That’s what I have got. I have been nervously prostrated by a bit of Everything; it’s a seasonal transitiony thing, a fear of impending mammogram thing, a ‘what’s it all about Alfie’ thing, not to mention writing this blog which often feels like standing in the dark on the cliff-edge of the universe lobbing all my spinning plates Greek-restaurant-style into a big black hole – minus the satisfying and cathartic smash at the bottom.
I have also had a sort-of intimate proposal, gently suggested and graciously (I hope) declined, which has nevertheless opened gaping fissures in the foundations of Peace Of Mind Towers in East Street. A wild hoolie of suppressed emotion is now whistling through the cracks. Wizened old demons are scratching underneath the floorboards, flapping round the lightbulbs, blundering into windowpanes. If it wasn’t for Series Three of Nurse Jackie and Fish Fingers (can I really manage ten?) I don’t know where I would be.
As for Hector. On Sunday we went for a long walk at Hinkhams Farm with Pete and Marion and their large Dalmatian puppy Lily. Two Grannies and a Grandpa ploughing across the churned earth of the Marshwood Vale with two powerful, seemingly inexhaustable Canine Retirement Enhancers, locked together in play-fight combat, barreling around the field and felling us, one after the other, with whoomfing blows to the backs of the knees. “Bloody dogs!” we grumbled.
Anyway, Hector must also have eaten about three pounds of various kinds of animal excrement. Literally full of shit, or (help) worse, he lay listlessly all evening in his crate, coughing, retching, gagging, snuffling, snorting and occasionally throwing up. Sometimes he dragged himself up the stairs and slipped around my legs like a cat before laying his heavy head in my lap. Every half hour I dragged myself downstairs and crawled waist-deep into the mouth of his dog-cave to commiserate. We were just not ourselves.
Of course I googled it. Asking Google questions is therapeutic in its own right. It is like sending a little S.O.S in Morse code; ‘Dog.sick.call.vet?’; ‘white yellow frothy vomit?’; ‘Symptoms bloat?’. And before you know it, reassured, you’re back down to ‘How to make Kale crisps?’ and ‘When to plant aubretia?’.
But that was Sunday night and on Monday there was no change. I boiled some plain white rice, dragged Hector to the river to eat some grass, took some Vitamin D3 and an Epsom Salt bath, and we took to our beds again.
On Tuesday the only thing I really absolutely had to do was to empty the compost bucket. I didn’t even manage that.’Will the world end if, for once, I put potato peelings in the general rubbish bag?’ Fuck it!
Then, on Tuesday night, when Hector was snoring so loudly that I got up to google ‘something obstructing dog’s airways?’, this appalling thought just pinged into my mind like an email alert: if something happens to Hector you won’t have to write dogalogue this week…
Gill Capper, what are you like?
Well, I’ll tell you what I’m like. When I saw, the other day, that a man had been taken to hospital with head injuries because he was hit, in the high winds, by an NHS sign that read, ‘Are You Feeling Under The Weather?’, I laughed like a drain.
You see? We need a break. It is Thursday and time to ‘gather’. Hector is better. (“Get Off, Hector!”) I am better-ish. And so, dear dogalogue friends and followers, Hector and I are googling ‘Spa Holiday Pets Welcome?’
And we may be some time…