I have been working hard this evening, mixing business with pleasure.

I have been cleaning the house and practising my story telling skilz.  At this point I am so tired I am hard pushed to tell which one was business and which one was pleasure.

I haz a gig in the infant class, having persuaded the very, very kind teachers to let me jump about pretending to be an elephant in the name of research.  I hope not to scar too many young minds.

Although I might trample over the pampas.

I have trumpeted myself hoarse this evening, so they may be saved by my failure to communicate in anything other than a Bonnie Tyleresque growl for the next week.

I know my mime skills are parlous.  My elephant at the water hole loses a lot in translation if I cannot do trumpeting.  I am unmasked for the lumbering middle aged fool that I am.

I think they are very, very brave to let me do this thing.  Discussing my childhood and general philosophy of life with various people this week has made me realise quite how unorthodox I am in some respects.  I don’t know how reliable I am going to be if forced to shape young minds, other than those of my own offspring.

They haven’t turned out too bad, but then they do have an extensive social life which doesn’t include me.  I’m sure that balances things out.

It is fashionable to blame the parents in these circumstances.

Shall I?

Let me cast my mind back…

Where did the rot set in?

I think it may have had something to do with the black fox fur.

I have told you about the black fox fur, right?


I shall tell you again, as it came up in conversation this week, and my ‘that’s perfectly normal’ vibe was totally negated by the person I was talking to doing a ‘whoah!’ kind of thing and her whole body language shouting; ‘Freak!’

When I was knee high to a fox fur, we went on our annual family holiday.  This consisted of visiting bleak East Anglian seaside towns out of season and freezing our dangly bits off while the winter storms smashed waves ten foot high over the prom and sane people went to Portugal.

I was twelve before I realised a cagoule was not an integral part of your holiday leisure wear.

Or that navy was not a natural skin tone.

On this particular holiday I had my ‘donkey’ money to spend (this was what my gran called our holiday pocket money.  Money to ride the donkeys on.  The donkeys that stampeded with me and my brother across Skegness sands one year, much to my parents hilarity, and my total conviction that I was going to die, on a donkey, in Skegness, while my parents wept with laughter.)  and I chose to spend it on a dyed black fox fur with orange glass eyes.

This is where the parental blame comes in, right?

After all. Most parents on holiday would not frequent antique and junk shops with the regularity with which my parents gravitated towards them.

Nor would they think it perfectly normal to spend your holiday money on a dead fox pelt.  Unlike my parents, who often came back from their holidays with things like church organs sans pipes, fire engines (yes. a real one), fruit machines, plaster busts of evil babies and modular lamp shades made of orange sticks that were so expensive we couldn’t eat for a week afterwards.

I called him Ferdinand.

I loved him.

I loved him with an unnatural passion.

I wore him all holiday.  Presumably with my cagoule, which would not have looked at all odd.

Then I dragged him around for ages and ages until I got bored of him, and decided to convert him into something more useful.

So I cut his tiny, stubby, foxy paws off, and made them into pillows in my doll’s house.

Which wasn’t at all weird right?

But which probably explains a lot about me.

And why I spend my evenings imitating elephants trumpetting at water holes instead of watching Eastenders and getting slowly sozzled on Chardonnay.

14 responses to “Foxed

  1. I actually found myself feeling sorry for poor Ferdinanc when I got to the bit where you cut his little foxy paws off. I wonder what that says about me…

  2. None of that is at all weird but, then again, this is me saying that, the person who actively gets excited when she spots a stuffed piranha and a bleached badger skull on a bric-a-brac stall for 50p each (yes, dear Reader – I bought them). We are of a tribe, the ones who love charity shops and antique shops and car boot sales, who find beauty and usefulness and, well, just sheer delight in other peoples’ discarded trinkets; in religious memorabilia, taxidermy, ancient magazines and sparkly glass. The others don’t understand….but I do.

    • We are envious of your badger skull and piranha. There would have been a fight on in this house as to who got rightful ownership of such treasure.

  3. I don’t think it’s weird at all. I once was taken to Blackpool by my grandparents. I was outraged and refused to do anything I considered ‘common’ while I was there (I was about nine). All I did was moon around an antique shop window, yearning to buy an agate heart I’d spotted and in the end I did buy it and still have it as a treasure.

  4. Bevchen – me too, I winced on his behalf.

  5. your parents sound uber cool. You clearly owe them a debt of gratitude for growing up into such a well rounded individual tee hee. Cutting the paws off was an amputation too far however, and personally, I think this is the only weird bit in an otherwise normal childhood avec la famille.

    • They were perfect pillow shapes!

      I do thank my parents. I just like to tease them a little, because they read this blog!

  6. I am inspired by the fox to tell this story about my great aunt Betty. She was the youngest of five children in a family that attended Lutheran church services regularly. One Sunday during service Betty was unusually quiet in the pew, her mother turned around and discovered that Betty had a mustache. B had surreptitiously brought in manicure scissors and after snipping a few tufts from her mother’s fur coat (sadly I don’t know what kind of fur it was) had pasted them above her lip with some spit. The siblings just about died laughing, I don’t know what the parental reaction was.
    Betty grew up to be a wise silver haired woman with a sense of humor who did yoga and yearned for world peace.

  7. Bless you I do worry.would love to try and understand you x

  8. Ha ha! I wouldn’t worry! It’s all good 🙂 x

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