Fallen Angels

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 31 December 2019

The aubergine and tamarind curry is in a kadhai on top of the stove, a delicious dish from the South of India. From the North I've made slow cooked mushrooms, with vegan condensed milk, and from Kerrala the ingredients for rice with peanuts and cashew nuts are waiting to be assembled for 7.00 tomorrow night for six of us to bring in the New Year.

I have a cellar full of ironing and three beds to make up for the last day of 2019. The last day of the teens. The last day of a turbulent year.

The old git went out walking last Monday, dog in tow. The ground saturated and muddy. He slipped. Managed to hang the dog lead on a tree, and telephoned me. I was away with a kid teaching her how to march and talk at the same time. As we marched into the kitchen the landline was shouting angrily at me. It was the 'oosbind who had fallen again. Me and the wunderkind ran like the clappers, across the main road and into the orchard.

'I love rescuing people" said the mini Florence Nightingale. She had also revealed that she had burst her fathers eardrums with her piercing scream. "Well put it to good use" I said. I had forgotten my telephone so the child with the lungs of a silverback screamed. We heard a faint call coming from between the pear trees.

We made it to a very wet, broken man, propped up against a tree covered in thick wet mud. The woman from the farm shop, in a hurry to help out, also slipped, slap bang into the bog on her way rescue him. An ambulance was called. A tractor turned up to get the old man but a young man with his huge 4x4 and three Alsations, hiked him into the front seat. I tried to pull the dog home but she was leaping and yelping for her master.

"Are you alright?" asked a couple picking apples from the tubs outside the farm shop.

"No, of course I'm not alright." I sobbed, as the dog dragged me through the gate, across the main road, up the hill and back into the cottage.

The Childs grandpa arrived, I offered him back the money for the lesson but he refused. Collected the rescuer and off they drove.

Two hours later the paramedics arrived, we were turned down by the local community hospital and was advised that Pembury would be rammed. So it was RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The paramedics left after coffee and a healing chat and we were alone with with the head of the family out of action for the foreseeable future.

Christmas came with more chaos, people, food, dogs vomiting, humans vomiting, sleep overs, washing up, noise, barking, barfing and borderline hysteria. Boxing day was cancelled due to ill health so hoovering and plumping of cushions replaced another day of eating, drinking and pandemonium.

Friday was spent at the doctors, the community hospital, the big hospital, mismanaged notes and over stretched staff. Six hours of X-rays and waiting, consultations and waiting. I came home then went back with a flask of strong coffee and a bar of chocolate. My limping co-habitee had been given a full bill of health - well nearly, he was diagnosed with no bones broken but SEVERE MUSCLE CONTUSION.

Saturday we went to the cranial osteopath and he was told he was the luckiest man alive not to have broken anything. A quiet, recuperative night was shattered when in came the dawters Godmother and the ex son-in-law. I made a feast of left overs and the conversation begun. The conversation that we had been meaning to have, but hadn't had, but then had to have after the falling of the elder.

In the mean time I had written to the rescue centre and sent pictures of our beautiful dog. It was clear I couldn't handle her whilst the old git was out of action. I had help but only till Jan 2nd and the diagnosis is that he's going to be incapacitated for at least two months. So on Saturday night the ex son-in-law took an executive decision.

I floundered. On Sunday morning my beautiful ex s-i-l walked the dog to his car, loaded up with a bag of all her toys and an old fleece she loved to sleep on, without looking back he left. With gentle persuasion he told the girls on the reception that we couldn't cope and that was the last we saw of her.

I've cried for two days. The house feels empty. The settee is unoccupied. There is space, it's true, and light and the day has returned as we know it, I haven't had to think about, walking her, feeding her, picking up her left overs. When I do get a picture of her in my minds eye, I crumble and crumple. But we were the wrong family for her, she's mad, bad and beautiful to know but she needs youth and space not two old fuckers who can't keep up with a milk float let alone a sight hound with greyhound in her.

Great expectations were had for this Christmas, all dashed by a slip of the heel. Much healing has to be done. For nearly six months we had a delicious four legged companion, her presence will be felt for years to come.

As we herald in the New Year I hope that all breakages are mended, that all creatures are safe and warm and that 2020 beings peace to us all.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At December 31, 2019 3:47 PM Laz wrote:

Oh Jeni dear! I feel so sorry for you! I hope all gets mended really fast! I haven't commented for ages but I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New year with health and wealth. And a belated Happy Chanukah too! May the light shine once again in your cottage.
All my love and kisses,
Laz xxx

2. At January 1, 2020 6:10 PM Poppypeewee wrote:

Please don't beat yourself up about having to rehome your dog . If you can't cope with her nothing can be done .... an oversight in her young needs. Perhaps something smaller and older may be the answer ?Please don't write yourselves off being a dog owner . You have a lot to give .

3. At January 10, 2020 8:17 PM Andrew Hills wrote:

Oh Jeni

I am so sorry I have only just seen this post, but what a truly horrible and vile time you have had. The presence of a dog or cat or pet of any variety in a family, for however long leaves it mark, and they become part of that family unit. When they leave you for whatever reason and after however long, it is a grief that hits you like a steam train.

I do hope your ˜oosbind’is on the mend, and that you have found time to be kind to yourself too. I know you do not know me, but me and my hubby Robert send you our very warmest and best hugs, love and good wishes.

Andrew and Robert x

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