Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Crazy or Genius?

Over 20 years ago, in 1983, a few days before the Harrods Bombing on December 17th, another bomb had gone off in nearby Kensington. I remember the event well and can still picture myself standing in the doorway of our living room, catching the report on TV.

As I watched, I remember having a "compelling thought" that Harrods would be the next target. Harrods in Knightsbridge is not that far from Kensington and is the next "up market" in terms of fashion / class. This could, therefore, be considered a merely logical (if perverse) train of thought.
However, at that same moment, I saw, in my mind's eye, a "flash" of very bright, white light. I know Harrod's building quite well and know that I saw the side of the Harrods building and that this flash emanated from the side of the building there, where there is a side street. Remember, I "saw" this on December 13th.

On December 17th, the bomb, which killed six and injured 75 or more, "Police believe the IRA planted the bomb in a side street near Harrods department store in Knightsbridge." It was at the exact spot I'd "seen" it days earlier.

One of my own friends had been going to go to Harrods on that day and had changed their plans last minute. When I heard about that, afterwards, I shuddered.

You cannot know how much this tormented me over the years.

The guilt of not having been able to save those lives nor prevent those injuries ate at me. Still now, I shake and feel sick at the thought. But who could I have gone to? The authorities would have thought I was completely insane, or that I was one of the terrorists.

As well they might, especially as my own grandmother was brought up in Cork, Southern Ireland, the daughter of a Protestant churchman and who told stories of when the Sien Fein came and took their guns from the farm in the early 1900's.

This has not been the only incidence in my life of such "compelling thoughts", which I can only describe as things that, logic says, I could not KNOW, but which were neither just fleeting ideas: they were very strong feelings that left me no room for doubt.

I'm not a gambler, I had never been into a betting shop and I know Jack about horse racing, but on the morning of the Epsom Derby in 1981, I walked into our local betting shop and put money, to win, on Shergar. I had woken up that morning with a "most compelling thought" that horse was going to win. I think it netted me a quid (pound sterling) and, it is the only time, sadly, it has been over this kind of event.

After the Harrods Bombing, it stopped happening over anything important, for many years. If that means that I suppressed an ability, through fear and guilt, that also seems to suggest that some such ability existed in the first place.

It happens over minor things, like I generally know who is on the phone when it rings, before I pick it up. Sometimes, that could just be logical expectation, but not always. This, I see as nothing more than a "party trick" level amusement, but it happens.

My intuition seems to work on a scary level of almost witch-like uncanny accuracy. My landlady has even asked me, "You're not a which, are you?" (Nah, if I was, I'd be using my abilities for my own gain, not rotting in her uninhabitable house.) My own mother displays this same witchy ability to know things she "can't know".

Is this what they call psychic ability? I do not know. I don't even know if I even believe that even exists. I certainly don't consider myself to be any kind of Doris Stokes. Give me something that can be proven, by scientific means.

On the other hand, I do know what I saw and felt.

That I can't explain how these things can happen, leaves me with a real conundrum.

Am I crazy or psychic?

Either, I have to call my own sanity into question and, believe me, I am not childishly resistant nor immune to doing so, in fact I do so, constantly.

Or there exists the very distinct possibility ...

Sunday, 14 May 2006

Family Day Out

What, exactly, do you need to enjoy a happy family day out at The 22nd Palma Canaria Norte Rally that just happens to whiz past the end of your street?

Why, one dog, three cats and a camera, of course!

Yeah, I took the dog, but the other three invited themselves and I saw them, sitting there relaxed, watching, only 10 yards back from a crowd of unknown people, the road, all the screaming rally cars ... I could hardly believe it. I was almost piddling myself with laughter - I grant them the intelligence not to come any closer - and realized I can confidently claim to have the only bloody silly CATS on the planet who chose to watch a rally.

Friday, 12 May 2006

Practical Joke Day

I'm not quite sure when today was designated as Practical Joke Day - nor why, because it is neither April 1st, nor December 28th - by the younger members of my family (that is the ones with fur and hair on), but they seem to be making a jolly fine job of it so far and, it's nearly impossible to get mad with them.

At some time during the night, Mico, who likes to sleep curled round my head, had obviously been bored and had indulged in one of his favorite hobbies - hairdressing. This time, he really went to town, with lots of back-combing. To the point that, today, I look like a cross between the Wicked Witch of the West (which, I suppose, is not wholly inappropriate) and a bloody scarecrow. I'll get round to teasing out the dreadlocks he's given me, or not, later.

Mico also decided that he wasn't going to wait until the alarm went off for me to get up to get his breakfast today either, so when all 9 lbs. of him jumping all over me failed to get him the appropriate result, he jumped on the bedside table instead.

When I opened my eyes, he was still sitting there, trying to look innocent.

But, not only had he managed to hit the right button on the remote to switch on the TV, he'd also managed to select Channel 2 (which is not the last channel I had been watching), which shows kiddies "dibujos animados" (cartoons to you) in the mornings. What was on? Rugrats, taking care of a CAT!

Honestly, I can take a hint!

Later on, when I took Holly for a run up in the fields, she decided that she was going to go off on one of her rambles. She does this from time to time; just disappears into the vast yonder undergrowth to explore and comes back when she feels like it. (Obedience is an optional upgrade with her that I have never been able to afford.)

Actually, she does come, but not when you simply call her or whistle her (unlike the cats, who do). What I have to do is call out "Bye Holly" and start walking towards home. Usually, she's so afraid of missing something or of being "abandoned", that she catches me up, less than half way down the hill.
Not today. She caught me up and overtook me, as I had got back to the bridge at the end of the driveway. I could hear her coming; thundering down the hill at the speed of an express train. She took the curve on two paws. By the time I got back up to the house, she was standing INSIDE the doorway, grinning from ear to ear. If she had been able to say "Beat you!", she damn well would have done, I am sure. All I could do was collapse into a fit of giggles.

And give her a reward, for coming home, of course. Her favorite too: a hunk of yesterday's stale bread. She took it, but didn't eat it, because, while we were out, one of the cats had brought a rabbit in (dead) and laid it out in the spare room. Holly wouldn't eat her bread, because she had to "guard" the rabbit.

Don't ask me, she just guards them and doesn't touch them, dead or alive.

It's the first dead rabbit they'd brought indoors for weeks. Normally, at least some of the cats come with us when I take Holly for walks, but, strangely, none of them had this morning. I should have guessed, they were up to no good.

Once in a century

Whilst it's true that I don't tend to get out much, I'm not trying to infer it is that infrequent, however, very few days are quite like the one I had on Friday. In the morning, I went down to Buenavista del Norte to do my once monthly round of business, but it is getting ever more difficult to distinguish a trip to the bank and some shopping from the old custom of paying visits.

On the way down, I had called in to see, Ana, my next door neighbour - I've seen her twice to chat otherwise since the first of the year - because she now works full time, running the family bar. She was standing outside the bar in La Cuesta as I approached and I wanted to ask a favour anyway.

This makes it very awkward when she insists on giving me coffee on the house, just because I have bothered to go and see her. "Er, not entirely without interest", I assured her as I asked if she would rent me her husband again to spray whatever it is (they aren't saying and I ain't asking) that is the only thing known to man and science that will get rid of the plagues of black centipedes that crawl all over the floors, walls and other surfaces.

Half an hour or more, coffee, chats with Ana, with her daughter and meeting her sister for the first time, I made my way into town and first to the bank.

There I dropped off some British stamps for Manolo in the bank. He collects them.

A visit to the newsagent next is always a lengthy one to get caught up on news - not the sort that is printed in the press - and my friend there picked out very nice cards for me for my friend whose baby arrived on May 1st.

Called into the supermarket to get baked beans (it's the only place locally that sells "foreign food") and cat food. I was accosted with "We have Piccalilli and Branston Pickle". Well, you can't refuse, can you? And from there ensued an explanation of how Branston Pickle is nice with a bit of cheese.
Can you imagine a Canarian trying it?

From there to the post office to get stamps for the cards. My friend Crissy works there. She used to do the delivery round in my area for several years, during which we had got to know each other quite well. "Gosh, is it a month since I last saw you?", she exclaimed and there started a long chat with her, the other man who works in the post office and any other customers who came in, one of whom was a lady selling lottery tickets for the charity lottery, ONCE. She had one ticket ending with 57 - the year of my birth - so I bought one of those. Crissy wanted one ending with a 7 too.

When I eventually got out of the post office, I went to the square to have a coffee at the kiosk, then went across to the corner to La Venta also the offices of El Cardón and introduced myself to Janiera, who I had spoken to on the phone. Another fifteen minutes, chatting, collecting information and leaflets and leaving my URL.

Time was flying away from me, is it any wonder?

I needed to get back up the village, pay my debts to the local supermarket and buy a few provisions, before they would close for the siesta. Then home for my own siesta, which I was going to need.
Later in the afternoon, based on the idea that I was probably unlikely to be around for the commemorations for the next centenary, I decided to go to Garachico to see the events surrounding the celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of the volcanic eruption on May 5, 1706, which had destroyed the town and its livelihood. Little did I think I would be rubbing shoulders with the President of the Canary Islands and other assorted dignitaries.

On the way back from Garachico, I picked up a young lad hitching from Buenavista to Teno Alto. I've had to do this myself many times, because the buses are so infrequent and finish so early in the day. To Teno Alto, they are non existent at any time, so I know it is the only way to get around these parts.

The good news: when I got home and checked the lottery numbers, number 7 had come up that day. WOW! That means I've won a whole 2.5 euros.