Tag Archives: Saffy

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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The Zombie State

No, this is not a State that’s crept into the Union unobserved in America. I refer to a state of mind and body.

Last night was a bad night with Ju going to bed early because of pain. Actually if she goes to bed much earlier it will be straight after breakfast. She took her normal  morphine dose and lay watching TV which these days give you another kind of pain. At 8 o’clock the pain was worse so I suggested she take a dose of the emergency dose we’d agreed with the MacMillan Nurse. By midnight she was writhing in pain and even the extra dose had done nothing, but since it had been four hours since the other a again suggested another dose. Ju was wary but did so. By one o’clock things hadn’t improved, and though she didn’t want to call a doctor I impressed upon her that it wouldn’t hurt to just talk to one and explain the problem.

She agreed. ( I always said miracles happen) so we phoned NHS Direct where Ju spoke first to the lady who assesses the problem ? after which she promised to get a nurse to call back. One did, and a nice young man he was, very helpful. Before agreeing Ju should take another dose of morphine he promised to speak to a doctor and comeback to us.

At two o’clock the phone rang and it was a doctor. Ju went over the problem again- pancreatic cancer, inoperable, distended stomach, awaiting scan, please help. By now both she and I were getting very tired. The doctor was a wonder. He’s come out and give an injection, but as he was coming from Wrexham it would take a while. Wonderful. At 3 o’clock he arrived was very kind to Ju, gave the injection and at 3.30 he left. Just before he went he gave me an ampoule of morphine and some paperwork to show that if we needed this again we could call the Marie Curie nurses ( who are closer) and he gave instructions to them to inject this ampoule .

Being sure now that Ju would settle and that she needed nothing I went to sleep and though I woke at five I decided to sleep again until I woke at seven.Guessing Ju would not be up to shopping I  left her where she was and concentrated on giving the girls a treat and turning on the lights of the fish tank and feeding them. I had texted Yvonne last night to say we wouldn’t be shopping so she needn’t rush to meet us. Cruel as I am I woke Ju gently at 8.30 to see how she was and whether she was up to playtime with the girls or not. They generally miss out on a Friday morning as we leave the house early. She decided she was tired but OK and would get the girls out for a while. The phone rang and I picked up the receiver in the lounge meaning to pas it to Ju but it was dead. I passed the one from the hall to her quickly and while she answered it, I went to see why the other one was dead. My suspicions were correct. SOMETHING had bitten through the cable to the plug. I wasn’t sure who’d been the last escapee from the degu cage and out of kindness I was ruling out Saffy, but one of her daughters has really pi**ed me off. This is the second set of phones I’ve had to buy. Anyway, the phone call was from Ju’s sister Mu who said she’d had nightmares about Ju last night and she and John would visit today.

I couldn’t face breakfast but gave Ju a small bowl of Rice Krispies for the rats. I was too mean for Shreddies today and off I went with a coffee to start my mail. 99 messages were waiting and I groaned. Hadn’t I suffered enough? Obviously not. Yvonne sent a message to say she was on her way but the bus was stuck in traffic and could I tell her how her Ma was. I could, I did. By 9.45 I was coming to an end because luckily few had meant a long reply and those people who just needed blog comments were to be disappointed today. Time to get dressed. A few minutes past ten Yvonne arrived and you could see she was worried and upset. Her talk of not applying make-up didn’t ring true. It must be terrible to be far away when something happens and you can’t see how the land lies. I feel bad that I obviously didn’t do enough to dispel her fears but to be honest I was feeling quite zombie like about then.

10.30 and MuJo arrived. I dashed to the kitchen to put the kettle on while they hugged Ju and said their hellos’s. Drinks taken care of I slid out of the room and went back to my computer. John joined me to get away from chatter. I was able to pass him a ruby pendant he’d asked me to get for Mu as the firm I deal with are unbeatable. (For all you Ebay afficionado’s it’s 925-silver-link ). Then, with lunch time fast approaching Mu offered to take me shopping and she could pick up something for lunch at the same time. I love my S/I/L but she drives ahem sedately around 20 mph with traffic backing up behind her. 21 mph and John is shouting “Slow down woman, it’s not Brands Hatch”.  I’m glad the store isn’t far away. We made it safely and I started round. Mu told me to take my time yet started putting things like  a hot chicken and hot sausage rolls in my trolley. I moved faster. As I did, she was catching me up and putting items of her own shopping in the trolley and my space was getting less and less. I called it quits and suggested we left while the food was still hot. Mu dealt with speaking at the counter for me and I just smiled and paid up so I was OK.

After lunch Yvonne had to leave. Mu walked with her to the bus stop while John and I sat with Ju. That lasted 5 minutes till Ju announced she needed to lie down.( I must change my deodorant).Our Doctor rang to say he was upping the dosage of morphine and would write a prescription out for her. Within a few minutes she was snoring away for Britain. Mu returned and said she’s run me to the doctors to collect the prescription. I swear I didn’t say I could run quicker than she could run me but the temptation was there. John said he’d stay with Ju. Off we went ever so sedately again though I’m sure at one point we reached 25mph because John wasn’t with us. What a rebel. She got the right road and turned in and I pointed out the doctor’s car park. I was still pointing at it as we sailed past it and Mu entered the hospital overflow car park. “Where’s the surgery” she asked. I was still pointing though now my arm was wrapped round my neck. I got out, walked across the grass verges, through the doctor car park and down the hill to the entrance. The staff know me by sight if not by voice and I soon had the prescriptions in my hand. Back up the hill, across the car park and over the verge, gasping for breath I reached the car. “I should have parked in that car park shouldn’t I ” asked Mu.

We stopped at the chemist near home where they also know me well and within a few minutes my order was filled. Mu had gone ahead so I walked home clutching my hope for tonight.I gently woke Ju and asked if  she was well enough to come through as her sister was about to go.  MuJo wished us goodbye and promised to see us next week. That left just Ju and I. We sat companionably for a while then about 4,00 pm she had to go back to bed. I understood as I knew how tired she must be feeling. I started to watch a Move to the Country programme on the TV knowing my favourite antiques programme was on at half past. That was it. I woke at 5.15 just after it had finished. I went to see that Ju was OK and confessed I’d nodded off. “I know ” she said, “Mike told me.He even kissed you on the forehead and you didn’t move.” My brother had called to borrow a bucket as he’s cleaning the house he’s moving out of soon and he’s off to a new flat in the Midlands. No more Bro at the weekends to banter with. How I hadn’t woken with him here I’ll never know. So, I watched a quiz till six and then came back to my mail for the day.I feel like a zombie now but know if I go to bed too early I’ll be up and working at 4 am tomorrow. Still. I usually am no matter what time I go to sleep. A built in alarm clock.

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Colour returns to my life.

OK. If you want to be pedantic, yes, yellow is a colour. But it’s not the colour I prefer and anyway Julia always says yellow makes me look ill which must be why all my yellow shirts disappeared when they went down for the wash. Anyhoo, as usual I procrastinate to fill as much space as possible. It’s a miracle. Had I not see it with my own eyes I’d have had trouble believing someone could change colour in the way Julia has. On Friday we went shopping and as we sat down for a coffee in the supermarket  ( one day they should open a cafe ) Yvonne said “You’ve got some lovely colour back to your cheeks Mum”. She was right too, Julia’s cheeks were back to normal and this time she couldn’t say it was because I’d slapped her either.( though I’m not sure where her either actually is).

My chest has been terrible recently and I’m afraid to let Ju know that it’s partly her rats, partly her degus and partly her cat Oscar who has taken up residence in my room and is actually sitting staring at me now as if to say “Get on with it Longlegs”. OK. OK. I have COPD and the brain of an idiot since I still smoke so I can’t blame the animals totally but the condition has steadily worsened since they came to live here. I only mention this because Yvonne with wedding plans up the yazoo still found time to tell Ju she should reconsider the animals. Bless her. On Thursday after scrabbling on the floor for runaways (my fault-again) we finally got the degu babies to the pet shop for sexing. Not that they needed much help since they seem to have been trying it out for themselves before I threw  a towel over the cage in case the vicar came. They were days over 4 weeks old. My prediction was two girls and three boys. I blanched when the girl came out and announced four girls and one boy. From the activity in the cage I’d say there were some confused females in there. Any way we arranged to leave the boy behind to be adopted. The girl then asked what we wanted to do about the girls and I panicked as I’d told Ju she could keep any females t keep Saffy company. In the end she chose to pass two girls to be adopted too, though we’re pretty sure a member of staff who was also looking for a female ( female degu that is) will take them. So now Saffy has just two babies left and she seems less harrassed. I can’t say the same for me though since Saffy rolls around in her big ball tapping  slamming into ankles and now there are two smaller balls rolling round at the same time. If I ever get bored I can go bowling. This is Saffy’s third ball. Number one she ate a small hole in and broke the joints where it holds together. Number two she ate a hole in big enough to escape through and this one which was only bought on Saturday she’s managed to chew through the majority of the pieces that the ends clip on to. Another day or so and the end won’t fasten and ball number four will be needed. I wish they made them from see-through steel.

Yesterday (Sunday) we took our wedding outfits to Yvonne’s ready for the big day. If she forgets to take them to the hotel they’re staying in Friday night  we’re in trouble. On Thursday we have the rehearsal, on Friday we’re booked at a spa where I’ll sit in the hot tub all day while the girls have terrible things done to them by the staff.

On Saturday, THE BIG DAY, Ju will drop me at the hotel as they go off for hairdo’s so I can change at leisure and practise my speech. Then I get to ride in a Soft top Rolls Royce to escort my beautiful daughter to get married.

But that’s a tale for another time.

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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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