Retirement or no retirement, it’s that time of year, the dreaded or blessed, you decide, sister’s weekend. This is their thirtieth such get together. I’ve written before in these blogs about this annual event. This is the third year that it’s been just me and the pups (and since I retired). Before this it was a weekend just on my own and, whisper it because I don’t want Mrs Summerhouse to stop feeling guilty about this and trying to make it up to me, I enjoyed my time alone. I used to stay in bed on Saturday and Sunday morning and just read for as long as I felt like it. The rest of the days went along in similarly self-indulgent fashion, watching sport all afternoon, opening a bottle of something whenever I chose. Yes, it was tough. Then three years ago we got the pups and all such indulgence ground to a halt. Not so much fun and a lot more responsibility. This year the demands moved up a gear. Things got considerably more challenging.
This year I not only have to look after myself and the dogs, myself being the tricky part as you will see, but I’m being kicked out of house and home. In her infinite wisdom Mrs Summerhouse decided that this year the sisters would gather at our main house so I and the pups would have to go. Yes, I know we’ve got other houses that myself and pups can go to and we’ve moved to our Pateley Bridge cottage, but still, it makes the whole business more challenging. Smaller house, no Sky TV, very little outside space and just generally altogether more complicated. But do I complain? Only a little bit, just to keep Mrs SH on her toes you understand. Hope this is going down well with the feminists among you.
We all survived last (Friday) night due to late arrival, fish and chips and the three of us sleeping where we chose. We got by but now it’s Saturday and a whole different ball game. Archie, as is his habit when unconfined, (i.e. not in his cage) made his first visit to the bedroom about 5.30 a.m. that is. (Millie spent the night here). When Mrs SH is around he usually persuades her, without too much difficulty, (she likes to get up early) to get up, give him a cuddle and his breakfast. I felt he needed to understand that with a different person at the helm the rules had changed. I got up and got their breakfast at 7. After a bit of pottering the first walk kicked off about 8.40, later than usual but not too bad. The pups were definitely keen to get going. And that’s when it all started to go a bit wrong.
Before I left I remembered that I was buying the papers today so I congratulated myself on remembering to take money (not a usual occurrence so I did well to remember). What I did not remember was a belt for the pair of trousers I found up at the cottage. I discovered this half way down the high street as my trousers headed for the floor. I couldn’t go back because the pups would have had a fit. How bad could it be? Well, very bad actually, my trousers refused to stay up despite continual pulling up. Then I had a brain wave. I would use one (although it took both) of the pups’ leads as a belt. It didn’t look great but it worked, after a fashion. Brilliant.
Next problem, I had forgotten the bloody poo bags (not to mention my diabetes-beating banana, never go out without one, except this morning). But no worries because Millie never poos out in the open she heads for the long grass like a well brought up doggie. She would never poo in the park. Cancel that, she’s pooed in the park. Now what? Well, the best I can do, I carefully pick up a pile of cut grass with the ball thrower and, even more carefully, deposit it on top of the poo. Not ideal but I don’t think anybody saw me. We do the walk without any more drama but, as we’re all heading back, another complication presents itself. How to go into shop to buy the papers with trousers down round my ankles as they will be when I put the leads back on pups as I will have to do to walk them along the road and leave them outside the shop? Solution, use only one lead for two dogs and keep the other one as my belt. Job done. And here’s the evidence, two dogs, one lead, hooked up outside the shop.
I buy the paper and a Kit Kat for luck and set off back up the high street. Only problem being the one remaining lead is not keeping my trousers up and with my hands full now of papers, Kit Kat and two pulling dogs on one lead, I’m struggling to maintain my dignity not to mention the ‘belt’, could it get worse? Well, yes because my mobile rings. It is beyond my capabilities to answer and only find out when I get back to cottage that it Mrs SH ringing to enquire after my well-being. I give her a brief version of events so far. I do not tell her my plans for a healthy and well-earned breakfast – instant coffee and a Kit Kat, perfectly balanced along with a read of the papers. Just in case you were worrying at this point about my health, specifically the diabetes, worry not because the stasi will be joining me later in the form of my daughter and son-in-law. Apparently there’s a rumour going round that I’m incapable of looking after myself so these two have been dispatched to keep an eye on me. How ridiculous.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the last couple of hours have been more civilised with the pups napping and me reading the papers, a bit more like the old days and even better I’ve just had several texts from the daughter telling me they will shortly be with me and all will be well in the world of this retired person.
P.S. I take daughter and son-in-law up to our vineyard where another surprise awaits us but I’m not going to tell you about that in this blog, that’s for the next retirement and vineyard blog.