Happy New Year! Or is it? Not in this neck of the woods. It has not been the best of starts. Nothing catastrophic of truly major proportions, but not exactly hunky dory either. Here is a litany of my woes......
January 1st - at about 11am- Kay and I take Snoopy for his first walk of the year around the block. See a middle-aged woman sitting on a wall outside our local vet, crying her eyes out. I ask if I can help. She tells me amid sobs and gulps with a mascara-streaked face that her dog is just being put down. Her husband is inside the vet's house, so she does not need any help, but thanks me anyway. I feel for her and spend the rest of the day thinking about her.
January 2nd - Kay wakes up with the beginnings of a cold and a huge ulcer in her cheek (her wisdom tooth had crumbled over Christmas. According to the dentist it was a naturally-weak and useless tooth) and had rubbed this huge hole in her cheek which was failing to heal.
January 3rd - Kay is due to get a train at 11 from Kings Cross back to uni up north. She wakes up feeling real awful with swollen neck glands, a swollen cheek, earache and a sore throat, not to mention pouring nose. She cannot swallow and feels sick. There follows a short debate as to whether she should go or stay, but I tell her that I have to get my mum back home (60 miles away) tomorrow, we have ordered a supermarket delivery for her on 4th and a new (digital) TV is being delivered to her on 6th. I therefore cannot be around to help Kay, if she decided to stay at home for any longer. Kay reluctantly agrees it is better for her to return north today.
We struggle on public transport and in heavy rain and winds with two heavy cases, a laptop and handbag to Kings Cross. We get there with half an hour to spare: things are looking good. Until we see the indicator board. Her 11:00 train has been cancelled along with her seat reservation. Great ! The next train is an hour later but with no guaranteed seat. In fact there will now be two train-loads of people trying to get the few random unreserved seats. There are hundreds of people in the station forecourt all in the same position, as several trains have been cancelled - not sure whether it is due to adverse weather, or signal failure somewhere in the midlands, or both. There is a film crew gleefully shoving a furry microphone on a pole thingymy in people's faces as they complain to the harrassed-looking station staff behind the information desk. Then we are told the 12:00 train has also been cancelled and we have to wait for the 13:00 one. THat's three train-loads all vying for non-reserved seats. Kay will only be guaranteed her passage (but still not the seat reservation on that one). If she fails to get that and wants to take a much later train (to guarantee a better chance of some more random free seats) she will have to pay £124. Kay breaks down in tears. Her neck glands and cheek are excruciatingly painful; she will doubtless miss the appointment with a doctor she had made to get some medication; she faces the prospect of a two-hour wait on the chilly station forecourt and (eventually, although who knows when) a three hour journey standing all the way with two suitcases. And a laptop. And a handbag. I relent. I tell her she can come home. I will cancel all the commitments. We stagger back in the opposite direction for home with the two suitcases, the laptop and the handbag. As we emerge from our local station, the heavens suddenly open. There are 60mph gales and a torrent of water that is like a wall of glass. We dash for my parked car and head the last half-mile home in a sea of water that even the fastest windscreen wipers cannot cope with. All I can see is oncoming headlights with no car attached to them - the wall of water has turned into a thick fog, the rain is so heavy. The road is covered in a 6-inch film of water, so driving at speed is out of the question. We get home and sit in the car for about 5 minutes as it is definitely too wet (and dangerous) to leave the safety of the car for the 6-foot walk to the front door at that moment).
Eventually we dash for the warmth and dry of the house and I set about frantically cancelling or rearranging all the deliveries to my mother over the next few days, or notifying everyone who I had told I was going to my mother's for a few days that I was now going to be home again after all. Then I take Kay to our local hospital walk-in clinic (as she is no longer registered with our local doctor). We wait nearly three hours to be seen and she has now thankfully been prescribed penicillin for her ulcer and throat pain. She has booked another train north for Saturday. I will take my mother home on Sunday and stay a few days with her, set up her new TV etc.
Tuesday 4th - I head off to the dentist to have a temporary filling as one of my large molar fillings fell out yesterday. When I get back, I discover Snoopy has somehow got hold of a packet of chocolate biscuits (Jaffa cakes) and eaten about 8 of them, smearing the melted chocolate on the cellophane wrapper all over the carpet. Watch this space.......Chocolate and dogs do not go together, so what comes out in due course will not be pleasant.
Happy New Year!!!