Ask Giantmonk #2: Bath Time

Monkey asks:

Dear Giantmonk, I have been told I need a bath because I have changed colour and I’m a bit stinky. It’s the result of too much hugging, apparently. I’m afraid of baths, but I see you have survived one. Can you give me any advice on how to face this terrifying ordeal? Monkey.

Hi Monkey! I like your name, it’s very charming – I bet you’re a handsome chap! Let me start by saying I feel your pain – I have been wfienhere you are now, and I totally understand your fear, but believe me, you can get through it. Both you and your human friends will be glad that you took the plunge (literally).

Giantmonk and his washing lotions and potions

The first thing you need to do is choose your washing lotions and potions. Now, look at me – as you can see I am made of cloth, so this is a very different process from your common ‘zoo monkey’ wash time. As I am made from cloth I find that the best thing to use is a cleansing solution made for fabric. You can see me posing like a gorgeous model with two brands of such lotions and potions above. Take note of a small but significant difference between the two bottles that I am holding – one is a washing liquid which loosens any dirt from my fibres, and the other is something girly – I don’t understand it but it is supposed to make things soft and smell nice, so I use it for Mimi’s sake.

Now, if you are super-posh you can use a liquid wash made specifically for delicate and precious things, like you. It works out quite expensive but you only use a very little and I can tell from your name that you may be worth it.

This is Soak, but there are other brands available. It is a no-rinse hand wash with a pleasant, subtle smell. I’m going to go ahead and suggest that you choose whichever you prefer, but remember if you have left it a particularly long time without a bath you made need several rinses.

Anyway, on to the bathing part. Get your butler or human friend to run you a bath. It can either be in a proper bath (my preference) or, depending on your size (I am of course a rather Giant monk) in a large sink.

Run the bath until the water is about 20-30cm (8-12″) deep and at about the temperature of a cup of tea that you have left on the side for 10 minutes, or the same temperature that you’d run a bath for a young child. You can dip your elbow in the water to test it if you like – I don’t understand what you’d do that before but I have seen it on TV. Maybe you just want a wet elbow. Either way, you don’t want the water too hot just in case you shrink. I’d hate to have to change my name to Shrunkenmonk.

Swirl about two or three teaspoons of your chosen washing liquid into the bath and jump right in. It sounds scary, but it is actually quite pleasant. You should float, so try to make sure that you lay low in the water to get every little bit of you clean. If you have a handy butler-type figure in your household, now is the time to request a massage, and work all of that nice water through your body.

Now look around you. Why is the water that strange brownish grey colour? Do not panic! It is not your life-force washing away. It is what we call ‘dirt’. I know, it’s a shock, but all that has been trapped in your fibres, and now is the time to get rid!

Next comes the moment to wash your face. Hold your breath and put your head under the water whilst massaging your scalp and temples. Imagine you had hair and pretend you were having a shampoo.

Now, sit up and pull the plug out of your bath and wash all of that filthy water down the sink. Run a second bath, this time with a splash of softener, or another splash of your special care fabric wash. Do as you did before, letting the water flow through your fibres, bringing it’s sweet smells of cleanliness with it.

If you have chosen to use a no-rinse special care fabric wash, you can now simply pull out the plug and let the water flow away. However, if you are using normal fabric softener, you will need one final run of the bath water, this time completely free of any lotions or potions, to wash away any residue. Once your final rinse has taken place, just take a while to sit in the bath and get your breath back. Exhilarating wasn’t it? But wait – why have you put on so much weight? Nobody said that taking a bath would make you so heavy! Don’t worry, it’s just temporary.

Now, you have a choice, and it’s a bit of a biggie. To spin or drip?

Now, dripping is the less scary method, but it takes a very long time. If you decide to drip make sure you are in a warm, room. If you try to drip your way to success in a damp room it could go all kinds of wrong, and you may end up smelling damp. To drip, all you need to do is to squeeze each of your limbs and tummy in turn, to try and squeeze out that water (don’t worry, it will not hurt). Now, sit somewhere high, on a mesh or rack of some kind, with a bowl under you, and let gravity take the remaining water from you. It will take a while, perhaps a couple of days, but as long as you are in a warm room or even outside on a warm day, you will dry eventually.

Your other option is to spin. I know this sounds terrible, but I have done it and survived.

Giantmonk washing machine
The main benefit to going for a spin is that you will be 95% dry within a few minutes, and dry enough to cuddle by the evening. But be careful only to go in for a spin cycle, you don’t want to have a full wash or a (shudder) tumble dry. Now, don’t misunderstand me – you might be fine after a tumble dry, but I haven’t been brave enough to try one of those and I don’t think it is needed.

If you decide to go for a spin, start by squeezing as much water from your limbs and body as possible. Then, jump into a pillowcase and tie some string around the opening. This will protect you a little and also make sure that you don’t bump your eyeballs. Now, get your human friend to take you to the strange machine that looks like a spaceship and select the fast spin cycle. Pretend you’re on a fairground ride.

After five or so minutes you will emerge mostly dry. Give yourself a shake around so you don’t feel too squished, and relax a while just whilst you dry that last little bit, and get ready for some really appreciative cuddles.

NOTE: you may notice that you change colour during this process. Do not be alarmed – this is actual your natural and original colour. If it has been a particularly long time you may have forgotten this, but it is to be expected and welcomed. My, do you look so much younger! Well done, you have survived and hopefully enjoyed your first bath.


The End Of The Festivities

It is Twelfth Night, the day when traditionally we must take down the tree, pack away all of the baubles and garlands that decorate it and remove the Christmas Wreath from the door.

The house looks less sparkly and bright now that the fairy lights have been taken down, but I am reminded of two important facts that I must hold dear in my heart.

The first is that the celebrations do not truly end until the chocolates, jelly beans and mince pies run out (and that looks set to be quite distant in the future) and the second comes from my good friend Munkeh, who reminds me that a good Festive jumper is for life, not just for Christmas.

Munkeh Christmas jumper

Giantmonk enjoying champagne

Happy New Year

Happy new year to one and all! I celebrated in a quiet and understated way last night and did not get up to anything crazy or in any way embarrassing. My evening was restrained and full of culture. I even wore a tie.

For some reason I have woken with a headache, so rather than ramble on I shall leave you with a few words that would rival Keats and Wordsworth at their very primes.

With your monkey friend who’s knitted,
You have the last year surely quitted,
With a bright exciting view
Of a year that’s fresh and new.

And like your monkey friend who’s giant,
May this new year be compliant
In making as sure as sky above,
That this year is filled with love.

Celebrate with Giantmonk




Ask Giantmonk #1: Where Art Thou From?

Ruby Gamble asks:

“International Monk” caught my eye. Whose heart and creative hands built you and where? And who is Giantmonk?

Giantmonk is me. Monk(monkey) Giant (I am a large monkey). Giant. Monk, cuddling chum extraordinaire. I am more than a mere few thousand knitted stitches and a curiously floppy arm alongside three more substantial limbs, I am best friend and confident to Mimi of Eskimimi Makes and Russell of Find It Cheapest.

I found my way into their lives when I found out that Mimi was in need of someone just like me. You see, there was once another Giantmonk, who we now call ‘Cousin Giantmonk’ who lived with Mimi and helped her through difficult and sad times. He was a handsome chap, as you can see from the picture below.
Cousin GiantmonkBut a few years ago, Mimi had to leave Giantmonk behind and say goodbye to him forever. Mimi found this very difficult, and a year later she still missed the heavy knitted cuddles that she had, though she wasn’t sad any more – she wanted someone to share happy cuddles with. So Russell sent out a long search to try to find someone who could give cuddles as good as Cousin Giantmonk, and after a couple of interviews and a rather gruelling obstacle course, it was decided that I was the monkey for the job. The first thing I did when I arrived with my tiny suitcase was to request my uniform fitting. I had seen the lovely tank top that Cousin Giantmonk sported in the photos I had seen and had assumed that I would be required to wear one of my own. Mimi laughed and said it wasn’t mandatory, but I wanted one! So we picked out a few colours, and soon enough I had my own tank top.
GiantmonkAnd that’s how I came to stay.

You also asked by who’s fair hand I was made, and the truth of it is, I do not know. I have a tag on my shapely bottom that says something about Basildon, Essex, UK, but I think I came from a big room full of like-shaped cousins… my memory on this is really fuzzy.

To ask Giantmonk a question of your own, on any subject under the sun, from Japanese kissing fish to bubble bath choices, visit the Ask Giantmonk page.


Who Am I?

I know that many people visiting this site will have a fair idea of what this international monkey of mystery is all about, and that is exactly why you are here – to catch up on the adventures and non-stop whirlwind of an existence that your intrepid monkey-about-town leads, but there may be a few visitors who stumble across this site through some other path, and if you are one of those readers then I am sure that you’ll want to know a little about me.

Perhaps you have been merrily clicking around the internet and have followed a link on Life Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential figures of 2013, or have followed an outgoing link from a post on the Guardian website that has been written about one of my many adventures. It may even be that you have been using Google to research your fondness for particularly large men who live in Franciscan Monasteries – it is not for me to judge or question, the important thing is that you are here now, and hopefully to stay.

So, if you want to know a little about me, may I first direct you to a little article that was written about the first day that I sprang fully-formed into this world. I wasn’t really sure what was going on at the time, and had to keep telling myself to just keep smiling and hopefully these weird people would treat me well. As it happens I became chief cuddle-lump and jelly bean tester within a few hours, and now I am so very important that I have my own website.

But this is only the mere surface of what this Giantmonk has to offer the world and it’s extremely intelligent (and may I say very good looking) readers. ¬†Scratch a bit further by hovering your finger over this link to probe deep within my psyche with this amazing opportunity to ask me any question that may pop into that vast and wonderful mind of yours.