November 21, 2016

The Return of Wolfgang


This should have gone up last night, of course—one rarely ransoms cars from garages on Sundays—and today got away from me as my days so often do. I should perhaps adopt an acronym:  TSHGULNOC, which sounds a little like something out of HP Lovecraft says just before it eats you. Some day if I ever get my act together Raphael is going to commute me to another internet provider, and we will see if I spend less time waiting for things to load with my fingers in my ears so I can’t hear myself screaming.  Meanwhile:  TSHGULNOC.

 * * *

I have a car! I have a car! YAAAAAAAAAY!

I got home last night after dinner* to a brief laconic phone message from the garage. ‘Give us a ring when you have a minute.’  ARRRRRRRRGH.  Can’t they just tell me??   But I assumed the not telling me, the terseness and the . . . er . . . what’s the noun form of ‘laconic’? . . . the laconia, the laconitry, were not a good omen.

This morning I left** before even a garage is likely to be open, to go to Mass*** and decided just for laughs to take a detour on the way home, I might as well make them look me in the eye when they told me they could probably get to my car in January.†  So I braced myself not to burst into tears and lie down on the floor and drum my heels . . . and first I couldn’t find anyone to ask and I figured they’d seen me coming and were hiding, and then when I did find someone they still wouldn’t meet my eyes but they said (laconically), oh, it’s all done.  You can have it now.


Apparently what happened—although garage men tend to be Of Few Words††, I may have a better version from Morag when she’s back in the office next week—is that they were failing to locate a new pedal box††† and on closer examination the pedal box breakage was less drastic than feared and they said oh piffle let’s just weld‡ the sucker, and they did.


I was so excited that when I arrived home‡‡ I threw the hellhounds in the back seat and we shot off to . . . somewhere. Anywhere.  We had a proper hurtle over the countryside for the first time in yonks, which has less to do with Wolfgang than with my interesting energy levels or lack thereof.  We were already on the road before I thought about where we were going, and I decided on Ditherington where we used to hurtle frequently and haven’t been . . . all this year, I think, which means over a year, because I pretty much stopped superfluous driving after Peter’s second stroke and I was spending all available time wherever he was.  Ditherington looked pretty good and the hellhounds were thrilled.‡‡‡

And then we came home and the hellterror had her own epic hurtle across more dangerously local countryside, which I’m willing to risk on a nice Saturday afternoon because I can pick her up if there are problems.§

I even did a little gardening.§§  Reclaiming a member of the family is very energizing.§§§  YAAAAAAAY.  WOLFGANG.

* * *

* And while I’m celebrating I also want to celebrate that I’ve eaten in restaurants twice this week^ and I’m still alive. There are no fresh bits falling off that I’ve noticed and I haven’t broken out in a scaly rash that makes me look like a diseased turbot.  There is hope.

^ Where the people in the kitchen may be injecting secret cow feta into the crab salad.+

+ I was talking to someone about the somewhat retro manager of a local food bank—have I told you I’m planning to do Pitch a Foodstuff in a Box Every Day for Advent# and then donate box and contents to a food bank?—whose attitude toward the undeserving poor is that if they’re hungry they’ll eat it.## Uh huh.  Tell that to someone with a peanut allergy.  Hey, tell it to someone who’s allergic to cow feta.  She won’t die, but she will rip your face off.

# You will remember that I have been heaping righteous scorn on the designers, the gift-buyers, and the clueless, superficial and self-indulgent recipients of Advent calendars dedicated to beauty products or whisky or hamsters or something? I have had my comeuppance.  There’s a yarn Advent calendar.  No, no, no, no.  It’s okay though.  It’s way too expensive.  And furthermore the yarn is acrylic. BUT I BET YOU COULD MAKE A REALLY CUTE BABY BLANKET FOR CHARITY OUT OF TWENTY-FOUR SQUARES OF ADVENT CALENDAR YARN.~

~ And someone can explain to me why Advent calendars only have twenty four windows when Advent starts some time before that.  This year apparently on 27 November.  Presumably I start my food box on the 27th even though I don’t have any fun till the 1st of December.=

= Although since I’m planning to do readings out of THE ROADS FROM BETHLEHEM which Alfrick loaned me his old, well-loved copy of to shut me up about my latest opportunity for outrage, the Shocking Commercialisation of Advent.  What’s next?  Give your sweetheart a dozen chocolate pencils for Punctuation Day? . . . ANYWAY.  Since I’m planning to declaim to the hellmob, the Aga and the indoor jungle I could start that on the 27th too.

## I’m sure there’s a place in the new American cabinet for this moron. Health and human services possibly.  Or education.

** And a word here for St Admetus. He’s been letting me drive his car. The only drawback to this fabulous, beyond-my-wildest-imaginings situation is that Fleur is new.^  You will remember that one of the reasons I want to keep my ancient, beat-up car is that any car that lived with me would become ancient and beat-up pretty fast.  It’s very hard on a person trying to behave in a drastically out of character a manner . . . although in my defence a lot of Wolfgang’s more interesting impairments have to do with inadequately maintained back country roads and I wouldn’t DREAM of taking Fleur anywhere but on flawlessly paved roads, or as frelling flawlessly as the frelling Hampshire county council can provide which isn’t blistering very. But there are one or two other variations like the fact that her brakes are DELICATE.  You speak to them sweetly and for pity’s sake don’t actually step on them.  I did eventually stop throwing myself through the windscreen.^^ . . . Which meant that when I got behind the more robust and jolly Wolfgang’s wheel again I was all WHERE ARE THE BRAAAAAAAAAKES.

The other high point was arriving with Fleur at my late-night shift at the Sams and not being able to pull the frelling ignition key out of the frelling ignition.

^ She’s also shiny and WHITE. Admetus washes his car+.  Fancy.  But anything I come in contact with staggers away from the encounter covered in mud and dog hair.  Although I may be doing the hellmob an injustice.  I think I must produce dog hair too.  Hmmmm.

+ Have I mentioned that Wolfgang now has Herb Robert growing in the crack between the windscreen and the hinge of the bonnet?

^^ Fortunately modern flexi-plast windscreens don’t star on impact very easily.

*** Before I realised the extent to which St Admetus is willing to sacrifice himself on the altar of friendship I’d been telling myself that it was not the end of the world^ if I didn’t make it to Mass^^ this week.^^^  The result is this is now the second week in a row that I’ve gone both to morning Mass and the night contemplative service on Saturday, pant, gasp, whiplash, due to circumstances beyond my control.  God likes her little joke.

^ That would have been 8 November

^^ Jonesing for the Eucharist. Go Jesus.

^^^ I’d been trying to figure out the festering bus schedule. The buses between here and Mauncester in one direction and Opprobrium in the other are pretty reliable.  But if you want to peel off in a funny direction from the main route, like, say, Dreepworth, which is a village of about three, plus some monks well back among the trees+, there are rumours of a local bus but no one knows anything about it.  It is not encouraging that it is further rumoured to stop at the ski lodge and the planetarium.  Dreepworth does not have a ski lodge or a planetarium.

+ And a big sign that says WELCOME. I like that sign.

† Since I was there I thought the least I could do was fill up the petrol tank. You have to release the lock, said the helpful petrol-pump man. RELEASE?  THE LOCK??  We had to get the frelling handbook out to find the frelling petrol-tank release latch ARRRRRRRGH.  Admetus thought this was very funny.^  I had to tell him since the first thing he said was, how did you find the petrol tank release?

^ Hey. I’d written down the mileage and the litres because I knew Admetus is the kind of OCD git . . . I mean, the kind of thoughtful, responsible car owner+ who keeps track of such things.  GIVE ME SOME CREDIT HERE.

+ Yes. Admetus usually reads the blog.

†† I should perhaps specify intelligible words.  Paxton is usually happy to explain exactly what happened in great detail, except that I don’t know any of the words he’s using, since they have to do with cars and I pretty much stop with ‘steering wheel’ and ‘rear view mirror’.

††† Those Fijians really like their pristine showcases.

‡ Welding. You youngsters may not have heard of this interesting ploy.  It’s something you can do to old cars which are still mostly made out of metal.^

^ Except the FENDERS. Which are made out of plastic-coated papier mache and fall off at a TOUCH.  There is a humiliating story about this in the archives somewhere.

‡‡ Admetus having given me a lift back out to Warm Upford to fetch Wolfgang

‡‡‡ Although the reason Ditherington began to fall out of favour in the first place is because the local gamekeeper is/was a ratbag sod. He’s the one responsible, for example, for the line of guns across a public footpath one shooting season which is frankly illegal, and which the hellhounds and I walked straight into because you’re coming out of a copse into a field and you have no warning what you’re getting into unless they’re actually firing which I am glad to say they weren’t.  And I grew very tired of him snapping and snarling for no reason but that he was in a nasty mood and didn’t like old women walking their dogs.  If someone could tell me he now has a job wrestling alligators in Florida, and that the new keeper prefers to sit on a hay bale and knit, I would be very happy.

§ We had an absolutely classic run in with an off lead dog. It was coming down the hill on lead to our right as we carried on straight ahead along the footpath. The idiot woman saw us. I saw her seeing us. And the moment we were out of sight behind the fence she let Throgmorton off the lead and he instantly hared after us, coming around the corner on one leg and a tail. CALL YOUR DOG, I said, scooping up the meanest SOB in the valley.  Throgmorton was about the size of an SUV and I was considering climbing the fence—with an armful of Meanest SOB—when Idiot Woman came panting around the corner and did, in fact, catch her abominable dog.

§§ It started to rain as I was putting on my pink wellies. I heard Peter’s voice in my ear saying It’s not wet rain and went out anyway.

§§§ Really I’m on a roll. I bounced through not one but two social occasions last night—first catching up with Ceridwen and Vidhya and the little frumplet^ and then dinner with Nina and Ignatius. Hey, wouldn’t it be great if I were just getting stronger? Yes. It would be great. ^^

^ Who will soon grow out of the fabulous baby blanket he hasn’t received

^^ Maybe I could even get more than three syllables a day of story-in-progress written. That would be GREAT.


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