October 28, 2012

Antarctic wedding. With snow. And penguins. And handbells.


I had no idea Antarctica was so close, let alone that people got married there.  Why don’t they want to get married in Montevideo or Jakarta?  It’s warmer.  And since my sense of geography is so unreliable, maybe they’re close too.  I probably can’t go, I have this frelling puppy,* but I’m sure Niall and Colin could find a local handbell third.**

But that’s not what happened today.  Today we had dog sleds and pack ice.  Well, nearly.  It’s been mostly unseasonably warm*** the last few weeks and then last night WHAM.  It didn’t quite get down to freezing in my little town garden—which is to say I still have dahlias—but I bet there was a lot of windscreen-scraping in driveways outside of town this morning.  And then there was the wind.  The mad banshee ululation down the chimneys is fine while you’re still in bed, but it’s not popular when you have a lot of livestock to take hurtling.

I’d been planning to wear a skirt—a wool skirt, but still a skirt.  The big disadvantage of ringing handbells for events is that you have to be visible.  And, you know, a wedding.†  But I contemplated the bellowing gale†† and changed my mind.  GOLLY FRELL FREAKING DOODAH was it cold.  And there we are, sinking slowly into the unforgiving mud under the storm-lashed yew trees†††, ringing our handbells in temperatures where if naked flesh made contact with bell metal it would adhere instantly‡ but fortunately I was wearing GLOVES.  I was still freezing to death.  In spite of jeans and long johns.  We rang the beastly bride in and then ran for the car and the car’s HEATER, since we were ringing her both in and out.  Feh.  And, speaking of storm-lashed, they had these little trees in pots by the church door, festive with fairy lights and ribbons, and these kept blowing over, BLAM, first into Niall and then into Colin.  At which point we removed farther under the yew trees.

Our only respite and reprieve was that while it had been a glorious sunny day to begin with it started to cloud over and spit rain—and rain thrown at you by tantruming winds hurts almost as much as hail—while the assembled were heaving themselves out of the mud into the church, and when they (finally) came out again it was seriously trying to rain so they didn’t hang around in the churchyard.  We did get some nice comments, although I could have done without the curious repetition of ‘sweet’.  Sweet?  Sweet?  Arrrrgh.‡‡

Never mind.  Honour was satisfied. No penguins died.  And the puppy crate was clean when I got home.  Yaay.

* * *

* I have a great photo for you of puppy learning to knit and I CAN’T FIND MY CAMERA.  ARRRRGH.  Tomorrow.

** I wonder what ‘bob minor’ is in Spanish or Malay?

*** Which as the human belonging to a new puppy^ I have been very grateful for.  I’m glad she likes inside better than outside during this ghastly pre-sphincter-control phase^^ since I seem to be taking her out kind of a lot^^^ and she thinks indoors is where the FOOOOOOOD is, and also all the best toys, especially the ones that make the hellgoddess drop whatever she is doing and give chase#, accompanying screams of I’M LEAVING YOU IN A BOX BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD optional.

^ Life?  Are you kidding?  I have a puppy

^^ And every time I get it wrong and she pees/craps in her crate I hear Ian Dunbar’s voice telling me that my puppy is ruined, ruined, RUINED FOREVER!!!!  That I have RUINED a perfectly good puppy!!!  That I am GUILTY and a WICKED PERSON!!!!  —I don’t think he’s ever lived with real dogs.  I think it’s a Truman Show set up, although the economics of it seem to me a little obscure.  Personally I’m extremely susceptible to guilt but I’m not going to keep buying dog books that tell me what a hopeless failure I am.  And it’s true that Pavlova is not fed and interacted with on a strict and rigorous basis with a five-star precision rating and a tolerance allowance of five seconds plus or minus+, but she provides her own significant contribution to the general lack of schedule-following and even if I don’t have a life I still have stuff I have to do.  Today that included freezing to death with handbells in my hands.


^^^ One does forget.  Hellhounds get two medium-length and one short walk by the present system, plus two additional chances to have a quick pee.  But they can get by on two walks a day full stop without any manifestations of anxiety, and if they’re not anxious, I’m not anxious.  And then you get a puppy and all the comfortable verities are trashed, as is your house, your yarn stash, your shoes, the bottoms of your jeans, your hair, your belt, your peace of mind. . . .

# See:  puppy learning to knit.

† A seriously posh wedding, just by the way, which had not been specified to us flunkies in advance.  I haven’t seen so many dead fur-bearing animals together in a small space in a long time.  Although if you’re going to wear dead fur-bearing animal skins, today was a good day to do it.  And I did enjoy watching the stiletto heels trying to walk up the muddy path to the little old church without breaking their ankles.^  I don’t usually have a lot of sympathy for the stiletto-heel brigade^^ but this mud was mean.  It yanked the heel off one of my (flat) leather boots.

^ This is the other problem with ringing handbells at events:  you are visible but so are they.  And I distract easily.

^^ Hayley clearly must be reclaimed

††  And, I don’t know, maybe it contemplated me:  Hey, she’s got dogs.  Let’s wind her up.

††† The huge old yew trees were fabulous, but I wasn’t really in the mood.

‡ It makes a good story, but I don’t think brass gets cold the way aluminium and steel do, does it?  At what temperature will brass stick to skin the way the ice-cube trays of the youth of people as old as I am did?

‡‡ And you sure don’t do it for the money.  Two hours of freezing our butts off for £25 per.

Um.  So, why do we do it?  Well, I think you should have bells for important events.  So if I get asked, I have to say yes.  And handbells are way too underappreciated.


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