My world is full of dead birds

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British writer Mo FanningFSorry for the dreadfully irregular updates, but it’s been a dark and miserable time, which I hope I’m coming out of.

But enough of that. Time to consider the strange things I’ve noticed this summer.

  • There are lots of dead birds around.
  • Hairdressers take holiday at the most awkward times.
  • My dog is accident-prone.

Oh and I’ve remembered how to write – though the mere act of mentioning this will most likely strike me with the most awful writer’s block before this blog is out.

Birds of a Feather

So first with the birds. I know nature can be cruel and it’s all down to survival of the fittest. Not to mention how everything happens for a reason. But hardly a day goes by that I don’t discover some pigeon, blackbird or other winged creature lying dead in a bush. A quick trawl through Google suggested people get kinda twitchy around deceased avian matter. Wiki Answers remains my source of truly mad folk – I recommend it highly for uninformed lunacy – it’s the stuff of great novels.

One poor soul recounted his story thus:

“I was working on a movie set when I saw the first dead bird… a week later I lost my job. Then my apartment flooded in the floods of 08 here in the midwest and I was forced to move, then my fiancee went to the hospital and stayed for a week due to a serious head injury.”

Now call me cynical, but that just sounds like being rubbish at your job, having bad luck and planning to marry someone who’s too much of a liability to be out on their own.

But Wiki Answers is home to some supremely barking people – many of them a tad on the religious side. ID1136157310 – it may not be his or her birth name – chipped in an opinion.

“That is called superstition, which greatly offends God because as long as we worship and exalt him, and stay true to the Virgen Mary, we will be protected. Superstition should be renounced and avoided.”

ID1136157310 also offers sage advice on why Martin Luther split from the Catholic church (he was a sinner) and the existence of Santa (St. nicholas is very real and should be prayed to by children, especially around Christmas.)

He or she might not be all that stable.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Some time back I talked about changing hairdressers. It’s a thorny topic and one close to many people’s hearts. After all, you put your life (or at least the next month or so of it) in their hands every time you sit down in one of those chairs that looks like something a dentist would have.

I’ve been through it. I’ve upped and moved and run into my former barber in a bakers with little more than a supremely awkward smile. Now comes the challenge for Mr Fanning.

For some time, we’ve been going to the same lanky fop. He’s nice enough, but a touch on the simple side with one of those botoxed brows and back combed 90s hair (sort of A Flock of Seagulls but without the blonde bit). His English isn’t so great and he asks the same stock questions every time. (Plus we got into something of a row over who recorded ‘The Lemon Tree‘ when it came on the radio. He insisted it was Sting, I insisted it was some German bloke who nobody has heard of since. For the record it was Fool’s Garden, a German band, who have struggled to repeat their early chart success, so I was mostly right). Anyhow, I digress.

There ought to be a law about when hairdressers can take time off. Summer is obviously not on. People want to look their best for their two weeks in the sun. Same at Christmas and New Year and for birthdays. In short, these people provide a vital service. They ought to be made to ring round their regulars and check when would suit. We all ought to have a vote on it. Or at the very least, they could mention it when you go to see them.

Said lanky fop did no such thing. And with Mr F. due to pay a visit back home, he called to make an appointment. Only to find our guy was sunning himself somewhere for two weeks. Did he risk having his hair cut by a total stranger (lanky fop senior) or go without and risk maternal tuts and sighs. He bit the bullet and made an appointment.

All day I sat at my desk, hoping he hadn’t made the most awful mistake. Then, at 5, he called: ‘I’m in the pub, come and meet me,’ adding, ‘I’m just inside, not out on the street.’

That doesn’t sound good, I thought. So, I pulled on my coat and went to find someone I hoped didn’t look too much like Sideshow Bob.

Surprise, surprise, it was a great cut. ‘The best ever,’ confirmed my better half.

And now he’s on the horns of the most terrifying dilemma. This wouldn’t be any of your usual divorcing of a hairdresser thing. He’d be leaving the current one for the current one’s father.

They work next to each other. It isn’t one of those big airy salons where you can hide behind a display of hair extensions or pick and choose the day when the one you want to avoid is off. they’re both there. ALL THE TIME.

It’s a delicate situation and one I’ll be sure to update my dear readers on in the coming months,

Those Doggone Steps

I’ll end up the tale of a clumsy dog. He started the month by getting into a scrap with the vicious bastard of a dog who lives with a (hugely unpleasant) woman of restricted growth two doors down. She struggles. It’s bigger than her and looks like it would tear the face off anyone who so much as looks at it. Turns it that was exactly what it tried to do.

Luckily our boy held his own and escaped with just a puncture wound to the ear. The vet stitched it all up and he looked set to live another day. Then the clumsy sod went and fell down the bedroom stairs. Not just the bottom few. He went the full length, from top to bottom, landing on his back leg and tearing three tendons – which in case you didn’t know is really big deal in a dog.

Cue frantic calls to the animal ambulance (of course, this had to happen at the weekend) and a long wait in a room filled with a mix of almost dead and very much alive but angry dogs and cats.

He was given painkillers, but we’ve been warned it’s a long journey back to recovery, which started with Mr. Fanning and I having to carry 24 kilos of annoyed canine up and down ladder-like stairs.

He’s getting better and there’s already talk of mild therapy involving a rope and tennis ball. Hopefully a week in France will work wonders.

The Write Stuff

So last on the list comes the writing. After months of feeling totally unable to string together a sentence and wondering if I’ll ever do anything worthwhile again. I’ve gone back to an old story and given it a new twist and plot. Ghost Story remains very dear to my heart. It started life as ‘help’ almost three year ago and had been completed more times than I’ve had anchovy pizzas (about three, always by accident). It’s about to change title again as the whole concept is new and the characters hopefully more grounded. I’ll be posting extracts when I think it’s good enough to see.

It’s got ghosts, it’s got alcoholism, it’s got someone in an outfit that looks like three dusters tied together with shoelaces. And I hope you’ll love it.

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