I’ve arrivedin the land of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. There is a Queen of Hearts and I keep expecting Mary Poppins to take off on her umbrella soon but so far no one of that description has turned up yet. I have seen the Cheshire Cat though, the other morning on the way to the office, sitting in front of a Mews house with an amused look on his face. He was a tiger cat and when I got close I could see that the markings on his face created an ear-to-ear smile. He wasn’t smiling. I haven’t seen the hookah-smoking caterpillar but I’ve met a couple of folks who smoke a lot. I find characters from Alice in Wonderland to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz to The Wicked Witch of the West.
I have found a big house to live in just outside of London. Many tall chimneys and magpies stealing shiny stuff from each others nests in a raucous display sometimes too early in the morning. They will also fly into an open window if something attracts them…and the ravens, patrolling the skies and grounds like Hitler appointed assassins, landing in the very top of the trees like eerie Dracula’s surveying the weaklings below. They caw and caw and scare all the tiny birds back into their nests and the squirrels sit very still in the shadows or in the knots in the trees. My landlady lives next door. Her face is so full of unhappiness that dark gouges are scored around her eyes and mouth and she walks hunched over just like the witch in Hansel and Gretel. I won’t eat her apples you can be sure. But I love it here. I hug the enormous Oak tree coming and going everyday to honor the strength and security of it.
My mail is delivered by bicycle and the police patrol on horseback in my neighborhood. My garden is the size of most parks. I think I’ll like it here very much…as soon as the landlord removes her mother’s ashes and altar from my balcony.
English law has now mandated that it is illegal to play croquet with live hedgehogs. “Can you imagine zat?” (As my French friend Jacques would say.) Just like in the story of Alice and Wonderland. And there is the Mad Queen, maybe not totally mad but really pissed off with her family and their affairs. I think she’d have off with their heads if she could. It’s mostly the Queen of Hearts that’s got her dander up. And this week the big news is that there is a band of people who are living in the treetops protesting something or other. They are fighting the police and look like The New Robin Hood and his gang in Sherwood Forest swinging among the treetops on rope ladders.
I thought I had out grown the “space cadet” in me from the 60’s and realize now…The British Crown has officially designated me as a “legal alien”. Whoa! I’m an alien. And I have a really big number, so I’m not alone out here after all.
And speaking of numbers…I’ve lost weight recently and I don’t have a clue what I weigh. The scales weigh in stones! And we all know that I think stones and heavy ones should be in rings or earrings or necklaces or bracelets. But in any case, if I can be measured in stones I’m happy. I’ll have to work that up on my calculator…let’s see that must be… 9.5 stones=60.4kgs=2,128oz=34,048gms=544,768 carats! Give or take.
Then I begin again to wonder where the heck am I and why don’t they speak English here in England? There are the Toads in a Hole; Blood Pudding; Bubble and Squeak; Bangers and Smash; and would you believe Spotted Dick? And it’s all edible.
Tonight is the full lunar eclipse and the passage of some comet or other not due for another century. In this historic Druid land it portents evil omens. I wonder. I’m looking forward to it. The moon is full and it shines into my bedroom window every night. I am an Alien.