Monday, 26 January 2009

Things you can do with your toes

Completely Alienne has tagged me to list ten honest and interesting things about myself. The 'honest' suggests that these should be frank and a bit revelatory. Not sure about that. If I have few illusions about myself I like believing you might still have some. And I suppose I shouldn't recycle ones from previous memes, which rather implies dipping into the reserve list.

1) As a child I always went up stairs on all fours. I still do sometimes, but try not to in public places.

2) I have fitted my bath with a reading light, and have been known to read an entire book in one immersion (emerging like a literate prune).

3) I once inadvertently killed my landlord's cat. It got into my Cornish flat through an open window while I was out, ate the fat in an unwashed frying pan, went back downstairs and died. I never owned up. (Note, too much fat is bad for your health).

4) When I was about twelve I buried our own cat in a Swedish crispbread tin. It went missing and we assumed it had followed walkers in the wood and was enjoying a pampered new life. Then I found it in a wild part of the garden, mutilated by a dog or a fox. I conducted a secret burial to protect the rest of the family from the grim truth. I'm surprised nobody missed the biscuit tin, which was as big as a drum and rather useful.

5) I was a difficult adolescent. At school I became such a subversive influence that they created a bed-sit for me - the first in the school's 400 year history (a hatch in the ceiling gave access to a loft space, and I slung all my empties up there. I believe a later occupant got in trouble for that, after I'd left).

6) I can unscrew bottle tops, hold pencils and do other useful stuff with my toes.

7) Amongst houses once occupied by grander-than-me relations are this,
this (my earliest memory is living in the west wing one winter), this (my grandmother's home when she married, but it was only rented), this (I lived here for a little while too), and this (now a bijou health spa). Damn - where did it all go?

8) I have been mistaken for James Hewitt, but only by the sort of people one avoids on trains.

9) Things I have done in pursuit of girls include: joining a canoe club; being run away with on a horse; going through the entire electoral register for Truro and Falmouth constituency; and accidentally breaking a window whilst trying to get into someone else's house at midnight (it's a long story).

10) The blue plastic bucket at the bottom of Dover Harbour belongs to me.

I think I'm meant to tag other people here, but as always I feel diffident about that, because you've probably all done similar ones before. But I will tag Extra Virgin, who probably hasn't. And please feel free to have a go.


  1. Oh GOOD answers!
    I go upstairs on all fours all the time at home....well, the cottage stairs are rather steep!
    And it seems to me form the pictures of your former residences that you are really rather posh..... hmmm!

  2. You have passed through some desirable residences and I bet there is an old title or two in the family tree. I love it, snob that I am.

    Great answers.

  3. Justme - Alas, I'm so not posh. I was always far too shy and socially inept to do posh properly, and anyway never had the dosh for it!

    Fancy - Nothing much in the way of titles. But I did love the houses (innocently imagining them to be the sort of place everyone wound up). No such luck!

  4. I go upstairs on all fours too - quite often still but always as a child.

    You have a bit of a history with cats, don't you? Well, dead cats in particular.

    The residences look very appealing. I don't have a real claim to fame there although I did live in the house where the Kenwood Chef was invented for a while. But Ken Wood did not live there at the time.

  5. p.s. was the cat dead when you buried it?

  6. RB - That is a claim to fame. I didn't realise the Kenwood got it's name that way. Our family one lasted for 47 years, and may still be going (we had to leave it behind in one house). The switch and bakelite goblet cover bit were a fetching baby blue.

    Fancy - Very!

  7. I can remember crawling down stairs on all fours as a child. I no longer do that as an adult unless it is at high speed, under the influence of alcohol and initiated by children's toys impeding my perambulatory skills at the top of the stairs. Baby gates are marvellous things. Espcially when they break your fall. Not great for your complexion though.

  8. Stairs? Best to sober up before tackling them I reckon!
    As for cats, my WV today is "allys"

  9. I ALWAYS go up stairs on all fours but again only if nobody's watching. I also slide down banisters if the opportunity presents itself. I can pick things up with my feet but not unscrew bottle tops - God, how long are your toes? I thought I had monkey feet!

  10. Very busy at work, but I managed to leave something like 'Extra-Virgin' for the Birthday Person

  11. oh sorry, thanks for tagging dying to check it out but must wait for now! The mafia's keeping me from it, blame them. As usual.

  12. Steve - Bob and I went down on all fours - forwards - not long ago. It's a bit of an eye opener, isn't it? One cannot realise what dogs and cats go through until trying that. (We also found that lying on your back on the floor with your head on the bottom step gives one a new view of the world).

    Amanda - Funny you should say that. Apparently a previous occupant who liked a jar stacked it on the steep stairs at one end of this house and never recovered.

    Lucy - Your versatility is astonishing! I reckon it's not the length of one's toes that matters, but the way that you use them.

    Extra Virgin - Thank you. I was moved.

  13. Really good answers Brother. I'm still dying to know who your bestselling mother and aunt are from another one of these! Hilarious you still go up the stairs on all fours- I really hope they're steep or that's too scary! The Colonel really needs one of those bath reading lights- thanks for that.

  14. Very good answers Brother T! I was concerned about the cat, but after re-reading what you said I concluded you buried the cat after it was dead.

    I go upstairs on all fours quite a lot too - not sure why, I just do.

  15. My goodness me you (and your relatives) have lived in some posh residences! I used to go upstairs on all fours too-but had forgotten until I read this-it is much quicker and safer. A very interesting and amusing list.

  16. I'll send you back the blue plastic bucket I didn't realise it was yours. Do you want me to leave the snails in it?

  17. Man and I thought I had an interesting life! I enjoyed all your answers, and will come back later to follow your links as reality has intruded and I have to get ready for work *sigh*.

  18. Daisy - I'm astounded to discover that practically everyone else seems to go up stairs on all fours too (that would complicate your life in the Metro!). No secret that my mother was Moyra Charlton (try googling her for more).

    Completely - I suppose I did put that a bit ambiguously!

    Sarah - It's never too late to start again!

    Lulu - can give the snails to your neighbours. (It's an occupational hazard when you drop a bucket on a lanyard overboard to swab the decks after getting a muddy anchor in. If the boat has any way on the water grabs the bucket and rips the line from unwary hands. The very unwary go overboard with it!)

    DJ - I know how busy you've been; I hope the book launch went well.

  19. I thought the bucket was mine! Shall we split it three ways?

  20. A four-legged & literate prune. Quite a picture! Aloha-