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Monthly Archives: March 2014

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Help Yourself to my Bed Why Don'tcha

Help Yourself to my Bed Why Don’tcha

Spring has crept up behind the storms and dragged the daffodils, daisies and crocuses up from the soggy red soil. Crows are zooming overhead with nesting materials gathered in their beaks and the larks have risen from the fields until they are barely visible specks in the sky pouring their song over our hilltop. But … I have had to buy Roger a coat. He feels the cold, poor chap. Though he’s put on weight he’s still much too thin. (He needs at least another three kilos, then – shhhh, don’t tell him – I’ll reduce his intake to a maintenance diet.) His lack of body mass doesn’t help with his susceptibility to the cold and so when we walk out on wet, chilly days he wears his new coat. At night he sleeps under a duvet – mine. He must be under the duvet and he must have his head covered. His preference, not mine. Even when dozing under a blanket on one of St F’s sofas, he must have his head covered. I wonder why. He dreams a lot and growls and whimpers in his sleep. Sometimes he sounds so distressed I have to gently wake him up. Other times I have to wake him up to get him to move back across the bed, bloody bed hog. Bleary golden eyes gaze at me and I can read the thoughts there ‘what? You want me to get off the bed? But I like it here.’ However he does (eventually) get up then I can move back from the precipice and gain a little mattress for myself. As soon as I’ve settled, back comes Roger, under the duvet and rests his bodyweight against me and I start the inexorable slide towards the edge of the bed again. Lucky I’m a dog lover isn’t it?

You can't see me, right?

You can’t see me, right?

Oh well, as I said at the top of this post, spring is springing and most days are warm enough for my bony bed hog to go out without his coat. He runs around the field chasing St F’s latest family member, Molotov, a puppy rescued from a future as a bait dog, and she out manoeuvres him exactly as Eric was out manoeuvred by his girlfriend, Madge, and Roger loves it. He has learned to play frisbee (but not to give it back yet) and best of all, he comes back when I call him. What more can I ask for? Oh yes, a cure for his slobbering. Other than that, Roger is a truly lovely, well-mannered gentleman and I love him.

My Very Tall Dog

My Very Tall Dog

One Month On And I’m Smitten

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2014 in Family Life

 

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I’m Old But I Ain’t Fell Over – Yet

Two days ago I celebrated (mourned?) my forty-ninth birthday. Like every other person of a certain age, I live in a no-man’s-land extreme maturity and utter childishness. I can be relied upon to give reasoned advice on almost any problem whether it be teenage spots or how to use a self-contained breathing apparatus and … then when I get in the car with my sister, St Francis, we slap the beejaysus out of each other when we see a yellow car or a mini. (With a mini you punch the other person and yell ‘punch buggy – insert colour of car. Woe betide if you get the colour wrong because you get six punches back for your mistake followed by a punch for the correct colour!) I am very aware of my age but despite the knowledge that I am now a crumbling ruin, I utterly refuse to grow up.

When I lived up north with the love of my life (he is still the love of my life despite the 300 miles that separate us), I felt myself growing older by the minute. He is fun and daft like me but hangs out with a lot of older types. We went to a lot of funerals. I made one friend who is as juvenile as I am and she helped me stay sane but, sadly, I needed more. A move back south was the only way to protect my inner child.

But. Even an eternal bambina like me gets pulled up short sometimes.

St F’s neighbour, The Morrighan  is a feisty (and I don’t use that word lightly) pensioner who keeps herself to herself. It’s taken years to get close enough to be invited into her house and we both know that we are privileged in this. In the last year she has asked me to help with her rather large garden and, recently I’ve dismantled a storm damaged shed for her. St F has taken her shopping once a week and all was well up until about three weeks ago. The bad back she complained of was diagnosed as arthritis. She also has a frozen shoulder. The prescribed painkillers knocked her out and she napped much of her day away. Suddenly, almost overnight, she became a pain-wracked old woman. She was unable to go shopping so St F shopped for her. For fear of disturbing her (and getting a flea in my ear) I worked in the garden and left again without seeing her. We were no longer allowed in the house.

Today, The Morrighan was due to have a blood test at the local surgery. St F and I assembled at the car, waiting for her. She is usually punctual but not today. Five minutes past the agreed time, St F went and knocked on her door.

‘Lorraine, come and help me,’ St F called. ‘Morri has fallen over and can’t get up.’

Morri’s children are grown up and live far away. They visit often but they are out of reach in a situation like this. St F and I took turns to talk to Morri through the letter box until an ambulance turned up followed by a police officer who broke a window so that we could get in. Living alone for so long, even in such a quiet area, had made Morri concerned about security. No windows were open, all the doors were locked and the security chains on. With out the police officer and his truncheon, we couldn’t get in. Once in, we realised why we had been denied access lately. House-proud Morri was unable to cope. OK, this only meant a bit of washing up in the sink and her fire had gone out but to her, that’s unforgivably lax.

Dazed and a little bewildered, dehydrated and hungry, Morri had been on the floor since 6 a.m. It was gone 4 p.m when we gained access. She was still on the floor in her nightdress but as ornery as ever. After climbing in the window, St F patted her arm as she passed to let the paramedic and the copper in.

‘I don’t need patting,’ Morri grumbled. ‘I need lifting off the damn floor.’

Tonight, Morri is in hospital where they are monitoring her low blood pressure. Tomorrow morning I’m going to her house to finish the washing up that St F and I started while the paramedic examined Morri.

Morri has long wanted to move somewhere smaller and no doubt she will get her wish now but in the meantime, we want to make sure that her home is clean, tidy and welcoming when she comes back. I hope that will be soon.

I, meanwhile, am looking in the mirror and saying to myself, ‘How long, Lorraine? How long before you can’t manage? St F and I are two tough, physically capable old birds but we both have arthritis of the spine and we’re both accident prone ( I currently have a black eye from a frisbee-related incident. Yes I threw it. Who knew it was going to act like a boomerang?). What if I fall over and can’t get up? I live with a food obsessed dog who was once starved. Is he going to think all his Christmasses and birthdays have come at once?

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Family Life, Musing

 

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Writing at last – sort of

Just a quickie. Yes I know, you wait weeks for a post then two come along at once. Maybe I’ve had too much caffeine.

Anyway, today I handed over a book I’ve written!

A dear chap called Robbie celebrated his second birthday on Sunday but we didn’t get to see him until today when we presented him with his very own story book, written about him. I printed it off and hand-stitched it into a cardboard cover adorned with photos of our hero. He seemed pleased but was rather more taken with the chocolate buttons wrapped up with it.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Struggling Writers

 

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Life Turns on a Sixpence

My Beautiful EricIt’s been two weeks and two days since I lost my beloved Eric. I miss him terribly and my little house seems suddenly too big without him shambling around or barking insanely at the postman or knocking my slippers off my feet as he follows me, too closely, up the stairs.

It isn’t only my grief, of course. As if the tears of my family weren’t enough, I didn’t realise how much he meant to everybody until I discovered that my niece, Medusa, had secreted his collar, lead and muzzle in her school bag. Her consternation when I asked for them back a few days later was so sad to see. We agreed that I could have the lead but she could keep the collar and the muzzle. The muzzle was a recent addition to Eric’s life. I bought it as his condition worsened and his behaviour became more unpredictable. I hated it as much as he did but it was necessary when he was around the kids, lest he snapped at them. I found it strange that Medusa would want to keep it, but she did, and now her teddy bear wears it with the collar. Not sure how Ted feels about that.

Having a dog that was known as a character in the village means I’ve cried publicly several times as I’ve explained to concerned locals where Eric has gone. And so has my sister, St Francis. We are a right bunch of softies in my family.

But every sad ending brings a new beginning.

Loving Homes Dog Rescue, the charity that placed Eric with us, let me know that a female Doberman cross was in urgent need of a new home and I was sorely tempted. She was a truly lovely looking dog but, like many rescue dogs, she had her issues and after coping with Eric’s deterioration, I was exhausted. I needed a gentler housemate. (We are making it up to them by possibly fostering a little six-month-old that was stolen from her owner by muggers who apparently wanted her as a bait dog.) So I browsed various rescue sites on the internet, without any real idea of taking on another dog so soon, until I happened across Great Dane Care and that was that.

I like big dogs. I like all dogs (well, nearly all) but I really like big dogs and I’ve had Danes before so I stopped on the Great Dane Care site and had a look around. As luck would have it, the half-starved and mistreated Alfie was at the top of the page. St F and I made enquiries and exactly one week ago Alfie took up residence in my house. No longer is my home echoing and empty. It’s filled with the snoring, farting and grunting of its newest occupant. I still see Eric everywhere but it is a calm feeling as if some remnant of Eric’s spirit has given his approval – but then that’s the rescue dog prayer, isn’t it? ‘When I go, let another experience the love and care that you gave me …’

Any of you who read my earlier post Int Life Brilliant? will know that I’ve had an Alfie in my life before. We don’t duplicate names, St F and I. It wouldn’t be fair to our Alfie’s memory and it wouldn’t be fair to this chap so St F and I spent that first day watching our new friend to work out what his name could be. A chance remark  from St F about the dog’s very mobile and expressive eyebrows led to me joking about Roger Moore (An actor famous for his being able to raise one or both eyebrows). There was a pause, St F and I looked at each other – ‘Roger,’ she said. ‘I like that.’ And so Alfie the Dane became Roger the Dane. He’s also known as Roger Dodger, Roger the Lodger, Droopy and Slobadan. The last refers to his drooling like a leaky tap, especially at mealtimes.

Starved, beaten, with scars that are quite likely to come from cigarette burns, Roger is a surprisingly trusting soul. Well-mannered, gentle and calm and I am more than a little in love with him already. Thank god for the people who work so hard in rescue centres like Loving Homes Dog Rescue and Great Dane Care, They don’t make any money and they witness the awfulness of man’s inhumanity daily. I am truly glad that people like St F and I are trusted to care for some of their precious creatures.

Roger's first day

Roger’s first day

Look at those ribs!

Look at those ribs!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Family Life

 

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