It was a very long time ago. They were good days, days of sweet innocence. I was less than six months old. Just about. I had been having a very good year since being born on New Year's Eve in a house in Greater Manchester. The year had started slowly. I had lived in that house until being collected by my person. She didn't know quite what to do with me because she had never had to look after a blob toy before, least of all an autistic blob toy. I spent much of my early life sitting on her bed, spending my days with the other friends in her bedroom. During the year more friends arrived, so many of them that some of them have to live in another room.
I lived my whole life there. My person liked having me around but didn't know that I would develop to be such a well rounded person. She liked the fact that I was a gift to her from my creator, just like my friend Portal, and so she kept me close at night. But I didn't go anywhere. It wasn't until nearly the end of April that I was taken out for my first adventures. Towards the end of April my person had a day which transformed her life too but I wasn't there for that one. She got sent out of the house and was ordered to find at least one thing that was a thing of joy. She ended up taking a random bus and found several things of joy. But I wasn't there. Coincidentally we're going back on that bus today for another adventure.
It was just a few days after that transforming day that my life was transformed. My person went out on an adventure she had planned - a walk that began at a bus stop on that bus route and ended at another bus stop on that bus route. That sounds a bit dull doesn't it? But it was a walk that included a river, a long sandy beach, clifftops and art along a promenade. I think it must have been my creator who suggested that my person take me with her. A friend to have with her. My person agreed and she took the very first photos of me taken outside on that day. The very first. That was the 25th of April. My first outing.
My life and character have transformed since then. I've been on lots of adventures. My creator suggested that my person write a single blog post about them. Later she suggested that I get my own blog. And it turns out that I am much better at writing my blog than my person ever was. To start with she wrote it all. Then I changed things so we would discuss the adventure and she would write from our discussions. Now I dictate it. Sometimes that means the posts go in directions neither of us expect.
My life changed in the biggest way at the end of July with the birth of my sister Winefride. She has changed everything for me. But on this day, a very long time ago, that I'm talking about today, there was no Winefride. She was as yet unborn and undreamed of. Life was very exciting though.
On that particular day my person and I had gone for an afternoon walk. We had taken a bus to the centre of Manchester and were now walking along the banks of the River Irwell. I was enjoying the walk. Especially as it hadn't yet started to rain. We took lots of photographs in the portion of the walk before the rain. Less photographs when it was raining somewhat. And then none at all in the last couple of miles when it was raining lots. My person had only planned to walk about three miles. Instead we walked eight. Mostly in the rain without a coat. My person is a bit weird sometimes.
As we walked further from the centre the river began to get more pretty. I think it we had walked even further it would have got even more pretty. My person wants to do that another day and see how far she can get up the river. She also wants to walk down the river from where we began that day, past Strangeways prison and beyond to the countryside. Here's the river. On the right is a housing estate. Up the bank to the left is a park. It was all very pleasant and we still hadn't walked far.
It started to get increasingly pretty and there were lots of bridges. We took pictures of some of the road bridges but this one is a foot bridge. We wanted to take pictures of it from the other side too but there were two people who met on the bridge, a man and a woman. They obviously had some kind of disagreement because they shouted and shouted and got louder and louder and said more and more words that I found difficult to hear. I'm very glad that Winefride wasn't there to hear them. She's non-verbal but you can almost guarantee that if she did pick up words to say - and probably say over and over again - they would be some of those naughty words I heard shouted from the bridge. Winefride would probably be shouting out ******* or some other such word that I would have to asterisk out and she would be laughing and laughing and shouting the rude word without any notion that it might not be the most appropriate thing to do. These two people on the bridge shouted so much and said so many mean things that I got worried about them and worried that one of them might end up leaving the bridge and entering the water below. So we stood at a distance and waited until the two people parted again, still shouting. It's very sad. What could possibly merit such shouting? I don't know.
Our walk progressed along the river. And then things got worrying. We saw a question on the ground. A question.
What time is it Mr Fox?
I knew what time it was. I knew very well. It was about half past three. I'm making that up. I don't know exactly what time it was. That's just a guess because I know it was the afternoon. It might have been earlier than that though.
But the question was being asked. What time is it Mr Fox?
All of a sudden an animal jumped out of the bushes by the side of the river. It was Mr Fox. Except he wasn't a fox my person says. He was a wolf. Later my person said that he had changed his name to Mr Fox because children nowadays aren't expected to know what a wolf is because (we thought) there weren't any wolves left in England. There weren't wolves left in England when my person was little but children then still had to know what they were. When my person was little they asked a similar question and played a game based on it.
What's the time, Mister Wolf?
The animal jumped out and opened its big mouth and said "DINNER TIME!"
I knew that was wrong. It wasn't much past lunch time. Certainly not dinner time. I knew that wouldn't be for hours yet. But this creature said it was dinner time and he seemed to think it was his dinner time. This wolf looked hungry, as if he had dropped his lunch by the water and ruined it, just as my person had dropped our lunch a couple of days earlier.
He looked ravenous.
And I didn't think that he would want to eat our last remaining packet of really-not-very-nice pea snacks from Aldi. The geese hadn't liked them. And I didn't like them either. I guessed they wouldn't be to the taste of Mr. Fox.
He sprinted up to us as fast as he could, all the while shouting "DINNER TIME!"
It was quite scary.
Then it got scarier.
Because it turned out that Mr. Fox the wolf was ravenous for me.
He wanted to eat me. A small pink soft toy.
It's true. He picked me up in his mouth just as my person was trying to take his picture. These pictures were taken afterwards, once we had managed to pacify Mr. Fox and convinced him not to eat me. There's another picture that was taken at the moment he grabbed me in his mouth. I'm not smiling in that one I can tell you. I didn't allow my person to post that photo because it scares me now a bit and also because it's very embarrassing because you can see right up my dress, all the way round.
It really was frightening to nearly be eaten by a wolf. His teeth hurt but fortunately didn't do any lasting damage. My person reacted quickly before he could run off with me back to the bushes and eat me. She dropped her camera and reached out to grab me but she didn't manage it and then she had to chase the wolf and chase the wolf and hope that she could catch up before she had to stop running which wouldn't have been very long because she's very unfit.
Fortunately she was able to get close to the wolf and she reached out and grabbed his tail. And she pulled. Hard. And pulled again. Harder. The wolf let out a big yelp because his tail hurt so much and he dropped me out of his mouth onto the ground. The wolf tried to run off but my person wouldn't let go of him and gave his tail another pull. How he howled.
My person held on tight and the wolf began to cry. It served him right for trying to eat me. We wondered what we should do. My person first made the wolf apologise to me. She then made him promise to not try to eat any more people even if he was hungry. He should go and apply for help at a local foodbank just like a million British humans are having to do because they can't afford to feed themselves under the austerity policies of the British government. My person told me I should include that sentence. My person said that eating people is wrong, especially when there are foodbanks. My person said that if she ever heard that the wolf had tried to eat another person she would come back and pull his tail again, even harder, and pull it so hard that it would feel like it was going to come off entirely. My person spent a long time telling off Mr. Fox until she knew that he wasn't going to eat anyone. My person did very well.
Afterwards I had the respectable pictures taken with the wolf and we sent him on his way with our last packet of pea snacks. They might not have been as tasty as a small pink soft toy. But they were food and the wolf would just have to have those until the foodbank opened the next day. Mr. Fox skulked off into the bushes and we never saw him again.
As we walked on we met some more animals. But they were far more friendly than a ravenous wolf. First we met a cat. It was very friendly even though it looked very worried about something. It never did tell us what the matter was. I think it might just have known that it would be raining soon and that it was going to get very wet because its owner had gone out for the day to Stockport.
And then we saw a black swan. The swan was very friendly indeed and even let me ride on its back. We crossed the river and came back several times. It was lots and lots of fun and I think my person felt a bit jealous because she was too big to ride on the back of a swan.
As it turned out, we were to meet lots more animals by the river. I'll tell you about them next time. I have to stop now my person says because we have to get ready to go and catch that bus I told you about. We're going to go to a museum at a colliery today. My person has been challenged by my creator to take a picture of a "busy exciting hat." Maybe we'll see one. After the museum we're going to walk in a park and then we're probably going to a cafe before coming home. It'll be another great big adventure and this time I will have my sister Winefride with me too. She would have loved riding on a black swan. She wouldn't have loved nearly being eaten by a wolf. Or by a tiger. But that's a story for another day.