Happy Halloween!

Hmm. I bet I’m the only person in the whole damn world who calls their blog “Happy Halloween” this weekend…

I’m not really interested in Halloween, having thrown the Halloween party to end all Halloween parties when I was 12, way back in 1983. Everything since has been a let-down. Saying that, though, yesterday I popped round to see my friend Justine and ended up staying all day, unable to resist the lure of her All Hallows Eve festivities. Her house was decked out in everything from ghostly paper chains to spooky cobwebs and she was getting down with the scary vibe by making green vodka jelly shots (with chocolate maggots and spiders inside) and offering around pumpkins for her guests to hollow out.

I’ve never made a Halloween pumpkin before – they were far too expensive when I was a kid, so even my legendary 1983 party had to make do with scooped-out swedes (they’re a nightmare – you might as well hollow out a boulder). So, after my initial guilt – “There are people starving in the world and we’re throwing away all this vegetable goodness!” – I got stuck in and created a seriously wicked pumpkin.

I modelled it on Teal’c from Stargate SG-1. And I was stunned when one of Justine’s neighbours stopped by, took one look and cried, “It’s Teal’c!”

I’ve never felt so proud.

Changing the subject completely, the other night I learnt the most beautiful new word: “spiracle”. Isn’t it lovely? Spiracle. Like a cross between a spire and a pinnacle, or some sort of eyeglass, or an exotic boat heading off down the misty Nile on a mysterious adventure… Sadly, it’s actually an airhole in the side of a wasp. Not quite as glamorous.

I found this out on a quiz show called QI, which is possibly the most informative programme you could ever wish to watch. For instance, did you know that in the old days Meccano sets came in two sizes: “Box Standard” and “Box Deluxe”, and over the years these have been morphed into the phrases “bog standard” and “dog’s bollocks”? There’s a fact for your next pub quiz. Don’t say you don’t learn anything here, folks!

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