Tag Archives: Chiswick

Thanksgiving 2010

So yes, Thanksgiving 2010 came and went. It was different this time. Different from 2009 and 2008 – the previous times I’d attended – and according to Crazy Yank, it was different from every other time because this time (this is the last time I say time) he hired out the local boat house.

I recall him considering hiring out the boat house in 2008 but he finally took the plunge two years later and it felt much more like an event for it. Big chairs, rich wooden floors, stunning River Thames views. We still ran out of seats but then again, with the new venue came many more guests. I was also pleased to see Crazy Yank’s full-size Obama cardboard cut out make a comeback from his surprise birthday party in September (I might upload a photo of me and said grinning Obama in the near future. He’s very funny.)

So arriving for my third, and my boyfriend’s second Thanksgiving, we placed our booze in the corner and I gave Crazy Yank some flowers as he gave me the obligatory kiss on each cheek. The usual faces were scattered across the two rooms. Slish was there with her group of friends (boys a new addition to the proceedings) and Wonder Boy, after his first term at university, was charactertistically cool, calm and collected. The spread looked even more impressive on a big table. Seriously. I couldn’t even fit all the food in the photo so here’s a very big photo of some of it instead:

(And yes, I believe those are pilgrim salt and pepper pots.)

Post-food, there was the usual drinking, dancing and displeased DJs trying to maintain control of the Crazy Yank’s super cheesy ‘good times’ playlists (Motown proved triumphant as always) and soon enough, it was time to say goodbye and leg it for the last train after lots of fun, as always. The venue might have been different but Crazy Yank had nothing to worry about on the night. Thankfully.

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A-Z lodger survival guide: D is for Demon Cat

Oh, Demon Cat. No other member of the Chiswick tribe will get their own alphabetical entry in the survival guide bar Demon Cat. But Demon Cat is the only ‘person’ (yes, I know he’s a cat) to be identified – that cat photo on my homepage really is him (although admittedly, he doesn’t look very demonic there.)  Plus, Breakfast Girl requested that I wrote about Demon Cat when she commented on an earlier blog post so here we are.

If there were three things you should know about my relationship with Demon Cat, this is it:

1) I most certainly did not agree with Slish and Wonder Boy that using the hoover behind Demon Cat was a good idea when it clearly scared the bejesus out of him. I trust that it still does.

2) The family did the annual summer pilgrimage to the States twice while I lived there, which meant I had full-reign (yes, I know) of the house while they were away. OK, well, not quite. Of course Demon Cat also stayed. I kept him alive with water and food (although he only eats solid cat grub. Crazy Yank told me the vet said: “That’s all he needs.” Demon Cat would eat outside my room and sound particularly demonic doing so. Crunch, crunch, crunch, was thankfully the sound of fish flavoured food and not the sound of human bones cracking.) Still, it was during these times when we were on our own that we bonded most. But not when each morning before work, I had to toss him out of the house all day until I came back (there are no cat flaps at the house.) He’d sleep in Wonder Boy’s top bunk bed and would not budge. I’d get some cuddly toy and nudge him. When that wouldn’t work, I’d have  to make my own demonic sounds and clap to move him. These actions, combined with said nudging with a one foot tall dinosaur, usually did the trick.

3) Demon Cat was the last one to say goodbye to me when I left the house. The others were in the States and I moved out the day before Crazy Yank arrived back. I remember sitting with him on the doormat and talking to him. Telling him I was going and that I’ll miss him. He was in one of his rare moods where he seemed to enjoy human contact. He began to purr. And then I shed a tear or two as I opened the door and he darted out into the August sunshine.

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Sex, drugs and frock ‘n’ roll (Part two)

After lunch, we go to GAP, trying clothes on in changing rooms that are directly next to each other. It is here that I tempt her with another thought.

‘Slish, I just thought, you know what we could do today?’

‘What?’

‘We could go and get your boobs measured.’

Silence. And finally a ‘No.’

‘That was a very delayed response,’ I say, laughing. It seems, like countless other women in the UK, that she still isn’t fussed about knowing whether she is wearing the wrong size bra. Although I know what really bothers her is getting her developing chest out to a stranger despite my reassurance that she can keep her bra on.

Neither my support nor the thought of that of an enhanced underwire nature, sway her. Still, we go back to M&S. I try on some leggings behind a shoe display before finding her on the floor, wrestling with some strappy heels. I tell her that I am going to the changing room to try on some different leggings. While in there, I get a text: ‘Where you at girl? Xx’ It’s from Slish. With limited phone reception, I quickly redress and find her ogling the same shoes.

We pop over to Waterstones. She follows me around both floors, declaring her lust for the M&S shoes as I try to find the one copy of this particular book that’s suppose to be instore. We leave Waterstones and she looks at me as if she’s just realised Bambi’s mother is shot after all. ‘I don’t know what to do,’ she says, elongating every vowel. ‘Oh, the shoes. Let’s go back before they close?’ I say. Back in M&S, she strides in front of me, questioning everything there is left to question before buying them just as the lights begin to dim and a voiceover tells us that the store will be closing in 10 minutes.

Outside, we wait for her bus. I ask if she’s got everything off her (‘I’m never getting measured’) chest. I go over everything we’ve talked about and tell her that she can always talk to me, not to worry and to keep me updated. I spot the 211 and I put my arm out and keep it out despite the bus indicating. Slish opens her arms to say goodbye. I hug her, saying: ‘It was lovely to see you.’ ‘Yeah, you too,’ she replies. I ask Slish to make sure she lets me know she gets home OK. She gets on the bus and goes up to the top deck. I wave to her as the bus suddenly lurches forward to catch up with the traffic ahead.

We continue texting for the next hour or so (with a brief phone call from Slish after the bus terminates earlier than expected at Fulham Broadway) until she’s safely back in Chiswick. Her final thoughts on the day read: ‘I hope to god that day will never come xxx’ (She is talking about eating toast out of a bowl. Again.)

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North of the river

It was a Wednesday afternoon the day I moved to Chiswick. It should have been the day before but I hadn’t finished packing. Henry was the only person in the house when Crazy Yank’s Jeep arrived. In between helping me take my combination of suitcase and Duty Free bags (full of my life, not airport frivolities), Henry said: ‘Good luck with Sharky,’ half-grimacing, half-laughing. He gave me a hug. Said something like ‘See you soon’ and I was out of the door. He stood on the doorstep with the same awkward expression that had accompanied our first meeting in the hallway. I put my hand up to gesture a wave but didn’t quite manage it as we drove off.

‘Living with us is going to be easy,’ Crazy Yank began. ‘It’s going to be fun. I mean, it’s a really fun house. I want you to feel at home. Act like it’s your home. We’re easy-going, y’know.’ He repeated these sentiments a few times for the next 10 minutes of the journey (and especially while we were stuck in traffic on the Chiswick Bridge) and yet again before we pulled up at the house.

We dumped my suitcase and Duty Free bags in my room. He went back to his office on the second floor. I stared at the suitcase, the Duty Free bags and this room that had been both a garage and home cinema. The carpeted two-step runway in the middle of the room was a reminder of its former celluloid life. It was a massive space, with an adjoining shower and laundry room. It had plenty of ceiling lights but no windows, which made it feel a bit like a garage. I didn’t bother unpacking that day (or properly until about a year later if that) because I planned to move out two months later to live with a friend from university. In just eight weeks, I’d be living with someone my own age again and my bedroom would have windows. Or so I thought.

This is where the real story begins. And welcome to the start of your education on surviving life as a lowly lodger (plus how to guess the weather to match your wardrobe and prevent the premature onset of rickets through lack of vitamin D caused by no windows for nearly 14 months, of course…)

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