Posted by: Valerie | April 11, 2010

Drama, tedium and annoyances

What a week! The drama started early on Tuesday when I went to feed the cats first thing after I got up. I always like to see both of them waiting patiently for their breakfasts. I generally feed the ginger visitor first and I always give him a little stroke as I lay his bowl down. After such glorious weather over the weekend, it was raining and both cats were wet. Perhaps it was the feeling of my hand on his wet fur that did it but without warning Ginger turned and bit me on the hand. It didn’t feel very deep and I did clean the bite by drenching it with peroxide and slathering it with Fuci din left over from some other injury. However in spite of all my ministrations it started to swell and swell…

Did you know that cats have very dirty mouths and cat bites can produce really serious infection? A friend in Ottawa once tried to stop a cat fight and well nigh lost his arm so I called the doctor. Oh, dear, the first available appointment would be two days later – better go to the hospital Emergency department. Better than what? I knew it would be a long wait but at least I’d get some antibiotics. I had a book but it was finished long before I saw the doc. Poor Joe was waiting for me and he only had a newspaper. It was FOUR hours (8.00 pm) before I got to see the one and only, poor harassed doctor on duty who hadn’t had a second for lunch or dinner that day. He rapidly gave me a prescription but then raised the nasty spectre of rabies shots. He jabbed some anti-tetanus into me and passed the whole matter over to the Public Health department – and that’s when the real fun started. I got out of there at 9.00 pm.

I won’t bore you to death with the rest of the story of multiple phone calls over the next few days. Between Public Health and the doctor’s office there are conflicting opinions and vastly differing plans of action. To this day I have not been able to see my own doctor, my Friday appointment being cancelled by him. I have not had rabies shots as we are waiting to see if poor Ginger dies within ten days of the bite. He looked healthy and hungry this morning, I’m pleased to say. No die Ginger, no rabies shots me. I rather not have chemical stuff pumped into my body if I don’t need it.

The rest of the week has been a bit bleak. Grungy, cold and damp and even more snow although it didn’t last. Brightest note is that although I have to pay a few hundred to the tax man, Joe’s refund is greater than my bill, even when we deduct the accountant’s fees. Yippee! That makes me feel goooooood.

Still chilly by this weekend but I got the urge to get out in the garden and do some raking. This is the time of year when the broad expanses of emerald-to-be (maybe) lawn is merely a dream which cannot be realised without much effort, raking, fertiliser and mulch. At present it looks god-awful. We have acres of grass. A particular annoyance is the quantity of gravel that has been chucked all over the lawn by the snow blower (my version) or my shovelling efforts (Joe’s version). This gravel does not respond to raking I have found and prefers to be picked up pebble by pebble and I know that however many pebbles I pick up there will still be some that remain to bugger up Joe’s lawn tractor.

Joe on his lawn tractor last summer

Fortunately it is not yet time for grass-mowing as the previously mentioned lawn tractor is reluctant to charge up after its hibernation. We hauled out the lawn furniture and noticed that all of it needs cleaning up so we are going to be busy. But it’s spring busy and that is OK. And just to feel even more springy I planted some seeds in a tray indoors and if the cat doesn’t leap onto the tray and squash everything flat, I may have some seedlings before too long.

I still sometimes mourn my garden in England. Everything grew without protest in the soil in my garden which was what the garden books call a fine tilth and had cultivated for over 200 years. I can’t remember ever having a failure. We had raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, pears, apples, plums and cherries that just arrived every year, a gorgeous herbaceous border with healthy establish perennials. Oh, shut up, me. I was lucky to have it for seven years. I’ve been here for seven years too, trying to garden in a sandpit. It’s rewarding when there is even a minimal success. I’m not giving up though. No way!


  1. I remember your English walled garden with much affection. Beautiful grass and fruits–the whole village was enchanting and we spent many happy hours wandering the village paths. Who am I kidding–the village was beautiful and the garden glorious but there were too many kids and not enough time spent in the pub–although we probably emptied a fair amount of bottles of vino!!
    I love the photo of the tulips. We have lots of roses in bloom but things like daffodils and tulips do not fair well in the dry heat!!
    I hope the hand heals and the cat thrives!!

    • It’s not an original idea but I’d love to spend a summer wandering around the pretty parts of Britain, writing a book on pub signs. Trouble is, I’d need a publisher’s advance to get going. A large one.

  2. Holy Crap keep your hands away from cats for at least the next few hrs.
    Great to here your all right….

  3. Apparently humans have all sorts of nasties in our mouths to, just not so common to hear of a human bite breaking the skin!

    Poor you, hope the hand is mending.

    I’ll carry your bags if you do that pub book! :o)

    Our garden is just starting to go to sleep but a new tree planting season is on the horizon, I have been buying trees over the last few weeks and will be busy getting them in the ground after we have had some decent rain!

    Keep well

    • Yes, I’d heard that human mouths are even dirtier than cats’ mouths. Puts us humans in our place, doesn’t it!
      I am fine and the hand has healed – the cat is still healthy so thankfully no need for rabies shots. Yay!

      You are most welcome to join the pub tour if it ever happens. I have a good English friend in Tucson AZ and she’ll be helping too, won’t you, Pauline? What fun we could have – three women with something to say for themselves terrorizing the beer-swilling English male.

      Good luck with the tree-planting. I’m sure you remember that Joe and Pam planted something like 3,000 trees on this property. Wow – you should see them now!

  4. I’ll start saving for that trip then.

    I remember hearing about all those trees as they were going in. I planted a ‘Canada grove’ at our last house, maples, ashes etc. I have planted maples at this house but they haven’t coped so well with the wind! When we clear the Pinus Radiata I am going to plant a real forest. The other 2 acres is lawn and New Zealand trees mostly!

  5. My bags will be packed as soon as you say the word. I even have some pubs in mind and I’ll be fighting with Sarah to carry the bags alho one hand will be busy carrying the pint!! We found some great beer in Ireland as well as Guinnesso we could go there also.

  6. Well then, I’ll just go home now (I’m at work) at pack then shall I? Was just talking to a friend about it, went to a great pub in Walsham-le-Willows, think its in Suffolk and another called the St George in Kent. Old Elizabethan type architecture, low door lintels, huge fireplaces…

    Not so keen on the Guinness so will be the sober driver in Ireland. :o)

  7. There is a good beer called Smethwicks made in Ireland (not so much a member of one of the basic food groups as Guinness is)–but I’ll accept the offer of a sober driver!!

  8. Or, or, or we could stay AT the pub! :o)

    • Wouldn’t we have some fun! I think we “mature” girls could really rip the place up! I’ve never actually met Sarah as she lives in NZ -she’s Joe’s niece – but she seems game for a trip!

  9. Yep, she is, and I’m use to driving on the left!!! :o)

    • So that will be the three of us with no problems driving. So, where shall we start? North, south, east or west? Midlands possible too. Scotland? Ireland?

  10. Well, I’ve never been to Scotland or Ireland! How about as far east, as far west, as far north and… as far south as we can go?

    • I think we should start in the south-east, (got a brother in Kent with a big house), spend few days in London (you must have relatives round those parts too!) wander up the east coast to Northumberland, go to Lindisfarne (I lived in the general area for seven years and never went there – Pauline comes from N. Yorkshire, so free accommodation there) along Hadrian’s wall, down to the Lake District, skip Liverpool and Manchester and the grotty industrial bits, then hit the Cotswolds and visit all the relatives in the Midlands, then scoot across to Wales and down to the south-west. How’s that?

  11. That sounds wonderful! I just thought, I have to save annual leave too…. :o)

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