CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Being sick is harder when you live alone

An apology to my reader for not having been here much for the last week, but, having been afflicted with an infection has kinda knocked me out recently.

And some days, I've only been able to stay awake for a couple of hours at a time, which has brought home one of the major disadvantages of living alone: nobody to take care of you when you're ill.

The upside of this is, of course, that nobody could chastise me either for wasting those precious hours lazing around and nor can they see that nothing here has been washed in days; not pots, not floors, not even me!

Anyway, I do feel a little better this afternoon (hence the ability to make this post), but it has highlighted, for me, that I could have done with seeing a doctor, or even going to the pharmacy, but since both are an almost half-day's trip, the fact was that I wasn't well enough to consider making it, but, neither was it the sort of medical emergency that warranted calling an ambulance, for instance.

This is a conundrum, I think that many of us living alone are likely to find ourselves in from time to time.

My tendency to bulk shop, infrequently, paid off here I think, since I was not at risk of running out of any basics. Although, most days, it has almost been too much effort to make a cup of tea, let alone cook food.

In my extreme rural location, I don't have neighbours to call on (and certainly none who would notice me by my absence) and, there is clearly more that I need to do to be prepared for such emergencies.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

English as a second language

OK, I'll admit that like most "parents" (whether the "kids" have hair, fur or otherwise), I'm biased about my doggie's beauty and brains. Even so, I am still surprised by her abilities now and again and, especially her understanding of English.

This may have been cheeky on my part, but having an "English speaking" dog (OK, she speaks dog), in Spain, I felt, was a means to retain sole control and, would be an additional guard dog deterrent feature: other people might feel more uneasy when they don't understand a bloody word I'm saying to her. It also helps prevent them discovering that about the worst they would get from her is severe licking and a few whacks from a wagging tail!

No this wouldn't work in tourist areas, but up here it does.

We do use "sit" for "sit", which most folk will recognize, but the few other commands we have attempted to learn, mostly, use non-standard English words too for additional effect. In reality, this was her idea, because she simply refused to have anything to do with the usual words, but I eventually cottoned on to the plan. Truthfully, most of what she understands, she's learned herself through osmosis.

The uncanny bitch even knows her left from her right and the respective words, which not a few humans have considerable trouble over.

Anyway, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, we have bread delivered daily. This is great, but a whole loaf (really only a large roll) is actually too much for me.

As I consider the pointed ends to serve a similar purpose as the handles on a Cornish pasty - i.e. they're there to keep your fingers clean, not to eat, what I do is to cut slices from the middle of the bread and the knob ends become "treats" for the dog. No, it's not just a case of using her as a K9 waste disposal unit - though, mostly, she is - bread really is pretty much her favorite treat.

We have technically termed these left over pieces, "dog ends."

So, this morning, I'd placed one of these "dog ends" on the kitchen table, but not given it to Holly. It was in reach and, most dogs are very good at stealing food. Nope, she hadn't been given it, so she didn't touch it. She certainly knew it was hers, guarded it and did have a few sharp words with a couple of cats who got too close to it, but that's all.

I was making coffee at the time and could see the child-like excitement growing in her, so without looking round nor indicating at anything, I just said to her, "Is there something you want? Show me!"
With that, she stands up and places her two front paws on the edge of the table, no more than 3 or 4 inches from the bread and nodded her nose towards it, before looking up at me with those huge, brown pleading eyes.

And she still didn't touch it until I gave it to her.

Nah, any resemblance to obedience here is purely coincidental.

Obedience is not something I've ever forced on her, since a) I'm too much of a pushover and b) she has such a wonderful spirit that I didn't want to break (she's so smart and independent, I don't think I'd be successful anyway). But, as with many non-native English speakers, I'm coming to the conclusion that her comprehension of the language is close to surpassing mine!

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