Posts Tagged ‘man’

A Girl, a Man and a Dog

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Tuesday 18 March 2014 – 7am

I am running along the River Irwell, wiping away watery tears as my eyes react to the cool morning breeze. Some music is pumping into my ears; it’s Underworld, I think, but I’m not sure. It takes me a while to wake up and become aware of my surroundings. Not that long ago I was comfortably dreaming in my bed. Then my alarm screamed at me to get up and get jogging.

I pass under the bridge next to the Campanile Hotel. Most mornings the cars of business people and budget-travellers are parked out the back, but today the car park is almost empty. Under the bridge arch a man is pacing slowly. He is wearing Adidas sneakers with very white soles. He stops and pretends to tie his shoe laces to let me pass. He’s here every morning with his hood up, avoiding my eye contact. I have never seen his face. I keep running.

As I round the next corner I spot a familiar face pounding towards me and my spirits lift. I have met this dalmatian and his owner before on the corner of Liverpool Road and Deansgate. His spotted fur is tired but his face shows he has lived the good life; sparkling eyes and a slobbery smile, he lifts his head and sneezes a ‘Good morning’ to me as we cross paths. “Would you like a dog?” says the man, a cheeky grin on his face as he recites the line he uses on every lady he passes. Like owner, like dog, he has a generous face and laughing eyes. “He’s lovely,” I say, “but I’m allergic to dogs.”

His eyes widen in dismay as he contemplates life without his friend, but then he smiles and says, “Well, he’s allergic to humans. He has come out in spots.” He laughs to himself as he walks on.

Running in the Dark (or A Man and His Dog)

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Every weekday my alarm goes off at 6.10am, the BOOPITY-BOOP! BOOPITY-BOOP! BOOPITY-BOOP! jolting me from my comfort as I thump blindly at my bedside table – evil noise, go away. For five minutes I lie in bed with my eyes closed, my two inner beings having a fist fight and screaming match in my head. Lazy, relaxed Jess thinks lying in is good for me and that I could really do with some extra sleep. Strict, demanding Jess has higher expectations and is insistent that now is the time to get up and go for a run. This second Jess always wins due to copious amounts of guilt, threats of weight gain and promises that the more I run, the more cake I can consume. FINE.

It is DARK in Manchester at 6.10am. The sun currently doesn’t rise above the horizon until 8.22am so I have been for my run, had a shower, eaten breakfast and am leaving for work by the time the sun gets up. There are a few issues with running in the dark:

  1. You can’t see puddles. Manchester footpaths are notoriously bad for pot holes, sloping pavement tiles and for just being generally shocking. If it rains (which it always does) massive puddles form across the footpaths and when there’s no light around they are are particularly difficult to spot. This means you are guaranteed wet and therefore frozen feet by the time you return home.
  2. Your chances of being murdered are greatly increased. Don’t start panicking yet, Mum, but Manchester doesn’t have the greatest reputation for safety. There are a few oddballs and weirdos who like doing things to people in the many dark and dingy streets of the city. This means that I stick to main roads that are well lit and frequented by lots of people and cars and my running routes are therefore really, really boring. I much prefer my summer run that takes me along the canal where I can see water and rowers and evil Canadian geese. I need to devise some more interesting running routes throughout the city but Manchester is so small that it seems like I am back at home before I have even started.
  3. Sleeping when it is dark is much better than being awake. Enough said.

Despite these drawbacks, I do feel much better after I have completed my 45 minute run and there are tears streaming down my face from the cold and I feel like I have been running against tempestuous winds for the entire time. Plus I now have a friend.

I have met this smiling man and his big, friendly dalmatian at the corner of my street and the main drag, Deansgate, three times now. The first time we crossed paths it was as if he was waiting for me – “HELLO!” he said. It felt like we were old friends. I had left the house in a sour mood, stressed by approaching Christmas tasks that I needed to perform and his greeting and enthusiasm at seeing me brightened my mood instantly. Now each time we meet, his dog comes over to have a sniff and say hello. “You can pat him!” said the man the last time we met. After I had explained my allergies to all things with fur, it was as if I had crushed his heart with my bare hands. “Well that’s awful! He is such a good dog! You poor thing!”

Our meetings are only brief – a hello, a how are you, and good wishes for the day. But that brief interaction is enough to bring pure delight to my day and make me run with a lighter step.

Mucking Around

Friday, September 14th, 2012

The last few days have been fairly experimental – yesterday I spent a few hours attempting to make flowers out of paper. I eventually gave up when I accepted that my flowers would be better off being used as mulch. I then saw Martha Stewart’s versions and have decided to leave paper flower making to the professionals.

This morning I have been fiddling with Adobe Illustrator and discovering what I can do with it. I am in love with the “Blob Brush” tool – it makes EVERYTHING I draw look cool! I decided to draw a series of BoBos (the hipsters who hang out in my neighbourhood) as they are a source of inspiration for me and will one day feature in my book. Here is my favourite so far.

Paris Bobo


I’m not sure what I will do with him but it has been good to get some lines on a page.

Change of Fortune

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Thank you, Universe. For the past three weeks you have been against me – testing me, pushing me, making me cry. But today things have changed and you have shown me that all of those trials were for a reason.

I have returned home from a lovely day out in sunny Paris and a delicious lunch with a friend. I opened my window to let in some cooler air and took a moment to survey the park outside. And who did I see sitting on a bench facing my window with his arm around a clearly non-Parisian girl and a bottle of warm rosé to his right? My good friend, Mr Creepy-Kisser-Stalker man!

It appears he has fallen in love once again, moved on from me and has found himself a new lady friend. Perhaps I should be jealous, except instead I am currently feeling the biggest sense of relief and overwhelming JOY. He really IS a weirdo creep because unlike me, the new girl has agreed to sit down with him, has agreed to drink warm wine in a park, and just let him give her a rather sloppy-looking smooch (yes I am spying on them.) Oh there they go again. Gross. Her folded arms and crossed legs suggest it isn’t the greatest kiss she’s ever had. Oh dear, she has turned her head away. And now she has wiped her mouth.

Anyway, after the first kiss, it was clearly so monumental for him that he stood up and took a photograph of her with his phone. Recording the moment he fell in love? I suspect not. Maybe me writing this is mean and spiteful, but this is just too good not to record! Thank you, strange man. You really did give me something to write about. Maybe I should go down and say hi.

Shampoo Fight

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I experienced a very typical French argument today where everyone announced their opinion to the world and then argued incessantly over something that had no real importance. I went to Tati, a super-cheap department store that sells every piece of rubbish you could ever want for really low prices. I went there in search of socks for my latest sock-creature endeavours and suddenly decided I should buy some toothpaste because we are running low. I went to the cosmetics/hygiene product section and dodged past some of the slightly less-hygienic folk who frequent that part of Montmartre and who spend a lot of time hanging around Tati. Some people really need to learn to cover their mouths when they cough.

While I selected my toothpaste of choice, an elderly man was at the checkout buying a bottle of shampoo. He then started arguing with the check out lady about the price of the shampoo, saying “I’m sorry to argue with you, Madame” followed by, “But you’re wrong.” The check out eventually stood up and walked with the man to the shampoo shelf to confirm the price of the shampoo. Underneath the shampoo was a price, however this price was for a different sort of shampoo which the check out lady had great happiness in pointing out. The man then argued that whatever price is situated under the product should correspond to the product therefore he should only pay the advertised price. The check out lady insisted the man should pay the price the computer says the product is and that the price on the shelf is just wrong.

This argument went on for about five minutes and then the man had left, paying the full price for the shampoo. The argument continued. The woman in the queue behind the man congratulated the check out lady saying that the man most definitely should pay full price, no matter what was marked on the shelf. The check out lady was pleased by this. But then the second woman in the line declared that the prices on the shelves should be marked correctly and the man should have been allowed to pay the price as marked. The first lady in line left the shop and then a very firey argument between the second lady and the check out lady started with the check out lady shoving the customer’s products in to a plastic bag and barking out the required amount. Essentially they just kept talking at one another, not listening and not really caring what the other person was saying. This lady then eventually left having been rudely yelled at by the check out women yet not even noticing because she was too busy arguing.

Between this woman and myself was a man who had been rolling his eyes for most of this time. However, once he reached the check out he then started agreeing with the first woman and the check out lady. I stood trying to understand as I was asked for my opinion and apparently didn’t provide enough information. All I wanted was to buy toothpaste and leave. Finally it was my turn to be served and I could pay and run away. I stepped outside and breathed a sigh of relief to be outside in Montmartre surrounded by the normal, regular people trying to sell copy Gucci bags and dodgy cigarettes. I can handle them. It’s the weirdos who argue about the price of shampoo who mess with my mind.