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.
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.