It’s the frelling middle of frelling March in the SOUTH OF FRELLING ENGLAND and it’s SNOOOOOOOOOOOWING. Furthermore, it’s snowing again. Again as in yesterday, and again as in the day before yesterday. And it had done this about a fortnight ago already and we were all outraged. We’re now bored with outrage! We want to move on! We had nearly four inches of the blasted stuff last time—other bits of the south of England had it much worse—and a mere two or thereabouts this time BUT THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. What does this weather think it’s doing? Where does it think it is? Skarsvag??
I’ve been forcing Chaos into his coat which outrages him. He rather likes snow, but then he has four feet to keep himself upright on, and a much better centre of gravity arrangement. My little cul de sac is also the tallest hill in town, and while we’re talking low kindly Hampshire hills, still, when there’s trodden-down snow-ice between me and the main road, I start feeling a trifle aged and vulnerable, and wish that I enforced the whole YOU MAY NOT HIT THE END OF YOUR LEAD WITH CRUDE BODILY FORCE thing during the rest of the year with more vigour. The hellhounds and I had some Interesting Times when they were young* but they’ve been pretty polite for years.** The hellterror, not so much. ‘Polite’ is not really a concept that fits into that little badger head. I can see her hesitate when I shout ‘CAREFUL!’ but it takes a while for the unwilling neurons to agree to send messages to all four legs and even the long extending leads aren’t that long.*** A fortnight ago we also had an Ice Cliff at the bottom of the cul de sac, because of the way the wind had been blowing%, and because natives of southern England either have instant nervous breakdowns when the white stuff starts drifting down from the sky or can’t take it seriously, and if you drive your big stupid car over a snowdrift a few times you end up with an Ice Cliff arrrrrrrrrgh.
It’s cold out there, with the snow and all%%. Pav never seems to feel it%%%, but while she’s short-haired it’s amazingly dense and plushy and this is still southern England. If I had her in Maine she’d probably have a coat. Chaos, however, is thin-skinned and silky-furred and while off lead at 90 mph he can keep himself warm, for dull middle-aged strolls around town$ he is wearing his coat. I do put it on him carefully, the way you put a blanket on a horse, high up on the neck, so you can pull it down and smooth the hair in the right direction. This is actually harder to do on a small lightweight animal and a small lightweight coat, especially when you have to argue with the too small for purpose hole for the harness catch to fit through.$$ And then he trots down the street ahead of me, tail lashing like a horse whose rider is banging on its kidneys, and, also in horse parlance, inside out, which means trying to touch his ears to his withers, so his top line is concave and his throat line is convex. Which is opposite to what you want, and a sign of discomfort. Whippet spines are amazingly flexible however and a hellhound can usually manage to be humpy-backed too. They may be part boa constrictor. This would also explain the sensitivity to cold.
At this rate I’m going to have to buy a real snow shovel, like I had in Maine, instead of this silly plastic thing where the handle unscrews so you can keep it under your chest of drawers. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO WARM UP AND MELT TODAY. IT DID NOT DO SO. WE WANT PALM TREES AND SARONGS. WE WANT THEM NOW.
AND AS I POST THIS, VERY LATE MONDAY NIGHT, IT’S TUESDAY MORNING AND THE FIRST FRELLING DAY OF FRELLING SPRING.$$$
* * *
* The three of us once rolled down most of the hill below the cricket ground [sic] together, although I’m the only one who did any shouting. Fortunately we did not roll over any deposits left to trouble the unlucky by EVIL STINKING RATBAG SLIME MOULDS who do not pick up after their dogs.
** Let them off lead, however, and stand well back.
*** This is one of the problems with having whippets. They can hit exit velocity in two leaps, and a long extending lead is about three leaps long. They are the fastest dog on earth, pound for pound, and as sprinters they’re completely in a class of their own.
% [NEXT BLOG TASK is to import some of my proper footnote symbols again. It seems to me ABSURD that you don’t even get the dagger on a standard keyboard] And blowing and blowing. I’m used to the wind that soars over the eight-foot^ garden wall and then eels its way through/around the dubiously-fitting frame of the kitchen/garden door, wailing like a bonkers banshee as it does so. The hellterror may open one eye if she’s not busy trying to take down the mailperson or other dangerous invader, and then again she may not. Any hellhound on the premises however will go flatten himself into the most uncomfortable corner in this kitchen—and I’ve already told you it’s nearly all dog bedding—for the single, diamond-bright reason that it’s the farthest corner from the malignly enchanted kitchen door.^^ The wind that’s come with our two blizzards however is the ripping-the-roof-off kind, and my bedroom is on the first floor.^^^ I, however, have no inclination to leave my well-duveted, extra-blankets-for-security bed to crush myself into a corner of the cold, hard bathtub, which would be approximately the farthest point from the bedroom window making that noise.
^ Sic. Maybe seven. But tall enough to pass the home check when you’re trying to adopt a dog. More on this later. At the moment there is no happy ending in prospect.
^^ Darkness used to be the more bothered. I regret to relate that in his absence Chaos has decided to take up this mantle alone.
^^^ Second floor, if you’re an American.
%% And the day before we turned honorary Norwegian I was in the greenhouse frantically potting up all the blasted little plug plants that had arrived in the post that day because it is, after all March, and this is southern England. The indoor jungle gets a little extreme every winter because I’m stuffing all my geraniums in an insufficiency of windowsills, but I’ve been trying to get away from pot plants all over the tables as well, especially now that most of my office is in the kitchen, and the slow cooker is making stock or soup more days than it isn’t, it throws out almost as much heat as a mini Aga, and roast geranium isn’t on the menu.
And just to add insult to injury, the dahlia tubers in the attic are sprouting.
%%% I tend to go by the Ear Test. If the ears are warm, the critter is warm. If the ears are a bit chilly but the critter is obviously having a fabulous time, it’s probably fine. If the ears are cold, the critter wears a coat, whether it wants to or not.^
^ Although I feel sorry for the West Highland Whites and Scotties and Cairns and so on wrapped up in thick padded jackets the minute the temperature falls below balmy. Do your homework! These dogs were bred for Scottish weather!
$ And I am not DRIVING anywhere in this stuff!!!! Yes, I am from Maine, but they generally speaking have enough snow ploughs to keep the roads in order, which is not the case here, AND the locals generally know HOW to drive in this stuff which is not the case here, AND Ferdinand, my Subaru of radiant memory, had four wheel drive for comfort and reassurance. And occasional use.
$$ Ooooh. That was the sound of a lot of snow coming off a steeply-pitched roof and crashing into the garden. On top of a lot of plants that are already in a bad mood.^ Unless it’s some really astonishingly inept burglars, in which case Chaos can go pee on them. Chaos, being a middle-aged gentleman, pees a lot.
^ I am so not looking forward to finding out how many things have died, especially having been lulled into a state of gentle temperate anticipation after a lovely mild winter, and were busy putting out tender new shoots and buds and things. I’ve got hyacinths flowering in the snow, although the bulbs will live to flower another year.
$$$ In southern England. Have I mentioned IT’S SOUTHERN ENGLAND?