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Corona quarantine diary
Autor de la hebra: Mervyn Henderson

Chris S  Identity Verified
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Postcard from West Wales Apr 3

This is a quiet place. Lots of rolling hills, lots of sheep, not too many people. Look out of the window and everything is as it should be. Grass growing, lambs bleating, birds a-tweeting, farmers making their bittersweet symphony of farmer noises (the constant chugging, revving and whining of machinery peppered with random thudding and banging, endless shouting and swearing, and no small amount of human whining about how hard it is to be a farmer). OK, then, not such a quiet place, but you know... See more
This is a quiet place. Lots of rolling hills, lots of sheep, not too many people. Look out of the window and everything is as it should be. Grass growing, lambs bleating, birds a-tweeting, farmers making their bittersweet symphony of farmer noises (the constant chugging, revving and whining of machinery peppered with random thudding and banging, endless shouting and swearing, and no small amount of human whining about how hard it is to be a farmer). OK, then, not such a quiet place, but you know what I mean. Not exactly urban. No high-rises. No crowds. No mass hysteria. No evening clapalong with Vera Lynn, spirit of the Blitz. All that, er, English stuff. Just fields and trees and swathes of nodding daffodils. You wouldn’t know anything had changed.

Head into town (Llanbedr Pont Steffan, or Lampeter in English), a conurbation of maybe 3,000 souls, and things are very different. Ten days into lockdown and there’s tumbleweed on the high street now that all the cafes and charity shops are closed (there weren’t any proper shops left anyway). Queues around the block to get into a poorly stocked supermarket (bog rolls back in stock, but no cat litter; a true nation of animal lovers). Half the people previously saying it’s only the flu are now masked up. There are police roadblocks to check on the essentiality of journeys. There are people snapping number plates of cars parked up in the forest to walk the dog, and reporting kids playing in the park, and shaming their neighbours online. It’s a police state, where there are snitches on every corner and jobsworths shutting down corner shops for selling non-essential goods like Easter eggs. The next step, of course, is for the tut-tutters on Facebook to get organised and arm up with sticks and start patrolling the streets. Not sure if it’s East Germany or Nazi Germany, but it sure ain’t Wales.

The one thing there isn’t is corpses. Not even the hairdresser knows of anyone who’s actually had the virus. In ICU in Carmarthen they’re probably just playing cards and drinking beer. The virus clearly isn’t here. Unless those bloody English bastards bring it with them, dodging the roadblocks to abandon their disease-ridden commuter belts to quarantine in the second homes that have killed the villages and the language and the culture here - and probably now the whole older generation. Or those bastards from Cardiff and the Valleys who call themselves Welsh but don’t even speak the language and steal all the funding and are now heading over in their droves to the sprawling coastal caravan sites along with their light-fingered offspring and disease. What xenophobia?

So we quietly keep our heads down and muddle on. No dissent. No protest. No questioning the state propaganda machine as it assumes complete control. It’s wet dream time for the doom-mongering Daily Express. Suddenly we place blind faith in the same politicians we were ridiculing over Brexit only weeks ago. Even sing their praises as they so bravely carry on.

And the whole time, the spring sun continues to shine and make it all seem like a dream, and we wait.




PS Mrs S says you really should soak lentils, Mervyn, to remove the lectins. Think windproofing.




[Edited at 2020-04-03 16:00 GMT]
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Mervyn Henderson
Dan Lucas
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As someone else said: Apr 3

"Wales. Safe as houses."

A fantastic read, Chris! What a regime of fear in Llanbedr Pont Steffan, indeed. The Lampeter Tourist Office might want a word in your shell-like if they get to read all that. Or did it close down years ago and get turned into a fish and chip shop?

Er, Mrs S isn't French, by any chance? Or Basque? Just wondered ... ... oops, that's torn it, better open a few windows in here. She might be right after all.


 

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And ... Apr 3

And finally. Yes, again …

From the annals of Ernest Hemingway:

Woke up with a headache. Gee I felt rotten. Went to the telegraph place. Filed some copy to the newspaper. Went across to the bar. Fred was there with Paco. They were drinking brandy. I had one also. Then we all had another. “What about the bulls today, John?” Paco asked me. “I don’t know”, I told him, “I just don’t know, Paco, but what I do know is we’d better have another drink.” So we
... See more
And finally. Yes, again …

From the annals of Ernest Hemingway:

Woke up with a headache. Gee I felt rotten. Went to the telegraph place. Filed some copy to the newspaper. Went across to the bar. Fred was there with Paco. They were drinking brandy. I had one also. Then we all had another. “What about the bulls today, John?” Paco asked me. “I don’t know”, I told him, “I just don’t know, Paco, but what I do know is we’d better have another drink.” So we had another drink, and then another. And another just in case. A bullfighter I knew came in. Manuel. Manuel Porompompero y Fandánguez de la Copla. From the lonely plains of Castilla. He had a sad tortured look about him. No doubt thinking about the ring this afternoon at five o’clock. A las cinco de la tarde. The sand, the heat, the blood, sweat and cheers, the glory, the slurping champagne from Ava Gardner’s high heels afterwards in her hotel room. Or slurping Lucozade at the hospital, recovering from major disembowelment. He was with his manager. They bought us a drink and sat down in a corner to talk about today’s bulls. Then we bought them one. Then Felicity came along.

I think I had always been in love with Felicity. Even before I met her. Felicity was from the lonely plains of Iowa.

"Have a drink, Felicity”, I said. She took off her enormous pink hat and fluttered her eyelashes. “Oh John”, she said. “Oh John”. Nobody could say Oh John like Felicity. “Oh John, I sure wish I could be in love with you, but I simply can’t. Sure as heck I can’t. It’s hateful. Will you buy me a drink even though I can’t love you? You will? That’s just SO sweet.” So we all had a drink etc. etc. etc. etc.

Woke up with a headache. Again. “Hell, better file some copy to the paper”, I thought. “If I can remember anything about yesterday. If I can remember which paper I write for.” My, I felt bad. So bad that a man would be tempted to head for the lonely plains of Idaho. To a log cabin with a gun, perhaps. “No”, I decided, “I’ll leave that for another 20 or 30 years.”



“Short the day and long the night”, I found myself mumbling as I woke up. Couldn’t remember the night before, but it must have been a long one for sure. At least I’d got something suitably creative and tortured to write for my next round of copy to the paper. I muttered it to myself a few times. Then I sighed it theatrically. I was a little worried that perhaps it would be better as “Long the day and short the night”, but decided it really didn’t matter a coyote’s howl anyways. Come to think of it, that “coyote’s howl” thing had potential too, already. “Short the day, and long the night, long as a coyote’s howl”. No, it lacked a little balance.

I said it in a low growl into my pillow: “Short the day and long the night”. Yep, it was a damn fine phrase already. “Short the day and long the night”, I said again, in the most haunted, mysterious, decadent, suggestive and sinister way I could, all at the same time.

“Oh John. Oh John, that’s so beautiful.”

I could feel the warm breasts crushing against me as she spooned into my back, and raised up one milky leg with her wicked wet curls rasping over my bare buttocks.

“Oh John”, came another whisper in that smoky smoochy smouldering way only she had, as her naughty nimble fingers glided slowly and sexily across my hip down to where the great beast rose up from slumber to greet them.

“Oh Felicity”, I said, turning over.

… “Felicity? What? Who? Who the Sam Hill heck is Felicity?” came the reply as the smoking, smooching, smouldering and fingers disappeared, leaving nothing but an angry, suspicious, naked wench sitting up in bed beside me.

Rule Number One for international hacks waking up after a hard day’s night. Never say the woman’s name without running that vital face check first. Moreover, I know it seems a kinda obvious thing to say in these cases, but if you break Rule Number One, then get a grip already, and don’t break Rule Number Two. What I mean is, never ever then say: “Jesus H.C., who the hell are YOU already?”

I scratched my head and looked her up and down. “Jesus H.C.”, I said. “Who the hell are YOU already?”

“You jerk! You don’t remember anything? Elizabeth. From Lonely Plains, Wisconsin? Tagnabbit, did last night mean nothing to you, you insensitive monster?”

And in the confusion I clean forgot about Rule Number Three, sure as hot hell fire I did, like a goddamn motherfriggin’ horse’s ass.

“Gee I’m sorry honey”, I said to her all bleary-eyed, “but you just gotta understand I thought you were somebody else, see?”

I was half asleep all right, but I’m here to tell you that bedside lamp crashing against my skull woke me up already, before she stormed out of the hotel room with just a sheet around her.

“You hick!” I shouted after her. “Your first orgasm ever, and you think it’s love already. Never been with a real man before, huh, Elizabeth?”



[Edited at 2020-04-03 16:50 GMT]
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Chris S
Yvonne Gallagher
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
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The trials and tribulations of mervynating Apr 3

I was trying to do a Mervyn, but it’s hard on a piddling autocorrecting mobile phone with sausage fingers, especially in my current immobilised circumstances as I lie here contemplating those darned piles, that month’s worth of work on my desk I was once so smug about now just gathering dust, and growing increasingly jaded and almost wilfully letting my inner cynic get the upper hand.

But it is a somewhat discombobulating mixture of post-apocalyptic and perfectly normal out ther
... See more
I was trying to do a Mervyn, but it’s hard on a piddling autocorrecting mobile phone with sausage fingers, especially in my current immobilised circumstances as I lie here contemplating those darned piles, that month’s worth of work on my desk I was once so smug about now just gathering dust, and growing increasingly jaded and almost wilfully letting my inner cynic get the upper hand.

But it is a somewhat discombobulating mixture of post-apocalyptic and perfectly normal out there. A sense of impending doom, tempered perhaps by a lingering suspicion that it could still prove a storm in a teacup, or just a cover-up for 5G radiation, a 21st century phenomenon unlikely to reach us until the 22nd.

I should, of course, be seizing on the positives. Bragging online about how my business is continuing to support the brave fight against the evil virus and prop up the economy (but keep washing your hands, peeps!). How I’ve selflessly moved back in with my at-risk ex to help deal with the kids through the lockdown (look after the vulnerable, folks!). How I’ve hung up my mountain biking shoes to avoid accidentally snot-rocketing on Little Red Riding Hood (stay at home, everyone!).

Oh damn, I just did. What a virtue-signalling nob.
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Mervyn Henderson
Dan Lucas
 

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Stick ... Apr 3

... it out there, Chris! You're doing fine. And (seriously - I have to say "seriously", because otherwise no bugger believes me) the bit about your ex + kids is frankly laudable.

So ... crack open a few bottles of Taff Daffodil Extra as you listen to We Are The Champions, watch an episode of Only Fools And Horses, or How Green Was My Valley (before all the aforementioned barstids came and ruined it), go to bed and forget about it. Tomorrow's another day, and it's Saturday too.
... See more
... it out there, Chris! You're doing fine. And (seriously - I have to say "seriously", because otherwise no bugger believes me) the bit about your ex + kids is frankly laudable.

So ... crack open a few bottles of Taff Daffodil Extra as you listen to We Are The Champions, watch an episode of Only Fools And Horses, or How Green Was My Valley (before all the aforementioned barstids came and ruined it), go to bed and forget about it. Tomorrow's another day, and it's Saturday too.

But I do beg to correct you on just one thing - I have a feeling the word you're looking for is "discomknockerating", said with an optional "missus" afterwards, thus:

https://www.minsterfm.com/content/video/184/its-discomknockerating-ken-dodd-on-being-knighted/




[Edited at 2020-04-03 18:50 GMT]
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Chris S
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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And finally finally ... Apr 3

... for everyone's Covid-19 weekend:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoaktW-Lu38


Chris S
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
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And don't forget to wash your hands 😊 Apr 3

The Fab Four come to our rescue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxOJ7hh3H-I


Chris S
Mervyn Henderson
 

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Saturday 4 April Apr 4

“Government now recommends use of masks”, says one headline. “Sánchez prepares to extend the lockdown following consultations with experts”, says another. On Saturday I buy two national rags, one kind of governmenty and the other, while not giving many presents to anybody, is always thrilled to get in a dig at the left.

Experts. Lockdown experts, presumably. The TV has been heaving with experts lately. All of them reporting from home with their bookshelves to the rear.
... See more
“Government now recommends use of masks”, says one headline. “Sánchez prepares to extend the lockdown following consultations with experts”, says another. On Saturday I buy two national rags, one kind of governmenty and the other, while not giving many presents to anybody, is always thrilled to get in a dig at the left.

Experts. Lockdown experts, presumably. The TV has been heaving with experts lately. All of them reporting from home with their bookshelves to the rear.

I used to get up at around 6 or 7 to get an early start to the day, rather than work until 9 or 10 at night. But as you know, of course, sometimes you have to burn it at both ends anyway. I still get up early. Used to be that as I did so on Friday, Saturday, and especially Sunday mornings, even before I hit the street, from the bedroom I could hear the squeals and shouts and screeches and singing round about, the twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings (and the thirteen-somethings too) wending their merry way home after a night out.

Yes, Friday mornings too. When I first arrived here I learned that Thursday night was known as “knickers night” in Bilbao – I was told that many of the young girls from the villages out in the sticks, who lived in the city during the week to study at university and had recently discovered total freedom to go to bed whenever they liked, and with whomever they liked too, took particular advantage of Thursday nights because the following day they had to go back to the sticks for the weekend and behave themselves with p and m at home. More like no-knickers night, then, I thought at the time, but that’s what I was told.

Sometimes I had to go further afield, down to the Casco, and on the way Gran Vía would be streaming with them in and around the metro – shriekers with torn tights, roaring lads staggering along with kalimotxo (Coca-Cola and red wine) in a plastic cup, the lovestruck sitting bawling their eyes out in a doorway being comforted by a drunken friend or two, others busy making pavement pizzas … It used to annoy me, although I was them years ago too (except I never tore my tights).

I was down Gran Vía this morning. Hardly a soul to be seen.

...

How I miss them now.


[Edited at 2020-04-04 08:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-04-04 09:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-04-04 09:38 GMT]
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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Sunday 5 April Apr 5

“At home after 26 April too,” quavers the headline. Spain’s lockdown was already going to be extended from 15 to 26 April, but, well, it’ll probably be longer. Think positive, though – for the first time last night there had been fewer deaths in 24 hours. They have a daily 24-hour death round-up every night on the news. I say the news, but there’s only one item, it’s rarely good news, and it’s not what you’d call new news either. So it was around 802 dead yesterday, against som... See more
“At home after 26 April too,” quavers the headline. Spain’s lockdown was already going to be extended from 15 to 26 April, but, well, it’ll probably be longer. Think positive, though – for the first time last night there had been fewer deaths in 24 hours. They have a daily 24-hour death round-up every night on the news. I say the news, but there’s only one item, it’s rarely good news, and it’s not what you’d call new news either. So it was around 802 dead yesterday, against something like 814 the day before. This reminds me of a set of annual accounts, where they brighten up the figures a touch with “the pace of the downturn in profits has slackened somewhat” (we’re still losing money, but not hand over fist like before). Then we have the sports section, necessarily short these days and only the important bits such as musings on the tribulations of pay cuts for footballers and sighing at the cancellation of the Olympic Games. Last up is the weather. Storm receding, though still cloudy, with occasional sunny intervals, so don’t forget your umbrella if you’re going out. Or your gloves. Or that mask.

The 8 pm applause continues, although one of the neighbours (and, I suspect, others all over Bilbao) has now got people dancing on their balconies to the 80s pop song “Resistiré” he blasts out from his house. This has become a symbol of the virus all around now, rather similar to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive”.

Can’t be bothered much today. So, without further ado, following up the Macbeth Syndrome the other day, here’s an adapted narration of what might have happened if Macbeth hadn’t been decapitated by Macduff and had been arrested on a charge of murder in the first and brought in for interrogation at Inverness by a couple of detectives sent up from The Smoke (yes, I know):

(In the interrogation room)

… “So, about this sword of yours, Mr. Macbeth. It’s not registered at the police station, is it? Used it or brandished it at all lately, have we, sir? What’s that, Mr. Macbeth? Oh I SEE, only for squirrels around the castle. Did you hear that, Sergeant? Squirrels, he says. Come off it, Mr. Macbeth. You can do better than that, sir, surely. Look at the bloody thing, man – it must weigh at least twenty pounds. Squirrels? Squirrels scurry up and down trees looking for nuts to scoff, Mr. Macbeth. Squirrels dart comically about everywhere. The jolly little rascals like nothing better than to scamper gaily to and fro all the live long day, sir. What kind of squirrel would you do in with a sword like that, Mr. Macbeth? A squirrel with a broken ankle edging through the undergrowth on crutches? A grandad squirrel with a flat cap, asthma and chronic arthritis? Eh? A squirrel caught napping on the bog with his bloody pants down around those little furry legs, Mr. Macbeth?”

“Know what’ll happen when our Forensics confirm microscopic traces of King Duncan’s blood all over that sword, Macbeth? Do you? Eh? Eh? Given the circumstances, we might even have you for lese-majesty, too. That’s high treason to you and me, that is. And you know what that means, doncha? Means you got yourself a date with the hangman, Mr. Macbeth. It’s only a matter of time before we find Banquo in some ditch out there, too. We got our boys in blue right now scouring the woods over a ten-league radius, we have. Straight up. Going through it all with a fine toothcomb, they are. They don’t miss nothing, you know, our lads. What’s that you say, sir? Your alibi? Oh PLEASE. So you’ve got an alibi for that one, Mr. Macbeth. You was tucked up all cosy in bed with Her Indoors, wasn’t you, but what you don’t know is that Murderers One, Two and Three are already singing like canaries in another little room we’ve got right next door here, even as we speak, oh yes. Besides, Mr. Macbeth, by the looks of things your old lady’s testimony will be about as much use to you as a priest’s bollocks. Bonkers, the medics reckon. Lost her marbles. Rabbiting on to herself all day long, she is, rubbing at her hands, screaming “Out, damn spot!” Who’s gonna accept testimony from a raving lunatic, eh? They’ll laugh her out of court. Know what I see when I look at you, Mr. Macbeth? A dead man walking, that’s what. A dead man walking.”

“But, before they top you, Mr. Macbeth, you’ll have to do some time first. Oh yes. Ever heard of Barlinnie, have you? No? Well, it’s a little hotel run by the state. Down Glasgow way. A bit crowded, mind. Lots of big bad boys cooped up in there, son. Dangerous nutcases, some of ‘em, I’d say. Bad news, they are, Mr. Macbeth. Big ugly animals. Nervous primates, like. Smack in their veins, tattoos in their teeth, muscles in their hair, and evil in their blacker than black hearts. I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes when the Daddy claps his eyes on a good-looking bloke like yourself to play doctors and nurses with in the scary scary darkness after lights-out. And in Barlinnie, Mr. Macbeth, you won’t have no big sword like this to play the hard man with neither, will you sir?”




[Edited at 2020-04-05 10:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-04-05 10:52 GMT]
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Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
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Dental hygiene Apr 5

Mervyn Henderson wrote:
fine toothcomb

I must admit I spent my first 40 years wondering why people would want to comb their teeth

😂


Mervyn Henderson
Andrew Morris
 

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Monday 6 April Apr 6

“It’s all over! Man walks dog. Lion lies down with lamb and church bells ring out as entire world suddenly cured,” crowed the headline.

The alarm rang close to my ear, jolting me awake. “Better go and find out what the real headline says,” I yawned.

The real one says “Government to carry out en masse tests to locate and isolate those with no symptoms”. And they’re asking large corporations and other organisations to send in a list of premises and spaces,
... See more
“It’s all over! Man walks dog. Lion lies down with lamb and church bells ring out as entire world suddenly cured,” crowed the headline.

The alarm rang close to my ear, jolting me awake. “Better go and find out what the real headline says,” I yawned.

The real one says “Government to carry out en masse tests to locate and isolate those with no symptoms”. And they’re asking large corporations and other organisations to send in a list of premises and spaces, to be used as “Noah’s Ark” separation facilities. Talk about “us and them”.

Still, the 24-hour deaths are down again. Only 600 or so. The things that lift one’s spirits these days …


[Edited at 2020-04-06 08:36 GMT]
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Noah's arc Apr 6

Is this the rise of the immune?

 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Animal Farm Apr 6

Talking of Noah’s Ark, these days it might be a good idea to keep a watchful eye on any pets you might have. That big shaggy dog asleep over there by the fireplace, for example. He might seem contented and well-disposed and loyal now, wagging that bloody tail of his all the time, panting and wuffing and arf-arfing, larking about with the kids and rolling over on his back to die for the Queen, but you watch your frigging back if things get tough, the Pal and Winalot are being rationed, and ther... See more
Talking of Noah’s Ark, these days it might be a good idea to keep a watchful eye on any pets you might have. That big shaggy dog asleep over there by the fireplace, for example. He might seem contented and well-disposed and loyal now, wagging that bloody tail of his all the time, panting and wuffing and arf-arfing, larking about with the kids and rolling over on his back to die for the Queen, but you watch your frigging back if things get tough, the Pal and Winalot are being rationed, and there's no more walkies. When push comes to shove, you can forget all that malarkey about man’s best friend, because he’ll be looking out for number one, that’s for sure. And he’s not actually sleeping, either, so watch your mouth, careful what you say about him, and definitely don’t voice any concerns around him, either, because the last thing you want to do is make the bastard nervous. He might seem like he’s dozing, but he opens one eye now and again, and he’s listening to every single word you say. Once he isn’t getting spoilt rotten by the humans, he might just decide to take things into his own paws. So start locking the door of your bedroom when you hit the sack. Might be an idea to put up a hidden camera or two when you get the chance, when he's out of the room. See what he does at night when he thinks nobody’s looking. Might even be ringing up other dogs in the same situation. Once they start pooling all their whines and whimpers, the whole street might face a mutiny if this goes south. Oh, so you think he can’t use a phone just because he doesn’t have opposable thumbs? Think again. Think of all the tricks you taught him. And the other tricks he learnt on his own, but never showed you. Just in case. Biding his time, that’s what he's doing. And you think he can’t talk, either? Think again. Remember Lassie. Lassie comes running in barking, and the kid says “Hey Pop, I think she’s trying to tell us something! What’s wrong, girl?” … woof-woof-woof …“Two people?” … woof-woof-woof … “A man and his little girl?” … woof-woof-woof … “Trapped?” … Trapped where, Lassie?” … woof-woof-woof … “A disused mine shaft?” … “Where, Lassie? Show us where, girl! … woof-woof-woof woof-woof-woof woof-woof-woof woof-woof-woof

Or that cat up there at the window, occasionally turning her head slowly and deliberately to look at you in undisguised disgust. What’s she staring at out there anyway? Keeping an eye on the humans outside, that’s what. They’re even worse than dogs, because they’re smarter. More independent. You can shout at the dog for leaving his mess in the kitchen or shaking the rain off himself or just because you’ve had a bad day and you feel like bawling him out, and he’ll hang his head and run off and hide, but in five minutes he’ll be back licking your hand. Well, just you try that with her up there at the window. She never liked you anyway. She hated you and the rest of them from the start. She was only there for the Whiskas. You might get away with the rough treatment once, but she won’t forgive you like a dog might do. When you go to the cupboard and suddenly find there’s no cat food left, turn around slowly. Yes, there she is, up at that bloody window, claws out. Watching you.


[Edited at 2020-04-06 15:49 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-04-06 15:59 GMT]
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Brian Joyce  Identity Verified
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Man's best friend Apr 6

Check out these dogs Mervyn

www.instagram.com/mnishka.707


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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My money ... Apr 6

... is on the black one. He's about to sink his teeth into the one in front. And if he'd do that to one of his own ...

Interesting work. Some of it quite disturbing. Is all that yours?


 
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WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

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