A Rabbit’s Tale

I often get suggestions for stories but have yet to meet someone keen enough to put pen to paper.  My skills as a writer are pretty limited, so although I have a bank of ideas, a creative story arc is unlikely to flow from my grey matter.

My sister in-law once wrote a short story about a seagull in Edinburgh.   I have sketched the character but need to spend find some time illustrating the landscapes for the background – something that doesn’t come as easy to me as character design.

After doodling a few rabbits and posting them to Facebook a few months back, my sister in-law’s mother penned the first paragraph of a possible story (clearly writing is a family trait).  I liked her intro and thought I’d post it here – it was an excuse to draw more animals!

Perhaps, if someone feels the urge, they could draft another paragraph or two – it would make a nice little series of blog posts!   So , Nicky, thanks for your contribution….

We rabbits are numerous, though like icebergs and Russian spies we are more under than over ground.

rabbits3

We have a long history of storytelling – from the epic Watership Down, through Peter Rabbit and of course the proverbial Bre’r Rabbit. 

rabbits2

Some might think hares are more elegant – but we don’t waste our time gazing at the moon. While they gaze, we graze. Hares are distractible, hence their inability to win races against tortoises; we rabbits can not only beat a tortoise, we have even won races against Porsches – those loud, often red animals who drink evil smelling liquids and regurgitate humans.

rabbit runs

Unlike you humans, we teach our young by telling stories – a flat screen cannot convey the detail, especially moral and emotional, of a good story told by Granny or Aunty.

Here follows the fabled rabbit story of how William Rabbit won a race against one of these Porsches, which I believe has never before been translated into a human language.

If you think you can see where this story is going…why not get in touch?

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Easter Bunny in Employment Crisis

Easter BunnyWith Easter nearly upon us, there is a frenzy of chocolate egg buying and giving – and of course EATING!  This morning a co-worker set up an office Easter egg hunt before piling mounds of Easter cakes, chocolate and eggs onto the ‘treat table’ for all to indulge.  What a nice way to start the penultimate day at work before I find myself gainfully UNemployed.

It is a sorry state of affairs and I will mourn the past four months which have rescued me from the isolation of my previous job.  I have certainly felt more alive, more inspired and more ‘me’ since changing jobs, and although the risk taking didn’t quite pay off, there is still a glimmer of hope on the horizon. So don’t start sending me your messages of condolences just yet.   In the meantime, here is a little cartoon to celebrate Easter.

Feel good

I just spent the last half hour looking through some old artwork and discovered a piece of animation I did at university (the second time round).  I love animation and wish I was better at it but unfortunately, the process is too painstakingly slow for my taste and I have little patience in that department.  I like art that is instantaneous and so even though I have dabbled in oil painting, watercolour, textiles, lino-print, screenprinting etc. they never grabbed my attention for long enough.  As much as I’d like to see my characters animated, I’m afraid I’m likely to stick with the cartoons.

So for laughs, I thought I’d share this dire attempt at an animation – I really am a tad embarrassed but hey, I’ll get over it.  Trust me, it isn’t a master piece and in places it is unfinished, so I have used stills/sketches to show how the story progresses.  Essentially it was a short advert to promote Feel Good Drinks. The character, Brian, hates life and grumbles at everything including the sun, until one day he stumbles across a bottle of feel good and his life is turned around!

Student life and daytime television

So it’s about time I wrote another installment – I always have things floating around in my head but never seem to get the time to sit down and commit it to paper/my virtual diary. There are a couple of things I wanted to cover. Firstly, I guess I should let you know that I’ve had my first feedback session re my university progress.

Things are better than expected. I was worried I wasn’t up to scratch but without trying blow my own trumpet – more appropriately a penny whistle – I’m on for a high 2:1 which could be pushed to a first if I iron out a few tweaks. My essay work has come back with a first which I’m very pleased about and thankfully we still have another two terms before the marks start to count towards the final degree. So with a little more ‘oomph‘ I might be able to make the grade!

It’s strange how the marks massage my little ego and make me feel like a school girl who’s just been given a gold star! I was clipping my heels and skipping down the street after my feedback. So pat on the back for me!

I am however, starting to slip deeper into student mode and although I’m still getting out of bed around 7 or 7:30am (an obscene hour for a student) and going to bed at 10pm, I seem to be getting a good healthy dose of daytime television. Of course, my fellow students know exactly where I’m coming from when I talk about “bargain hunt”, “to buy or not to buy” or “cash in the attic” but I fear it’s lost on my other circle of friends.

There is a vast choice of trashy middle-aged-house-wife type programmes but I’d consider myself a fairly picky viewer, preferring to stick to the programmes that give advice about money, buying new houses or how to cook a sumptuous three course meal. I have set myself standards and will not stoop to watching Ricky Lake (amazingly still going), Divorce Court or Loose Women, however lazy I’m feeling.

Sadly, when I try to engage my hardworking, employed friends in a conversation about my day time television bingeing they usually do one of two things:
a) look at me blankly then change the subject or
b) look at me with a slight narrowing of the eyes and a curl of the lip as if to say “you disgust me you, white, couch-potato trash – how could you stoop so low” and then change subject.

In my defence these programmes are never watched with my full attention as they tend to be background noise while I potter, clean or draw. And hey, if I want slightly more erudite background noise then I listen to Radio 4.

I can’t mention TV without saying that I think the BBC Breakfast News programme is dreadful. In fact, I think they should just drop the word ‘news’ completely unless one considers a 15 minute debate on ‘how to wear your scarf’ or a lenghty discussion on ‘whether fashion sneakers with wheels implanted in the heel cause your child physiological damage’ news.

I can’t believe they can dedicate 15 minutes of a ‘news’ programme to three camp men showing you how to tie your scarf when there is a whole world of important news to broadcast. Trivial little interludes are the sort of drivel you’d expect from ITV but NOT the BBC which I….. sorry…… L pays a television license for! And why is everything dumbed down to the level of Dodo IQ? The programme is swamped with over-simplified graphs, moving charts and animated lists to ensure we understand exactly what’s being said…. “Yes! I HAVE a BRAIN”!

Oh my god…. I sound like one of those crazy people who have nothing better with their time than to write to Points of View and criticise advertising and TV programmes. I’d better lay that one to rest before I start to rant about the ridiculous worldwide attention recently devoted to one particularly dreadful reality TV show. ARRRRGH ok B-R-E-A-T-H-E

A change of subject now to earning a crust! It’s been ages since I’ve had any paid design work and I was beginning to think I was never going to get another enquiry but in the last couple of weeks I’ve had two!! One of the jobs I’ve got in the bag – a lot of hard work which I’m not looking forward to (on top of my Uni projects) but at least it will go towards a flashy new Apple MAC…. This is my DREAM! Well, part of my dream. The other part involves a lovely little farmhouse, chickens, ducks, two dogs, a cat, an allotment and a large studio! But that might be a few years down the line yet.

The other job is a bit iffy, I’m just waiting to hear for a full brief but it’s basically three large illustrations for an interpretation panel on a nature reserve… COOLIO!

Now, I vowed I would never write another word about my rabbits in case you got the impression that I’m a 21st century Dr Doolittle but I couldn’t resist this.
Today, I went into our utility/rabbit pen/junk room and couldn’t find Clive. After much searching I heard a scrabbling noise and was shocked to find this…..(spot the Rabbit)

The proof is in the tail

I just thought I’d give you a real picture of “the Tail”… obviously we don’t have Rosie anymore but I will hang on to this tail (perhaps put it on a keyring- not) and let her memory live on.

above: the two love-buns Flopsy (white) and Clive

Oh and here is a short video of Clive going bonkers while Flopsy tries to have a kip. Apologies to all you non animal lovers.

Mills & Boone, Bunnies and Tails

It had been a long treacherous drive. The temperature outside hovered around zero whilst snow flakes danced in the orange glow of the street lamp. She’d waited a long time to meet someone who could whisk her off her feet, someone who could make her heart whole. She turned to face him.

He was dark and handsome, small but perfectly formed. He had an air of nonchalance about him which unnerved her. She took a few paces back.

As he stepped towards her he could feel his pulse rise. She was beautiful! Her soft milky body sent shivers down his spine. He sensed she was afraid but reached for her anyway. Something stirred deep down in his soul…. he wanted her!

OK enough with the Mills and Boone – its RABBITS I’m on about here.

The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster ride of bunny emotions and owner trauma. We’ve had Flopsy almost 8 months now and everything we read suggest that all rabbits should have companionship (preferably another rabbit). We do give her lots of attention but as much as we try, it’s difficult to lick a rabbit’s ear in quite the same way as another rabbit could. So we decided to get her a friend from the RSPCA.

On adoption day, L refused to come along for fear she would be tempted to rescue ALL the stray animals. Actually, I this was a cleverly constructed excuse to avoid being manipulated into adopting a puppy or a kitten at the same time. So, on my own, I stroked several abandoned rabbits in my quest to find Flops a suitable companion. I found RALPH!

The RSPCA are quite strict about adoption. I had to fill out reams of paper work and undergo a home check to ensure we were responsible owners. During the home visit, Flopsy presented herself well giving the inspector a look-at-me-I’m-so-adorable-and-I’m-obviously-well-looked-after pose. So thankfully, we passed the check with flying colours. The whole process took over a week by which time I was oozing with excitement about bringing Ralph home.

Well, we had Ralph for just over a week and I followed all the guidance about introducing them slowly. I had to keep them apart (via a cage) but allow them to be within close proximity so they could get used to the company. The house became a circus, juggling two rabbits to ensure both of them had plenty of run-around time. Flops was noticeably put out by the situation. She normally has the run of the house but during this time, she kept going off in huff, anywhere that was away from the little black furball.

After four days, there were still no signs of friendship- Flopsy scrabbled at Ralph’s cage like a demon possessed and Ralph responded with similar aggression. The rabbit forums assured me “everything would be ok” and to “persist with the process”. I was dubious, but knew it could take several weeks.

One day I left them alone in the kitchen, separated by a six foot wire frame. I’d been gone a couple of hours but on my return I noticed things didn’t look right.

There were piles of fluff everywhere. When I inspected further, it was obvious an aggressive fight had occurred. One or the other had pulled the frame aside to create a hole just big enough for Ralph (quite small) to squeeze through (Flopsy, taking after her owners, is a little on the chunky side so could never make the great escape). Ralph had ventured into Flopsy’s territory and suffered the consequences.

The scene resembled a post apocalyptic pillow fight, yet the two rabbits were in their respective areas looking fairly subdued. So, I set about cleaning up the mess and considered knitting a rabbit fur jumper from the remains. Then, to my horror, I found RALPH’S TAIL!!!! The WHOLE TAIL! RALPH WAS TAILLESS! not a rabbit’s foot, A RABBIT’s TAIL! small and black and fluffy – OH MY GOD! NOOOOOOO

Ralph was rushed to the Vet’s to have the damage assessed – it was nothing short of horrid. His tail had been skinned and all that was left was a bloody stump which had to be amputated.

When I recovered from the news of the amputation, I was bowled over by two more bombshells a) the cost and b) RALPH was a GIRL- the RSPCA made a mistake!!!

No wonder they didn’t get on. Every single piece of advice given to me before adopting our new rabbit included “don’t put two females together”. Poor Ralph/Rosie would had to spend the night at the vets and endure one week of oral antibiotics! Awwww poor little thing – as soon as she was better we took her back to the RSPCA.

Sad story isn’t it, but have no fear everyone… three nights ago, Flopsy, L and I met a Bunny Rescue lady in a car park on the M1 (not by accident, the meeting was arranged). She brought two little boys, Clive and Dooley to meet Flops and under the cover of darkness, we bundled them into the back of her car and let Flopsy decide who she liked best.

Clive it was and since then its been a hassle free introduction. Contrary warnings about females becoming aggressive and territorial, Flops has been more than welcoming. I can just imagine her hopping around the house saying in a posh voice “now this is the living room where you can relax in front of the fire and munch on carrot whilst being groomed – just make yourself at home darling”.

Clive is still settling in and is already litter trained but he has an unfortunate rabbit-lust for Flopsy. I think she was hoping for some gentle head licking and some warm snuggles but the little guy is mad for it! Apparently, according to the forums, he’s just ‘asserting’ himself… For Flopsy’s sake I hope he calms down – she is looking a little harassed and now sits cleverly with her rear end against a wall or other immovable object.

So people, you may not be rabbit lovers or should I say lovers of rabbits…. actually lets just say you might not appreciate rabbits as pets, so I apologise for this post. I must sound like a complete weirdo – probably worse than a dog lover – but I do think there’s a moral to this story somewhere. Let me think… or maybe you could suggest one!

Ciao for now