Monthly Archives: August 2009

Creature capers

We returned home from our holiday to three losses and a considerable gain.
I will vent my spleen about one of our losses separately, I expect. The two other losses were in tiny hamster form. Two had escaped from the cage while we were away – mini Houdinis that they are. The woman who was looking after them was so upset. She even offered to buy us replacements – I felt a bit of an uncaring pet owner to say that we actually had more hamsters than we really had space for already. One hamster had sadly come to a bit of a sticky end – no more need be said about that – but the other was simply missing in action.

Until we sat watching TV that evening.

At about 9pm, just as we were settling to watch New Tricks, I saw a scuttling movement in a corner of the room. This was either a massive massive spider or… a Pavlova. I switched the light on and surveyed the carpet. Nothing.

We went back to watching the television, then suddenly my brother leapt to his feet. “There she is!” And then commenced the funniest hour and a half you have ever witnessed.

First of all, let me tell you that a Pavlova is the same colour as my lounge carpet. Also she is 4 cm long, can squeeze through a gap of 1cm, and moves like a thing possessed. By the time a human has gone from standing to kneeling in an attempt to corner her, she has circumnavigated the room three times and is still not out of breath. One by one we lifted the things from floor level and piled them up on the chairs and table. Armed with a tiny but powerful torch and a cardboard box, we engaged upon the hunt. But if this Pavlova didn’t have magical powers, I don’t know how she did it. She’d be trapped under the sofa, running from one end to the other and back again as she saw first my brother and then me waiting to catch her, and then, although we were tracking her movements from each end, she completely disappeared. We stood up, and there she was at the other side of the room. I’d swear I heard her laughing! Even more so when we stopped for a breather and were stood in a corner of the room surveying the room for any sign of movement, and then suddenly got that sensation of being watched. Yes, there she was, sitting BEHIND us, watching us intently. But the minute we turned around to get her, she was gone again.

Funniest moment of all had to be when my brother and I were lying each end of the settee, laughing uncontrollably, and the Pavlova ran full tilt to my brother’s end of the sofa and almost straight into his mouth!
After a hard year, which is still throwing up endless causes for concern and stress, it was the best laugh we’ve had in years. As the clock neared 11 O’clock we were starting to despair of ever getting to bed… when all of a sudden she ran straight out and into my waiting hands. Just like that. Pop back into the cage and all’s well.

The gain is a less pleasant one, however. Bloomin’ Charlie’s brought us a host of new pets of the hopping and nibbling and itching kind. Thanks Charlie. And tenacious they are too. Three treatments, and they’re still biting furiously. Time for Mr Rentokill, methinks.

I don’t believe it

I am up early on a Sunday morning when there’s no Smudgelet to look after and when my body is longing for a lie in.

And why am I up early on a Sunday morning? Because someone’s coming after church to collect the key cos they’re going to look after Charlie and the Pavlovas while we’re away and I’ve just got to clean the kitchen before they get here!

Perhaps I’ll have a lie-in this afternoon instead.

No, Charlie

Charlie, much as I appreciate and admire your amazing capacity for finding new, unusual and perfectly snug places to curl up and sleep, such as the cupboard in the Smudgelet’s room and the pile of empty cardboard boxes in the hall, I have to say that this new place, snug as it looks, really will not do.

You may not, repeat not, sleep in the microwave.

Another word to the wise

When the driving instructor, at the end of day one of your minibus driver training, says that you need to remember to bring a clean driving license with you for the following day’s test, this does not mean that when you get home after sitting for four hours in a roasting-tin of a mobile classroom watching powerpoint presentations in sauna-like conditions, throwing your jeans into the washing machine without checking the back pocket is a good idea.

Yes, I had a very clean license. Good job it was the photo one and not the paper counterfoil, wasn’t it?

And just in case you’re wondering…

I am missing the Smudgelet.
Enjoying the freedom and the chance to get things done.
Enjoying being able to volunteer for an extra shift without worrying about him.
Enjoying being free to do shocking things like leaving the bathroom door open so I can listen to music in the bath or sitting on the sofa in (don’t look gentlemen!) my undies because the weather is so stifling hot.
Enjoying the chance to watch my choice of TV programme or DVD instead of Knightrider (loved the old series, can’t stand the new one) and Top Gear (OK, so I like it too, but it’s not my first choice) and Scrapheap Challenge (OK, so I really like that too, but not wall-to-wall episodes that we’ve seen before anyway).
I miss having him around.

I dunnit

Please excuse me while I brag for a moment.
I have just passed my minibus driver’s test.
I can now menace the populace of London with our work’s minibus – or will be able to once head office ratify my certificate.

Four minor faults: My wheel going once into the cycle lane, although the lane was empty at the time and I had been keeping an eye on it in my mirror; one late bit of indication ( 😛 to my sister who always complains that I indicate too early!); one raised pedestrian crossing taken a little too fast – entirely because I didn’t notice it was raised until it was too late to slow down enough; and one single occasions when I crossed my hands on the steering wheel. Not bad for someone who’s never driven a minibus or anything like it in her life before this morning! I also had to learn and pass a test in how to put people in wheelchairs safely into the minibus and secure both chair and passenger.

With the theory training and test yesterday morning before work for four hours, and the practical another three hours today in the middle of my shift after an early start, and then a colleague going home sick and me volunteering to stay on, I am now more than ready for my bed.

Now, do I celebrate my new qualification or hide it? Do I really want to take that minibus out on the roads of London??????

I am greatly relieved to report….

… that the lovely plumber came at the crack of dawn on Monday and now I can go with a clear conscience (and without a peg on my nose and wellies on my feet)*

*I originally typed “without wellies and a peg on my nose” but luckily the mental image made me giggle in time for me to change it before getting loads of facetious remarks in the comments. Not that I would ever dream of making comments like that on anyone else’s blog, of course!

Another word to the wise

When you have just slipped your bare feet into a handy pair of shoes to pop out to the dustbin with a bit of rubbish, it is not, repeat not, the time to act upon the impulse to go and tackle those tenacious nettles which have taken over the end of your garden. Amazing what protection socks give to your ankles, isn’t it?

A word to the wise

When standing under the shower, wondering why there’s no water coming out, check to see whether you’ve pulled the little lever on the taps to divert the water from the bath to the shower attachment. Conversely, when leaning over the bath to put the plug in while starting the water running, remember to check first whether the same little lever has really gone back to the “bath” setting before wondering why your back and shoulders are soaking wet.

Oh s%&*

Why do things always, but always, go wrong on a Friday?
It means that I can’t get hold of the landlord to send a plumber to sort out our loo, which, not to put too fine a point to it, is not the world’s most pleasant place to be right now. The rest I will leave to your imaginations, which I am sure will do justice to the situation.
At least we’re not around much this weekend, with a trip to Ice Age 3 3D, a shift at work, and a long journey to deliver the Smudgelet to Taunton.

He’s going to be away a fortnight. Longest he’s ever been away. Actually, he’s going to be away from home for an entire month, with me spending some of that time with him. It feels a bit… well…. odd. I’m rather concerned I might just miss him.