Favourite Animals Jan 5, 2007 8:08:38 GMT
Post by postscript on Jan 5, 2007 8:08:38 GMT
andrew said:Hi Peter,
Indeed this is an interesting thread... As you are somewhat of a literary scholar, I wonder if you had George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' in mind when you asked us this question? I know we shouldn't start getting too political in this thread in order to try to maintain "decorum on the Forum", but one phrase which springs to mind from 'Animal Farm' is:
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
Incidentally, at the beginning of my academic year at university, the head of the department asked us whether we were "hard working goats or wandering sheep" ... I'll get back to you about my favourite animal after I've had a bit of a think!
You raise an interesting point there, Andrew, and 'no' I did not have Animal Farm in mind. However, you intimate how diverse this thread could become. For instance, do people see other people as having 'animal' characteristics? Or see people 'as animals', let alone the nature of their liking for animals, domestic or wild.
I can't recall if it derived from 'Fred', a strip cartoon in perhaps The Daily Express but there is a well-known cartoonist who drew animals who either looked like their owners or the owners chose dogs looking like them!
There is a young lady of my long acquaintance (the daughter of a friend, recently a mother for the first time) who is extraordinarily petite. For some reason when ever i see her I have always thought of her as the dormouse in Alice in Wonderland. She has a very bony face which makes her look like a hamster nibbling when she laughs, which she does frequently. I remember when she was very young and we were queuing for fish and chips and lifting her up on the counter so she could see behind it and noticing her legs.
'Good lord, girl, what on earth has happened to you, you're all battered and bruised!' This was many years ago, long before a general awareness of concern for child abuse was more lively. Her legs were quite literally black and blue and scratched.
She dismissed her bruises as due to climbing trees but although i was confident of her parents, I wanted to know how her bruises had been acquired.
She went through a list of what day and which tree she had scratched herself on, including the dog having jumped up at her and its claws scraping down her leg. Then she inadvertently drew the attention of the entire shop to this 'battered' child by saying, '...and that big yellowing bruise there on my shin is where mummy hit me with the poker!'
'She did what?'
' Well, she didn't mean to. She was raking the ashes in the grate and the poker jammed. She was yanking at it just as I came up behind her to ask her something, when it came free and the end hit my shin. Gosh! That didn't half hurt!'
'I'll bet it did!'
From which history you may gather this was quite a tom boy. Therefore, what sort of job do you think this 'smaller than Hayley' does? She's a prison warder... and quite capable of looking after herself if she had to!
There was an amusing little incident on her training course which was a mixed sex group. Part of the fitness aspect was a cross-country run and her little legs weren't carrying her fast enough. She had become something of a mascot to the group, so two of the bigger men suddenly grabbed hold of her at each side, lifting her up by her arms and carried her a considerable distance while they did the running for her!
During her college years she kept a rat--on her at all times, except perhaps when sleeping or in the shower. It used to hide inside her jumper and would occasionally poke its head out of the collar or run out of a sleeve.
She was brought up in a gloriously eccentric family. The step-father and I were at college together and he met this widow (due to her husband being knocked down by a bus, so I always have to bite my tongue when i have cause to use that colloquial expression!) with two young girls, 3 and 5. When he introduced her to me one weekend i was staying over, I slipped my business card into the back pocket of her jeans as I left, having written on the back 'if it doesn't work out here's my number'! (UN)fortunately he had the wit to marry her!
I AM ON TOPIC! Their first home was a small manor house and she was concerned about being alone 'in the wilds' without a dog. He didn't like dogs but finally agreed on having a Springer spaniel, which he thought he could cope with while she thought an Alsatian more practical. So, they bought TWO Springer spaniels, because they were the last two in the litter and they didn't have the heart to leave one brother behind!
Having the two Springers he got used to dogs so agreed to a bigger dog as it was more practical from the protection angle. They bought an Anatolian Shepherd dog (like a German shepherd but with a distinctive curly tail).
A year or so later friends of theirs divorced and didn't know what to do with their English sheep dog. So, the guy who didn't like dogs ended up living with four of them!
Then, there was the problem of a family holiday which they hadn't got round to having for some time and they needed a muggins to house- and dog-sit... Guess who? Well, who wouldn't grab the opportunity of playing 'lord of the manor' for a couple of weeks in a delightful Jacobean manor sitting in eight or so acres of its own grounds? It was the standing joke: I came down at weekends looking the part of the squire while they paid the mortgage!
Shall we say that it was an interesting fortnight for all concerned. The 'all concerned' being:
- four dogs;
- two semi-wild cats (very good ratters but with the habit of leaving offerings on the staircase, so who ever was first down in the morning had to look where they were treading as they descended the stairs);
- the elder daughter had by then been bought a pony;
- several clutches of weird hens--they preferred the lesser known but older variety of chickens to help preserve tradition;
- a screech of peacocks (I've forgotten the collective noun for peacocks but that will do);
- and a gaggle of geese.
By the time they returned it was i who was in need of a holiday!
Addendum I forgot the headless horseman and the crying lady, who were also my companions. Interested in psychics as I am, I never met either. However, it was established that the part of the wall through which the lady disappeared by those allegedly seeing her had indeed been a doorway three centuries earlier.
When my friends first moved in, the younger daughter was often found on the stairs seemingly talking to herself but she claimed she was talking to the costume-dressed lady who passed by and certainly in that area the dogs were unhappy passing and were often found hackles raised and barking at that part of the wall.
As for the horseman, he hadn't been seen for years, galloping over a certain area of the paddock.