Tag Archives: 2017

I Think I Lost My Funny

24 Apr

Artist’s impression of lost and lonely dog

I found a lost dog on Sunday and I told people about it and didn’t crack one joke in the telling.  How is that possible? Remember when I lost my dog, Toby, a few years ago?  I managed to get three blog posts of almost novella length from that thirty minutes of agony, and cracked one joke after another despite my overwhelming trauma (Hello? Scraped knee, remember).  Here, I find a dog, and nothing: no funny, no cute, no whimsy.  I think I need to plank face-first again in peak traffic to knock the funny back into me.

Here’s what happened: I walked the dogs up to the local park and we arrived and a lone dog – husky-cross, I think – ran up to us, freaked Toby out, followed us off the park, freaking Toby out more, followed us back on to the park…are you asleep yet?  The man lying in the grass whose dog I thought it was and who turned out not to be dead (I seriously wondered, he was so still) was.  Asleep, that is.  You forgot where I was up to, didn’t you?  See, not funny.

Toby freaking out plays a big part in this story, because I had to pick him up to calm him down and his toenail caught in my chunky cardigan – kind of like a KitKat made of wool – oh give me a break, I’m desperate here – see what I did there? – and he screamed, and I mean SCREAMED in panic and wriggled like mad and I happened to be wearing earphones and he got tangled in them, my cardi and the lead so he was practically hyperventilating.  Trust me, a screaming, wriggling, hyperventilating Yorkshire Terrier is a terrifying sight to behold.  And hold.

Meanwhile, Molly slipped out of her harness, Lost Dog capered around blissfully unaware of the mayhem he was causing by being within, oh, I dunno, three miles of Toby, Toby freaked some more, and Not Dead Man kept on sleeping, despite the fact I practically fell over his feet trying to untangle me, my dog, my earphones and my clothes.

Artist’s impression of Molly, the naughty little monkey

Then I had the first of what turned out to be the same conversation with several strange men that day:

TB: Is this your dog?

SM: No.

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.

Artist’s impression of Toby, the Freaking Yorkie

Molly was already off the lead and Lost Dog had a collar but no ID, so I clipped him on and Toby almost fainted.  Resignation then set in, though he did manage a couple of thin-lipped nips at the air beside Lost Dog when he got too close.  Molly followed us home.  Fortunately, the park sort of backs onto our street (trust me, you don’t want a topographical lesson here; I’m falling asleep in the telling as it is), so I knew she’d be safe on the short walk back.

The Hub was watching City lose the FA Cup semi-final (though he didn’t know that yet) when we all arrived home, but promised to help me find the dog’s owner once the match was done.  Then it went into extra time so I marched Lost Dog out of there on his lonesome this time, Molly declining to walk if it meant her own extra time in the street and Toby reclining on his bed (actually Spud’s bed but what Spud doesn’t know Toby could not care less about), emotionally battered until dinner time.

I had a the brain wave of saying to Lost Dog, ‘Home!  Take me home!  Let’s go home!  Where’s home, boy?’  He responded by pulling me through a hole in the park fence and running straight to a front door.  I knocked and a handsome man answered:

TB: Is this your dog?

HM: No.

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.  Did you know you’re gorgeous?

Actually, I didn’t say that last bit (I think), but I certainly thunk it.

I was beginning to suspect that Lost Dog, though amiable, was a six-pack short of a six-pack.  I repeated the home mantra and he walked me up and down many streets before leading me to another front door.  I knocked and another handsome man answered:

TB: Is this your dog?

HM: Yes!

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.  Did you know you’re gorgeous?  Wait, back up…he’s yours?  Why aren’t you out looking for him?  Handsome is as handsome does, you know.  Can I leave my husband and have your puppies?

Um, everything after ‘thanks’ may have taken place in my head but, seriously, where did all these handsome men suddenly appear from?  It’s like the sun came out and a shower of hunks descended on Stockport.

Artist’s impression of Handsome Man

Handsome Man (who so isn’t because is as does, like I said) was extremely grateful but in a real hurry to get rid of me.  It was odd – discounting the fact that a middle-aged, frumpy dognapper* was drooling on his doorstep, why was he so eager to be rid of me?  And then I looked at my watch: aha!  Extra time was almost over.  He obviously wanted to get back to the match.  Loving your pooch is one thing; football is quite another.

So, good deed done for the day, I headed home, where the Hub was crying into his fixture list:

Hub: Hey, let’s go find that dog’s owner.

TB: I already did, and you wouldn’t believe how ugly he was, yuk! Eurggh! Disgusting, horrible.  I didn’t embarrass myself at all, honest.

Hub: That’s not funny.

*

*Spellcheck wants to replace ‘dognapper’ with ‘dapper kidnapper’.  I’m so tempted.

 

Birthday Boy

18 Apr

Twenty-seven years ago today, I was given a little gift:

I loved this gift.  I played with it and dressed it and took it with me everywhere.  And then one day I lost it (I hate Lancaster University; anywhere he’s ever lived; any job he’s ever had).

But then, my gift returned one day, bearing another gift:


So I forgave my gift for having a life of its own without me, and was just glad that it had doubled in size.

Happy birthday, darling!  Did you know that you share your birthday with some illustrious people, including:

  • Lucretia Borgia (alleged poisoner) (hey, there weren’t that many careers available to 15th Century women)
  • Bernard Ogilvie Dodge (American botanist and pioneer researcher on heredity in fungi) (no joke required; his job says it all)
  • Clara Eggink (Dutch poetess) (…?)
  • George Huntington Hartford II (American heir) (seriously, who wants to be famous for being an heir – Prince William excepted, of course?  I’d rather be famous for being an alleged poisoner; at least I’d be making my own way in the world) (though I wouldn’t object to being an unfamous heir)
  • Lenny Baker (rocker with Sha Na Na) (well that’s just embarrassing) (though he is saved by the fact he was in Grease) (and he is often mistaken for Kenny Baker – being mistaken for a midget android with a cute voice has to be a step up, surely?)
  • Herbert Mullin (American serial killer) (some mothers do ‘ave ’em) (not this mother, of course) (right?)
  • Bernadette Robi (ex-wife of football player Lynn Swann) (yes, well…almost as worthy as being born an heir)
  • Thankfully, the list is saved by the great David Tennant (my child has a Doctor Who connection!!  He is now officially my favourite child)
  • Kourtney Kardashian (and he’s back off the favourite child list) (happy birthday, anyway, sweetie pie xxx) (love you)

Author’s Note:

The favourite child thing is just a joke: mothers don’t have favourite children.

But grandmothers do.

There’s Been A Change Of Plan

17 Apr

Alexander Cosgriff (Alec Iconoclast) in The Iconoclasts, by Dear Hunter Theatre (Sheffield), at NSDF 2017.

So, there we were, all set for his radio debut, and what happens?  Alex comes back from the National Student Drama Festival with a horrendous chest infection and no voice.

He arrived home on Saturday and immediately set to with hot toddies of honey, lemon & ginger; Vicks in a bowl of hot water; a good night’s sleep; no dairy or caffeine – all of the usual remedies.  He went off to rehearsal in Sheffield yesterday with high hopes of a miracle occurring in the hour it took to get from home to hall.  His people dosed him up with more of the same; he opened his mouth to sing…and out popped a box of frogs.

The interview and live singing (by Debra Finch) is still going to happen today, 17h50 GMT on BBC Radio 3, but without Alex. 

Sad faces all round.

Alex is tucked up in bed here at home, disappointed but stoic.  As his mother, I’m less stoic and more gutted to my very core, but I’m a tad more dramatic than he is.

He had a great time at NSDF, at least.  Silver linings and all that.

The show he was in (The Iconoclasts, from Dear Hunter Theatre) is available to watch in its preview form.  It was recorded last year but has changed quite substantially since then.  His big number has remained, however; you can find it at 48 minutes:

Alex On The Beeb!

13 Apr

Alex is going to sing live on Radio Three on Monday.

That’s on THE BBC – OUR NATIONAL BROADCASTING SERVICE!  THE BBC! BBC RADIO!  He has to TRAVEL DOWN TO LONDON!  On a TRAIN!

I’m not at all excited.

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I don’t have any details yet, except that he’ll be performing with Debra Finch, his singing partner in the last few Broadway shows he’s done; and it’s to promote their next show, Lerner & Loewe’s The Day Before Spring, which hasn’t had a full performance since 1953 – which is probably why the BBC is interested.

I’ll update this post with details when I have them.

In the meanwhile, picture me on Easter Monday, sitting glued to the radio all day – or TV, in this case, as everyone listens to the radio via their TV these days.  Or maybe glued to my phone, waiting for Alex to remember his doting mother, up in the northern wilds of Britain, anticipating that text which will tell her what time he’s going to be LIVE ON THE BBC (radio, admittedly; and not even the MAIN radio station, but STILL, it’s the BBC, you KNOW).

No, I’m not at all excited.

Two Songs & A Book

28 Mar

First, Alex singing Celie’s song I’m Here from The Colour Purple in Miscast the other week:

Next, do yourself a favour – two favours – sign up to BookBub and download lots of free books to your Kindle…and then delete half of them because they’re terrible, but at least you didn’t pay for them; and the good ones are worth wading through the dross.Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)

And do it TODAY, so you can get a free copy while it’s available of Penny Reid’s Neanderthal Seeks Human.  She writes witty, intelligent romances with quirky characters and I own every book she’s written and hate that I discovered her while she’s still writing because I have to wait for the next book, and the next, and the next…you get the idea.

How can I convey the depth of my love for her books?  If I tell you I would spend my Malteser money on them, would that do it?  

My favourite line: This is the mammals all over again.

Go and get it NOW!  It’s FREE!

Finally, Alex and the other Colla Voce Boys in Chicago’s Cell Block Tango:

A True-ish Story

20 Mar

A Cup of Flour

They say truth is stranger than fiction; sometimes, it’s on par.

I laughed when I saw this cartoon, for something similar once happened to my mother.

Forty years ago, we had just moved to Runcorn and Mum had met our new next door neighbours but no one else.  She answered the door one morning and there stood a strange woman, holding a plate containing an egg and two bacon rashers.

Stranger: Can you please help me?  I’m a bit short for my breakfast; have you got a sausage to lend me?

[Bemused] Mum: Um, erm, sure, yes, hold on a sec.

Later that day, Mum saw our next door neighbour and told her all about the strange Image result for full english breakfastbreakfast-begging woman.

[Laughing] Neighbour: Oh, that was Irene*.  Don’t worry about it: she came to me for the beans!

Irene and her family eventually moved to a better part of town, into a large, posh house.  I wonder how many neighbours’ sausages helped to pay for it?Overnight Blueberry French Toast Recipe : so easy to make the night before and pop in the oven the next morning. A delicious breakfast casserole recipe with the surprise of blueberries and cream cheese and a lovely blueberry sauce topping. Perfect brunch recipe for a special occasion.

*Names changed to preserve privacy: ‘Irene’ is still alive; no doubt living on the neighbours’ Overnight Blueberry French Toast (breakfast has changed a lot in forty years).

SElf-Explanatory

13 Mar

Here are some videos of Alex performing.  The first is from The Boy Next Door, a concert of the music of Hugh Martin.  There are more videos if you let it play out; and The Mamas & The Papas fans might enjoy a new girl group’s rendition of one song in particular:

The second is a compilation of snippets from a show he did last year, The Colla Voce Theatre Cabaret, made up of songs from modern musicals:

This weekend Alex was involved in several events at Sheffield University’s Platform festival, in aid of Cavendish Cancer Care.   On Friday he sang in the SUPAS Showcase, playing George III in Hamilton, singing You’ll Be Back:

 

Thursday to Saturday he’s performing in Miscast, again with Colla Voce Theatre:  

Image result for Adhesive

Hit the link to buy tickets if you happen to be in the Sheffield area.

If you haven’t heard of Miscast, it’s ‘an annual benefit in which Broadway stars perform songs from musical roles which they would be very unlikely to land in…’ [Playbill].

And finally, I have a belated Christmas gift for you: I don’t think I’ve mentioned that he had his first paid acting gig at Christmas…playing one of Santa’s Experience Elves at the Trafford Centre.  I love that he did that as it gives me another opportunity to poke fun at him; I don’t even need to say anything – just put the pic out there:

 

 

 

Nicola Hulme Author

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