June 28, 2013

Death, Decay and Lungworm


Peter and I went out to dinner tonight because it is a 26th -ish, which is to say that I went bell ringing last night:  Wild Robert was having one of his roving last-Wednesdays at a tower I can actually find.*  Tonight we were so fortunate as to be sitting next to a table where a gentleman with a carrying voice was describing his misfortunes in rich and graphic detail, including, as they did, the decline and eventual death of his mother and the social benefit and moral uplift of donating corpses to forensic science because you know one of the things they do is let them rot under carefully controlled conditions and then keep detailed notes of what happens just like on CSI and WE’RE TRYING TO EAT DINNER HERE YOU KNOW and then there was his dog, which had lungworm and epilepsy and a cough that went on and on and . . . eventually it died too.  We at the next table meanwhile were losing the will to live.  Even the cards didn’t love us:  we do this thing of laying out bridge hands and then Peter tells me how I should play them HAHAHAHAHAHA.  Although sometimes this is pretty interesting and while I wouldn’t have a hope of successfully doing any of it** I can at least follow, especially when we’re playing with all the cards face up and I don’t have to REMEMBER anything.***  Tonight all the hands were ‘hmm, difficult’ from my seventy-years’-experience bridge-playing husband.  Plus lungworm.  And did I mention that next table’s mother never regained consciousness after her final stroke, although it took her a while to die?

This morning I had been planning on telling you a funny story about Dog Throwing Up.  Maybe you have to be a critter owner.  But I heard the Telltale Preparatory Heaving Noises when, as ill luck would have it, the hellterror was loose in the kitchen, and the Heaver was Darkness, who is still apprehensive about her, so I was trying to drag him out of the hellhound crate onto the floor and she was saying, oh!  Playing with Darkness!  I loooove playing with Darkness and mostly he won’t play with me!, so I’m trying to fend her the flaming doodah off, and meanwhile every time I let go of Darkness he . . . doesn’t necessarily bolt into his crate but he does bolt for another piece of carpet.  Now the kitchen is chiefly lino, but I have those dirt-attractor mats by both doors, and a rug-like item in front of the Aga because hellcritters like to lie there.  NOT ON THE CARPET YOU IDIOT HELLHOUND.  Previous canines of my acquaintance do a quick hack and it’s all over, but hellhounds approach the process of throwing up in a gradual, cumulative fashion.  This means that, hellterrors and other distractions aside, you have quite a good chance of getting him onto a piece of easily washable floor, but on an occasion like this morning it’s more Keystone Cops.  WHY A PIECE OF CARPET?  WHY, OH WHY, A PIECE OF CARPET?***  I ended up chasing him around the kitchen while he trailed bile-tainted spittle, so I had far more cleaning up to do than I would have if I’d just left him alone in the back of his crate and let him get on with it—even if I did just change the crate blankets a few days ago and don’t much feel like washing any more right away, involving, as this does, several subsequent loads of human laundry coming out VERY HAIRY because BRITISH FRELLING WASHING MACHINE FILTERS DON’T, ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, FILTER.  As it is, the kitchen floor is a good deal cleaner than it was yesterday.  And I think I got away with scrubbing the mats with my super-bristly [flower]-pot cleaning brush and some biological detergent. . . .

At that point it was still more or less a funny story.  Then we went for our morning hurtle and the geysering began.  Nooooooooooo.

What I haven’t told you is that all hellcritters are now on homeopathic treatment for environmental pollution by a bloke who specialises in detox.  Darkness has always been more affected by whatever-it-is, and Chaos after about five days of the stuff is clearly brighter and bouncier and eating better and it’s kind of to be expected that Darkness is going to be having the rougher time, even if we are on the right track.  Whatever-it-is is, after all, highly erratic, and they’ve cycled out of it before without benefit of anything but time and what I can figure out to do for them myself.  I got frantically on the phone to the bloke today after we got home and he agreed that Darkness is due to struggle more, but he said he’d do a bit more research and have a think.  Meanwhile Darkness, or, more to the point, Darkness’ insides, have settled down again, so Peter and I went out to dinner after all, and were much edified by the stories of death, corpses, and lungworm.  This wouldn’t have happened if we’d gone out on the 26th.

* * *

* Old Eden, in fact, whose bells do not improve with absence, nor does the heart grow fonder, although it may thud harder after some time trying to ring the wretched things.  I don’t understand the frelling physics of the way they behave:  how can a bell, swinging higher with every frantic yank on the rope by the ringer-up, and however grudgingly said bell cedes every fraction of an inch, how can it suddenly just fall on you^ out of its arc, so you suddenly have a big floppy snarl of rope in your hands and no responsive weight of bell at the other end.  ARRRRRRGH.

^ In terms of full-circle ringing, I mean:  the bell is firmly attached to its frame and doesn’t literally fall out of it.  Can’t, if the steeplekeeper is doing his/her job and keeping an eye on the fittings.

** Partly because a detestable amount of successful bridge playing is based on keeping track of how many of a given suit have been played, and which ones:  is your jack high or is the queen still out?  When you drew trumps did you get all of the frellers or not?  COUNTREMEMBER WHAT I’VE COUNTED? ARE YOU BINGLEFARBING KIDDING ME?

*** See previous footnote.

† And don’t tell me splash factor.  Trust me, it’s not splash factor.  It’s not malice either:  none of the three current incumbents have a malicious neuron in their entire twitchy, hairy bodies.  Perverse, intractable, deaf and stubborn, yes.^  Malicious, no.^^

^ If one more person tells me in a hushed and earnest manner, oh, you know, bull terriers are very stubborn, I’m going to say GET A FRELLING SIGHTHOUND.

^^ It’s all what you’re used to/what your own neurons are wired to put up with.  I had a friend whose cat, when it was cross with her, used to throw up along the top of her shelf of LPs—you old folks will remember LPs, with their narrow cardboard sleeves—I have a friend now whose cats pee on her bed if she dares go on holiday and leave them.  I am not wired to put up with this kind of thing.  I’m pretty sure I’ve told you the LP story before, it’s just one of those, BINGO!  WHY I DON’T HAVE CATS! stories.   That cat would have been at the shelter the next day, if it had been mine.


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