Tag Archives: Priya

Quietness.

I’ve found myself being rather quiet recently. Conversation isn’t coming easily as I don’t much feel like being flippant. But in life, things have a way of catching you out don’t they? After the shock of last week I’d placed an advert on a degu site asking for a home for the three degu girls. I realised that it would be impossible for Julia to cope when I brought her home. As I’m quite allergic to them ( and the rats) there’s not much I could do either when it came to cleaning. But lets face it, I’m a man and never realise when things need cleaning anyway. I’d also added to the advert that I had the rats too and if anyone was interested………. All I’d specified was that I wanted someone fairly local so that we could keep an eye if needed and they didn’t have far to travel.

Unexpectedly I got an immediate answer and had messaged the young man who replied. Julia had been home a few hours when I mentioned the degus would have to go, I was pleased when she agreed (reluctantly) which was just as well because he arrived. Within half an hour the degus had gone and  I was sure it was to a good home. While he was here he saw the girls and said ” About your mention of the rats in the advert. I’d like them too.” I saw Ju’s face change and begin to crumple. As I went through to my room to get something she followed and tearfully asked that the girls not go just yet. What could I do? But, as luck would have it, he’d come in a car and the girl’s cage is quite a good size and would not slide into the car upright. I couldn’t let him take the cage on it’s back as the girls would be standing on wire rather than their solid base. After explaining that Ju was reluctant to say goodbye to them just yet I pointed out that they’d be safe and still here for him later. He left with that promise.

Since then, Ju has risen every morning without fuss to play with them before they go to bed. As she’s usually the one to open the cage while I make her a cuppa, the routine goes like this.

Priya will run straight for Ju’s dressing gown sleeve.

Bernie will go straight for the opening at the neck and wander down to her waist. Sometimes Ju sits down on the settee then until they emerge again. Then it’s up to the cage.

Penny will climb out onto the top of the cage and then onto Ju’s shoulder while Amy will tuck herself into one of the tubes they sleep in and wait to be lifted out. I will deliver Ju’s cuppa and then go back to take my meds. That done I have to pour myself a bowl of cereal because of the diabetes ( at least that’s the excuse) and go sit on the settee. Bernie will have been sitting on the arm in anticipation of my arrival. I have to give them each a shreddie on my spoon and they run off to hide and eat them. I daren’t take a mouthful yet as it’s not long before they return. Bernie first for her second one which suffices followed by Amy, Priya and Penny in quick succession and only after they’ve taken their third one can I carry on.

Ju uses this interval to take her tablets and a drop of her tea. My part in the performance is usually over in five minutes and it’s play time for a while with them raiding pockets for tissues to play tug of war with or running in and out of dressing gowns. There’s a blanket over the back of the settee and they love crawling under it. Eventually I’m off duty and Ju takes over again as the drinks lady.

Here’s Priya with a cup of tea.

photo (1) Priya enjoying tea

For the not too squeamish, here’s Penny getting her breakfast the cheeky way.

Me fighting for food with Penny.

Me fighting for food with Penny.

  There are some very distinctive styles of drinking. Penny will always cup the liquid in her hand and bring it to her mouth like a gentile lady. Bernie’s quite happy just to stick her nose straight in. Priya on the other hand tries both as if she’s unsure what she should do. Amy is always on guard so she’ll pass it from hand to mouth too. Then usually she’s straight up on her back legs to check for danger in the air. maybe she expects the Red Baron to appear.

Half an hour is about as much as Ju can take of playtime now but I’m so pleased she still shows the same interest. The biggest surprise for me is her determination to maintain the riding. So, on Wednesday afternoon we’re off to see if she can actually cope. We can only attend the RDA stables as they’ve got a mechanical hoist to get riders to horse level. Great news on the charity front though as our friends at a local cafe have a giant teddy bear they’re going to raffle off for Pennant Park Wishes and we’ve just heard that planning permission has been granted and building is about to start. All those that have donated to the Riding for the Disabled Charity at Pennant Park have my     undying thanks. I’ll let you all know how Wednesday goes.

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Interlude

It’s been a funny old day. First thing this morning a friend took me shopping and it went well. I got what I wanted, she spoke to the staff for me and I paid. We came home and she left after which I expected a very relaxing day. If I ever find out who jinxed me heaven help them.

A knock at the door this afternoon. Normally I’d be on the computer and able to hide away and ignore the sound. Today I was just passing the door which has a half glazed panel. I had to open the door to a 6’4″ skinny giant. Thankfully I didn’t have to speak as he introduced himself as the council electrician come to repair a pull light and an electrical socket. He was a nice man and after being pointed towards the bathroom went to get his tools and proceeded to fix a new string to the light. I spoke long enough to enquire if he needed a ladder only for him to laugh and just reach up. It was only moments before the job was done. On to the next job.

Passing through he saw the cages and asked how many rats I have. “Four” I answered “and three degus”. “Three what?” he asked but was such a helpful man I didn’t have to speak as he answered his own question “Oh, these delightful little chaps” he said. Please bear that in mind.

The second job was a socket in the kitchen. The story starts about two months ago when Ju asked me if our fridge had a light. I told her of course it did and she said in that case the fridge is defrosting. Such sarcasm and it beat me saying that we were due anyway. So, I checked out the plug and put in a new fuse and tried again. No joy.

With food defrosting and panic setting in I decided the fridge must be defunct. Off we went and spent a pleasant £83 on a new one. We get it home and know it has to stand in place for five hours so I manhandle the old one outside and Ju rings for it to be collected as rubbish. My old friend complete with midge fragnets looks quite forlorn outside the front door.

Five hours later Ju plugs in the new fridge and asks me if there’s meant to be a light. Aargh. I try it in a different socket and lo’ it comes on. Getting an extension cable I push the fridge into it’s new home. Now I have two working fridges one which is due to be scrapped and it’s cost me a fortune to find out I have a faulty socket. So, the nice man comes to mend it. ” You do know about the defrost switch we put in for fridges don’t you?” he asked. I shook my head dimly. Moving aside some trays he points to what I always thought was an immersion heater switch. He presses it and the socket becomes operational again. Just putting a tray back must have knocked it off. All the time he was here I heard about his two dogs, 5 cats, wife, children and their appetites which he’d swap for a cage of rats. I thanked him with some sweets for his children.

That’s it. I’m officially out to the world now while I finish my mail. That done I return to the kitchen and realise the fish tank is dark because I forgot to turn it on this morning,. A rush of apologies there and a little food and I’m forgiven.Going back through I realise I need to give the girls clean water and some food. Bernie and Priya are first for a treat but Amy and Peny aren’t far behind. With Amy I have to be quick as she snatches and doesn’t mind a bit of finger. Odd, as when she’s out she’s nervy but a perfect lady. There, everything OK in their world. Degu’s next.                                                           All three Saffy, Poppy and the one I can never remember, came flying towards the door as I brought food. They’re gregarious animals, very bright and like humans but very quick. I opened the door and inserted my hand to drop the food. As I did Saffy squeezed past and made a break for it. I dropped the food and shut the door again sharpish to keep the others in.

I sat down with a ball and a peanut and called Saffy. She’s so scared of me she strolled over and sat on my knee. Like a flash she had the peanut from my hands before I could drop it in the ball and make her go after it. I got some yoghurt drops and popped them inside the open ball while she watched me. Then, as calmly as you like she climbed down the side of the settee and disappeared into the kitchen. I spent almost an hour polishing the kitchen floor with my trouser knees but although she was happy to come to me when I called her name she was not going in the ball. Eventually I gave up and went back through to sit on the settee with another peanut in hand. I called her and like an angel she answered me. In the ball went the peanut and in the ball went Saffy. I picked the ball up and carried it to the cage. Dalmation ! I couldn’t open the door one handed. She thought I had it open and jumped ready to be a good girl and go in. Instead she hit the closed door and hopped it again.

I had to loosen the door enough to be able to open it one handed but not enough for her daughters to escape. Fifteen minutes later Saffy followed a yoghurt drop into the ball and I was able to get the cage open and her in. As I did, the one I can’t remember jumped straight into the ball expecting to be allowed to go for a roll round. I’m sure she was disappointed when she was manhandled straight back into the cage. I’d had enough degu chasing for one day and I’d missed my Big Bang Theory. So much for a peaceful day.

 

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Christmas Doings.

Christmas Eve dawned early with a six o’clock awakening of my wife. One bleary eye opened when I announced her cup of tea. ” What time is it ?” she asked. “Getting on for eight” I replied fearing the Wrath of Khan before the tea was drunk. Knowing that for some reason she generally sleeps without a watch helps. The reason for my duplicity was twofold. Firstly, I wanted to get to the shops before they became too crowded and secondly, I wanted to go without the girls having been given playtime or we’d be lucky to get out before ten.

Anyway, by 6.30 we’d made real progress in that the tea was drunk and not thrown at me and Ju was looking much more bright eyed than I’d hoped since she’d been in some pain on the Sunday. By 6.45 we were in the car and on our way. The road was quite busy with people rushing to work or rushing home from the party the night before. It was quite foggy and atmospheric with the lights of approaching cars coming towards us. In the supermarket there were quite a few early shoppers but not enough to worry me. Yes, it’s me that has a thing about crowds….more on that later.

I left Ju to pick up some cigarettes for me and go for a coffee while I shopped. Normally I wouldn’t do so alone in case someone spoke to me but today everyone was conscious of their own needs and getting what they needed before someone emptied the shelves. Not wanting much other than fresh bread, milk , ham and some coleslaw I was ready to head for the tills when I spotted some trifles. I bought one then decided to look at the Christmas puddings and fresh cream. By the time I’d got the extra things and gone to the tills it was eight o’clock. Smiling at the cashier to avoid speaking I paid up, packed the shopping and wheeled the trolley to the MacDonalds where Ju was sitting with coffee. As she saw me approach she tipped her hand asking if I wanted one and I nodded. Reaching the table I asked her to order a bacon roll for me too, I passed her some money then dipped into her bag for my ‘before food’ tablet and sat down to take it. “Brown or red sauce ” she called from the counter. “Brown please” I replied wondering why I bothered since it’s so thinly spread it’s questionable whether it’s really there sometimes..

Ju brought me a latte over and a fresh one for herself since I must have been feeling so generous. The bacon roll arrived, was eaten and for dessert I took my two ‘after food’ torpedoes. Ju asked me the time. “It’s almost 8.15 sweetie” I risked with a smile. “Hmm, we’ve made good time this morning then” I heard and wondered which of the Pantheon of Gods I owed that favour to. We were soon on our way again heading for the trading estate which has a handy pet shop where we could get some treats for the girls. One of my favourite shops is there so I was allowed to look round in case anything new and interesting was in. There wasn’t so we hit the coffee bar where the staff treated us to a latte each before we head for home.

At ten o’clock we were home and had the shopping inside. Unfortunately you reach the kitchen of our home through the lounge and as we entered we were greeted by four wide awake and very hopeful faces from one cage and the sound of frantic activity from the other. I knew what was coming so as Ju removed her coat I put the shopping away. She’d no sooner opened the rats cage than Priya ran down her arm and plunged inside the neckline of her cardigan. Bernie wasn’t far behind preferring to sit on her shoulder and nestle into her neck. Penny and Amy climbed inside one of the tubes in the cage and patiently waited to be lifted out.  Ju put two large picture frames against the degu cage to stop the rats climbing up it and upsetting the degus . They’re not enemies but they certainly don’t get on. If Bernie climbs on to their cage to see them in her friendly way they set up an almighty chittering sound. Anyway, Ju played with the girls on the settee for half an hour as usual and then put them back in their cage where they happily settled down to sleep. Removing the picture frames she then got the degus out one by one and put them into balls. First Poppy then Honey with Mummy degu Saffy last to go. With three balls hurtling round the rooms aiming for your ankles it’s easier if you’re not on your feet. I swear if they catch you a Dick Dastardly snicker comes from them. I beat a hasty retreat to catch up on emails I hadn’t finished earlier. The eventual call of “Sweeties” has the balls tolling back to the lounge so they’re given a sweet before going back in their cage.

The rest of the day was a light lunch, television. emails and an assortment of phone calls before Ju went to bed at 6.30. I was luckier than usual and she went to sleey just the right side of midnight so I was able to turn my computer off and rest myself.

Christmas day I was up at 4am. I answered messages and sent messages of greeting out to friends around the world. At 6am I took Ju’s stocking ( a carrier bag really) and placed it one her bed before going to make a drink. Turning the lounge light on I gave all the animals a sweet and went through to the kitchen. While the kettle boiled I turned the tank light on and fed the fish. I took my meds then made the tea and took them through to Ju to gently wake her. Unusually it didn’t take much. She moved over for me to get in and passed my stocking ( a large sack) to me to open. We always do this together and in the past when Yvonne lived at home or stayed with us she joined us in bed to open her stocking too. There are always fantastic treats and always something funny. One year Ju go me some washing up gloves with a fur trim. This year I’d got her a rubber horse head mask and used bags of her favourite sweets to fill it out. It looked like a scene from the Godfather.

Tradition says we would normally go and have breakfast next before being allowed to open main presents but since Ju can’t face breakfast these days it’s just me. Up went the barriers and out came the girls. When they heard me put cereal (Shreddies) in  a bowl they all rushed to my end of the settee to wait. I sit down gingerly to try and avoid sitting on anyone before the fun starts. Four heads in unison try to get to my bowl first and I have to rush to get a shreddie on the spoon before one of them snatches it off. I usually manage a mouthful in between each of their courses which is usually three each though Bernie only eats one and squirrels the others away behind a cushion for later. Priya usually finds them within minutes.

After both sets have played and been returned to their cages it’s our time. We opened our gifts from Santa , or each other if you like. This took quite a while and was accompanied by lots of Oohs and Aahs. After that it’s time to open gifts from friends and family we won’t see on Christmas day.After each one we phoned or texted our delight. Finally finished Ju collects the wrapping to go for recycling while I make another cuppa and it’s time to get dressed. I show Ju a tee-shirt I printed up with a picture of us both on with wording that says Happiness is Love shaped. I have on new warm socks, new underwear, tee-shirt, new black jeans, black cardigan and black winklepicker cowboy boots with a cuban heel. Suddenly I’m as tall as I used to be. Ju spends some time picking through her finery before settling on a nice outfit and we’re ready to go. Yvonne’s first Christmas as a wife and her first cooking Christmas dinner for us all.

We have a great time at their home swapping and opening presents before settling down to dinner.She’s cooked a small beef joint for me and done my favourite onion sauce with it. For Ju she’s cooked a small lamb joint with her favourite mint sauce and for Ugo and herself she’s done  a 3 bird roast. We wouldn’t normally undertake such a large task but she wanted us all to have our favourites. I struggled to eat a small Christmas pudding afterwards.

A nice couple of days started to go downhill then. Ju was very quiet and excused herself to go to the loo. She was there quite a while and when she eventually rejoined us looked very pale. I asked her quietly what was wrong and found she was in great pain and her bowels were not holding again. We had to go home. Sadly we made our goodbyes saying we wanted to give them plenty of time to travel to Ugo’s family in the Midlands. Fortunately they accepted this. We made our way home where Ju took some fast acting morphine and got into bed. It was about 2 pm by then. There were a couple of trips to the loo early on and I couldn’t persuade her to have a cuppa at all. She lay there watching TV and resting while I worked on emails just occasionally sticking my head in. When I did so at 8 pm she was well away. I turned the TV off, and her light, went back to my room and just listened out for her waking.

I woke Ju at 7.am after eleven hours of solid sleep without waking once.She seemed to be a lot better and got up to see to the varmints. By half eight they were done and dusted and Ju said “Come on then. let’s hit the sales.” After checking I wasn’t hallucinating and she wasn’t running a temperature I ran to the car in case she changed her mind. She hates shopping…..I love it. It was well worth her while though since she got some nice outfits.We we’re home by half eleven though and things still seemed OK. The  rest of the day went well. Today it wasn’t such an early start but the girls were still done by 9 am and Ju was taking me to a different sale. We’d done quite well and got some nice clothes each before we stopped for coffee. As she finished I noticed something wrong and knew it was time to go.We made it home and Ju’s stomach betrayed her again. She’s back in bed. She’s very unhappy at what’s happening though I ask her to remember what the alternative is.Tomorrow I’ll get some imodium and see if it can stop the problem for now though as soon as she takes it there is usually a period of painful constipation. Sometimes the morphine helps and sometimes not with the pain. Her biggest worry is letting herself down in public but I try to say it can’t be helped and she can’t isolate herself on the off chance.That’s no life for anyone.

 

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Strange days come, Strange days go.

It’s been a funny old day. Things started OK at the usual time. I got up about 5.00am and turned on the computer while I nipped to the loo. ( No, I didn’t take it with me).

Coming back through to the bedroom after venting Niagara, I started on my messages. There were 71 since just gone midnight. If I ever catch that little epostal God on his own………  Anyway, quite a few turned out to be duplicates from Gather. I usually answer the first one I come to and delete the others. I confess to not knowing whether that’s protocol or not. Maybe I’m meant to answer them in every group that posts them but that seems highly redundant. The others I ignore are those that get me steamed as it’s too early in the day to throw things at walls. If I disturbed Lady J’s beauty sleep she’d throw me at the odd wall.

About 6.30 I grab a sachet of cat food ( I get peckish about then) and take it through to the kitchen where he currently sleeps, stopping only on the way to offer milk drop to the rats and a yoghurt drop to the degu ( she’s much more up-market). Kettle filled and on ready to clean Oscar’s dishes it’s time to take a handful of cornflakes through to give then girls their first nibble of the day, just to save my fingers being their first meal later. Things are still going to plan at this point, so I wash Oscar’s dishes, empty the new sachet into one side and water to the other. Then I remember he need some olive oil for his coat. It already been pointed out to me that smearing him in it isn’t going to wwin mr prizes from Oscar, Lady J or Oscar’s Amazonian Transylvanian vet. Therefore I take a capsule of the damn stuff and pierce it with a knife tip. These are not soft gelatine capsules though, they’re armoured and have little warning notices sticking up from the surfaces saying Verbotten. Mmm, I don’t remember olive oil being this red before.

I slammed down the offending dishes and applied a plaster (bandaid) which immediately floated off as I belatedly washed my hands. “Oh Dearie me” said I, and promptly remembered that the rubbish collection day has changed to a Saturday. I apply a new plaster (bandaid) and take the bins, one refuse and one kitchen waste, plus one bag of newspapers, one of glass, one of plastic bottles and the tin can one outside ready for the men. Hands wash, plaster floats off, another oops and one more fresh plaster. Now it’s time for medications. What joy, two sprays, one anti biotic, 6 steroids and 8 other tablets and a partridge in a bloody pear tree. Then on with the kettle again because it’s my turn. One more tablet for 20 minutes before a meal so I pour out my coffee and check the time. Nearly 8.00am so I’ll risk an early death and get Julia up.She’s not a morning person these days so I pretend it is the right time and ask if she’s coming to get the girls out to play. I get a big smile and a nod and I’m safe. I put her a cup of tea out ready and nip back to the kitchen to put the toaster on.

Ah, a nice cup of coffee, a piece of cool toast and two final tablets as pudding.(Oh joy). Through to the lounge to sit beside my beloved . I swear there were two pieces of toast on the plate when I came in , oh and what’s that? Well, that is Amy foraging in my pocket for a packet of tissues. What a clean rat you say. Well actually these are for her doily making lessons while her sister Penny has run off with the other half of my toast. Not to be thought greedy I’m sure Amy will get a share when Penny’s finished licking the butter off it. They’re having half an hours fun and frollicks on the couch. I demolish what’s left of my toast and feeling a little guilty give the other two who are still in their cage a chocolate drop each. Julia in the meantime takes Saffy the degu out and places her inside a large plastic ball to roll around the floor hitting as many ankles as she can. And believe me she can. If she wasn’t such a sweetie we’d be a degu free zone by now. There’s no malice in her at all. She doesn’t bite and loves human interaction- hence the ankles I suppose. Penny is by now nudging me and being the subtle little thing she is, I bring my coffee cup over, ilt it slightly so she can drag at the lip and spill it on me before daintily dipping her hands in and bringing them to her mouth.

Almost 9.00 now so Julia is ready to put the girls back in the cage ready for the second crew, the youngsters. I nip to the kitchen to wash my plate now devoid of toast. Damn, another plaster.

In the UK we have a biscuit called a Wagon Wheel. Not the type of thing to get you very far in the Wild West but a nifty snack here. Having lost my toast I decided ‘Why not’? And took one through to enjoy with whatever coffee I’d been left. Bernie (Bernadette) and Priya are  out now and are having a mad half hour running back and forth. I’m a very generous person and still feeling a little guilty that I hadn’t shared my toast with them ( well not all of them and not willingly anyway) I decided to offer them a nibble on the edge of my Wagon Wheel. Bear in mind that these have a diameter of about 4 inches, have a biscuit base, a layer of marshmallow and jam (jelly U.S.) and are then coated in chocolate, they’re not the lightest biscuit in the world. Both girls step up to the plate and the next thing I see is Bernie, arms open wide gripping the biscuit, back legs pounding away in the opposite direction from my mouth. Believe me, with the speed of light my hand descended from above and relieved her of her load even as she took a flying leap to get behind a cushion with it. You could sense her disappointment. With  firm grip I offered it again and dejected they both had a little nibble and left me to it.

Playtime with the girls can be real fun though having Bernie nip inside your dressing gown and then rappel down the cliffs from shoulder to tummy using your skin and her claws as brakes can be hell on earth. Priya is much quieter and more gentle but is learning rapidly. They were returned to their cage ready to sleep during the day and Saffy was released from the ball and returned to her cage to carry on digging the escape tunnel. My mistake with her de-luxe home was to buy a metal cage with a plastic base. I forget the rodent teeth though I can see for myself the progress she’s making. Ju and I get dressed ready to go out since her brother is coming later and we’re picking him up from the bus station in town.

The pick up accomplished at 12.00 we decided to go for lunch. The special today was roast lamb dinners. Chatting away to the owner the waitress came to see what we wanted. I ordered the drinks than 3 roast dinners. Why? I don’t like lamb much and had been going to order a very healthy, diabetic conscious sausages, bacon, egg, ships and beans along with a reproving look from Julia. Instead I order lamb????? I’m not going to lie. It was well made and the meat was very tender. I grinned and bore it.

A visit to another nearby town for a quick shop and a latte and we were home again. I’d promised to do some photographs for my brother in law so came through to the computer and the next 87 messages while Ju put the kettle on ( didn’t suit her) and placed Saffy in her ball. Eventually 3 days later I was able to join them in the lounge and passed Terry the pictures. I noticed Saffy’s cage still open but no sound of her rolling around looking for ankles to wallop. Before I could ask I caught a glance out of the corner of my eye of this little nonchalant beastie  just strolling across the lounge floor not a care in the world. Somehow she’d managed to bang off, or unscrew ( I know which my money’s on) the end of the ball. Because she’s not intimidated by us at all she doesn’t run away but her little bottle brush tail just disappeared under the settee as Ju got down on the floor rustling a bag of yoghurt drops. “Look what mummy’s got for you” she said. “Prison” thought Saffy and carried on walking. Oscar had been lying on my chair arm up to this point and now took notice, He saw Saffy taking her constitutional and did what all brave pussies do, he went rigid with fear ( ever since Penny ran up his back leg) and shot out of the room. It took quarter of an hour to entice her out from under an armchair mainly because we all thought she was still under the settee.

At 5.00 we took Terry home and let the cast members settle down. When we got back at 6.00, Oscar was asleep on my bed, the furthest point from the lounge. Saffy was just widening the escape shaft in hut 18 and the girls were just starting to rouse themselves. Ju and I sat and watched an hour of Big Bang Theory and relaxed.

 

 

 

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