I woke early. Four o’clock is early by any standards, more so when it had taken till two in the morning to finally get to sleep. By this time I was slathered in aloe and menthol, smelling like some kind of herbal chewing gum and distinctly unhappy. Every so often my skin likes to remind me of the events almost six years ago and break out in hypersensitive protest. The doctors at the time put it down to extreme stress. I didn’t feel stressed yesterday. Perhaps my skin is prescient.
By one o’clock, feeling as if a hoard of ants had invited themselves to supper on my limbs, I would have donned something respectable enough to drive to the all night supermarket in search of antihistamines… except the damned headlight is out yet again. Grin and bear it and wait for the village shop to open at six.
By five to six I was on the doorstep. I got the milk and a few bits for Ani too. It wasn’t till I got home I realised I’d forgotten the antihistamines. Never mind. I could get them on the way to Nick’s. I’d stripped the bed and stuffed the laundry on before making a coffee. The gales were still howling and Ani didn’t really want to move, so it was a while before I went back to the kitchen to make her breakfast. That’s when I found the water lapping round my bare feet.
The washing machine is, to be fair, pretty ancient, and has not only handled the laundry of seven, washing every day, but has been creatively repaired over the years with bits of broom handle in its innards in place of worn parts. The dryer half of its capacities had long since given up the ghost. I can live without tumble drying though. It should have come as no surprise that now it only washes a couple of loads a week it should opt for a soggy retirement. Mopping up the water and drowned spiders, I tried to be philosophical about it.
It was a while before I got the antihistamines, spending much of my time ‘doing a Baloo’ against the grab handles on the wall at my son’s, much to his amusement. By the time I got home, though, I was comfortable. I let Ani out into the garden. I would try a second load in the machine while I sorted the inboxes, then perhaps try and doze for a while with Ani on the sofa. The wind howled, branches snapped and creaked, a gate banged… a gate? Which gate? The one with the hefty bolt?
Where was Ani?
That was the question.
Leaving the machine running and praying for rainbows, I grabbed the leash and set off in pursuit, expecting to find her, if not on the doorstep, then at least on the green. Or maybe where we walk… or by the shop, the school… anywhere but the main road…
After an hour, I had drafted in several neighbours and dog walkers, frantically scouring the village and fields. She eats collars, so had no tag, though she is chipped. Even so, that wouldn’t help. I kept checking back to see if she had come home… you can’t leave a note on the door telling her to stay put if she comes back… and there was no-one else here… I didn’t know where to look, what she might be at or if she was safe…nothing.
It is times like these you really feel how much they mean to you.
Next came the desperate calls to the local vet and RSPCA centre… and eventually the dog warden… who had just had a call about a black dog in my village. She gave me the number of the couple who had found her. I rang… and ran. She was, after all, only round the corner.
The mutt greeted me joyously, grinning from ear to ear. She had obviously enjoyed her solitary romp through the fields. The couple took me into their home, sat me down and gave me tea, while Ani barked happily at the crow hovering in the wind outside the window. Yep, I was that bad. Daft dog. She’d not only managed to escape, make friends and attain notoriety in the village during her excursion, she’d even become a radio personality. The couple, aware that someone must have been worried silly, had called the local radio station, bless them, and had it announced on air that she had been found. Some people are just amazing and I am so thankful she found them!
What a day!
Home at last, the back gate securely chained as well as the latch and bolt now, I was relieved at the lack of flooding. Perhaps my latest efforts at repair would hold up a bit longer. Anyway, I could finally get back to the morning’s emails.
Except I couldn’t. The PC was dead. It had died while I was chasing Ani. No amount of resuscitation was bringing it back to life either. And all my files and photos are on there. And I had only thought over coffee that I must run a backup… haven’t done one for a while and after all that editing it would be a shame to lose the work… And the laptop wouldn’t connect to the internet… and when it finally did, was full of adware so you couldn’t see the damned screen…
And to add insult to injury, in a final twist of irony, it was at this point that the new PC monitor was delivered…
I called Superman: Andy, the guy who knows about such mysteries. “Bring them over,” he said. I did. Immediately; fighting my way right across town through the rush hour traffic.
The PC may be gone some time. The laptop came home, duly and mysteriously tweaked, to be set up for remote login and I watched it as if it had a life of its own as Andy tickled its innards from the far side of town.
State of play tonight? Antihistamines … stocked up and working. Laptop behaving and it is nice not to have the computer crash every few minutes, but not something I can work at for long periods so excuse me if I’m a bit quiet. PC AWOL… the upside? I might, finally, get to the bottom of the problems with it and it has a shiny new monitor waiting for it. Dog asleep… grinning and snoring… restored through kindness. And the floods restrained, at least for now, the machine lives to wash another day. The gibbering wreck in the corner? That would be me.
And the first person to mention Mercury Retrograde had better know how to run….