The Fred, The Mongoose and The No-Fish


My Fred is not a ‘thick bastard’ as John describes him. Ok so he walked into a rock because he was staring at a mongoose. That doesn’t make him stupid that makes him very sensible because those mongooses are shifty little beasts. I stand with Fred on that one. Mongoose have a look in their eyes similar to the look I see in the face of a Jehovah’s Witness heading towards me with a copy of ‘Watchtower’. In my opinion Fred is far from stupid, he’s an example of Darwin’s theory; he has adapted to his environment and survived. Fred may be timid when it comes to mongoose, boat lines, bangy-bats and his own shadow, but I think this is a genetic timidity, one which I’ve observed in a lot of the Antiguan dogs. Fred is still the most kind, gentle and loving little dog we’ve ever had in our family. It’s almost a shame that we cut his balls off so he can’t pass on those street smarts to the next generation, but Antigua has enough problems with strays without my Freddy’s genes out there too. John did not get a verbal blasting for slating the lovely Fred because I am a reasonably tolerant person. I do shriek like a banshee when someone comes steaming through the harbour at over five knots because that sends Mahalo bucking around on her mooring lines like a donkey with a chilli up its arse but I’ve never killed anyone because of it. In fact I’ve never knowingly killed anyone. There are a couple of males in Yorkshire who carry the psychological and physical scars from having a broken nose. In my defence one twanged my bra strap when I was twelve and he got both barrels of my fury – yeh yeh I know, me in a bra at twelve. I think I had the theory that if you build the scaffolding around them, they will come. I’m still waiting. Still, at least I won’t get chaffing on my shins from my nipples when I’m seventy. Oh, and the other guy who got a broken nose called me a prick-tease. Of all the names I could be called that one is not remotely apt.  Anyone who has known me over the years knows for a fact that if I said I was going to fuck someone, I did*. Bloody male entitlement, grumble grumble he was lucky to walk away with his gonads still attached.


My tolerance is tested differently now. Since throwing open the doors of our small home to guests through Airbnb we’ve met great people – I touched briefly on this in a previous blog. For John, the suggestion to run our house as a part-time small business was not an easy sell but once the accounts showed that ten days of bookings pays for a whole month’s community charge and utilities he was swayed to my way of thinking. The only inconvenience we could envisage was that John wouldn’t be able to walk around the house with his love tackle hanging out once it got to rum o’clock and his one man Pink Floyd axe solos would need to be turned down a little – I don’t mind the mad axe solos, it’s the one hundredth attempt at that ONE phrase in ‘Purple Haze’ that he just can’t get which is slowly murdering my love for Hendrix. So in rolled the guests. Some required a little more work than others. We met the incredibly adventurous Holly-human, Simon-human, Daisy-baby (I’m assured Daisy is human just in miniature form but its such a long time since I’ve been around babies that I had to be reminded) and Scrump-dog. This vibrant family unit are sailing their way around the world and they have been drifting in and out of our lives for the last few months, now they’re finally on the next stage of their voyage. We’ve had vacationers from Harlem, Chelsea and her partner Taj – wide eyed energetic young people who I am absolutely sure will make a difference to this planet. We met with Hary from Berlin, a first time sailor who kept coming back to walk the dogs even after he’d left to join his boat! We had Billy from Virginia who works as a journalist in Canada. We spent too many nights sitting up talking with Billy. We didn’t quite put the world to rights but we did wonders for the distillery’s profits here on the island. We had part of The Barmy Army pass through in a frenzy of perfume and tutu skirts. Kosta from Vancouver who was a real dark horse, that’s not true, Kosta is far from dark as his feet paid testament to when they got sautéed the first day he was here. Kosta is originally from Russia but moved to Canada for a new life, he decided to learn how to sail and now he competes on serious big-girl&boy racing yachts, Awe inspiring in the truest sense of the phrase. Many of our guests were absorbed into our un-scheduled life and we hope that no one has required therapy once they have returned home. So tolerance? Why? Well there’s always a real chance when you throw open the doors to your own home that you’ll get a real bunny-boiling psycho-troll rolling through the door. We’ve been reasonably lucky on that score, we’ve never actually told anyone to fuck off, yet. No the risk is that someone will show up with political and religious views that are polar opposite to our own. We thought we’d got away with it, until last week. We took an out of season booking – two people from Louisiana – last minute through some friends of ours. I had to set aside my own prejudice and allow them in with a completely open mind. My prejudice – the same as all prejudices – stemmed from ignorance. My only experience of people from Louisiana and the deep south of The USA to this point in life has been Fox News, commercials for NASCAR, ‘Deliverance’ and the Donald Trump supporters that online news outlets vomit at me via the Internet. For the first few nights we were able to stay clear of politics, religion and The Confederate history of The USofA. We enlisted midweek back up by way of inviting some friends over for a dinner party. It was touch and go for a while when the subject of Vietnam came up but me being the awesome host that I am, I timed my cheesecake entrance to perfection. We dodged controversial bullets incredibly well. I nearly took a few rounds when I suggested that health care free at the point of delivery works well in The UK, I got a full frontal assault of eye-daggers that said, “Why don’t you just invite the Commies to come over to eat our first born?” The final night arrived and I was feeling thoroughly smug, I’d begun to think that I’d grown as a person – in the past I’d have poked angry people just to watch them turn purple and foam at the mouth in illogical rage. And then it happened John went and asked the big no-no, the one thing you never ask anyone who has been dropping hints all week that their faith drives them and their church is clearly a huge comfort and focus in their lives back in The USA. John asked our guests WHY they believe in God. I headed for the sink to wash up and afterwards grabbed a large rum and coke and tried to go fetal in the corner of the sofa. I think the debate rumbled on for three hours. I do know at one point I muttered that I simply don’t care and if there is a God why’s s/he not doing something about all the shit in the world right now. That was ignored, so I put some Peter Gabriel music on as a distraction and threw some more rum down the hatch. My choice of satanic music had a Noriega effect on them and they retired to bed. We parted on good terms the following morning, so much so that they left a John a gift. John is now the proud owner of a Kindle Fire with a whole host of books installed which ‘prove’ scientifically why creation is true, not just true because our guests choose to believe its true and that makes more sense to me, I’ll accept that explanation one hundred percent, if faith gives them joy and meaning to their life I would never be the person to tell them they’re wrong, but when someone says they have mathematical, empirical data which proves once and for all that some big assed hairy bloke in the sky did it all, forgive me if I raise an eyebrow of extreme skepticism. I look forward to John’s assessment of these great works of science. Thankfully I won’t be here when he’s reading his way through all this evidence because I’ll be taking a short holiday in The UK. The UK no longer feels like home, it’s now a place I see on TV – sadly too often for the wrong reasons recently – it feels remote. It’s a place I visit to see friends and family. I know I’m not Antiguan either, I have no right to claim that title right now, if ever. I suppose that makes me a Trish, a more tolerant Trish. I’ve even stopped screaming at the fishing rod when once again we return home from sailing with no fish. I’ll claim tolerance**, it might not be a nationality but I sure as shit believe it should be an ideology, and that can never be a bad thing.


*Mr Trish is the only recipient these days.

**Tolerance is not the same as apathy, I will never be apathetic. My blood is too hot to allow apathy to slime it’s treacherous tendrils around my soul. 


The Black Dog and The Big Steaming Pile of Shit.


This ramble had intended to be a very deep and serious soul bearing skin cringing discussion on depression and mental illness/ill health whatever the correct terminology is these days. I can’t keep up with it all. However as with most things in my life I got distracted. I watched a bit of music on YouTube, which led me to Christopher Hitchens which in turn led me to George Carlin and somewhere in the middle of all that I’ve been dipping in and out of ‘The Book of Human Skin’ by Michelle Louvric (a good read by the way if you like sadomasochism, melodrama and history).  So I’m probably in a very strange place emotionally and psychologically. I am an over thinker. There I said it. I obsess, I replay scenarios in my head, and I ponder on ‘what if’ like some sort of Dungeons and Dragons game; if this happens then that will happen, roll dice to attack dragon, what do you mean the dragon is in my head?  See, I’m easily distracted.

So I pondered on depression for a while. I don’t mean the down days, or the I feel fat days, or life isn’t giving me what I think I’m entitled to days. I mean depression. My Mum reliably informs me that Winston Churchill referred to his depression as ‘the black dog’. I should research my sources better, but she’s my Mum so suck it up buttercup, this isn’t an academic paper.  Well Mr Churchill all I can say is bollocks. The only black dog in my life is young Master Fred the shifty little stray from Antigua. I like to think of my own depression as a big old sack of shit that I carry around with me every day. On the days that the wind blows in the wrong direction the stench from it is over powering, exhausting, it saps the very life force from my body and crushes me under its weight.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for pity, please spare me your pity. I am just telling you what depression is to me. I could bore you with tales of feeling like a cuckoo chick in life but I won’t. I should imagine most people feel like that; it’s the sucky side of being a sentient being endowed with the capacity for self-reflection.  Anyway, I have depression; I live with it, for the most part cope with it, recognise when the wind has changed direction and prepare for the stench to hit.

The sack of shit also might explain my intense emotional reactions to things. On the days and sometimes weeks that the stench descends I feel nothing, so during the times that I smell only sweetness I revel in emotions. There are several fellow dog walkers who can testify to this. Only yesterday when walking the dogs I was listening to George Carlin’s ‘When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?’ and I was struck by his diatribe on why women are crazy (because men are stupid, seriously read it, listen to it whatever but everyone should experience his logic before they die, even if you don’t agree at least open your mind to the possibility of another point of view) and I let out a huge raucous tree shaking laugh, much to the shock of 2 people coming towards me! I scared the crap out of the dogs as well. Holly gave me a withering glance and Fred went into ninja mode which he does when he’s confused/worried/hungry/happy/awake.

I think my intensity and blistering extremes frighten the hell out of some people. I wouldn’t like to try and understand me, and I am me.  My husband is pretty much the only person who has come close to understanding me and at least he’s accepting of the full Trish; although there was fear in his voice on the day I phoned him to ask if we have an axe.

Someone, I don’t remember who suggested I might like to go to church and do the whole Christianity thing and all my mental ills would vanish because God can cure that. Well, I don’t have God or Gods or Goddesses or any sort of Deities in my life. Maybe if I did I’d not have the sack of shit and that post colonial western white version of God would lift this sack of shit from my shoulders and release me from all my ills?  To be honest with you a lot of religious people come across as clinically insane anyway so I’ll err on the side of no spaghetti monsters in the sky thank you very much. Its tough enough living with the stench let alone adding guilt, sin, feeling bad for having a wank because you think some god is watching you (fucking pervert, why would a god care about self-pleasuring anyway. Giving humans the equipment for pleasure and telling them not to use it just plain cruel.)

So no I don’t subscribe to the glow of faith being a great healer. I’ll stand alongside all the other non-believers in the world, proudly and defend my right to be so.

And guess what? If my lack of faith offends you…..FUCK OFF.

Oh and Fred is doing just fine.