Many of you have clamoured for the story of The Count and Totoro. (Okay, so maybe just Celia and Maeve.)
Let me introduce them, and leave it to them to tell you their own story:
I AM TOTORO
Yes, Totoro, but who are you? What’s your history? Why are you here with me?
I. AM. TOTORO.
DO YOU HAVE FOOD?
Maybe later? We’re writing a blog post at the moment.
I AM HUNGRY.
Well. Yes. Totoro is a nature spirit. Just watch My Neighbour Totoro. It is a brief documentary of one tiny part of a particular few Totoros’ lives. Totoro came into my life one day when I was wandering around Leeds City in the UK. He called to me from a tiny shop window.
OANH. I AM HUNGRY.
I don’t think you said that, Totoro. I think you said —
OANH! I. AM. HUNGRY.
Oh. Excuse me.
So. That is Totoro. Totoro simply is.
Here’s The Count.
Bonjour, Oanh’s friends! I am The Count.
(executes a flourishing bow)
Alas, I had wealth but am now an exile and a refugee. You see, I was the blackest sheep in a family of black sheep. We had land, we had chateaux, we had servants. But we were driven from our home in France (I have blocked the memories and do not wish to delve into the whys and wherefores), and I ended in Wales, labouring to survive in a draughty Welsh castle (they’re not as good as French chateaux, believe me), when Oanh stopped to chat. Poor thing, she was so impressed by that ridiculous lump of stone the Welsh called a castle, I could not help but regale her with lavish stories of the chateaux I knew. She rushed off immediately and I thought I had offended this strange Viet-Australian woman. Nevertheless, she came back not long afterwards with Nic – Oanh was bouncing up and down and Nic was looking mildly perplexed -, and they invited me to join them on their travels in the UK and Europe. She neglected to warn me that the travel would be by bicycle! (In my defence, Count, we never asked you to do any pedalling!) She did say we would ultimately end up in Australia and there would be no castles there. Indeed, there are not.
There were plenty of excellent examples of castles during our travels, though I must say my distant relatives who stayed on through those difficult years for French nobles have not managed the upkeep as well as I’m sure I would have done. My favourite castles were in Albania. The Albanians really can build a castle, and they sure know how to fly a flag.
Oanh’s friend came for Christmas one year and gifted me with a darling hat. I was very glad of it when we camped in snow in Montenegro! Oh, there was a castle in Montenegro! It was spectacularly located. Oanh said we could not live there. I don’t understand why.
When will we visit more castles, Oanh?