Earlier this week, when posting out an order to one of the very kind people who ordered from me this week (and thank you VERY MUCH to them too), I explained that the book might take a while as US customs are being a tad picky at the moment. Never mind, she said. The book won't go off, unlike some German sausage she ordered from Wisconscin which was delayed by snowstorms and was a very questionable parcel by the time it arrived.
I'd earlier been reading one of the UK parenting forums on revolting things you have found in your house, and behold, a whole rich topic of filth and general grime has come into being.
Last weekend, one of our hens became ill. Hens, for those that don't have them, are one of those creatures that like to hug their illnesses to themselves. They appear absolutely fine one day, only to appear the next hunched, immobile and on the point of death. Echo was in this state on Sunday, and after careful inspection, I decided she had sour crop. The treatment for this is to turn your hen upside down to make her sick and remove the revolting contents of the crop. Well, it worked, but I can't say the process was a whole load of fun for either of us. Since then, Echo has regarded me with extreme suspicion, and I can't blame her, particularly as the next day I thought I'd best treat for impacted crop as well, and administered a syringe of olive oil followed by determined massage. Fortunately she is now on the mend, and I am slowly winning myself back into her good graces by sneaking up and feeding her surreptitious dried mealworms behind the hen house, having distracted the others by flinging them corn.
The disgusting crop was my own animal, which mitigates the horribleness a bit. I do jib a bit at awfulness administered by other peoples' animals. We get pestered occasionally by tom cats, who come in and spray, and there is nothing like stalking the hallway, armed with Febreze, trying to find out where the dratted animal has sprayed, to affect your morning mood. I have nothing against tom cats per se, but I really can't see the point of not neutering your cat if it's a domestic pet. Probably my most revolting tom cat story occurred when I was still living in London and commuting into work every day. Standing on the train one day, I sniffed and thought goodness, someone REEKS of tomcat. How vile. Plenty of people around me were surreptitiously sniffing too.
Yes, it was me. Tomcat had come in a sprayed my coat, unwisely left in the kitchen. I wish I could remember what I did with the coat during the day at work. Must have stashed it somewhere, and got it home again and presumably washed it but all of that has been washed from my mind by the memory of standing on an overheated, stuffy train as realisation slowly dawned.
My own cats have been responsible for more than their fair share of horrors: mummified frogs and flattened mice, disinterred from places you'd rather they hadn't been. Present cat likes to kill things at night, noisily and in our room. I don't always remember, once I have got back to sleep again, that she has killed in the night, and the amount of blood and guts I have trodden on when I get up the next morning is legion. The maggoty things are fun too. I do wonder why some cat-left corpses go maggoty, and others just mummify. A year or so ago I picked up what I thought was a fairly innocent corpse, only to realise it was crawling with maggots, whereupon I am ashamed to say I screamed and flung the corpse from me. Of course this scattered the maggots far and wide, and there was no one else to clean them up apart from me, so I spent an entertaining half hour pursuing them round the kitchen floor.
I once lived next to very superior soul who thought I was the scruffiest, slovenliest being on the planet, she being the Goddess of Cleanliness. One day maggots exploded out of the drain both our kitchen sinks emptied into. The poor plumber who investigated the drain disinterred mounds of rotting rice and meat, neither of which I ever ate, but we all knew who did, and, who, as it turned out, washed them down the drain. I gloated. I gloated GOOD.