Monday, December 27, 2004

Fleas and Superfluous Water Features

We left Alabama today. It's been a great seven days. I had my first US Christmas Dinner, southern style. For the historical record, may I just take a second here, to pay tribute to the following food items that combined to fill my heart with happiness:

Squash Casserole
Creamed Corn
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green beans and bacon
Fried Turkey
Cranberry Sauce

Definitely my tastiest Christmas meal.

The Houses are Beautiful

On Christmas Day, me and Hannah went for a walk around Sheffield, down to the standpipe. On the evening of our arrival, we'd been treated to a lightning tour of the town, in the dark.

We'd been driven to the Boundless Playground, a community project completed with volunteer labour (or rather, that had run out of steam once volunteer labour was meant to kick in). The result is a lethal asphalt wonderland, where smiling children dance upon the abyss of dire personal injury.

We were then "showed" the Tennessee River, again, in pitch blackness. Steve thought it'd be hilarious to roll his truck down a boat ramp that ended in the fast-flowing water. We howled like babies, advising him, imploring him, to spare us the excitement.

"Steve! Steve! Oh Jesus, no! Imminent death is sooooo exciting..."

Steve relented. We drove up to the standpipe. As we swung round it, there was a car parked up, and inside was a woman, head down, in a man's lap, administering what is commonly known as a blowjob. I saw this as a good omen for our stay in Sheffield.

Now, in the daylight, on Christmas Day, we walked towards the standpipe, thinking over what we planned to do with ourselves, assessing the attractiveness of the houses as we went.

In comparison to British housing, you know, all those grim suburbs, or dreary terraces, or matchbox Tudor "executive" homes (hmmm, I can only assume that they are called executive because people who live in them pine each night to be put out of their misery), the best of the houses on display was franky, amazing.

Hannah pointed one out, what she called "The Tim Burton house", a purple and black Beetlejuice style affair, with a great front porch, decked out with sprayed black wicker chairs, and a great tower on one corner. I will take some pictures of these houses and be able to ease off on trying to describe their awesome powers of seduction.

There was another great house, just along the street, a white number with a porch that wrapped halfway round the house, a balcony, and a tower with stained glass on the first floor. I immediately wanted to spend my days there.

We turned round at the stovepipe. No-one was receiving a blowjob there this time.

Flea Update

I have been touched by the kind emails that have flooded my inbox. Besides sympathising with my current flea infestation, others have offered useful insights into the mindset and life cycle of the cat flea, while still others have, in recognition of my literary genius and surefire future fame, offered to purchase any fleas I may defeat in battle, for sums that have fairly made my legs quiver.

Leaving such matters to one side of the Big Plate of Blog that this post constitutes, I will now provide a flea update for the more casual reader of my mutterings.

I am still being bitten.

It is quite feasible that I have brought home a flea from Alabama to Tennessee. I don't yet know whether it is an offence for a visitor to the US to transport, knowingly or unknowingly, a flea across state lines. Time will tell.

In the meantime, my legs are eaten up, my hands continue to sprout red blotches, and my itching is now reaching chronic proportions. On the plus side, the Black Death, which killed a third of the population of Britain in the 14th Century, has yet to make its presence felt.

What is the Point of This???

We unpacked some of our Christmas gifts from Hannah's family tonight. One gift was a Cascade fountain. This is a water feature that is operated by a submersible pump. The pump pushes water up through a hollow brass tube until it emerges in the uppermost moulded metal leaf of a beautiful cascade of such leaves. As it trickles down, it provides the kind of wonderful natural music, the music of flowing water, that fifteen dollars can buy. In short, it's crap.

I will now explain why. I will also make a number of jokes at the expense of the water feature.

Firstly, I should give you the manufacturer's take on the wonders of their Cascade Fountain product (under the mysterious sales phrase, Simply Life):

  • Immerse yourself in a beautifully serene and natural atmosphere
  • Add life and motion to any room in the house
  • Rejuvenate your senses with a walk in the woods, in your home
Bring the soothing ambiance (sic) of a rainy forest from the mountains into your home. Balance the surrounding air with beneficial ions released from the cascade fountain, and let your mind and body relax to the sounds of nature. (Batteries not included)


My first criticism would be the failure of our Cascade Fountain to allow me to immerse in a beautifully serene and natural atmosphere. The Cascade Fountain produced a barely audible burble, a burble that was largely outweighed by the noise produced by the Cascade Fountain's submersible pump...

Hannah looked at the Cascade Fountain, trying to find a reason to like it.

"It's ridiculously quiet," I said.
"Perhaps that is part of it..."
"Hannah, you'd have to be a Zen Master to block out the ambient sounds in this room enough to even hear that damn burble. And if you were a Zen Master, why would you need a fifteen dollar Cascade Fountain?"

My second criticism of the barely audible burble was more damning.

"The, ahem, burbling, Hannah, I could have simulated that by removing a washer from one of the faucets... would that have produced a beautifully serene and natural atmosphere??? Or would it just have made me want to go pee-pee every 10 minutes?"

A fresh flea bite has just appeared on my chest.

Sometimes, life is just impossible.


Blogger Anonymous Poet said...

Are you still having issues with the fleas? Hopefully they didn't get into your squash. That would be very bad, I imagine.

10:16 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

I am still having a flea nightmare. I thought the problem had gone away, so I stayed up late and watched a show about Hell and Satanists, went to bed much too late. And then a flea bite appeared on my chest and a couple on my sides. It's now too late to shower without disturbing people in the neighbouring apartment, so I have resolved to stay up, watch Brazilian football, play online scrabble, and generally waste 4 more hours till 7 a.m. when i will attempt another assassination attempt on my goddamn flea.

3:18 AM  

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