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The spice of life

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Writing prompt number eight – 13 December 2020

The gauntlet was thrown down by The challenge to pick a word from her teabag of the day courtesy of her tea Advent calendar and to write for a whole 15 minutes to see what you produce. I duly took up the challenge and am now presenting you with 5 minutes of unedited, undiluted insert epithet here in the comments. Please note: these are random musings and no facts have been verified!


Well, I couldn’t really let that one go, could I? I do have red hair after all. Or maybe it’s more titian, or auburn, or mahogany, or copper. I could go on, but you’re probably not all that interested in my hair colour.

As a child, it was the bane of my life. It had a mind of its own and I could never keep it in good order. Waist-length it was. Rich and plentiful. It should have been the envy of any child but as anyone with red hair will tell you, it isn’t. Nope, no, no siree, not on your Nelly, get out of here. Redheads are singled out as a figure of fun even before we’ve opened our gobs. And, redheads are wise to become a bit gobby, believe me.

Waist-length hair sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Well, if you are a bit of a wild thing and prone to wrapping the sweetly-scented tar that bubbles up from between the flagstones outside your front door at the age of five around yourself, it isn’t. What drove me to wind it round and round my body several times is lost down the ages, all I remember is the swarfega. Used to love the smell of that stuff, which is just as well because for the next two hours, I was subjected to it along with a scrubbing brush. At the finish up, my skin was the same colour as my hair.

This habit of wilfulness was pretty much a theme, following through my childhood like a bad smell (still does every now and again). It got me into quite a tangle with my granma, a stern-looking woman who much preferred my more docile big sister to me and the shenanigans I used to get up to.

I remember being around 6 or so, waist-length hair still very much present and my hair was having a day all of its very own. Pippi Longstocking had nothing on me. My granma gave me a look that would strip wallpaper and told me that if I didn’t get a brush through that hair, she would cut it all off. Now back in the day, we didn’t have such fancy things as Tangle-Teezers, all that was available to me was a plastic hairbrush. You know the one, those with the horrible nobby things on the end of them. As you can imagine, getting that thing through the fuzziness of my head was a no-go. Long story short: me, stood in the living room bawling my eyes out; my granma hacking at my head with the kitchen scissors. Hacking being the operative word. My hair stood out from my head like my body had been subjected to a bolt of 20,000 watts. A bad hair day doesn’t quite cut it. But there was worse to come. When my mum caught sight of the dastardly doings of my granma, she went ever so slightly ballistic. She dragged me off to the local hairdresser with a mind to putting things to rights. Well, there isn’t a right lot a hairdresser can do with a lousy haircut than to cut it even shorter and cut it shorter she did. I remember going into my local shop to buy some sweets afterwards and the shopkeeper saying: Now, laddy, what can I do for you. And that’s it a double whammy. Not only did I have to suffer the ignominy of being a Ginger, I had also undergone a sex change!

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