A creature of myth, and perhaps legend, concocted by the mouths of under 4s who struggle with wordage with their itty bitty teeth and their embouchures trained into muscle memory honed by years of sooking on boobs, teats or sooky cups.
The squiddel is a mysterious, limbic creature hovering somewhere between land and sea but mostly found in mid-air because the illustrator got halfway through illustrating it and realised the natural habitat hadn’t been thought through. It is a shy animal and quite vulnerable if it dozes off at groundlevel: shrews like to tie its tentacles around tree roots. It exists on a diet of pickles and biro ink and the occasional cola bottle. They have a reputation for cheating at rock,paper, scissors and some hypothesise this was the origin of the squiddel/shrew fallout. Hibernation is between November and the last Thursday in March.
The squiddel has found its way into everyday culture in such scenarios as moving up a nursery grouping e.g. “I’m in squiddels now, Dad. Oliver is in budderflies.”. Keen-eyed as they are some toddlers have claimed to have seen squiddels skedaddling up tree trucks but I have only ever caught glimpses of the tail end.
Moving house is supposed to be one of the most stressful things you can do, yes?
Which is where an annual pass to a safari park comes in. It’s moving house with PR for the under 10s.
It’s the gift that keeps going. (It’s not a gift. We paid for it.)
There are down-sides obviously (the rides could be stationed well away from the animals) but they are heavily outweighed by the magic of being in the hills, around animals, with small people in small Landrovers. That’s what this particular time and space in history needs. Small people in small Landrovers.
For the curious there is a reason why there have been no posts for two weeks. The reason is Moving House. Another reason is Setting Up As Self-Employed.
Which is also why I’m now 35% gin.
We loved the forest we were in but we wanted to call Scotland ‘home’ again.
So, the obvious thing to draw would be an innumerable pile of cardboard boxes but ENOUGH WITH THE CARDBOARD BOXES so no cardboard boxes.
Instead this was a day spent getting to know the local area (Gartmorn Dam) while Sven was away at a job interview.
Rowdy and The Bobcat managed to personify Eddie Izzard’s description of shower dial effects: one second lobsterpot-hot and – with a slight degree of shift – freezy-FREEZY cold EVASIVE MANOUVRES!
So we had delightful gambolling through the pathways, one moment watching slugs and geese and the next “My legs are SO TIIIIIRRED. They have STOPPED WORKING” and “What about THE MIDGIES?!?! They will eat us ALIVE! There will only be BONES. Bones and a FAT FAT MIDGIE!!”
The situation below developed after I had issued VERY CLEAR instructions not to go into the water as I hadn’t brought any towels with me and then I naively turned round to get their waterproof trousers out of the kitbag.
Another day of Rowdy and The Bobcat trying to make sense of the world and the people in the world and the actions of the people in the world. (Whatever their faiths their beliefs in free will and human dumbassery are strong.)
The Bobcat is interested in striking but (in all honesty) he’d support beanbags for crows if he thought it’d get him a day off school.
Maybe that’s what we could have in schools. Instead of a weekly pupil strike a weekly environment day, involving the local communities, putting heads together and acting on decisions to make meaningful local changes. Communities, including school, learning from each other. Being directly involved in the physical environments around them, around us.
Sometimes kids ask the really good ‘why’ questions. Sometimes they also have the nail-on-the-head answers.
Although there’s been more focus, especially in education, on mental health and wellbeing over recent years it sometimes feels like the progress made in changing our cultures has been beyond slow. Whatever age we are sometimes we don’t have the skills, time, self-knowledge, self-love, patience, kindness, relationships, environments or trust to keep well. Sometimes what we feel is bigger than us.
Especially if we’re wee.
For example, Rowdy generally needs to be shoved in a tree during a meltdown, but at some point later she’ll be more comfortable talking about what’s bothering her.* Other times she’ll regress and drive us demented with babytalk just to get attention and fulfil a need to reaffirm that she’s loved and valued. The Bobcat is an avoider and would much rather play than talk about what’s making him sad which is why he needs someone to play with him and tell them they’re ready to listen if he wants to talk. And make sure he’s hydrated. For me I need nature, adventure, exercise, cuddles, drawing, occasionally woodsmoke, books, laughter and quiet friend-time. And no caffeine. Sometimes a crowbar is necessary to prise laughter out of me. Dynamite if I’m properly down.
Next week whatever works for them might well change again. But it’s import to keep the door open for change.
*Rowdy has never been twanged into a tree but I’m sure The Bobcat would happily offer to build a catapult to do exactly that. (He’d also need to check if Eddie Izzard has the copyright on twanging folk into trees first.)
Not that Rowdy realised that it actually is Badger Week but she has retaken to the toy badger given to her by a Wootie*. The Wootie is particularly fond of brocky things.
Badgers tend only to get feisty if under attack. So given that Meghan here is squished under several pounds of eight-year-old at night, rammed against the wall, regularly drooled on and deafened by snores that could power multiple wind turbines it’s a wonder Rowdy isn’t covered in scratches. Make-believe or otherwise.
*A Wootie is what happens when an 18-month-old tries, and fails, to say ‘auntie’. And it sticks.