Sunday, 31 May 2009

Russian Dolls and dead seagulls.

You know, growing up I always wanted some Russian Dolls. I can remember a girl at my primary school owned some. She was called Samantha, and was considered to be quite exotic because her family were hippies. She had long, curly black hair and freckles. She wore a lot of flowing, embroidered cheesecloth dresses, ate yogurt and had (horror of horrors) an unmarried mother and a 'stepdad'. These were all shocking and unconventional things in a 1970s mining village. Even her name seemed decadent and mysterious. I mean, Samantha. . . I thought it was so romantic, a name from Arabian Nights perhaps, or of some bare-foot, foundling gypsy child.

Anyway, Samantha had some Russian Dolls and I always loved them. They seemed charmingly folksy. Much more interesting than my bald Sindy dolls (I cut the hair off every Sindy I ever owned, what would a shrink say about that I wonder)?

I still love them, I love things that are slightly kitsch and old fashioned. So today I bought myself some Russian Dolls. I have placed them in my favourite corner of my sitting room. It has:
  • a walnut Art Deco bookcase (one of my dad's best junk shop finds)
  • a lovely tiffany style lamp, with glittering green and purple glass
  • a framed piece of wallpaper designed by CFA Voysey (bought in an antique shop in York)
I think my dolls look right at home there. It is funny, the shop had a huge selection of dolls to choose from. Madam Noir was with me (I don't think she could see the appeal, she favours a more minimalist, uncluttered elegance).

'I like these.' she said, picking up a very subdued set, painted a dark and
sophisticated burgandy.

I felt obliged to point out that the point of the Russian Doll is their gaudy
tastelessness, I wasn't looking for refinement.

On another subject my young Maine Coon cat has killed his first seagull. Cecil (aka Baby Herod) is the most ruthless serial killer I have ever known. When he was a tiny, fluffy kitten of 4 months old he brought a live, still-flapping pigeon into the house. The pigeon was at least twice his size. Cecil's preferred modus operandi is to bring his prey in through the cat-flap whilst still alive. He then releases the bird/ mouse/ rat / wooly mammoth into my kitchen (or occasionally into my bed) and has the pleasure of trying to catch it all over again.

He is such a sly and adept hunter that he often can be seen with 2 live creatures in his mouth at once. Last week I saw him juggling with 2 blackbirds. My other cats simply watch him with slack-jawed awe. He is their hero.

I have wondered, living as I do, by the sea, whether he would ever get a seagull. They are enormous beasts and terribly vicious, so I doubted he would. Well, today I came home to find a huge dead seagull left on my doorstep. It was right outside the catflap. I suppose I should be grateful that the fiendish feline didn't manage to wrestle the carcass through the flap and into the house. Or worse, imagine if I had come home to a live seagull in the house. Dear God. Whatever next?

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