Posts in Anecdotes
The Hermit Crab Confession

Dear Diary,

People often like to think that of their spirit animals.

I have always imagined mine to be a sloth - I certainly am capable of being lazy but it is more because a. I love to sleep  b. I need to do things in my own time  c. I like trees

However, lately I find myself wishing I were a hermit crab.  What’s not to like about hermit crabs? They’re great! They are peripatetic (move around a lot), they live by the ocean (often in tide pools), and they can just go inside whenever they want to.  I love to travel - going places has always been exciting for me.  I also love the ocean and wish I lived by it (am a big fan of tide pools). 

Also - I’m not necessarily a shy person but in social situations, groups of people tend to stress me out.  I become tongue tied and have nothing to say - people noises turn to static and I feel the overwhelming urge to hide in my house (or the next available empty room). 

Perhaps now that I’ve given words to my feelings, it is possible for me to accept that I am neither sloth nor hermit crab as a whole.  I’m a hermit sloth.

Having confided this to you makes me feel a lot better. I tried several times to draw a picture of what a hermit sloth looks like but it never came out right. I leave it to your imagination.  

Thanks for listening, I know you’ll keep it to yourself.

Xmas in Oz

Xmas in Oz.

Where did you go, what did you do?

She asked with her eyes and not with her mouth.

My ears pricked up and I thought and I thought.

In my mind flashed christmas bells and rings and things.

There were lords a leaping while maids were milking.

I thought of trading places with skipping christmas

And fishing boats on turquoise water pulling up their lobster pots

During white wine sipping time by the pool.

Vanilla crescents and a million stars sparkled over pomegranate pavlova

As, in the end, the oysters ran away with the cholula-stealing kangaroos.


Happy New Year.

The Haunted Library

Have you heard of the haunted library? Even if you have, it’s probably not the one I mean.  The one I mean is most likely the smallest library in London, maybe the smallest in all of the UK. There’s not even a librarian.


Many people have come and gone again, and rumours a-plenty fly around  it. They are only spoken of in broad daylight (usually in the pub round the corner).

There is the tale of the small child who is suddenly behind your back, calling your name and tugging icily at your coat because it needs the loo.

Then there are whispers of the cat that once climbed to the top shelf only to find that it couldn’t get down again, and now it gently mews pitifully down to you.

Every so often, a book-browser will claim to have been interrupted by an angry man who shouts, “hurry up Mate, I need to make a call!”, only to turn around and see that there is no one there.

The area used to be covered in orchards which belonged to a nearby monastery. A monk is sometimes seen reaching for the books as though they were  pears. He only picks fruit when someone is reaching for a book, though….even if it’s on the bottom shelf!  Hmm, maybe it was rhubarb that grew here.

Right. Well none of it’s true. At least not the ghosty bits. The library is well-loved and much-used by the leave-one/take-one community.

Or maybe I just haven’t heard the true tales yet...

Car Start

I have an old car. It needs a bit of loving gentleness to get it to start: Choke all the way out, give a bit of gas and think of a wonderful thought (any happy little thought).

Today it didn’t come on at the 4th/5th try as usual.  Damn! It was wet outside and I really needed to move the car. There’s a construction site next door and huge lorries keep parking way too close for comfort. Plus, a little neighbourhood spin is always pleasant.

Instead of allowing panic to take over I went inside and listened to some Patti Smith.  She always makes me feel better.  I also considered going down to the local coffee shop and tanking up on caffeine in order to calm down.  Didn’t want to spend my coins though, they are way too useful for doing laundry! Took a shower instead.  Dried hair. Got dressed. Put on some makeup. Ready.

Feeling nice and quiet inside and in charge of the situation, I went back out. Pulled the choke all the way out, gave a bit of gas and thought the happy thought. Woo-hoo! The clumsy purr of the engine has never sounded so lovely before. We went for a short and intimate spin (me and the car, of course).  It was fabulous.

I am now ready to drive every street in London. Zone 1, here I come! On a Sunday though, without congestion charge and when parking is free or cheaper.

AnecdotesHazel IrisComment
Under The Christmas Tree

At some point in Christmas Past, Disney made a cartoon in which Chip and Dale find that their tree has ended up in Mickey’s living room.  When they first walk out of their door onto their branch, they are surrounded by fairy lights and shiny ornaments. Being quite fantasy-obsessed even as a tiny little thing, I was sure that the tree in our living room looked just as fantastic from within the branches as it did from without. So I tested it and was delighted with the result.  Laying my head as close to the water basin as possible, I would stare up into the glowy lovliness for ages on end.  It smells so fresh and piney and you feel as though you are invisible - regardless of the fact that your entire body is sticking out from under the tree.  Give it a try. Just don’t knock your tree over.

Greenwich Park Mystery

It was a dark and windy afternoon. I was up for a wander so I headed for Greenwich Park. There was hardly anyone there and the leaves were swirling around in a spooky kind of way.

Halloween is long gone but I came upon this building and a big lovely chill flashed up and down my spine. If the moment had been given a soundtrack, it would have been the Dies Irae from Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts.  If you don’t know that particular piece, think of an eerie song and it should do the trick. Anything you like, really.  Just keep it creepy.

WHAT IS THIS PLACE? Does anybody know?  There is no sign and it is very much locked up tight (I know because I tested the door).

There was once a palace in Greenwich.  There was once a Roman temple on the hill (obviously both were there before the park was made a park).  There was an old naval hospital in Greenwich.  This building doesn’t go back too terribly far but I would love to know what it was meant for.

Or maybe I wouldn’t.  Maybe it’s better to leave it to the imagination.  Unless someone knows and wants to spill the beans.

It’s a mystery for now.

AnecdotesHazel IrisComment
Fish on Sunday

It was a Sunday.  I don’t remember what I had for breakfast but I do remember that the weather was decent.  Could have been overcast. It was dry.  Anyway I had read about a pub that’s not too far away from my neighbourhood and does a nice Sunday Roast.  So I took a long walk through some lovely streets and wound my way around to the Sunday Roast pub. I went in, walked up to the bar, ordered an ale, and did not order a roast.  I wasn’t in the mood for it after all.  Suddenly I needed salt and vinegar.  I asked for fish and chips, took my glass to the table and sat down.

After an appropriate amount of time the fish and chips came.  The guy who brought the plate to the table gave me a long look (probably heard my american accent and decided to go to town on it) and commented heavily that “You’re supposed to eat fish on Fridays. Roast on Sundays.”  He then stalked back into the kitchen, having set me right.

What can I say? I wanted salty vinegar-y-ness. It hit the spot.

It’s almost definite that another Sunday will come where I am told off for ordering the wrong thing. I wonder when it will be?  What will I order?

Probably more fish.