EOTWQ has got the munchies

1. What’s the best thing you can put on toast?

2. If I say “childhood” – what’s the first thing that springs to your mind?

3. Coming over all Prince Charles, if you could destroy one building (without hurting anyone in the process) – which would it be?

4. Tell us your favourite anecdote about one of your pets, past or present. If you’ve never had any pets…why’s that?

5. When was the last time you got high, by what means, and what music did you reach for? If you’ve never got high…why’s that?

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107 thoughts on “EOTWQ has got the munchies

  1. 1. Butter and Marmite

    2. Being lonely.

    3. I wouldn’t. Let posterity decide.

    4. I used to own a big fluffy ginger tomcat. He was an ace ratter. He would regularly bring half-dead ones into the house but one day he exceeded himself and managed to vomit up three almost whole rats on the kitchen floor.

    5. About four years ago (I am assuming we are not talking about booze here). It was the last time I did an E. The music was the Fatboy Slim Brighton Beach album – at a friend’s party.

  2. 1 Butter

    2 Peace

    3 I’m not very fond of the whole of Dumfries. Except the building I work in, which dates from 1832, and anything Burns-related.

    4 Hamster, when I was a child – I was playing with him in the garden, and he disappeared into the rockery. Trouble was, my father had built the rockery (it had a birdbath on top) to cover the well in the garden – but he had neglected to make a proper cover for the well first. I could hear the hamster scrabbling about, and I could hear pebbles shifting about, and every now and then I could hear a distant splash…and I was waiting for a much more hamster-sized splash…but my mother found some peanuts and we tempted him out with those.

    5 If you mean drunk – now, and I’m listening to I’d Like To Love You Baby* by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
    If you mean other substances, it was some time ago and there wasn’t any music, but I did have a peaceful easy feeling.

    *Now they’re doing Born In Chicago

    • It’s started…I said ‘demolish Dumfries’ and last night a block of flats in the town had its roof blown off in a storm.

  3. Oh – didn’t see ‘by what means’. I was doing a postgrad degree at UEA and we had a residential weekend. Our tutor brought the hash. Several of the people on the course were nurses which was why, when I woke up, I was in the recovery position.

  4. 1. Tricky. Tempted to say my homemade quince jelly, if only because it’s such a fantastic colour, but it tastes slightly better on freshly-baked muffins. Marmalade, probably. Depends on the bread, really.

    2. Books. So many that I wish I could have the experience of discovering all over again. Followed by loneliness, and a fair amount of misery, but on the whole the books made that more bearable.

    3. Mr Windsor makes me love modern architecture as a matter of principle. If I’m allowed to destroy a whole town, rather than just a building, it would be Poundbury, his ghastly ersatz community just outside Dorchester. If it has to be just one building, then probably the National Gallery (having got all the paintings out first, of course), leaving the Sainsbury Wing standing, just to piss him off as much as possible.

    4. Where to start? Having Siamese and Orientals does produce a fairly high quota of anecdotes… I may have told this one before, but it really has to be the time that dear old Basil, our eldest, went missing one Good Friday. He used to stay out all night very occasionally – not any more, he’s very aged and probably not long for this world – but he’d always be back for breakfast. When he didn’t show up for lunch, we got increasingly frantic, and started leafleting the neighbourhood and looking in everyone’s sheds; by the next day the search had widened to a good half-mile radius. On Easter Monday, we had a call from a neighbour to say that he’d seen a Siamese in the window at the back of the Methodist chapel three doors down; cue frantic search for anyone with a key, and finally he was released, dehydrated but basically okay. He must have wandered in while the doors were open for anyone who wanted to go in to pray, and then got locked in; and we can only imagine what it must have been like during the Sunday services, trying to ignore the wailings of the evil spirit emanating from the vestry…

    5. I’ve only ever smoked pot, very occasionally, and its sole effect seems to be to help overcome my otherwise chronic insomnia. Didn’t work the last time, about ten years ago, as it was in the middle of an intense conversation with the brother than I can’t stand and so any mellow vibes were overcome by the aura of smug maliciousness, “I’m a family doctor and I’ve given our mother grandchildren so clearly can do no wrong”. Why do they call them “family doctors” these days, rather than GPs? Sheer propaganda, that’s why, cloaking the fact that they’re money-grubbing capitalists who should be taxed into submission like the bankers. Anyway…

      • You’re joking, right? Poundland has a certain grubby charm and authenticity compared to this, which belongs in the same category as Marie Antoinette dressing up as a milkmaid: Poundbury.

    • Don’t want to turn this into a mutual insomnia whinge, but have you ever tried Phenergan if you’re desperate, Abahachi? An OTC antihistamine – I find two 25mg tablets half an hour before bed do the trick. Leave you a bit groggy in the morning, but as I say, if you’re ever feeling desperate with it… You may just be more patient with/resigned to nights of sleeplessness than me though!

      • I realize that we have different drugs in our countries, but i was a bad insomniac too. What usually works for me is a PM sleeping pill, and sometimes some PM cough syrup for good measure.
        That’s non-prescription here.
        If you prefer more natural remedies, double or triple strength chamomile tea works very well. Some people have no problem with it, it makes me sluggish the next day. (Ok, since this is a druggie thread, that’s what we would take to sleep after a night of blow.)

  5. 1. Butter and lots of marmite. Oh and lots of butter too.
    2. The cuckoo clock above my cot. My first word was “cuckoo” – I’ve made progressively less sense since then.
    3. I want Buckingham Palace but preferably when they’re all at home.
    4. We had a cat, TJ, whose party piece was to hide inside any handbag that was left open and then keep very still. He would pop an enquiring head out of the bag as it was picked up with a “Where do you think you’re taking me?” look on his face. Screams, dropped bags and cat mischievously scurrying off to the kitchen ensued.
    5. Ages ago. Probably ‘shrooms and probably something by Copey.

  6. My first hamster was stepped on by my father; survived, but lost all her teeth. She had thereafter to be fed a carefully-prepared diet of grated apple, porridge oats soaked in milk, grated carrot and the like, which probably explains why she lived to the ripe old age of nearly three.

  7. 1. Black raspberry jam, and this question just reminded me of a treat i haven’t had for a long time – mash up butter and brown sugar, spread on bread and toast till bubbly under the broiler.

    2. Nothing really, kind of uninterested in childhood. There is no age in life i’d ever go back to.

    3. I’m with Carole on this one. Seems so destructive, although there are plenty of buildings i don’t like.

    But i am reminded of a New York Magazine feature many years ago, where they listed the top 10 buildings they’d like to take a wrecking ball to. I couldn’t argue with The Lipstick Building.

    4. Too many to mention, and i’d be at a huge risk of boring people to death if i ever got started. So a very recent one – have been levelled with a very painful pulled shoulder muscle the past few days, and am touched by the way one of the little cats i live with looks after me. The meds wear off a bit in the middle of the night and so i’m up for an hour or two in pain, and the little cat sits in my lap and purrs till i can get back to sleep. (And i get to feel like Blofeld). One of my other cats did this when i got my wisdom teeth out.

    5. Probably a month ago, just basic weed. Nothing i ever go looking for anymore (and haven’t for decades, having mightily overindulged in teens and early 20′s), but every now and then the kids at work will drag me out back for a hit. Probably we had 90′s grunge on the satellite.

  8. 1. Butter and medium-boiled eggs. On sliced white. How lower-middle-class of me.

    2. Being dragged hither and yon by a dog manically straining at the leash after some smell or other. Usually another dog’s doo-doo.

    3. There’s rather a lot of horridness around Elephant & Castle. I’m thinking particularly of a building called Eileen House (even the name is ‘orrible) opposite the Salvation Army headquarters. Which itself could go too, if I’m honest.

    4. Ooh, I think I may have inadvertently done this in answer to question 2… All my major childhood memories about pets involve tragic occurrences. Don’t think I’ll divulge those just now.

    5. I guess it would have been spliff. But not done much of that since Millennium Eve, when I had a really nasty ‘turn’: had travelled all the way to Gokarna in southern India to meet up with a friend who was travelling. After an 18-hour overnight (sleepless) journey, she handed me a charas spliff, I inhaled once… and then had to take myself to bed as the whole world melted around me. For eight hours, I lay in a sleeping bag on the floor of a cockroach-infested shack watching the walls crawl, wondering if I would remember to keep breathing. And if so, how. Just horrible. Completely missed the turn of the millennium. Since then, have been very wary of the wacky baccy (despite smoking plenty before then, never with any particularly adverse effects). Anyway, don’t remember reaching for any music.

    But speaking of music, blimpy, today I picked up a copy of the Thirty Pounds of Bone album in Flashback Records on the Essex Road. For the princely sum of £3.99 – result!

    • Total bargain Bishbosh!

      I’m enjoying these answers a lot so far, I did want to make the EOTWQ completely drug-based but wasn’t sure how it’d go down…

      • That would have been fun Blimpy. I could have told you all about the time I went to see The Empire Strikes back on mushrooms was found by my mates trying to explain the plot to the condom machine in the gents’ of a nearby pub we went into afterwards.

      • Some friends of mine have an annual “Lord of the Shrooms” do – all three LOTR films on mushrooms. I have (semi) promised to join this year. Bit scared…

      • Don’t be Bish and if you are don’t go. I always found (yeah, that’s a past tense there) that ‘shrooms accentuated my underlying mood. Not good if you’re feeling stressed, doubtful, insecure, etc. Fine if you’re not.

      • Okay, cool! Save your best drug tales, and very soon we will have “EOTWQ got monstered and ate own shoes” !

  9. 1) Jesus

    2) Wet pants

    3) Any building that spoils the view of St Pauls.

    4) I wasn’t going to get another cat. Not after Tiddles – the name wasn’t my idea – she wasn’t even my cat – I kind of inherited her. She was Liz’s cat but when Liz met her new bloke she said he’s got a cat already so maybe you could…..
    I didn’t care. Tiddles my god what a name. Lived to be twenty mind you – that’s about century in dog years.

    So anyway, I wasn’t going to get another one. Too much of a commitment and, in the end, too much heartbreak.
    Still, when my mother said her friend had to find a home for a whole litter of strays I said I would. Just the one mind. Called him Alexander because it sounded kind of noble. Funny little kitten he was – very big feet. Tried to circumnavigate the living room without his big feet touching the ground. Leapt from the arm of the sofa and swung from the curtains. Slept on my bed.

    He got pretty shirty when my sister persuaded me to take on another waif from another unwanted litter. Called this one Edward. Not such a one-man-cat this one. Did the rounds. Called in now and then to pay his respects and scoff some food then went off a’hunting or to visit the neighbours. Lives up the road now mostly at number three. Robin feeds him most days but he does call in now and then.

    That suited Alexander just fine. This is my home this is my human. He was scared of everyone else. Taken from his mother too soon, needed the reassurance. Used to follow me into the toilet for gods sake. Slept on my bed for fourteen years he did. Black as the night. a witches cat.

    I knew he was losing weight. Very nasty diagnosis. Tumour in his guts – only a matter of time but he’s not in pain. So long as he seems happy but you’ll know when it’s time……

    So that morning. The vet left us alone so I could say goodbye. You’d swear they know what’s going on. So quiet so still.
    I made a lady in the waiting room cry. She was trying to comfort me but ended up joining in. Receptionist had to get her a tissue.

    So then I went off to work. Bloody long day and when I got home this place was a touch too empty. Eddie popped by to see what was on the menu. Had a look around – seemed a bit puzzled or was that my imagination?

    Might seem sentimental to some folks but I missed my old friend with his big feet. Witches cat he was.

    5) By means of beans.

  10. 1. What’s the best thing you can put on toast?
    Cheese; hot or cold. Mature cheddar or similar with a spicy relish if hot; caerphilly or lancashire with guacamole if cold. Thinly sliced radish or tomato with either.

    2. If I say “childhood” – what’s the first thing that springs to your mind?
    DarceysSis. DsMam & I were discussing her after she went to bed tonight.
    If you mean me, it is inevitably of me playing football somewhere, covered in grass stains and dried mud.

    3. Coming over all Prince Charles, if you could destroy one building, which would it be?
    Whichever one the entire Bush family are in at the time.
    (without hurting anyone in the process)
    Oh. Damn. OK …….
    Old Trafford (chez Demento, not the cricket ground), immediately after I’d ensured their insurance renewal form got eaten by the dog.

    4. Tell us your favourite anecdote about one of your pets, past or present.
    Anecdotes” not springing to mind easily tonight. I can’t get past the image of Buxton as a kitten being found fast asleep on a cold morning on the teatowel covering the toaster, with all four legs down the slice slots.

    5. When was the last time you got high, by what means, and what music did you reach for?
    At a Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack gig in Bradford over 20 years ago. Didn’t have much choice really; you couldn’t see the stage for cannabis smoke. Which music? Well Duuh!
    If you’ve never got high…why’s that?
    Actually I haven’t much. Alcohol has a strict monopoly on altering the DsD mindstate.
    Did a night on poppers once: I was buzzing til around 4am, made the mistake of sitting in an armchair, woke up 8 hours later.
    Only done mushrooms once: all I felt was slightly disorientated, I obviously didn’t ingest enough.
    Never knowingly taken anything else socially, and would run a mile from any hint of something Class A. I saw Christiane F when it came out, and it did a flawless job of scaring the teenage me off anything pharmaceutical for life.
    I was prescribed Temazepam once in the mid-90s: had the good sense to realise the cure was worse than the disease, and flushed half the prescription.

    Sorry, I’m being rather dull here, aren’t I?

    • Definitely with you on the Temazepam. My mom has a prescription, and that was my last resort when nothing else could get me to sleep. But the whole next day was a write-off.

      • Yeah, but if you mix them with booze you feel really high, have a lovely big sleep and wake up feeling nicely stoned the next day. Oh how I miss “the good old days”…

      • Temazepam – pan ? / Valium is good for sleeping on long-haul flights, otherwise it’s common or garden chemical cosh. Helps some people but it’s a proper downer

      • A friend gave me a small handful of Ambien to try, now that was the stuff. You get woozy about 15 minutes after you take it, and sleep well with no druggie hangover in the morning. It’s prescription here so i can’t get it.

        Only time i ever had Valium was by injection for dental work. But the hangovers seemed to cause depression and made me cry, so i don’t think i’d try that for any other reason.

        (and it is pam, Magic).

      • This is going to sound like I’m still on the damned stuff, but …

        Thank you, magicman for your unsureness (!?!?!) about the last letter of Temazepam. I always remember it as Temazepan, but every time I mention it, I get corrected to a ‘M’-ending.

        It was FOUL. I was prescribed it for stress/depression, but it took me less than a week to decide I’d rather face down the demons than put any more of that shit in my system. I suppose it worked, because I did then work my way through my life issues. Still shudder at the memory of how the drug made me feel.

  11. Trouble with all these questions is that I don’t know how to answer any of them succinctly so I’ll just try and keep it short.
    1. Funny you should ask, it’s usually marmalade that I make a couple of times a year. Last week I made two separate batches of Seville orange and about a month ago I made two more batches with Meyer lemons so now we have about a dozen pints of various marmalades. Meyer lemons are originally from China and they’re a cross between a lemon and a mandarin; delicious – I have two Meyer lemon trees in my garden.

    2. If you say childhood the first thing I think of is WW2, an absolutely amazing and interesting time to be a ten year old, I have a million memories and there’s an essay I wrote for a book on the subject at my blog, it’s titled “Oh what a lovely war” .
    If anyone’s curious it’s at: http//goneforeign.blogspot.com
    Please excuse the mess, I rarely go there anymore.

    3. ‘I’ll pass.

    4. Pets; If they asked me I could write a book, his name is Seamus. He’s a very large German Shepherd, now 13 and wobbly like me, the most intelligent, wonderful and smartest dog that ever lived. When he was younger I bought him many footballs, he loved ‘em and played with them by himself for literally hours every day, he’d dribble ‘em with his noose and paws running very fast around our 1 acre fenced garden. A favorite game was penalty shoot outs, I’d line up about 5-6 footballs, I’d make him sit about 30ft away and he’d sit there twitching with excitement, tail wagging with his eyes locked on my face. Ideally I would shoot ‘em about 5-6 ft to his left and about 4ft high; he would leap into the air and catch them in his jaws, he never missed, he was amazing. Another time I was weeding a raised bed and I pulled a small sod of grass and flung it over my shoulder towards the field, I saw him about 50 yards away as he came running, he’d seen me throw the weed. The grass in the field was about a foot high and the weed was somewhere in there, he started running in ever decreasing concentric circles with his nose glued to the ground and after about 10 revolutions he pounced on it and brought it back to me! What amazes me about that is that my hands were covered in soil and yet the split second in which I pulled and tossed that weed was enough to imprint my smell enough that he could easily find it. What a nose! That also became a permanent game.
    I won’t bore you with the ears,

    5. Can’t remember specifically the last time, you know what it does to memory right? But there were many memorable situations over the years.
    There were 3 of us traveling in Guatemala in a VW camper, we heard via the travelers grapevine that there was a remote mountain village about 40 miles from where we were staying that was famous for it’s psilocybin mushrooms, we decided that we’d leave at dawn the next day. We arrived there about 10 am on a beautiful but very hot sunny day; the Spanish word for the mushrooms is ‘hongo’s’ so when we were surrounded by every kid in the village, approx. 15 -20, we told them we’d give them 5 cents each for every mushroom they could bring to us. About 20 minutes later we had a large paper bag full, about 3+ lbs, maybe 200, we thanked them and left. It was intensely hot, maybe about 110 degrees, we hadn’t eaten and as I was driving I saw an area off to the side of the road that had an enormous shade tree, ‘How about we stop for breakfast?’ I said. Total agreement.
    The mushrooms were fresh picked and looked exactly like those you buy in the supermarket, I rinsed them and sliced about 1/2lb, we put the coffee on and I made 3 mushroom omlettes, I wasn’t thinking, I made them just like I did at home. I don’t know what a reasonable ‘dose’ would have been, maybe 1 or 2 mushrooms, as it was we each got 8-10-12! John and his girlfriend decided to go for a walk, I stayed in the van, they came on very quickly and very strong. It was just like an acid trip but the heat made it difficult, I felt sleepy, I’d close my eyes and go cartwheeling through a black void with multicolored abstractions, it wasn’t very pleasant and it lasted about 1-2 hours. When John and his girlfriend returned I was in a much pleasanter place and we all went for a swim in a beautiful mountain stream. Our trip lasted another couple of months and the mushrooms were a regular daily item; we only o’d’d one more time and that was an all night session in the jungle at a Mayan temple.
    Can’t be at all specific about the music but the van had a good stereo system with outside speakers and I had tons of reggae tapes.

  12. 1. Butter and jam. I like everything else everybody has mentioned, but I nearly wrote an essay on the restorative properties of toast and jam the other week.

    2. My brother. I could write an essay on that, too. But I won’t

    3. That’s a hard one, I’ll give it some thought.

    4. My Steenbeck dog is the canine love of my life, but we’re having some senior dog issues at the moment, which are making me feel very fragile.

    So I’ll tell you about my dog Tessie. She is nearly as large a factor in childhood as my brother. She was a beagle something or other. Very very regal beagle. She used to walk, very very slowly around an asparagus fern, and just touch the end of the feathery branches. She walked like a dancer, pointing each paw, pausing between each pace, an extremely tranquil expression on her face. Around and around she would very slowly go. Never seen anything like it.

  13. 1. Butter, although I don’t indulge myself anymore.
    2. My Mum.
    3. The Beetham Tower in Manchester. Either that or finish the bloody thing: the top looks like it’s still encased in scaffolding.
    4. A lively young kitten called Gabi, sat on a second floor balcony then, after a scrabbling noise, no longer sat there. She was fine and turned out to be a lovely, docile cat.
    5. Mildly stoned, as I type. My guitar is close by…

  14. 1. Mushrooms (the ordinary kind). No contest.

    2. Being incredibly lonely, but not realising it until I was much older. I had books, music, films, I thought I had it all. I’m still learning how wrong I was.

    3. I was first a student at University College, Dublin, usually referred to as UCD. There’s always been a big and stupid rivalry between UCD and Trinity, partly because Trinity wouldn’t allow Catholics entry for its first few centuries, and then because it was allegedly the best (“You would say that”, pipes up a Trinity student) but all I ever envied Trinity was its campus. The current UCD campus was built in the late ’60s, and apparently the May ’68 events became a factor, so there were limitations on open spaces in which students could gather, and the whole place looked depressingly Stalinist in buildings and general layout. It was ugly beyond words, every building looked like a bunker, without the glamour, and the only bright spot was the cherry blossom trees (which were taken as an alarm clock; when they blossomed, it was time to start studying for summer exams). So I’d happily bomb it in the hope that something nice would be built in its place.

    4. In my mid- to late teens, I had a cat named Jupiter (the list of names I accorded pets is probably best left to a mental health professional, but that’s for another time). Jupiter would come into the house when my early-rising parents opened the back door, and would immediately head for my bed. One morning, she arrived up, and curled up beside me as usual. Half- (if not not more) asleep, I did my usual thing of throwing an arm around her. Suddenly, I felt a soft paw on my lips, no claws out, exactly as someone would shush you. She didn’t like my breathing on her. Whether due to proximity or morning breath, she didn’t say, but I turned my face away, and we lay there happily until it was time for me to get up and leave her to my warm spot. It was an odd moment of communication, and I’ve never forgotten it.

    5. I’m useless with “substances”. I didn’t touch alcohol until I was 19 (which in Ireland made me unusual/a freak), but I’ve made up for lost time since on that score. I got stoned before i got drunk, but when it changed from “everything’s hilarious!” to “I’ve been staring at my shoelaces for an hour”, I lost interest, and I never had the appetite for anything else (though acid is still on my to-do list). So, like DsD, alcohol is it for me. And my reaction to alcohol is variable. Sometimes, I’m the life and soul, sometimes I sit in a corner scowling. When I’m happily drunk, I listen to whatever takes my fancy, but it’s always upbeat, and I’ll drunkenly vocalise to it, or play guitar to it – St. Etienne, Cocteau Twins, Sonic Youth, and so on. When I’m maudlin, and alone, I end up listening to the same song every time: my mother was quite religious, and even before she became ill, she seemed to take it personally that I was a devout atheist. As her cancer progressed, she began to display symptoms of what I recognise in retrospect with my modicum of medical training and what I will never forgive her doctors for not recognising earlier, was Horner’s Syndrome, one of the ancillary symptoms of which is hoarseness. But “hoarseness” doesn’t do it justice. I didn’t hear my mother speak properly for a long time before she died. Anyway, a few months before she died, I went to see Leonard Cohen play in Dublin, on a rare night off from helping nurse her through her last few months, and he played “If It Be Your Will”. It wasn’t a song of his I was particularly fond of, but he relegated it to his backing singers, and they played an astoundingly beautiful version, and ithit home. Not ‘close to’. It. Hit. Home. I was there on my own, and had to shield myself from the kindness of strangers. The version I bore witness to is on YouTube, thanks to phones or whatever, and it’s on the live album from the tour. I wanted to play it at her funeral, but I thought it would hit too hard on my brother and father, so I never mentioned it. It’s my secret song in memory of her, and so, like I said, when I’m drunkenly maudlin, that’s the song I play. And then I go to bed.

      • amazing. I’m not going to write an essay on my mother, but she looms large, and still does. We have fought, not spoken, been supportive and tried to mend things. She has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals all of my life, been diagnosed with every single variant of mental illness, and prescribed every single drug that was invented, often used a a guinea pig for trials (without knowing). It’s a very long painful story. Anyway, I wrote her a long and painfully honest letter when I couldn’t take it any more, acknowledging all of the above but asking for a little more kindness to me and my brothers and sister. Most difficult letter I ever had to write. Her reply was brief but succinct : listen to Bird On A Wire.
        Your post gave me a flashback. She now owns that song.

    • My equivalent of your Cohen song, catcher, is One Moment More, by Mindy Smith, which is about her mother’s death from cancer. I heard her sing it at the Austin City Limits festival in 200-something, and you know that kind of crying you do when tears just pour down your face without you sobbing or anything? Well, that. My mother died of cancer in 1999.

      Hmm – now I’ve got an earworm. Maki!

  15. 1) Simples. Beans. I dont know why, but im not expecting any support on this one. But still. its beans for me. I used to love them so much as a kid, I would even eat them if I wasnt well. Quite an advantage for my mum I suppose. Plus the Hungarians dont like them. They are such a rare find here, its like Christmas whenever I manage to get some home. No special way of serving them. Just on toast. Flipping perfect.

    2) Light aircraft. No really. The house where I grew up was only a couple of miles from Leicester Aerodrome. Whenever I found myself alone in the street, any chums having been called in to dinner or whatever, I would finally notice the sound of a Cesna passing overhead; it would always give me a lonesome feeling. Planes were taking off and landing all the time, but I suppose I didnt notice them until I was left alone. To this day, the sound rings lonesome for me every time.

    3) I’m not the destructive kind any more. Ive also decided in the last couple of years that happiness has to be an inner quality, which means letting live and not letting temporary material circumstances make too much difference. This is a long way of saying I cant think of one.

    4) As has been noted on here before, I was never really a pet person. No good reason for this. When I was a kid, living not that far from the aforementioned aerodrome, we did have a budgie. For some spectacular reason, he was a green and yellow genius, totally at home with the whole family. His favorite trick (I still love this) was flying straight onto the bridge of my grandmother’s glasses as soon as she sat down in the front room. As a result, my gran got used to it (being powerless to prevent it) and would regularly sit there watching TV with the rest of us, with ‘Peppi’ sitting comfortably on the bridge of her specs for hours at a time. She never batted an eyelid, literally.

    5) I dont know what’s going on, but I seem to have lost the ability to ‘get high’ by traditional means. Beer just makes me sleepy, wine sort of numbs me out and even champagne only works if im in company. I assumed it must be age, but that’s probably not correct. I think I just got out of practice. Sad really. As a result, im sorry to say, I cant recall the last time. If I do open a bottle of red though, I nearly always reach for the guitar and occasionally take the opportunity to ‘rock out’. Not as much fun when you’re alone though. Better knock this one on the head before you all start sending me food parcels.

      • You’re too kind magicman, but thanks. I just want to add to the loneliness debate below. I was never in dire need of friends, as, like Steenbeck, I am quite self-reliant in general. The ‘lonesome’ feeling I was describing was just the sound of a light aeroplane which I was somehow ‘trained’ into associating (as a small boy) with the experience of being left alone in the street briefly, with the result that it’s still a sound that gives me ‘that feeling’ again. Townes Van Zandt made the neat distinction between ‘aloneness’ and ‘loneliness’. “Aloneness is a state of being, whereas loneliness is a state of feeling. It’s like the difference between being broke and being poor.” This is the loneliness of the small plane engine for me.

      • I just want to add that I also 100% support that line in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ about no man being a failure if he has friends. Friends (and even strangers) also play a very very important role because they help us to self-define and to re-create ourselves anew. We literally wouldnt be us without them. I think my own quote would be “Self-reliance is nice, but I couldnt achieve it without others.”

  16. 1. Fried eggs with chilli and garlic flakes.

    2. Childhood? Please . . . no . . . don’t. Oh okay; getting out of the house in the morning, roaming the streets all day and not coming home until the early evening.

    3. Any 60s /70s featureless concrete monstrosity.

    4. On many occasions Ali the cat (RIP) climbed over the garden fence with a pork chop or a chicken leg clamped in his jaws. It took a lot of effort, rather like a leopard climbing a tree with an antelope. He would approach Sammy the dog (RIP), place the meat carefully in front of him, and then contentedly watch Sammy scoff it.
    I never did find out where he got them from.

    5. I got high once in 1970 . . . and stayed that way until 1995. During that time I listened to all music except pop, classical, country and western, hard rock, heavy metal, MOR, disco, cabaret, bedsit, show tunes, bunny in the boot, Christian rock, Tom Jones or that French stuff that sounds like De Gaulle having a good gargle.

  17. I’m finding it awfully poignant that so many people seem to have had lonely childhoods. I think i had the opposite problem, i always had a lot of friends as a kid and teen. It wasn’t until my 20′s that i realized that i wasn’t a very social person by nature at all, i’d go as far to say i’m pretty anti-social.

    Very moved by people’s pet stories too.

    • I was very solitary as a child, amy, but not lonely. I had lots of interests and it didn’t bother me that other kids didn’t share them. I was very into nature study (as it was then called) and you can do that better on your own anyway. I also loved reading.

      What’s really sad, I think, is that modern children don’t have the same freedom that some of us had – I relate especially to gf’s posts here. I was able to go off and do as I liked, explore, go into places I wasn’t supposed to go. And nowadays kids just can’t.

      • That’s what i’m like now, i’d rather read and take long nature walks with a camera. I wish i figured it out earlier than my 20′s that that’s the way i really liked to live. Being lonely is a very different thing that being solitary or alone by choice, some of the other people sound like they would have preferred more company.

  18. Good questions Blimpy.

    1) Fresh sardines with a drizzle of olive oil, topped with sliced tomatto, salt & ground pepper and slightly grilled. Served with a huge mug of fresh ground coffee early in the morning.

    2) Our house was always crowded. Parents and 6 kids in a council house. Spent most of my time outside, playing sports, fishing, cycling all over the place (a bit later-early teens) or just getting on a bus and wandering round Liverpool all day.

    3) Most of the high rise blocks built in the 60′s-70′s.

    4) About 14 years ago, Mrs blue decided we should have a cat. After much searching and debateing we ended up with a Somali and called him Sam ( a long haired Abbysinian). 2 years later Mrs blue thought it was lonely so we got another one called Tiggy. The older one was, of course, put out and became bossy. One day Sam came in from the garden and Tiggy was waiting for him hiding behind the couch ready to pounce on him when he came past. She got the timing all wrong, she jumped too late. Sam trotted by obliviously as Tiggy flew through the air, landed on the laminated wooden floor and slid across the room, crashing into the wall opposite. Straight out of something in a cartoon.

    5) Our son keeps some of his weed in our fridge here in Spain so that he doesn’t go without when he visits. I no longer smoke tobacco but when he was here last year we shared a spliff late one warm night on the porch. Mrs blue doesn’t approve, so it’s only once in a while now.
    When I did do it more often it was mostly accompanied by Tangerine Dream.

  19. 1. Butter and raspberry jam
    2. Simplicity
    3. I don’t think I would, ugly buildings have their place in the urban landscape. I definitely would knock down the upper level concourse in Liverpool Street station. For me the whole point of a train station is being able to “project” oneself into the perspective of the train tracks. If you know what I mean.
    [img=http://cache3.asset-cache.net/xc/sb10068047cx-001.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=6C4008C0FD9EB5A588F4F126BCB5703B58F9412BEA0E8009160806C6E99545CBD4B40B3E875A785D]
    4. There was a time when little rodents were all the rage, my birthday came up and I got gerbils. Our cat Lychee killed them both, perfect crime style since my bedroom door was closed and there was a lid over the gerbils’ cage. Didn’t even have the time to name them. It’s not really a favourite anecdote though.
    5.Not that long ago actually, ten days or so ago, except I didn’t really get “high” high, but did get that comfortable fuzzy feeling for a moment, I think the TV was on, Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind was the film but I didn’t want to watch it because it was close to the end and I’ve never seen it.

  20. 1. Liver sausage but I’m veggie now so can’t indulge. It’s the one meaty thing I miss most.

    2. The “common” over which me and my chums ranged free, sheaf knives in our belt, making camps and getting welly boots full of water, catching newts and frogs and toads and coming home dirty, wet and happy .

    3. The new three storey houses they built across the road. Totally out of place in our village which is, frankly, ugly enough as it is.

    4. We took pity on a cat which had some kind of mental problem and bad balance. He once managed to slip off the windowsill and fall into the deep, narrow box in which our new child gate thing came. It was a couple of minutes before I could rescue him, due to being doubled up with laughter.
    Present pup has provided a few good ones too. It’s the expression of sheer surprise on the face that gets me.

    5. Not for years, have vivid memories of singing the many, many verses of The Old Chisholm Trail along with a merry band of “rained off” whilst stoned out of gourd.

  21. 1. What’s the best thing you can put on toast?
    Slightly salted butter (loads of it) and some asda version of marmite…..

    2. If I say “childhood” – what’s the first thing that springs to your mind?
    football or injections from the asylum… snow drifts…

    3. Coming over all Prince Charles, if you could destroy one building (without hurting anyone in the process) – which would it be?
    Our old house that we can’t sell (and the bank wont let us rent out – so it’s empty – morally wrong in our book – and if the tracker mortgage goes up we are finacially fucked) then we could get the insurance and I could finish building this one.
    4. Tell us your favourite anecdote about one of your pets, past or present. If you’ve never had any pets…why’s that?
    my cat ‘Bird’ would come visit my first college bedsit… sat purring on the window ledge 2 floors up ..with no way of climbing as far as I could see. I stored my milk and vodka out there to keep cool..saved on plugging the fridge in… more of a German Shep’ person me .. but he stayed a year.

    5. When was the last time you got high, by what means, and what music did you reach for? If you’ve never got high…why’s that?
    Been a while.. given up striving for that first time feeling… probably Dublin with the Ms. not long after meeting.. both being dragged off different places.. having tiny little bits of this and that (we’d both given up most things – allegedly) ’til about 4am when we realised we were titted off our faces and couldn’t ignore the fact any more.. I’d managed a go on the cd mixers so the music was fucked (never having used them before) (I’m usually partial to mixing ‘harry’ by Bauhaus or tones on tail with dance music and some cheese – if they had this I would have put it on with a toast)

    as for stories – maybe they will have to wait for anonymous to turn up.

  22. amylee: I’m finding it awfully poignant that so many people seem to have had lonely childhoods.

    Yeah, me too. My childhood was anything but – eldest of four kids, loads of class-mates and other friends within my allowed roaming distance, fairly “open-door” policy from my parents, always the membership of two or three weekly sports clubs on the go. But that’s not my point … my instant reaction about DsSis above is because we’re starting to get really worried that Jess tells us WAY too often that she’s feeling lonely / sad. At a total loss as to what to do about it. I’ll quite happily trade emails (rather than comments here) with anyone with any advice or experience on the subject.

    : o (

    • I wouldn’t like to double-guess what Jess is feeling, DsD, but one of the reasons I felt so lonely when I was little was because I was bullied at school and there was no one I felt able to talk about it to.

      Even when I told my mum, it was hard. At first she just told me to get over it or ignore the girls who were bullying me, but it made no difference.

      The school wasn’t really very interested at all. This was back in the 1960s, so things have changed a lot.

  23. good questions Blimpy and some amazing responses.

    1. I’ll second beans, they ain’t too common over here either (the international shops which are affected by the ever-prevelant American cultural imperialism – it’s fair enough, they did occupy for a while! – sell ‘pork and beans’, but not just beans!!but there is a chain of supermarkets that has some deal with Waitrose, they have a couple of shelves selling Waitrose own brand stuff)….i’m rambling, but the bottom line is that I love beans on toast with brown sauce!

    2. my 2 brothers and sister and me all scrambling to do the daily housework chores before my (single) mum got home at 6.

    3. hmm….that’s a thinker.

    4. walking out of the house to find my younger brothers gerbil laying flat on it’s back without a head, it had been completely torn off (by the cat it seems) and was never found. it was pretty gruesome. Or, my older brothers barn owl sitting on the end of my younger brothers bed and watching him sleep holds strong in my memory too.

    5. I have plenty of anecdotes of doing ridiculously stupid things when under the influence, but the LAST time must have been a good 10 years ago. As mentioned before, “drugs” are pretty non-existent in Japan and I think i’d got bored with them before I even came. The last time was probably with my sister and Luke #2 round their house listening to either the Stone Roses or the Charlatans (donds for “How High”!)

    • Cripes, ‘panther, now you’ve reminded me of the time Matt was allowed to bring the class gerbil home for half-term…it lasted about 2 minutes before the cat got it. Couldn’t replace it with a ringer, as it was enormously fat.

      • The first time I stayed with Mrs Abahachi (as a “friend”, sleeping downstairs) they had the class gerbil – actually I don’t think it ever went back to school. However, the story goes rather differently, as this was one mean gerbil. It was just after Christmas, and had been very cold so all the pipes had frozen; the moment we got back we had to go out again because the children’s new kitten, named Thisbe (and later found to be a boy…), which had run away from the people looking after it, had been found again. I end up with the job of looking after Thisbe that night, being a generally calm and cat-friendly person, and we settled down quite happily in the sleeping bag in the sitting room. 2 am: appalling noise as one of the pipes defrosts, setting off some sort of chain reaction in the others; I turn various taps off and go back to bed. 2.30 am; boiler mysteriously turns itself on and makes dreadful racket. 3.00 am: Thisbe decides to explore. and discovers the gerbil in the kitchen; cue almighty crash as cage is deposited on the floor and breaks open. Contrary to expectation, I then found the gerbil eyeballing the cat, who looked decidedly shifty and certainly had no intention of taking it on. Take Thisbe back to sleeping bag, shutting kitchen door; spend the rest of the night listening to him/her scratching at the door and occasionally climbing the bookcase.

        Mrs Abahachi thought I would leave and never come back after that…

  24. 1. toast – unsalted butter and hmmm tricky…. I think stilton and marmalade probably wins, but I’m a sucker for peanut butter.

    2. childhood – kind of feel like I’m watching myself from a place where no one could possibly be, hovering ten feet above my garden in Sussex. I can see the house and the tree and it’s windy. But it’s not a memory.

    3. demolition – when we were in South Africa last summer, my wife wanted to visit John Vorster Square and the police station where so many activists “jumped out of the window”. We couldn’t find it because it’s changed it’s name, like all the apartheid buildings and streets. So I’d have to plump for the Thistle Hotel, Brighton seafront. Destroys an otherwise beautiful Regency frontage.

    4. Marvin (RIP) was a blessed Devon Rex cat. They are truly extraordinary – I have one now called Chester. Marvin used to climb up my back – or front – so he could sit on my shoulder and watch/inspect whatever I was doing. But here’s the anecdote – he would do this even if I was only wearing a pair of briefs, thus my skin would be used for claw purchase. When he tragically died at 18 weeks old (genetic inability to clot his bleeding), my back was covered in scratch marks and I didn’t mind one bit. He’s buried in the garden.

    5. High – Saturday, before the lurgy returned. My ceramic pipe that is disguised cleverly like a half-smoked cigarette, and lives in a wooden dug-out which also contains the organic blueberry skunkweed which is the only stuff I defile myself with these days. I haven’t taken a toke off someone else’s joint for over a decade. Self-medication : takes a while to get it right – although I rarely get “high” I am often a few degrees off the perpendicular. I think we were listening to CeeLo Saturday but could have been anyone really ?

  25. 1. By itself peanut butter (am I alone on this?) with breakfast any berry jam will do.

    2.By tacit agreement the outdoors was us kids world & indoors society’s. Outdoors we could make up worlds, rules etc. When I think of childhood it’s often that feeing of being released from whatever parental or school requirement that was binding me and the exhilaration of setting off outside.

    3. Reno hasn’t been around long enough to have the right perspective. 150 years – don’t laugh. Many of you may have privvys older. The prevailing mindset is akin to Las Vegas – Tear it down put up something new. Consequently very littl survives. There was a great building downtown -the Mapes Hotel- One of the last art deco constructions anywhere – that due to ridiculous economic politics & family feuds ended up empty & taken over by the city. Having no imagination they blew it up. That was 11 years ago & apart from a temporary ice rink some winters it’s been empty for 11 years. I don’t know if I would want to tear anything down but this sits right next to the river & I would like a preemtive veto if some monster highrise is planned there.

    4. When I first met Mrs. Fintan she had a mutt named Paco – the ugliest , toughest dog to ever walk the planet. Paco lived till he was 17 so the first 16 years together included Paco. He was there to welcome our kids into our home as newborns . His legend was built mostly round the things he had survived. My favorite involved a family camping & fishing trip to Lamoille canyon. One afternoon my cousin said he thought Paco might have ate his lure. We all said he was daft but he swore the lure (with several feet of leader & & a treble hook) was gone & Paco the culprit. Paco seemed not to be suffering any ill effects & as we were a days hike into the mountains we put it out of our minds. Couple days later we are back at the base & my other cousin is paddling around the small lake in an inflatible with Paco trying to follow him when he noticed a line trailing from Paco’s nether regions. A group conference decided that rather attempt to tug on the line to speed up things we’d let nature tak it’s course & sure enough he passed the whole thing. My cousin passed the chance to get his lure back. Not sure how Paco managed that but was typical of him. Now if he’d only managed to land a fish!

    5. A herbally influenced bike ride last weekend. An RR mixed playlist with heavy influence from the South American weekend.

  26. What an interesting post this has turned out to be, without doubt the most revealing and articulate set of comments we’ve ever had, I’ve read them all several times and I keep saying ‘yep, that’s just how it was for me too’; we seem to be a community of similar and like minded individuals all of whom have evolved to the present via shared paths. Thoroughly enjoyed reading every comment.
    Insomnia has never been a problem though I do wake up every night for about 3-4 hours, usually ‘twixt midnight and 4am, I enjoy it immensely, it’s warm, comfortable, pitch black and dead silent. I let my mind wander, I find myself thinking of many intriguing things plus I re-live many memories and events, best part of the day for me and then I get up at 5am and go online.
    There’s a natural prescription free ‘drug’ called melatonin, google it to find the Wiki page, it’s very interesting, it controls amongst other things the sleep cycle. It was prescribed by our vet for our Boxer who’s coat took a very weird turn for the worse, it worked and she’s now back to normal but there was a side effect, she slept all day. I tried it just out of interest and sure enough it’s an effective sleeping pill though I did feel a bit woozy the next day; it’s quite cheap.
    About a week ago I spent those midnight hours reconstructing my childhood introduction to libraries, it was a really significant event in my young life, a real ‘fork in the road’ that influenced the rest of my life. A secondary theme of those reminiscences was to realize that those early years, age 7-12 were often spent alone, investigating Sheffield, libraries, museums, art galleries, poking into places I shouldn’t have, like the time I was in the cathedral and noticed a side door ajar, I looked in and saw stone steps going down. I went down and found myself in the wine cellar, there were dozens of racks of wine so I opened a bottle and sat down, it was very sweet and fruity, I can’t imagine that I drank the whole bottle.
    When I wasn’t alone I was with my best friend John Webster, we spent almost every weekend when the weather was good out hiking the Derbyshire moors, I developed a love of nature and wildlife. We’d leave early in the morning and be gone all day ’til it was almost dark. Reviewing my life I can see how that pattern of either aloneness or a close comrade persisted, I have many friends but I’d say that at heart I’m still a loner, I enjoy my own company.
    Another subject that’s occupied my night-time hours a lot is dreams and dreaming: a possible topic for a future EOTWQ?

  27. Let me just throw in one more pet anecdote that some might find useful. We were adopted by a stray Siamese cat, he was beautiful and wonderful. He lived with us and travelled everywhere with us for about 14 years and then he quite suddenly went downhill. The vet said ‘he’s totally dehydrated, you need to get some liquid into him’. So I bought a small syringe, about 10cc, I would cradle him against my chest and slip the syringe into the side of his mouth and slowly press the plunger; he would have none of it, water dribbled back out and down my chest. Then he went off his food entirely no matter what treats we tempted him with, so I tried again, this time with baby food diluted with beef or chicken broth. I tried to inject it into his mouth but again he wasn’t going to cooperate. This went on for several weeks and he steadily deteriorated until one day as we watched he let out a howl and he died.
    What I later realised was that my efforts were an intrusion, he knew what was best and what was happening, I only made it more uncomfortable than was necessary, I should have let mother nature take her course.

    • I’m in a sort of “yes, but…” response mode, entirely because of dear old Basil, our now rather elderly and entirely amazing Siamese. A couple of times over the last five years he’s had bursts of pancreatitis, which produced almost identical symptoms – didn’t eat, didn’t drink enough, generally started to fade – but, after an anti-inflammatory from the vet and a lot of beef tea squirted into him with a syringe, he would then recover in a couple of days, and we wouldn’t want to have missed the last five years. Of course, he did actually enjoy the beef tea, and the fact that he would then get prawns regularly while convalescent.

      He’s now in a different sort of place, however: serious weight loss over the last two months, even though he still has a healthy appetite, so it’s obvious that something is seriously wrong in his digestive system. We’ve decided not to subject him to batteries of tests and nasty drugs, but simply to enjoy what time he has left and hope he does too. We’re going to be wrecks when it happens, as are the other cats – he’s the one that they all look up to. Again, I think we differ on the “let nature take its course” idea; when it becomes clear that he is utterly miserable and has no quality of life, I think it’s part of the duty of a responsible pet owner to make use of the power of modern medicine to bring things to a close quickly. And I say that despite being the one who always has to do it, as Mrs Abahachi can’t bear it.

      • Aba – Sorry to hear of Basil’s cndition. We lost our old George last spring & this is the first time in my life with Mrs. Fintan we’ve been without a cat. Seems odd at times. George went through a series of ups & downs quite like you’ve described & our approach was much the same as yours except there was really no feeding him. An eyedropper with water was all he’d tolerate & then only enough to moisten his mouth. Usually took a while to give very much. He mostly would just ‘cave up’ under our bed. But he jumped back to life after 4 or 5 days each time & we got 4 or 5 more years with him. When the time finally came Diana had found from a friend the name of a wonderful vet who came to our house & George left us while Di held her in her arms out in our garden. Not saying it didn’t still devastate her but she said it made it easier to come to terms with it. He’s buried out back with his buddy Isaac, the dog before Murphy. Don’t know if there is anyone providing this service near you but it is something I would reccomend to pet owners.
        It will be hard picking out another cat though ’cause George had an extra claw on each paw (polydactyl?)
        and ordinary cats all look a bit off to me now.

  28. (1) Cheese. And tomato. Being allegic to dairy products means I have to eat strange dairy-free cheese made out of dubious vegetable substances

    (2) Trains. My childhood home overlooked the main line from London to the west country.

    (3) Birmingham New Street railway station. It’s a cross between The Mines of Moria and the armpit of Britain’s transport network.

    (4) In my teenage years I used to have a large number of guinea pigs. One summer many of them died one after the other from a mystery virus. In the middle of it all one female we didn’t realise was pregnant produced two babies. “In the midst of death we have life”. Mother and the two daughters ended up as the sole survivors of the plague.

    (5) At a festival last year I drank so much real ale I was allegedly trying to dance to The Enid.

    • Oh, Birmingham New Street is pretty dire, is’t it? Came in useful a few times for me, though – I needed to change there quite a lot when travelling home from southerly studenty places to see my parents.

      • I spent the night on New Street Station a couple of years ago – I had been to see Bruce at Arsenal’s stadium (had to keep that from Matt as he’s a Spurs fan). It was a bit spooky. At one point I decided to walk to the far end of the platform just to stretch my legs, and was surprised to be followed by a member of staff who asked me whether I was OK. Railway staff are all trained in suicide prevention you see.

  29. 3. I don’t want to destroy a building, because it would be messy and dangerous, but I was thinking today that I wish all the giant shopping monstrosities created in the USA had never happened – that there had never been a desire for them. Wallmart, costco, target…. they’re so hideous and take up so much of the world, and they’re so depressing when you’re inside. Sigh.

    2. I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole loneliness issue. I was always remarkably self-sufficient (relative strangers remarked on it!). I’ve never been bored, always interested in a million things, always liked much time to myself, had a best friend in a brother… but I know I felt desperately lonely at times when I was a youngster. I think it’s part of the human condition. Maybe part of growing up is learning to live with that. Loneliness is a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s not always about human companionship, but human companionship is pretty important in the end, too. Have I mentioned that I haven’t slept in a few days? Sorry to be a verbal meanderthal.

    • missed the toast too.. drat and double drat.

      one of my rooms in a student house was entirely covered in mattresses .. there was a a shelf one side that housed the toaster and spreads…
      and the other side had a wall of records and a record player… it was the soft, chilled munchies room.

      (luckily I very rarely slept there – the crumbs would have been a nightmare) everything else lived at my girlfriends.. I think – (memory, what’s a memory?)

  30. Coming very late to this (again), but just in case anyone’s still out there:

    1) The toast question. Donding marmite, marmelade, baked beans and cheese – some in combination, some most definitely not – depending on time of day (or night).

    2) Grandparents.

    3) Less for aesthetic reasons, I’d like the mouldy building affecting the children’s health at my daughter’s school ripped down!

    4) & 5) lumped together. As I believe I am soon to be desperate for a prospective employer, I am not admitting to anything stronger than caffeine anywhere ever.
    I did, however, once bake a tin full of cookies when my flatmate was given a bag of very stinky German weed I wanted to disappear. He, of course, came home from work while I was out, scoffed his own bodyweight in freshly-baked cookies and ended up at the doctor’s emergency evening surgery (“Herr Doktor, I suddenly feel so strange”). And yes, he was my pet at the time…

    • Like the 4&5, debbym – sorry to hear about the job situation though.

      I snuck out of work early today (something got cancelled) so I could get stuck into my new very expensive box of Bruce.

    • debbym, hash cake hari is a nasty business for sure. The Mighty Boosh was right when they said that you WILL see the devil and he WILL try to rip your soul out threw your knee caps. I used to be an (almost) full time musician, so gear was everywhere although I did it mainly to be sociable – which I suppose was quite often. I had a very nasty attack of ‘the fear’ one time in Poland though, brought on by a flawed combination of over-enthusiasm and misjudgement at a house party. I must have asked every single person there to call me an ambulance, and none of them did (or for that matter say “ok, you’re an ambulance”. Of course, its like riding a horse; you should probably get straight back on. But I made what Danny from Withnail would probably call ‘an unfortunate political decision’ and never went back.

  31. 1. What’s the best thing you can put on toast?
    A poached egg. Or sauteed mushrooms – I recently ‘discovered’ the latter as a topping for toast.

    2. If I say “childhood” – what’s the first thing that springs to your mind?
    Sitting on the lounge floor with a drawing book, copying a photograph of a horse from a library book.

    3. Coming over all Prince Charles, if you could destroy one building (without hurting anyone in the process) – which would it be?
    I can’t think of any. I don’t think any buildings have ever done anything to upset me.

    4. Tell us your favourite anecdote about one of your pets, past or present. If you’ve never had any pets…why’s that?
    When I was a child, we had a yellow labrador called Dacron. My parents bought him as a child substitute about 14 months before I was born (I was the first child). He was a soppy creature and I always remember the time he ran home (about 200 yards), alone, having pulled his leash from my father’s hand, being chased by a cat. It was a battle-scarred tom, and I daresay I’d have run away from it, too. Fortunately, there was only one cul-de-sac to cross, and Dacron survived his mad dash.

    5. When was the last time you got high, by what means, and what music did you reach for? If you’ve never got high…why’s that?
    I’ve never had an externally induced chemical high other than a pleasant muzziness induced by alcohol. And I really can’t remember when the last time that happened was (not that it was necessarily a long time ago), or what music (if any) was involved. I’ve had the occasional adrenaline-induced high, but that usually involves being outside – on a mountain, or possibly a bike (ne’er the twain do meet in Zalaworld – my bike stays pretty firmly on roads) – in the sort of situation that music isn’t included in. (Headphones on a bike = dangerous; personal stereo on a mountain = spoiling the atmosphere).

    Why no other chemical stimulants? I just never really fancied them. I was once offered some marijuana, but refused because it was blended with tobacco and I find tobacco smoke incredibly offensive. I might have tried it if it had been offered in an alternative form. But I doubt that I would ever have considered anything stronger than weed. I always was a bit square.

  32. 1. Fried mushrooms & poached egg
    2. Good times
    3. “Coming over all Prince Charles” eugh! Worked on a demolition site in my yooth – cleaning & stacking bricks for re-use. Bloody hard work, yet strangely satisfying & well paid.
    4. Wimpy the Houdini of Tortoises. 5 escapes from his pen. Eaten by a Fox on escape #6.
    5. Many, many years. Last attempt failed. 1st try at Cocaine – fell fast asleep. Probably just as well, a good friend developed a very expensive habit to this stuff.

  33. 1. (Alt) Bacon & Ketchup. Grilled cheese & ketchup. Donds for Baked Beans (hold the ketchup). Egg yolk & ketchup is also gross. Antidonds for marmalade – one of very few things, I don’t like to eat.

  34. Well Debby, your comment re. ‘stinky German weed’ triggered this memory.
    I enjoy gardening and I used to grow quite a bit of ganga: I really was mostly interested from a horticultural p.o.v. though of course if I did it right there was always the interesting problem of ‘how good is it?’. If you’re really serious about growing only ‘sinsemilla’ [without seeds] there’s quite a complex procedure that must be followed.That’s the gist of this tale..
    Just a minor detail of background info. Ganga grows with both male and female plants, if they’re allowed to ‘mate’ then there’s tons of seeds, if they’re kept isolated then the female plant will produce ‘flowers’ which in their desire for male company will keep producing resin ad nauseum: resin is where the THC is. So it’s necessary to uproot and get rid of any male plants as soon as they flower, the male and female flowers are very distinct making it easy to recognize the males. Let’s say that you start out with a dozen seedlings, you nurture them ’til they’re approx 4-5ft high at which point flower buds will emerge, they’re probably 50/50 so you delete 6 male plants, the remaining 6 will continue to produce female ‘colas’ but there’s always a probability that they will go hermaphrodite, they’ll be looking for male company so the female plants will develop male flowers. These must be nipped in the bud!
    Ganga likes hot weather, rich fertile soil and adequate moisture, if you supply these the plants will reach 8 – 12 ft within a few months and hopefully they will be covered with female flowers. For me the interesting part of growing ganga was nurturing and taking care of the plants and seeing them develop to rich, heavy, resin soaked colas, some would be approx 2″ dia and a foot long. At some point and you’ll know when it is, it’s time to harvest it, my method was to uproot each plant and hang them upside-down to dry in the air.
    When each plant is thoroughly dry you must trim all the non resinous leaves, this is a time consuming process but it’s necessary and the trimmed leaves are salable as ‘seconds’.
    At this point I usually found myself with an excess of very potent ganga, far more than I knew what to do with for my personal needs so I would put a large amount on the coffee table with a pipe and a bunch of Rizla’s for any friends to enjoy if they stopped by, and they frequently did! It was fairly common in those days to incorporate a handful of ganga into a chocolate chip recipe, I never liked that, it always tasted like eating straw so when I came across an alternate process I was really interested. The new process worked on the principal that THC was fat soluble, therefore, were you to take say, 1/2lb of butter and add it to a pot of boiling water and then add a decent quantity of ganga the THC in the ganga would migrate into the butter, I tested this with about 1/2lb ganga and 1/2 lb butter and it worked: I tested the butter the next day on my toast and it sure did work!
    I have a reputation amongst my family and friends for making the world’s best fruit cake! It requires 1/2lb of butter! Of course I decided to make a ‘special’ fruit cake. After simmering the ganga/butter mixture for several hours I placed the pot in the fridge to cool overnight, the next morning it was simple to skim off the solidified butter that had risen to the surface and to discard the rest. I used that butter to make my cake, there was no taste of straw whatsoever, there was no taste at all except butter. My fruitcake contains approx 1lb. raisins, 1lb. chocolate chips and 1 lb walnuts, it’s very rich and I usually warn newcomers to start with very small slices.
    I met Gina my future wife that weekend, I asked her she’d like to come for dinner; for desert I brought out the cake but I warned her about taking only a small slice, it was so good that she took seconds and the rest is history, that was about 1983.

  35. Lot of juice you must have, Blimpy. To come over ALL Prince Charles. (It doesn’t matter how we get there, as long as we get there, right?)

    Reminds me of some more things not to have on toast.

  36. Hello, thanks for asking after me Shoegazer, I am still here though life is a bit fraught at the moment, hence lack of input to The Spill.

    1. Yep, Catcher has it – mushrooms. Sliced, with butter, and a little salt. Piping hot.

    2. Walking – in the countryside, when I liked, on my own, picking flowers for my mum and scrumping apples, plums and blackberries.

    3. Bridgewater Place – Leeds – “iconic” building, far too tall, creates a wind tunnel as it’s next to the river. Had to cling on to passers by and street furniture just to get past it this morning, without being blown into the incoming traffic. Most stupid design ever.

    4. My cat sticks his paw on my mouth as well, to wake me up Failing that he will flick water at me from the glass by the bed, or, if really desperate he will stick his claw up my nose and pull my nostril till I wake up shouting expletives and he falls off the bed.

    5. Summer School, years and years ago, can’t remember the music (or anything much else). Steve Hillage used to be a favourite, but that’s going back before most of you were born, I should think.

    • Love the cat story. One of our old cats would repeatedly hit Mrs McF in the face with a paw til she woke. I never got it tight like that cos Mogwai knew that Mrs McF always got up before me. What goes through their little furry noggins is beyond me.

      • My kitten sleeps on my bed and when she thinks it’s kitten-stroking time she will pat me on the face…and up until a few days ago I’d always respond and stroke her, as required. But now she’s taken to doing it with her claws out. I’m like: what’s all this? If it ain’t broke, why fix it? (A bit like RR really.) So now I’m refusing to stroke her if she does that…but I know she doesn’t understand.

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