I’ve got a cold! A sneezy, snotty thing. I can’t believe it. I never get colds, and yet here I am running the second infection in a month.
I blame it on Richard. He always has some bug circulating. Something that one of his co-workers has happily shared.
Or, it could be the delightful grandchildren. They had a sleepover last weekend and little Jake was sneezing all over the place. We tried to convince ourselves it was a touch of hay fever, but I’m beginning to wonder.
Richard suggests I picked it up from the handle of a shopping trolley. What he knows about shopping trolleys he’ll soon forget. He prefers to take a hand basket. Plenty of room in one of those for two packets of Doritos, three bars of chocolate, and a pork pie.
Actually, I’m being rather nice to him lately and I’m . . . oh ‘eck, I don’t know how to say this . . . I’m making him sandwiches every day to take to work, and I’m packing them neatly in a lovely little Tupperware box with an apple, five small home-grown tomatoes and a penguin bar. This is just another indication and proof, if proof were needed, that I’ve lost the plot. And . . . I have a meal waiting for him every day, at three o’clock when he comes home.
I’ve really blown it now. There goes my image. What can I say?
Back to the grandchildren. When we arranged the sleepover my son asked me something that chilled me to the bone. He said the words and I froze, mobile clasped to my ear, eyes wide, brain frantic. He said, ‘Er . . . Mum . . .’
This wasn’t good – but it wasn’t the frozen, mobile clasped to my ear, eyes wide, and brain frantic bit. No, that followed.
‘Er . . . Mum . . . I was wondering if, when we are away for a few days, you could look after the gerbils.’
See? How frigging scary is that?
Eventually I came out of my stupor and stammered, ‘Look after the gerbils? Look after the gerbils? ARE YOU MAD? Chea will EAT them!’
I lost the argument and Sunday saw the changeover. The two grandchildren left and the two gerbils arrived. At least, the cage arrived, the gerbils had dug a tunnel down into the depths of the shavings and at this point were nowhere to be spied.
Grace went into near hysteria, crying, and sobbing that she was really going to miss them and I had to pretend that they were going to have a lovely time with ‘granny’ looking after them. That was if ‘granny’ could figure out how to work the doors on the maze of a cage, but I didn’t tell her that bit. We couldn’t console her and she left sobbing. I knew how she felt.
See, I have this thing that gerbils are a bit like mice – rats – and scuttling little things like that. I prefer animals that you can see and that don’t scuttle!
Richard left the whole thing to me, obviously, so come Monday morning I risked putting my hand in the cage to give them fresh water and food. I’d had my instructions . . . throw away the leftover food every day and give them fresh food along with fresh water. As if I didn’t know! And give them an empty toilet roll inner to munch. Er . . . OK.
The food and water are no problem but poor Richard can’t poo fast enough to use up the loo roll and provide the gerbils with the empty inner.
Anyway, long story short. They are safely imprisoned in the front bedroom, safe from Chea, and are having a lovely time scattering shavings and little black poo fragments all over the bookcase and my paperbacks.
I pop in frequently and have a chat with them and I have become extremely attached to the sweet little things. I said to Richard how impressed I am with them and that it might be nice to have some of my own. Richard simply looked at me.
I’m going to slip a bit of Ex-Lax chocolate into his sandwiches tomorrow because the little darlings have just munched through the last toilet roll thingy.
And now . . . the other news. I have just released the children’s book – no, it isn’t titled ‘How to Make Your Granddaughter Cry by Nicking Her Gerbils’ – it’s titled ‘Prince Regal and the Forgotten Friends.’ To ‘celebrate’ its release I am holding a competition. It doesn’t close until 5th January 2016 so plenty of time to pop the book in a Christmas stocking, read it and enter. See what I did there? Not going to drivel on about it but I will add the link http://jennieorbell.com/ and then, if you like, you can click it and pop and have a look . . . no pressure!