JOURNAL December 2013 of my life with Wilson
es entur v d a â€™s ilson W w o Foll k at: .co.u t daily o p s log rs2.b a w t n //a http:
Original photographs of Wilson used by kind permission of TamanduaGirl: www.livingwithanteaters.com
Last night we all gathered on the sofa with Wilson to see the movie Source Code. We all really enjoyed it (apart from Tiny Toy who, lets be honest, has the attention span of a
strawberry) tucking in to popcorn and Cheesy Wotsits while we watched.
Around 2.30am I felt Wilson creeping in to my bed. After a
few minutes he whispered to me, ‘New Dad, I’m not part of the source code am I?’
‘Of course you’re not!’ I whispered back, ‘You are about the
least source code-y person I know. You really don’t need to worry about that. Just try to relax and go to sleep.’
I let him stay in my bed for the rest of the night but honestly, I should never have allowed him to see the film. If he ever
watches Inception, or Waking Life, the psychiatrist’s bills will surely bankrupt us!
Remembering the psychiatrist’s advice from Wilson’s last
existential crisis, this morning I took him for a walk in Boothland Woods up by the roundabout. He trailed along behind me
morosely, saying it was very pretty, but any minute he’d get jerked back to ‘The Pod’ and be ordered around by ‘Colleen
Goodwin’ and ‘Dr Rutledge’ before being sent back here to the woods again.
‘I already feel like I’ve been here before, many times,’ he said. ‘Of course you do’ I replied. ‘That’s because you have - we come here all the time!’
‘Can I borrow your cellphone, New Dad? I have to find out who I really am! You know me as “Wilson” of course, but
you’re only part of the source code. I’m probably a brilliant and brave chopper pilot or something… or at least, I was...’
Today I have tried to reassure Wilson that Source Code was just a film - a made-up story that isn’t real. I reminded him
of how he went to visit the studio that made Moon, showing him the souvenir clapper-board the film crew gave him.
‘If you’d got that part of William in Star Wars, that would have been just a film too - you’d have been acting, just
pretending to be William. None of these films are true!’ I told him.
‘What, like Titanic?’ he asked.
I had to admit, he’d got me there.
Wilson and I had breakfast without any mention of ‘reality’
or ‘source code’ or any of the issues that have been troubling him recently. All such thoughts have apparently been displaced
by another of his ‘brilliant ideas,’ which he explained to me over coffee.
‘Unless I’ve got this wrong,’ he started, ‘the country is having a bit of a rough patch, financially. Am I right?’ I nodded.
‘So people who are feeling the pinch disposable income-wise
just don’t have the cash to splash on things which they may, quite wrongly, see as luxuries.’
‘I suppose so,’ I conceded
‘So, the solution is clear: I shall start a hire service for ODDSIES! where people can rent a pair for a
few days! I shall look for
suitable premises in Uckfield to be the headquarters of my hiring empire!’
I’m not so sure this would be as popular as W thinks. Hiring socks seems a
strange concept to me…
but if it stops him worrying about whether or not he is ‘real’ I don’t want to
discourage him in any way!
I think I’ll try to steer him towards running this as an
on-line enterprise for the time being, though, rather
than splashing out on rent.
Still no recurrence of the â€˜realityâ€™ issue, but Wilson is getting increasingly concerned that he has not heard from Boris Johnson.
He told me that a million letters go missing every week, and he is afraid that this potentially life-changing missive could be one of them.
Even as I write this, he is on the phone to the Missing Letters Department of the Post Office.
Wilson and I went out and did a bit of Xmas shopping
yesterday. Once he’d seen all the street lights and the
decorations in the shops, he started to get well into the Xmas Spirit!
I’ll take him to see Father Xmas soon… and I’d better give some thought to what to buy him for Xmas...
This morning, at long last, Wilson received the letter for
which he has been waiting so expectantly - a reply from Boris
Johnson (or as W describes him, ‘Mister Boris, Lord Mayor of London Town’).
W read and re-read it several times before passing it to me. He is now deep in thought considering his reply.
I must say Boris does sound quite enthusiastic about W’s plan… although he doesn’t yet know what that plan is. Nor how
much it will cost.
I really donâ€™t know what to get Wilson for Xmas!
Hoping for some ideas, I asked him when he would be writing his letter to Father Xmas, and he told me heâ€™d written and posted
it last week. When I enquired what heâ€™d asked for, he said that was between him and Father Xmas, so no clues to be had there.
W asked whether we could go to the Blackstock Farm Winter Wonderland near Hailsham; I agreed, and we spent a lovely
afternoon there! Wilson went through the huge Xmas Tunnel to see Father Xmas, and half way round was given a mince pie by an elf - I think that made his day!
Afterwards we had a look at all the animals, then something to eat in the restaurant.
Wilson has written his reply to Boris, outlining how he proposes to tackle the Capital’s Dog-Fouling Problem.
I don’t know what the Mayor will make of it, but I think I can predict his reaction to the price.
W has been complaining about the weather for weeks now, so I wonder whether he’d like a scarf for Xmas?
So, here is the letter Wilson has sent to Boris Johnson. He’s
pinning a lot of hopes on a favourable reply from the Mayor’s Office, but I am not optimistic.
As for Xmas, one of Wilson’s friends, Rhonda, suggested that he might like some ‘Cuddle Duds.’ Apparently these are like Long
Johns for ladies, which would certainly keep him warm, but I’m not certain just coldness is his problem.
I think what’s getting him down is the constant greyness, dampness and general joylessness of the English winter.
Maybe he’d like an SAD lightbox? They are supposed to be very effective at cheering people up during the dark months.
To pass the time while waiting for Boris’ reply, Wilson has been
making some Xmas gift tags. He says they’ll be finished by tonight and you can all have a sheet of them tomorrow.
I’ve been reading about the Noma restaurant in Copenhagen. The thing is that they serve live ants! They’re famous for it, apparently. Or notorious.
Anyway, Wilson is very fond of fine dining, and I wondered
whether he would like a meal there for his Xmas present. Also, I’ve always wanted to visit Denmark!
I’ll do a bit of research and see about making a reservation for the two of us, and see how much flights would cost!
Here, as promised, are
Wilson’s gift tags to print, cut out and use - he says that
they are his Xmas Gift to all his on-line friends, and will help them remember him
when they are doing their Xmas wrapping!
With regard to W’s Xmas present, I’ve done a bit of research on the Noma restaurant, and it’s not looking so good: • Meals cost £390 per head;
• There doesn’t seem to be a vegetarian option;
• The waiting time for reservations is four months; • Earlier this
year, 63 Noma diners were struck down
with food poisoning.
But it has given me an idea! I’ll say nothing else until I’ve looked into it, but I think W would love it!
Late last night there was a ring on the front door bell. Wilson answered it, to find a small, sullen-looking child singing an
approximation of Once In Royal David’s City. W and I shuffled our feet and glanced at each other, embarrassed, as he
launched into the second verse, whereupon I gave the boy a £1 coin.
He immediately stopped singing, turned on his heel and walked away.
‘Happy Christmas!’ I called after him.
‘Whatever!’ he replied, without looking round.
‘Well I never!’ exclaimed
W. ‘What was that about? Did you give him the
money just to get him to stop making that awful noise?’
I sat Wilson down with a mug of hot chocolate and a mince pie while
I explained to him the traditional ritual of
Christmas Carol Singing.
Following our recent visit from a carol singer, Wilson is now in the dining room putting his ‘choir’ through its paces.
It’s difficult to tell what they’re learning, but from the words I’ve picked out I’d guess they’re tackling Silent Night and
We Three Kings. They had to give up on Good King Wenceslas because no-one could pronounce ‘Wenceslas.’
Also, they’re learning only the first verse plus two lines of
the second verse - W has told them that if they haven’t had a donation by then they should give up and quickly move on the the next house.
There is a certain pragmatism about Wilson’s attitude which I find hard not to admire!
Wilson has been doing some population research and financial
calculations to determine the profitability of carol singing. His findings are as follows:
Population of Uckfield
Carol singers’ suggested donation:
Equivalent to households
Wilson Vermilingua OBE Polly-B
Grand total therefore 4,600 x £6.00 =
This, he says, is substantially short of the £1Million he needs, but still well worth doing.
Wilson is a bit despondent after doing some more calculations. ‘There are nine days until Xmas,’ he explained. ‘Allowing, say, 1
2 /2 minutes for each house, 4,600 houses will take more than 21 hours every day! I should have started this back in August!’ He pondered for a moment, then asked me, ‘Do you think
householders might be annoyed by Carol Singers calling at,
say, 2am? Because if they’re a bit cross, that might result in reduced donations.’ However, he has produced
a ‘Rate Card’ of Suggested
when he starts carolling this
evening, ‘So that people won’t be
not knowing how much to give!’
He’ll be setting
off with his choir
in a few minutes.
Before he went to bed last night, I had a brief chat with Wilson
on his return from his first evening of carol singing. He said that his schedule of house visits had turned out to be a bit optimistic, and that people didn’t care for his Rate Card of suggested donations.
In spite of being out all evening, he managed to visit only
three houses! At the first house there was no reply (although W suspects they were hiding under the table and just
pretending to be out); at the second house everyone was very
appreciative, but gave him only £1.50; and at the third house the door was opened by an old lady who invited him and his choir in and gave them all mince pies and hot chocolate in front of a log fire.
‘She was a very nice old lady,’ Wilson conceded, ‘and we spent
a couple of hours with her, chatting. But as we were leaving she
handed each of us tuppence and a Liquorice Allsort. I’m never going to get rich like that!’
His total night’s takings, then, amounted to £1.62 and six liquorice sweets which no-one wanted to eat.
I don’t know whether he intends going out again tonight as he’s still in bed at the moment, recovering.
Wilson eventually emerged from his bed, declaring himself exhausted and vowing never to sing another carol.
‘It’s just too draining, New Dad!’ he announced, ‘I just can’t keep it up! At heart, I am a member of the Great Sloth
Dynasty, and we’re simply not suited to this much work!’
I tried to lift his mood by taking him to the Garden Centre to choose some decorations, and on the drive out I mentioned
that one of his friends, Serena, had suggested that he might do
his carol singing by means of Skype, so that he and his choir need never leave the house. Moreover, because of the wonder of
time zones, he could do it whenever he felt like it, regardless of the time here in Uckfield.
He received this in silence, but I could tell that he was mulling it over.
Wilson decided to spend all his carol singing earnings of £1.62 on a giant cracker. He tried to swap the unwanted six
Liquorice Allsorts for a bag of popcorn, but the lady on the
checkout was unwilling to trade, so I treated him to that. I’ll probably be able to dispose of the liquorice unobserved.
During the trip home W said that he had been considering his friend Serena’s suggestion, and reached a decision: rather
than using Skype, which would require his real-time presence, he and his choir would make a video!
‘I will distribute this digital dose of Seasonal Good Cheer
via YouTube and Vimeo etc, and charge a small fee per view through PayPal. I shall be rich after all!’
This should keep him out of mischief, I suppose, so long as it’s
not as ambitious a production as his last video epic, Titanic The Film…
In this morning’s post, Wilson received a brief note from the
Mayor’s secretary saying that the Mayor thanks Wilson for his interest. However he is very busy right now campaigning for Boris Island Airport so is too occupied to consider W’s dung beetle scheme at present.
W was understandably disappointed by this, but was a little
cheered when, in the same delivery, he received a big bundle of identical Christmas cards from his family. He had forgotten to buy any cards himself, so we rushed out to choose some.
As usual, all the cards will be exactly the same, but he told me that he will put a special message inside Byron’s card.
As Doctor Who once said, we are now Halfway Through the
Dark. And not a moment too soon — we’ve both had enough of this miserable weather!
Wilson is a bit miffed, having received an anonymous Christmas card from his ‘Secret Admirer.’
‘This totally does my nut in, New Dad!’ he declared. ‘Every
birthday, every Valentine’s day and every Xmas it’s the same! Who can be sending them?’
He thought for a moment, then added, ‘It had better not be my Mum, Mrs Vermilingua!’
In the same delivery I was very relieved to receive an
envelope containing Wilson’s main Christmas present. I’d begun to fear it wouldn’t arrive in time, but now it’s safely here I can relax.
I think he’s going to love it!
Wilson and I have been to our local for our traditional lastSunday-before-Christmas drink. Well, it’s not actually a tradition yet, but if we do it again next year it will be.
W settled down with an Irish Coffee and I with a Barley Wine, and he related a story his friend Bob had told him. It seems
that an acquaintance of Bob’s had bought an apple pie, and when he bit into it, he found it was full of live ants!
‘What are the chances of that happening, eh?’ he asked. Then he
smiled and shook his head ruefully, saying, ‘Some people really do have all the luck!’
Wilson and I would like to wish all our friends a Very Happy Christmas and, as Wilson puts it, A Merry New Year!
Wilson has hung up his stocking and placed a glass of milk and
some reindeer treats by fireplace. Now he’s gone to bed in
hopes that the night will pass more quickly… though I won’t be
surprised to see him up again in a few minutes complaining that he’s too excited to sleep.
There won’t be any update tomorrow, but I hope to write another entry on Boxing Day.
We all had a lovely time on Christmas Day! The Stone Brothers were allowed indoors on condition that they didn’t frighten
Antony or Tiny Toy (who were both very brave about this) and everyone ate and drank too much.
One of Wilson’s highlights of the day was pulling his giant cracker, with him at one end and everyone else at the other!
W gave me a pair of ODDSIES! and a new set of Journals. I
can’t wait to start using them, but you won’t get to see them until the first one is filled at the end of January. That’s the journals, not the ODDSIES! obviously!
Wilson had a Dr Who Sonic Screwdriver and some other toys, but was most excited by his main present from me.
I’ll tell you what that is tomorrow…
Here you see Wilson halfway through opening his Christmas
presents. He’s wearing his new vegetarian-certified faux-fur jacket while eating a box of imported chocolate-fed ants.
Just after this photo was taken, he opened his main gift - which
was a ticket for a sunshine cruise to the Canary Islands for him and a friend!
I’m really hoping he’ll choose me as his travelling companion, since I’m quite as fed up with this weather as he is…
Wilson is very busy making lists of everything he might
conceivably need on his holiday to The Canary Islands.
He is a bit concerned that he doesn’t have enough formal wear for Dinner at the Captain’s Table, but I’ve tried to reassure
him that a black bow-tie will see him through the most decorous and mannered of dining situations.
When I bought the two tickets for Wilsonâ€™s Cruise to the Canaries I had sort of assumed that it would be me who
accompanied him. It seems this may not now be the case. A
number of his friends have offered to chaperone him, and he has drawn up a shortlist.
He says he will announce the lucky person tomorrow. In the meantime, he is packing everything he might conceivably need on an extended sea cruise, overlooking the fact that
whatever he takes will have to fit in the trunk of the car to be taken to Southampton.
Wilson has decided who he would like as his travelling companion, and the name of the lucky winner is: Polly-B.
I pointed out that since Polly-B is, when it comes right down to
it, a stuffed toy, she wouldn’t need a ticket; she could travel as luggage.
W said that if that’s the case, it might as well be me who goes with him.
Hmmm. That makes me feel so esteemed, so… valued: I am his first choice after a plush toy bee.
Anyway, we’ll be setting off for Southampton tomorrow, if W can get all his cases into the car!
I shall probably be taking just the clothes I’m wearing, as there won’t be room for anything else…
Wilson is so excited about his cruise that he hasn’t even noticed that HM the Queen has once again failed to ratify his OBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
Halfway to Southampton he clapped a paw to his head and told me that he’d forgotten something important. I was afraid that
he’d left the gas on, or not locked the front door, but in fact it
was his Grand Charity Garden Open Day - he had forgotten to hold it again last summer!
Anyway, here we are checking in to The Holiday Inn,
Southampton, and enjoying the view over the docks from our room.
Tomorrow, on New Year’s Day, we shall board the liner and begin Wilson’s Big Adventure!
Also, I shall start using the lovely new Journals that Wilson gave me for Christmas.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!
A journal of my life with a talking anteater. I appear to have been adopted by a talking ant-eater called Wilson. This is my journal, listin...