The Real Story about Yesterday
Peter’s birthday, right? And Georgiana was laying on a little tiny party-type lunch for her and Saxon and us and Nina and Ignatius. Georgiana and Saxon live in a gorgeous open-plan flat on some piece of water or other at the south end of this island country; the development used to be the world’s biggest assemblage of warehouses or something and they’ve been converted to flats with lots of open space and the big old weight-bearing beams left exposed. You can go for a stroll along the waterfront with all these massive great stern-fronted buildings looming over you—but then there’ll be an abandoned pushchair with the kiddie and its minder frolicking at a little distance, or a dog being walked*, and you notice that some of that stern frontage is a coffee bar and there are houseplants in windows, and curtains not at all likely on a containment facility for bales of hay or rocket-launcher projectiles.
I don’t drive much—or anyway much farther than Forza in one direction and Tintinnabulation at the other**—and while I have driven to Georgiana’s flat I haven’t been reliably up to it lately. So Nina and Ignatius were going to give us a lift. There were complications: Mavis, my dogminder, had a footy match for her sons in the afternoon, so any supernumerary hurtling she did would have to be early. Hellhounds would last till we got back; hellterror probably wouldn’t. So I was taking the hellterror with us. She would double as the live entertainment: she was going to have a great time in Georgiana’s flat. New hucklebutting records would be made.***
I overslept my alarm, of course†, and I was flying around cursing fate when the phone rang. They’re running late, said Peter, and I said, GREAT. I’m DELIGHTED.
But when I finally got to the mews, hellterror and crate included††, Nina and Ignatius’ car had its bonnet up, great racking billows of smoke and steam were waggling across the courtyard, and Ignatius was looking grim. Peter said to me, We have a problem. Ignatius doesn’t want to drive their car any farther (which looked totally sensible from where I was standing). Can we take Wolfgang?
Blither blither blither, I said, because making up my mind on no sleep is one of the things I do best. Um. Yes, of course you can take Wolfgang. But we’re not all going to fit. The hellterror and I will stay home.†††
Which is what happened. The hellhounds and I had a nap‡ folded up on the little cottage sofa and then I puttered around singing Christmas carols and doing stuff I never get around to doing‡‡. Oh, and I texted Mavis explaining what hd hppnd & cld we cancel? And she answered that of course we could cancel, not a problem—but her sons’ footy game had also been cancelled. So she could have looked after the hellterror after all. . . . ‡‡‡
* * *
* Or possibly hurtled
** And Nadia at a kind of angle. Today’s lesson was fascinating. I’ll tell you about it later.
*** If we ever got indoors at all. I might spend THE ENTIRE VISIT walking her around outdoors WAITING FOR HER TO EXCRETE.
† Mostly I find other people’s dreams TERMINALLY BORING but this one was so odd I thought I’d risk telling you. Last night I dreamed that I was walking home in the dark and someone came up behind me and GAROTTED ME. I went limp slightly before I didn’t have a choice, my assailant loosened the cord and I had just got my fingers under it and was kicking like fury when I woke up. What? Someone really doesn’t like my singing? Oh, and I overslept my alarm today too.
†† And hellterror food, and an unbreakable bowl to feed her her lunch, because while we can probably borrow a water bowl, mealtime servings are never adequate and the dish takes the brunt of her dismay, extra bedding in case anything goes wrong, newspapers, paper towels and plastic bags ditto, bath towels in case she falls in a mud flat and comes out a new and interesting colour, a spare collar and lead in case anything else goes wrong, a selection of her current favourite toys, and sufficient heavy twine to tie all her little feet together and hang her from the ceiling if nothing else works.
††† As I say, making up my mind on no sleep is one of the things I do best. But I don’t necessarily do it accurately. It wasn’t till everyone was home again that Peter said that the crate might have fit in the boot. Oh dear. It might have, especially if we took lid off—Wolfgang is a hatchback, and has one of those fold-down shelf things over the boot. But it probably wouldn’t have fit in lengthwise, and I wouldn’t have wanted her travelling any distance with the crate sideways to the motion of the car, which sounds pretty uncomfortable. But what further occurred to me after it was too late is that Nina is as skinny as I am—we might conceivably have got the crate between us on the back seat without undue distress on anyone’s part. And is it illegal to have a dog loose in your lap in a moving vehicle? Taken apart—and the travelling crate comes to bits easily^—the crate would certainly have gone in the boot, and while all of Pav doesn’t really fit in my lap any more, she seems to like flopping over the edges, and I’m still bigger and stronger than she is. For a few more weeks.
^ Too easily. But that’s another story.
‡ With the view from the hellterror crate of this wicked indulgence carefully blocked. Someone on the forum wondered what triple hurtling is going to be like. Yes. So do I. Gloomily. But I wonder even more if three hellcritters and I are ever going to be able to share a sofa without Major Suppression. Lying on the sofa is supposed to be relaxing.
‡‡ Even cleaning the floor is mildly attractive when it feels somehow illicit. And I don’t know but what I prefer it to sorting through bookshelves looking for stuff I can haul off to Oxfam to make room for the stuff that somehow keeps coming in. My knitting shelves are out of control, I have a ridiculous number of books on conversational Japanese for someone who doesn’t really speak a word of it, and the latest are the books on Christian theology which are mounting up kinda fast.
‡‡‡ Although that would still have meant missing the hucklebutting derby. But Peter came home bearing smoked salmon and champagne, so I don’t feel I missed much, and Nina and Ignatius limped home in their smoking car, their mechanic prostrated himself in apology today, and all appears to be well there too.
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