Turning over a new leaf; or, tales of the unexpected

This morning, New Year’s Day, I woke late – first time in ages. Extraordinarily, Bandit slept under my bed – his solution to the awful fear of fireworks. That left Sadie alone in the conservatory, though she must have come through to sit on her chair in the middle of the night. And have a couple of pees, as I found when I came to make the morning cup of tea. Tactful Sadie: she chose the bathroom floor (makes sense to me) and the kitchen floor. Mercifully easy to mop up.

Quick shower, dogs outside as usual. Bandit gives his discreet woof, to tell me he wants to come in. Damply, I let them in next, but only Bandit comes in from the garden, so I go out, wet, barefoot but decent in my towel. No sign of Sadie. Has she done a Morgan, and jumped out over the brick wall? I’ll have to get dressed and go in pursuit – and she’s collarless (Sadie sleeps in the altogether) so thank goodness she’s chipped. Thinking about reading dog chips, I go back upstairs, suddenly followed by two dogs. Where’s she come from? My ghost dog – who can appear and disappear at will. Must have slipped back in through the complexity of my multiple outside doors, which in normal circs are opened and closed in careful combinations to structure the dogs’ access to the house. I dry Bandit, who needs drying, and then Sadie, who doesn’t. Further evidence that she hasn’t been outside.

I realise I’ve just put my leggings on inside out. In the spirit of misrule, I choose to ignore this, and go with what fate has meted out to me. Jeans are ok, and bra, but the thermal vest arrives on me backwards. Something wants me to keep my chest warm (these vests are cut deeper at the front, which is now the back).

Another extraordinary moment – somewhere in all that shemozzle I looked at my emails. First time in days. As well as the usual Council business, arbitrary oneupmanship, and appeals for money, there’s one from my brother. He is telling me that our mother is in hospital, having lost her legs (?) on Xmas Eve, and lain on the floor for two days. I guess that’s why she didn’t pick up when I tried to phone her over Christmas. So I spent some time on the phone to her, listening to her fabulous stories (yes – we all know those) and her high opinion of hospital food. Next I phoned my brother, also at length.

An hour and a half of wall-to-wall televised waltzes later, I take the dogs out for their belated morning (now afternoon) walk. Blue smoke is pouring from my neighbour’s house. I’m used to a coaly smell from there, but this looks different and a bit worrying. So I knock on the door, hammer on the door, shout through the letter box and then dial 999 for the fire brigade. They come and climb a ladder, break in a back door, establishing that it’s all fine. Just Pete’s Aga, with the wind in an unusual direction. The dogs and I continue, wondering what we can do to make New Year’s Day special. We choose our canal walk, and stop off for coffee (how wonderful that Procaffeinate is even open!) where I make myself a slice of their free toast – first time I’ve tried that. So relaxed and free, and we are leaving just as the cafe is filling up. Time for thought and planning.

And that’s why I spent hours and hours of the afternoon, and into the early-darkening evening, making a booking to fly to Australia in just over two weeks’ time.

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7 Responses to “Turning over a new leaf; or, tales of the unexpected”

  1. Andrew Barker Says:

    That was quite a day! I didn’t know that Procaf. did free toast; what an excellent idea!

    • albertine Says:

      Well – you have to buy a hot drink as well. The toaster and the sliced bread are just sitting there, ready to use.

  2. Jean Says:

    Oh Jill, what a start to the New Year!

  3. valkyrie1 Says:

    Sending hugs.

  4. Woman walking Max Says:

    Enjoyed your reflections about being you on New Year’s Day. Sounds like you didn’t get much chance to recline on your sofa til later in the day. I find even the smell of new toast is restorative.
    Best wishes for 2018.

  5. Kater Says:

    A wonderful post, Mum. I love the idea that Sadie can assume, as Sam and Alex would say, ‘stealth mode’.
    Australians will be so pleased to see you. Good on yer. X

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