22 November, 2008

Six things you never knew about me.

1. I can't ride a bicycle. I never had one as a child. I didn't want one. My brother had a Chopper but I was never game enough to get on it. It's entirely possible that a) he wouldn't let me and b) my legs would have been too short anyway. None of my childhood friends had bikes either, I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. Friends have offered to teach me but I'm not interested. I'm too scared I'll fall off and graze my arms and legs.

2. I've never been on the back of a motorbike. I'm too scared I'll fall off and graze my arms and legs at high speed. If I could ride a bicycle I'm sure I'd have been on a motorbike by now but that's not happening.

3. I've never seen a James Bond film. I've seen bits of them but I've never seen one all the way through. Everyone tells me I'm mad. I've never seen Titanic either and I'm happy to keep it that way.

4. I've failed three driving tests. Still haven't passed one, either. Trust me, it's safer for all concerned if it stays that way. I still remember my last ever driving lesson. Bonfire Night, 1996. The driver of the car behind me had been right up my arse for about 10 minutes, there was nowhere to go as the road was packed. I still remember the colour draining out of his face when I slammed on the brakes, turned round and started abusing him. That was my last time behind the wheel.

5. I can make my thumb touch my wrist. Try it yourself, but do stop if you hear a crack or feel intense pain.

6. My pet tortoise died on a Sunday. I know it was a Sunday because we were having Sunday tea and I remember crying so hard that I couldn't eat my jelly. Sunday tea was always crab paste sandwiches followed by jelly and evaporated milk. Bath and a hairwash before school on Monday and a glass of lemonade if you'd been good. Oh for the halcyon days of childhood.

Tortoises are great pets. You don't have to take them for a walk, they don't eat much and they don't bark. Our tortoise was called Himmel. He was named by my father, something to do with a German helmet, I think. Himmel lived with the rabbit, Tog. Tog was completely crazy and bit anyone who touched him. I think we gave him to the milkman in the end. Anyway, back to Himmel. Tortoises hibernate during the winter and whilst Himmel had previously managed to have a big, long sleep it seemed that he wasn't managing to nod off in the winter of 1973. My dad took him to the vet, who advised him to put the reluctant tortoise in a dark, quiet, warm spot and wait for him to go to sleep. He was duly placed in a box which was then put on a shelf in the garage. Unfortunately Himmel started to move about in the box (which clearly hadn't been secured properly by my neglectful father) and he met his demise when the shelf fell off the box and landed on the garage floor.
Anyway, my dad came to tell us at the dinner table and my brother and I sobbed for what seemed like hours. There was no chance to say goodbye, I like to think that my dad buried him in the same spot as Honey the hamster (death due to natural causes some time previously). I don't dare ask him what happened to the body in case he tells me that poor Himmel ended up in the dustbin. I still remember the loss of Himmel as being my first real experience of grief.

I wasn't told the full story of his death until I was at least 28. I think I laughed and cried at the same time. Poor Himmel. At least my current insomnia won't lead to death from multiple fractures.
Surprising, really, that someone with such limited mobility as myself managed to make it to the end of the main road, let alone the other side of the world.

If anyone has an interesting fact, please make your way to the comments section.
(and yes, I edited this late at night. Can't sleep, you know.)


Foodycat said...

It surprises me that you have never seen a Bond film when I was sure you fancied Daniel Craig.

mscrankypants said...

Poor Himmel!

I think my unusual thing is I'm queen of the worrying stressbags, yet I seem to have a gift in being to relax others. It's as if I can hone in on the source of someone's troubles and make them manageable and insignificant. I'd be bloody pleased if I could use it on myself.

mscrankypants said...

And I often proof read a comment and it's perfect, but after I hit the 'submit' button, one word goes missing. Argh.

Fenz said...

i had a tortoise as a pet, until someone stole it :(

SSS said...

FC - I like the picture of him in his trunks. Who wouldn't? ;)

MsCP - I hadn't noticed. Honest!

Fenz - what bastards. :(

KAZ said...

I never really understood the joy of tortoise as pet - but I still found that story very sad.
Re touching wrist with thumb - Does it matter which wrist?

SSS said...

Kaz, you trickster. Yes, yes it does.

Tortoises are great little pets, I'd hardly say that Himmel did much but we loved him. I used to hold a lettuce leaf by his head and when he stretched out to eat it I'd stroke him under the chin.

I was devastated when he died. I might pop back to the entry and add a bit.

NiC said...

I always wanted a tortoise as a pet but never had one. :(

Sad to hear about Himmel, I still remember how upset young me was when my hamster Jack (who, interestingly, survived several times being knocked off a shelf, whilst in his cage, by a cat) died. I also had a cat called Mouse, she was wonderful but also died. They do that.

The word verification today is "disec" which is not, I think, very suitable when we're talking about ex-pets. Bad Google-Blogger.

Anna said...

Poor Himmel. And poor young SSS! It sounds very traumatic.

My brother once had a pet turtle but it ran away. Well, it probably didn't run, it must have walked very very slowly and deliberately away from home for quite some time. We searched and searched but couldn't find him. For some reason we kept expecting him to return home at some point, like a dog would, but he never did.

The best cure for persistent insomnia that I know is to shake up your life by allocating a day to doing something completely new and out of your normal routine, like going on a road trip somewhere or spending a whole day swimming and then eating christmas cake. I don't know why it works but it seems to, for me at least.

NiC said...

I saw Billy Bailey's Tinselworm show last night in London....excellent. Thanks for putting me on to that SSS. :)

SSS said...

Thanks, Anna. I should sleep tonight after a nice, long, long day at work.

So pleased you went to see Bill, Nic. Wasn't he just brilliant???

NiC said...

Yes! Absolutely brilliant.