Wednesday, 6 March 2013

To Tell or not to Tell.

The post I was going to make about tonight’s walk didn’t get made. I remembered my own dictum: ‘Writing creates a form of reality, so be careful what you write.’ I’m not even going to say what it was about, because that would be almost as bad. Just be grateful that I and any itinerant American tourist who might wander the lanes of the Shire after dark have been saved from a messy and inglorious end by my restraint. Instead, an insubstantial anecdote.

When I was ten, my parents and I paid the first of four annual visits to the seaside town of Paignton in South Devon. I went to bed one night and was severely discomfited to hear the sound of a deep and guttural growl coming from under the bedroom window (or so it seemed.) I was already well acquainted with my absolute terror of lions (as previously reported on this blog) and this was definitely a lion.

Well, lions aren’t what you expect or want to encounter on a trip to sunny Devon are they, so I went downstairs and found my parents talking to the woman who ran the guest house.

‘There’s a lion in the garden,’ I said.

‘No, dear, it isn’t in the garden,’ said the-woman-who-ran-the-guest-house, ‘it’s in the zoo a little way across the fields. It only sounds like it’s in the garden when the wind’s blowing in the right direction.’

I wasn’t convinced, but I went back to bed anyway feeling a little feverish and not at all content because the lion continued to growl and still sounded like it was under the freggin’ window! Sleep overcame me eventually, because… well… it does, doesn’t it?

I faced my lion demon manfully the next day by consenting to have my picture taken with the stuffed lioness which stood at the entrance to Paignton pier. I remember being disappointed that it was a bit moth-eaten and not as big as I expected a real lion to be, but at least it didn’t growl.


andrea kiss said...

That's an odd fear you have. I'd understand you having it if you lived in a place in which lions also lived. Do you know why you have a fear of lions?

I fear spiders... very much so. I can't even bare to look at pictures of them in books, online, anywhere. Even cartoon spiders and toy spiders freak me out.

JJ Beazley said...

I've been aware of it since about age four, when I wouldn't walk past a statue of a lion with my dad. It's only male lions, though, so maybe it's something to do with the mane. Or maybe I had an issue with one in a previous life.

Spiders don't generally bother me unless they're particularly big. I quite like the sensible ones that crawl onto my hand when they're stuck in the bath tub, and then stand still until I put them down, then walk away sedately. It happens occasionally.