It all started in Thursday night when we only had one more day of school to get through before the half-term holidays started, with the long anticipated lie-ins and laying about in pjs until lunchtime. I had my final Friday ‘sans enfants’ all planned out; a gentle stroll through the forest with the dog followed by a French lesson in the morning, a little wander round the shops during the afternoon then a night out with the girls. But Pickle developed a cough during Thursday night which meant that I was up until 4am, the dog had to forego her Friday morning walk as he had to stay off school and I was a total zombie during my French lesson and mis-pronounced the word for ‘weigh’ so my tutor thought I’d said ‘shag’.
Then as the coughing got worse and Pickle started to wheeze like an old man I decided to take him to see our lovely doctor in the afternoon. I took the opportunity to leave Tiggy alone in the house for the first time rather than have her throw up in the car again, anticipating that we would only be gone half an hour before returning home with the obligatory bagful of medication. Er, wrong. Lovely Doctor did a quick examination then requested that I calmly proceed straight to Accident and Emergency, do not pass Go, do not collect the shopping. So we ended up spending almost 4 hours at the hospital with Pickle hooked up to a nebuliser whilst I made frantic calls to Nobby and other friends to make sure someone could collect Poppet from school and someone else could get home to the dog before she tore the place apart.
Luckily Nobby was able to get out of work so by the time he got home Tiggy had been alone two-and-a-half hours and the only casualty was the brand new hands-free kit for my mobile phone. Pickle had 4 treatments before they finally let him go, by which time he was perky as anything and giggling uncontrollably at the sock puppets I had created to amuse him when they wouldn’t let him surf the internet on the hospital computer (how rude). I did manage to salvage my evening out with the girls, I am pleased to say. Good thing too as I was the chauffeur and the only one who knew the way to Peony’s new house. I just had time to change my top, slap on some slap and have a quick fight with Nobby about which one of us had been more put-out by proceedings. In the end we agreed to congratulate each other for successfully fielding another crisis and I had a tip-top night at the Chinese with my mates, covering the usual subjects of child-birth, schools, parking, and husbands.
Mercifully, Saturday was relatively uneventful, although I did have to get up early with Pickle, despite him having a good night. We have a fair system for alternating our weekend lie-ins because you can guarantee that the little darlings who you can’t drag out of their pits without a crow-bar and monkey wrench on a school day will be up and bouncy by 7am on a Saturday and Sunday, however ill they may have appeared on Friday night. Nobby doesn’t mind getting up early on a Sunday because he can watch Match of the Day so I do the Saturday stint. Of course Nobby misses out if there’s Saturday school but them’s the breaks, huh. (hee hee!) But the next curve-ball is the dog’s new-found love of chewing things. It’s amazing how quickly she has gone from our beloved Tiggy to ‘that dog’. I knew it might happen but I had imagined the honeymoon would last longer than a week. I should have smelled a rat when she made a play for Poppet’s long-suffering Rosie the Rabbit during my French lesson on Friday. I thought the hands-free kit was just punishment for me leaving her alone for so long the first time, but since then the list of casualties includes a wooden coaster, a doggie finger-puppet, several of the kids drawings, a couple of pens, two sponges, a pair of gloves and two table legs. And her own toys that we so lovingly purchased last week are still in pristine condition. Oh dear.
Now, the refuge insisted that she is three years old but to me this is very puppy behaviour which I just did not expect, especially not after such a good start. We have a friend who bought 3 rabbits a couple of years back and she was told by the pet shop that they were all dwarf variety and wouldn’t grow much. These days it’s pretty clear they were talking total codswallop because I had a real dwarf rabbit once myself and hers are now three times his size, and it now looks possible that the people at the refuge went to the same charm school as the rabbit dealers and just told me what I wanted to hear.
Oh well, I’ve been hot-lining Dog Borstal all week and I reckon we can get through this. Out in the woods she is a wonderful companion, even if her ‘walking to heel’ is still dismal and she has a thing about joggers and cyclists. I don’t really think she’d eat one if she caught it but I don’t take the chance when the shell-suits are approaching and she gets that look in her eye so I quickly slip on the leash. She and I have been making a lot of friend with fellow dog-walkers and she was given the right run-around by a whippet the other day which left her flaked out on the rug for the rest of the day so it’s not all bad.
Today the children decided to join in the game with some antics of their own, never to be out-done by a mere doggy. They got Nobby first, though. Pickle was up at the crack of dawn so Nobby took him downstairs for a spot of football on the telly but couldn’t work out why the program wasn’t on yet. Until he realised that the clocks went back last night and we never cottoned on. Classic! Later on Pickle made beds for the 6 fairy dolls out of a boxful of tissues. Clearly they all have very sensitive little bodies as each bed needed about 30 tissues. Then Poppet designed some lovely signs for the teddy-bear school they created… with a big black marker-pen… on the play-room carpet. I didn’t find the resultant splodges on the cheap non-stain-proof carpet until I cleared away the surreptitiously placed toys later on. I reckon they were banking on me doing the tidying once they were in bed but I got the better of them for once and called them both in for a telling off. Naturally they each blamed the other one which is all very comical because you only have to see who’s not making eye-contact and sidling towards the door to find the culprit. Pickle offered to try and wipe it off with some wet loo-roll but I managed to persuade him to leave it to me. Then I followed them back into his room to see what they’d been up to while I’d been tidying – they were bathing the dollies in a little baby bath in the middle of his bedroom carpet. I let that one go; at least it was only water for once. Pity they're not ones for using a lot of soap or his carpet could have had a free shampoo at the same time.
So I wonder what tonight holds? I’ve done my best to move most of the tempting objects out of the dogs reach but I wouldn’t put anything past her. I’m taking a huge risk leaving the shoe rack out in the hall – I’ve moved my favourites off it of course, I’m not completely barking, yet. My money’s on the remote controls getting a chewing next, or possibly the rental contract I’ve had to leave by the front door so I don’t forget to post it. Hmm. Watch this space.