Sorry slacking again.....but all is good so let's get on with it.
We haven't talked about Badger Girl for a while so lets. For once lets not talk about me. Badger Girl is alive and well but no longer selling kinky ladybird outfits or asking me to sell glo-sticks dressed in a tutu and thong. No. Although she is currently trying to claim she had a surfeit of dead/dying badgers inhabiting her property. Seriously.
She's now, mainly, teaching young people to handle stallions (or something). She's back in the arena with a whip and her boots on and her hair extensions under a riding hat and, it appears, for this new job she requires a character reference.....
So who she's gonna ask?
Well the first thing that shocked me, other than the fact she asked ME, was that, when I sat down and figured it out she's been part of my life for 22 years. TWENTY TWO. Gulp. That makes me feel like I should actually be a grown up.
And then? Well the temptation was to run free and tell the whole story but you know, not many future employers are ready to hear that, so I just told them the bits that make her a fab employee. The fact she's the most hardworking person I ever met. The fact she's got a great sense of humour, she's trustworthy, she never judges people, she can get on with anyone and she's honest. Hell I trusted her to mind my children when I went to funeral. I think she took them out in the dark to help her catch dangerous unbroken ponies before feeding them sweets and putting on Scooby Doo - but hell the kids loved it and are used to being cared for by my mother (latest update: 'Mummy - grandma has been teaching us about doing scratchcards!'..... oh hell how far have we fallen now?!) so it was a step up. But you know, there is an unwritten character reference itching to get out....so here it is..... Badger Girl this one's for you.....may we still be calling havoc in the Sunset Retirement Home....
"To Whom it May Concern,
I have known Badger Girl for 22 years. Yes TWENTY TWO YEARS. I must need help because looking back our relationship has looked something like this....
It started innocently enough on the back of some ponies but it wasn't long before she'd got me carrying her cigarettes so her mum wouldn't catch her, put me in a shopping trolley at the carnival and let it go down a rather steep hill. In front of the police. I should have known to get out of the relationship right then but something made me stay (fear?).
This was a mistake because not long after she informed me she had a box of hair dye and needed to use it. On me. I was adamant this was a NO but somehow she bullied me into 'just 10 minutes'. Several hours later my sobs of protest (and her cackling witch-like laughter) brought her mother to the table and she was ordered to stop before my entire scalp getting burnt off and wash it out. Which she did. With milk. She lived on a dairy farm. There was plenty of milk around. Warm milk.
On our relationship went. Memorable moments include her putting me on a trailer and revving a quad bike up so I resembled a swamp creature and throwing me onto the back of an (unsaddled) horse so I flew straight off the other side and landed arse first on a breeze block. Oh how her laughter still rattles through my brain.
Then, for some reason, I asked her to be my one and only bridesmaid. This meant she organised my hen do. Her first move was to take me, her, my mum and her mum to a comedy club. The first joke was about epileptics giving blow jobs. My mum worked her entire live with the disabled. Unfazed by oral sex she was rather cross that people were making jokes at the expense of those with serious health problems.
Or maybe she'd rather not swallow.
Several hours of 'oh my god my MUM can't sit next to me hearing this' later we escaped and the next day she took me raft building on Exmoor. In November. The water temperate was so cold we weren't allowed to build rafts as if we fell in it would kill us. Potentially. So they put us in canoes instead with inflatable crocodiles. Go figure. We got very wet and nearly died. Then we raced quad bikes. Then we went to a very bad nightclub in Exeter where I got mistaken for a Transvestite and asked to leave the ladies toilets. We then got in a taxi and the driver asked if I was on my stag do. Nope - you really couldn't make it up.
She's stuck with me through all my dramas. I can be sat there saying 'oh my god, I don't know how to go on, I mean you know, it's all too much....' and she'll say 'shift it Stickhead, I need you to tell me if this badger is dead or not'.
And if fact it was her that christened me Stickhead. A name so well known down here I once had a cheque written to 'Stickhead'. I couldn't cash it. Sadly.
She collects ponies like shoes and she has a million kittens that get born in her sock draw and piss all over her floors. She's the only person that can keep up with my tea intake. She's not been seen without copious fake tan on since about 1999. Like me she will die with mascara on. She's recently tried to give up smoking. When I asked her how long she'd lasted after her counselling session she looked chuffed and told me '4 hours. But then it got stressful. And anyway, I was in the vets the other day and there was a Labrador in there which had eaten 24 packs of Nicorette gum and was REALLY ill. Which just proves all that stuff is bad for you.....'.
She's the only person who has nearly got me killed in a mosh pit. In a poncho. She's scared of nothing yet she's terrified of stiff badgers. I had to teach her how to text and even now it's easier to write her a letter.
There are some people who never have a friend like Badger Girl and you know what, despite the bruises, the ruined hair, the laughter at my expense, the fact she nearly killed me several times, the fact she's the only living person still drinking Snowballs and has a corner bath which used to hold ducklings - before Rod the Emu came to live with her (don't ask what happened to Rod - DON'T), the fact there is an actual real 'beast' (like a panther or something) living on her farm and she once paid me to spend a night painting the torsos of teenage boys with luminous body paint - I bloody love her. And if you're lucky enough to have her in your workforce just hang on and go with the ride.....
Yours - forever Stickhead"