Tuesday, January 30, 2007
This morning, to further test my hypothesis, which is so outrageous and unlikely that I am reluctant to articulate it here for fear that my readers will think me quite unhinged, I placed copies of several works by Sir Walter Scott on one side of the manteltop and a selection of novels by Stanley J. Weyman on the other, with the little scottie dog situated equidistantly between the two. Both collections of historical novels belonged to my dead mother, though she greatly preferred the works of Stanley J. Weyman, because she harboured a life-long hatred of the Scott Monument in Edinburgh.
I uttered the phrase, "Which will you, madame?" then left the room. At the end of the day I checked the mantel and discovered the dog, still attached to the photograph, had shifted 3cm towards the works of Stanley J. Weyman.
It all begins to fall into place.
Monday, January 29, 2007
I will, however, reveal that today my suspicion was in some way confirmed. I looked out a treasured photograph of my dear late mother Lavinia Carew (see below).
Gently weeping over her sweet features, I introduced the photograph to the little scottie dog from Monopoly which sits atop my mantel in the corner of my living room. At once, a chilling scream was heard and the dog flew at the photograph, affixing itself firmly to its surface as though magnetically attracted to my mother's two-dimensional likeness.
There it remains still. I cannot remove it without damaging the photograph, an action I am loathe to take for this is the only photograph I have of my mother that is suitable for sharing with others.
I will need to conduct a few more tests before the suspicion I harbour can be undocked.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
I saw a stately woman with mien of lord or lady march past my home clutching the hand of a grubby urchin. I was reminded of my dear late mother and how she used to hold my hand as we trudged the streets of Dundee when I was nothing but a child. She would often leave me standing in various doorways while she went off with one of my many uncles who would charitably provide her with temporary labour. Before she went, she would always sing a tender little song, then instruct me to sing it to myself until she returned. As long as I was singing it, I would be safe from any harm. I had not thought of that song for years until today, when it appeared, unbidden and fully-formed in my mind. I began to sing:
'Twas the gatherin' o' the clans, and all the Scots were there,
Skirlin' on their bagpipes...'
I was more than somewhat surprised when I heard a tiny tinny voice complete the line from over by the mantelpiece. I tried another snippet from the song:
'O the ball, the ball, the ball o' Kirriemuir,
Where folk o' high an' low degree were...'
Sure enough, the little scottie dog from Monopoly (for this curious canine was surely responsible) completed the line yet again. I tried once more:
'There was dancin' in the meadows, there was dancin' in the ricks,
Ye couldnae hear the bagpipes for the swishin'...'
and was happy to note that the little scottie dog sang the remainder of the line. I went on in this manner, singing line after line and listening as the little scottie dog finished off each verse for me with gusto.
It made me feel safe and at ease.
Friday, January 26, 2007
All of the recipes comprising the chapter 'Invalid Cookery' looked delightful, particularly 'Barley Gruel' and 'Calf's Foot Broth', but I found myself limited in my stock of available ingredients. I did have the relevant components to make her recipe for 'nutritious coffee' (i.e., coffee and milk) and 'toast and water' (i.e., toast and water) and 'toast sandwiches' (i.e., toast and raw toast(bread)), so made up these treats and tucked in.
Good old Mrs Beeton saw me right - her delicious meals returned some of my lost strength, as did the Ibuprofen which I also took.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The poet Robert Burns
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
But, in my neverending quest to furnish my readers with items of interest and to educate the dullards among you, you may click this weblink to read some information about ferrules: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrule
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia conceived and written by people from Wick, so take everything you read with a pinch of salt.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
By this, I do not mean that I have been involved in the final step of the méthod champenoise process of making sparkling wine whereby sediment is successfully removed.
No, my meaning is rather more prosaic: I have been vomiting profusely. The ferrules in my guts are yet to appear, so I fear that I must continue disgorging until these obstructions are dislodged. Back to the toilet I must go.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Because my appointment was relatively early in the day, fortunately there had not been enough time for a serious delay to develop, so I had only to wait until 2.45pm before I was seen. I picked up a cold from a copy of Amateur Photographer (Jun 1990), so felt suitably ill to justify my visit to the doctor.
"Come in and take a seat," said Dr Paré, a spiky and alarming man. "What seems to be the problem Mr Carew?"
"I have it on good authority that I am ill," I said. "My abdomen was identified as the seat of the malady. I wish you to confirm whether or not I am to perish."
Paré agreed to examine me, asking that I expose my stomach so that he might prod it.
"Is it painful when I do this?" he asked, punching me hard in the belly. When I indicated that it was indeed sore, he announced that I would need an X-Ray immediately. He had a special X-Ray camera that looked exactly like a normal digital camera and with it he proceeded to take a great many pictures of me. Apparently the special X-Ray rays would only work if I was completely naked though, so I was a little embarrassed by the whole episode, but readily agreed so that a full diagnosis could be made.
"Well Mr Carew, it's not good news," Paré announced. "I see at once that you have an abundance of umbrella ferrules obstructing your pyloric antrum which may lead to you developing fistulous withers. Your gall bladder contains some two quarts of inspissated bile, your greater omentum is strangulated beyond recognition, and your gullet is ruptured. Tell me, Mr Carew, how you came to swallow so many umbrella ferrules."
I told him I had no memory of swallowing any portion or segment of any umbrellas at any stage in my life, an assertion which only angered him.
"Mr Carew, I know that the popularity of programmes such as Jackass and The Late, Late Breakfast Show has encouraged a stunt culture wherein people perform dangerous acts for fun or fame. I expect you have been filming yourself swallowing countless umbrella ferrules and posting the film on YouTube to entertain American teens. As usual, it is up to us medical doctors to patch you up when things go wrong. Sigh. You are doubtless in tremendous pain: I cannot fathom how you have tolerated the paroxymal agony and concomitant tympanites for as long as you have. The esophageal neoplasms alone must be tortuous. I'm afraid your macho antics have resulted in you having but months to live."
I gasped and begged him to help me out of my predicament. Seeing my tears and desperation to cling to life, he softened and agreed to assist me if I promised to never swallow any species of ferrule again in an effort to show off to internet users. I agreed at once.
"Well then, what can I suggest?" mused Paré. "First you must daily take a copious draught of an infusion of 'blessed thistle' and ipecacuanha. This will cause violent vomitting and it is to be hoped that you reguritate those ferrules directly. You must then take a gentle purgative, antispasmodics, and some iron jelloids. They'll get you ship-shape before you can say 'orthomyxoviridae'! You are a lucky man, Mr Carew. I do not know who told you about the danger you were in, but they did you a great service - had you not seen me today, you would have been dead within 3 months."
I thanked Dr Paré and returned home, collecting the prescription drugs on the way. As soon as I got in, I smothered the little scottie dog in kisses and thanked it a thousand times. It truly is a guardian angel. I regretted all those times I insisted on playing Monopoly as the racecar or ship.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I am preoccupied with the little scottie dog's imperative to visit a (medical) doctor and fear that I may have some terrible wasting disease. Still, all will be revealed tomorrow when I visit a (medical) doctor, and I cannot blame the dog for my current state of terror - I am sure it means only to help me.
To show that I was grateful, I decided to give the little scottie dog a treat. I think I have overdone food-based treats recently and am concerned that I may be harming the dog, albeit through kindness and not malice. I do not wish to create an obese dog because Victoria Stillwell of It's Me Or The Dog might appear to chastise me and I do not want to create a bad impression for I mean to woo her one day.
Thus I decided to take the dog out for a walk, which is something dogs enjoy partaking of. However, it was bitterly cold outside so I felt it necessary to swaddle the dog before subjecting it to the elements. Prior to today, the dog has perforce remained an indoor animal, for Monopoly is a game rarely played out of doors, what with the risk of the money and Community Chest cards being forfeited to the wind.
I gave the dog a boot and a hat to keep it warm, then pulled it around the streets of Dundee attached to a piece of string. Though it could not move its legs, I am sure it enjoyed itself.
I must now drink endless cups of fortified wine in an effort to stave off anxiety. I look to tomorrow with dread.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
"Why sit ye there?" I asked.
Through the fug of newly-awoken senses, methought I discerned a faint voice whisper, "...Doctor, Horton..." At first I was understandably confused and replied that I was no doctor, having failed to gain the required exam results to get into medical school, and, indeed, to attend school in the first place. The voice was heard again, "...Doctor, Horton..."
"Can I confirm whether you are designating me with an erroneous honorific or whether you are issuing an imperative?" said I. The voice only repeated, "...Doctor, Horton..." I reasoned that a pewter dog, supernaturally imbued with the ability to communicate and with a past record of ensuring my safety and wellbeing, would be unlikely to use its rare powers to flatter me by giving me a false title in the early hours of a Saturday morning. Thus I concluded that the dog was commanding me to visit a doctor. Presumably a doctor of medicine and not someone with a doctorate in Sociology or something equally moronic.
I immediately phoned the (medical) doctor and booked an appointment for Monday. Now all that remains is for me to worry that I have a fatal ailment and have but months to live.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I placed a smear of salted cod roe, a globule of potted hough, and a chunklet of battenburg beside the scottie dog's snout to see if it could be persuaded to eat the food it evidently craved. I observed it for 35 minutes but nothing happened. I left the lounge to change my bedding and bury some soiled catalogues in the back garden. When I later returned, I noted that the potted hough had gone and, though the dog's expression remained fixed, it seemed somehow to radiate a sense of satisfaction. Apparently the little scottie dog from Monopoly enjoys savoury foods the best for it has left the battenburg untouched. The roe must not have been quite savoury enough for it, salted though it was.
An old-fashioned battenburg with an alarming paucity of marzipan
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
It is pleasing to note that someone, somewhere cares for me, even if it is only a tiny pewter player piece from the board game Monopoly. I feel safe and secure for the first time in 13 years. I don't recall if I have ever felt so low and wretched as to share with you my vivid memories of what came to pass on that dark and fateful day 13 years ago. For now I will say only that I have seldom felt safe and secure since those grim events transpired. They completely unsettled me, and despite occasional respite, I feel I have never quite resettled.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Above you may see a photograph of the little scottie dog from Monopoly which sits atop my mantle.
Today it has continued to unnerve me. I believe it may be responsible in part for the strange susurration and indistinct chirruping that haunts my Dundee home, though I cannot yet confirm this for certain, so will refrain from stating my suspicions on this electronic diary lest I wind up looking foolish.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Sure enough, it was in my hand-writing, but I had no memory of writing it and the warning was so palpably absurd that I concluded that it would be folly to heed it. Thus I prepared to devour those delicious fruits (for the 'love apple' or 'tomato' is indeed a fruit and not a nut as is commonly believed) with a little basil and olive oil.
As I raised them to my salivating jaws, I discerned a faint voice whisper, "...no, Horton..."
Needless to say, I ignored it.
I again raised the oily, basilled tommies to my lips. Again, the voice could be heard whispering, "...no, Horton..."
Through experimentation with feigning the consumption of the tomatoes, I eventually established that the voice was coming from the vicinity of my mantle.
Which was impossible, because all that is on my mantle is the little scottie dog from Monopoly.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Darren: Hello, 'Grow Your Own Crystal' advice line, Gareth speaking. How may I help you?
Me: I thought your name was Darren.
Gareth: Heavens, no. How may I help you today, sir?
Me: I accidentally fed my crystals human blood on or around Day 5 of their development. They turned into raw evil. I have killed them off using the blood of Our Saviour but I am unsure of how to dispose of them. Any ideas?
Gareth: You mean to say that you failed to heed our warning?
Me: I mean to say this, yes. I regret it deeply, if that helps.
Gareth: It does not help, sir. We are in trouble here. While you have successfully killed the raw evil, all you achieved is preventing it growing larger. That which remains is extremely potent and extremely dangerous. If anyone ingests the raw evil or smears it liberally upon their skin, they will become evil at once.
Me: That sounds extremely potent and extremely dangerous.
Gareth: Oh, believe me - it is. Extremely potent and extremely dangerous.
Me: So what should I do?
Gareth: You cannot eliminate evil, sir, just displace and disguise it. If you have any conscience, you will not unleash this evil upon the world. Hide it in your home, and for God's sake, do not ingest it or smear it liberally upon your skin.
I immediately gathered up the red, round crystals and hid them in my fridge. Beside some tomatoes. I forsee no more problems with the raw evil and look forward to tomorrow.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I consulted the Bible to find out what the Good Book had to say about how to expunge evil from things. Unfortunately it did not have an index making it next to useless as a reference guide, so I had to pray to the Lord that I would find something relevant, then flick open pages at random. This method was far less effective than an index, but I eventually found the following:
'When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening'.
Interesting though this was, it did not seem relevant so I tried again, finding the following:
'When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured'.
I made a note of this for future reference, but again, it did not appear immediately salient, so I tried one more time, praying very hard to God to direct me to the correct page because, in his wisdom, He did not think to insist upon an index:
'But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence'.
I decided that, today, God was directing me towards the hatred of women, rather than offering guidance on the extirpation of evil from anomolous gems, so I forsook Him. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I have heard it said that red wine can transubstantiate under certain circumstances. This means that it turns into the blood of Christ when imbibed by a devotee of Christianity, and makes the drinker approximately 30% holier and 20% more vampiric. Thus I drank a bottle of red wine, ate a kitkat (for the wafer), and held a modest communion in my lounge.
I allowed a few minutes for the red wine inside me to fully transubstantiate, then regurgitated Christ's blood all over the gems. Smoke hissed from them, which is what usually happens when something evil dies. Success!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
They seemed to crave my blood and continued to scream unbearably until I reluctantly give them succour. I was not convinced that this was supposed to happen, especially in a 'Grow Your Own Crystal' set costing £1.95, recommended for children aged 8 and over, so I consulted the instructions once again.
In small print, I discovered the following:
Do not ingest crystals.
Do not observe crystals' growth from atop a windy mountain without first informing authorities of your whereabouts.
Do not place crystals in eye.
Do not drill a hole in a child's head and place crystals within.
Do not set yourself alight in an effort to promote crystal growth.
Do not feed these crystals Tizer, Kwenchy-Kups, or human blood.
Naturally, I was alarmed to see that I had failed to heed a warning. Do not fail to heed this warning: Do not fail to heed a warning. I quickly phoned the 'Grow You Own Crystal' advice line and spoke to Gareth.
Gareth: 'Grow Your Own Crystal' advice line, Darren speaking, how may I help you?
Me: I thought you were called Gareth.
Darren: I get that quite a lot. How may I help you?
Me: What would happen if some idiotic prole failed to heed a warning and fed human blood to the crystals on or around Day 5 of their development?
Darren: Why, that would be disasterous! Luckily, no one yet has failed to heed the warning we provide on all packets.
Me: But imagine they did. What would happen?
Darren: I do not like to think of it. Rest assured, sir, that no one would fail to heed the warning on the side of the packet, which states: 'Do not feed these crystals Tizer, Kwenchy-Kups, or human blood.' We provide the warning so that people can heed it and avoid unpleasant repurcussions.
Me: Hypothetically though, what would happen?
Darren: Sir, you upset me to continue this line of questioning. The repercussions of feeding human blood to crystals on or around Day 5 of their development would be so unpleasant that I would feel guilty telling you, for you would surely faint and split your head on the side of a radiator as you fell.
Me: I will take that risk. Please tell me Darren.
Darren: Very well....brace yourself. Feeding human blood to the crystals on or around Day 5 of their development results in the creation of.... raw.... EVIL!
Me: Raw chervil?
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Today the crystals have been somewhat sluggish once more and seem reluctant to grow further. I consulted the instructions on the packet which suggest that one should add a little food-coloring [sic] around Day 5 to inject a little merriment into the proceedings. Unfortunately, I have no such colouring, but have hit upon an alternative - my own blood. I have made a slit in a likely place and dripped a few drops of my vital fluid into the waiting ramekin where the crystals greedily absorbed it.
The crystals already glow red but periodically emit a high pitched screeching tone that only ceases when more blood is provided.
I foresee no problems here and look forward to tomorrow.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Below you may see the crystals' continued progress - I have placed them beside a model of a jaundiced child saluting in the manner of a Nazi in order to give you an idea of scale:
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Following the instructions on the packet, I placed the pebbles provided into a ramekin and added spirit vinegar. Here is the result of the first day's crystal growth - to give an idea of scale, I have placed the crystals alongside a common, everyday object:
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Your heart palpitates. You say, "Helen Duncan, can it be you? Have you returned from the dead to reap revenge on the authorities for convicting you under such an outdated law in the 40s? Your manifestation in ghostly form doubtless proves the validity of spiritualism and may hence clear your name, but would a posthumous pardon really grant you the eternal rest you crave? Such concerns are the domain of the living, Helen, and should not bother the dead. You are past such earthly tribulations. Enjoy your afterlife, Helen. Step into the light. Step into the light." Then you waft a joss-stick to facilitate her departure.
And if your encounter ran similarly to mine this morning, the lady will appear confused then announce that she is actually alive and a member of Care in the Community who has come to cheer you up during the festive time of the year. The lady claimed that she was distributing New Year 'First Foot' gifts to the poor, needy, and demented of Dundee using presents kindly donated by the affluent, independent, and sane of Dundee. I must have been mistakenly placed upon the list, but I did not let on because I am so deperately poor and could use anything of material value.
I was presented with a Zaphod Beeblebrox figurine, a 'Grow Your Own Crystal' set, and some shortbread. I thanked the lady, then stared meaningfully at her until she left. I do not know what a 'Zaphod Beeblebrox' is, but the figure depicts a grossly deformed man with two heads, so I committed it to the flames at once. The 'Grow Your Own Crystal' set will be useful, because once I have grown the crystals, I will set them in golden rings and sell them on Ebay for profit.
I ate the shortbread.
Monday, January 01, 2007
I was forced to leave my home and seek refuge in a public house for the night. As I consider myself quite an upmarket person, I decided to venture into the plush suburb of Broughty Ferry and spend the evening there, celebrating with my fellow men and women. I did not know which taverns were good, so I settled upon one called Jollity's Hotel. It was altogether too noisy and was filled with drunk tattooed men and low slatterns, but I decided to stay for a few drinks.
I ordered a Crabbie's Green Ginger Wine from one of the barkeeps then sat in a corner to await the bells. Youngsters gyrated around my table, moving their bodies in time to such tunes as Dolly Parton's Nine to Five and the Divinyl's I Touch Myself. A 'Disc Jockey' (one who jockeys discs) occassionally interjected to remind the assembled throng that it was Hogmanay 2006 and that it would be 2007 come midnight. The crowd appreciated these reminders and thanked the 'DJ' for providing this information by raucously cheering.
When the midnight bells came around, the people sang 'Auld Lang Syne' and exchanged kisses. None of the people offered kisses to me. Neither did they wish to hold my hands for the 'Auld Lang Syne' dance. It became apparent to me that I am unpopular and that I bother people.
This is a hard lesson to bear on the first day of 2007. I should have stuck with Jackie Bird.