Living in Spain, warts and all

Posts tagged ‘haircut’

Shafted, Damaged and Shorn

The kennels are now open for business at last (YAY!!), although I still have some additional papers to submit.

One such piece of paper is a contract for cleaning. I actually have that in my grubby paw now, having exchanged it for four crisp 50€ notes. It was handed to me, along with a thick maintenance book, by a technician who at the same time placed four black mouse traps full of poison at strategic positions in the three barn zones that are not a part of the business, and in the kitchen, which is. Whether or nor I approve.

He also tells me that he has sprayed some sort of insecticide, although where, I didn’t witness.

Further, he has totally disinfected the loo. Which is brand new. And use of which I can count on one finger. He went in with a ghostbusters pack on his back, but no mask, and emerged a few minutes later instructing me to keep out for five minutes, for my own health.

No problem, I hear that from John all the time.

So – good money for extremely old rope? But at least it satisfies yet another requirement of the iltmo ayuntamiento, and leaves me just two itsy bitsy things more to sort: the plan of the fences, and the fianza (deposit). Until they up the ante again, of course.

I did hear mutterings about disabled access when the three wise men of the oficina técnica were here to inspect. They were debating the possibility of giving me grief about the step into our reception area. In this PC world, it wouldn’t surprise me at all – although I am, in all honesty, unsure quite how many people are going to drive their limited mobility vehicle into the campo with dog and wheelchair on board.

Then, of course, we would by extrapolation be asked to fill in all potholes in the camino so that the same wheelchairs can slalem down the camino to the river without upending (or at least, not until they reach the bottom).

I mentioned in passing earlier this year (Three deaths, a murder and a plethora of paper cuts) that I have a mangled thumb. This came about late October last as John and I were insulating and lining the roof of the kennels.

John was perched on a ladder guiding a sheet of plasterboard (2440 x 1220mm, if you’re interested) into place while I was stood below winding the lifter. This particular piece of machinery is one of those simple but indispensable tools without which the job would involve ten times the struggle, twenty times the sweat and a hundred times the swearing, and we were immensely grateful to have it onside.

The job required some fifty sheets of plasterboard in total. We were, typically, within striking distance of the end of it. Then, as I turned the winder for the final push to hold this particular board up to the rafters, the cable broke.

The whole platform, together with its load, came crashing down about my ears. My right hand, which had been on the winding handle, was thrown into the wheel, which spun violently in pace with the descending platform.

It took a mere two seconds, at the end of which I was bent double floundering in a sea of intense pain and nausea. John shouted at me. This, I have to say, is his usual reaction. As a firefighter, he is a qualified trauma technician and is the one who has to deal with some unspeakable injuries in the course of duty. But when it comes to any sort of damage to me, he keeps his distance and yells at me.

Always full of abject apologies after the event, he confesses that he cannot deal with injuries I might sustain and he shouts because he is scared.

That’s OK, then.

Anyhow, the thumb. I went to A&E for x-rays, but was informed that it was just tendonitis – that I had to take anti-inflammatories and wear a thumb support. I did this for several months, but nothing much seemed to be improving. My thumb is still swollen and distorted – I cannot straighten it, I cannot clench it, I cannot open jars, write, or pick anything up without dropping it again. It’s a mess, in a word.

So I then visited the GP, who sent me back to hospital to trauma, who then sent me for an MRI scan this past Tuesday.

Upon being called, I entered an antechamber, to be met by the radiologist who told me to strip off completely and don one of those see-through paper gowns with no back ties. I looked at him askance. I’ve heard bad jokes that start like this. Undress? For a poorly thumb?

Yes indeed. Unaccustomed as I am, I was unaware that my entire body would be thrust inside the huge torpedo of electromagnets and so needed to be, to all intents and purposes, naked. My hand was locked tight in a small box by my side – so small that I emerged with additional bruises, in case it wasn’t already uncomfortable enough. A pair of headphones were stuck unceremoniously on my head and I was instructed in no uncertain terms not to move. Not a muscle. Not a twitch nor a flutter.

No pressure, then. I’m lying there trying my damnedest not to breathe, but in fact I’m almost panting because I’m a tad claustrophobic and I am not enjoying the confines of the tube in the slightest. Then began the immense cacophony of noise.

Zip-zip-zip-zip-zip CRASH! rumblerumblerumble … ye gods, I can see the need now for the headphones. Twenty minutes of this (not long, he’d stated) was going to feel like an eternity.

But then, given my current inability to satisfy my need for nightly rest, I must have drifted into sleep.

Only to be startled back to the present by another sudden particularly loud and intrusive explosion of noise. Now I don’t know about you, but one of the parts most likely to move when I am rudely awoken is my hand. Then the headphones crackled into life. “Deborah!!” I heard his voice, tinny yet undeniably furious, “You must stay completely still. It’s ruined – we’ll have to run it again!”

So my twenty minutes stretched to forty-odd, and I lay there desperately trying to stay alert this time but unable even to pinch myself.

At least I fared a  little better than Marcos, though.

Marcos is our Podenco/Irish Wolfhound/bull mammoth/donkey cross, named for the saint on whose day he came to be mine four years ago. At the outset, he was a large and fluffy puppy. As he’s grown, he has become more and more hirsute, and his shaggy coat has become pretty disreputable with knots and snags and various embedded pieces of tree.

So I decided it was high time for a trim. I have in the past attempted to carry out this operation myself, but after the total ruination of several sets of John’s hair clippers, I have come to the conclusion that they are not man enough for this particular job, so I booked him into the veterinary clinic for professional grooming.

“A good trim,” quoth I, “To remove all the tangles and make him look tidier.”












Thank the gods it’ll grow again …


Hot and can’t-be-bothered

44ºC in the sun and 33ºC in the house, and it’s just coming up to 7pm. Remind me, if you will, why it was that we chose southern Spain as the point on the globe with the climate that we felt would best suit us.

As I sit here semi-naked before my keyboard I am aware that I am slowly liquefying. There are little springs arising all about my person and running impatiently in rivulets to kiss the floor below my chair. My musculature lies torpid and unbiddable and my brain is melting and running out of my ears. The ceiling fan above me is swooshing round efficiently but the air it moves is too warm to be of much help. Pretty soon I’m going to have to drag my reluctant and bone-idle limbs off this chair to get a bowl of iced water for my feet – the only remedy that seems to work for me in this heat.

I made a vain attempt to siesta earlier, in a bid to make it comatose through the worst of the heat and to assuage in part my need for sleep so that I can be awake and functional at midnight and beyond when the cooler and fresher night air revives me. Alas, slumber eluded me as I lay fretting about all the furry and feathered children in my care. Ridiculous though it is, I worry when they’re kicking off but I worry more when they are deathly quiet.

So I heaved myself out to the bird house and spent a while showering the parrots. This is always given a mixed reception. Jack and Lucas absolutely adore it, and throw themselves bodily into the stream of water with their wings fully outstretched, heads down, shaking their tail feathers and making gratifying noises of appreciation. J.T. bears it but chatters crossly at me. Little Sweetpea darts around manically to avoid the water droplets, Oven-Ready sits and screams at the top of her lungs and Cookie stands on one leg and chews his nails worriedly. I carry on regardless and tell them how refreshing it is, while they observe me coolly as one would an insistent clown with a large lapel flower.

As I retreated from the parrot soup, I tripped over the hulk of Marcos lying across the doorway and, noting his laboured panting and voluminous slobbering, decided that he was sporting altogether too much hair. So I took him into the house with me – a rare treat that had his huge tail beating against doors, furniture, walls, me – until he realised that he was probably being conned since we were ending up in the bathroom. I shut the door before he could organise all parts of himself to turn and flee, so he flopped on the floor and regarded me with the sad eyes of the betrayed.

However, it was not the dreaded shower that I had in mind for him. Instead, I sat on the floor with him and set upon his long and straggly locks with John’s best hair clippers – sorry, ex-best hair clippers.

It took me the best part of an hour to do my worst. At the end of it, I would not be exaggerating if I told you that the mountain of blond hair (his, not mine) obliterated any sign of the loo in there. Fortunately, Marcos decided he quite liked the whole experience – all apart from the rather rapidly-executed foray into the dreadlocks of his underbelly near his private parts, which part of the exercise I regarded with as much trepidation as he did. So on the whole he stayed still enough for the entire process to be counted a success. Okay, I’m not likely to be considered the Vidal Sassoon of dog coiffure, but at least he’s (pretty much) the same length all over and there aren’t (too many) long straggly bits left. And he still has both eyes, the majority of both ears, and his sensitive bits.

He obviously appreciated the lightening of the load. When I took him back outside he jumped and gambolled in what he obviously thought to be the fashion of a spring lamb – an incongruous sight, given that he looked more like an elephant trying to be a dolphin.

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