Tag Archives: California

21 November: Inter-Galactic Discoveries XIV, The Sands of the Sea 2

 

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One of the things that had early enamoured the delegation’s Director of that strange planet called Earth was the presence of not one, not two, but five major salt water oceans. The Director’s home planet, within the sprawling Ossyrian Confederation, possessed many stunning streams and a few shallow lakes – most of liquefied ammonia but a few world-famous tourist attractions that ran with the mirror-brightness of molten mercury – but these were mainly for aesthetic admiration and nearby inhabitants rarely went in for a paddle or dip. Stunned by the beauty of the opalescent North Sea channel between east Kent and what he reckoned must be northern Belgium, which seemed to change colour with every mood of the capricious sky in an antipodal love affair that would have done justice to any couple – bickering or dewy-eyed – found in the classics of terrestrial literature, he would spend long hours along the shore; hunting for treasures that might litter the sand, or simply staring into the endless blue. And then, while stranded in the sun-drenched daydream called California, he had screwed up his nerve on a particularly sultry day and taken the plunge.

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Oh, yes!!  The memory washed over him like the sloppy kiss of a saucy courtesan with impossible emerald-coloured skin as soft as watered silk and gold dust swirling in her eyes. Though she could dance with abandon and even (when out of sorts) be dangerous, the unselfconsciously beautiful Pacific owned a touch that both soothed and tingled, relaxed yet stimulated, all of his weary senses. The Chihuahuas, safely ensconced in England, either with Mrs. Fox in Cornwall or Will Turnstile’s raucous tribe closer to home in Canterbury, were never forgotten as he floated on the soft swells and then, emboldened, body surfed the crashing waves of blue-green foam. No, not forgotten but perspective was regained. As the mystic said long ago, all would be well, all manner of things would be well.

TJH

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20 November: Inter-galactic Discoveries XIII, The Sands of the Sea.

 

It was an odd interim, as the bright green of summer shifted to an autumn russet of dropping November leaves. ‘T’ could feel it; pushing the second half of his life (in human terms), the joints and ligaments of legs and back definitely had a preferential option for warmer seasons and balmier climes. Having only recently returned from the fruitless foray in sunny Southern California, he wryly thought, No wonder there’s so many people out there, with weather like that; nearly every day mild and blue with a fresh western breeze off the sea. And, oddly, because as an Ossyrian he had genetic inhibitions protecting him from thoughts of a critical nature; it doesn’t seem fair…followed by, I wonder if that’s why so many of them are good looking, and healthy…and complacent? He did a fast mental head scratch, wondering at his own lack of charity (or was it envy??) and reflected on the many times during his short stay in that enchanted land that he had met with the various types of human suffering and weakness – with attendant courageous or cowardly response – that characterised so much of life on the strange planet called Earth. People really do seem to be more or less the same the world over…yet, at the same time, no two are alike. ‘T’ laughed at the absurd paradox and went to fetch the Chihuahuas.

‘Hey guys, let’s go down to the beach!’ ‘T’ beamed. Ajax immediately barked an enthusiastic response, though (if the truth be told), he would have preferred the Margate pavement with its amazing cacophony of smells; rotting food rooted out of skips by gangster sea gulls, human detritus of innumerable kind, but, above all, the near-infinite trace of canine cousins messaging each other in an olfactory universe several times more complex than the paltry human internet. Still…the beach did have seaweed and the occasional dead dog fish to provide amusement. Alfie, as anxious as Ajax to escape the confines of the small flat, merely rolled his liquid black eyes, pretending insouciance. ‘T’, a recent convert to the love of salty seas (the home planet, of course, had no large bodies of water), had returned from California a positive fanatic, and Alfie loved to tease him. ‘I’d rather go on a parakeet safari,’ the tricolour Chihuahua beamed, and yawned at ‘T’s apparent frustration. ‘It’s too cold to go up to the park,’ was ‘T’s lame reply (the beach was every bit as cold), ‘and, besides, there’s still too many leaves on the trees to get a good spot on a parakeet.’ That was quite true and Alfie knew it; he had only been teasing. Why do I enjoy teasing the boss? Raisin-coloured eyes narrowed in thought; Are all of us slowly going native?

TJH

 

 

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21 September: Intergalactic Discoveries, IX: California Dreamin’.

 

August 10 came, and with it a beach barbecue. Mrs Fox and the Chihuahuax were there, of course. Ajax worried that in Cornwall it would all be sardines and shellfish, but Larry the chef knew his market and was flipping burgers and bangers on one grill, seafood on the other. Mrs Fox made sure they had a burger and a banger to share, served on shiny new dishes that would keep their food free from sand. A gesture the boys appreciated, as they still preserved some of the daintiness of Ossyrian dining etiquette and loathed the feel of grit on their teeth and tongues.

The Doom Bar and cabernet flowed ever more freely once all had eaten. Ajax and Alfie sidled away behind a dune. Together they emptied their minds and waited for T to contact them. They could only receive T intermittently, as the meteorites that provided distraction for the watchers of the night also interfered with their own thought beams.

T had had a frustrating time. He hawked his neatly typed manifesto for the Ossyrian-Earthling Friendship Pact around the studios but those that let him past the reception desk took him for a would-be script writer and asked to see a fuller treatment of the theme. Hengecliffe Artists arranged a discussion with one of their writers, but after half an hour of his vision of the US Cavalry being zapped by the Ossyrian Gubernatorial Guards, T got up to go. These seemed no point in trying to harness Hollywood. T could take no more.

‘We know how Margate works’, he told Ajax and Alfie. ‘Let’s return to our upstairs room and wait for reinforcements, or another flight home.’

‘What are you waiting for?’ protested Ajax, ‘You’re surfing USA, sucking ice-creams, sipping cold beer… get on that plane!’

‘I can’t go till my booked flight leaves, and don’t forget I hear regularly from Mrs Fox, my friends. You are not doing too badly; ice-cream and doggy treats if not cold beer. It’s a dog’s life, as they say in England. And next week you have a special treat…’

At this point the meteorite shower combined with the midnight barking to white-noise T from the air waves. What was going to happen next week?

WT.

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18 September: Intergalactic Discoveries: VI – Stranded in Kent!

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On their return from Earth and the Solar System, ‘T’ and the Chihuahuax had many meetings with the Ossyrian Council and even more with the civil servants of the Ministry of Intergalactic Relations. The three returned delegates were fascinated by their visits to earth and used every opportunity to press their leaders to make a formal ‘first contact’ with the human species.

‘T’,the Director, who had of course assumed human form whilst on earth, had noticed that a great many television programmes and films were made in another sea-side place, called California. This, he thought, would be the ideal place to arrange a spectacular arrival ceremony for an official Governor’s delegation to humankind. When the Ossyrians learnt that it was from that same part of the world that the Chihuahua dog originated, it seemed to all concerned that the troika delegation should return to Earth in their accustomed disguises and make further preparations for a full embassy mission.

Their earth clothes and equipment had been stored in the Margate flat, so thither they returned, fixed in their earthly bodies for the duration of their stay. Alfie and Ajax as Chihuahuax were upset that much of the beach was now out of bounds to canines, but there were always walks in the park and visits to human friends to liven up the week. And all could look forward to two months in the California sun.

The dogs’ chagrin increased a hundred-fold when T came home one evening. ‘Sorry boys’, he transmitted, ‘but we messed up. If you come to California, you’d be spending most of the trip in what they call quarantine. Sitting in kennels, not allowed out, till the vetinarians are happy you don’t have fleas or rabies or distemper. I don’t know what to do. I really have to go to California.’

‘There is Will’s place’, suggested Ajax. Alfie looked decidedly sheepish. Last time they’d visited Will, baby Abel had been visiting his grandparents and was sitting between Will’s legs, babbling to the dogs, when his mother arrived and went to pick him up. A surge of emotion had flashed through Alfie, and before he could put his thought into words, he had nipped Abel’s mother. ‘I was trying to protect him’, Alfie said later.

Emotions! Disappointment at not going to California, shame at having misread the situation with Abel’s mother, worry about the summer holiday. These new feelings needed careful thinking through; a far cry from the even tenor of life in the scientifically devised and controlled world of Ossyria. ‘What’s happening to us?’ asked Alfie.

WT.

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