Scrawns or Meow See Tongue (Mao Tse Tung)

All creatures great and small, two-legged and four-legged, running away from someone or something, tended to end up as flotsam and jetsam washed up against the gashed rock hills and errant bush that formed the city limits where I grew up.

Such was the case with the well-bred, waylaid and ultimately strayed Mr Scrawns, our cat.

Like so many creatures seeking refuge at the edge of the badlands, he suddenly appeared in the light-of-day one day. He’d been scavenging on bread crusts, hernias hidden beneath matted fur slung low under his belly, with a broken jaw that left his tongue extended in an unnerving first-impression hung-over but quizzical look, the end of which was rough to the touch like a piece of crispy fried bacon wizened in the sun.

He was according to the vet, quite well-heeled for a stray, a Birman ?, a relatively uncommon breed to fall upon hard times. Upper crust living on crusts. He even had real leather ears. He’d either been hit by, or thrown from, a car and ended up living on the edges of society before he wandered into our lives and asked for a bit of help in the form of some grub and lodgings.

Thereafter to us he always had a bit of mystery about him. He was peerage, a remittance man, a raconteur, kinda classy. His quizzical look and distended tongue that hung to one side came to resemble a cigarette-holder at the corner of a toffs mouth.

My most vivid memory of Scrawns is of the cat door snapping shut one night and him running up and down on my bed while I was trying to sleep. To the point where I just couldn’t take it any more and with the words: “For fuck’s sake Scrawns, stay still !” turned on the light to see him looking at me from the other side of the room with his head tilted quizzically and his tongue hanging free, and an equally quizzical rat about his size sitting on the bed next to me. It was the rat that had been running up and down my bed that I’d been patting and trying to settle down. Scrawns had kindly brought him inside so I could meet his new friend.

Unfortunately Scrawns died (peacefully) some time ago now. Upon his passing my brothers and I hauled a big-ass piece of rock from some road battering works and had a plaque made up for it that we stuck down with super-glue.

It read: ‘Scrawns Bush. With magic tonguey and matted fur, from the bush we now inter.’

It may not be known as ‘Scrawns Bush’ on official maps, but to us that place will always be known as ‘Scrawns Bush’ in our hearts.


Mr Scrawns

Here’s looking at you kid. So long old-fella.

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Wax Toilet Paper or Waxing Lyrical

The last time I encountered wax toilet paper was probably 20 years ago and I ain’t never going back, you hear me…I ain’t never going back.

What was that you said? I said I’m never going back!

For some reason known only to the powers that be, to stop people nicking toilet paper from public toilets years ago councils/governments/the system/big-bosses/whoever the fuck it was, ‘They’, decided to stock wax toilet paper. Not only that but to make doubly sure that the idea of  doing a runner with a fistful of wax was a no-goer so as to save the public at large a fist-full of moolah, they also used / invented that paper roll restricting plastic piece of shit thing so that to get a decent length of any sort of paper you basically have to keep tugging and tearing off postage stamp sized pieces of paper for about 15 minutes until you have just enough for a tentative swipe. And with that furtive glancing blow off the cheeks, it starts all over again!

The last time I encountered the wax, I had to laugh to myself as I realised I had spent 5 minutes seriously considering using my hand as an alternative.

The fiendishly clever powers that be, had created the ultimate deterrent.

It isn’t ‘fit for purpose’ to coin a recurringly annoying phrase. Wax toilet paper doesn’t fucken work ! How in the hell is wax absorbent? Like war, it is wiping, without end. So there’s zero chance of the paper going missing and the use of the stuff ‘in-house’ must be freaking low.

In achieving their objective, they actually created something that bore no resemblance at all to the purpose for which it was intended. That’s the mean bit. They could have left a bucket and spade or a rake in there and that would have been just as practical.

You’d think they would have stopped there. They’d won. Nicking the stuff never enters into even the most hard-core of crims. But then you add the perforated postage stamp thing in the mix and you realise that these really are heartless bastards ! They’d done their job, but they went that little bit further just to show you who’s really the boss when it counts. Who’s your daddy now.

I can’t remember how exactly I dealt with the wax situation. I may have cut my losses and left my underwear behind, like so many thousands of others did. We lost our underwear but they got to keep their precious wax toilet paper.

However for all their fiendish cleverness, you don’t see wax toilet paper these days. Maybe they got caught short themselves and realised they’d gone a bit too far, or else generational knowledge caught up with the inhumane practice.

Having said that though the perforated postage stamp dispenser thing lives on, inflicting misery. They also added the key lock thing so you can’t jimmy it open to get a decent fucken length of paper to finish the job with. You bastards !



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Naming Miss Lucy

My 11 year old daughter continues to grow exponentially.

She asked me the other day if I had been underwater for a couple of hours without air when I was younger to make me turn out the way I am, or been beaten repeatedly in the head by my parents with clubs. Nice !

For the second time someone dropped a chair on her head at school, not sure how exactly that happens, but I suspect that having started college it’s some boy’s way of trying to impress her. Drop a chair on her head. That’s how her suggestion that I’d sustained repeated head injuries as a child came up as she talked about her day at school and showed me the bump on her head.

Anyway this started a conversation on the various names she’s had for her 11 years so far. She’s had a few.

When she was womb bound inside my permanently feverish half-century wife, “the hottie”, without realising it I subconsciously picked up on the concept of external sensation being good for kid’s development. There’s been a few documentaries on it, so I guess it came from T.V. osmosis. No Chopin for Lucy though, genius seems to come with baggage. Above average intelligence will do quite nicely thanks.

So I came up with a call mimicking a bear or a whale, something mammalian and non-threatening letting her know there was someone out there beyond the wall of amniotic fluid , the amniotic glass ceiling. It was two sounds, “oose, oose”. Repeated many times over the course of a day. It seemed to work, she kicked in the direction of my voice – or so I thought. Having established for her that there was life out there but that she would need to make a break for it, the “oose, oose” transitioned into an actual word – “jellykin”, that unfortunately has no meaning.


I guess the “jelly” part came about because she was kind of encased in jelly. I didn’t really give much thought to where the “kin” bit came from until recently when after watching the 90’s Star Wars prequels with me (no mean feat of endurance), she asked me why I had called her after Annaqin, aka Darth Vader before he became Darth Vader. I couldn’t really give her a good answer other than to say that Darth was a boy, and she was a girl so I didn’t think that’s where it came from and we left it at that. However it has come up from time-to-time in disparaging tones that I’d named her after one of my 70’s movie/T.V. mash up experiences that I’d sponged up into my brain but got the name and even the sex wrong.

After she popped out she became, “Baby Monkiss”, “Mushy Burger” and is now the “Goose Burger”. The “Goose” we think came from the saying “Lucy, Goosey”. Not sure what the connection with burger is, but I guess I equate food with love.

Lucy’s names are equated with stages in her development. I have a mental picture of her alongside her various names like a medical journal of the life-cycle.

Anyway, that’s what I thought of last night sleeping in the spare room bed.


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