With Spring In My Heart And A Pain In My Butt.


I’m excited. No, really excited. I think spring is definitely on its way. Yes, OK, I accept that it’s still bitterly cold and we are still having heavy frosts at night BUT …the snowdrops have bravely pushed through the hard icy ground and are standing proud on strong stems, their heads dipping in respect to the stirring of life.

The visitation will soon commence. A dozen or so frogs creeping through the fencing, their expectant little faces heading towards the fish pond, where a mating frenzy will begin. There always appears to be an uneven balance of males to females, with each female having 3 or 4 suitors. Those who can’t get the closest to the female, pile onto the back of the successful male and appear to be just as happy being a part of the gyrating tower.

And the birds have now started to sing in the mornings. They aren’t exactly up to the deafening chorus part yet but the song has well and truly started. And two robins threaten each other daily, from branches yet to bud, promising to beat the other to death in a territorial battle if it doesn’t look elsewhere for garden ownership. For such beautiful little birds, and incidentally my favourite, they sure are little monsters, fluffing-up and lowering their rapier-like beaks, ready for the attack.

Flight (grey chuck) has now replaced her tail feathers and is looking more like a living chicken and less like a table-ready chuck. Little (light Sussex) is once again proud to be seen out in the garden with her and will even give up the odd worm or grub to her, cluck-clucking until Flight rushes up and devours it. Such a ‘giving’ little creature is little Little.

AND …the veggie plot is also ready for the lengthening of days and the steady rise in temperature. Two days ago I emptied the horse muck compost bin and spread the detritus evenly and fairly across the ground and then dug it in.  I am only sharing this information with you and not my new physio, Andrew (name changed) who incidentally looks too young to be out of Pampers! But then, that’s my sodding luck these days.

After the sudden onset of a very painful lower back, and when the pain was so bad that I was more than convinced that I needed an emergency hip replacement, I had no choice but to bother the doctor with it. She was extremely helpful, referring me to a local ‘Specialised’ back and neck physio thingy/person. The appointment came through faster than poo off a shovel and along I trotted.

This guy, all smiles and testosterone, jogged down the corridor and gushing said, ‘Gail?’

Gail hey? And on our first meeting. I stood (painfully) and accepted his hand expecting it to have traces of Jelly Babies or SMA sticking to it, but no …

After the initially, “do you know how it happened?” bit, to which I lied and said, “No,” (and I’m not telling you lot either!) he requested that I placed my bones on his couch. Once there, and with my head protruding through the hole thingy, came his subtle question. “Is it OK to ease down your pants?”

I closed my eyes. I’ve led a full and varied life and this is NOT a query I have come across before. Of course it wasn’t OK to ease down my pants. I’m a person of a certain age and this dear child was …well …a child. “Sure,’ I said.

I based my positive answer on the fact that I’ve given birth and had an inguinal hernia op, both of which I was conscious for, so this would be child’s play …though hopefully not literally.

My left bum muscle was massaged to within an inch of its life, with Andrew periodically asking if I was OK. There really was no answer to that. I don’t know what hurt more …my bum or my embarrassment? A bit of a photo finish me thinks?

So, back to the spreading of the horse shit. Andrew says I shouldn’t be doing much at all. My instructions are to heat-treat my bum every twenty minutes in the hour (yeah right) not to sit or stand in one position for longer than twenty minutes (yeah, double right) and to do some knee-bend exercises on the bed every morning and night. (?)

I hate exercises. Isn’t digging the garden exercising? Isn’t clearing out the garage and carrying a deep freezer and tumbler dryer up the garden exercise? Isn’t playing hide and seek in the garden with Chea and the chucks exercising?

Anyway, I’ve had 3 of these sessions now. They won’t get any better. My embarrassment level will be constant. And another thing, like most men, Andrew, takes these things for granted because, other than our first-time meeting, when he actually did the polite thing and asked if he could lower my bloomers, he now takes it for granted that he may and dives straight in. Kids hey?

Obviously, I have had to source a new hot water bottle in order to heat my bum because stupid Richard burst the other one by leaning his crappy shoulder against it and flooding out my lovely new cushion. He moaned and said that I was more concerned about the cushion than his burnt back. True.

He is still driving me mental. In fact, I think I had heart palpitations last night. I’m sure he is sending my stress levels through the roof and I’m going to die. I’m not frigging joking either and you heard it here first.

The other night he was slurping his way through one of my tangerines (he doesn’t do fruit) coughed, and spluttering said, “I’ve just swallowed a pip! Will it hurt me?”

“No,” I said.

“Are you sure?” he said

How dare he doubt me?

“I said, will it hurt me?” he repeated.

“NO IT WON’T HURT YOU,” I repeated. “Not unless it attaches to your bowel and you get an orange tree growing out of your arse!”

He laughed …and then I laughed. Such is life.

Take care my lovelies017


A Bare Bum And A Poorly Puss.


I haven’t mentioned the chucks or Chea recently so I’ll bring you up to speed.

Flight, my grey chuck, has gone into the moult of all moults and is throwing out feathers like confetti. Her beautifully feathered bum is now just a bum, with nondescript feathering barely covering her modesty.

It is bitterly cold here at night, just now, so the heater has been sought from the greenhouse and placed in Flight and Little’s roosting half of the summerhouse. It doesn’t produce much heat, just prevents the water supply from freezing, and they seem to appreciate it. Little is not bothering to moult, she’s a Light Sussex and tough as old boots, and continues to do her thing – laying a large egg daily. Flight, obviously has to put her energy into producing new feathers and so is taking time out from her daily egg drop.

Chea has had some stupid intermittent cough thing for the last 4 weeks and, although she hates the vet visits with a vengeance, I did, finally, have to admit defeat and take her to see him. She yowls all the way there, sulks for England whilst being examined, burying her head under my armpit, and poohs in the carrier on the way home. Then, she won’t speak to either of us for twenty-four hours, possibly longer.

The vet looked about twelve and spoke of asthma in cats. Yeah right. He took her temperature and listened to her heart and lungs, remarked that ‘something’ didn’t sound quite right with her lungs’ and sent me off with antibiotics and steroids. Bloody brilliant. Oh, and charged me £52. Double bloody brilliant.

Three weeks later and the cat was exactly the same, except that she was more pissed-off than usual because I was having to ram two tablets down her throat every morning, one of them being a steroid tab which increased her already gargantuan appetite, and caused her to eat like a demented pig. At this point I decided that she had to go back to see the senior vet, whom I’ve known for some years. He also knows me and what a pain I am where my animals are concerned. It was decided that dear Chea would go in for an anaesthetic, x-rays and an endoscopy. Naturally this filled me with fear, concern and dread, and had me taking up residency in the loo.

I didn’t even dare look at her when I handed her over to the nurse. My last words were, ‘Chea is the most beautifully natured cat that you will ever come across. She has never spat, hissed, scratched or bitten, however, she HATES it here and therefore will not be showing you that character. She will be sulky and unhelpful.’

I couldn’t sit around waiting for news of Chea so I took myself off to the supermarket, where I absentmindedly filled the basket with items I never use and had no call for. I was just sorting through the strong onions and my mobile rang. It was the vet. And it was way too early.

‘Hi Gail,’ the vet said.

I knew he was trying to be cheerful to soften the blow.

‘Oh God,’ I said. ‘You’re too early. Is it bad news?’

‘No,’ he said. ‘I’ve got your lovely, sweet Chea on the table now.’

I didn’t detect the sarcasm.

‘We couldn’t get near her. I wanted to put the anaesthetic straight into her vein but she was totally wild and the nurses couldn’t get near her either, so we had to pin her in the basket and jab her in her back leg, through the basket. I wouldn’t have had a nurse left that wasn’t covered in wounds, otherwise’

‘Have you got the right cat?’ I said.

‘Oh yes …but you’ve not got a cat, Gail, you’ve got a tiger.’

A tiger? Chea? I did question again if he’d got the right cat and he assured me he had. Chea really is a sweetie – unless you are a robin fledgling (previous posts).

We collected her, wide-eyed and legless, choosing to get her home before she was fully round from the anaesthetic because I knew she would go ballistic if we left her to wake up fully and realise where she was – at the vets, AND in the cat carrier.

Once home she swayed her way to behind the sofa and wasn’t seen for a couple of hours. Eventually, she wobbled out and allowed me to shower apologetic kisses on her head and generally grovel until I could kneel and grovel no more. Around 7.00 in the evening she condescending to eat a little tuna.

The vet said that the x-rays were normal, with nothing nasty lurking. All the endoscopy revealed was a small ulcer on the larynx.

I am now giving her a steroid syrup on her food each morning and she has to go back next Tuesday. She is still coughing and frankly nothing has changed, unless you take into consideration my bank balance – that’s down by another £270.

The weird thing is, I can do absolutely anything to, and with, Chea. She trusts me completely. This I find humbling and lovely. To have an animal choose to trust you is something special in my book.

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Take care  my lovelies x