About wronghand

Who Am I? An aspiring novelist, working hard to complete my first novel. In previous years I have written, published and broadcast adult short stories, some posted here, and many stories for children. What Lights My Fire? My passions are the power of words, my love of books, art, people, all animals - but especially dogs - and the precarious future of our precious world. Where Have I Been? I've been travelling, mainly in Europe and South America, and blogging for several years on a variety of themes. I would love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts below. You will find links below to social media, so that I can contact and be contacted by friends and followers. Welcome to my small corner of our world, I hope you will find something here to interest you, make you smile or maybe even cry. Thank you for visiting!

Don’t Soil Your Frock, Doc!

SoilSo, the new Doctor is female, who’d have thought it? Come on, it’s only taken 50-odd years for the regeneration of the Timelord into the Timelady. Or is that me being sexist? And elitist? Honestly, you can’t open your mouth these days without giving offense.

Anyroad up, as they allegedly say in Yorkshire, what’s the difference? Gender roles in film and drama seem to be interchangeable these days. We have Superman and Wonderwoman, Spiderman and Lara Croft, Batman and Catwoman. But if you haven’t seen the difference, you’ve been asleep in front of the screen.

These thoughts led me to wondering about how the Doc, as an either/or, might have been conditioned as a child. For that we need to go back-a-ways, s/he has been around since the year – only Who knows? And also, the Doc, sorry to break it to you so crudely, is non-human. Yes, I know the character has been portrayed as a human, David Tennant, Tom Baker, William Hartnell et al portraying him over the years. But he’s never been human, he’s an alien, a fugitive from the planet Gallifrey, and he twoced the Tardis, when he fled from his fellow Timelords, way back in the day. All very normal, for an antihero. But the Doc is a hero, or at least he’s become one over the course of twelve series, with a correspondingly heroic fanbase. They love him. So how will they take to her, number 13?

Will the new incarnation be allowed to scruff out, like David Tennant, in a fleabitten pair of old tennis shoes, heavy stubble and an unflattering mac? Or act completely outre, as did Tom Baker, winding himself up in that striped scarf, mad as a box of frogs? Will she be permitted to show her genius, her vulnerability, her ego, her age, her complete range of attributes? I hope so. I don’t want to watch a fashionable, perfectly groomed, freshly manicured and eyebrow-threaded performance. Will we be able to forget that the Doctor is a female? We should. Will the production team bite the bullet and let the actor act? I hope so.

A lot of young girls are longing for this opportunity to breakaway from the tyranny of body-image, the banality of beauty-worship and the strait-jacket of sexuality. Will the 13th Doc be given the chance to do all that, in however-many episodes? Or will we be able to guess that the conditioning on Gallifrey was as limiting for females as it is here on the Blue Planet, and that she is constantly being reminded to ‘look good’ and not to get ‘dirty’?

Eddie the Edible Dormouse

Now, serendipity is all well and good, but do you really believe in it? I didn’t, but then it appeared, just like that, as WordPress prompt of the day. Edible. If you’re a food blogger, you might have occasional reason to use this word, but only if you think your recipes are, perhaps, a bit iffy. Iffy is another satisfying  word, the much-used English phrase, a bit iffy, meaning something not entirely wholesome or desirable. What about that one for prompt of the day? But, forgive me, I digress…

The Edible Dormouse, which sounds a viciously cruel title, came to visit us in France last week. His proper name is Glis glis, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is much less exciting then his nickname.  But, look up Edible Dormouse on Wiki and you will find him there. The first time I heard of Eddie was when he was mentioned by a friend who has lived in France for about 20 years. ‘Edible Dormice?’ I said, disbelieving, ‘are you pulling my plonker?’ At this point I should perhaps apologise for using another English colloquialism. Although I’m sure you will get the general gist. Oops! More slang and digression…

This friend explained that GG had been farmed and eaten by the ancient romans, among other early europeans. To add insult to injury, they were mainly consumed as a snack, not even as the entree.  Poor little blighters, I thought, though I must tell you, having now met an Eddie, they are not so little. About the size of a decent hamster, and looking a bit like a small squirrel. Our meeting occurred when he dropped in, literally, I think from the beams in the kitchen, onto the fridge, where SOMEONE had left a couple of dog treats.  Not a bit frightened, and definitely not camera-shy. You can see him for yourself, below. Cute little chuffer, isn’t he? Apparently, they like to settle in and make themselves at home…

 

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Don’t Lose that Holiday Feeling

You know how it is…you go on vacation, have a great time, swear that you’ll change when you come home, talk to your family, drink less, dump the junk food, exercise more, ignore the small stuff that winds you up and makes you a grumpy bear. Then you come home, and reality bites. We’ve all been there, for sure. How is it possible to hold onto that optimistic vacation mood when you’re back in the rat-race, when the morning alarm sets you in motion for the day, when you’re working for the man or, increasingly, you don’t even know who you are working for? What then, Happy-Chops, or should that be, Sad Face?

Well, I’ve been thinking about this: there must be a way to keep smiling, or at least stop living out your days behind a clenched jaw and gritted teeth. No, I don’t mean win the lottery, or inherit a fortune and an island in the Caribbean, though that would be pretty awesome. And this is what I’ve come up with so far:

Stop predicting

No-one does this more than me: I am the original prophet of doom. Even though my predictions are generally way off, I always think I ‘know’ what’s gonna happen. This is so wrong: nobody knows. So don’t do it. Just stop it, okay? Wait and see. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Think new day, every day

Okay, so yesterday was a bummer and gave you a headache. And today you’re not going to take shit from anyone. But, you know what? Today might just be the day someone smiles at you and treats you like you’re a human being. Or you could reverse this and try using the smile technique yourself. It’s amazing the difference a little friendliness and politeness makes. It’s positively contagious, and I mean positively. Try it, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. And it works, too.

Don’t give yesterday’s hurt a free ride

You know how sometimes you are so pissed off about something, you just can’t stop thinking about it? Even though you can’t change it or control it? So, what happens is, you are so intent on replaying your pain that you don’t leave any room for a little joy to sneak into your day. So, thinking that one through, how are you ever going to feel better, to feel happy again? You’re just letting the pain take you over. And that hurts, you know how much. So here’s what to do. Allow yourself one hour a day to obsess on the cause of your unhappiness, no more. Set the alarm if necessary. After 60 minutes switch the thought off. You can go there again tomorrow, and the next day, for as long as you need to. But I think what you will find, if you do this and don’t cheat, is that each time you will need less time to relive your pain. And what does that mean? You will have more time for joy. And that’s a good feeling, right?

I’ll come back to this topic again, so check in from time to time and let’s see if we can keep smiling together.

Happy Holidays!

 

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Is it a viper..?

The saga of our visiting snake continues. This holiday we have been providing visiting opportunities for some of La France Profunde’s native wild creatures. Some wilder than others.
My innocent – bless – relatives were so fascinated with the snake referred to in an earlier post, Wimps Abroad, that they spent some considerable time – when they could have been lazing about, drinking beer and sunbathing, or even playing boules with the locals or doing a spot of gardening – crouched by a hole in our stone garden wall, poking each other and exclaiming ‘It’s moving!’ ‘I can see its head!’ ‘Watch it! It’s coming out!’ and suchlike excited commentary. It was like listening to giddy children watching a live birth.

Instead of rushing to boil water and warm towels, I poured myself a generous gin-and-tonic and left them to it. It was only later, when the photographs were pored over by us and our neighbours, that the question arose: was it, as we’d anticipated, a harmless grass-snake type of serpent, or was it a venomous viper? Apparently it’s all in the eyes, harmless snakes have harmless-looking round eyes: venomous vipers have snake-eyes vertical slits. But the photographs do not prove anything one way or another. The snake did not come out of its hidey-hole and bat its eyelashes, like Kaa in Disney’s Jungle Book. It stayed put and thereby set us all a-tremble. Would it return later and bite one of us when we weren’t looking where we put our big clumsy feet? Would it shimmy up the back wall and slide into the bedrooms at night where we lay asleep and vulnerable? Probably not. We wittered on about these issues at length. It hadn’t been all that threatening, just lurked in its hiding place, keeping its head down. So we drank some more beer and eventually forgot all about it.

Hunters’ Feast

We joined the local hunter’s club for their annual feast yesterday. For six hours we dined on fresh produce, venison, local cheese, cakes and wine in company with around 100 local hunters and their families. A delightful, friendly, fun day, with much warm hospitality and good humour.

The meal was conducted at a leisurely pace, with breaks for the odd unexpected fanfare from a little chap with a genuine French hunting horn, a surprisingly competitive tombola – after which widespread swapping of prizes took place – loud snatches of song and lots of franglais with our nearest diners. Spontaneous outbreaks of applause rippled around the large dining area: I have no idea what prompted these but we joined in merrily, clapped and cheered along, presumably to thank the organisers, the chefs, the horn-player, the singers, the waiters-on and the clearers-away. And, of course, the bold hunters for providing the huge amount of game in the first place. I am no gourmet and have not previously eaten much venison, but theirs was succulent and wine-soaked and very delicious. Even the Bambi jokes didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

 

 

Duck Weather

Today the wood is calm. We awakened to rolls of mist filling the valley, dark skies and not a hint of sun. It’s now noon and I can make out the foot of our garden and tall trees on the valley’s far side. The sun is making brave attempts to break through, though I think it may be closer to evening before the day brightens, if it does. We must watch and wait.

The canicule has departed, leaving us with torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Yesterday we drove to the airport and the journey home was similar to driving in a fishbowl: rivers of water on the autoroute and visibility no more than two metres. Luckily no one was driving in the typical French manner: right up your rear bumper. And today there is no signal to be had on any of our 5 cellphones or the laptop. Such are the joys of summer in South-West France: a feast of delights when the sun shines, dark ages gloom when the storms come. But do we care? Do we ‘eck as like! We can take whatever the weather throws at us, we’re from strong northern stock and used to the unpredictability of UK weather. Just like these two.

Wimps Abroad

Sitting out on the garden swing seat with partner, something rustled nearby. Partner exclaimed, Holy Shit! and gasped that it was a massive snake and that he had just startled it enough that it fled into our cellar. Spent next several hours trying to (a) ignore it and hope that it would go outside again, (b) make noise to scare it to go outside again, (c) with Aussie neighbour, who ‘knows about snakes‘, try to locate it where it was hiding under the staircase to see if it had buggered off. It hadn’t: its black and white zig-zag scales were clearly visible behind some breeze blocks. We gave up, left the cellar door open and went out for the evening. Much mickey-taking from friends about snakes and wimps. Typical, no respect, these Aussies.

Next morning, strong smell of fox in cellar, no sign of snake. Hmmm. Glad we don’t keep hens.

En Vacances…

Here we are, week two in La Belle France. Phew! What a scorcher! is an understatement. Since we arrived, there has been permanent Caricule (heatwave), with warnings on the autoroutes and elsewhere to take care and not do anything too taxing in the heat. So going in the garden has been restricted to the hours before midday and after 6.00 pm. Talking loudly and laughing like maniacs, both of which we tend to do after a few beverages, result in exhaustion and require a lie down in the cool cellar.
We were invited to a BBQ last evening and enjoyed it immensely. There were several nationalities present, in alphabetical order: Australian, British, Dutch, Irish. Fascinating to hear all the different cultures comparing notes on food, customs, language, etc.. Why on earth are we even considering leaving the EU? It’s lunatic, is what it is.

Back in the Old Country

Here we are, back home for a week. Too much traffic, too many noisy kids, too many people in the supermarket checkout queue. But still… people say ‘How’re ye?’ They talk to you, in proper sentences, they put you right if you take the wrong road, they’re not too busy to spend five minutes explaining where your old bank has relocated to.
For sure, all the millennials are glued to their mobiles, pavement cyclists still try to kill you, but they apologise, with charm, at the same time. It’s a dangerous world, the Old Country, but friendly: know what I mean?
And did I mention how feckin’ stunning the Old Place is? Just so’s you’ll know you can believe me, I’ll post a photo.

Another day, another Bank Holiday…

Early black clouds soon clear and there we are, a patch of blue and only a few drops of rain. Perfect, no snow and hardly even windy. What more could you ask?

Soon, the picnic basket will be packed, the route checked for roadworks, the car filled up with fuel and we’ll GO! Just have a quick look at emails and the news feed… and check what time the snooker final is on to record for himself…

Nothing like a BH for getting us out into the fresh air. Yes, there will be traffic jams and too many people out there, vying for space and queueing up in all the chippies and ice-cream parlours. But that’s okay, that’s what families do on a BH, they take the kids, or the grandkids, out somewhere nice to spend some quality time together. Lovely.

Breakfast pots are done now, and I’ve fed the birds; those two new baby blackbirds are fat as cuckoos. Might just pull up a few dandelions while I’m in the garden, they’re a bugger this year. The garden is greening up nicely. Must remember to take my camera…

Why is it that people always call on a BH? I’ve been on the phone for what seems like hours. Must admit that I did make the call to my friend, to make sure that we’re still on for lunch on Wednesday – we are – and then she had to tell me all about her grandkids, they’re off camping somewhere, with their mum and her new friend. She and Stuart are a bit lost without them, they usually take them to Scarborough or Blackpool on May BH… Than my sister rang, to see if we’re still coming over to visit later this month… of course we are, I told her two weeks ago I’d booked the tickets…

Might as well have a bit of lunch now. We’ll only have a snack. He’s just said the snooker is on in an hour. I forgot to iron a few napkins for the picnic basket, only need the two now, it’ll only take two minutes…

Well, okay, we didn’t go. But we could have gone, if we’d wanted. It’s just that I’d forgotten to cook the chicken portions and the scotch eggs were past their best-before date and I didn’t fancy the cheese. He said he didn’t mind; he’d be quite happy watching the snooker. And we wouldn’t have to fight with all the traffic and the crowds in the shops and all the usual BH stress. And remember, there’s another day off at Spring Bank, if we plan it carefully we can miss that one as well.