My Terrier – The Wimp…

22 September, 2011

I dunno…

Piglet’s non terrier-like wimpiness seems to be going from bad to worse. Last night I nipped up to the Post Office for a loaf and a bottle of wine, intending to tie Piggle up outside in the usual way (it’s safe to do that here). However, we found a most belligerent-looking black cat insinuating itself amongst the pot plants and railings outside.

As I approached the door with Piglet the cat shot out from its semi-concealment in the foliage and established laser-like eye contact, and as I dragged Piggle backwards and forwards on her lead in an attempt to shake the cat off it shadowed our every move, growing closer and closer and slowly drawing back its top lip to reveal a row of sharp, white teeth. (OK, so I may have imagined the tooth bit.) Eep! I tried waving my hands at it and making shooing noises, but it completely ignored me. I’m not sure which of us was more nervous, but it certainly wasn’t the cat.

In the end I had to pick Piglet up and carry her in under my arm like a wee bedraggled sack. When I explained to the Post Mistress that there was a ferocious-looking cat outside giving my little dog the Evil Eye she almost fell to the floor laughing. She went out to see what it was, and it turned out to be her 8 months old kitten. Um… The cat was carried into the back of the shop and placated with some sort of edible treat (hind leg of Rottweiler, perhaps), and I managed to fasten Piglet to the railings after all.

Sometimes I wonder whether I have the daftest terrier in the world…

Lucky Escape!

14 September, 2011

Piglet, Puss and I had the luckiest of escapes this morning.

I was driving back from the vet just after 9am, having taken Pussling along to confirm that she’s more-or-less recovered from her horrible abscess, when on a wet and windy country road a car travelling in the opposite direction suddenly spun out of control on a bend and hurtled towards us. It’s a 60 zone and I’m sure that we must each have been doing at least 40mph, so we were approaching each other at, I’m sure, 80mph+. I couldn’t see any way out of a head-on collision, but I yanked the steering wheel to the right to try to steer around the other car. I almost managed it, but the other car just clipped the back of mine and then, in the rear view mirror, I saw it turn over at least once and land on its roof in the hedge beside the road.

I pulled over and ran back to find what looked like smoke beginning to rise from the crashed car. There was a young man there too, and he was getting out his phone to ring 999. I called into the car to reassure the occupants that we were coming to get them, and a few seconds later we saw a hand banging on the window at the back (I think it must have been a hatchback). We opened the hatch and a young woman in her 20s crawled out. Incredibly, her only visible injuries were some bloody scrapes along her arms. The young woman (Rebecca) was in her bare feet and it was raining, and so we walked over to my car and I settled Rebecca in the passenger seat with my mobile while the young man and I went out to try to prevent a pile-up occurring as more cars came whizzing round the bend.

The emergency services came, and eventually Rebecca was taken away to hospital. Naturally there was some concern about whether or not she might have injured her neck, but she appeared to have survived virtually unscathed.

To the end of my days I’ll have no idea how I managed to avoid a head-on collision. I’ve heard people speak about how quickly these things happen, but I really hadn’t understood what they meant until this morning. One second we were travelling home in a perfectly ordinary fashion, and the next there was a car hurtling towards us on our side of the road with only a second or so to make a decision about how to try to avoid it. Mind-boggling stuff. Rebecca told me that she lost control of her car when it ran into standing water on the bend, and that when she saw oncoming traffic she just closed her eyes and waited for the collision.

Fortunately Piggle and Pussling don’t seem to have suffered any adverse reaction. I suppose they didn’t see anything, though they must have been thrown around a bit in their crate and basket. I’ve not really been able to sit back and relax yet because I’m currently having a new shower installed and I had to drive over to town soon after I got home in order to collect a shower door. This evening, though, I think the three of us will curl up downstairs with something nice to eat and watch a bit of mindless television.

Shower Door – Made-To-Measure?

11 September, 2011

Does anybody know of a reliable manufacturer of made-to-measure shower doors? I’m hoping to replace mine, but it’s considerably shorter than average (1770 rather than the more standard 1800, 1850 or 1900). It’s possible that I could manage with a slightly taller one, but only at the cost of virtually eliminating the space at the top for the steam to escape.

If anybody has any experience of this then any pointers would be very welcome.

Poor Puss :( Chaos in the country.

8 September, 2011

Poor Puss 😦

Back in the attic

Brave little cat

I’ve mentioned Puss-Puss here before. She’s my father’s cat, but she’s lived with Piglet and me for the last couple of years.

A week and a half ago Puss was quite badly attacked outside by a brutal local cat. I had to take her to the vet on Bank Holiday Monday morning, but she seems to have been going downhill since then rather than recovering. She seems to have lost her confidence, and has spent most of her time hiding in a box in my bedroom, at the top of the house, which isn’t like her at all. She’s had a temperature and has eaten barely enough to keep a sparrow in flight, and this morning I rang to ask whether I could take her in for the third time to see if the vet could find something physically wrong.

When I went upstairs to collect her I found a nasty wet mess over one of her eyes, and concluded that an abscess must have burst. I shot her across to the local vet, and even he looked aghast when we got her out of the cat basket and he saw the green, pussy blood-streaked gunk oozing from above her eye 😦

Anyway, stuff like that is better out than in, and so he took her away to squeeze out as much toxic goo as possible and gave Puss back to me with instructions to bathe the wound in order to prevent a scab from forming, and to take her back for a further inspection next Monday.

We’re now home. Puss is clearly feeling better-she’s eaten some chicken and had a glass of water–but it’s horrible trying to track her round the house 😦 There’s a bloody, green gooey deposit all over her little white bib, which I’ve been trying to snip off with a small pair of scissors, and Puss is stalking round the house dropping nastily bodily fluids all over the place as I pursue her with gauze and a bowl of salty water, while Piglet trails along in my wake hoping the bowl holds something yummy that she might be invited to eat when the cat has finished with it. Meanwhile it’s pouring with rain outside, so the carpet is covered with muddy shoe and paw prints that I haven’t yet had time to mop up, and there’s absolutely no prospect of being able to get any towels dry.

Just as I was trying to trap Pussling in a corner of the kitchen to start wiping her dry there was a knock at the door, and one of my neighbours appeared. I look a bit of a sight myself this morning, since I had a small mole scraped off my forehead the day before yesterday and it’s left a surprisingly large triangular, angry-looking scab that makes me look as though I’ve been in a fight with a rottweiler. I was told not to take a shower for two days (so as not to get it wet), and so those parts of my hair which aren’t plastered to my head are sticking up in scruffy little tufts.

With my hands full of gauze, scissors and bowls of salt water, and a hint of panic in my eye, I must have been an alarming sight, and I’m pretty sure I saw my elderly neighbour take a step backwards when I approached her at the door. I didn’t really get a chance to explain my appearance, but I led Jean through the muddy sitting room to the kitchen in order to display the cat, who was by then skulking in a corner and looking like something sailers had dragged down from the deck of a gun ship to a Naval surgeon during a particularly bloody battle set in the Napoleonic wars. Jean left quickly afterwards.

There’s much to be said for having moved to a very small house in the country, but at times like this I miss my large kitchen with a shutable door and an easily cleanable floor.

Horizon: Are You Good or Evil?

8 September, 2011

There was a fascinating episode of Horizon on BBC 2 this evening, all about psychopathy; in particular, what causes it, and how it’s possible to identify it in people who don’t fit the ‘classic’ psychopathic killer profile. The programme’s currently available on the BBC iPlayer, here.

I found the programme particularly interesting because I’ve recently read The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. I’d previously imagined that all psychopaths are highly visible deranged killers, but that’s apparently not so. Some are superficially charming, highly successful and cleverly camouflaged members of society, having recognised early on that they differ fundamentally from the people around them and learned to conceal those differences in order to avoid detection. See here for an article by Robert Hare, who created a diagnostic checklist which is widely used by psychologists to identify psychopaths.

What’s most disturbing is the frequency with which psychopaths apparently occur. Estimates vary, but it seems likely that they make up at least 1% of society. Alarming stuff, if it’s accurate.

If you didn’t watch Horizon this evening then I’d highly recommend nipping across to the BBC iPlayer in order to take a look. I recommend the Jon Ronson book too. Chilling, cautionary stuff, but absolutely fascinating.