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Thursday, 20 October 2011


Darius may have packed up his stuff, tucked his English cultural treasures – Mockney CD and FIFA2012 XBox game – into his case and gone back to Germany but, in the interests of inter-country exchange, he left his dust allergy. With Lolly.
She has not stopped sneezing since - she only does it to annoy - and, when not sneezing, she is otherwise attention-seeking in a deeply unpleasing way: shaking her collar dramatically, squeaking, running like a loon on acid round the house (without, I may point out, going back shame-facedly later and straightening all the rugs). Standing oppressively close with a resentful cast to her eye. Breathing. Christ it’s annoying. Perhaps she needs Ritalin?
“Makes you wish for the good old days when she was just ... there,” I said.
“Makes you wish for the good old days when she … wasn’t there,” said E, “When she was just a twinkle in your eye.”
My eye!! A twinkle in your eye!” I said, squeaking as if I were about to shake my collar.
The next ten minutes can be glossed over, covering as they do the tedious and familiar ground of blame: who actually wanted the dog in the first place.

On the plus side, I finally have a valid reason to look pissed off, and am in a position to trade “tiresome noises I endure” stories with E. For, at work, E sits near a man who sniffs every 3 seconds, which E has worked out to be 9,000 times a day …. 45,000 times a week. They’ve worked in the same office 15 years. And when this man is not sniffing, he’s sneezing, like Lolly, over-dramatically, snerffff! Snerfff! SNERRFFF!!!
“Does anyone say Bless You?” I asked. E’s glance told me all I needed to know about bloody stupid comments.

“We should have got a kitten,” said F12, tutting over Lolly’s shenanigans, "Back then, not ..." He can't quite finish but relentlessly makes good on the feline-shaped hole in his childhood by being ever ready to channel “kitten,” while plugging away on the PR for a real one most hours of the day.
We did have a cat once, but Lolly’s inappropriate enthusiasm rather did for her and the kitchen fitter sped her away for his mum, on a cushion in his van. News is that she got the expensive end of cat ownership: the dwindling teeth, the cancer, the headstone. Animals. They break your little heart. And the vet drives around in a Beamer.

And now poor Lolly, rapidly losing her last vestiges of friends.
“Even if we had, that would be some geriatric kitten by now,” I said. “On the way out.”
“No," he mewed.
“Yup, or doing time, I’d heard. In prison, on the chain gangs.” The mythical kitten breaks rocks in my mind.
“How could you,” he whimpered, “Be so mean! To a kitten. Stew and wallow in your shame.”

E and I are rather fed up with stewing and wallowing in our shame. The imprecation is wheeled out frequently, by one currently in disturbing garb. F12’s favoured home clothes were a Poirot-dapper suit, with an Indiana Jones hat and a broken bamboo, for wielding purposes.
Then the hat was switched for a peaked Inspector’s cap (the child, irritatingly, having put in no interim service as a mere constable, drudge beneath a domed, unfetching hat, although one thinks he’d have warmed to the parking ticket issuing).
Tall wellies were dredged from somewhere. This is a resourceful child, a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. Put it down and it will rapidly be considered unconsidered. I picture some random old man in the village, stuck in his slippers, still turning in vague circles, muttering, “Am sure Oi left they somewhere round ‘ere;” his gate banging in the wind, a newly-booted child hot-footing it to the shadows.
The suit jacket was bossily buttoned and a swagger stick appeared. Culled no doubt from someone’s prized tripod or music stand.

So now, a door will slam, doors always slam if a child is one or other side of them, there is no gentle touch, and seconds will pass so you will forget and next thing your heart’s in freefall catching sight, out of the window, of a small determined Nazi Country Gent inventorying the garden in a worrying manner, swagger stick bouncing on a Chino’d thigh.

Later I spoke to him, having been troubled by that dullard: the self-esteem thing, having bumped into Mrs Caring, and being reminded, by unflattering comparison, how very dreadful I am.

We had been at Mrs Lovely’s and I was being disloyal about my darling boy, regaling the dog gang with some witty tale.
“F12 doesn’t really speak like that, does he?” said Mrs Lovely.
“No, not really,” I admitted, do details of realism matter? “But when he goes off on one, we do all rather purse up our lips like this.”
Mrs Lovely and I chortled our horrid little heads off.
“Oh Good!” she said, “When Lulu’s being awful, Mr Lovely and I prance around the kitchen being the Munchkins in Wizard of Oz – like this – you know that face they make when they sing. Their hands! It’s the only thing you can do.”
We laughed the laugh of cruel parents snatching small treats from the wreckage.
“It’ll all come out in therapy,” she said happily.
“It will actually,” said Mrs Caring, not smiling as much as us. Certainly not smiling the smile of the imminently damned.
It sort of put a dampener on things.

“You don’t mind, do you, the teasing about the kittens stuff?” I was tidying his gun, smoothing his cap and propping up the swagger stick – she who would otherwise end up standing on it in bare feet in the dark was me. He sat on his bed and watched the staff at work.
“No,” he said, patting me tenderly as I sank beside him.
“I know you do it for my own good. To brush off my rough edges.”
“They’re quite furry edges, really,” I said kindly.
“Yes,” he said. Then he said, word for word, “Teasing gives life colour, it would be a shell without it, all beige. Shall I tell you about Lenin?” Somewhere in the bowels of the house came a canine sneeze. There was a sound such as of a collar being shook.
“Miaow?” F12 said, hopefully.


Edward said...

Ok, I'll bite. First the sniffing and sneezing. I now have to wear earplugs inside my headphones at work so that a) I don't hear the incessant bloody sniffing, and b) I don't permanently damage my hearing. And now the bloody dog is at it. She is THIS close to the glue factory. And as for F12 and his statement about "Teasing gives life colour.." That boy. Best pictured dressed as a rather rag-tag not-so-secret policeman in a down-at-heel South American country - probably Polygonia or somewhere like that. I think he has his eyes on T15's Raybans to complete the outfit.

Great blog as always. Can you remind me why you're not doing this for money?

Expat mum said...

I cannot abide sniffing, and we're currently on the books of the Ear, Nose & Throat doctor as the Little Guy has major problems. If he's not sniffing, he's bunged up and full of snot. So hard to be loving when he's bugging the shit out of me!

Frances said...

Milla, and Edward too, I have worked in many situations. In one, in a big NYC law firm, a cubicle's thin wall separated my eyes and ears from the other side of the cubicle where a young fellow regularly made that tooth-sucking sound. He was somehow supported by a big wig in the firm, and so...I just kept muttering, "stop that." And he kept on sucking.

I do hope that Lolly will soon refrain from her own special effects, or gets a very large cubicle of her own to keep herself from the rest of you all.

Milla, those lads of yours keep me thinking better about the future of the world.


Exmoorjane said...

It was you. The dog. Somewhere there is evidence. You saw a wheaten terrier in the village. It was love. You went all gooey. We all said 'don't'. You ignored us. Maybe E had a part in it too but I didn't see that side of the equation.
I have sympathy for the sniffer though. I was a Child Who Sniffed. Because I had not learned to blow my nose. Of course, if E's work mate can blow his nose there is no excuse and he needs a hard slap.
Yes, you should be writing for money...(not that there is any around anymore). Doomy thought of the day delivered, I go off to write for dog biscuits. Literally. xxx

word verif - slyman... :)

Metropolitan Mum said...

Haha ur so funny.
Happy to have found your blog today via twitter. I wish I could write like you.

Family Affairs said...

OOOOHHHHHH so this is your blog.......VG xx

Tattie Weasle said...

Ah dog sniff. You know you are very lucky . We once had a dog we nicknamed Poochicus Snotticus and every time he shook his head....

(and yes you should be doing this for money!)

Piglet said...

Seriously, maybe Lolly has a small possession of Daryl's stuck up her nose! Perhaps the last act of the seemingly angelic Ritalin Kid was to insert a Lego brick up her nasal passages after she playfully tried to rip apart his clothing. Perhaps your efforts to remove the allergy-inducing dust has disturbed the delicate chemical balance in the house and all dust mites have now crawled shamelessly up the nearest moist inlet. Vets may have to be involved - if yours has a BMW he can probably get to you very rapidly. Good luck! As for E's sniffer, I find electrodes attached to the genitals quite effective - the satisfaction of pushing the button and making him leap would actually make the sniffing a source of endless amusement. xxx

Milla said...

thanks all!