'All the world's a stage'- and all of my shows are comedies. Welcome to my Wacky World, which is a collection of the mad, funny and sometimes slightly unbelievable things that happen to me.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Caution: Anti-Fragile

I stepped steadily towards the counter, arms shaking under the combined strain of the basket full of plates and fatigue from last night's fitness class. There was no-one in front of me and no-one behind: i was confident.

I tripped over my own feet, ramming the shopping basket full of plates into the counter.

The plates rattled ominously, and the shop assistants stared.

Too embarrassed to care, I looked them right in the eye and said:

"This is why I need new plates."

I'm back. Not that I went anywhere – I'm just back from a pause in writing in this blog. As you might have seen from Tashcakes!, I'm still busy cooking and writing recipes. What with work, Mandarin lessons, K-Pop dancing, baking-blogging, gym and socialising this blog has taken a bit of a back seat, alas. But I haven't forgotten about it; and I'll continue to write whenever I can.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Monday, 17 August 2015

A Welcome Home Present... Cat-Style

I was just hanging the washing up yesterday morning, having just returned from holiday, when I heard the bloodcurdling screams of a small anguished animal coming from the kitchen.

I ran straight to the source of the terrible sound, and found one of my cats, Sheba, with a tiny bird in her mouth. She looked proud as punch; the bird struggled frantically, flailing its free wing as hard as it could.

"Sheba! Let go!" I was horrified: Sheba's never brought back 'presents' before like our other cats have in the past. She must have been really happy to have us back.

Miraculous, Sheba plopped the poor creature at my feet. The bird froze and fell silent, probably certain of its end between the ferocious cat and the looming human monster. It's little chest rose and fell rapidly in terror.

Quickly but gently, I scooped the bird up: it was more than small enough to loosely fit in one hand. Sheba chirruped and purred, winding herself around my ankles in a 'Didn't I do really well?' sort of way. I scratched her behind the ears with my free hand, stretching wide so the bird in my other hand was as far away from her as possible, and went into the garden.

I felt sick. What if the bird was so injured that I had no choice but to snap its neck? Could I do it? I'd have to.

I peered into my loosely-closed fist. It ('she', I decided after a while), blinked warily up at me. I opened my hand a little more so I could take a better look: there was no blood, nothing sticking out at odd angles, and her wings looked fine (although they were folded, so they could still have been broken). I sighed in relief- she was okay, or at least would just need a bit of time to recover.

At this point it occurred to me how crazy it was that I was holding this little bird. Feeling a little guilty (because I'd be annoyed if I'd just been through the same thing), I took a picture of her in my hand with my phone.

I opened my hand up to see what she'd do, bringing my other hand up to make a sort of platform. To my surprise she simply flexed her wings and hopped straight onto the fourth finger of my right hand, her tiny talons wrapping themselves around the digit. I raised my hand up into the sky, but she just gripped a little tighter.

"Go on," I said in what I hoped was a soothing voice, "Here's your chance." I bobbed my hand upwards, but she gripped tighter again, not ready to go just yet.

"You should really go now before my cat comes back outside," I said. She cocked her head in my direction and blinked again.

With my free hand, I reached out to smooth her mussed-up feathers with a finger, thinking maybe she'd finally fly away if I tried to touch her. Instead, this seemed to calm her down a little, and she shifted to make herself more comfortable. Thinking she might be ready, I walked over to the garage and raised her up, so she might hop on the roof. Instead, I felt the pressure of her little feet increase around my finger. I sighed, and brought her up to my face. What was I going to do with this bird?

I paced around the garden, the bird (who I'd now named 'Liwu'- Mandarin for 'Gift') on one hand and my phone in the other. It was tricky manoeuvring with one hand, but I managed to take another picture of her send out a plea for advice on Facebook.

A few people mentioned broken wings again, which made me worry. It didn't seem as if Liwu's wings were broken, and she didn't seem to be in discomfort when she'd stretched her wings, but there was always a chance. Would I have to take care of her? With two cats in the house, I hoped not.

After about half an hour of pacing around with this bird in my hand (at one point shooing poor Sheba away, who'd come outside to see what I'd made of her present), I sat down on the garden chair. I brought Liwu up to my face again. She was breathing normally now, and had stopped peering around wildly. I took more photos of her with my phone (she seemed curious about it, shifting so she could get a better look). I found out Liwu was in fact a young goldfinch, according to the RSPB online bird identifier. All the while I kept chatting to her, even though knew she couldn't understand me. Every so often I reached out to scratch her on the head or stroke her feathers, which she seemed to like.

About a good hour after I first picked her up, I stood up. I felt Liwu shift from one foot to the other and twitch her wings a bit.

"Alright. Are you ready, now?" I asked her. I raised my hand high into the air, and waited. It was like a spell had been broken: Liwu straightened herself up to peer at the sky. After just a moment or two, she stretched her wings wide. She flapped, took a great leap and was gone.

As if on cue, Sheba waltzed back into the garden. I picked her up (she gave a squawk of disgruntlement) and carried her back inside.

Be safe out there, little Liwu!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Red Lipstick- Part 2

I haven't worn red lipstick for a while- mostly out of laziness: that stuff gets everywhere. Alas, the last time I wore it resulted in the first Red Lipstick story. Maybe it's just sheer dumb luck I experienced the same sort of crap again seven months later.

I went out with a couple of friends tonight to see a film (Mad Max is the most intense, awesome two hours of film ever). Because we were also going to a nice bar beforehand, I decided to put my favourite red lippy on. I was just wearing the sort of dress I'd wear to work. Nothing revealing, nothing fancy.

But it seems like these are a distraction for some:

Even when they're attached to a face with an expression like this:

I caught a late train home and managed to grab a seat, immediately getting my phone out to play Go (an ancient Chinese board game I've recently become mildly obsessed with). No sooner had I taken my phone out and started a game than the man sitting next to me- about thirty years my senior- leaned into my personal bubble of space.

"Got to make sure you reply to those texts, right?" He drawled.

"Yep," I said shortly, not liking his snarky tone and not bothering to correct him about what I was doing.

"I can reply to some of them if you want?"

"No, thank you," I said, again keeping it short but (foolishly) polite.

"Come on, let me help you reply to your texts."

"Nope," I said, more than a little more curtly.

"Aww come on, don't be like that." He leaned over a little more.

This time I completely ignored him, calmly placing a stone on my virtual Go board instead.

The man then turned to his mate, sitting on his other side, and snorted loudly, "People on trains these days. They have no class... no matter how they look."

I'm not joking: that's what he said.

I flat-out ignored him, even though I really, really wanted to verbally tear him to pieces. Of course, it was just bait to get me to respond.

Throughout the journey this man kept on and on at me, while I held my ground. The last straw was when he turned to his friend and asked what stop he needed to get off at: it was my stop. Right at the end of the line.

'Sod this,' I thought, and got off the train at the next stop, catching the next one home.

Why am I so sure it was the red lipstick? Because once again, as I mentioned in Part 1: my hair, my clothes and the rest of my makeup was as it usually is. The only thing different about my style was the colour of my lips- and I never, ever get this sort of problem when I'm not wearing it.

Why is red lipstick a green light to be pushy for some people? It's just a sodding colour, after all. I'm going to go ahead and say it: it's because for some people (and it's just a few select arseholes, both male and female), see red lipstick as a great big sandwich board with 'I'm easy' written on it.

Am I going to stop wearing red lipstick when I feel like it, because of this?

Heck, no.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Overheard on the Tube: The Bridesmaid-zilla

"I can't believe how casual the bride's being about everything. When I asked her how she wanted the bridemaids' hairstyles to be, she just said 'let them choose: I just want them to be happy.' Can you believe that? It's totally unacceptable."

-A lady bitching about how her bride-to-be friend is planning her wedding.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Born to Dunce

My status update from Facebook, Friday 20th March 2015 (yesterday night):

Dramatically tripped over my own feet in the car park this evening (after dance class, no less). A lady walked pass and, clearly convinced that I was drunk and about to drive legless, tutted and gave me the evils. Nope, not drunk, lady- I just have a constantly faulty internal gyroscope.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Forever Alone

It was the kind of occasion where somewhere, deep down, you know heard other person correctly: but it was just so damned weird that you didn't believe your own ears.

"Sorry, what?" I asked the barista.

"I said, 'do you dance like black women?'" he said, quirking a suggestive eyebrow at me.

My problem is that I'm immune to flirting, which has two main downsides. If a nice guy flirts with me, I only see it as "banter" and banter right back, but not in the right way- causing the nice guy to "take the hint" (that wasn't even there because I was so clueless) and give up, and me to kick myself about five hours later when I realise I was being flirted with. That's the first downside. The second downside is that a not-so-nice guy will take it too far, and I won't realise what's happening until it gets to that point- resulting in time being wasted and me being marginally ticked off.

I walked into the coffee shop this morning and asked for a flat white.

"Alright," he said. "But I gotta warn ya... it's either going to be in this cup, or this one." He indicated to a large cup and an espresso shot cup.

"Uh, aren't flat whites just regular? I'm pretty sure you don't shoot one, either" I grinned, assuming he was just trying to be funny.

"Just kidding, large it is. Wait, what did you order? Oh, a flat white. That'd be regular then."

I smiled and handed the change over, while the barista got to work.

"You look kind of stressed, you having a bad day?"

I blinked. (Here we go, I thought, we have a conversation artist... alright, just be polite, Tash). "No..? I'm quite happy, actually."

"It's just that you look sort of tired."

(Wait a minute, I thought, is he trying to 'neg'* me??)

"Then I've come to the right place," I laughed, brushing it off.

"So, do you work around here?"

"Oh... no. Just passing through the area."

"Don't you have work today?" He asked.

"No, no work for me on Sundays. I'm just on my way to dance class."

"Oh, what kind of dance do you do?"

"K-Pop. Korean pop, that is."

 And then he said it.

"So do you dance like black women, then?"

Honestly my brain just switched off when I asked him to repeat what he'd just said. It was clear he didn't have a clue what K-pop was (which is fair enough), but that statement literally just came out of the blue. It was a particularly random statement to make especially since I'm as pale as milk. The worst thing about it was the appraising up-and-down look he was giving me. I pretended not to notice.

"I'm not sure what you mean. Um, it's more street-style?" I added, helpfully.

"Right, right," he said. He then proceeded to hand me my coffee, holding it out of my reach for a few seconds while asking me to try the coffee there and then on the spot. He tried to make me promise that if he'd made a bad coffee he'd make me another one for free.

I made a wild grab at the hovering coffee cup. "I'm sure it'll be fine, thank you!" I more or less ran off.

The coffee was terrible: I threw it away. I didn't go back.

*Negging: the practice of giving someone a very mild insult while acting friendly, sometimes in the hope that they'll subconsciously want your approval.