December 26, 2013



I was cleaning bird feeders this morning.  Hey, you feathered guys, you’re supposed to eat the stuff I put out, instead of getting bored and flying away to Tahiti for the poisson cru or next door for the sunflower hearts* and leaving the nutritious, carefully balanced by the wild-bird-food company accountants but probably not very exciting seed-with-bits-in** to curdle into what eventually sets into a substance remarkably like concrete.***  The stubbly kind.  Arrrgh.  And while the Second Wave of bird feeders is more satisfactory than the first they’re still diabolical little frellers to clean.

It’s been a clear bright day today after all the rain and wind† and it’s Boxing Day so EVERYONE and his/her aunt/uncle, third cousin twice removed and their large ill-mannered off lead dogs are out having jolly walks over the countryside.  Which means we did not have any jolly walks over the countryside because it wasn’t going to be worth the stress level.  I have enough stress in my life just now, you know?  Worrying about the three-bedroom-cottage-sized†† four-legged thug(s) bounding up to the crest of the hill from the other side wasn’t going to be a fun relaxing time.

I was gratuitously right about this:  Wolfgang coughed a bit in a sad neglected way when he started this morning and I was struck by a pang of conscience as well as the standard anxiety anyone with a getting-on-for-twenty-years-old car is going to have about such things, so we sauntered down to the mews the ridiculously long way to get his arthritic joints warmed up and all his meters reading normal.  We could barely thrash our way down any road††† for all the trippers out there in their coloured wellies‡ grimly appreciating nature and hoping that all this frelling fresh air is helping them wear off the excesses of yesterday.‡‡

Accompanied by their formidable battalions of drooling, superfluously-fanged off-lead dogs.  Arrrgh.  One of the (over-populated) roads we ventured down today cut across the path I did at least briefly consider taking Pav along because I can pick her up and . . . galumphing toward us as part of a well-wellied family party were two, I dunno, Golden Retrievers crossed with polar bear possibly?  Picking Pav up wouldn’t have been enough.  And I suspect I would not climb a tree efficiently with only one arm and a struggling thirty-pound hellterror under the other.

Eh.  I’m about to eat Christmas pudding.  Flour two days in a row.  I’m really dicing with death here.

* * *

* I’m cheap.  I spend enough on gold-standard frelling dog kibble.^

^ You’d think I’d be grateful the hellhounds don’t like eating.

** Mealworms, chiefly, because robins like mealworms, but I’ve already told you that my resident robin is TOO LARGE to fit through the squirrel-resistant cage.  I still haven’t addressed this problem.  Buying bird feeders gets old too, and as soon as you do your St Francis thing on the ground you get rats.  St Francis probably managed to love rats too but then he didn’t stay in one place much, did he?  Rats in the garden weren’t an issue.

*** I’ve been meaning to deal with the bird feeders since . . . oh, October or so.

† My focus has been a little narrow of late and I was apparently unduly off hand about the effects of the storms in this area;  there are people around here who have been and are still without power.  None of my neighbours has knocked on the door begging for a shower^ but then most of them are away for the holidays and aren’t noticing if they’ve got power or not.  I’m used to coming home in the small hours to a dark street but it’s disconcerting to come back at teatime to bring the indoor jungle in for the night and close the curtains, to a dark street.^^  Because I have more imagination than is good for me, and possibly because I read THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS at an impressionable age, there’s always a whiff of Last Woman on Earth about it.  And if Phineas doesn’t come back because a triffid got him I’ll have to start buying cat food.

^ And a good thing too since I don’t have a shower.  Took my first shower(s) in years when I was overnighting at Peter’s.  It was interesting.  Oh.  Yes.  I remember this.  Big waste of hot water.  No reading.+

+ Okay, you could read in the shower with—say—your iPad in her little waterproof jacket.  But it would be hell on your hot water bills and don’t you usually like to sit down when you read?

^^ The shortest day of the year is over.  We’re officially rolling on toward spring.  Yaaay.

†† Ie bigger than mine, which is one and a half bedrooms.  I’ve told you, haven’t I, that my predecessor used the big room as her bedroom and the medium-sized cupboard as her office?  Ah, priorities.  I ripped out the closet in the big room for more bookshelves in my office.

††† Except the main street, of course, which is beautifully empty because all the shops are closed.  Holiday traffic is funny.

‡ All right, my wellies are pink.  But they’re real wellies, and they have the real gouges and claw marks from working in a garden with a lot of rose bushes in it.  Some of the rubber boots out there look like the wellie version of those designer jodhpurs made for women who get no closer to a horse than the valuable antique horsehair sofa in their sitting room.  Jodhpurs are stupid unless there’s a horse involved.^  Wellies are stupid unless you have a garden or a lot of horses to muck out.  There were two little girls today with especially fabulous flash wellies in forty-seven decorator colours between them . . . and faces like the return of local thunderstorms.  I thought ‘blisters’.

^ Personally I think they’re pretty stupid even with a horse involved.  Nice pair of stretch breeches with reinforced fanny and inside-of-leg, thanks.

‡‡ Or possibly looking forward to further excesses today that all the fresh air is going to make justifiable.


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