IT. IS. TOO. FRELLING. HOT. I have hellbeasts all over the kitchen. I would swear it’s a hellquintuplet when I look at the amount of floor space they take up. And domestic animals, in my experience, ALWAYS prefer to occupy passages and crossroads if they can. In this small wedged-in kitchen everything is a passage or a crossroad, but there are crisis points, like the narrow gap between the island by the Aga, where this computer lives, and the under-counter-sized refrigerator beneath the bulge of the stairs . . . which is a WEENY EASILY FILLED INTERSTICE . . . frequently occupied by a hellbeast wishing to draw attention. OKAY. YOU’VE GOT MY ATTENTION. NOW GO AWAY.*
Chaos, even in this weather, kept dragging all his bedding from his HUGE two[SIGH]-hellhound crate out onto the floor in front of the kitchen table, which has, as a result, become only theoretically floor since it is ENTIRELY hellhound bedding—and I gave up and put new blankets in the crate, because he’d go in there and crouch pathetically on the one flimsy little polyester throw left—OF COURSE he can’t possibly drag the blankets he’s dragged out of the crate back in again. Nooooooo. What are humans for? And while I have lived for nearly twelve years now with a vast, bruising appreciation for just how large a moderately-sized hellhound is spread out to full stretch on the floor . . . even the little short-legged box-shaped hellterror turns into a great sinuous monster when she’s stretched out not just on but all over the floor. The tail in particular grows about a foot, the better to wind around your ankle when said tail goes into frenzied wagging mode while you’re trying to STEP OVER HER. Hellhound tails don’t thump furiously, they curl gracefully and uncurl again.** Hellhounds are subtle. Even standing in the middle of a one-beast-wide pinch point is done with such careless poise that the hellhound at least believes he’s being subtle. HELLTERRORS ARE NOT SUBTLE. NOT. HELLTERRORS DON’T BELIEVE IN SUBTLETY. HELLTERRORS THINK SUBTLETY IS A WASTE OF OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE SOMEONE CRAZY.
They both*** like to go out into the garden, lie in FULL SUN till their fur is too hot to touch by mere human hands, and then come indoors and flop down panting somewhere (inconvenient) on the kitchen floor. Chaos at least comes in and lies on his MOUNTAIN of bedding on the far side of the kitchen island, which is relatively protected from the sun BEATING IN from the back garden% and the Aga.%% I have decided the hellterror is actually from equatorial Africa, which explains a lot. If her forebears were bred to face down lions and leopards%%% SUDDENLY I UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING.& But when she comes in from lying outdoors till her fur starts smoking, she lies right inside the kitchen door STILL IN THE SUN. When the little wildfires begin snaking up from the tips of her ears she will move to the edge of the sunlight, but still as near the door as possible, till she stops charring, and then she moves back into full sun again. Gah. Many insanities I possess myself, but this is not one of them.
And God forbid that I should try to let the heavy curtain down to cover the door. She could lie between it and the propped-slightly-open-for-cross-ventilation door, but she doesn’t want to, and the beady little eyes of your domestic animals, as many of you will know, have a proper laser beam to them when they’re trying to get their message across. We compromise on the door curtain: I drape it so it covers the top half of the door, and she can sprawl at the bottom. There’s bedding there too of course—it is a rare hellbeast who will lie on the naked floor, even in hot weather—which means that GETTING IN AND OUT THE DOOR if you’re, you know, human, is a major undertaking, especially because the kitchen trashcan is involved&& AND the moment I go outdoors to start watering, the hellterror rearranges for optimum blockage. SIIIIIIIIGH. I remind myself that I like having hellbeasts around. Didn’t I just say something about multiple insanities?
I’M NOW OVER 2000 WORDS AGAIN AND I HAVEN’T EVEN TOLD YOU ABOUT MY FIRST JAPANESE LESSON. Yes. I survived. So, crucially, did the teacher. And I have my second one tomorrow. But there have been other excitements this last week which have gotten in the way, rather like a hellbeast in this kitchen, of my writing blog posts about any of them. STAY TUNED. Mwa hahahahahahaha.&&&
* * *
* Certainly. After you pet me. After you feed me.^ After you tell me how wonderful and beautiful I am, especially accompanied by petting and (desirable) food. Also, ISN’T IT TIME YOU TOOK ME/US FOR A HURTLE? MAKE THIS STUPID HEAT GO AWAY SO WE CAN HAVE A HURTLE. In the last named, it’s only ever Chaos, and having made me trip over him, usually arousing language which ordinarily he creeps away from but when he is Stalwart with Righteousness he only views me pityingly, he will go stand by the front door, staring at me meaningfully over his shoulder.
^ This is a generic demand with the hellterror. Chaos is only interested in the next round of roast chicken/raw liver/goat cheese/fresh fish skin, which he is sure is overdue.
** Which I find adorable. Just by the way.
*** or all five
% And I mean beating: it’s 88 degrees out there^ which I do not consider a temperature appropriate for the healthy maintenance of human life.
^ ::fumbles for Pooka and her conversion app:: That’s 31 C for you moderns. And yes I know it’s worse in London. London has AIR CONDITIONERS.
%% Yes, all right, guilty. I still have the Aga turned on. She’s my only cooker! And every year living at the cottage full-time and eating this insane way I do eat, having a proper cooker is MORE IMPORTANT. My emergency one-burner mini stovetop is a total blessing when I have to turn the Aga off, but I WON’T till I’m on the edge of having to ring the ambulance for heat prostration. The Aga heat is in fact surprisingly bearable—till she suddenly ISN’T—but I acknowledge having her on in this weather is not exactly sensible. What I really need to do is get the stupid gargantuan restaurant cooker at the Lodge replaced with something, ahem, SENSIBLE.^
The thing about the cottage is that I’m on the top of the highest hill in New Arcadia, and if there’s any breeze, I get it. Also, when there is a breeze, it’s usually east-west, and the cottage is built east-west: I have only ONE north-south window^^, and that’s in the attic, and my south side is where I’m attached to my neighbour. The Lodge is north-south, downhill, and facing immediately onto Ladyofthemanor Street, and it heats up a lot worse. Turning that frelling monster cooker on in this weather with no good way of cooling the poor Lodge off again is just not, as you might say, on, and I can only think that previous tenants did Chinese take out in hot weather.
^ Did I just say sensible?
^^ All right, two. But since the second one is effectively bricked up by bookshelves it doesn’t count. And while I ADMIT I’m a little less than SENSIBLE about stuffing bookshelves in anywhere they’ll go, and frequently where they won’t go, this frelling window is on the sharp bend of the cottage’s steep treacherous stairs+ and even spider-monkey-limbed I would need major mechanical assistance in getting the frelling thing open and shut so I MIGHT AS WELL HAVE BOOKSHELVES.
+ The steep treacherous stairs I need to remain spry and lively to be able to continue to negotiate#
# And we AREN’T DISCUSSING the ladder into the attic
%%% And tigers for the branch of the family that moved to Bengal
& I just wish I could convince her she lived in England and Labrador retrievers are not lions.^ Okay, I understand she’s having trouble believing in England in this weather. I’M HAVING TROUBLE BELIEVING IT TOO.
^ Sometimes I’d rather have lions. And speaking of things we’re not discussing: DAMIEN.+
+ Who, for new readers, looks like a Bichon Frise in this incarnation, and unfortunately lives next door to the Lodge.
&& Some of you may remember I had an indoor wormery. I kept chucking stuff into it and it kept rotting down, and it always smelt like nice healthy compost so I assumed that all was well. I finally decided that two years is enough—the bumpf that comes with the bin and the worms claims you can start harvesting after about nine months—and I discovered about TWO INCHES of—granted, beautiful compost, but TWO INCHES??—under the still-rotting-down stuff. After TWO YEARS??? So I spread the beautiful compost, and the worms, at the feet of a few select rose bushes, and I’m now saving up for a hotbin. https://www.hotbincomposting.com/compost-bins/hotbin-composting-extra.html
Note the price. Which is why I didn’t rush to order it immediately. But I hate the frelling waste—if you eat organic and raise your roses organic, the rest of it kind of comes with the territory, and I’m a wet knee-jerk liberal from way back. Also, when I take my kitchen-and-garden leavings to the dump^ and buy the resulting compost there—it’s not organic because most of the other people whose garden rubbish is involved aren’t organic. Which is one of my excuses for not raising veg: organic fertilizer is thin on the ground, so to speak, and expensive. But the real reason I don’t is that it’s too much like hard work. Roses are hard enough. And I’ll worry about how the hotbin is going to ruin my life by forcing me to grow healthy shiny organic veg after I buy it.
So . . . I now have an EMPTY SPACE under the computer-side table in the kitchen which is VERY EXCITING^^ because all gaps in this house are urgently exciting because they’re a good deal rarer than mere hen’s teeth and who wants hen’s teeth anyway?! Somewhat less exciting is trying to figure out where to stuff a hotbin in the back garden. ARRRRRRGH. Atlas is not helping. He’s also a glutton for punishment since he’s the one has to negotiate the rose-and-other-giant-things^^^ jungle out there, replacing the hellbeasts’ courtyard fence. He was complimenting me today on keeping the whole thing going, which is to say I’m out there WATERING FOR HOURS every frelling evening and suggested, because he is very good at ducking and weaving, that he was sure I could squeeze a few more things in, now that we’re into plant-nursery-summer-SALE season. Well yes, now you mention it, and a few lavenders, for example, which like HOT and DRY, are a lot smaller and cheaper than a hotbin. . . .
^ When it’s in the mood to receive visitors, and when you’ve chopped up all your branches into .0001” diameter bits, wiped your shoes and put on your humble hat. To be fair, which I don’t feel like being, the dump can’t cope with anything that’s going to attract rats, and while I take pea- and broad-bean pods, the dump doesn’t actually do kitchen waste at all, so the hotbin is still a big winner. Except for the growing my own veg part.
^^ Meanwhile I now have to find some other compelling use for the ex-wormery. Never mind waste, it’s HOT PINK. I’m not going to allow something hot pink not to have a brilliant part to play in the household economy.
^^^ Dahlias, for example. Good grief. I try to specialise in the short ones, but the ones that come to me frequently didn’t get that memo.
&&& You may not realise it but you really aren’t looking forward to my ranting on and on and on and on about learning Japanese. You can tell yourselves that I’ll be over the Early Bananas Joyful Frenzy stage soon enough and will subside into the awful slog and angst and frustration and hopelessness stage, which I will be too busy enduring to want to write blog posts about it.^
^ One of the problems with my tendency to ENTHUSIASMS is the way a new one drags the other ones along in its wake. I really miss my singing lessons, for example, but Nadia is now slightly too far for me to be able to drive there reliably, and I haven’t really got my head around this yet. BUT I WILL. Maybe I can learn some Japanese songs. Mind you, if you google, or rather if you duckduckgo, ‘Japanese songs’, 90% of what pops up is variations on Sakura+. But it’s a place to start.
+ And I’ll tell you a Sakura story next post. . . .