Ah Maun Dree Ma Ain Weird

Because, as one says in Scotland, ‘Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye’ so you are obliged, in the best Calvinist tradition, to submit to your fate.

Which in my case has meant various health problems which have rendered me less than that which I was…no longer up and about from dawn to dusk, forced to lie down, tired for what would once have seemed nothing.

Clearly, it is nothing in comparison with Leo. He is reliant on a wheelchair, struggles to breathe at times, and is easily exhausted….but he keeps buggering on and so shall I.

I am just not used to it.

We have taken on a part time worker to fill the gaps…and he has been a treasure. He has green fingers, is a skilled painter and decorator and the dogs love him.

Thus, for the first time today, he and Danilo wash the dogs. All ten of them.

I had my own system…shut the bedroom doors, assemble the shampoo on the balcony, get the hose set up, coax the thugs into place with biscuits and shut the doors to the house. Then the fun began. Trap first dog against the balustrade with the knees, soak dog, shampoo dog, rinse dog, release dog…repeat until complete.

Carlos and Danilo have another method.

The hose is set up under the orange tree in front of the house and the dogs are transported, one by one, to meet their fate.My contribution is, once again, to shut the bedroom doors and stand by at the front door to prevent re entry by wet, shocked, traumatised dogs intent on shaking off the whole experience in the house.

The two big boys, Einstein and Bunter, are no problem. They love being washed and once it is clear that no more water is forthcoming leg it down to the sheep shed to roll in the bedding there….

Podge is caught in a moment of distraction….chewing the centre out of a cushion to make a nest under the baleful eye of Black Tot, who had been keeping that cushion for herself….and is whisked off for summary judgement by hosepipe. Black Tot removes the remains of the cushion into a a safer place under my desk and sits on it. I sweep up.

Two black pointy ears and an indignant face appear at the door. Podge is displeased.

The others follow….no problem with most, except for Scruffy, the little mum, who hides under the sink and has to be pushed out with a broom, and Napoleon, who has to be taken in a rugby tackle as he scoots across the room….but the group outside the front door is growing, damp and despairing. What feels like scores of reproachful eyes are fixed upon me.

Traitor…..abandoner of animals…..Cruella Deville…..

I take refuge in the kitchen area…only to find two cold wet noses pressed against my leg and two wet bodies jumping up. Auntie and little Zuniga have made it into the house!

But the front door is still shut…..

They have used their…or Auntie’s…. initiative and have crossed the garden, descended to the pasture, ducked under the wire and emerged by the swimming pool, upon whose narrow wall they have made their way to the small balcony and thus to the large and into the house! Damp tails wagging…very pleased with themselves.

Perusal of the swimming pool reveals that the big boys have followed them…but only as far as the wall of the pool…..they do not trust themselves on the wall itself and sit, mournful, under the jocote tree, well adorned with the straw from the sheep shed.

Eventually I relent and let in the remainder of the tribe……apart from Podge and Napoleon the rest have managed to adorn themselves with mud and other substances obtained while rolling in the garden post wash……so next time, it is back to the balcony…but it will be someone else’s knees trapping each dog against the balustrade.

And I find that very hard to accept.

Still….the brain is still working, the memory too and, according to privileged observers, the voice is far from stilled…..so the lum is reeking yet!

50 thoughts on “Ah Maun Dree Ma Ain Weird”

      1. Perhaps that fat finger has protected you from being marked down by WP as a non PC person…..!
        Carlos is a very handy sort of chap…and, like Danilo, a dog magnet….and we are lucky to have him…but I wish I did not need the help.

  1. Ha Ha!
    Imagine two men thinking they can outwit a few dogs!
    A couple of my neices will come over next time and lend a hand, they are good at this sort of thing.
    Whether the dogs agree is of course not so clear.

    It is unbearable when you canny do what you used to do.
    I feel guilty sometimes about this, and at others happy to let ‘them’ do the hard work.
    So sorry you can no longer force the dogs into the bath, share their delight, share their bathwater!
    Ah well, at least you can feed them…

    1. Share your bathwater…back to the three day week and the teeth of Heath! i’m not sharing a bath with that lot….it would be carnage! Even the pharaonic cement bath which Danilo constructed for me would not withstand that!
      Set your neices on the dogs…I suspect both parties would get a sair drookin! But at least it is warm here…even the water in the hose…
      Thanks…it is frustrating not to be able to do all that I want. A teasmade would be handy, though…

  2. I tell myself I have other priorities. I just don’t want to do the boring jobs, not when I can do something interesting, like embroider yet another tea towel while I binge-watch another gory crime show. I’m simply delegating to others. The day will come when I, like a dear friend, can’t hold Jacques on a leash for fear of being pulled over. But I’m not there, yet. Far from it, and may it long remain so — for both of us.

  3. Finding oneself merely mortal after a lifetime of accomplishment is a tough pill to swallow (I know, I’m learning about that myself 😬). But there’s nothing to be ashamed of…I mean 10 dogs!! Yeesh…I got tired just reading about the routine you managed for so long. Glad you have some help now to make it easier on your back and soul. Sit back, enjoy the help and give the gang ear rubs from me. A nice cool beverage sounds like a good idea too.

    1. Ah yes! A tissue restorer!
      It is frustrating not to be able to do all the things i enjoy…watering the garden for a couple of hours sounds a bore, but it is far from it…less time with the sheep, not washing the dogs myself…

      1. Boy can I relate! There are some perks to aging but I’m still trying to figure out what they are unless I am able to find benefits in saving time because doing it isn’t quite as possible these days as it used to be. It was nothing spending 8 hours working in the garden just a few years ago. Now I’m good with 2-3. Well, not exactly ‘good’ but learning to save things for another time (or get someone else to help with it). Being mortal ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    1. He is a great help…it is just that the things he is doing are the things I enjoyed doing.
      Still, give it a month or two and I shall be employing a punkah wallah, peacock fan bearers and having sherbet sent down from the mountains…in my dreams…

  4. So sorry to hear that you are not feeling 100%, age is catching up with all of us sadly. As my mother used to say – “The golden years are very tarnished”.

    Never the less you still manage to write a great post and give me a giggle even though the health news worries me. Just take care, the two of you I am sure will soldier on and hopefully improve.

    Hugs to you both, Diane

  5. Wow. Everybody here is so old and frail. Glad I’m not in that condition. I kid, I kid. At least we are all vertical which beats the alternative, eh? I had my welcome back to a new and aged reality when the gyms here reopened on March 15 after a year closed. Who knew one could fall completely apart in just 12 short months? I guess we have to accept the limitations imposed by Father Time and find alternative diversions. I suggest you have the guys harness the pups and teach them to pull wheelchairs. You and Leo could re-create Ben Hur at the marketplace.

    1. Yes, young man!
      Now that is a wonderful idea…a cross between Ben Hur..bags me the black dogs…and Supermarket chase, grabbing produce as we pass before heading off down the main street pursued by the police…

  6. You are sounding much better than when we last spoke, and that is fantastic, Helen. I love your sage of bathing your animals – they really are much smarter than we give them credit for, don’t we?! 🙄😉

    1. Thank you…I am feeling better…less morose at any rate! That lot of thugs could outwit a bunch of Nobel Prize winners any day!
      Your encouragement meant a lot.

  7. This getting older thing is a bit of a bugger! What was once an hour or so “tidying” the garden is now a major weeding chore and I can’t achieve much in an hour or so…
    Reminds me…the cats are due worm pills…I’d better check the Band aid supply….

  8. I am reading with full sympathy, except I have far fewer regrets at what I’ve left behind. Thank you for the wild and wooly coo to illustrate your wild and wooly herd of canines.

  9. And I thought washing one Airedale was hard enough! Sorry to hear you have been less than fighting fit. Hope full recovery is an option. Glad to hear you have found a treasure to help.

    1. Once all is prepared to prevent escapes, it all runs like a production line…well, it did! Back to the balcony for the next canine bathfest….now remembering to close off the small balcony to prevent Auntie escaping via the swimming pool.
      I should be all right given time…though i suppose by then I will have grown accustomed to idleness!
      Carlos is a very nice, competent chap, currently painting the ceiling which, I must admit, would not have been my favourite job.

  10. . . which beggers the question; ‘Is there life before death?’ Which prompted the most famous non-reply ever from Dr. Leonard H ‘Bones’ Macoy – ‘It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it!’ Keep on truckin’ Helen, age can be a bastard and will be the death of us all in the end! 🙂

    1. I must find alternative occupation…during the first great fuss over the bug I found industrial alcohol without the additives – the national booze monopoly turned its production over to sanitizers and seems to have ‘forgotten’ to ruin it. Do you still have that gin recipe?
      I should not moan, not that that will prevent me, but it is so frustrating not to be able to do the things I enjoy.
      Still, I am still on tea making and cooking duties…some things never alter!

      1. J was never one for exactitude in her various ‘botanicals’ recipes – very much adjust to taste. Assuming your ethanol is about 98 proof you need 1.25 ltr of decent water to 1 ltr spirit. Botanicals can be pretty much whatever you choose as long as you have a fist-full of juniper berries. J makes her own orange/lemon peel stuff by peeling and cutting into bits (as per marmalade), cooking for a while in a pan with a little sugar water and then drying in a very low oven (obviously making a batch in advance and storing any surplus). Add some coriander that’s been ‘bruised’ in a mortar. Boil some of the water from your 1.25 ltr and steep the botanicals for a while then add the whole lot together in an adequate sized Jar. Leave for a few days. Try some sippers for taste and add whatever you fancy more of. Then strain the liquid through a muslin cloth into bottles. It really is very simple – search online for alternative botanical flavours and have fun being very ‘scientific’ and experimental. We are in the situation of trucks being stopped and searched for illicit alcohol and my stock replacement order has been ‘delayed’. I hope not period because the bastards have my money!

        1. I have all the botanicals you suggest and will make a batch. I bought all I could get my hands on…luckily, as i have not seen it since. Suspect others thought on the same lines as I.
          Good luck with your shipment…sounds as bad as getting anything through customs here….I almost feel like ordering some kippers just to let the so and sos have them rotting in their warehouse…..

  11. Sorry to hear you are not your normal bouncy self. Maybe it’s time to take a rest for a while so that you can recharge your batteries, while you concentrate on kitchen duties and performing miracles (under close supervision of course). I hope you’ll soon be feeling fitter. It could be the perfect opportunity to write a memoir of your extraordinary life – I’ll be the first to by a copy.

    Tommy and Daisy get bathed in the shower with Terry, helped by some treats. Tommy loves it, Daisy tolerates it, and it falls to me to clean up the almighty mess once it’s all over and everybody has shaken themselves from ceiling to slippery floor.

    Sending best wishes from Terry and myself.

    1. Thank you both! Fat chance of writing anything with the Person from Porlock in the vicinity! Today I thought I would look through a nursery catalogue with my unaccustomed leisure…squawks of alarm over my shoulder…34000 colones for a piece of bamboo…what is that? Look it up…with a photograph…we have that in the chicken run….what about a coffee?…you get the drift….
      The climate helps dog washing outdoors….I can just see the mess you have to clean up….and I can also see Daisy’s long suffering expression. The two big boys love a wash…the others less so.

  12. The worst thing about getting older is that it seems so damned unfair. One has spent years getting things organised and then – ! You have my sympathies. Oh, I nearly spilled my cup of tea when I came to the bit about industrial alcohol – a bit of a relief that you were planning on making gin …

  13. You have reminded me of why I never wash our two hairy miscreants. To be fair you aren’t supposed to wash Labradors very often anyway – it’s just that I have taken that suggestion to extremes. Sorry to hear that time is catching up with you both… “lang may yer lums reek”

  14. Lums reeking well thank you!
    No, not a good idea to wash labs too often….Black Tot has a lab coat so she often escapes the compulsory bath time. The others however….if one finds a rotting armadillo it is a come all ye as far as they are concerned…..and if they get into the black earth patch by the stream in the wet season it looks like a procession of miners coming up from the pit, white dogs as bad as black….

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