Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Bundle of Joy

Let me tell you about a new addition to the family. The treasures and I are the proud owners of our own little baby rabbit, Jiffy. She is a teensy-weensy black bunny, bought from the shop where we found our lovely cat, Mme Bovary. Poor Mme B is now in high dudgeon, failing to understand why she is being upstaged by a creature she regards as little more than a snack. But who could resist the downy-soft fur of a ten week old rablet?

Quite a few people, apparently. Linda, the petshop owner, said that all Jiffy's brothers and sisters were snapped up long before her - because she is black. Honestly! Discrimination, in Forest Hill of all places. We are all shocked, and mightily protective of dear Jiffy as a result.

We are now on Day Two of rabbit ownership, and already I see the parallels with an insane love affair, not unlike mine with TL. Yesterday we were struck with love-at-first-sight, then our love was rapturously returned as Jiffy snuggled happily in our arms. Now Jiffy is showing the first signs of rebellion. We've had a bit of scratching, excused as she can hardly help having long toenails, can she? And then, 50-odd hours into the relationship, the first definite cracks - she has bitten Child Two.

Already, I am tempted to scurry to the Internet to look up the lifespan of Netherlands dwarf rabbits. For that is the other thing about Jiffy - she is a purebred pedigree bunny. Another highly-strung female in the house, as TL would no doubt say. And she cost £35! Or the price of a full trolley at Lidl! This is a fact that the petshop owner failed to reveal until both the children had had a go at holding her, of course. Sigh. Mme Bovary may have a point.

Monday, 18 August 2008

No rest for the Wicke-d

It is exactly 22 years since I last went out on the trawl for a man. So, when I put the keys in the ignition on Saturday, there was a certain set to my shoulders, and I admit I'd sprayed on an extra whizt of scent. My destination? Wickes. My mission? To get a man to carry a bag of sharp sand and two tubs of grout for me.

If this sounds like footling laziness to you, then you've never tried to heft a bag of sharp sand around. I tell you, they are heavy. And grout? Please, don't even attempt it. It says on the tub that it weighs 11.5 kg, but it might as well be 11.5 megatons. Even getting it off the shelf is a major enterprise, and it is pointless, since once it's off the shelf, it's truly impossible to hoick onto a trolley. Plus you don't get any extra points for getting all sweaty and befuddled trying to do these things on your own. Really, this is what men are for.

So I was rather pleased, after only a few minutes in the store (and by the way, don't go to Wickes unless you are having major decorating done at home, it is the most boring shop in the universe. There isn't even a single cushion to be found. Could this be the reason it is full of men?), to have made the acquaintance of Riccardo, from Bologna. I loved the way he abandoned his own trolley to push mine around, and took me from till to carpark, putting everything very neatly in the boot, finishing off with a flourishing bow. Thank you so much, dear Riccardo.

It was only when I was seeking a human forklift truck that I realised something no doubt everybody else has always known. I look for a man every 22 years. Men, on the other hand, are always looking for women. I now see that various other odd encounters I've had recently - the guy in the Tescos queue who suddenly struck up a conversation about wine, the helpful chap in the garden centre - are not just random outbreaks of garrulousness, but perhaps responses to my ringless state. How interesting!

And the occasion 22 years ago? It was after my break-up with True Love, when I decided I'd better cheer up and get another boyfriend. But that's another story!

Friday, 8 August 2008

The Wasteland

I was going to write a long post about the pain of missing my children. They're off on holiday with Mr X, and I'm certain they're going to have a lovely time. But it's a lovely time without me. Very hard. The trouble is, like labour pangs, it's either the sort of pain you already know, because you have children, or you don't - and won't be able to imagine. There was a cartoon by Steven Appleby in last Saturday's Guardian (yes, I do read it, whisper it softly in the Village though) which summed it up. The first bunch of frames were about the chaos of living with children - sticky kitchen floor, toxic substances down the side of the sofa, toothpaste on the computer, etc. The last had a man sitting in a pristine flat, alone, with a little caption saying something like: 'I know where my TV remote control is. But if I have a heart attack, it could be three weeks before they find my body.' I suppose I feel like that without my little dears. I am empty. I am pointless. Life is bleak. But at least I know that, if I died, it wouldn't be three weeks before I was found. They're back in two.