Virtually everything is all over the place at the moment at home.

A new kitchen is mostly wrapped in cardboard, leaning up against various walls in scores of boxes and in a couple of hefty, two-man boxes (lifting, I mean, not for keeping men in, although that’s a notion to conjure with)  which are towering close to the ceiling in the dining room.

There’s a lot more walking around involved in ordinary everyday tasks – fridge in garage, washing up basin upstairs, toaster in the living room, which underlines how efficient life usually is.

I love my kitchen. I’m no Fiona Fullerton, who has a kitchen where all her foodstuffs tins and packets are lined up with military precision, in order of category “labels to the front, you’orrible little jar of Marmite!” I know where everything is, even in Herbs and Spices where it’s “Definitely in there somewhere. I distinctly remember having to buy asafoetida for half a teaspoonful in that Roman curry, New Year’s Day 2008.”

But now I know where hardly anything is. The washing up liquid and general washing up area is in the bathroom, the spices – forty eight jars of them (Yes, I know,  I wouldn’t have thought it possible either! Schwartz have a lot to answer for) is making the spare room smell like Zanzibar, the cutlery is in its drawer but in the living room on a chair. The microwave is on the coffee table, the toaster is on the floor, ready to be brought into service on the coffee table at any time.

The bread is just behind it, in a bag, student-stylee and there is handly marmalade for those Paddington moments. The plates and bowls are on the top of the piano. The wine glasses are reassuringly in their usual place.

The cat food – dried and tinned – is on the floor of the dining room. It was only when I was feeding Leo and Fat Lily just now that it hit me how different things would have to be if I still had a springer spaniel.

All three of mine – Capt Sensible claimed some kind of small print in the contract about only having one at a time – were voracious diners and hunters of tuck. Any tasty morsel left out within reach would be wolfed up and the area left immaculately clean. Anything wrapped would be frantically unwrapped and devoured.  Even something zipped securely in a bag would be burgled.  There was the Visitor With Chocolate in His Rucksack incident. There were the Hay Festival chiller bag incidents;  the first where Roly managed to unzip and eat a very nice chicken salad for two with crusty rolls, the second where we confidently secured the zip with a little padlock but returned to find he had chewed a convenient sarnie-sized hole in the side of the bag to access the lunch within.

But as far as food burglary is concerned, that wasn’t his finest hour. He achieved that dubious distinction at a hotel in Padstow. Rolls always came on holidays and weekends away and shared a room, being generally well-behaved.  But the food thing meant that his food had to be kept in a separate room – in this case, the bathroom seemed sensible.  Three days worth of food, in a bag, in the bathroom, with the door shut. Dogs definitely can’t turn doorknobs.

Fine. He’d had a walk, had dinner and was fit to be left with a couple of chews while we went out to enjoy a Stein-feast with some friends. We arrived back at around half past midnight. Captain Sensible, being somewhat tired and emotional, took one look at the bed and decided that was the place to be.  He didn’t really look at Rolls.  I did.  With difficulty, Rolls staggered up to me wagging his tail weakly  “I don’t feel very well, actually”  written all over his face.

He looked as though he’d swallowed a barrel or someone had inflated him to 120 psi with a bicycle pump.  He was vast.  Too vast to sit or lie down;  too vast to do anything much but stand there with a leg at each corner.

“Oh my God! Look at the dog!”  I exclaimed to Capt Sensible. There was a gentle snortling.

The bathroom door was open, dried dog food scattered over the floor. Rolls had eaten almost all of it – two days worth of food in one gluttonous sitting.

I looked at him.

“What’s all this?” (If you’re a dog owner you will completely understand all this talking to the dog. If you’re not you’ll just have to take my word that it’s quite normal among dog owners)

He drooped his head and looked at the wall.

“Well I know now that i shouldn’t have done it, obviously,” he might have said. (This really is how conversations go between pet owners and animals, honestly….)

But how did he get in to the bathroom? I’d closed the door myself.  I tested it. Oh.  It was one of those push-pull doors without a proper catch. So he followed his nose, barged in and embarked on a magnificent food-fest.

At around 1am, with the hotel silent as a grave, there was only one thing for it.  To get him moving to encourage the many calls of nature that it would take to make him feel more comfortable.  I put a fleece on over my smart stuff, got him on a lead and look him out.  He was somewhat reluctant.  Walking doesn’t come naturally to one if you suddenly weigh an extra stone.

So we walked painfully slowly down to the Quay and along the deserted front with the reflected lights bouncing about in the sea and the rattle of the boats. We were out for about an hour before it started drizzling with rain.  Some missions had been accomplished and it was now now physically possible for Rolls to sit down. I was freezing cold and very tired.

We went back to the room where I got my damp clothes off changed into a nightdress – not a good idea with hindsight – and tried to pretend I might have some sleep. I did for about half an hour, before Rolls made it clear he wanted to go out, urgently.

Fortunately our room wasn’t far from the hotel lawn, so I slung a fleece over my nightie – put on my walking boots and tip-toed out on to the hotel lawn with doggo on a lead. We did circuits of that lawn – keeping to the shadows as far as possible to avoid the bright pools of light from horrible sodium lighting – until several more missions were accomplished.

I remember thinking “I’m sure I’ll laugh about this at some point.”  I just hoped all the residents were in a similar state to Capt Sensible – comatose. If any insomniacs had peered between their curtains to see a woman with a fleece over a nightie and walking boots furtively trudging the lawn at 3.30am, they might have thought the grounds were shared with a Home for the Bewildered.

There were other missions accomplished with half hour snoozes in between. I saw the dawn rapidly followed by dark low rainclouds which snuffed out all the estuary views.

By 10am, Roly was back to his bouncy self, waggy self and looking enquiringly at me as if to say “Actually, time’s getting on….  when’s breakfast?”

…..this also seemed appropriate





About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Coast, Dogs, Seaside, Watery things and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Upheaval

  1. Although dogs will always be greater scavengers, don’t underestimate how much cats will investigate, and eat things they shouldn’t, or you would prefer they didn’t 😀

    Roly looks like he was enjoying having his cycle helmet on. Do you have him in sunglasses too? Another common pose for a dog 😀

    • janh1 says:

      Oh no, his eyesight was fine, Sophie. He never needed specs but he was very co-operative with the helmet. His bike blog won some prize on the My T website. I think the photo was somehow connected. 😉

      I suppose I’ve been surprised at how good the cats have been about not trying to nick my dinner or chew their way into their own dried food bag, but I know you’ve had different experiences with your two!! ;-D

      When the kitchen guy was tearing out the old kitchen, he found a long-dead frog under the sink unit. He said “I know you said you had damp under there, but I didn’t expect it to be *that* damp.” I suspect one of the cats brought it in and the poor thing got under there but couldn’t get out.

      • Eww! A frog :-S. They can be monsters!!! Poor frog 😦

        Last week I was confronted by a pile of vomit in the dining room. This time it appeared to be a large number of peanuts. One of them has obviously found a bird table……

  2. Pseu says:

    You had me chuckling there, Jan!

    • Pseu says:

      Hope the kitchen is soon back to full function 🙂

      • janh1 says:

        I’ll report back next Friday. There have been Problems and yesterday’s day off (mine) was challenging to say the least, but at least I have a working sink and tap for the weekend. The rest of the house is like the kind of student digs you really wouldn’t want to move into. 😉

  3. valzone says:

    That’s made me giggle Jan, and I love the photograph, brilliant, he looks a darling.

    • janh1 says:

      Ta, Val. Yes, Rolls was a handsome chap and I loved him to bits. I still miss him loads now. Can’t really enjoy a walk in the woods on my own because that left hand needs a lead in it and I miss seeing Rolls trotting on ahead of me – hence all the jogging and cycling I do. Massive distraction techniques. 😉

  4. IsobelandCat says:

    Maybe I can live with my current, falling apart kitchen for another decade after all…
    Laughed out loud at Roly’s snaffling of your picnics, and then more at his greedy raid on the bathroom supplies.
    I guess dogs and cats don’t bother with the niceties of locks.
    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who goes out in the wee small hours, wearing pyjamas and coat chaperoning an animal needing to empty its bowels urgently.

  5. janh1 says:

    Yes, Isobel, the Hay Fest car park guy laughed too when he saw the chewed hole in the side of the bag. We’d parked the car under a tree with the windows down for doggo and the car park man promised to keep an eye on him. He said “He must have done that damn quick when I wasn’t looking!”

    You and me both, then Isobel. Honestly, having pets and any smidgeon of dignity just can’t exist at the same time. I could only have looked more eccentric if I had been wearing a dufflecoat.

  6. IsobelandCat says:

    Are you dufflecoatist? I love mine. I noticed yesterday it is getting rather worn, but it is my favourite coat by far.

  7. Jan, what a treat. I laughed out loud, first at poor old Rolls, and then at that wonderful video which reminds me of my Macaulay. Must play it to Phil. Thanks: a Friday night treat!

  8. janh1 says:

    Glad you enjoyed. I knew that people would laugh one day. Just relieved there was no-one to see us during that night. 🙂

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