Sunday, 20 January 2013

Call The Psychologist

SEE YOU MONDAY....famous last words.
When I finished my long day at work last night I was faced with one of those " can you just?" Requests....and so instead of another day shift today, I am working nights instead.
That's fine with me and it gives Chris a break from the stressful round of adhering to animal care plans, blind cockerels that flap hysterically because they don't know you and needy dogs who want a quick pee and sniff in the snow.
After work last night I caught up with the family who had all gone out for dinner.
In the general conversation I was asked if I had ever performed any "chemical experiments" as a child?
Out of nowhere I remember an incidence when as a kid of eight, I had suddenly had an impulse to pour an entire bottle of peppermint essence into our garden pond.
Bugger alone knows why I wanted to do it....
Probably it was one of those, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF MOMENTS?....but into the pond the essence went ( and when I said pond..I actually mean a large enamel bath, complete with taps which was sunk incongruously into the centre of the lawn, then filled with a few stones and 12 sad looking koi carp.)
Anyway...........20 minutes later I ran into the house shaking after 12 even sadder looking fish floated belly up amid the perfumed stench of after eight mints.
Yes, by today's standards I was a fledging serial killer in the making, and would have been whisked away to be assessed by a kindly psychologist lady in a tweed skirt if it was 2001.But it was 1971 or thereabouts and so all I suffered was some high level bottom smacking and a week of thin lips.
In retrospect my animal killing tendencies were dampened by a sudden and lifelong obsession with Shelley Winters and The Poseidon Adventure....with the help of her,the hot panted Carol Lynley who had to be hauled up the Christmas tree by an ageing Red Buttons and the overwhelming sense of "doing the right thing in the face of tidal wave adversity", I managed to let go of all things dark...and skipped gayly and briskly into the light.....

39 comments:

  1. Jason
    Sorry I deleted your comment by accident
    I had a friend like yours... He used to make his own needle tipped arrows...!

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  2. the little boy next door used to put out trays of salt & watch slugs & snails " Fizz " ! ( from a staunch Christian family too ! )

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    1. Sadly, I didn't know that trick 'til married. My husband delighted in showing me the results.

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  3. I have a memory of cutting the legs off a spider with my mum's carving knife and watching the severed legs still twitching.

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    1. Now THAT's sick x

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    2. Did you know a turtle's heart will beat by itself long after being removed from the turtle's chest.

      I have more!

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  4. Oh, John, that experiment is so inspired. I bet that, in truth and only known to your subconscious, you wanted to help those sad looking coi carps on their way, shorten their suffering in that enamel bath, as befits any good future nurse. Pity the smell gave you away. Mint, indeed.

    Leaving your bruised bottom aside I dare say you have atoned for your sins by tending to your many legged and winged Welsh flock. Which reminds me: Any plans for fattening another pig? You have been terribly mute on the subject, particularly for someone so fond of Scotch eggs.

    U

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    1. The landlords are still dragging their feet about pigs U... Which is strange..seeing that they allowed them a couple of years ago.... But yes I intend to get a couple of ordinary porkers when the weather improves

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  5. Back in the early seventies, chemists sold everything needed to warm the hearts of every budding pyromaniac and never batted an eye when a pre-pubescent teenager asked for Flowers of Sulphur, Saltpetre and Charcoal Powder, the ingredients for gunpowder. School chemistry laboratories were a rich seam to be mined with Nitric acid literally on tap (for nitrating cotton wool into highly explosive and unstable Gun Cotton), 0.88 molar solution of Ammonia, Iodine crystals (for making highly sensitive detonating compounds), etc. and we mustn't forget the farm supplies; fertilizer in those days was very nitrogen rich. Then there were the substances found in every kitchen such as certain types of weedkiller and simple sugar. By the time my thirteen year old friend and I blew the windows out of his bedroom, causing our parents to bring to a sudden halt our nefarious activity, we were already working on fairly sophisticated ignition systems and had successfully launched a mortar on Gentleshaw common (we used the quarry there to test all our explosives).

    No surprise, then, that I became a Bomb Disposal Officer.

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    1. I just KNEW you would be in the lead when it came to a delinquent post!

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    2. Pre HSE and Nanny State days when us kids kept ourselves occupied with engaging and instructive activity rather than terrorising and vandalising the community.

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  6. I can't complete with hippos comment but I'm still not sure how my brother and I didn't burnt down the house as children, a box of shaved match heads and some tin foil can make a good mini launcher. And I can still remember the look on dads face as he tries to figure out why so many of his feed buckets have been blown into a million pieces just after my brother friend came back from france (carrying enough bangers to start a war).
    Minty fish doesn't sound great though, did you get in trouble for it?

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  7. Kev,
    I have just had a discussion with neighbours about this and realise that FIRE is a common denominator with young boys..... The neighbours boys blew up a caravan when their were all sat inside it!
    I am enjoying all of these bad kid stories

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  8. Not just boys - I made some excellent explosive devices as a child - and blew up a lot of stuff! No harm was done to anything except galvanized buckets (same as you, Kev) and a bit of corragatd iron sheet, though

    Probably why I became a research scientist, as an adult :-)

    but when I look back now my blood runs cold at the risks we took, though!

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  9. Slugs and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of - and, oh yes, anything that will make things blow up.

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  10. Like Compostwoman, I made explosives. Quite good explosives - at a time when the ingredients for them could be bought at Boots, where I had a Saturday job. I just stopped myself from mixing a fresh batch of Nitro-Glycerine in time, otherwise you may never have known me.

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  11. Mint with fish? There's your problem. Mint goes with mutton.

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  12. I had a preoccupation with guns and knives as a teenager. I would sit on the front porch and ping pigeons off the barn roof or practice for hours throwing a knife (I was lousy at it). We all go through our destructive phase.

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  13. Guess I missed out, all I did was read. Maybe that's why I am the way I am today... now, I like to play...

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  14. Like BadPenny's neighbor, my sister and I delighted in pouring salt on slugs in our Florida childhood. It only worked well when the slugs were on the sidewalk leading to our front door. I cringe now at the thought of it. Otherwise, no scientific experiments for me. However, when I was really small we lived in a tiny rural town in PA, and at one point had an outhouse (yes, those did exist in America!). Mind you, it was over 60 years ago. My mother told me I was guilty of dropping one of our kittens down the hole - why? Who the hell knows? To see if it could swim? Either I got caught or ran to tell someone, because my dad had the unpleasant job of rescuing the kitten (successfully) and one of my parents had to clean it up.

    Grownup Nancy in Iowa

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  15. Ooh, christmas 1965. I set fire to our first artificial christmas tree when I was only 3. My mum left me alone for 30 secs while she answered a call of nature. The minute her back was turned I was playing with her cigarette lighter. I distinctly remember thinking 'I wonder what will happen if I touch this flame to this branch....'.
    It went up in a fireball.
    I wandered down the yard to our outside loo (this was early 60's Stoke-on-Trent, terraced houses *had* outside loos) and calmly mentioned to my mum, via the gap under the door, that the tree was on fire. She raced up the yard, pulling up her drawers to find the tree *and* the living room curtains blazing away....she went to her grave believing it was faulty electrics.....
    I have an honest face.....

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  16. Shelley Winters always fascinated me........didn't she play the rich woman in the original Alfie?

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  17. Oh John - dare I ask whether that is one reason why you were attracted to Chris - maybe you subconsciously hoped that if you ever got the peppermint essence out again (with a view to knocking off a few blind cockerels for example) he would dissuade you?

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  18. I was so distracted by the comments, I forgot what I was going to say.

    Enjoy your day.

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  19. Clove oil can be used as a sedative for aquarium fish needing some sort of hands on medical care. It can also be used (in higher doses) to euthanize them. My husband is an aquarium expert, and had to put a large beloved pet cichlid to sleep that way once. To this day, the smell of cloves makes him sick.

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  20. OK, you are going to love this parallel story. I went through what today someone might call a pre-arsonist phase, lol. I would take my Dad's lighter and light the end of something and quickly blow it out. Things went well until I decided to try it on a large piñata that my parents brought back to me from a vacation. It had nice long tail feathers that I thought would be the perfect experiment. Little did I know that apparently "piñata" is Spanish for gasoline soaked crape paper. It went up in seconds. My Dad ran in and threw a blanket over it and snuffed it out. There was a bit a paint damage and a singed curtain but all was fixable.

    You want to know what my punishment was (besides being grounded for weeks?). That night was the television premiere of..........The Poseidon Adventure! I was banished to my room. I did sneak down the hall and catch a glimpse here and there and then of course months later I was allowed to watch it. But for me, Shelly Winters and the SS Poseidon will be connected to that event.

    There's Got to be a Morning After......

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  21. Well you weren't to know koi carp didn't like peppermint - poor little bum

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  22. It's not fire related, but my husband did teach my daughter how to throw a knife. Which horrified her in-laws as they had never seen a girl do this or thought to teach their own off-spring this particular trick. However, the up-side of this - her mother in law never, ever criticises or tries to interfere!

    Hubby also encouraged son to do fire related chemistry experiments when he was in charge of the children... it's a wonder I still have a house now that the details are emerging, some 20 years on. This is because son now has children and children want to do these experiments - he remembers Dad and experiments and is having nothing to do with it!

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  23. That does sound like something a boy would do! Although I can't cast any stones. When I was young I heard that salt would kill slugs, so I went out in the back and doused one in salt. When I saw it dying, I felt bad and poured water on it to try to save it. Didn't work! But I haven't willingly harmed an animal since then!

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  24. Did you fry the Carp for minty tea? Perhaps not. A childhood friend used to scoff ants off the pavement in London but that's the worst I can come up with I'm afraid!

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  25. good god - this blog post should be marked for "18+ Adults" - who knows what 9 year old budding chemists are out there looking up on google to see "what happens when you add..." and innocently here are a bunch of ahem grown adult Mentors sharing their childhood experience..wait, is that where the word "mentors" came from? Tor'mentors' ???? LOLOLOL


    but then I havent laughed this hard in years...carry on!

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  26. Sounds like you were a typical boy, John.
    Glad to hear you got to (get to?) save Chris' pride. ;o)
    Have a great week!

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  27. Well, at least those dead fish didn't smell like... dead fish.

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  28. After what you did, human, my pissing on my human's bed pillow, pales by comparison. Glad, I guess, you got over your trauma.

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

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  29. I used to focus the sun on ants with a magnifying glass ... you have to be quick because they run pret-ty damn fast, especially when they get hot. If you keep the glass on them a while after they stop moving they eventually pop. They have a distinctive stink too. I found out years later it was formaldehyde.

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    1. Oh yes! Perfect for honing hand eye coordination.
      Jane x

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  30. I drowned some ants when I was about 5. I still feel guilty.

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  31. OMG shocked by some of these confessions...not even Heston Blumenthal would make minted fish...

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