Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Conversations of Others

As a result of the glorious weather, I, like everyone else in Kingston, have been spending my lunch breaks by the riverside. There's the group of 12 year old girls playing pranks on each other, the mother letting her two young toddlers throw their toy cars at the ducks, the men in their suits who look like estate agents and then there's the solitary people, like myself, reading or writing. But, I've missed out the biggest group of riverside visitors: those who've come to feed the ducks, and in particular, the swans. This is a popular activity, one that I used to love but haven't indulged in since I found out that bread is very bad for birds. The feeding also generates a lot of swan based questions. Here are the answers to some:
1. Yes, most swans do mate for life, but if a couple are struggling to produce eggs together they are likely to seek a new partner. 
2. Yes, there are different types of swan. The breed that resides in Kingston is called the Mute Swan (due to their noiseless flight).
3. No, you can't take one home with you. Swans are protected by the law and you will be prosecuted if you steal, kill or eat one (providing someone sees you I guess).

One evening last week, we, like everyone else in London, headed straight for the pub garden after work. Turned out to be pretty packed in The Lamb (one of our many locals) but a couple let us share their table. During a lull in our own conversation we were v.aware of the couple's discussion next to us, "two vaginas" was a reoccurring statement (still not sure what that was about). A few minutes later, a gap in the other couple's conversation meant that they heard me gasp at the fact that Mitch was watching 'spaced' for the first time. They shared my shock and the divide between us and them was broken. They were really friendly and chatty. We got onto the subject of tattoos, the guy was an artist and had been asked to design one for a guy who only had tattoos on one side of his body, the other side was reserved for piercings. "You don't want to get a tattoo though" the artist said. Why? "Because it'll all go south and blurry." I realised that wrinkles meant that they might lose their shape but 'blurry'? "Look at old guys with tats from the war and stuff", the artist said, "they're generally indistinguishable. Skin sags over time and once intricate designs become blobs." And this happens to tattoos all over? (I was fearing for my own 'tramp stamp' on my lower back.) "Nah. Back, wrists and head should be fine - where the skin's tight. Arms, legs and stomach are the worst." Mitch reckoned this put him off having one. "You'd be alright with one on the shoulder blade" the artist continued, "but that guy from 'memento' is screwed!"

I'm guessing if you get your tattoo touched up every now and then it would stay true to its original design. The work on the very tattooed lady above looks pretty good to me; Isobel Varley is one of the most tattooed senior citizens in the world. 93% of her body is covered in ink - crazy!

1 comment:

  1. i have to say, that tattoo lady is a tad gross. but the swan comments made me laugh and also worry about the one currently tucked away in my cupboard . . .


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