STILL 74

THE MORNING AFTER MY RETURN FROM CORNWALL I TRAVEL TO THE OTHER SIDE OF LONDON TO BABYSIT THE DOG, POPPY.

HAVING ALWAYS CONSIDERED MYSELF AS NOT A DOG PERSON, PREFERRING CATS, HAVING ALWAYS HAD CATS IN CHILDHOOD AND FOR MY OWN CHILDREN, NOW I HAVE CHANGED.

 I FIND THAT NOT ONLY DO I LOVE THIS DOG, POPPY, BUT ALSO ANOTHER BELONGING TO WENDY AND DAVID, CERTAINLY LAST YEAR IN MEXICO CITY, I BACAME MORE THAN SUPERFICIALLY ATTACHED TO MY HOSTESSES DOGS. MY DISTASTE, REFUSAL TO CONNECT WITH THE CANINE WORLD SPRANG FROM CHILDHOOD. RETRNING FROM SCHOOL AT THE AGE OF FIVE, ALONE ON A DESERTED SUBURBAN STREET. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NOT DIFFICULT TO HAVE SEEN THE HUGE BLACK AND WHITE SPOTTED DALMATION IN THE DISTANCE. WE WERE THE ONLY SIGNS OF LIVING FLESH AND BLOOD IN THAT STREET. I TURNED TO RUN BACK FROM WHENCE I HAD COME. THE DOG SENSED MY TERROR, IT BOUNDED TOWARDS ME ON THE ATTACK. MY SCREAMS AROUSED NEIGHBOURS. THE INEVITABLE HAD HAPPENED . A DOCTOR AND MY PARENTS WERE SUMMONED TO DEAL WITH MY HYSTERICS AND THE DOG BITES. BUT UNEXPECTEDLY NOW HERE I AM , A DOG DEVOTEE , ALMOST SEVENTY YEARS LATER. TIME HEALS ALL WHEN YOU LIVE LONG ENOUGH.

WEDNESDAY. AUGUST 2ND. 2006.

BAD NIGHT’S SLEEP. FIRST BELLY ACHE, THEN URGENT RELIEF OF BOWELS, MORE THAN ONCE. TRACED BACK TO GLUTTONY OF PREVIOUS EVENING. AWOKE WITH MORE INTENAL RUMBLINGS. SNATCHED THE TV LISTING MAGAZINE AND PINK MARKER TO PERUSE THE DAY’S VIEWING. ADJUSTING MY SPECS I GLIMPSED A RAT RUNNING PAST MY BARE TOES. THAT EMPTIED MY BOWELS, PRONTO. WIPED MY BOTTY, PULLED THE CHAIN. SHUT THE DOOR BEHIND ME, SEALED THE BASE OF THE DOOR WITH RUGS AND PULLED MY ALARM CORD. EMERGENCY INDEED.

“THERE’S A RAT IN MY BATHROOM.” I QUAVERED.

RAT TALE.

AUGUST 3. ‘06

POP DOWN TO HASTINGS WITH PARIS. REMAIN 2 PERFECT DAYS WITH HIM IN AL’S HOUSE. THEN TRANSFER TO LAWRENCE’S FOLLY ON THE HILL. WATCH INTERNET! I RESOLVE TO JOIN.

AUGUST 13. ‘06.

PORTOBELLO FILM FESTIVAL, WORLD PREMIERE OF “MOLL”. FILM MADE OF ME BY MALCOLM HART, EX-FIANCE. STANDING OVATION!

AUGUST 15, 06.

NTL ARRIVE TO CONNECT ME TO INTERNET WITH BROADBAND.

DISCOVER THAT AMONGST THE HUNDREDS OF MENTIONS OF SELF THAT I AM DESCRIBED AS ‘THE GAUDY BOHEMIAN’. LOVE IT!

AUGUST 16.

ELLY COMES TO SET UP MY VERY OWN WEBSITE. SO EXCITING!