I promised last time that I would relate the story of Fearless the Earless One Eyeless Dog and reveal whether he is one and the same in the two photographs…
The fact is, both are Fearless but in different incarnations. If you’d like to know more, and I can see many reasons why you might not give a fig, please read on..
Fearless’ first incarnation is the fine piano player you see above. He came into my life when I was at a jumble sale with my daughters when they were mere bairns of twelve and six.
Times were hard. My wife had fallen in love with another man, her business partner, and out of love with me, though she said then and still does, that the in and out of love was not in any way connected. I had given up my work as a television producer in London and become an itinerant painter and decorator in our hometown sixty miles outside the city.
I was not a very successful painter and decorator. I set fire to one house and three fire engines attended to sort things out, though to be fair to myself, it was only a bird’s nest lurking behind some tiles that had begun to smoke alarmingly. No actual flames, I mean.
Unlike the house where I caused a mild flood, where actual water began to spout from the radiator pipe and the actual radiator I’d been standing on to reach the top of a window, lay prostrate on the floor. I stuck my finger in the pipe to stem the flow and tried to reach for my mobile phone, tantalisingly just a few metres away. In the end, I had to remove my finger from the pipe to reach the phone, producing the flood, but meaning that a plumber was on his way to help me clean up and fix the damage.
Anyway, as I say, times were hard and a trip to a jumble sale was a good outing for the children and I at the time. I discouraged any kind of outing that cost money, but a small spend here would do no lasting damage.
Fearless, who had no ears and only one eye, cost a mere fifty pence. Neither of my daughters much like the look of him at first, though they’ve since come to love him greatly and to assume, as I do, that he has magical powers, especially useful in times of crisis.
Fearless has always chosen to travel with me – to set up home in France for example – to keep me safe, and here I am, living proof of his powers to protect.
When others have found themselves up against challenges or brought low by the vagaries of life, I’ve lent Fearless to them for moral support and naturally, for his magic. Believers have always reported back that Fearless worked his spells. I know of no non-believers because you have to have a certain capacity to suspend your disbelief to take him in your arms and thence to your home, oftentimes to share your bed, to accept my offering in the first place.
Melanie, who features in the Love and Care podcast, was one such beneficiary. Fearless lived with her for some weeks, even months, when she needed him.
Another beneficiary was one of Mum’s carers. Let’s call her M. She was wonderful with mum, respectful, gentle and sensitive, but she was hard to get to know, very private. One day however, in desperate need of a friend and only when she knew I was changing care agencies, she asked to visit to see Mum one last time.
I said yes, of course, and over tea and biscuits, she suddenly revealed that her husband was mistreating her, physically abusing her and forcing her to take anti-depressants to ‘calm her down.’ She showed me scars.
M took Fearless away with her and he lived with her through a painful separation that involved M leaving the family home and her children to find refuge.
Much later, when my sister came over to help with Mum’s care, I had the chance to take a break. I was planning a bicycle trip in France and there would be no room for him in the tiny amount of space on the bike, but M thought I was simply being brave and not wanting to take Fearless from her.
I reassured her, but she was concerned. As a believer, she wanted to be sure I would be safe as I cycled from Biarritz to La Rochelle, all the way up the French coast.
On the day before I was due to leave, she drew up outside the house with a good luck card and a special gift. She did not wait to see me open the gift and before I knew it, she was gone.
I unwrapped a two-inch miniature Fearless, handmade by M down to the last detail and with the interesting new capacity to swing from a key ring.
There was only one minor difference between Big Fearless and Little Fearless. Tiny but significant. Little Fearless had two eyes.
He came with me on the bicycle, kept an eye on me and an eye on the road ahead and so we came back safe. As I travelled the 600 kilometres from one end of France to the other, I would take a picture of Little Fearless and write a note from him to M describing his adventures on the bike with me.
The shot of Little Fearless on the beach is one such, taken at Biarritz as I set off.
So, both pictures are of Fearless, one a smaller brother but both with the same magical qualities to protect and defend. Twins you might say, except in terms of size.
I offer this story and the combined protection of Big Fearless and Little Fearless to all of you in the time of corona.
He, they, are magical, trust me, I know.
ps you’ll be glad to know that M subsequently gave Big Fearless another eye too, bringing him up to the requisite two…we’ve stopped short of ears for the moment as none of us want to alter his (their) appearance so dramatically and anyway…what kind of ears? floppy, sticky uppy? black/white? He is (they are) not sure and neither are we, and besides, Fearless(s) hear perfectly well without outer ears and can converse normally.