These days you add milk to your tea and not the other way around. This way you control the color of the tea. You want your tea to look like tea, not milk. (Unless you use antique bone China, then pour the milk first.)
Always use milk, not cream.
Do not use lemon AND milk together. The milk will curdle.
Don’t teabag your tea. Let the tea bag rest and then take it out. No teabagging, as amusing as it may be.
Make sure the water went past the boiling point.
Tea bags without strings and staples and paper and doodads are preferable.
Never stick your pinkie finger out.
Never use the microwave.
Only hold the saucer under the tea while standing.
Don’t leave the tea bag or spoon in the teacup.
If using a teapot, take the teapot to the kettle and pour the hot water in and not the other way around.
Some say the teapot must be swished with boiling water to prepare it for the tea. Tea cannot be steeped properly in a cold pot.
A tea cozy keeps the teapot warm for a long time; they’re not just cute afterthoughts. (Someone please knit a tea cozy for me.)
Tea cups do not have to match.
When stirring tea, do so silently, without clanging the spoon on the edges of the cup.
A tea pot should have multiple holes in the spout, not just one.
Do not substitute Earl Grey for English Breakfast tea. Ha! Ha!
When removing the tea spoon, set it leaning on the saucer to the right of the tea cup.
If serving tea with scones, cut the scones in half. Dab bits of curd and jams onto your saucer with the serving spoon and then return the serving spoon to its proper place. Do not use the serving spoon for your personal spreads. Use your own spoon or spreading knife.
Take small bites. Tea is a time for conversation and relaxation. DON’T EAT LIKE YOU WERE CULTURED IN THE BLOODY USA.
The movies Freddie enjoys watching would surprise you. Sometimes, late at night, I grab the chance to watch a movie before bed. I’m lucky if I can stay awake. If Freddie’s in the room that night, I have to be even more selective.
Freddie has to have everything his way.
If Freddie doesn’t like my movie choice, then he screams. Have you heard a goose scream? Not just the husky honk of a Toulouse or an Embden, but the shriek of an upset Chinese swan goose who claims he was Freddie Mercury in his past life?
I change the movie.
Breaking Bad. War of the Roses. Rocky.
Out of the question. Freddie is particular. He doesn’t like confrontations. People can’t yell at each other, push, shove, punch or appear as if they are standing there on-screen looking directly at him.
He gets Goosietude!
On the other hand, he surprises me sometimes. Quite the fan of David Attenborough, as can be expected, it interests me that he became so engrossed in a collection of films I checked out from the library called Free Radical, Eclipse Series 18, The Criterion Collection, short films by Dušan Makavejev. Known for revolutionary work during the sixties that pushed the boundaries of the film world, Dušan Makavejev seems an odd candidate for Freddie to favorite. Dark, raucous films with odd and shocking imagery, he remained glued to the screen and I drifted off to sleep not having the chance to watch much of the third film in the collection, Innocence Unprotected.
And would you believe the first film on the disc is titled Man Is Not A Bird? I kid you not. How strange is that?
These films are memorable and I plan to find them again when I have time to examine them further. For the second film in the set, Criterion.com, describes as such:
This story of the tragic romance between a young telephonist (Eva Ras) and a middle-aged rodent sanitation specialist (Slobodan Aligrudic) in Belgrade is an endlessly surprising, time-shifting exploration of love and freedom.
Never a dull moment with Freddie the Rock God Gander around.
“I am as gay as a daffodil, dear.” — Freddie Mercury
Freddie, the gander, is as sweet as can be. He’s meticulous about his performances and his appearance. No one can ruffle his feathers, so to speak. I’ve seen him trip on several occasions, sometimes in the mud while getting in or out of his porcelain bathtub, or while too busy showing off to notice the goofus dog lying on the floor in front of him. But he always bounces back quickly and as if it was all part of the show. You’d hardly know he stumbled and in a few minutes you’d be wondering if you’d seen him stumble at all.
Lately, around this something of a substitute Garden Lodge Freddie lives at during his current reincarnation as a goose, the question of whether or not he prefers men or women has come up. At a random moment of morning in the living room I asked my roommate E. to get down on the floor like he’s a goose and let’s see if Freddie is interested.
“No way!” E. Said.
I don’t blame him at all. We’ve already seen enough to establish Freddie’s prowess is directed toward men. Not ducks. Not other geese. Mostly, a certain young man named E. who doesn’t fit the profile of men the late Freddie Mercury found attractive. E. doesn’t ride a motorcycle or have a mustache and clean cut, short dark hair like Jim Hutton. Nope. E. is young and slender with long blondish hair.
Freddie doesn’t care. Last spring he made it a habit to spring into action on nights when E. came home late from work and Freddie and I were in our basement room listening to Queen. Freddie’s favorite activity to date is serenading E. to the song “Body Language”. E. would sit at the bottom of the stairs while Freddie strutted back and forth, arching his neck and his tail at the same time so his little white bum became rounded and he appeared taller as he flirted.
But finally Freddie approached E. a bit too close for comfort, acting as if E.’s knee was a step up to his lap. As he attempted to climb E., Freddie extended one wing and when E. wiggled to get away, Freddie let out an annoyed, “Uuuuuuhhh! Uuuuuuhhh!” sound, which in Freddie-goose means, “Come back here, darling!”
Mary Austin is reported as having told Freddie from the start, at the point when he first approached her after their extended relationship to tell her he was bi, that he was gay, as quoted here in an article from the UK’s Daily Mail:
Gazing down at her lap, Mary says softly: ‘I’ll never forget that moment. Being a bit naive, it had taken me a while to realise the truth. Afterwards he felt good about having finally told me he was bisexual. Although I do remember saying to him at the time, “No Freddie, I don’t think you are bisexual. I think you are gay.”’
Neither E., I or Freddie care whether or not he’s attracted to men, women or ducks, actually. We were just curious what he’d do when faced with choices. As a gander he definitely prefers E. over anyone else in the room. Perhaps that will change from time to time. I doubt anyone will let him go very far.
That having been said, Freddie may be a bit lonely at times, I think. When he stays the night in the house and wakes up in the morning, he spends a good deal of time looking at himself in the mirror. I wonder if he’s reflecting on the lyrics to “Somebody to Love”.
Can anybody find me somebody to love?
Each mornin’ I get up I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet
Take a look in the mirror and cry
Lord what you’re doing to me
I have spent all my years in believin’ you
But I just can’t get no relief, Lord
Freddie would like me to stop using the GIMP airbrush tool to fill in his mustache. His exact words were:
“I reckon it…it…makes me look like I have a caterpillar on my face, dear.”
He’s right. I admit to noticing this, but I posted the photos anyway. (See November 2nds blog, “A Trinket For Freddie”.)
Have you ever seen a woolly bear caterpillar–the orange and black striped kind? I don’t know if that’s what they’re actually called, but we have them here in the northwest United States (Spokane, Washington) and I used to collect them when I was a child. Fascinated by their beauty–the way they moved, their multiple little feet, shiny black face that reminded me of a cab-over semi truck–I would watch them climb from one of my tiny hands to the other.
(See, this is part of why blogging is so great!) —> One sits down and begins writing, not knowing what facts will be learned or what direction one will take. Despite having fooled around with woolly bear caterpillars for years, I never saw which butterfly they turned into. Now, I know that they are Pyrrhantica isabella also known as Isabella Tiger Moths. According to “Weekends in Paradelle”, a WordPress neighbor of mine, the measurement of the orangish-brown bands on the woolly bear caterpillar indicate whether a winter will be harsh or mild:
“The lore is that the wider that middle brown section is (i.e., the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. Conversely, a narrow brown band is said to predict a harsh winter.”
This reminds me of something my parents would have found in the old Farmer’s Almanacs we had lying around during the seventies. In fact, I vaguely recall something being said about the caterpillars and the weather, but time is always passing and so my memory grows foggier.
Another reason to blog and journal and keep lists and just write stuff down. I always thought my mind particularly sharp. I’ll never forget any of this, I thought as my grandparents retold stories to me.
For many tales I wonder these days if I wouldn’t find my imagination has filled in details where there were none.
So, back to Freddie’s mustache.
I asked him in the beginning if he would like to have a mustache, since Freddie Mercury’s mustache is like a trademark, and Freddie agreed that a mustache lends character.
“Otherwise I will look like any old gander,” he said. “I mean, if you want to see a gander, just look on the Internet these days or visit a farm. There I am. That’s not me.”
There isn’t a way for Freddie to have a real mustache as geese don’t grow facial hair. Since his bird features are far different from when he was human, there’s no way for him to wear a fake mustache. Options are limited to modern graphic design.
Today I asked Freddie what he thinks of November and he said he loves it because it’s close to Christmas, but he doesn’t like to be cold.
“O, I hate the cold. It is probably why I returned as a goose, darling. Now, I can never be cold. Just think of it–permanent goose down. And I’m lucky I’m not that kind of goose–a Christmas goose. Makes me shudder to think of it.” — Freddie Goose, November 1st, 2014.
Why do you love Christmas so much, Freddie?
“Why, I love giving little gifts, of course. Why else? You can’t have Christmas without gifts. Even when I was a human, that’s why I loved Christmas. They don’t have to be expensive gifts, darling. Doesn’t everyone like a thoughtful little gift?” — Freddie Goose, November 1st, 2014.
And Freddie Mercury the man, from FREDDIE MERCURY: HIS LIFE, IN HIS OWN WORDS:
“I’ll tell you a good example. The other day Mary gave me a wonderful present that I haven’t seen before. It’s something that nobody else would think of, and it might be totally useless for you, but it’s something from somebody who cares and that’s what matters. She gave me this little gift that she went out of her way to arrange. It was the newspaper of the day that I was born — so you can actually read about what was going on when you were born. It was The Times, September 5th, 1946. And she also got me 1846, which was wonderful. I thought that was a lovely little treat — just a little something. There’s reams and reams of paper and it was wonderful. She said, “This’ll keep you busy, dear. You can read it while you’re on the throne.” I like to read when I’m having a crap.”
During his life as a rock star, Freddie Mercury had a love for antiques, particularly Louis XIV furniture and Japanese art: vases, kimonos, lamps, paintings. In life Freddie was quoted saying:
“People are the main thing, but I have to be surrounded by something, even if it’s just object d’art. So, I collect a lot, and my whole house is filled with beautiful Japanese art and antiques. That’s also why I want lots of fish, lots of cats. I suppose it’s a sort of shy outlook.” From FREDDIE MERCURY: HIS LIFE, IN HIS OWN WORDS.
For this is something I can relate to since the day I can remember–some time in early childhood. Collecting and preserving was a hobby of mine since the start, yet I don’t care for senseless clutter, i.e. a mess. I want to look around the room and find the ambiance relaxes me. I want to feel satisfied by what my eyes take in. Only then can I truly feel content. If the room is a jumbled mess, if everything is dirty or there are piles of papers, clothing or things are not in place, it bothers me.
There are many collectors in my family. Rock collectors. Antique collectors. When I was little I collected Breyer horses and displayed them, spotless and proud, on a shelf that took up an entire wall in my room. When they couldn’t be displayed, my grandma helped me wrap them up and store them in boxes so they wouldn’t get broken. I still have them today, but I do not feel my home is big enough to display them properly as they would need a certain room buried somewhere in the house, a room with certain decor. As it is in my home, I feel it would be tacky to display them. With limited space, only certain items can be visible.
Imagine having 20 foot ceilings. The grandeur and elegance of the decor would have to be large to match such surroundings. I suppose for Freddie Goose the new Garden Lodge (temporary) has high ceilings given he’s only about two and half feet tall.
At one time Freddie Mercury said:
“There are times when I wake up in the morning and I think, “My God, I wish I wasn’t Freddie Mercury today!” I’m in the public eye whether I like it or not, but I don’t want everything I do to be made public. I’m a virgo, I’m like Greta Garbo, I want to be left alone. I am a bit reclusive but it’s not a calculated thing. I like to be alone and shut myself off with my friends, but I’d hate to be on a desert island. I would loathe that. I do like people around me but I like them in my environment. I’ve got all my friends that come to me and maybe it’s a very selfish thing to do, but it’s a wonderful treat for me.” — Freddie Mercury, from FREDDIE MERCURY: HIS LIFE, IN HIS OWN WORDS.
I admit to being the same way: I do like people around me, but I like them in my environment. Yes. I love to entertain people in my home. One of my favorite things to do. And I love to have fun–in my home. C’est vrai!
I also love “little something” gifts. The real treats. The special somethings someone who loves you might see and they know it’s “just right” and it’s really for you and you only. Those gifts are never forgotten. As the years go by, meaning is only added and you are reminded of so many wonderful times.
Are you preparing for Christmas? (Freddie says, I hope, darlings, you will skip on having goose.) Do you like to make gifts or do you lavish your loved ones in purchased finery? What has been the most perfect Christmas of your life so far?
Freddie is pleased to announce the official engagement of Henry “Wiki” Nguyen to Emily Doodle. This pairing took everyone at Garden Lodge by surprise as Henry and his adopted muscovy sister, Bernadette, daughter of Sao-Ree and Jing-Jai Dactyl, have been inseparable since they were ducklings in June. A source says Emily must have known just the right things to say to Henry because she has him wrapped around her webbed toes. The couple has chosen Freddie to preside over their union.
“By all evidence, I expected Henry would win-over Bernadette, his adopted sister, but something changed between them. Bernadette has been hanging out with her mother and talking to her father through the fence a lot. Maybe daddy didn’t approve of Bernadette marrying a runner duck. I have to say, I’d be afraid of her dad. That Sao-Ree’s a big fella,” says Emily’s long-time friend Ming.
Paparazzi has followed the surprise couple closely during the past week, catching them breast-to-breast at various functions.
An inside source says that Emily has always been a loner and that they never expected that at five years of age Emily would get engaged, nor that young and dashing Henry would put aside his interests in Science News and taste-testing salsa for long-term romance.
Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?
Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.
1 Logan Place, London. The real Garden Lodge, an L-shaped mansion protected by a formidable brick wall atop which extends wrought iron fencing backed by further privacy screening. The door, much like the entrance to a magical wardrobe, decorated in the handwritten sentiments of hundreds of fans, is dark green to match several of the shrubs in the garden behind it’s locked face.
“My God, I have come back as a goose and I have taken shits everywhere!”
The curved walkways of the garden, manicured neatly around the large koi pond and cherry trees. Rose bushes bloom, a butterfly bounces in the sweet air four feet above the lawn.
“I want to eat that grass. Jim, don’t spray any pesticides, will you please?”
Have you ever seen a goose in distress? Imagine you can see from the bedroom window out upon the garden. There stands a goose, frozen and staring down into the pond.
When one of Freddie Mercury’s koi died, he cried. As a goose laying eyes on Garden Lodge for the first time in decades, he wanted to feel the velvety fins of his koi brush his webbed feet. He thought this would make him feel human again.
Freddie Mercury has taught me that there can be grief and humor–that both states can be suspended in one’s heart simultaneously.
I’m supposed to start writing and keep on for twenty minutes, publishing whatever it is that comes out from this assignment. I see I’ve already begun. Much like waking up in the morning, beginning to stir about, there are many options to choose from when it comes to subjects to ponder/write about. Will I think “coffee”? Will I think “I wonder what the ducks are doing?” “The dogs want out NOW.” “So much to do today.”
The weather, predetermined in its own right, greets me with surprise, be it rain, sunshine, fog or wind. Perhaps it is all of the above. What world do I live in? When I look at the stars at night I really do wonder what’s out there, who am I? And I have a keen sense that I am small and that my purpose is mostly significant to other humans. I am otherwise fertilizer. There is a process, much like gardening, of matter breaking down and dispersing into something else. Maybe Freddie Mercury became a goose.
I really don’t know.
What I do know is that Freddie the Gander loves listening to Queen. I have every reason to believe he will settle for nothing less than a real keyboard or piano as he scoffs at all the toys I’ve offered and prefers the plain, black iPod boombox. Whenever he hears Freddie Mercury’s voice, he begins prancing like the frontman he possibly was in another lifetime. He flirts, particularly to the song “Body Language” with any man or woman who happens to be in the room. Yet, he’s shy. But, have a party and he makes his rounds.
When my friend G. visits, Freddie eyes G.’s cigarette with appetite.
“It wouldn’t suit your palette now, Freddie,” I say. I know Freddie liked to smoke a bit to keep his voice a bit rough.
“Besides, you have air sacs now instead of lungs.”
He watches as G. flicks ashes on the ground and then he says, “Meh.”, stands up a bit straighter and turns on his heels like he’s part of the Third Reich, or on stage exacting precise moves much like his namesake used to do at Wembley Stadium.
And when time to go back to the community pen comes along, Freddie balks. He’s mad.
“Eeeeeehhhhhh!” he says, as I push his fluffy goose butt toward the gate. He wants to stay. He’s not a duck. This he knows. I can see he wants me to take him in the house. Even better–be with him outside day and night, for he’s imprinted–more human than waterfowl–and wants to bathe in the tub, watch television and go for long rides in the car to places with tall grass and antique malls.
I end up carrying Freddie back to the pen. Sometimes he protests with kicks of his large, webbed feet, such fleshy feet you’d think they could be malformations of what we have as humans. He squirms a bit, more as I approach the pen. He doesn’t want to return.
It’s as if he’s saying, “Can’t you see, I’m Mr. Mercury?”
I promise him a better future. Freddie likes better, bigger. He wants more. There will come a day when he is shuffled from the Duck House and Garden Lodge to a new property where grass grows in mounds and the sky stretches out in every direction. He doesn’t know this. At least I don’t think he does. Not yet. But he will. One day he will emerge from a transport crate and set his eyes upon his new home, the likeness of which he cannot imagine, as a goose. It will be Freddie the Rock God Gander HEAVEN.
He’s impatient. Each night he stays in the duck house is another night he doesn’t get to come inside, despite having to wear a goose diaper, which he tolerates well. But I see that he wants to follow me as I turn to close the door after shutting off the light and tell him to take care of the ducks, let me know if he hears anything suspicious.
As I close the door, I hear one last, “Humph!”
If he is Freddie Mercury, he just might hate me a little.
A mouse may escape the jaws of Sofiya (she’s a duck)
A muscovy named Bernadette may vivaciously practice diving
A duck named Dot-Dot (named so for the way my late Thai boyfriend pronounced Dodge Dart) may use a piece of metal as a slide
A some twelve-inch duck penis may prolapse and require a sugar water poultice and bandages
I will step in shit
Shit will splash into my eye
Someone needs medical attention (other than a bandaged penis)
Someone has barfed next to the front door
I have jumped at the sight of dust bunnies of dog fur
A sparrow is floating in either the duck water or the koi pond and must be removed
I have rudely interrupted vegetables during coitus
Louise (a duck) needs landing gear for her bum-bum even though she cannot fly
A fly named Hitler will appear wherever I am and buzz and annoy and land on me or my friends and wipe his shitty stache with his shitty fly feet and then wipe his shitty stachy shit on us (this is after he has been killed and been reborn again)
Hitler will six-legged fly jog around the rim of my coffee mug fifty-thousand times and he cannot be stopped
I hope Hitler commits suicide
I will have excuses not to write a damn word anywhere about anything
Freddie has an overbite (and it’s part of his success)
Some of these things have happened today. Can you guess which ones?