I’m going to tell you the story of Tripping Over Pebbles in the Dark.
Stupid name for a blog.
Pebbles is our little cat, also known as Cooking Fat.
Pebbles came into our lives when Lashes, as a small child, developed an irrational fear of cats. We thought the best course of action was to get her a little cat to scare her with when she misbehaved. No……wait…….. That’s not right. I’ll try again.
We thought that having a teeny, tiny, cute, little kitty around the place would get her over her fear of cats before it turned into a major phobia. It sounded like a good plan to us. So we duly turned up at the rescue centre that weekend, which is bloody miles away, only to be told that they didn’t have any kittens in but they knew of some – ten minutes away from home. Sigh. We drove all the way back to go and see said kitty.
It turned out that a woman had taken in a stray cat which promptly had kittens. Before she got rid of them all, one of the kittens had kittens. She was up to her ears in cats and fed up to her back teeth of her dog trying to eat them. We walked in saying that we’d like a little boy cat. “This is a boy” she said as she pointed to a tiny black ball of fluff. To be honest, I think if we’d gone in saying we wanted a martian she’d have pointed to it and told us it was a martian.
“Ok, we’ll take it.” That was when the fun started. This little ball of fluff had had to fight to survive the gnashing jaws of the dog and the squabbling of other cats. I don’t think it had been treated terribly kindly by the owner either. It had quickly learned that the best strategy for survival was to be quick on its feet.
As the woman bent to pick up the kitten, it sprang into life and almost literally flew round the room at breakneck speed via the furniture and the curtains. It was bit like watching Evel Knieval on the wall of death. Round and round it went until it finally came to rest – hanging like a bat from the tv where it had got its claw stuck.
I went and gently plucked it from the tv while looking at Boofuls with one eyebrow raised, silently questioning if we were doing the right thing getting this tiny hell beast for our feline fearful daughter. However, once I had the little thing in my hands and it finally stopped shaking and howling we decided that there was no way we were leaving it behind. The poor creature was terrified.
A visit to the vet quickly ascertained that the little boy was a little girl and was younger that six weeks old, maybe five weeks old but probably a bit less.
Lashes decided that the hell beast was to be called Pebbles and I’d love to say that they became the best of friends but Pebbles never really lost her fear of everything and has always been a very skitty kitty and she definitely didn’t like children. If she did become best friends with anyone, it was with Boofuls, they’ve always had a special bond between them. Lashes though totally lost her fear of cats.
That was almost twenty one years ago. We worked out that she must have been a new year cat so her 21st birthday is any day now. Over the years she has remained tiny, a true lady but always fearful and nervous. As the years have gone on she has lost her eyesight and her hearing. She has become senile, walking round and round in the kitchen screaming “I don’t know where I am! Help! Help! He…ooh, food.” She has developed diabetes and arthritis. How she’s lived this long I have no idea. Obviously the country air agrees with her. I open the door in the morning and look down as she looks up and we greet each other. Her by screaming at me “Open the bloody door you fool!” and me by saying, “You’re still here then.”
She spends her days in the kitchen, right in the middle of the kitchen floor, circling round and round my feet as I’m trying to cook. How I’ve never tripped and sent a pan of something hot over her I’l never know. Or if she’s not in the kitchen she’s sleeping in bizarre places, halfway up the stairs, in the middle of the landing or right in front of the bathroom door. Many times I have tripped over her in the middle of the night on one of my nocturnal bathroom visits. Hence ‘Tripping over Pebbles in the Dark’. It’s a tribute to our little black cat.
Yesterday morning when she came in it was very obvious that something was very wrong with her. She was almost dragging one of her legs behind her and was clearly very uncomfortable. Off to the vet’s we went. “Well, you know she is a hundred years old, don’t you?” Basically, he was telling us to prepare ourselves.
It wasn’t with any surprise but with a great deal of sadness that we discovered Pebbles crossed over the rainbow bridge at some point during the night last night. She went to sleep in her basket and just didn’t wake up. Exactly the way we always hoped she’d go. We’re going to miss you, you howling, mewling, trip hazard.
No more tripping over Pebbles in the dark.
Mr Douggie the Doggie managed to break the penultimate rule a while ago and was allowed to start sleeping in our bedroom with us. The ultimate rule is ‘no dogs on the bed’ which he tries to break on a regular basis but gets met with a sharp ‘GET OFF!!’ Every other rule in the book went by the board a long time ago. “I’ll never let him on the furniture”, for instance. Now he just jumps up and gets settled wherever and whenever he feels like it, usually using me as a pillow. Ok, I admit it, I like the doggie snuggles while I’m watching a bit of evening telly.
To be fair, we only relaxed the bedroom rule so he could alert us if he was going to have a seizure but I have to be honest, I hate him being in the bedroom.
As if Boofuls doesn’t make enough noise in his sleep now I also have to contend with the pooch snoring, dreaming, smacking his lips, flopping around all over the floor rather than sleeping on his own lovely chocolate coloured bed, stretching, twitching and scratching, waking me up for a cuddle in the middle of the night ( you’d think he’s know that that was going to be a non starter) and generally having me awake half the night wondering if he’s ok.
A side effect of being woken up seventy five times a night is that I need to visit the bathroom more than I used to. There must be a direct link between my eyeballs and my bladder. As soon as I open my eyes my bladder says hello.
Going to the bathroom during the night never used to be an issue. Get up, walk to bathroom, pee, walk back, get back into bed. Easy. However, now we’ve changed the bedroom carpet it’s not so easy. I climb out of my lovely warm bed and then stand there for a minute trying to decipher where in the room Douggie is. Spotting a cream coloured dog on a cream coloured carpet in a room that’s blacker than a black thing because there’s no such thing as street lighting where we live, is no mean feat.
Once I’ve successfully located him, by peering like Mr Magoo into the dark, I usually find him stretched out to his full length at some impossible angle and nowhere near his bed, I have to try and get past him without standing on him. Again, easy. You think?
In the good old days before I developed plantar fasciitis it was ok. Now my poor feet tingle and throb and just don’t want to move. My first four or five steps look remarkably like those of your average 100 year old, wobbly, painful and uncertain. One move from Douggie as I’m gingerly stepping over him will see me go ear over elbow in a most ungainly fashion.
Amazingly, by the time I’ve reached the bathroom door I’m able to walk normally again so the walk back to bed is nowhere near as treacherous. I climb back into my lovely warm bed and snuggle down trying to get back to sleep before the next disturbance which usually happens as the first rays of light are just starting to break through and Douggie decides it’s time to get up. He sticks his cold, snotty wet nose on my face and bashes his tail against the radiator like a gong.
My first words of every day used to be “Good morning, darling.” Now it’s “Feck off, dog! It’s fecking 6 o’clock!”. It’s no way to start the day. Of course then I’m wide awake so I lie there fuming for a while telling my eyeballs not to tell my bladder I need a wee and then I end up getting up.
With the amount of sleep deprivation I have at the moment it’s amazing I’m not walking round every day tearing the heads of people and breathing fire. These seizures have got a lot to answer for. Tell me again why I wanted a dog.
What an absolutely brilliant day Monday was. It was one of those days that stays in your memory forever. A rare, happy go lucky, relax and enjoy day.
Just like the when the stars come into line, all the events worked out and I found myself in the happy position of playing host to all three grandchildren. Happy day indeed, especially as they were all in a good mood and in high spirits. As the sun was shining and the day was neither too hot nor too cold, neither too windy nor too still, we decided to take the dog for a walk up a nearish by big hill. The clingons thought that was a real adventure so we packed supplies to keep them going on the arduous journey. Cartons of juice and sweeties, what more does an adventurer need to keep their strength and spirits up?
Douggie the doggie came along as well and decided that he wanted to be a real golden golden retriever instead of his usual white so he found a ditch full of orange muddy water to wallow in. Dear Lord, what a mess.
Other than that we had a delightful walk and even managed to find a geocache. Dangerous was the team leader for that one. Taking the directions quite literally and taking us in a line as straight as an arrow to the cache, she plunged straight off the path and onto the heathery moor sinking right up to her knees in the springy moss. Poor old Batty was terrified but bravely carried on when she’d have been perfectly entitled to have sat that one out. She really is an inspiration. It was worth the trauma she endured though because she was thrilled when she actually found the cache. Munki couldn’t wait to get her head into it to see what the treasure was. Such a lot of excitement for a plastic container with a pen that didn’t work, a small note book and a few miniature plastic toys. We celebrated by cracking open a box of butterscotch sweets, eating them with relish as we enjoyed the amazing view and congratulating ourselves on being brilliant treasure hunters.
Later in the afternoon I had to take Pebbles, yes, the very one that this blog is named after, to the vet for a pedicure. I dropped two of the clingons off at home and took Munki with me. Pebbles, always a timorous wee beastie, has grown even more timid as she’s got older. Estimates vary as to her exact age but we know for a fact that the least she is is twenty and possibly as old as twenty two. She deserves to be handled with a bit of care. The vet picked up the clippers and took a chunk out of the first toenail. None too gentle as she did it she also took a chunk of the poor little cat’s toe as well. There was blood everywhere. I was not best pleased. Eventually we got the rest of the claws clipped and Pebbles slunk gratefully back into the safety of her box, the very same box I’d fought to get her into an hour before. Poor thing was traumatised, she wouldn’t come near me for the rest of the day but at least she can all comfortably now – or will when that wound heals.
On the way home from the vet’s I dropped Munki off at Lashes’ work. There is a new sign offer the door. RECEPTION. “Nanny, why does it say reception?” “Well, that’s how people know where to go when they come to visit. “Mummy works in reception, doesn’t she? That means when I go back to school I’ll be in year one but Mummy will still be in reception!”
Hahaaaaaaaa. She’ll go far, that child!
This post actually started on Wednesday night and has been done in disjointed sections. It’s a bit like my brain at the mo – disjointed sections.
It’s ok. It’s not the big brother house but it is 3 a.m. So.
Where am I at such an ungodly hour? Answers on a postcard please. The best answer will win a snort of approval from me.
Where am I really?
I’m at the emergency vets with Douggie the doggie. Here he is drugged and dripped.
It’s been a funny, and by funny I mean strange, week. After all these weeks we have a viewer for our house … What? Tell you about Douggie? I will. All in good time, dear reader.
Obviously this viewer could only come in the most inconvenient time possible. Friday. Exactly when I am cooking for 50 people who are turning up from all corners if the British Isles to help us celebrate Boofuls’ 60th birthday. It’s a good job dawn cracks about 3.30 at this time year because that’s when I’ll need to get up to get everything done.
Just to throw a couple more spanners in the works. The tiler didn’t turn up till today and only did half the job and the builder didn’t show up at all. Git.
The outside privy isn’t working and we have one loo to service 50 people. No pressure. I fuckin’ love life.
Back to Douggie:
First thing this morning Douggie threw up. In an attempt to stop the vom hitting the carpet I caught it in my nightie. Ew. Douggie continued to throw up all day becoming worse as the day wore on.
We took him to the vet who drugged him with some hefty drugs, to no avail. He continued to deteriorate.
At the point when he couldn’t lie down because of the pain and he was becoming confused due to dehydration I decided at 1a.m. to phone the emergency vets – and here I am. This is one poorly doggie.
Fast forward to today.
Douggie is almost back to normal after being on a drip for two days and having massive amounts of drugs. The exact cause of his illness wasn’t established despite many blood tests and x rays and £1000+.
Best guesses are pancreatitis, gastroenteritis and poisoning.
We picked him up from the vet’s on Friday.
Remember I mentioned Friday?
Ah yes, Friday.
The day of Boofuls’ birthday. The day of Boofuls’ party. The day we had viewers for the house and the day I had to cater for many people and prepare for a massive party. The day that some of the guests turned up mighty early. The day my brother decided to drop by.The day the weather that had been glorious for weeks decide to change and deliver many weeks worth of howling wind and rain all at once.
The day I was tearing my hair out.
The only possible course of action was to get my head down and keep paddling.
The poor dog could really have down without a massive party, I’m sure his attitude to it was the same as mine, that he really wished it wasn’t happening – but it was, so get on with it.
You know what?
It was alright.
It was better than alright, it was brilliant. Guests were told not to feed the dog. We had decorated the barn with fairy lights and chinese lanterns and it looked lovely. The plus side of that was that the house was kept relatively quite. We put up a canopy outside so there was shelter for the smokers and it was all really nice.
I’d very cleverly prepared food that didn’t require too much attention. Two potato and meat pies, one butter pie, a chilli, a chicken curry, a cheese platter, a large joint of beef cooked beautifully rare and some other bits and pieces. Lashes, Gembolina, Len’s mum and Big Marge all brought stuff as well and The Rev made a fantastic birthday cake. Winklepop made a point of looking after Douggie for me.
All in all it was a successful night and we didn’t get to bed till 3.00a.m. Just before we set off to bed Boofuls decided to have his final fag. Now stop it you Americans!! Fag means cigarette in Blighty.
I was tidying the kitchen when suddenly I heard a howl from outside. “Oh no!!!” The canopy had finally given up the ghost and collapsed, depositing all the rain collected on top of it – straight onto Boofuls. Oh! How I laughed. Especially since I’d had my own soaking earlier in the evening.
Why did I get a soaking?
Well, dear reader, let me tell you.
About a week ago one of my friends was nominated for ‘the water challenge’. It’s just a bit of summer silliness and it just means that you allow yourself to get a soaking and post a video of it on Facebook. She in turn nominated me.
Just about exactly at that rime I got an email from Cancer Research suggesting that we hold a BBQ in aid of their ‘Burger off Cancer’ campaign. Hhhmmm, I could probably incorporate this into the party and do a bit of fund-raising at the same time, I thought.
Lashes had the brilliant idea of auctioning of jugs of water to the guests so they could throw it over me. I was gutted how many people were willing to pay money to throw water over me.
The vet’s remedy of choice for Douggie the doggie of her two options, the one that didn’t work or the one that could destroy his kidneys, turned out to be the one that could destroy his kidneys.
She phoned me to give me the news that I could pick up his tablets the following day and commence treatment.
I felt sick.
It seems like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Surely there has to be a gentler way than this to control his epilepsy?
I consulted with my old friend, Google and did a bit of research. Then it hit me. Homoeopathy! Of course!
When Lashes was a baby she had shocking eczema and we found ourselves in a similar situation, use potentially harmful and invasive drugs or find a gentler way. After many months of trying out various herbal cures, lotions, potions and pills with limited success we found a homoeopath. Within a few days Lashes’ eczema was cured.
Referring back to my old friend, Google, I found a homeopathic vet about an hour away from us. One quick phone call to them and an appointment was booked. One quick phone call to my own vet to ask them to fax Douggie’s medical records over to the new vet left me with my ears on fire. Fair to say the vet wasn’t impressed. Funny that. I remember our GP having exactly the same response when I told him Lashes was seeing a homoeopath. He told me a was a bad mother and I was dabbling in nothing more than witchcraft. Bless him.
The night before our appointment I gave Douggie a wash and brush up. Since he’d spent most of the previous week wet through he was smelling more than a bit like particularly pungent cheese. He made stinking bishop smell like a rose garden.
About an hour before we were due to set off to the new vet I took him for a walk up the track. Off he went to try and catch a rabbit as he does, he’s never caught one yet, probably because of his habit of thundering up the hill announcing his arrival about 200 yards before he gets there. All the rabbits are safely back in their burrows long before he arrives. I carried on up our track happy in the knowledge that he’s catch me up before the corner. I got to the corner. No Douggie.
In the distance I saw four legs waving about in the air. Oh no!!
I set off running back down the track thinking he was having another fit. Then I saw a big doggie head pop up with a big stupid grin on it’s face. At exactly the same moment I real realised he had buried himself in our neighbours twenty foot high pile of horse poo and was having a good old roll round in it.
Instead of the pristine white he’d been five minutes earlier an orange Douggie ran up to meet me, so pleased with himself. Not an inch of him didn’t have horse poo on it. It was hanging off him in clumps, there was bits of straw stinking out of him at all angles giving him a peculiar porcupine shape, lets not even talk about the aroma. They say horse poo is good to put on the garden. I could cheerfully have buried him in the garden – and there was enough poo on him to fertilise it for a whole year.
Nothing for it but to give him another bath.
I filled the bath and then braced myself to stand in it in order to shower him down and get the shampoo deep into his fur. While I was paddling around in dilute horse poo with the straw and clumps getting between my toes it’s fair to say I asked myself some serious questions as to why I actually wanted a dog. That was between the heaving of course. Keeping hold of my breakfast was proving tricky.
We arrived at the vets just about on time, with Douggie still dripping wet through and a bit whiffy. He really needed more than the once over I’d given him. What he really needed was a whole bottle of shampoo and huge amounts of deodorant. The vet was very polite about it and pretended she couldn’t smell him. Oh, the shame!
Our consultation lasted an hour and a half, during which time she asked me gazillions of questions about Douggie, about me, about his background, everything about him in fact. Every now and then she’d “Hhhhhmmmmm” and consult her book. Eventually she decided on a remedy for him. Actually, two. One constitutional remedy and one acute remedy. The acute remedy is for when he’s in stressful situations. It’s belladonna! I walked into the health shop and asked for it and they looked at me if I was trying to kill someone. “Belladonna? What do you want that for?”
Obviously being homeopathic it’s massively diluted. Mind you, if Douggie pulls any more stints like what will go down in history as ‘the poo incident’ I may well be looking for a stronger dose.
Be warned, pooch!
It is vital when cleaning the cooker immediately after cooking a meal on it ( noteworthy on both counts, that. Cooking and cleaning, both in one day? Wow! ) that one doesn’t remove the rings with ones bare hands. OWOWOWOWOW!!!!
Lesson learned, I won’t be doing that again. Dozy bint.
Poor Douggie the doggie leapt up from his usual place, under my feet, to see what all the noise was about. He wasn’t sure if I was instigating an unusually noisy game, or if there was any food coming his way or if he should get out of the way as fast as he could. He opted for the food option naturally, and stood there looking at me expectantly while I danced around the kitchen practising my Anglo Saxon.
Once the excitement was over I noticed the sky was getting darker and darker. “Oooh, Douggie, It’s going to snow.” I decide to postpone his evening walk until the snow arrived, which I could see would only be a few minutes. Sure enough, there it was, right on cue.
Boots, fleece, coat, hat, gloves, Hat, dog treats, clicker, ( mustn’t miss a training opportunity) poo bags, phone, keys, dog. Check. Let’s go!!
Douggie and I ran out of the door, straight into a hail storm. Again with the OWOWOWOWOW!
That wasn’t part of my plan! I want big, fluffy, soft snowflakes not sodding cannonballs fired into my phizog! Even Douggie stopped in his tracks and ran back to the door before thinking better of it and heading out onto the field to see if he could find a rabbit to chase.
Along with the hail had arrived a howling gale, my poor face felt like needles were being stuck into it. Eventually it eased off into real snow which was quite good fun once the wind was at my back. That was was bracing to say the least. Tell me again why I wanted a dog? Oh yes! So I can go out in disgusting weather and have people drive past in their lovely, comfortable, warm cars shaking their heads and laughing saying, “Oh how I wish I had a dog so I could go out in that weather.” Pah!
This week I had three brilliant quotes for you. The only trouble is I forgot one of them before I wrote it down. Silly senile old bugger that I am.
All three quotes made me laugh out loud and the last one lifted me right out of my post holiday, ‘God, this place is a dump’ grumps.
The first one was after I arrived back from a long and lovely walk with Douggie the doggie while we were still on holiday. Leaving just as it was getting light we’d walked along the coastal path, checked out a few little coves and made our way down to the harbour for a coffee while we sat and watched the town shake itself out of it’s slumber and get ready for the start of a new day. The sunrise had been magnificent. Purple, pink, orange and finally, blue. Dougggie and me watched transfixed as the sky changed colour. Ok, I watched transfixed, Douggie just sniffed around a bit and did lots of little pees, looking at me occasionally as I tried to find enough superlatives to describe the glorious morning. It was stunning ( the sunrise, not the peeing) and I felt privileged to have witnessed it along with my doggie and a few noisy seagulls.
It was in fact this very sunrise. Shame the camera on my phone doesn’t do it justice but I’m sure you get the idea.
As we got back from our walk the rest of the family was just about getting themselves up and about. Len and me stood in the kitchen chatting and I told him all about our lovely walk. “I envy you that,” he said, “It must be lovely.
“Well, come with me tomorrow then, you’re more than welcome.”
Here comes the quote, brace yourself;
“Oooh no. I couldn’t arsed with that, that’s far too early to be getting up.”
Hahaaaa, you don’t envy me that much then, eh? Silly sausage!
A few days after we got home, Lshes and Munki wet having a conversation in the kitchen. Which is of course where all the best conversations take place. It went a bit like this:
Munki: I want you to have a baby.
Lashes: I’m not having a baby.
Munki: Are you sure? It looks like there’s one in your tummy.
Lashes: Babe, I promise you there is no baby in my tummy.
Munkiie: are you just getting fat then?
Heheeeeee. I wouldn’t have dared! Munki of course, being four years old, doesn’t feel the need to edit her thoughts. Poor Lashes.
Finally, still in the kitchen:
Douggie is such a sweet dog. I put his breakfast down on the floor and as normal he sat and waited till I gave him permission to eat. The cat who was skulking around at the time felt she needed no such permission. ‘I’ll have a bit o’ that’, she thought despite having a bowlful of her own food right there. She got her head straight into Douggie’s food bowl and started chaffing away. Douggie just sat and watched in horrified amazement, occasionally looking up at me as if to say, “Help! The cat’s eating my breakfast and I’m not allowed to move.”
His face was a picture. I stood laughing helplessly until I felt so sorry for Doggie I moved the cat in front of her own food bowl where she carried on chaffing like there had been no interruption to service. Senility and blindness has certainly done a lot for her bravery levels. At one time she wouldn’t even have shared a room with the dog never mind stole his food from right under his nose.