Catastrophes, as the saying goes, come in threes
This morning, in the course of mucking out Ishbel’s room in anticipation of a visitor, I discovered that, in Ishbel’s prolonged lockdown absence, the cats (probably in a protest over the introduction of a dog to the family) had taken over and set up a nest in her duvet. The said item was thoroughly black and hairy and needing a good wash. To the cats’ evident disgust I hoofed them out and shoved the duvet in the washing machine. BIG MISTAKE. We were barely into the prewash cycle when it became utterly plain that unless I whipped it out smartish we would be wading through a foot of foam. I extracted the, now foamy and soaking, duvet and plonked it in a big trug, resigning myself to a somewhat epic hand wash. Unfortunately, Keith had been disinfecting pots in the washhouse Dublin sink, so this was rimed with compost and stinking of Jeyes Fluid. Mum offered the cheerful suggestion that we could just do it the “old way”. On further investigation it transpired that the old way was to fill the bath with soapy water, put the duvet in and, with a friend, to trample it clean. Not feeling enthusiastic about trailing a sodden and soapy duvet through the house and up the stairs before reenacting the vendange , I decided to defer the project until after walking the dog.
I had just packed Lyra and Auntie Grannie in the car for a windy walk around the Hirsel when I looked along the drive to see an unexpected fountain in the field – and not one of the family. One of the cows (Snouty) had knocked the tap off the standpipe by their water trough and there was a torrent spurting over the fence. The field around the trough was a sea of mud. I flagged down Keith, who was trying to make a break for Sainsbury’s and the garage, and he attempted to reattach the tap, getting thoroughly soaked in the attempt. This proved futile so Keith phoned the plumber and we both drove off in different directions abandoning the cows to their impromptu shower.
Having reached the Hirsel pull in, I concluded that what we needed was a relaxing walk in the woods. We struck off along a forestry path. This all started splendidly . There were carpets of primroses and oxalis and the lovely piney smell that, for some reason, just makes me think of Majorca. We stumbled upon two strange little round houses, for all the world like Hobbit homes. Rambling on along the paths I was fairly sure we had completed three sides of a square and would emerge back on the Hirsel path imminently. Nope. We emerged on the Castlelaw road about a mile from the car in the opposite direction. On the plus side,, there were lambs to admire. By this stage mum was on her second emergency inhaler puff. We strode on back down the hill, but keeping the road in sight this time. Lyra was ecstatic with the whole enterprise and took the lead hauling us through large muddy puddles and over fallen trees until we emerged just past the car park. Mum and Lyra repacked in the car, we drove home, past the still gushing supernumerary fountain.
Back to the washhouse. I just could not face the vendange method. I scoured the sink and somehow squashed the duvet in. Much scrubbing followed and a half hour later I hauled a now clean but sodden duvet out of the sink. Mum and I wrung it out as best we could and we hauled it onto the line. A cup of tea and a well earned cake followed. I was just thinking of getting into some dry clothes when Mum brought in the dire news that the washing line had snapped……………………
By my reckoning we were now on 4 catastrophes.
The discovery of a broken branch on one of my bird cherries, thanks to last night’s storm, has now taken us to 5.
Come in number six, your time is up….. I wonder if I can count a broken tulip and draw a line under things?