Not an optimum day
In theory I’m going to a concert tomorrow night. In practise . . . not.
In the first place I’m a disorganised moron who tends to take each day as it comes only when it comes, with the punch in the ribs or the kick behind the knee or the inconveniently located banana skin. Very slightly in my defense, this concert was booked months ago, before Pav was a twinkle in Lavvy’s eye. But I hadn’t sat down to think about the geometry of puppy sphincter control over against time, mileage, and musical sets. I know how far away Smite-the-infidels* is. I just hadn’t thought about it.
So a couple of nights ago I thought about it. Which is to say I asked Fiona, who would be driving, how long we’d be gone. Five or six hours, she said. Better assume six.
SIX HOURS? . . . frell.
And Mavis, my dog-minder, is tactlessly going to a Christmas party tomorrow night. She has a nerve. We did discuss the possibility of her coming round just long enough to put Pav in the back garden—but you don’t actually want to wrestle an increasingly heavy and muscular puppy out of a table-high crate and around the tricky corner between the door of the crate and the tallboy** in your taffeta and patent leather with the rhinestone heels. If it were a simple matter of escorting a polite, subdued, floor-level creature from bed to kitchen door and back again there are several people I could ask to do it. But even fleeting contact with Pavlova tends to be a bit of an adventure.
She might last six hours. Might. But I really really really don’t want to force her to break training when she’s been dry now for weeks. Even if we do have a slight issue about the other thing.
Fiona suggested that we could smuggle her into the concert. I’m sure Pav would be totally fine with this and would have eaten ice-creams during the interval just like everyone else in the audience but me. But I’m not sure she would fit even on both Fiona’s and my laps together, and that’s aside from the ‘smuggling’ part.
So I was still grappling with my latest failure to address reality yesterday afternoon on the second hellhound hurtle when . . . Darkness suddenly produced raging-waterfall squirts. Two or three times. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGHHHH.
Yesterday evening I spent poking Ars Alb*** into Darkness. He still wanted both dinner and supper, which is excellent as far as it goes, and he was OUTRAGED by the half rations, especially because they were ALL MUSHY . . . but today he had colic and was never going to eat again, and he hoped I understood that.†
Sooooooo I spent this morning†† poking repeated doses of a different homeopathic remedy††† into Darkness and . . . he ate his lunch. And he crapped solid. YAAAAAAAAAAY.
Whereupon I went off in the pouring rain—yes, we’re back to pouring rain‡—to ring one of the several carol services at Forza. There were about ninety-six of us so I wouldn’t have needed to go but I’m into brownie points and of course I brought my knitting. And because it’s good people management to let the duffers ring even when you’d rather they’d stayed home, I rang on ninety-six several times and screwed it up every time. I CANNOT COUNT THAT HIGH. Let alone back down again. Wait, what comes after thirty-two? No, no, in the other direction. Plus I got stuck on the two the first time, and the problem with the abbey’s littlest bells is that they’re really little and the sheer physics of little bells is different—their turning radius is smaller and, crucially, the weight of the rope is a much bigger percentage of their weight than it is on a bigger bell. Handling little bells is a different skill. One that I haven’t got. Especially when I’m trying to keep my place in a row of ninety-six other bongs. Scary Man afterward even acknowledged that the two is a trifle possessed by demons—those were perhaps not his exact words—but the point is that crankiness in a little bell, which already handles differently, is much more confounding to the stupid (ringer) than minor waywardness is in an ordinary-middling sized bell.
But on the way out . . . the service was starting, and part of the centuries-long route in and out of our eyrie is an open gallery where you look down over the area where the priests and choir and various admin assemble before they file statelily into the, you know, whatsit (my knowledge of church architecture is somewhat less than minimal) for the service itself. The parade had queued itself up but hadn’t started moving yet, so you’re looking down into this hushed twilight sea of white cassocks and candleflames and rising out of this, suddenly, is the perfect voice of one choirboy. Your hair totally stands on end. And right there it was worth schlepping in in the pouring rain to ring (badly). It was probably even worth months of toiling up those deeply and irregularly worn, dingleblasted and NEVER BUILT FOR HUMANS IN THE FIRST PLACE stairs . . . to have been standing in the gallery for those first few solo notes.‡‡
* * *
* The old town is dominated by a particularly fierce cathedral. It was always coming after me when I was a heathen. This won’t have changed. But it’ll know my name now.
** It’s not going to be her sheer weight that forces me to figure out how to put the crate down on floor level and facing in. It’s getting her around that corner, especially in the morning when she’s Very Glad to See You.
*** Arsenicum Album. Yes, white arsenic. Classic (homeopathic) remedy for eating something you shouldn’t’ve, including all those travellers’-trots situations.^ It doesn’t work for everybody but it (usually) works on Darkness when he’s managed to eat the end of someone’s discarded sandwich because I didn’t see him try it. But it usually takes a while, I assume because Ars Alb doesn’t really address the underlying cereal-grain allergy, it’s just shortening and alleviating the duration of the result. So you do have to keep redosing.
^ I don’t leave home without it. I prefer, however, just not leaving home.
† Trust me, the normal treatment regime of No Food Whatsoever for 24 hours after severe diarrhoea is worse with the hellhounds than the likelihood of colic if I can keep them eating.
†† Erm. What passes in my life for morning.
††† Which I’m not telling you the name of because I’m not sure where the lines of responsibility lie. Ars Alb for digestive upset after injudicious eating is one of the most basic first-aid treatments and a useful thing to try even if the only other thing you know about homeopathy is arnica for bruising. The remedy I usually give Darkness for what I’m calling colic^ is based slightly more my knowledge of my individual dog rather than the fact that his guts are making more noise than me practising Dido’s Lament. It’s not necessarily the remedy to grab automatically if you are similarly afflicted.
^ Sorry. Regular blog readers have heard all this before. Homeopathic prescribing is based on what’s happening, and never mind the labels. So three people could have ‘flu’ but they would be given three different remedies because one of them is suffering worst with a headache and runny nose, one of them with a fever and an upset stomach and one of them with coughing and wheezing.
‡ It is probably not suitable for an essentially family blog to describe the strategies of a hellterror owner burdened with a puppy who doesn’t like either rain or crapping. I can think of tightrope-dancing adventures I would prefer.
‡‡ Scary Man was leaving right behind me and as I showed an inclination to linger by the staff side door where you could hear the choir he said, I can let you in that way if you like, and he did. I’d already decided I wasn’t going to go to the service—one of the aspects of this first Christmas as a Christian is how terribly, totteringly easily I overwhelm and I didn’t think I could deal with an abbey full to its expansive brim of carol-service attendees, most of whom go to church once a year to sing carols, you know? So I hid behind a pillar in an alcove and listened to the music for a while, and the silence inside the music, and then I crept away again. What I need is to go off to my abbey, the little one with monks, and sit in that chapel. In the full drowning silence.
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