If my husband had married Ali, he would have suggested that they keep her surname, I know he would.
Ali rings me on the mobile as her phone is free after 7. I ask her to call me on the landline, she doesn’t have my number. I much prefer to hang off that piece of ergonomical plastic and my brain remains at the same temperature, no sizzling.
I know Ali through our baby group. Clearly baby groups have had a big impact on my life! We all had little boys apart from one mum who had little girls (with boys names).
Ali speaks with sympathy to me. ‘Poor you’ she says, having to ring up people and make random inane small talk’. And then we launch into an hour long sesh of hilarity, gossip and chit chat. If the quality of my conversations is judged by how many times the correspondent says ‘Don’t put this in the blog but…’, Ali is up there with the best!
My main connection with Ali is that she kindly offered to look after our small animals whilst we travelled round Europe in 2012. She already had one of our guinea pig’s offspring, Damian Parsley, and offered to have his mum and her friend, Rainbow and Genevieve and our anti-social rabbit, Mushroom.
To make things easy, she put them all in one big pen. For some time it went really well and then disaster struck- she messaged us when we were half way through Switzerland. Damian and Rainbow had produced a baby and Damian had committed suicide, although there was a slight chance he had been murdered.
However she was delighted with the completely inbred baby and when everyone, including us, had gone home, she sat him free in the garden and he is still there. He’s called Free Range. Not long ago she bought another guinea pig to keep him company.
‘What did you call that one?’ I ask(Ali is one of my most creative friends)
‘Free Range’ she laughs.
Ali runs a very successful business from her kitchen table sending home made soaps, lip balms, hair accessories and jewelry round Australia. She can’t understand where her time went before she took on this venture. I feel the same way, since doing this blog and taking a job as an actress at a lighthouse, I look back at the days before May as though they were in a bygone era.
I tell Ali what happened today. I arrived at the lighthouse and the chef was tearing out her hair over two tabby kittens she had caught. Cats are forbidden from National Parks in Australia and they had to go. Suddenly, and without warning, I heard a voice say ‘Don’t worry, I’ll find a home for them.’ It was my voice!
‘Just make sure the children don’t give them names’ she replied.
So when everyone tumbled into the car after school, they looked into a big box, expecting food. What they found were two spitting, swearing, blue eyed, feral, miniature moggies and each child burst into tears because they had never seen anything so cute.
Now in the warm dark of evening, I wonder what on earth I am going to do with Konichiwa and Salamat Danang.