Talking To Strangers About Penguins

I’ve been waiting to post this post to replace that scary cat puzzle. It’s still in my house by the way. But at least it’s no longer the first thing you see when you visit my blog. It was funny at the time, but moving on.

Have I mentioned my house is a mess?

Someone hid my grabber and true story, I can’t pick stuff up off the floor with without my Inspector gadget gadget.

Also, Isla’s been sick and she just went back to school yesterday. I could tell she wasn’t feeling well. On Monday, we were hanging out and she goes, ‘let’s cuddle and watch Gilmore Girls.

My kid suggested togetherness and feel-good TV.


I raced into the bedroom before she could change her mind. She didn’t. Our mother-daughter bonding time included her barfing on my bed, but y’know.

Moving on, again.

And so, I’m sitting in a cafe with Isla last week (it happens sometimes) and an embarrassing moment happened.

In recounting this story, I just now realized that this was also last time I actually left the house. That’s also weird, but back to the embarrassing moment numero uno.

Now. Let me preface this with the compounded weird confession that I sometimes take on the accents of people I’m talking to or overhear.

And of course the people at the next table were from London.

Before I know it, I’m taking to Isla like I just got back from Albert Square on Eastenders.

Neil thinks my fake London accent is passable, of course he’d say that.


  1. It’s in the small print of the marriage certificate that he must think I’m good at everything, up to and including fake accents.
  2. He’s from Edinburgh. What does he know about London?

So, my voice carries. And these strangers at the table next to me last week, with their maps and thermoses, are looking at me, confused.

But at least it lead to conversation, awkward start or not.

‘It’s just this thing, never mind,’ I said to them. As they looked at me over their glasses, I kinda felt like I was back at school.

It would seem I was saved by the penguins. Isla carries her giant blue penguin everywhere. Occasionally, Victoria is a welcome talking point, and um, ice-breaker.

Victoria not pictured.

‘What your penguin’s name?’

‘Victoria,’ said Isla. ‘I take her everywhere.’

Nice old couple looked at me again.

‘Yes, I’ve tried to downsize for about four years. It’s not working. Would you like a travel mascot?’

They went on their way, and the goodbyes were slightly less awkward than how we started.

And that my friends, is my contribution to this week’s people-watching prompt. Except I spoke to the people, too. Is that extra points?

Also on deck this week is:

Carol’s Watching and Waiting

Ritu’s The Coffee Shop

Ellen’s Playing Like Children

Sarah’s Beachwalkers

And Susanne’s yet more Watching and Waiting

Since Wednesday isn’t over yet, if anyone would like to add their words this week, add your link in the comments and I’ll get you on the list.

Here are some pointers on how to use writing prompts, if you are stuck.

The writing prompt for next week is: puzzle.

And I know I keep changing the day for the roundups, but the one for puzzle will be posted Thursday, October 11th.

Originally published at Gin & Lemonade.