Nursery rhymes. Utter abandon. Twinkle twinkle little star. Then Disney (every single word to the Sing-along Disney video cassette with my older brother). Later, Nintendo 64, and idle humming – the soundtrack of concentration when zipping along, jumping for coins and racing racing racing (I always came second; I think this was my most relaxed). My favourite was Goldeneye, best game ever, though I don’t think I sang along to that – too scared; my younger brother could jump from behind a wall and shoot me at any moment if I didn’t hold my entire body taut or if I blinked.
Singing in the chorus of Orpheus & Eurydice. ‘Do not listen, Eurydice; Eurydice stay.’
Relentless a capella versions of Destiny’s Child’s Emotions in Design & Technology (the teacher wanting to encourage, but also wanting us to shut up). A 60s-style miniskirt (so short; I still have it) sewn with wild thoughts of becoming an internationally famous girl group (my friend was posh enough to have actual singing lessons at her house, which I was welcomed to once or twice when I was at her house after school. We sang two part harmonies which I can still remember to the T. She had a deadly serious idea that we could compete for the title of ‘most roly-polys in one minute’ and made us practise on a garden mat. She sucked a dummy. Her Mum served desiccated coconut with pitta bread at dinner time; I thought it was incredibly exotic. She is now, I think, an actual singer.) Continue reading
Walkies is always intoned as a question (walking around a field or two is a collaborative endeavour, after all – a joint decision even if a predictable one); the response comes always via immediately expressive eyeballs (she would fold her arms at a policeman if she could, to show willingness) and, today, came accompanied by a sneeze and a lightning-quick circle on the spot. I needed a walk as much as she did; if indoors is deadlines and computers, stress and anxiety, outdoors is space and wind, trees and open sky. So off we went. I carried her over the initial muddy bit (she is too small, too pristine and too fair to want to wade through it, though she probably would have, with raised eyebrows as a challenge [it’s I who’d have had to bathe her], if I’d not intervened) and plonked her down again for her parade.
Walking my dog is often a sort of parade; she is a bit of a princess, even while sniffing and widdling all over the place, and is met with admiration and ecstasy wherever she goes, mostly because she looks like a cross between a small piglet and a fairy. She is a long-haired chihuahua, built for seasonal jumpers and a penchant for puppy food (by which I mean she refuses all else). When I occasionally mention her on dates (looking after her is an excellent excuse for leaving one early, if necessary), I am on the alert for any judgement; it is an interesting thing that dog breeds can be gendered (as baffling, really, as the fact that colours so often are); I admire a man who can admire a chihuahua and not have to check he’s still got a willy. Continue reading