Big Fat Throbbing Ratbags
Andraste and Luke were supposed to be here today. But they weren’t.
I was up late last night* taking down the Christmas tree** in their honour. And then I was up early this morning*** to get hellhounds comprehensively hurtled before they were due to arrive for what-in-my-universe-is-early lunch. I was standing in a field† surrounded by bemused hellhounds when Pooka started barking at me. It was Andraste saying that their Specially Adapted Car was making a funny noise and they were returning to base till the RAC could come and sort it for them: when one of you is tetraplegic your acceptable-risk level is pretty low. And it took the RAC forever to get to them, of course, because that’s the way it is. The problem turned out to be pretty much one mouse hair and half a sesame seed, but they didn’t know that till the RAC mechanic told them. All they knew was that it was a funny noise. So they didn’t come, and we don’t know when they might be in this area again and . . .
It was, however, a gorgeous day—Spring! Hurrah! Please don’t go away again!—so hellhounds and I went back to the cottage and I played†† in the garden for a bit to cheer myself up, although the cheeringness factor was a bit mixed. I lost a lot in that I-hope-final malevolent cold spell when we had hard frosts every night for most of a week—stuff that had come through this mostly mild winter and thought it had nothing more to worry about and might as well get going on the spring thing. So I was hauling stuff out and looking at all this empty space and trying to remind myself that I do this every year, every year I think I have all this EMPTY SPACE to fill up and . . .
* * *
*Shock! Horror! Film at 3 a.m.!
** Stop that giggling. Fiona, when she was here in February, seemed to think it was very funny we still had our Christmas tree up. Hmmph. It’s still before Easter. I don’t see what your problem is. For one thing ours didn’t go up till Christmas Eve, as I’m sure I reported here at the time, and you want to enjoy it a little, don’t you? Especially the new-last-year baubles with the roses made out of glitter stencilled on them. Also, this is a small, civilised fake tree, so it’s not like it’s dying horribly and dropping needles everywhere. I’m sure it enjoys being out of the box it spends the rest of the year in a little longer than the standard . . . uh . . . what is the standard for Christmas trees? Fortnight? A month? Feh. Mingy.
Also, while it is little—about four foot—it is well furnished. Which means there’s a lot to look at, you know? You don’t want to rush the process of artistic appreciation. Not to mention the fact that it is kind of a lot of work to set up and even more to take down.^
But Andraste is one of these organised people. Your birthday present always arrives exactly 2.5 days before your birthday^^ and I’m sure her Christmas tree comes down on the thirteenth day of Christmas. I decided it wouldn’t be all that much fun watching her trying to think of something to say about our Christmas tree in March. ^^^ But the sitting room at the mews looks all kind of hollow without it. Sigh. Maybe I could start a new fashion? You just move your Christmas tree back against the wall the other eleven months of the year? And turn it occasionally so you see all the ornaments?#
Meanwhile . . . I have four boxes of Christmas decorations wedged into the front passenger seat of Wolfgang. I feel it is reasonable that I haven’t quite got them up to Third House yet, but why aren’t they in the boot? Um. Well, the boot is still full of bagged manure and compost because I still have this little starting problem with Wolfgang, I don’t dare park him next to the cottage so I can unload and I can’t quite face schlepping it all down from his parking space at the top of the hill. The steep gruesome stair from road level up to my garden gate is bad enough. I realise I will have to face all this some day . . . but not today.
^ Including the fact that the boxes and the bubble wrap you have been using every year for yonks morph strangely between the time you took everything out and the time you try to pack everything away again. Somebody tell me why I have a twelve-hole box for my set of basic red baubles . . . and fourteen baubles. I realise the answer is that I originally had two identical boxes and twenty-four red baubles,+ but I feel that even I would have noticed breaking ten of them. Or perhaps that was the year that Peter met me at the door, one day late in December, wild-eyed and panting, and as I think about it he may have had a broom in his hand, saying no, don’t come in, there’s just been a bulletin on the radio, there’s an outbreak of wyverns in Ditherington, and they need every pair of hands they can get! And so of course I went to Ditherington where in fact they were rather surprised to see me as the report on the radio had not included an appeal for ordinary members of the public. But when I explained that I’d helped to deal with wyverns in Maine a few times (although the New World wyvern is rather different from its European cousin) they gave me a flak suit and a multi-zorm stick and were glad to have me. By the time I got home again I was too tired to ask Peter . . .
+ Remember that at the old house we had two-storey trees in the elbow of the stairs. Two-storey trees require frightening numbers of ornaments before they stop looking green and start looking decorated. I used to buy baubles by the parsec.
^^ The Royal Mail wouldn’t dare mess with Andraste.
I had a card through the door yesterday saying that a package I had to sign for had been returned to the post office and that I could pick it up ‘tomorrow’. I couldn’t find the special Sunday-opening button though so I’m going to have to wait till Monday.
^^^ It’s not Easter yet.
# This would also solve the Untangling Problem. We gave up lights several years ago, but there are still a lot of long tinselly and bannery things which tend to pound themselves into dreadlocks over the course of the year. Never mind that they are wrapped LIGHTLY and GENTLY and laid on the TOP of the boxes.
*** Well, comparatively
† Make that hiding. Some evil little terrier was dragged past us, snapping and snarling in the standard evil-little-terrier way, while various of us had stopped for calls of nature. When I was done picking up same I looked ahead and saw that they’d let the sodding little villain OFF HIS LEAD. And I may have mentioned recently that we move faster than pretty much anyone else we meet while we’re out hurtling. So we went and hid in a neighbouring field for a while.
†† Slowly. The ME has its feet up on the furniture but it’s not running me too ragged fetching it peeled grapes and cups of tea etc.
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