she finally tracked me down! the smoking nurse. or should it be the stop smoking nurse? some months ago the doc and i reached a decision... i would give up smoking ... heh! my body really objected to the statins used to lower my ever increasing cholesterol count. no way i could continue taking the damn things. doc was agitated, my risk was too high, she was not happy. only way left to reduce the risk - stop smoking. well... yes, maybe, in a couple of months ... but first ... i was off to new york, then it was christmas and new year, then i flew out to south africa and then of course i had all those cheap, duty free ciggies i did not want to waste. and then herself was coming for a visit and i was avoiding the stop smoking nurse like the plague.
until yesterday. the phone rang, i answered it ... as you do. it was she,
i have a week in which to smoke, while changing my habits. don't smoke in the house, well i don't anyway. don't smoke while driving, heh, quite a good idea except that today i had to drive to maybole for a dentist appointment. so i was nervous, so i smoked in the car! get over it, rome wasn't built in a day! drink six glasses of water a day, man, that is a lot of water to consume as well as the umpteen cups of coffee i drink.
"about the coffee" ...
"what about the friggin' coffee?? i'm giving up smoking, not life."
"it's the first cup in the morning"
"ah you mean the one i can't live without"
"you need to replace it with a cup of hot water and a slice of lemon."
herself has put "it" out there, blogged about, admitted - that we two, sugar and the wolf are no longer together. i am free to write and share. except for one small fact, my ever wandering mind is strangely silent. five years is a good long while. i need to mourn. i grew accustomed to being part of more than one. i am most aware that herself was cast from an original, one off mold. a wonderful companion, intelligent, humerous and feisty!
for the present i am content to mull over the past. i expect a time will come when i will once more contemplate the future.
"come to tea" ... back home in the good old republic of sa, would mean... pop in, around three in the afternoon. i'll organize a cake/cream scones or summat, i'll put out the good tea set on the good tray, i'll make tea in an actual teapot! then we can spend an hour or so chatting before you go home!
not so in the (not so) united kingdom.
here, for the most part, "come and have your tea with us" is an invitation to enjoy the evening meal with friends.
my good friend shona is most generous with her invitations to break bread with her clan. she is also a magnificent cook! myself, having spent the past six plus years feeding (for the most part) only myself... well let's just say, when it comes to entertaining, i have grown somewhat idle! result, i am most likely to invite my pal round for lunch and offer her a truly delicious (and easily prepared) ham, cheese and salad roll.
week before last, i was overcome with remorse and decided that it was high time shona and andy enjoyed a proper meal, prepared by yours truly. i decided on a lamb casserole and for pud ... my specialty ... bread and butter pudding. prepared for all eventualities, such as, myself suddenly losing interest in pudding making ... i also purchased one of those delicious frozen chocolate gateau from the asda in girvan. unfortunately the small ones had sold out... ah well, the huge, rich, creamy one, would just have to do. safe! every eventuality covered, i popped said choccy cake in the freezer. as it happened, i happily baked the bread and butter pudding (note to self ... british bread is not ideal for bread and butter pudding) and the gateau stayed in the freezer.
a terrible temptation, every time i opened the freezer to extract on of my "weighless", under 300 calorie meals... there it was ... "the cake", frozen but none the less tempting.
last night adam and michelle invited me around for supper, i defrosted "the cake" and took it north with me to the farm ... sharing being the only way i know of not eating the whole damn thing myself! i put it on a plate and parked it on the passenger seat next to me where i could 'keep an eye on it'. hah! forgot about how extra bumpy that farm road is just after a rain and in the dark ... enough said, "the cake" arrived in more or less one piece but my passenger seat is now a kind of chocolate gateau disaster area.
ahhh fudge, i feel about one hundred and ten years old! either it is all this exercising a great big, bouncy bull terrier pup ... or ... i am having a major arthritis flair ... or ... both ... heh!
this dog walking lark is way up there on the "how to make friends and influence people" list. suddenly folks are chatting to me whether i have munnin along or not.
our village has a number of grand characters whom, thus far, i have only known by reputation. bandanna man, an aging hippy with a flowing beard of biblical proportion and a pack of very ferocious looking dogs. yesterday afternoon he and his boys approached to introduce themselves to little missy. munnin was, of course, delighted to make their acquaintance.
then whilst walking the grounds we bumped into big ben, a giant of a man with a plethora of scary piercings. turns out he loves bullies and allowed munnin to leap all over his very large self. of course she managed to weave between his legs causing her leash to come dangerously near to toppling him! i had a gleeful picture of myself stepping neatly aside and yelling .... "timber".
this morning i awoke to a beautiful spring day, the daffodils are on their way out and bluebells and tulips are taking their place. munnin and i set off on our walk, she adorned in her new pink camo harness and leash. very chic, i suppose i could have gone with the old fashioned army camo but ... that would have made her look even more like the killer dog most folks think she is! so pink it is, to soften the edges and confuse matters a little.
walking at seven in the morning is most pleasant, quiet, not too many folks around to distract the princess. she is a friendly soul and coming across others, out about their business, well, she tends to cast aside any pretense as to who is in charge. the new short leash does help, the majority of people we meet feel no need to be leaped upon by an over friendly pup. they tend to pale and draw back, for the princess this is an open invitation to show how much she cares!
so, in the quiet of the new day, we managed to stride it out. my reward ... the pup is now fast asleep. ssshhhh ...
my uncle lance said "bloody" an awful lot! he even inserted "bloody" into other words, for instance ... im-bloody-possible. my dad did not swear. well, that was my belief, until i was seventeen. i was working at the standard bank in pietermaritzburg and i was to take a lift home with dad, i was waiting in his office, kind of around a corner when my old man came in with one of his clerks. he was swearing masterfully! he was mortified when he saw me, sitting there with my mouth hanging open. turned out my dad did swear, just not in front of ladies.
when i was four my folks decided to move us all, lock, stock and barrel to england. dad was english born and his mum still lived in sussex. my gran's health was a bit iffy at the time, my mom was as nomadic as i am and was always up for a bit of adventure ... so, goodbye south africa and hello england.
uncle lance, who had left south africa after the war and decided to farm in the uk, asked dad to join him in the farming venture. i think uncle lance and auntie alice may have been wealthy, he was an accountant back home and had owned the firm.he was farming in kent, near a small village called kennington. uncle lance organized a house in the village for us, as i remember it was big and very cold in the winter.
we set sail on one of the old union castle mail ships. my sister ann stayed behind as she was already teaching and had met the love of her life! so, it was dad and mom, maureen, patricia, lola, me and my little brother roderick aka joe. of course i don't remember much, except for the fact that when the adults had tea the waiters brought out cartons of ice cream in paper cups. when tea time was over they used to throw the cartons with any left over ice creams overboard. what a waste, even at four years old i understood that and i never forgot!
life with munnin is, well ... different. i wake up earlier, i sit much less as i am continually checking up on my new house mate! it is hard to believe how one young bullie can cause such havoc - she has two middle names - silence and speed ... yoiks! munnin appears to have one golden rule - if i can grab it, i can chew it. trouble is i am kind of fond of my stuff, i enjoy with my eyes, she enjoys with her teeth! at the moment i keep all interleading doors closed, confining the wee devil to wherever i happen to be. i realize that this is not a long term solution, perhaps i will purchase some of those safety gates they make for homes with small children.
i walk a lot more and of necessity pay less attention to the weather i walk in. trying to exhaust munnin past her chew point is the name of the game. munnin has made several new friends and so have i. so far we have met a small brown dog called donald, a scottish deer hound, an irish wolf hound ... man oh man, what ginormous dogs! several labradors, quite a few alsations and a pair of really grumpy rottweilers. there appears to be an unofficial club, of which the village dog walkers are members. unofficial club rule - learn the names of all walking dogs (no need to know the name of their human).
for those of you who might be interested in my girl's rather unusual name ... i did not choose it, she was named by her family of origin. they are breeders and their kennel is called ragnarok- a good norse name meaning - doom of the gods - huh? so anyway, they tend to name their bullies after norse mythological characters - thus ... Munnin!
quote from wikipedia - "In Norse mythology, Huginn and Muninn travel the world bearing news and information they have collected to Odin. Huginn is "thought" and Muninn is "memory". They are sent out at dawn to gather information and return in the evening. They perch on the god's shoulders and whisper the news into his ears."
well ... i went and done and did it! i got me a puppy ... awwww cute ... aaarghhh crap! is more like it ... heh!
munnin is five months old and was born in bexley heath, which is the kent side of the outskirts of london. yep indeed, quite a way from my ayrshire headquarters.
but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
thanks to my new best friend 'navman', i negotiated the entire trip with unprecedented style and ease. i left home on wednesday and drove as far as bolton (nr. manchester), where my friend rose very kindly offered me a bed for the night. i intended to leave early thursday morning but was somewhat delayed by rose offering to make me one of her most excellent english breakfasts. yummm ... what can i say, no one does better breakfast than the brits! i finally got going about elevenish. all was well until i hit the infamous m25. talk about stop start driving, what a queue, it took hours to travel twenty miles. i was afeared my bladder would burst! later, rather than sooner i arrived at the queen elizabeth toll bridge. wow, by the time you hit your sixtieth birthday, one is inclined to become a tad blase (afraid i have no notion as to how to get the little dingus above the e, but i'm sure you all know exactly what i mean). 'nuff said, that bridge, what a beaut! it was so friggin' high i felt airsick when i looked out of the car window.
thursday evening i went to meet munnin and her family. i was pretty nervous by now, on the trip down i had been giving the whole dog companion business some serious thought.for more than five years i have lived alone, responsible only for myself. i am spoiled ... i do what i want when i want. bringing a pup into my home would probably (yeah...right!!) change the dynamics of my life
of course, she was beautiful and obnoxious in that utterly bullie way. she leaped, she pushed, she tried to trip me, she tried to taste me. i was relieved to move inside and talk business.
friday morning, bright and early, i picked up my newest family member. her breeders cried, their children cried, i cried. munnin and i set off, up the great north road, a ten hour journey ahead of us.
by nature ... i am nomadic. which might lead one to believe that this girl knows her way around a route map. unfortunately, not true! i possess an uncanny knack for arriving at unintended destinations.
getting lost ... the story of my life. and then ... enter the navman!
wow! how clever are those little devices? a soft, intimate voice, whispering instructions, so patient, no ... "eryll you numpty, we are lost ... again. would it be beneath your dignity to ASK someone for directions!" instead, i have dulcet tones, patiently directing and redirecting me "as soon as is possible, make a u turn, make a u turn!" i feel as if i have my own personal travel angel, somewhere up there in the sky, making sure i arrive at the correct destination and on time.
2nd april... if only humans were immortal ... today would have been my mom's 100th birthday.
mary catherine mcdonald hart ... you were special!
i miss you. i miss the comfort of my mother and my friend. i miss the ever present song on your lips,the gentle aroma of "oil of olay" face cream, the roughness of your hands as you reached out to comfort - you worked so hard ... i miss hanging out in the kitchen with you. i miss our chats as we pegged out washing in the harsh sunlight. i miss the buns you used to bake especially for me - no fruit, because i loved buns but hated currents! i miss discussing creation and eternity and humanity.
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"There are too many people, and too few human beings." Robert Zend
"Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands, and then eat just one of those pieces."