Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Redder Shade of Carrot

Look – the ads show merry filmstars lounging in their dressing gowns, checking out another blockbuster script, phoning their mum, rebuilding the kitchen… all while the potion works its spell. Then they unleash bouncy, gleaming locks and rush off to Dazzle!

Even desperate people IN the films do it - Harrison Ford… Geena Davis and… others - they simply dash into some dismal bathroom and three minutes later they’re transformed! It’s easy!

Well, perhaps if my life had depended on it too… Because I found it jolly hard doing one’s own highlights. But the Hairdresser’s prices in these days of Crunch obliged me to have a go.

Daphné herself thought my efforts hilarious. When I sheepishly explained I’d put in a few blonde streaks with a kit from the supermarket she screeched, “Oh thank god – I thought my own colours had turned Yellow!”

Rather harsh, I thought. But as my hair grew to resemble the stuff our rabbits like to bed down on, I felt urged to swamp the whole lot by going back to my roots. Which were ever more apparent, anyway.

So I bought a ‘shiny cream paste’ of brown, but Burnished Mahogany brown. Easy to apply because it’s “wonderfully thick and doesn’t run.” “Be sure to use All the mixture!” urged the instructions.

I did. Suddenly I could feel it glooping down from the top of my head like freshly-cracked raw egg. (You may know that horribly realistic sensation when someone pretends with their finger-tips). (You may know the actual sensation…).

The gloop grew like some hideous palpitating thing, and it was Red. Mirror, tiles, sink, towel, T-shirt, ears, were all deep red. And according to the box, they’d stay like that for 28 washes.

How did the finished hair look? Well... quite red. Quite orange. Reddy-orange. I ventured out the next day sporting large hat and sunglasses. The day after that, though, I noticed an eerily perfect match between hair and favourite TinTin coral-tinged sweatshirt. Hang on a minute - I have clothes that go!

Now the plunge has been plunged, I feel weirdly liberated. One only has to look at Famous Redheads: Katherine Hepburn, Van Gogh, Geri Halliwell, Boris Becker and, of course, Erik the Red, who overcame neighbourhood shovel squabbles to colonise, and become Paramount Chieftain of, Greenland.

Who could fail to be inspired? And George is delighted with my renovations. I intend to sally boldly forth in coats of many colours, sparkly hairclips, feathers… for I am Proud and Boldly Burnished. And God, but I’m Lovely!


Canary said...

Let’s not split Hairs, you kept you Hair on, despite a Hair-raising experience that put you within a Hair’s breadth of disaster!

But you are not alone – as the credit crunch bites and the pound flirts dangerously close to parity with the euro, DIY hair products have been flying off the supermarket shelves here in Tenerife. Poor lady Brits! Impoverished Expats!

Of course the trouble is that most of them can’t read a word of the Spanish instructions on the packets. And the results have been dire. A lady acquaintance has tried every single one of the fifteen different shades of Spanish “BROWN” on offer, always with the same result, which has been JET BLACK.

Last week she gave up and tried a packet of “L’Oreal Preference” which advertised a very stylish shade of blond called “Oslo”. It turned her hair GREEN. Thank goodness she has an impeccable taste in wide-brimmed straw hats, which she now wears crammed firmly down over her green eyebrows. She is also wearing a baseball cap underneath (reversed so that the peak hangs down over the nape of her neck).

My mother was a hairdresser, who worked in a ladies salon known as “Jacques” in Queensway, London, just opposite the Whiteleys department store. As a little boy, I was a frequent and privileged visitor to the salon, especially on Saturdays (no school and no childcare available).

So I would sit on a pile of used towels in the staff room, getting high on the smell of peroxide and practising my beseeching SMILE on the other hairdressers (all of whom were beautifully manicured with exquisite coiffure).

How I revelled in the fuss that they made of me!

Several years later, I lost my virginity – to one of those lovely hairdressers . . . .

expat said...

I have lots to add but this must wait until I get back to my trusty desk top.

I hate my lap top.

Dolores Doolittle said...

hello Canary - as one might expect, you've covered just about every option there!

It's very comforting to know that I am not alone in my unfortunateness. Might try George's baseball cap, although his ancient balaclava works reasonably. (school cadets).

How interesting were your childhood Saturdays, and how very formative... Have I asked yet if you have a picture of That Smile?

hello EXPAT - thank you loads for dipping in, in spite of Horrid Laptop.

Hope you're having jolly week away (I know it's work, but it sounds so Exciting)!

Canary said...

Dolores! A Balaclava? Wow! With two cut-out peepholes? In the event of future macabre serial killings in the depths of the Loire Valley, how much dosh are you willing to cough up for my eternal silence?

If you really want to see a picture of THAT SMILE, I could send an email with a Picture attachment to the gmail email address which I set up in order to become "Canary" as a commentator on "On The Days of Dolores". I could send you the email address and password and you could enter and have a look, leading either to much scorn, hilarity or LOVE at first sight.....

Trouble is, I may only have more recent pics on my laptops here in in Tenerife. Anyway, let me know if this is a good idea.

And talking about laptops, why do you hate yours, Expat? For reasons of suspected Irish Ancestry, I have THREE laptops with me here in Tenerife (to be sure, to be sure, to be sure). And if they all break down, I can always nip down in the lift ("elevator" to you, Expat?) and use one of the two computers in the reception hall - but I'd have to pay for that).

Expat - You said you "had lots to add" and I'm really looking forward to that! Hope the business trip went well!!!!

Expat said...

Why do I hate my laptop? The screens's too small, the keyboard is cramped, it's too slow (need more memory), it doesn't have windows 2007,it's a pain all around. But it's free...a gift from my best client and they do all the upgrades, virus protections etc at no cost to me.

The business trip (same client as above) was great...very productive and I picked up yet another (small) book to work on next year. I am always glad to be home though.

I did have some problems trying to post here when I was on the road...but I think my fault.

Anyway...back to the topic. I COME FROM A FAMILY OF NATURAL REDHEADS! It's a celtic thing. Three grandparents, Mother, brother, sister. The gorgeous deep auburn variety. Me? I was a platinum blonde bombshell until the age of three, then mousy brown crept in (thanks, Dad). As a tennager, I began to dye my hair red (sibling envy). Oh, the liberation! Oh, the admiring looks from the boys! Goodbye mouse, hello sexpot!

I stayed red for years and years. Eventually, I decided to branch out and try other colors. But I had an unfortunate habit of changing the "do" just before an important social occasion...not always successfully. I well remember turning up to a wedding with what I refer to as my Hooker Hair... dull jet black instead of the beautiful glossy nut brown shade the bottle offered. Believe me, 16 shampoos in one day did nothing to soften the impact! And to make matters worse I had bought a bright red dress for the occasion.

These days, I am content to sport an au naturel do. And no! Those are not grey streaks! They are interesting highlights....It's just that I have a lot of them...all over my head.

Dolores, revel in your redness! Flaunt it! And don't forget to wear purple.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Oh CANARY, that's so tempting! And I know that But one Glimpse of your reality would lead down the LOVE at first sight path...

And yet, And Yet... there's something tantalising about the images we conjure up of Those who Dwell Beyond the Avatars! (Mine is eerily close, in fact)

For example, EXPAT - How Astonishing is your revelation of family redness!

I'd pictured you Lustrous Mahogany in the Andie MacDowell vein. Which I think is what you are 'au naturel'.

And your job is as multi-faceted as your hair! What is the latest book you "picked up" with nonchalant air on this trip?! I'm going to set aside a special shelf for your oeuvres!

You have inspired me to Flaunt Purple-y, thank you. In fact I have received the Occasional positive comment among the double-takes, including Hervé's "You're Very Red today, Dolores". (I cling to that one)!

Canary said...

Expat - I’m glad your trip was a success! Especially that you got even more work for next year! And goodness gracious me! So you have been both a true redhead and a pretend redhead! Redheads are hugely interesting, not least because there are relatively few of them. And so many myths surround them.

Was it Maureen O’Hara who created the idea that all redheads are fiery and tempestuous? Or had that idea been around for ages and ages beforehand? I wonder. Dolores, did you suddenly feel fiery and tempestuous?

But why is it that whatever the colour of their hair, it is virtually impossible to get a woman to give a straight answer to a straight question? My eldest daughter is a maestro at this. Her favourite tantalising response is “Hmmm… that’s a definite maybe!” What on earth does that mean? It is a puzzle to me.

And so it is with the question about photos. Of course there is something tantalising about the images we conjure up of each other. And great fun that is too. But what does “And yet, And yet” mean? Maybe I’m destined to be forever puzzled.

Ah well, I’ll just offer you the temptation, and it’s up to you to peek or not. Here goes…

I have used my “All The Days of Dolores” email account to send an email TO ITSELF at with the photos attached. All you need to do is pretend to be me to enter the email account and to see the email and photos. Just follow the steps below.

1. Do a Google search for “”
2. Click on the web page “Gmail Email from Google”.
3. You will see a box titled “Sign in to Gmail from Google”.
4. It is here that you to enter a Username and Password.

4. Enter the Username as ci.canaryislander
5. Enter the Password as november505
6. Click on the “Sign In” button.

7. You’ll see only one inbox email item titled “me”.
8. Click on it to see four photo thumbnails.
9. You can click on each photo thumbnail to enlarge.

But alas, there is no beseeching smile of yesteryears – in those days there were no computers to store photos on. So just some recent snapshots… I'm the chap on the right in the blue shirt in the early snapshots, and sitting on a bike in the last snapshot.

Dolores Doolittle said...

"And yet, and Yet" - will those tantalising images be Ruined by the dreadful truth, Canary?

You Fiend - how could one resist!
I didn't. And what can I say now, you Handsome Devil with Deep Tan!

Amazingly, the Dreadful Truth was pretty much the same as the image I had.

Have you succumbed, Expat?

expat said...

No, Dolores. I shall not succumb. I have a picture in my mind's eye, colorful Bermuda shorts and all, and I shall cling to that.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Expat, How very wise! (And Perceptive...)

Canary said...

How strange – the idea of wearing shorts gets very short shrift from me. My knees are far too knackered and knobbly to be known. Except when swimming, of course, but even then I’d never dream of wearing those ghastly, baggy, uncomfortable bundles of soggy material called swim-shorts. Instead, I cling to a pair of close-fitting, contoured, competition swim-slips. And they complement my crotchety character!

expat said...

I have no idea what a swim slip is! I imagined you sauntering down to the beach in your madras cotton bermudas ad docksiders, and shimmying off the shorts to reveal... a speedo!

Argh...anothe ilusion shattered.

Canary said...

Thanks Expat! Yes - Speedos! Why did the name elude me? Perhaps Tesco confused me. Last summer I visited one of their stores in England and browsed through the clothing on offer. Male underwear included Y-fronts (Yuk), Boxer Shorts (who in their right mind wants SHORTS as underwear?) and some brightly coloured and very tiny Speedo-style garments that were described as “Slips”. It was the first time I’d seen jock-straps described in this way. I’d always associated the word “Slip” with a female garment. Life is so very confusing now-days.

But I did buy some socks. I fell in love with them at first sight, because they were black. I have this theory that black socks are best, because when they emerge from the washing machine they all look roughly the same and can be paired up with relative ease. My system for pairing-up is simple - if one sock is black and the other sock is black, then that’s a pair.

But these particular socks really did promise an absolutely perfect match every time. Each pair in the packet had the name of a day in the week embroidered on their toes. And the name of each day was embroidered in a different colour. For example, “Monday” was embroidered in red, which seemed appropriate for the first day of the week – a red-letter-day!

Well, it seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, so I bought them. What a terrible mistake that was. You see, I’d forgotten one of the basic laws of physics, which is that when you put an EVEN number of socks into the washing machine, you get an ODD number of socks out.

What on earth do you do with a single sock embroidered with the word “Monday” on its toe?

God, how I hate Mondays….

Canary said...

Important PS.

On the topic of swimwear, I bet you had an "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny" peek at the email.

Didn't you? Go on, Expat, confess! You know I'll not love you any the less for having some feminine curiosity!


Dolores Doolittle said...

'a single sock embroidered with the word "Monday"'... Well you could avant-gardedly sport it with a "Wednesday", Canary.

Or you could keep your mobile phone snug in it

expat said...

No, Canary, truly not even one itsby bitsy peek. I like the mystery, the slow unveiling of personality through postings. I don't need to see what you look like on the outside. I would rather learn about the inner you, and this I am doing on a daily basis.

Canary said...

Dolores, I have bad news. As soon as I saw your kind suggestion, I started rummaging in my sock drawer to look for my Wednesday socks. At first, I thought this would be a straightforward project, because my Wednesday socks have the word “Wednesday” embroidered on the toe of each sock. But you wouldn’t believe how long this took.

You see, I keep each pair of socks neatly ravelled up in a small bundle. But you can’t see the toes in a bundle. And as all my socks are black, all the bundles look identical. So I had to unravel each bundled pair. Whilst doing this, I came across a pair of socks that weren’t really a pair at all. The two socks were of different lengths. I had to lay these two mismatched socks on the bed, in the hope that I would find more mismatched pairs and be able to reconcile the problem later.

Well, I did find several other mismatched pairs, and eventually I was able to reunite these socks into pairs of equal length and re-bundle accordingly.

At first I was quite pleased with myself. Then I remembered my original objective, which was to find my Wednesday socks. I hadn’t found them.

So I looked in the laundry basket. No Wednesday socks. I looked inside the washing machine, which I had used earlier. No luck. I peered under the bed. No luck there either. I searched high and low, but my Wednesday socks had vanished.

Eventually, the truth dawned on me. The reason I couldn’t find my Wednesday socks was because it WAS Wednesday, and I was wearing them. Silly me, I thought, and I took my shoes off to check. Sure enough, there they were, on my feet, where they had been all the time. It was then that the dreadful truth became apparent.

Both of my Wednesday socks sport the word “Wednesday” in GREEN embroidery. But my solitary Monday sock has the word “Monday” embroidered in RED.

I was instantly reminded of the old adage “Red and Green should Never be Seen”. So there is no way I can wear one of my Wednesdays with my Monday. Can you suggest a different day here in All The Days Of Dolores?

PS. You did help me locate my mobile phone. It was inside my one and only Monday sock, hanging on the washing line, but still wringing wet.

Canary said...

Hello Expat!

As a very general rule, I see people as either “Insiders” (shy, aloof) or “Outsiders” (gregarious, involved). But of course behaviour varies with environment. Some people, be they Insiders or Outsiders, can turn themselves Inside Out depending on how safe they feel Inside or Outside. And some will dare to challenge their environment, or move on, or make do. It takes all sorts to make a world, and that’s the fun of it.

But having said that, I’m neither Inside or Onside. I'm happy to be on your side.

Canary said...

Sorry! Huge Typo!

Onside should read as Outside.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Well, Canary, a job Jolly Well Done on your sock drawer!

Suggest a different day? Lord No! Set fire to the lot and Go Boldly Barefoot!

Admirable sentiments, Expat...
Had but I thought more deeply beforehand, for one can never Unpeek

Canary said...

It may seem silly but I've been sitting here busily fretting for All these Days. It's this "unpeek" word that doesn't appear in my dictionary. It troubles me.

I've looked up peak. But there's no unpeak. I've looked up pique. And there's no unpique either.

Must learn more about my p's and q's....

Expat said...

And you, with your 57 varieties of computer and all that IT knowledge have never heard of unpeek???? Oh, for shame! Dolores is obviously way ahead of you in the field of modern communications. Way ahead of me, too, since I had to google it.

Now, I am not going to tell you. You will have to find out for yourself. it will be a good exercise for you.

Tweet, tweet, Canary!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Yes Canary, it Is troubling, and only serves to highlight the appalling inadequacies of some dictionaries.

But fretteth no more; Rise Up, rather, in adversity and show them you Uncare

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Expat!

Following your comment, I just had a googling go at it - how astonishing, the multitude of meanings! I would hesitate to enter some of the sites it suggests...

Canary said...

Hello Dolores! Hello Expat!

You’ve BOTH researched the word “unpeek”? I did that too, and found lots of other words beginning with the letters “un”. And I’ve found one that describes you perfectly.

Don't worry, it's very good and very short, just like you.

You see, I think that each of you is a very good ‘un.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Beautifully put, Canary, thank you. (After edging into dodgy territory in the penultimate line, you Tinker)!

Canary said...

Ah, well, you know what they say in boxing circles, that a good little 'un can beat anyone except a good big 'un. And that seems to make sense in lots of other sports.

But that makes me wonder even more about you both, and what you think about these matters. Do you know of any little 'uns that sport big 'uns?

Expat said...

Apart from Dolly Parton, you mean?

No, Canary, I don't. And if I did, I would never tell.

But I strongly suspect that there are lots of big 'uns of the male species that sport little 'uns...and tell whoppers about it.

PS. I gave you a big clue on the unpeek question. Have you not worked it out yet?

Canary said...

Ah Expat!

It’s no good twittering on like this. I know you are only presenting an image in an attempt to conceal your true background. It’s easy for me to peek past all that, because I know which button turns you on. Oh, we can have such wonderful peeks together! And after peeking, we can let our fingers dally awhile above the unpeek button – knowing we can do it all again – and have another whopping big time….


Dolores Doolittle said...

Hell's TEETH, this is confusing!!...

Expat said...'s all to do with Twitter, the latest networking rage for those who can no longer communucate in coherent sentences due to texting-too-much syndrome. Apparently, with Twitter there is now a "peek" button that allows you to see the background of a person. If you hit the "unpeek" the background is again concealed.

So, you see, you were spot on about Canary's background (photo) when you said one can never unpeek (Once seen, never forgotten)...except with twitter you can technically unpeek...kinda.

So, my clue was "Tweet, tweet, Canary" Tweeting is what twitterers (or twits, for short) do.

For the record, I neither twitter not tweet. and I have never in my life sent a text message.

And CI is flirting again. He is just bad to the bone.

Dolores Doolittle said...

THANK you Expat. Neither have I tweetedtextedtwittered... though I admit to a flash of interest when I heard Stephen Fry is a keen twitterer, because I Love him.

(When flirteth Not CI)?

Canary said...

“Ob blond, ob braun, Ich liebe alle Fraun, Mein Herz ist gross”.

Did I ever tell you that I grew up in a German-speaking household? These words were penned as the title lyric of a song composed by Robert Stoltz, the Viennese composer. I heard them many times being played on a gramophone by my mother when I was a little boy. I still hum the tune today, and sometimes I even sing them out loud in celebration of the fair sex.

Yes, I’m an unashamed, unabashed, unholy Flirt. All my life, always have been, always shall be.

So I shall Flirt on the beaches, I shall flirt on the landing grounds, Flirt in the fields and in the streets, Flirt in the hills; I shall never Unflirt.

Anonymous said...

Your blog was recommended when I asked recently for some potential additions to my blogroll at The chickens have escaped! blog.

I have chosen your blog as the best and would like to send you a book. You can email me via the blog with your address.

Scarlet Merrill

expat said...

Oh, Dolores, I am delighted that you have been "linked" and will get wider, and much deserved, recognition for your writing talents.

But,selfishly, I fear we are seeing the beginning of the end of our cosy little chat room.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Canary - well it's good to have a big Heart, if nothing else.

I jest! - Please Flirt On

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Anonymous at The Chickens have Escaped - Please Marry Me!

I'm thrilled & honoured, and have just had a quick decco at your blog. It's Huge & Wonderful, and I'll be delving deep tomorrow.

(and leaving my address for the splendid book, of which I've read the extract - exceeding kind, Thank you)!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Expat - what a lovely thing to say!

Yes, Hollywood surely beckons... Fame, Fortune and New Teeth.

(And how are your Next & Soon-to-be-published books coming along)?
Please don't stop Cosily Chatting between chapters and business-whizzing round the universe! (however you do it)

Canary said...

Expat - I echo your sentiments and I guess that like me, you followed the link to check out "Anonymous".

It's that initial instinct to close ranks and protect, isn't it?.

Congratulations Dolores! You really do deserve wider recognition.

But I'd still provide a Poste Restante address for delivery of the book.

To be sure, to be sure...

Expat said...

Spot on, CI. I was busy circling the wagons and poisoning the arrow tips. And with my suspicious nature regarding all things of the internet ( I never, ever, ever open attachments from people I don't know, never download unless I am triply certain etc), I didn't even follow the link. I googled the site.

It seems legit, though and I am thrilled for Dolores.

The BIG question is, who recommended Dolores? If twas not I, and not thee, then who? Since the Scarlett blog lady blogs about France, my money's on Jon Doust.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Blimey, Expat & CI - Anonymous at The Chickens have Escaped will never marry me now!

Thankee for your concern though; my own natural prudence was quashed by the Overwhelming Joy that someone else has read this.

And wouldn't it be an added delight it others joined our little chats?

It was indeed Jon of the Vendée who suggested me - I Miss Marpled 'The Chickens have Escaped' and followed the trail.

We have friends coming for lunch now, but I'm itching to investigate further into the Chickens blog, for it bodes splendid reading!

Canary said...

Well sussed Expat!

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ShannonOloy said...

'a single sock embroidered with the word "Monday"'... Well you could avant-gardedly sport it with a "Wednesday", Canary. Or you could keep your mobile phone snug in it