to read Dracula for the bajillionth time.

I think everyone has a book that makes very specific repeat appearances on their reading schedule and mine is Dracula by Bram Stoker.
Whatever that says about me.

I have several books that I read at least once a year - American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman amongst them - but Dracula is the only one prompted by weather rather than mood or memory.
The only one I can't say no to.

When the weather cools and a touch of frost enters the air I start thinking of grand old buildings, abandoned and decaying; formal language and a society built on and constricted by convention; strange happenings and otherworldly creatures driven by dark appetites that are only a magnification of our own; the kind of dread that only comes from the gothic classics, from a time when the world was still mysterious, the old world doubly so, when people believed in souls and that they could be lost; of courage and convictions.

And it's time to read Dracula again.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Garden of Earthly Delights

Well mostly it's a garden of dogs trying to head-butt each other out of the way for prime hugging position but I've vowed that it is going to become more than that.

The last time I tried to do anything with gardening I planted some herbs.
Then I killed them.
Not on purpose or anything, I don't have a cursed black thumb, I was just 13 and never actually watered them or put any fertiliser on them and then was quite cross when they failed to flourish.

But this time will be different!

It began this afternoon when I realised that thanks to the valiant fur shedding efforts of The Labrador of Doom and her new sidekick Apocalypse Pup, creeping dirt and some crappy damn grass that is trying to grow in the dirt/hair composite, the drain along the back patio was blocked and was causing flooding on the odd occasion it rained.
So I found a trowel and a broom and spent an hour or so clearing it, hacking back the grass and sending the weirdie beetles scuttling away in panic.

And then whilst I was at it I trimmed some things.
Then I raked some things.
Then I picked up some branches and moved them.
Then I murdered some weeds and threw their corpses in the garbage bin.

And at the end of it my back hurt.
And my legs hurt.
And my arms hurt.
And I was sweaty and dishevelled and Apocalypse Pup had spent a good part of the time trying to trip me up or sticking his head down my shirt every time I bent over to pick something up off the ground.

But it's been ages since I worked that hard in that way.
I liked it.
I think I'd like to grown some things.
Guess I'll see how it goes.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

You're Going To Die You Know: A Community Service Announcement

Imagine you've spent all day at work.

Your boss has been riding your ass all week.

You missed lunch because you were trying to meet a deadline.

You have 10 minutes to yourself before you get the train home and straight into 'parental responsibility zone'.

Waiting at the pedestrian crossing you light a cigarette and let yourself unwind just a little bit.

And then you feel a small hand tugging at your trousers at knee level.

You look down and smile tiredly at the little girl staring up at you.

"Hello love," you say.

"You're going to die you know," she pipes in a cheerful fashion.

You stare at her blankly.

You didn't need that, you think to yourself, as the child's mother apologises and drags her away. You could have done right without that.

"Sweetie, you do NOT say that to people!" the mother says as she herds the kid down the street.

"But he was SMOKING! And you said that smoking kills you and-"

"You do NOT say that to people! It isn't polite!"

"Neither is DEATH!"

"Where do you GET this stuff?"*

What did I do to deserve that? You wonder as the light turns green and you cross towards the train station.

Nothing fella, nothing at all.


To the man minding his own business at the pedestrian crossing and all the people like him, on behalf of my four year old self - I apologise.

But honestly my intentions were good.

*And no, I don't know where I got it either.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Until Then

Sam felt guilty.
All the time.
About everything.
He felt guilty about throwing away plastic cutlery that hadn't broken yet.
Even if he'd never use it again.
Because it was still functional.
Whereas once it reached the landfill it would just be pollution.
He felt guilty about people starving.
People hurting.
People homeless.
He wanted to help.
But he had no more money to give.
And he felt guilty about that too.
He felt guilty about people with diseases that had no cure.
He felt guilty that he couldn't cure them himself.
He felt guilty that one day he would die and that his loved ones would mourn his death.
He felt guilty that he couldn't wait for that day to come.
He longed for nothingness.
The absence of thought that would bring him freedom.
But until then.
Sam felt guilty.