Published: Friday March 6, 2015.

Dogs, bananas and sheep

Dogs, bananas, and sheep. That’s what I’m writing about. Rather, that was Neil’s response to my rhetorical ‘what the hell am I going to write 500 words about tonight?’ poser leaving Sunset Vista.

For completeness, it’s after 10pm and I’ve spent most of the evening watching the Akira movie for the first (and likely last) time. I never quite got with anime, which considering my peer group around the time of its heyday might be surprising. I remember living with Scott and Melanie in my late teens. Scott did anime, and had a whole mantelpiece of VHS tapes lined up. Mel…didn’t do anime. She did lots of other…stuff…but nothing animated. I hear she’s still with Simon the Fireman (not his real name).

I went through a short phase of wanting a dog around Penwarren, but the disruption and sweeping changes brought about by Jen’s arrival late last year has pushed that to the back of my mind. I’m back to the living space thing, again. There’s just about enough space for two humans, and another four legs around here would be pushing it too far. With a larger house and more predictable lifestyles, perhaps a joint effort could make it work, but I’m not so sure. I have a limited window of visiting people’s houses to fix their computers, and there’s at least one dog most of the time. I get asked ‘are you OK with dogs?’ half a dozen times a week, mostly after the front door has been opened and the resident pooch bounds out to say hello, sniff the scent of the previous welcome party and then let me in. Good times.

Bananas. I miss bananas and custard. It was one of those foods of my childhood that slipped by the wayside as I grew older. I used to enjoy blancmange, too. I saw a three-pack of pastel-coloured blancmange at the grocery store the other day, picked it up to take a look at the instructions and the penny dropped why it’s not so popular these days: it takes time. And effort. Bananas and custard takes less of both, but custard doesn’t taste the same as it used to in the 80s. Maybe I just make it the wrong way. Perhaps the recipe changed.

The valley fields across from my house used to be full of sheep. Once or twice a year there were new lambs. Now, the fields are empty. They were cleared of livestock shortly after Vera died last year. Vera owned the fields, but they were leased by a farmer who she had known since his early years. Vera was in her late eighties – I seem to remember 89 or thereabouts – when she passed away, and the farmer is likely in his 50s or 60s. He’s not around the village so much these days. My enduring memory of him was his gallant efforts to hook me up with one of his daughters when my arrival in Crackington was announced in spring 2012. I haven’t yet had the pleasure, though I hear she’s quite a character.

Dogs, bananas, and sheep.

Thanks, Neil.