Thursday, January 28, 2010


Fresh from the beach where I went to have another look at the whale. "Fresh" may not be exactly the right word. "Eeeeeurgh" may be more the word I'm looking for. Let's say it's not what a visiting caravaner would put on his "Must See" itinerary just under red squirrels.

There's something about a whale. What is it? That they're a mammal? That they float deep and quietsome in the dark? That they make really bad music? There's a connection which makes seeing one of them out of its element - not to mention very dead - distressing. To reach the whale, you walk past a quarantine notice complete with skull which never bodes well does it? Yesterday morning, you might have almost hoped that it was moving as the sea lifted its tail with the churn of the waves. Today, the tide has brought the whale off the rocks and inshore, flipping its sad and massive body which is mottled with blood. The sea-water pooled in the sands around is bright red, and the smell retch-inducing - not helped by the fact officials have sawn off its lower jaw and extracted its upper teeth. They've done this because souvenir hunters were caught by coastguards in the early hours. The reports say they were souvenir hunters - perhaps they were just really unlucky tooth fairies. "What job have you got?" "That cutie-pie with the curly blonde hair asleep over there on the pink Princess pillow. What's yours?" "I've got that 25 tonne rotting whale carcass on the Northumberland coast. Swapsies?"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Close encounters

So, here I am again. Aliens abducted me. They had those strange lightbulb heads and the black almond eyes, and obviously there were probes. Thank God there were actually, because there's no Sky TV up there. Anyway, all things pall and we reached a deal - they'd bring me back home and in return, I'd send on a recipe for lemon curd. Well I'm back but truth to tell, I have never made lemon curd so there's a good chance they'll come back mad as hell. I'm planning to google it or at the very least lay in a few jars so I'll have them to hand if they start trying to suck me back into orbit.

2010 then, and I haven't even done a review of 2009.(I must do one, it's just I'm not that sure I want to look too close. There's a few messy bits.) As a rule, I enjoy auditing the year but my house was full of relatives and friends, and I didn't get the chance to do much more than think that next year I am booking my pal who runs a catering van to park outside my house and feed all-comers, that and "Is it too early to start drinking?" My parents arrived on the Tuesday before Christmas. Courtesy of the snow, the roads around us became impassable and my parents stayed. Then it turned to ice and the roads were too dangerous and my parents stayed. Then it rained and the roads flooded and my parents stayed. Eventually, I found them a way out through the ice and the floods but they decided to stay on the grounds it was a Tuesday and not a Saturday and my dad thinks the roads are quieter on a Saturday. Three and a half weeks after they arrived, they went home. Now, there's a dead sperm whale on the beach. You put a dead whale on the beach and it's begging to be a metaphor. Let's hope it's not a metaphor for the year ahead.