Archive of ‘Mini Me’ category
(Terrible weather = no new photos, so this one is an out-take from this older post…)
Last week while I was looking for things to purge from the house (Aside: I think I started off too enthusiastically with this. The first few days, I got rid of armloads of stuff: now I’m fast running out of items I am willing to part with. In fact, I might have to start purging Terry’s stuff instead.) (I’m joking, Terry: Bobby the monkey really DID run off to join the circus, I swear…) I came across a carrier bag containing a bunch of old journals from when I was a tortured teenager. I was quite relieved to find them, actually, because I hadn’t seen them in a while and had been imagining they’d fallen into The Wrong Hands and that any day now I’d get an anonymous letter made up of words clipped from a newspaper, telling me that unless I left a certain number of unmarked banknotes in the phonebox on the corner by 5pm, my childhood diaries would be published on the Internet.
Now, you’d think that wouldn’t really phase me much, given that I’ve essentially been publishing my diary on this very website for years now. You would be wrong, though. See, I always smile inwardly when people say they write blogs “just for themselves”. I actually wrote those journals “just for myself”. I wrote them without fear that anyone would ever read them; without having to worry that if I complained about the weather, someone would come along and point out that some people don’t GOT no weather, or that if I said anything even vaguely negative, people would remind me that I have a lot of shoes, and that no-one with a lot of shoes can possibly ever have even the slightest reason to ever feel down about ANYTHING. Just sayin’.
(I really wish it was true, this idea that shoes somehow act as a protective barrier between their owner and any kind of unhappiness. Because trust me: they don’t.)
The result of that kind of uncensored honesty? Well, let’s just say there’s a HUGE difference between writing “for yourself” and writing “for the entire internet”. My journal from when I was 14, for instance, is almost entirely dedicated to the fascinating subject of my freckles, and how they, and they alone, are the reason I don’t have a boyfriend, and also am not a successful show-jumping detective. I was tortured by those freckles. TORTURED. I even created a handy little pull-out booklet in which I discussed the freckles (and the other aspects of my appearance which caused me grief. Let’s just say it was a LONG booklet…) at length, and pondered how I could get rid of them, before coming to the sad conclusion that really, I couldn’t get rid of them, but that I would probably get my fringe cut before school started back in the autumn, seeing as I wasn’t allowed to have my perm straightened. (There is a helpful diagram of the fringe at this point. Yes, really.) I really wish I was making this up purely for comedic value, but I’m not: there is an ACTUAL booklet, and trust me, there is absolutely nothing funny about it, because I was TOTALLY SERIOUS YOO GUYZ.
(I also frequently mixed up “to” and “too”. I don’t know what disturbed me more when I re-read it as an adult: that or the obsession with the freckles…)
It was pretty painful reading, in other words. And also really confusing, because, just to make a mockery of everything I’ve written above, most of it – and The Idiot’s Guide to Amber’s Freckles in particular – is written as if I’m talking to someone, or possibly a LOT of someones. There’s a lot of “as you all know, my freckles are the most interesting subject in the whole entire world” and “most of you probably remember how much I hate my freckles” and that kind of thing. WHO WAS I TALKING TO? Who were the members of this massive, fictional audience who I seemed to presume were every bit as obsessed with my skincare routine as I obviously was? Did I think it would one day be published or something? Had all that perm lotion seeped into my bloodstream and driven me to the point of madness, or had I somehow, in some small way, forseen the future of blogging, and thought I better get in some practice?
You know the funniest thing about all of this? Which is not actually particularly funny, but really kind of tragic? These days my freckles are barely even noticeable, other than in the summer, when I get a giant one right on the end of my nose, and all of the existing ones come out to say hello. And I do not care when that happens, because if I think about them at all, which I hardly ever do, I actually quite like them. They help create the illusion of some colour in my cheeks, and stop people asking me if I’m ill all the time, when all I am is pale. I cannot now, for the life of me, understand why I hated them so much. Especially when there were so many other things I could have justifiably hated instead. Hello, monobrow!
(I mean, in my younger self’s defence, the freckles were a lot more obvious when I was younger. I very much doubt they were the reason I was generally shunned by society, though. I would imagine that probably had more to do with the fact that I was the kind of girl who wrote entire booklets about her freckles…)
I wish I could go back in time and tell my 14-year-old self to stop stressing about those freckles – and all of the other things she found to obsess over. I mean, who knows, if I hadn’t spent all that time worrying about my freckles, maybe I would be in the Olympic show-jumping team by now after all? I don’t think I’d ever have made it as a detective, though. Sorry, 14-year-old self.
(You were totally right about the perm, though…)
(P.S. The title of this post is not a dig at people who don’t have freckles, although I fully expect the offended comments to roll in any second now. It’s a lyric from a song I found after writing this post, and which actually sums up what I was thinking much better than I did: “Freckles”, by Natasha Beddingfield)
(H&M trousers, Rocket Dog shoes, Dorothy Perkins sweater, Gucci sunglasses c/o Shopbop)
When I was a kid, all of my friends wanted to be things like dentists and train drivers and stuff. (Note: none of my friends wanted to be dentists or train drivers. I just said that in case one of them reads this, recognises themselves, and then goes off at me for mocking their childhood dream of being a lollipop lady. Whoops.) (There is nothing wrong with being a dentist, train driver, or lollipop lady, by the way. You go on with your bad selves, lollipop ladies of the world.) (I really hate the way I always have to qualify everything I say in case I offend someone who doesn’t realise that it’s supposed to be a joke.) (I’ve written so many parentheses now that I honestly can’t remember what I was talking about. How are you all? What’s your weather like? Can anyone remember why I’m here?)
OK, I’m just going to start this again…
When I was a kid, all of my friends wanted to be things like dentists and train drivers and stuff. Not me, though. I wanted to be a pop star/actress who was also in the British showjumping team, and who solved mysteries in her spare time, like Nancy Drew. And who ran a riding school, which also had kennels, and I kept all of the abandoned animals of the world in them. And the stables were next to a big, glass house, which I lived in and wrote all my Booker prize winning novels from. It was going to be freaking ACE, seriously.
Now, the fact that I couldn’t sing or act for toffee, and was also pretty rubbish at showjumping, to be completely honest, didn’t even enter my mind here, although I DID spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about how I would juggle the demands of an international showjumping career with the worldwide stadium tours I would be undertaking. And who would run the riding school when I was on location, shooting my next big movie? It was a worry, and I mean it was an ACTUAL worry. I would lie awake at night fretting over the fact that there were no existing showjumping detectives with amazing vocal talents, and that I would have to blaze the trail in this respect. “It’s not fair,” I thought, moodily. “I have to do EVERYTHING by myself.”
Then, of course, was the fear that I hadn’t started early enough with my plans. I’d started riding lessons when I was relatively young, sure, but I was still no closer to actually owning a pony, and I couldn’t carry a note in a bucket. One thing I COULD make a start on, though, was the detective work. I knew that all of the great detectives of our time – Nancy Drew, the Famous Five, Frederick “Fatty” Trotteville of the Five Find-Outers and Dog – had all solved their first mysteries by the time they were in their early teens. I, at ten, was quickly running out of time, so I decided not to bother waiting until I grew up (which was wise, in retrospect, given that I’m STILL waiting for that to happen…) and just become a famous detective right now.
To this end, I acquired a notepad and pen, roped in some unfortunate friends to be my sidekicks, asked my parents if I could use the garden shed as my base (they said no. So, really, it’s their fault that I’m not sitting here with medals hanging off my chest for my services to detective work, seriously), and went out in search of a mystery to solve.
I searched long and hard for this mystery. I would patrol the neighbourhood with my friends, collecting “clues” – to what, I had no idea. The “clues” were things like old cigarette ends, discarded Coke cans and, on one memorable occasion, A FRAGMENT OF AN OLD SHOE. Which proved it, basically. I don’t what what it proved exactly, but I told myself that this motley collection of “clues” (which were by no means just bits of rubbish, so don’t even think it) offered concrete evidence that something was going on.
Sadly for me, I never did work out What Was Going On. Actually, the biggest mystery of my childhood was the one I like to think of as The Mystery of Why There Were No Mysteries. Because really, there weren’t. My life was as un-mysterious as it’s possible for a life to be, which was a source of endless disappointment to me. Nancy Drew couldn’t leave her house (in her snazzy little convertible) without falling over a mystery. The Secret Seven could solve FIVE mysteries, and still be home in time for tea. The Famous Five had more mysteries than they had hot dinners – and the Five had a LOT of hot dinners, let me tell you. But me? Nothing. Not a single light shining from the window of a supposedly-abandoned house. Not a rich young child kidnapped, with a ransom note which only I would be able to decipher. Not even a smuggler, people, seriously. I mean, what do you have to do to find a freaking smuggler in this town, I ask you?
I tell you all of this because at the weekend, it suddenly occurred to me that my younger self would have been absolutely thrilled to know that one day she would live next door to an International Man of Mystery. She would’ve had that case solved: probably by tea-time. And when that International Man of Mystery Next Door suddenly re-appeared after a six-year absence, and started digging up his patio, my younger self would, under no circumstances, have simply stood open-mouthed at the window, shouting, “Terry! Terry! HE’S ACTUALLY DIGGING UP THE BODIES! MY BLOG READERS WERE RIGHT! OMG!”
(I mean, seriously: the mysterious neighbour who you secretly suspect of being a mass murderer turns up one day and starts digging in his garden: you’re going to at least try to find out why, aren’t you?)
But that’s what happened, people. Yes, on Sunday afternoon, Nigel TIMOMND, graced us with his second visit in a month. He came with an accomplice. They were here for several hours, digging. And OK, they weren’t actually digging up the patio. They were just…digging the patio. Presumably to clear some of the weeds that have gathered there in the past, you know, SIX YEARS. Something is obviously UP. Either he’s moving back, or he’s selling up, or he’s renting it out,
or he’s digging up bodies… Any one of these outcomes will be deeply traumatic for me because a) I’m a total freak, seriously and b) I’m a freak who can’t tolerate noise of any kind, and who is used to having no neighbour now. And the thing is, I COULD have tried to find out what he was doing. I could’ve opened the back door, walked out, and been all, “Hey, diddly ho, neighbour! Long time, no see! How’re them bodies cookin’?”
But I didn’t.
Nope, I just stood peering out through the blinds, wondering how much we could sell the house for if someone DOES move in next door, and whether it would be enough to buy that penthouse in Edinburgh I sometimes look at on the Internet when I’m bored.
(Answer: no, it wouldn’t. Also: hahahahaha, AS IF.)
My younger self would be so disappointed.
I’ll just have to hope all the shoes I’ve bought her will be of some comfort….
Facebook // Twitter //
When I was a little girl, my parents took me to see E.T. at the cinema. It was a rather traumatic experience for my young self. Oh, don’t get me wrong: I LOVED the film. I mean, a little wrinkly alien as a pet/friend? What’s not to love? But after sitting, wide-eyed, through the first part of the movie, we came to THAT scene. You know the one. The one where…
… OK, I’ll whisper it just in case anyone out there hasn’t seen E.T. and doesn’t want me to spoil it for them. Read on at your peril, people…
The scene where E.T. appears to be DEAD.
Oh. Em. Gee. I was absolutely aghast, and I was aghast for two reasons. I just couldn’t understand why:
1. Someone had decided to make a CHILDREN’S FILM, in which they spent most of the movie encouraging you to love the cute little alien dude, only to ruthlessly kill him off, like, “Haha, kids, welcome to the REAL world!” This seemed totally irresponsible to me, and I felt sure I would be psychologically damaged by it for the rest of my life. Or, I mean, I would’ve felt that if I’d actually known what it meant, obviously.
2. That my parents had suffered such a huge lapse of judgement as to bring me – ME! – to see such a film. Obviously they wanted to ruin my life. And it had worked.
So I did what any impressionable child with a flair for TEH DRAMA would have done. I screamed the place down.
“He’s DEEEEEEEAAAAAAADDDDD!!!!!!!” I wailed to my parents, and, indeed, to the rest of the cinema. “Heeeeeeeee’sssss DEEEEEEAAAAAAADDDDDD!!!! Why did you bring me to SEEEEEEEEEEE this? DEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDD! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!”
In vain, my mother tried to comfort me. I would not be consoled. They were just on the verge of removing me from the cinema, when E.T’s little red heart started to glow once more.
“HE’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEE!” I shrieked. And after that, I didn’t get to go to the cinema no more. Not until I’d learned how to behave, my parents told me. Readers, I haven’t been back since.
When I left the movie theatre that day, though, I left with a new obsession in my life. I wanted an E.T. of my very own – and sorry, but when I got him, I wasn’t going to be helping him “phone home” either. In fact, the absence of a small, wrinkled alien in my life was suddenly absolutely intolerable to me, and once it had been gently explained to me that the likelihood of my finding an ACTUAL alien in the woods was slim (Although, that said, where we live now, it wouldn’t be THAT surprising…), I settled upon the next best thing: I wanted a stuffed leather E.T. And I wanted it BAD.
These little stuffed toys had just come out at the time , and they were actually made from fake leather, but of course, my small self wasn’t about to split hairs on that matter. I talked about the leather E.T. incessantly. In fact, the words “LEATHER” and ”E.T.” in the same sentence still have the power to reduce my parents to quivering wrecks of people. (You’d think that particular combination of words wouldn’t come up THAT often in conversation. You would be wrong, as you’re about to discover.) That December, I asked Santa for one:
The problem with that though, was that these leather – I’m sorry, “lether” – E.T.s were not to be had for love nor money. I guess they were that year’s “must have” toy (ah, the innocence of the age! Now kids probably want an iPhone and… I don’t know, a car, maybe? A space ship? Not a stuffed toy, anyway…) and although my parents – I mean “Santa” – searched exhaustively for one, they just couldn’t find it. So Christmas came and went, and E.T. … didn’t. That was the year I stopped believing in Santa. (No, I’m joking. I
still believe in Santa didn’t stop believing in Santa until he’d failed to bring the pony for 25 consecutive years. After that, you start to doubt the dude, don’t you?)
My parents resumed the search in time for my birthday the next year, and I think for a couple of years after that. It was to no avail. The leather E.T.s were gone, just like the REAL E.T. Some stupid spaceship had probably come along and beamed them all up, and I think we all know who we can blame for THAT, don’t we, ELLIOT? After a couple of years had passed, though, my parents figured I would probably move onto the next thing, and forget all about the leather E.T. But they were WRONG. I didn’t EVER forget the leather E.T. In fact, I continued to mention it at regular intervals for THE REST OF MY LIFE. Uh-huh.
The last time I mentioned it was just a few weeks ago, when my mum had unearthed the letter above. It was on this occasion that Terry heard The Sad Tale of How Amber Never Got a Leather E.T. That Time for the
first one hundredth time. And finally, people – FINALLY – my luck was in. Because when I came home from walking Rubin this morning, this was the scene that was waiting for me:
It’s a stuffed E.T in OMGLEATHER. And it’s an original one: one of the very toys that eluded me throughout my childhood. Yes, he had come to me AT FREAKING LAST. Man, Santa Claus is almost as slow as Royal Fail, isn’t he?
He’s been well-loved this E.T. His “lether” is cracked, and coming off in some places, and his head has a bit of a droop to it, but this just makes me like him all the more. It also makes me OUTRAGED on his behalf, because seriously, who could sell their beloved childhood toy so heartlessly? It would be like me selling TED! Who could honestly look at this face:
And think, “Yeah, I’m going to put you on eBay, then stick you in a box and entrust your precious self to the ROYAL FAIL? So long, beloved companion of my youth!” It makes me want to cry just to think of it. (No, it ACTUALLY makes me want to cry. I can be very sentimental about things like that.)
Still, Leather E.T. has found a safe home with me, although maybe not so much with Ted, who will probably try to lead him astray at some point, just like he does all the toys. Sigh.
Anyway, there is an important lesson in all of this to children everywhere. It is this: if you really, really want something, all you have to do is whine about it incessantly, and do it FOREVER. Eventually someone will crack, and you will get your thing. Patience, my children.
And on that note: have I ever mentioned that I’d quite like a pony?
I’ll be spending a chunk of this afternoon at the dentist’s, so today seemed as good a time as any to show you this letter, which my mum came across earlier this week, along with some other missives written by my younger self. I’ve no idea what age I was when I wrote this, but I’m guessing, oooh, 17? 18? 25? Who knows…
As you can see, my writing was a lot less… rambly… when I was younger. Straight to the point, that was me. Also, I had a LOT of teeth, apparently. (Note the handy diagram I’ve provided to show the fairies exactly where the missing tooth came from. They might have needed that information, you see.)
I also like the way I obviously initially ended the letter right after “when I was easting an apple”, but must have worried that the fairies would just have read that and been all, “SO? Why are you telling us?”, so I went back and added the “you can hav it.” You know, just in case. It’s good to be clear about these things.
(TERRY: What are those three long things dangling from your head?
ME: Umm, I’m guessing maybe my body and my two gigantic arms? Although one of them DOES look more like a cigarette, now I come to look at it…)
I really hope the fairies didn’t get too excited about all of this, though, because even although I’ve written the words “you can hav it”, I didn’t actually mean it. No, while most children I knew worked on a “tooth for money” basis, I liked to attach sentimental value to absolutely EVERYTHING as a child, so all fairies visiting MY house were under strict instructions to leave the money, by all means, but to ALSO LEAVE THE TOOTH, which I then added to the small but gruesome collection of old teeth which I kept inside a yellow plastic Kinder egg. (Not much in that transaction for the fairies, was there? Nice work, younger self!) My dad says he can remember that little egg still being in their house as recently as a few years ago. I would imagine it’s still there somewhere, so any visiting children could be in for one helluva nasty surprise…
If you’re a longtime reader, or are one of my parents, you will already know much, much more than you ever wanted to about my main phobias: crustaceans, people rubbing their feet together while wearing socks, being beheaded… you know the drill.
As a child, however, I had a completely different set of fears, and today I thought I’d take a look back on them, and congratulate myself on having successfully overcome them, in order to grow into the secure, grounded young woman I am today. Or, you know, not.
In no particular order then, my childhood fears included:
1. The fear that I would find out I was adopted
I have no idea why this thought even entered my head, but at some point it did, and it shook me to my core, forcing me to spend endless nights lying awake speculating upon what it would be like when my real parents came to claim me, and I was forced to leave the bosom of my loving, and yet totally fake, family, and go to live with strangers. I worried about this to such an extent that my mum finally had to show me a copy of my birth certificate and answer probing questions designed to establish whether a) she had, in fact, been present at my birth (Answer: yes, but given that when she came round from the anesthetic she apparently asked the nurse why they were allowing a horse to dance on her stomach, she can be considered an unreliable witness) and b) whether she was in the business of manufacturing fake documents, such as birth certificates, for example. Once these questions had been answered to my satisfaction, I dropped this fear, and turned it into a fantasy, in which the very thing I’d feared so much actually came to pass, and my real parents – the King and Queen of Eastern Falloulaland – came to collect me. “The Rolls is waiting outside, darling,” my mother, the Queen, would always say in this fantasy. “Get in and we’ll take you to pick out a pony…”
I did, obviously, eventually get over both fear and fantasy in this case. I still think about the pony A LOT, though.
2. The fear that my parents would get divorced
Again, I have no idea where this one sprung from. Because my parents share a brain, there was rarely so much as a cross word between them, and they’re still happily married to this day. In fact, I didn’t even KNOW anyone whose parents were divorced, so why would I spend time fretting over the possibility of it happening to MY parents? Who knows. I did, though, and spent more of my childhood nights worrying about what would happen were my parents to divorce. Who would I live with? How would I make sure neither parent felt favouritised by my presence? Would I still be able to go to the same school? What if one parent decided to move to Eastern Falloulaland? Who would take me to my riding lessons? Bizarre. Sometimes I wish I could go back and visit my younger self and say, “Hey, you: your parents don’t get divorced, and you’re not adopted, so stop wasting your life worrying about it. Maybe drop some stronger hints about the pony, though…”
3. The house catching on fire and burning to a crisp
By now you will be totally unsurprised to learn that there was no reason for this fear that I can recall. I didn’t know anyone whose house burned down, there weren’t any burnt-out houses in our street, and while it’s conceivable that I may have seen something on TV about a burnin’, I have no recollection of that either. And yet sometimes I would force myself to stay awake until my parents had gone to bed, then creep to the top of the stairs and sit there sniffing the air like a bloodhound to make sure the house was not burning down beneath us. Strangely enough, none of my house burning fears included the fear of death, or of actually being burnt. In fact, in all of the many, many times I went through this scenario in my head, I can’t remember ever worrying about how we’d get out, or whether we would survive. Instead, the fears revolved around what the house would look like AFTER it had burned: the blackened rooms, the melted furniture, the loss of all of my possessions. I was absolutely horrified by the thought of having to go inside a house that had been on fire, and for this reason I think I MUST have at some point seen a photo or something that triggered this obsession, but hey, who knows. I remember my parents once took me to a “fire sale” when I was young and I was absolutely HORRIFIED to think they would risk all our lives in search of bargains. I also refused to touch anything, in case there was some residual spark just waiting to ignite…
These days, I don’t even think about the possibility of things going on fire, and would probably plunge into a towering inferno myself, if I thought there might be bargains to be had inside. My parents done taught me good.
4. Being forced to eat in someone else’s house
I’m pretty sure this was triggered by being offered food and urged to eat it while inside a house that had a funny smell. Naturally, this horrified my young self, and for a while, every time we went to someone’s house, my mother would have to repeatedly assure me that I wouldn’t have to eat anything there if I didn’t want to. What a little bitch I was, huh? Now, I will eat anywhere: phobia dismissed.
I’m sure there were more of these, but I’m also sure that’s more than enough sharing for now.
Tell me, though: what were your kid fears?
(I also fear going somewhere and failing to be perfectly coordinated with my surroundings…)
[Important Disclaimer: I wrote this post in a misguided attempt to be funny. Almost all of the posts I've ever written on this site are supposed to be entertaining. I don't actually care about the "scabby lips" comment, and I would've thought that was obvious, but judging by the first two comments on this post, apparently not, and apparently people are reading this post and thinking I'm all angst-ridden about it. I'm not. It was supposed to be light-hearted - I found these two photos at the weekend and thought they would make an amusing follow-up to my post last week. I'm a bit blown-away by the fact that people are reading it as anything other than that, to be honest, but there you go.]
That ‘Bitchy McBicherston’ post? That was all, “No scabby lips here, folks, move along now, nothing to see!”?
Yeah, you’re right: it was a clear case of The Blogger Doth Protest Too Much. I was hoping to throw you all off the scent and make you forget about my scabby lips, because it’s true, folks: I have, at various times in my life, had “like scabs”. And I’m SO TIRED OF ALL THE LIES!
Taken back when we used to live on the ranch. Man, how them prairie dogs used to howl! AOOoooOOO!
Now, you can’t really see it too well, but that? Is a Like Scab. On my lip. Yes, it’s true! This was my nursery school (kindergarten) picture, and from this point on, it just got worse. Much worse. Witness:
(oh, shush. I was “growing into myself”.)
Aside: as well as revealing that I do, indeed, have Like Scabs on my lips, this has also been a useful excercise in proving to myself why I should never, ever get a fringe, ever again. Because I do That Thing? That Thing with the mussing of the fringe? And the creation of a Gateway Through the Fringe, a Portal to Another Dimension, perhaps? And every single time the school photographer was due to take our photos, my mother would see me off to school in the morning and she would BEG me to please brush my fringe before the photo was taken. She would BEG me. Sometimes my teachers would grab me as I exited the classroom en route to the photographer’s room, hold me down and BRUSH MY HAIR. But it was all in vain, because just as the shutter on the camera was about to close, I would reach up and I would MUSS IT ALL UP and create a Gateway. And there was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it.
Not that it really mattered, though. Not with the GIANT SCAB on my lip. The GIANT SCAB that would appear every single time we had school photographs taken, and I am not joking. Every. Single. Time.
This proud tradition of Having a Cold Sore During Every School Photograph was one I carried all the way through to university, and, indeed, to the day I graduated. Our graduation ball was the night before the ceremony itself, and I, of course, had spent many a long night or year planning what I would wear. When I was in first year at university I lived in Halls of Residence, which was where I met my friend Stephanie. They rent out rooms in these halls during the holidays, and Stephanie and I thought it would be fun to see if we could stay in our old rooms on the night of the ball. The University were happy to comply with this request, so on the day of the ball we checked in, had lunch etc, and then headed off to our respective rooms to get ready for the Big Night.
Our other friend, Morag, wasn’t going to the ball, but she decided to keep me company while I got ready, so we went up to the room and I headed off to the shower while Morag hung out in the room. I still don’t know what happened that day. I went into the shower looking normal. Well, as normal as it gets for me. The second I stepped out of the bathroom, though, Morag took one look at me and gave an almighty shriek. “WHAT’S THAT ON YOUR LIP?!” she said. And without even looking, I knew. I knew it was “Like Scabs”. The Coldsore O’Doom. It had returned for a final fling, and I don’t know how it did it, but somehow it had managed to burst from my lip and grow to its full size WHILE I WAS IN THE SHOWER.
Which is actually quite impressive when you think about it.
Of course, there was absolutely nothing I could do to disguise the Like Scab that night, and that’s why there are no photos of me at my graduation ball. Luckily it had gone down enough by the next morning that I was able to slap some concealer on it to make sure that it didn’t make an appearance in my graduation photos. (It didn’t really matter, though, because I managed to close my eyes/look drunk in almost every single one of them.)
The only slight surprise in all of this was that it was Like Scabs that ruined my graduation ball, and not a Second Head. I had been expecting a Second Head, you see, so the Like Scab was a surprise, and not a welcome one.
In the years that have passed since then, the Second Head HAS managed to surpass the Like Scabs as the main Harbinger O’Doom in my life, so I HAD hoped my reputation as Ol’ Scabby Lips would have died out by now. But I reckoned without Lil’ Bitchy, who has OUTED me, who managed to see right through my smooth-lipped facade and see that here was a girl who had grown up with Like Scabs on her lips.
The truth will set me free.
Well, folks, I got nothin’ here. Seriously, I’m having to rack up so many blog posts in advance, so that I can go on holiday and still get paid, that there is absolutely nothing else going on my life right now. And so it is that I have once again opened up The News Book and am allowing my six-year-old self to write today’s post. If only I had known at the time that I would one day end up doing this, I could have quit right there and saved my parents that expensive university education they gave me. But anyway!
This post is one I call simply “pants”:
The text reads:
“Tuesday 22nd February
I went to the Doctors for a check up he was a nice Doctor he sed that I was growing up when I came out of the Doctors my mum got me some new pantes I was needing them I am good at panting picturs of my mummy and daddy I can paint a dog”
Still having that old “punctuation is for sissies” issue, then, eh?
What’s interesting about this, though, isn’t the fact that I spoke fluent LOLCat as a child, or, indeed, that I suddenly remembered that “paint” has an “i” in it, right in the final moments of the “story”, having referred to my new paints as “pants” throughout. No, what’s interesting about this one is the fact that I chose to illustrate the exciting tale of my new “pants” with a “pictur” of my bedroom, which apparently contained a large, caged beast:
Amber and the Beast
Now, if you’ve read Part Two of this series, in which Rusty gets a frite and Snoopy does the toylet in the cichon, you’re probably thinking this beast is either Snoopy or Rusty, those bad, toylet-doing dogs, right?
But no. I gave no explanation of the presence of The Beast in this image, but if memory serves, this would be Coco. My hamster. He was a big ‘un, wasn’t he? Roughly the size of a small bear, I’d say.
I have absolutely no explanation for the … thing… I’m holding in my hand, mind you. Absolutely none. The juxtaposition of beast-in-giant-cage and me with… thing… is actually quite disturbing, though. I really hope PETA don’t read this…
P.S. Note, too, that I drew my own “star” on the pictur. Just, you know, in case the teacher forgot…
When I was a child, my parents would occasionally find themselves looking after two dogs. The dogs in question were brothers: Snoopy belonged to my mum’s parents and Rusty belonged to my dad’s parents, and if both sets of grandparents decided to take holidays at the same time, the dogs would come to us. This was, of course, a very great thrill for me, although not so much for my parents, who knew that every visit with the dogs would end with me writing this kind of thing in my News Book:
It didn’t scan too well, but the text reads:
Thursday 29th September
We are looking after to dogs for a week. One is called Snoppy and one is called Rusty. One day Rusty pumped. he go such a fright that he jumped up and ran away to the other side of the living room. When Rusty eats he gets his bowl all over the floor.
Once you know that “pumped” = “farted” you will perhaps be able to understand the trepidation with which my mum and dad approached each parents evening, knowing that this is the kind of thing I would’ve spent the term writing about.
Incidentally, Snoopy – sorry, “Snoppy” – wasn’t exactly Mr Perfectpants either:
Thursday 16th November
I went to my granns on Sunday my grann has got a dog cold snoopy he is funy he can oppen the living room door when I was at my granns he was bad he dun the toylet in the cichon I get my tea at my granns I have sanwiches and biscuts and we play with snoopy
What I don’t mention in the text, but what is painfully apparent from the accompanying image, is that Snoopy didn’t just do the toylet in the cichon, he clearly dun it on the washing machine. (Now we know where Rubin gets that from!) And that my mum apparently had to lie on her belly to clean it up. Also pictured: my “grann”, who, like me, had hair the approximate colour of a post box. She’s presumably cooking up the sanwiches and biscuts, while I just stand there thinking, “I’m SO going to write about this on the Internet one day!”
Here are the dogs in question, apparently being strangled by me, and both thinking, “Oh God, please don’t let her write about us in her News Book…”
Rusty & Snoopy
Rusty (he of the “pumping”) is on the left of the shot, with Snoopy (of “toylet” fame) on the right. What you can’t really see from this is that although Snoopy looks like the smaller of the two here, he was actually almost as tall as house, and could dance on his hind legs:
Snoopy and me
And this was in addition to being able to “oppen” the living room door! God, I loved those dogs…
Also, I had three legs as a child. Deal with it.
I’d imagine most of the people reading this probably think I’ve only been using the written word as a means of embarrassing myself in public for as long as I’ve had access to the Internet.
How I wish that were true.
Actually, I’ve been embarrassing myself in public since I learned to write, and as proof of that, today I present to you Forever Amber: The Early Years. Yes, way back in the mists of time my school required its young students to keep what they called a “News Book” but which was actually just a personal journal – an early “blog”, if you will. Every few days we would write an entry in our “News Book/Early Blog” detailing what had been happening in our lives, and every single time I would write something so toe-curlingly embarrassing my parents would have to call the school and make excuses for me. I’m not joking.
Witness, for instance, an entry I wrote when I was six, concerning a movie my parents had borrowed from a friend of theirs which turned out to have a little “surprise” on the end of the tape (in those days we used video cassettes, as well as writing things on “paper” rather than on the Internet. Quaint!) …
The full text reads:
“Monday 9th May
I have got a video and I have seen star wars four times and I have seen Bugsy malone twelve and a half times Jennifer has taped Bugsy Malone aswell one night when my mum and dad were watching a film on the video when it was finished a blue moovy came on my mum and dad did not like it and my mum was frightened to get another tape ancase there was another blue moovy on it”
Just in case my parents’ apparent porn consumption* required further clarification, of course, I provided a handy illustration of the events outlined above, so the school would know whether or not they should be calling social services about this:
Luckily when the teacher asked me what a “blue moovy” was, I was quickly able to explain that it is a “moovy” in which everything is coloured blue. Obviously. And when my parents visited the school for parents evening that term, they were able to further clarify (at their own insistence, I have to add – the teacher by this point thought it was hilarious) that this “blue movie” had been as much of a surprise to them as it probably had been to my teacher, and that although the illustration suggests that I had been present during the screening of the infamous moovy (it almost feels like you’re there now, doesn’t it, so masterful was my command of the blue crayon…), I had, in fact, only found out about it because I overheard my mum telling my gran the story. Which I faithfully committed to writing in what I now think of as the very first version of this here blog, a document I spent most of Saturday re-reading and laughing until I cried.
In the years that followed, you’ll be glad to know that I learned how to punctuate a little better. I never did learn to stop embarrassing myself in public, though…
* My mum says she will ground me if I don’t explain that they had borrowed a film someone had recorded from the TV, had watched it, and when it ended, had discovered that it had apparently been recorded over the top of something a little more adult than the film they had borrowed. She would also probably like me to clarify that my parents DID try to teach me that there are some things in life you just don’t share, but given that I’ve already told the Internet all about my knickers and how I keep on dyeing them grey, it doesn’t look like that lesson sunk in particularly well…
For this week’s Friday Photo, I present the evidence of the one and only time in my life when I was persuaded that dungarees were an acceptable item of clothing. Of course, I didn’t call them “dungarees”. No, to me they were, and forever shall be, “dongledees”. (“Dong’el’deez”). To this day, I have a deep and abiding mistrust of anything that looks even remotely like it could be related to the “dongledee” family. Hey, I wonder why?
In other news, the gym called. They wanted my membership card, my free towel and a written undertaking to never whine about them on the Internet again. Nah, I’m just kidding – although this would possibly be a much more interesting post if they had. No, the gym were doing one of their regular “user surveys”, and let me tell you it COULD NOT HAVE COME AT A BETTER TIME. Terry took the call, and I could see from the panicked glances he was casting in my direction that he was thinking, “Oh God, what have you said in your blog this time?). But it was all good. In fact, the manager who called us said there had been other complaints about the “pool full of kids” things, and that this is something that tends to happen any time there’s any influx of new members, which there has been after new year, as everyone makes resolutions to get fit, lose weight, and leave their offspring in the middle of the fast swimming lane while they lounge in the spa.
Anyway, the woman said the gym are going to “take steps” to resolve the situation, and hey, you know, “steps” are all I ask. So basically Amber – 1, The Gym – 0. Even although I didn’t actually do anything other than whining in my blawg.
In yet other news, our house is still standing after the Watergate affair, but I’m not sure how much longer that’ll last. The huge crack o’doom in the ceiling (or ‘Mount Doom’ as I like to call it) had widened, and also bulged, giving every appearance of being about to fall down or heads at any seconds. The wood floors in the hall and living room, meanwhile, are slowly rising UP to meet the ceiling (Terry says no one else but me would even notice this, but I think not. And also: don’t care, I want it fixed.). Everything else, including me, Terry and the dog, is just permanently coated in a thick layer of dust, which is replenished every time Terry goes to the bathroom and begins knocking more tiles off.
I was trying to clean this dust up as we went along, but I started to feel like I was fighting a losing battle with that one so recently I, er, just haven’t been bothering. I’m not much liking this “2008″ business AT ALL, to tell you the truth…