It was a sunny September day, in the last week of the school holidays. I was aged 7 and I walked with two friends the short distance to the local park to play. There I saw a large unaccompanied dog. I loved all animals and had always longed for a pet of any sort but had never been allowed to have one. I approached the dog and patted his head. I still remember the murderous look in his eyes the second before he lunged at me and tried to have my face for lunch, scarring me for life.
As I walked home, the blood pouring from my wounds, I tried hard not to cry in front of my horrified friends. I had recently joined the Brownies and I recall desperately trying to give “the Brownie smile” which, together with sock-darning and cupcake-making, was a big part of the Brownie organisation’s contribution to the socialisation of girls of my generation.
At the hospital, the medical staff who cared for me and stitched my face back together, marvelled at how brave I was as I lay there quietly, clenching my teeth determined not to utter a sound or allow the tears to flow.
The following week, my mother – who was arguably more traumatised than I was about what had happened and who, for cultural reasons, attributed the incident to what she called the “Evil Eye” – got me my first kitten to make herself feel better.
And that is the story of how I became a life-long cat lady.
It’s also a story intended to illustrate how I’ve always tended to deal with shock, pain and other negative emotions in front of everyone bar those I am closest to. Putting on a brave face, being facetious – anything to hide how I’m actually feeling.
Welcome to my blog at Peakers’ Corner. For my first post, I am simply copying and pasting from my Skepticat_UK blog my account of the incident that started it all. It was originally published on 27 September 2017.
It’s been a couple of years since I last felt compelled to add to this blog but that has changed in the fortnight since I was a victim of assault, criminal damage and theft at Speakers’ Corner on Wednesday, 13 September. That corner of Hyde Park is, of course, historically associated with free speech. The irony that I was assaulted for filming a group of people trying hard to close down the free speech of others isn’t lost on many who’ve commented already on the incident. You’ll find a list of blogs and articles at the bottom. Continue reading