jessica downlow4 (2)

Always I have hugged trees. Even as a small child I hugged them…all varieties mind…for there is nothing like communing with nature in my book. In point of fact nothing can match the feeling of bare skin on bark…the silver birch especially.

My parents thought me most odd. Pater would often say to me, ‘Jessica, you really do get on my tits with all that bloody tree hugging you know. Why not be like the other kids and go play in the road darling.’ We lived only a short distance from the busy M25 motorway at the time.

Mater called me an insipid, wearisome dullard with alarming regularity until the day she advised, “Jessica my dear, it’s no more tofu for you my girl until you stop this tree hugging malarkey. Even the neighbours are talking about you, and this is posh Surrey after all. We have our standards here.”  It wasn’t long before mater gave up on me. Earplugs, blindfolds, a gag and a straitjacket meant she could neither hear, see, speak with me nor touch me anymore.

And then the final straw came when pater took a chainsaw to all the trees in our vast garden. I was bereft I can tell you. Still that event prompted me to leave home and get a job as a trainee tree surgeon. It was there that I met Keith, the love of my life. However, after 6 years of courtship and what with him constantly begging…sometimes on his knees…to, as he put it, ‘get his leg across’ our relationship faltered then collapsed. Once again, I was near suicidal when he left me for Tulip Spelt-Soya the eco-warrior from the rough suburbs where the poor people live. She was as common as muck and had never caressed let alone hugged a tree in her life.

It was then I turned to writing poetry by way of a therapy of sorts. I recently wrote a verse regarding my experiences on that horrible Facebook place where no one has a rapport with trees. I shall share my musings with you now.

The snap of the cake I posted
For my Facebook friends to see
Got such a poor reception
It will be the death of me

Sammy wrote that it was crap
And Alice commented ‘shit’
John clicked ‘like’ on Alice
And said for eating it was unfit

That he wouldn’t feed it to his dogs
Or even his mother-in-law
And added rather hurtfully
That I was a fucking bore

And as for the photo of my Nan
I thought it nice to share
Yet my bestest friend named Jenny
Said she would suit the electric chair

And then there was my selfie
Which I thought made me look quite nice
Yet my Aunt Maud did message me
And passed on her advice

She told me to go get a life
In a place that’s far from here
Or it would be even better still
If I could just disappear

Why can I never find love?
What have I done to irk most people thus?
And why is it that even the local vicar
Wished to see me run over by a bus?

My dilemma persists so I’ve decided again to attempt to end it all. This will be my 48th venture in that regard. I’ve never had a great deal of luck when it comes to self-destruction. Anyhow, I’ve read somewhere that an overdose of alfalfa, clover, haricot beans, chickpeas, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind should make for a sticky end so that should do the trick.

I’m just off for a final tree hug. I am minded to seek out a sycamore this time.


    1. Well Ms S, the lovely Jessica Downlow goes way back to 2014. I have another 3 or 4 of these lurking in the background to bore you rigid with. They’ll have to do while I recover from my punishment beatings born of my incorrect spellings and wayward comma fest now being ripped apart by one who can spell and knows her commas well. By the way I have just returned from the most amazing hailstone storm I’ve ever been in. It should make the national news. Folkestone turned into the annual River Nile overflow. All around, bright blue skies; overhead an immobile black cloud. The hailstones as big as marbles bounced off my head in droves much to the pleasure of a small child sat with her mother in the motor.

      1. Mike, thanking you. Truly. Just no had a mo the last two days so on the catch up now. We had the Mr’s play at the Hamish Matters Festival in Blairgowrie and given it was the second time the cast were all together, given we had no place to rehears except our living room, given we were 3 members and the stage manager down and only 1 member up,–at one point I even played my own father– given that this play has grown feet and legs in terms of the staging and the cartload of props and placards… I think brutal is the way to describe Friday. Fortunately I had made and frozen some of the food for my birthday cos the family were coming early cos there’s wee ones. BUT a great two very different days, I have to say xxxxx

      2. I do believe that the skills of coping in a crisis are…certainly for the main part…female skills. What with having babies to protect and such like evolution has ensured that women are programmed to cope far better than is the male of the species. ‘Tis one of the reasons I enjoy the company of women far more than I do male chums. Women impress me. Male uselessness, example. The sun wasn’t up when the lightbulb on the middle landing died. I found myself saying swear words as I pondered the point as to the location of the fuse box and whether or not I might be able to change the bulb without a ladder. Still in deep thought I hear a ‘click’ of what surely must have been the fuse box being reset, then she appears with both ladder and replacement bulb. Advising me to go forth and multiply. Job done by a woman who had been sleeping soundly until she heard my swear words. Shirl gets a result while I remained bewildered. I shall add to that that women don’t bore like most chaps do. Enjoy the day, you and yours, The Old Fool

      3. You know Mike…maybe you are right. One of Friday’s night’s first moments of mayhem in our ‘every nite a different show’…cos that is our tagline was when the Mr, who never ever puts a thing away, tidied into the washing basket he brings on as a kettle biler..(a house husband would be the term today except there men were just not give jobs here in ‘She Town’ cos it was cheaper to employ women ) in Act 2. Except he did it between the rehearsal and the play start. So despite the fact I set the props I never saw it under the table where I had left it .Cos the Mr has put it with his stuff and the older girl who watched him do it never thought to say. So we gets to Act 1 scene 2 and it is all going amazingly and I does this sideways leap as William Wallace into this petticoat except it’s not there. The mind kicks in as it always does asking myself do I need it? Can we go on without it? And the answer is NO cos the Mr will poke underneath it 3 times with a sword but hey I can take off my trenchcoat and knot it on. Except for the first time ever I have remembered to remove that coat at the end of scene1 and I now have roughly 1 minute while the Mr is poking about in the audience asking 3 times ( everything is in 3s including feck ups in this play) ‘have you seen a man come this way, wench?’ and he won’t delay. So I goes to the horrified older girl who is sat there as a weaving woman. ‘I need a disguise.’ And I rush to the props table. Everything is done outfront, we never leave the stage so that is something. And I am met there by cast member also called Mike, who tells me it is not there. Now Mike is actually my sort of unofficial stage manager…usually his partner is that but she in the audience cos she was not involved this time. So if Mike tells me it is not there it is not there. So I mouths a certain word several times THEN I grabs the 9 foot net curtain we use for Mary Queen of Scots’ ghost which Jane is sitting with. Now she’s a big wummin and she grabs it back. So despite the fact I am the boss lady I am going’ Gimme me. You will get it back.’ The irony being we both hold it up in the McGonagall/Macbeth scene as a stage backdrop.’ So I makes it back on. Mike’s partner just thought this was a new way we were doing that scene cos I change so much every run.

      4. I rest my case. In that situation the average male would say a rude word and give up the ‘ghost’…so to speak. I well remember an old chum of mine. For reasons I never understood he would upon each and every Sunday morning dismantle his motorbike where upon he would neatly lay out its component parts on a sheet outside his garage. Then one day he had a child just old enough to be inquisitive. It was while said chum had popped indoors to make himself a cup of tea that the child shuffled the bike parts. Confusion prevailed. It took him a whole week to put his bike back together. We’re he a woman then all would have been well. The child would not have had the opportunity his father had afforded him. Also, did you know that if, say, a woman stops her car and asks someone for directions, women retain that information, whereas men don’t. The male mind apparently works better with maps. Given that science used this as an example I did, in France, some years back test the theory using Shirl and I as laboratory animals. It is spot on. I think the net result proves that women listen, and that is likely the reason women tend to resolve rather panic or…in my case…give up. Certainly, given the pressures of acting you did the remarkable and kept the show on the road. That’s it. I can take the cold no longer. The central heating is going on whether she likes it or not!

    2. Oh hell Mike.. so cold here today we had to get the heating on earlier than usual. really bitter for November. That is hysterical re the bike. Honest. I bet he never took that to bits again. Brilliant story. Abso prize winning.
      That Wallace scene was but one keeping the show on the road. I could well see as we reached scene 3 the MR had totally lost the entire thing and we could potentially be expecting all manner of stuff although the next major biggie in terms of that was actually NOT him.

      1. The main thing is that you nailed it. Splendid to hear. Improvisation as young G would say…too often. For my part, the turning on of the heat fell on deaf ears. I’d quite forgotten that downstairs the chaps had arrived to replace 1893’s floorboards. They needed both back doors be left open so the old wood and new could be brought in and out, in masses. Of course, Shirl called me a forgetful old twat (the ‘old’ hurt me most) and that with the doors open to the freeze no amount of central heating would work. Such is life. I wore my special gloves until 4pm when, at last, they had finished. I hate winter.

      2. Perishing again today. What was you thinking of getting work like that done at this time of year????????? I alos fine when that is going on, it takes days to get the heat back up again in a house.

      3. It certainly does. Cold defeats central heating when 1893 floorboards are removed. We should have had this done in the summer, especially so as the new carpets won’t get fitted until the 21st. Swear words abound. 8 days in bed methinks!

      1. “Back in the day” I was called a tree-hugger, but it wasn’t a complimentary name back then. AND, I sure didn’t do THAT!! haha

    1. Cheers. I think one needs to be swoony to hug trees. That is the drawback. I do rather envy the swoony ones though. They have a world view I respect…’tis just that they don’t seem to laugh much. ‘Failings with a laugh’ is likely better than ‘swoony with a frown’!

      1. I must agree, swoony with a frown will get one nowhere. I haven’t hugged any trees lately (or ever) but I did get a good laugh as always from your amazing writing.

      1. Jolly good point, although climbing up in the first place affords scope for disaster. Perhaps she will let gravity do the work. Possibly a large cushion (environmentally friendly one) would suffice?

  1. I have knew some tree huggers. I liked them. Myself, I talk to the trees when I burn some sage. A wonderful story written my friend. Your stories, make me remember some of the crazy folks, I have known.

    1. Cheers Sir. I also like…envy even….the swooners of this dull planet. This piece was akin to a gal I once knew well back in the day. A nutter without a clue that that was so…a darling girl, always.

    1. Hell’s bells, Ms K Kessler. You must hate me now. There’s naught wrong with tree hugging, ’tis more that I write about things in life that amuse me…more often than not I satirise myself. Better that than end it all. Best wishes, The Old Fool

    1. My thanks that you read this dubious piece, Connetta. I couldn’t agree more. Writing about trees is a joy…a little easier for me given the subject matter. Best regards, The Old Fool

      1. Not just that. Devoid of trees there is no life on Earth. Coincidentally, my son and I have just been discussing the demise of forests, over dinner. Likely they are the most important ‘things’ on the planet for a galaxy of reasons. Good on you. The Older Fool Than Previous

      1. I know, right? It’s just too much. And the fact my kids are quickly approaching the age where they *want* to be on social media…ugh, I’m too old for this shit…

  2. Oh my goodness, I do hope the legume mix puts an end to her sorry existence. At least, sycamore won’t give splinters to her… what they call them – her ‘recreational parts’…

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