Friday 31 December 2010

Thursday 30 December 2010

Nothing to write home about

A box arrived today. The long-awaited replacement toilet.

The Inspector of Works arrived and checked the box thoroughly.

And the contents were approved.

This is about the most exciting thing that has happened to me lately.

If we don't get some proper sunlight soon, I shall have to Cut. My. Throat.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Food critic

Overheard by the Lovely Son in Wagamama yesterday:

Teenage boys queuing. One recommending with vigour the chicken katsu curry.

"It's just like the curry you got at Middle School! Only loads better...."

Friday 24 December 2010

Message from the team

We're planning to have a happy, healthy, relaxed time, with all our beloveds around us*. 

We wish you the very same.

Happy Christmas!

* and maybe some proper dinners at last..... F.

Thursday 23 December 2010

View from sick bay

Flossie writes:

Thank you for caring so much about me. Rachel cried when she read your messages.

I am getting better.

I took that thing out of my leg yesterday, and the vet didn't argue. 

He was very pleased with me this morning, and gave me a kiss. He says he wishes he had a lovely toned body like mine. (Lovely? Starved, skinny, rib-cagey body, more like, I thought, but I didn't say anything.)

But being pleased with me didn't stop him giving me two jabs with a needle - and one was so sore that I cried and had to have a little treat! - and sticking a thermometer in my behind. So undignified! I made him do all his vetting in the furthest corner of the consulting room.

I need to sleep a lot, because it stops me from feeling so hungry. I'm allowed a proper dinner on Christmas Day, apparently. If I survive that long on measly little bowls of chicken and rice....

But I'm not lonely.

And I go for little walks in the snow.

Rachel keeps my leash on; she says something about how if they had scavenging as an Olympic sport, I could be a medallist.

'Bye for now, you lovely kind people; I heart you all.....

Warm wet licks, 


PS Send food parcels - this convalescent home doesn't understand how to build our strength up

PPS Nice try, Florence. 

Nurse Rachel

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Crisis over

Such horrors since yesterday. Flossie went rapidly downhill during the night, and while I'll spare you the details of the continuous flow of bloody diarrhoea, the vomiting and the general signs of a very sick dog, I can tell you that a mercy dash by taxi to the faraway emergency animal hospital at 4 a.m. was just what was needed; five minutes after admission, even the vet was alarmed by her deterioration. A harrowing sleepless night, and one which convinced me, as I crawled back to bed at 5.30, that my lovely girl would undoubtedly die.

But the lovely girl decided otherwise. In true Flossie fashion, she bounced back, and at Flossie speed too. By lunchtime today, after a few hours of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, an anti-emetic, some soothing stomach-lining gloop akin to old-fashioned milk of magnesia, reassuring blood tests, and a transfer to our own vet, Flossie had picked up sufficiently to be allowed home on trial.

While she was being treated, the Lovely Son succeeded in his second attempt to get on a train, and lo! the train arrived on time, just in time, in fact, for him to accompany me to the faraway hospital to see her and pay the scary bill (thank goodness I insured the dear girl!), map reading for me as we got terribly lost.

Later, on the way home from our own vet, heads filled with instructions and what to look out for overnight, Flossie lay down quietly in the back of the car and sneakily removed the cannula in her leg, left in situ in case a hasty return was required. She had had enough of all this vet nonsense, she said.

The first vet she had seen called her condition "probably garbage guts" - which pretty much sums her up, really - with resulting food poisoning. She has lost 2 kg in the last few days.  If she continues to stay vomit-free tonight, she will stay at home, and go back to the vet first thing tomorrow morning. I am deemed to be a sensible owner who can be trusted to nurse my convalescent super-scavenger.

She's tired - Flossie hates losing sleep! - and a bit feeble, but delighted to be home and back in her own bed.

And so are we all.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Tic toc

I could just go and hide in a cupboard with a bucket over my head and have a little scream...... A Festive Cheer with a difference. Instead, I shall have myself a little blog-moan.

 I was up too early today, underslept and a bit harassed by my own unpreparedness and domestic disorder.

This morning's gift from Flossie was less copious and less noxious than before, but it didn't make for a pleasant start to the day.

I have given Flossie her tablets, and been practically knocked out by her bad breath in the process, but despite unpleasantness at either end, she seems in fine spirits, and rather enjoying the regular small applications of boiled white rice and chicken. But tomorrow I shall talk to the vet, as I'm beginning to feel anxious about her.

I have 6 people coming round tonight - the same 6* who come round every month for waxing, tweezing, pedicures, manicures, gossip and a good catch up with old friends. Tonight is our Chinese Takeaway Christmas Ritual night. I could place the order by memory, year on year - everyone orders exactly what they had last year, and we all complain that we've ordered too much, eaten too much,  and look at all that leftover rice! So it gets packed up for someone's thrifty lunch tomorrow.

My mantelpiece isn't finished - this is scandalous, as it is always finished, with fresh holly and ivy, for this evening together, and this year I have failed miserably.... where did the time go?

The shower room is nowhere near finished either; who knows where the missing toilet is now? The supplier has closed till the 29th.

It has taken me several attempts and an embarrassing amount of time to clear the kitchen table of all the wrapping stuff; the kitchen table is essential if we are to devour all that Chinese food out of reach of cats and dogs. Plastic bags full of supposedly cleared up 'stuff' are hidden behind doors. I don't know where to place all the nicely wrapped Christmas parcels, where Scooter won't confettify them, nor can I leave chocolates or nuts set out for guests within reach of a certain dog.

Sometimes I have a sense of being bullied and oppressed by my animals.

So I gave myself a little break today: I walked over the bridge and through the park to feed a friend's cat - and I didn't take the dogs! I couldn't face the strain of keeping Miss Scavenger away from all the garbage and bird food, or of exhorting Miss Reluctant to keep up and stop looking so bloody martyred. And that half hour felt like freedom....

The Lovely Son should have arrived this afternoon, but no East Coast trains are running. He will try again tomorrow, but I can't say I feel hopeful. He rings regularly, and because he lives in a basement flat, he loses the signal frequently, and I spend much of our call saying "What?" till he gets fed up and rings off. His housemate is there with him, instead of in Rio; all is chaos for would-be travellers.

Time to stop whining and get back to work. I have a little tic in my left eye. If anyone winks back at me, I shall punch them. Father Christmas, you have been warned.

*Edit: 5 people. I'm the 6th. I can't even count any more...

Monday 20 December 2010


Scooter and Millie are playing together in a slightly furtive way. Upstairs, downstairs, in my lady's chamber. They slink, they gallop, they cast suspicious glances at me, in response to mine at them; they have Naughty Cat written all over their faces.

I have an unpleasant feeling that a mouse - maybe the one that I rescued in the snowy back lane late last night, after dragging a squawking Millie indoors by the scruff of the neck - may be rattling around in the house somewhere.

Meantime, Flossie, fit, lively, energetic as ever but still Afflicted (there was a re-run - pardon the pun - during the night of the previous night's drama and early morning surprise), looks on with some unease. She can't read this situation. She hasn't seen Millie the mouser in action.

Scooter pauses to give her a little kiss; he might be busy elsewhere, but he still loves her.

Sunday 19 December 2010

After the ups

....come the downs.

Florence the Unwell. Crying at 5 a.m., pressed against the back door, desperate to be let out to dash into the snowy back lane and demonstrate the urgency of the call. Settled back to bed, as did I. But when I woke, the appalling odour throughout the house signalled that something was rather wrong. Poor Flossie had, at least, the sense to be Very Unwell in the tiled (and then pebble-dashed) utility room. Rubber gloves, buckets of hot water and disinfectant started my day off quite memorably.

Florence the Bewildered. Why no breakfast? Why no treats? Why is the lovely human who cleaned up without a word of reproach now starving me to death? Why am I walking on the leash, unable to tidy up all that bread that the birds are ignoring?

Christmas deliveries. Some presents ordered online may not arrive in time. The temptation to go into town and find substitutes is compelling, but not very sensible, given that there are several more days to go before the big day. And once you set foot outside the house, you risk something arriving that must be signed for, and so is taken away again, unable to be collected from the highly-inconvenient no-parking depot for a further 72 hours.

Christmas disorganisation. Where's that list? And the other list? Where are the cards? The wrapping paper? Who have I forgotten? Why am I awake at 5 a.m. every day? Why is this fridge so messy, and full of horrible leftovers that I don't want to eat? Why didn't I make a cake? A pudding? Mince pies? (Answer is identical for all: only I would eat them, and we know where that slippery road leads...) Who left all this fur on the sellotape? And the constant wail: where are my specs?

Christmas tidying. Always tricky - a week beforehand, the house fills up with birthday presents, cards, wrapping paper and ribbons, and where to put everything is a problem. I don't feel ready to put things away - after all, they're my lovely birthday presents! The cats are no help; Scooter has gone back to confetti-making, just like last year:

Millie walks amongst the cards, and is amused to see how easily they topple. And then Scooter pounces, and confetti-ised cards are the result.

Plumbing matters. Richie is due to return tomorrow, although it is unlikely that a replacement toilet will make its appearance. Disappointing. I don't care about the shower or the extractor fan....

Weather and travel. Will the predicted blizzard hit us tonight? Will the Lovely Son make it home on the train booked for Tuesday afternoon? Will he have done his shopping, written his cards?

And it's not just me; I'm sure you share some of these little problems (though hopefully not dog-diarrhoea related).

It will all come right in the end.... won't it?

All together now: "'Tis the season to be jolly. Fal la la la la......"

Saturday 18 December 2010

Busy week

Three and a half days of my sister's lovely visit ended yesterday with an alarming journey to the station through such unusually-snarled-up traffic that it featured on the local news. If her train hadn't been late she would have missed it, but she managed eventually to get home to Glasgow, albeit with one lengthy episode of sitting in the train at a standstill close to her destination, due to a broken-down freight train ahead.

I was glad that I had sneaked three Crunchies into her bag, so I didn't have to fear that she might suffer starvation if delayed for longer.

It feels odd without her; we got on so comfortably well, just the two of us (in the past, we have always been in the company of her husband and my son, and time alone felt like a great treat), and managed to cram a lot into those few days: shopping, meals, walks, a celebratory lunch in the country, catching up with my friends who haven't seen her for a long time.

Our lunch in the very pleasant setting of Matfen Hall was a great success, although there was some snow and a threat of more.

Nobody told us off for coming in through the main door where a wedding was planned:

We sat by the lounge fire until it was time to move into the library for lunch.

Today is really my birthday - how did I get to be 62 so soon?  - and I have had a rare assortment of very nice presents, including :

Very warm mittens from Canada, made from recycled wool. I love the way they aren't identical in pattern, although the colours remain the same.

Fingerless gloves from Norway - to help protect my princessy hands from toys covered in dog drool, apparently.

Rubber contraptions from Scandinavia - alarming to look at but very practical and effective -  that fit snugly over shoes and boots and stop one from falling, squeaking in alarm, arms flailing, on icy ground.

And cheerful ear muffs from Scotland.

Reluctantly modelled by my charming assistant, who thinks that anything fluffy is a toy, and therefore is better chewed than worn.

And a wreath, not in the least useful in cold weather, but very lovely nevertheless.

There was more: books, chocolates, flowers, a new bottle of Caleche perfume, stained glass, but enough for now; suffice to say that I feel very spoiled. And well equipped for the bout of icy weather that has descended upon us again. Ice, snow, dog slobber, bring it all on - I have the gloves, the mittens, the ear muffs, the ice spikes!
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