Thursday, 29 August 2013

Le Chat


Over the years I’ve owned a number of pets.  Mainly dogs, but a fair smattering of moggies too.  After a feline absence of nearly seventeen years, Dolly came into our lives last Autumn.  She’s a black and white long-haired diva.  If Dolly were human, she’d probably be something glamorous, like a pop star, or a super model.  In short, she’s gorgeous!
          Like all pets, at some point a trip to the vet becomes necessary.  I’m not talking about neutering or vaccines.  I’m talking about when they get poorly.  Last week Dolly went off her food.  So I went out and spent a small fortune on chicken and turkey breast, and umpteen slices of breaded ham.
          ‘Do not touch!’ I slapped Mr V’s wrist as he was about to break into the ham.
          ‘Why not?’
          ‘It’s for the cat.’
          ‘The cat?  But she’s a cat!  What’s wrong with her eating cat food?’
          ‘Because she’s not feeling fab.’
          ‘She told you this, did she?’
          ‘Now you’re being silly.’
          ‘Well I’m sure Dolly won’t mind me pinching a bit of ham.’
          ‘Dolly might not, but I do.  Now leave the ham alone.’
          The cat was then presented with a small bowl of chopped fresh meat. Naturally she devoured every last morsel.
          ‘There’s nothing wrong with that cat!’ declared Mr V.  ‘She’s faking!’
          The following day I kept Dolly in just to monitor her.  She seemed fine, other than declining feline food in favour of ham and chicken.
          ‘That cat’s got you sussed,’ grumbled Mr V.
          Dolly used her litter tray and produced so much wee that at one point I thought I was listening to a horse rather than a cat.  At least there was nothing wrong with her bladder.  But she didn’t produce a Number Two.  I decided to keep her in for a second day but, again, no Number Two.  Day Three rolled around and still no Number Two.  I telephoned the vet.
          ‘Yes, you’d better bring Dolly in, Mrs Viggiano.’
          So there we were – the vet, me, and Dolly.  After pressing her tummy, the vet summed up.
          ‘You have a constipated cat.’
          ‘Oh dear.  What does she need then?’  I had visions of sprinkling laxative over chopped chicken and ham.
          ‘I’ll give her an enema.’
          In the moments that followed, I was glad I wasn’t Dolly.
          After much swearing – the cat, not the vet – Dolly went back into her carrier.
          ‘Don’t take too long to get home, Mrs Viggiano.  The enema will start to work in about thirty minutes.’
          In fact, we’d only travelled thirty seconds down the road when the car was filled with a suspicious smell.  I was transported back in time to when the children were in nappies, and presented a bowel motion while strapped into a car seat.  Inevitably a wail would go up until the infant child was home, topped, tailed, and in a fresh nappy.  In this case a wail did go up, but regrettably my cat wasn’t in a nappy.
          ‘Meow,’ said Dolly plaintively, ‘meowwwwwwww.’
          Oh God.
          ‘We’ll soon be home, darling,’ I soothed, as if I was once again talking to a distressed infant instead of a distressed cat.
          Once home I put the cat and her carrier into the utility room and made sure the door was firmly shut.  I then ran a warm bath.  No, not for me.  For the cat.  Well sorry, but if you’d seen the state of her fur...no, no, let’s not go there.
          The cat was then swaddled with an old towel and dumped in the bath.  This was followed by more swearing – the cat and me.  I had no idea how tiny Dolly was under all that long fluffy hair.  A sparrow with baleful eyes emerged a minute or two later, swore some more as I attempted to towel her dry, then stalked off to vent her frustration on poor old pooch.
          Which reminds me.  What is it called when a cat wins a dog show? A cat-has-trophy...

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A Table for Two(ish)...


Do you ever have a night out and end up, inadvertently I hasten to add, hearing a total stranger’s conversation without them actually talking to you?
          Last night my husband insisted on taking me out to dinner.  This is quite a phenomenon in all truth.  Usually it’s me insisting he takes me out to dinner.  But last night, he was adamant.  ‘There are some things we need to discuss, Debbie.’  Oh.  Right.
          So there we were, huddled over the tiny table for two, where a candle and flower in a vase jostled for space with the cutlery and napkins.  At the table next to us was a guy I initially mistook for one of Katie Price’s ex-husbands.  Alex Reid.  For those not in the know, Alex Reid is a cage fighter with big biceps and a crooked nose.  Anyway, it wasn’t Alex Reid.  I know that for sure because our table was probably four point five inches in distance from this chap’s table, and his girlfriend was calling him Jason.
          ‘Are you listening to me?’ said Mr V.
          ‘Of course.’  Not.
          ‘So, Mandy, what did yer dad say when yer told ’im you woz goin’ out wiv a bloke of thir’y-one?’ asked Jason.
          Cue screech of laughter from Mandy, followed by a mega flick of hair.  I was nearly whiplashed by blonde extensions.  ‘’E don’t know, does ’e!  I don’t fink ’e would approve much, me bein’ so much younger an’ all that.’
          Mr V: ‘What would you like to eat?’
          Me: (perusing menu) ‘I’ll have...’
          Jason: (perusing menu) ‘What d’yer fancy?’
          Mandy: (peering over menu) ‘You!’
          Mr V: ‘I’m going to have a salad.’
          Me: ‘I’ll have the wilted spinach.’
          Jason: ‘I’m starvin’.  I’m so starvin’ I could eat a bleedin’ ‘orse.’
          Mandy:  ‘Do they do ’orse in ’ere?  Where’s it got ’orse on the menu?’
          Mr V: ‘I’ll have medallions for mains.’
          Me:  ‘I’ll go for the fish.’
          Jason: ‘I’ll ’ave half a cow instead.  I need to keep up me high protein.’
          Mandy: ‘And I’ll ’ave...wot are those smelly pink fings called?’
          I had an overwhelming urge to lean across and reply, ‘Feet.’
          Mr V:  ‘...sell the house at a price I’m not happy about.’
          Me: ‘Mmm.’
          Jason: ‘I go to the jimmm every mornin’.  I like to do press ups.’
          Mandy: ‘You ’ave luvly mussolls.’
          Mr V: ‘...tell the estate agent...’
          Me:  ‘Mmm.’
          Jason:  ‘Would yer like to feel ’em?’
          Mandy:  (a bit breathless) ‘Wot, in ’ere?’
          Mr V:  ‘...buyer’s market, did you know prices are on the up....’
          Me.  ‘Mmm.’
          Jason:  (starting to look very perky)  ‘Which bit d’yer wanna touch?’
          Mandy:  (arching back, chest out, flicking hair all over place) ‘Ooooh!’
          Mr V:  ‘Ah, starters!’
          Me:  (lifting neighbour’s hair extensions off my spinach) ‘Ah, starters!’
          Jason: ‘Well ain’t this a good start!’
          Mandy: ‘Ow dear, there’s some green stuff in me hair.’
          Okay, I made the last two lines up.  Meanwhile Mr V thinks I’ve undersold the house.  Which is quite staggering given he wants top dollar for ours but is quite happy to make offers on other properties at £80,000 less than the asking price!
          However, the conveyancing wheels have been set in motion.  And I for one am keeping my fingers crossed for a smooth and successful house move.  Which reminds me.  A prominent young conveyancing solicitor was on his way to work when he was hit by a bus. Suddenly he found himself at the Pearly Gates facing Saint Peter.  “This has to be a mistake!” exclaimed the solicitor, ‘I’m only 35 and much too young to die!’  St Peter replied, ‘That’s odd.  Based on the number of hours you have billed clients, we thought you had to be at least 105...’

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Another moving story...

At the time of bashing out today’s blog entry, I can confirm that not only have we had an offer on our house (regrettably too low), we’ve had a second viewing by a very eager couple who have four children.  I’m crossing my fingers, toes, and legs that they make a decent offer that will make my quest to downsize a reality.
          I always get into a terrible tizzy when a viewer is due.  Firstly, the house has to be spotless because first impressions count.  Secondly, any ‘clutter’ has to be well and truly hidden.  This means everything that the kids insist leaving all over their bedroom floors gets firmly shoved into their wardrobes.  Thirdly, the house has to smell nice...which means pooch is put out the back door, swiftly followed by the cat who never fails to poop into her litter tray thirty seconds prior to a viewer’s arrival.
          However, yesterday’s couple possibly wouldn’t have minded too much had our pets let us down.  They staggered through the front door, both clutching a two year old.  Twins!  Double trouble!  And indeed, the parents’ first words as they crossed the threshold were, ‘We apologise in advance, but there was lots of, erm, bottom noises on the journey here and the children might want to have a pooh.’
          ‘No problem,’ I trilled, ‘They can take their pick because there are four loos in this house (never miss a sales opportunity!).’  I moved swiftly onwards.  ‘This is the lounge and, as you can see, there are wonderful French doors issuing forth (I lurve saying issuing forth) onto a large decked area.  The family looked at the French doors.  Their gaze was met by the pooch staring mournfully in from the other side of the glass.
          ‘Doggy,’ said one of the twins.
          ‘Woof,’ said pooch.
          There then followed an awful lot of excited barking from both sides of the glass.
          ‘And this,’ I hastily swept them through into the kitchen, ‘is a room that is the hub of the household (never miss a sales opportunity!).  Note the large sliding doors issuing forth onto the patio.’  The family looked at the sliding doors.  Their gaze was met by the pooch staring in from the other side of the glass.
          ‘Oh, another dog!’ exclaimed the mummy.
          ‘No, it’s the same–’
          But my words were drowned out as both pooch and children once again erupted into joyful barking at each other.
          ‘Follow me!’ I commanded.  ‘This room is the teen den, but a few years ago was a playroom.  Note the double French doors issuing forth (sorry, just cannot not say it) onto the terrace (never miss a sales opportunity!).
          The family looked at the double French doors.  Their gaze was met by the pooch once again staring in from the other side of the glass.
          ‘Gosh, a third dog!’ said the mummy.
          ‘No, it’s still the same–’
          Another cacophony of barking broke out from both children and said dog.  Pooch wagged her tail joyfully.  Friends!  She then spotted some bird pooh on the glass and stopped barking.  Instead, she began licking the glass.  The cat minced into view, spotted pooch licking shit and decided to join in.
          I immediately blocked the view and instead suggested my viewers might like to next check out the study.  Thankfully this room has no doors issuing forth and no animals salivating over bird plop.
          Finally, upstairs, we moved on to viewing the bedrooms.
          ‘This is our youngest daughter’s room,’ I extended one arm and ushered the family in.
          ‘Ooh, built in wardrobes,’ said the mummy eagerly.
          ‘Absolutely,’ I gushed (never miss a sales opportunity!).
          Whereupon the mummy touched one brass handle.  ‘May I?’
          ‘Ah, erm, well I’m not sure–’
          Too late.  Mummy had the wardrobe door open and seconds later was hopping about as a guitar landed on her foot.  (Memo to self:  sometimes it’s better to miss a sales opportunity).
          Which reminds me.  What do you call a dinosaur that has a sore foot? An Ankle-oh-sore-is...

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Changing address. It's a moving story...


After some seven months of having the house on the market and achieving one buyer, and one collapsed conveyancing chain, there is still no SOLD sign on our property.  Sigh.  Mind you, trying to find a property that Mr V and I agree on is not exactly plain sailing, so if a buyer with a completed chain were to make an offer we’d be in a bit of a pickle, as currently we have nowhere to go.
          Originally I was very keen to move to Penshurst.  However, daughter Eleanor was adamant about enrolling at a college in Wilmington, which means a move to this pretty part of the world would involve zooming up and down the A21 four times a day.
          I’ve since found a Grade II conversion in Wrotham, a little oasis of quaint paradise and not a million miles away.  Delighted, I shooed Mr V away from the sports channel and ushered him around the show home.
          ‘What do you think?’ I asked hopefully.
          ‘Hmm,’ he replied.
          I found I was holding my breath as we walked on golden wood flooring around the state of the art kitchen.  Please like it, I silently willed my husband.
          ‘So, what do you think?’ I ventured again, as my husband stared out of an upstairs window at the view below.
          ‘It’s promising.’
          This is tantamount to an amber traffic light.  Not a no, but equally not a yes.  I know that I have to play this very cool in order to get my husband to take that amber light to green.  Any hint of pressure and he’ll go swiftly into reverse.  Why can’t he be like me?  Make a decision...go for it!  Instead there’s all this prevaricating.  Thinking about it.  Thinking about it again.  Holding the idea up like a picture and studying it intently.
          ‘Let’s go for a walk around the village,’ Mr V suggested, ‘and get a feel of what living here could be like.’
          Oh my God!  The amber light was flickering.  Not quite a green, but definitely an amber light on the verge of change.  I casually tucked a strand of hair behind one ear.
          ‘If you like,’ I said nonchalantly.
          We set out through the gated entrance.  I had a terrible impulse to skip off down the road, past the ancient church and into the High Street shouting whoopee.  However, I restrained myself and walked indifferently along the pavement.  As we rounded a corner and were greeted by a narrow road lined with twee clapboard buildings dating back to seventeen-something-or-other, I lost control.
          ‘Oh, isn’t it pretty,’ I gushed and instantly began enthusing about the tiny hair salon, an ancient pub serving decent grub, a teeny flint stone Post Office and a small grocer’s shop – perfect for nipping out to for a pint of milk if you didn’t need to do a big shop at the supermarket five miles away.
          ‘It’s okay,’ Mr V acknowledged as we turned and walked back to the car.  ‘But I’m not yet convinced it’s for us.’
          And as is always the case, I felt my hope wobble.  Still, you never know.  The amber light didn’t entirely swing back to red.  He said not yet.  So fingers crossed.
          Which reminds me.  A woman complained to a colleague that her back was really sore after moving furniture to a new house.  ‘Why didn’t you get your husband to help?’ the colleague asked.  ‘Yes, I should have,’ the woman acknowledged, ‘but the couch is easier to move if he’s not sitting on it watching the football.’

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Oh Baby...


So Kate and William have now registered the birth of their beautiful baby boy, His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.  I was one of the millions who rejoiced at the birth of the Royal arrival, third in line to the throne.  I was amazed at some of the sour comments on Facebook and Twitter – how can anybody not celebrate a new life?  Yes, one in three children are born into poverty, and certainly this little chap should never know paucity.  But I believe the Royal Family work damn hard and are fantastic ambassadors for our country.  The United Kingdom is envied by many other countries for our Royals, everything they stand for, and the sheer history that is steeped behind The House of Windsor.
          Even my own husband is anti-royal – something that never fails to amaze me considering how very pro royal my in-laws are.  I have no doubt that my mother-in-law is, this very minute, ordering a Prince George porcelain plate to adorn her living room wall. It will sit proudly next to other Royal plates, including our lovely Diana.  But for all those anti-royalists who moan about the cost of the Royal Family and that the money would be better off going to starving children, or the National Health, or Mrs Chav demanding a ten bedroom Council house for her umpteen children because she failed to take her contraceptive pill, let’s look a little closer at the statistics – because I’ve been doing some digging.
          The Royal Family cost Forty Million Pounds per annum to maintain.  But the revenue paid to the United Kingdom from the Royal lands is a breathtaking Two Hundred Million.  I’m not brilliant at mathematics, but even I can work out that this is a One Hundred and Sixty Million Pound profit per annum from the Royal Family.  And that is THEIR land that generates this income, so no you cannot boot them off it anymore than you would snatch away Mrs Horse Mad Person Down the Road who owns a measly three acres.  Quite apart from this staggering amount of money, the Royal Family are a huge tourist attraction.  People come from all over the world to stand outside the gates of Buckingham Palace and visit The Tower of London.  Every year Twelve Million tourists visit the United Kingdom and spend...wait for it...Seven Thousand Million Pounds.  I can’t even begin to write a figure out like that – I’d trip over all the zeroes.
          So people like dear Mr V and all the other whingers who throw out their ignorant comments without pausing to properly qualify their statements should perhaps think again.  I certainly wouldn’t want the Queen’s job.  She’s 87 years old and STILL working and STILL throwing open her doors to Joe Public.  I wouldn’t want her job for all the tea in China, even if it did mean parking my bottom on a gilded chair at the end of the day.
          So long live the Queen and long live our new Prince George.  Which reminds me, why did the Republican cross the road?  To get to the other bribe...