As she very often does, my good friend Carol Duncan has just stirred up something in my memory (see her comment on this post). She made me remember that a fifteen years ago I was someone else, or at least I looked like someone else.
For a start I was twice the size that I am now. Those of you who remember me from Scotland will remember the dark days when I drank too much, when I couldn’t sleep without drinking too much, when I didn’t take care of myself. I don’t want to go back to those days ever again.
When this picture was taken I was on the mend. My sister’s friend A (a zoo keeper) had to mind two baby lion cubs (Simba and Akita) over the Christmas holidays. Their mother had rejected them and refused to feed them. They were little and needed 24 hour care, as infants do I found this really old grainy video on You Tube which shows the two lions in A’s house.
We were invited over to A’s house during the Christmas holidays (December 1998) to the meet the lion cubs. It was an invitation that no one in their right mind would refuse.
At the time when these pictures were taken, I spent most of my time in jeans and walking boots. No idea why because I don’t remember actually doing that much walking. I did spend a long time on my nails though, which seems odd looking at my gnawed cuticles now. Funny how things change.
It’s weird but lions are not in the least bit silky. Their fur is rough, like a labrador dog’s coat. They bite a lot. This is fine when they are the size shown above, it’s kind of cute.
The second time that I met Simba, he was the size pictured at the top of the post. He was in fact about to jump on me when the photograph was taken. I was wearing a big fake fur coat. He jumped on my back and sank his teeth into my neck. It was done in fun but I could feel steel in the playful nip. When he dug his teeth in, he started to shake me by the neck. I felt cold terror for the first time in my life.
I’ve been bitten twice by the same lion and survived as my husband likes to tell people. I wouldn’t want to go back to offer him a third chomp.
It’s kind of hard to replicate the high of playing with lions. I wonder how zoo keepers who tend to elephants downsize to cats and dogs.
Funnily enough in the thirteen years since these photos were taken my perception of life in general and heel height in particular has changed.
When I bought these shoes (at the insistence of my father) I thought that they were really quite high, almost too high and flimsy to easily walk in.
And now? Now, at the insistence of my boss today, I’m going to concentrate on being happy* again.
Well, that’s the only reason I can explain why I ended up in the back garden doing lion impersonations. Life does funny things to a person.
*For happy, insert slightly unhinged.
Are you the same person that you were 10 years ago? If not, why not? What’s changed? Has it changed for better or for worse?