You win some . . .
. . . you lose some. Being stomped by a demigod on Fate’s opposing team wearing shoes studded with the teeth of his enemies is optional.
Today was scheduled to be a bit fraught and that was before my builder rang yesterday afternoon asking if I could pop round some time today and make some more final decisions so he can have the bits ordered in for Monday.* Yes, I’ll have the alabaster footbath please, and the eighty-seven-candle** chandelier–any smaller and it looks so mingy, don’t you agree?
The main things today however were that I was taking Darkness to the physio for the first time, which means finding the place for the first time, which means allowing hours of getting-lost-first time, and Peter had a poetry-reading this evening***, although at least I knew how to get there. So the day was being obliged to run itself early and on a day I was going to be driving forty miles I suddenly noticed the petrol gauge was starting to bounce on empty, which is always a bad sign, and I don’t know what it is about this area but we don’t have petrol stations. We have lots of pubs, Chinese take-aways, bell towers, cricket pitches, public footpaths,† cows, sheep, swans, skylarks, brown hares, and bluebells†† and way too many SUVs, but . . . no petrol stations. You’d think this might have a suppressive effect on the SUV population, but it doesn’t. But it means a positive crusade in search of tank-filling petrochemicals . . . and in the wrong direction.
We got to the physio twenty minutes early. Well, much better than twenty minutes late. It’s been a beautiful day–the sort of day you want to be in your garden for, especially if the top of your hellhound crate is getting rather crowded with boxes of little dormant plant things that are beginning to rustle and rouse out of their dormancy–so we all sat in Wolfgang in the car park and thought wistfully about what we might otherwise be doing: potting-up things in one case and We’re Sure There Are Chaseable Creatures in Those Hedgerows in two cases.
I really liked the physio, aside from the fact that she’s one of these extremely calm, centred people who make me look like even more of a walking Catherine wheel than usual. Hellhounds were funny: they are usually all over new people unless it turns out that New People may be going to get, you know, involved, whereupon you see the little lightbulbs going off over their little furry heads: Oooooookay, waaaaaaaait a minute here. . . . She worked all along Darkness’ back and said while there was nothing obviously wrong, he was certainly much tenser than he should be, and she did find one sore spot, although he only gave a tiny squeak. He was very good though, if a bit worried††† . . . till the very end, when she was just saying she wanted to do one more thing, and he abruptly slipped out of our various hands, went firmly to a corner, and lay down. End of Session. Yes sir. I take him back in a fortnight for another session and meanwhile I get to lift him in and out of the car for three days.‡
So we drove home with me wondering why I felt like I’d just been to the physio–that tottery, Jello-limbed feeling‡‡–and I discussed timing and tactics for the evening with Peter, and then took hellhounds out for a slow(ish) semi-hurtle, suitable for someone who’s going to be lifted in and out of the car for the next three days.
And Darkness didn’t seem particularly sore.
But he did have the intestinal hurtles.
The third time I was standing there with my (useless) plastic bag and thinking, okay, I should have known this might happen, but this was the appointment she could offer me and . . .
So the hellhounds and I stayed home. And I understand that Peter was brilliant.
* * *
* So when I had finished suppressing fresh cries of rage and popped round^ this morning . . . he wasn’t there. ARRRRRRGH. Indeed the only person who was there was a plasterer so plugged in to his small electronic world^^ that I had to climb up the frelling ladder ^^^, stand immediately behind him and SHOUT. Whereupon he leaped about forty feet ^^^^, yanked his earphones out and attempted to engage in civilised converse. With perhaps mixed results. But he confirmed that my builder was not hiding behind a gigantic roll of earthwool^^^^^ and was not there. So I stomped off, suppressing new, even fresher cries of rage and I suppose I will have to pop round again tomorrow. Not talking to my builder did mean, however, that I was in the right place at the right time to hear from a friend that another friend had popped, speaking of the rich uses of this verb, another chap in the nose, and subsequently been arrested for assault. Yowzah. Other people lead such interesting lives. Although in this particular case, before she got to the ‘arrested for assault’ part I was about to cheer, since if ever anyone needed a popping, the poppee in this case did. I trust the judge will be persuaded of this when the case comes up which I assume it will do. I’m not used to living even on the extreme edge of a Prime Suspect episode.
^ After (almost) twenty years in this country I have still not accustomed myself to the commodious British usage of the verb pop. In my English, pop is something that corn and corks do but the British pop round to the shops or pop round to see a friend which always gives me brief lurid visions of whole streetfuls of people spiking along as on pogo sticks. See also: pop up and pop down, although these are not (perhaps fortunately for my peace of mind) as common. Pop up is what toast does, and pop down . . . oh dear. That doesn’t sound good at all.
^^ From his rather peculiar utterances and outbursts I believe he was probably listening to a sporting event
^^^ No. Still no stairs. There’s a conspiracy. I know there is. Although why there should be a conspiracy to prevent the installation of stairs in what are trying to become ex-bungalows in small villages in Hampshire, my usually fervid imagination can produce no clue.
^^^^ Which is a good trick in a thirty-foot attic.+
+ I have no idea if I mean thirty feet, but it sounds about right.
** The eighty-seventh is the big one in the middle
*** Yes. Really. On the first of April.
† Not to overlook a lot of dog-impassable stiles.
†† Which are just starting to come out. Yaaaay.
††† I praise the gods, however, even the ones wearing their enemies’ teeth on the bottoms of their sports shoes, the better to tromp more enemies, that Darkness was the patient, not Chaos
‡ Maybe I wish it was Chaos after all, who weighs less. And she says you don’t want to put upward pressure on the spine, so it’s the chest-and-butt squeeze lift. She looked a little worried. I’m used to lifting him, I assured her. I do it over frelling stiles all the time.
‡‡ Maybe what I’m calling Middle Aged Brain is the result of Channelling Hellhounds?
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