You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.

Lewis advises Mike and Roy on the planning and building regulations necessary for the house conversion. It’s going to be a few months before the work can start. Mike’s disappointed that a connecting door is impossible, for fire safety reasons, but Lewis talks them through the plans.”

There is a hole in my heart where this sort of passionate drama should be.


Have just donated some money to Christian Aid’s emergency Burma cyclone appeal so I can blog about nonsense without feeling guilty.

So that’s all right then.

I have been thinking about the part in Roald Dahl’s The Witches where the hero is turned into a mouse. Er, sorry, spoiler alert! In children’s books, transformation = molto scary, a case in point being Dahl’s creepy The Magic Finger, in which a horrible family that liked shooting things swapped bodies with ducks and got shot at themselves. But what happens in The Witches is far more terrifying: bad enough that the hero will never be turned back into a boy, thus breaking the rule of a happy ending for every story, but worse, we learn that he can only live for a few more years, given his newly mouse-sized life expectancy. He will die around the time that his grandmother, his last remaining relative, will. Their stoicism about their impending not-existing-ness was incomprehensibly bleak to me, and scarier than the prospect of 100 Vermicious Knids.


We had another book, this one about a real mouse called Ralph who used to zoom around a hotel at night on a little boy’s toy motorbike. This too was pretty freaky: full of vast, empty, silent and worst of all super-dark corridors. Just like The Shining. Actually, worse.

“Ralph had a scary feeling he was on the threshold of adventure. There were no beds or chairs for him to dart under in case of danger. The floor creaked. Someone was snoring in Room 214 across the hall. Outside in the pines an owl hooted, sending prickles up Ralph’s spine.”


And don’t get me started on Tom’s Midnight Garden, in which some idiot used to creep around the house in the dead of night (fool!) with some creepy grandfather clock ticking in the background. Yeurgh.

There was something about being shrunk or otherwise removed from the world that gave me a horrible jolt in the stomach, like peering over a cliff or the first bit of the Doctor Who music. I suppose transformation is easy to relate to when you’re young because you live in a kind of liminal world anyway, being smaller than adults and mostly separate from their world. Obviously children’s authors like Lewis Carroll knew how to play on this to freak us out. All I knew is that it sounded super scary, but at least if I got smaller, custard creams would get bigger – a mutually beneficial relationship.

Am not quite sure why I have been thinking about this so much. Perhaps I should stop eating mouse sandwiches before bed?

In other news, I realised today that I have not had to think about the term “Web 2.0” for 11 months.