Tuesday, March 27

The Oldest Dog in the World

is currently keeping tabs on me. We are in coastal Devon. Old Dog tries to maintain contact between his nose and my leg at all times just in case I make off with any bones or shoes or go out without him. Old Dog is exasperated by my inability to use the fridge properly - I am simply not  taking out enough things, he's pretty sure there are sausages in there and there is definitely chicken. When I opened the freezer an unsealed bag of meatballs spilled out, bouncing and rolling across the kitchen floor, Old Dog hoovered up a mouthful that had rolled his way, then almost strangled himself trying to crunch them up and swallow the pieces down before I could prise his jaws open.

When not caring for elderly animals I'm looking for paid employment, I am in job-seekers-Limbo,  Dante might have written about this, it is definitely one of the  circles of hell - an endless cycle of ploughing through illiterate/incomplete job descriptions for shockingly poorly paid posts, making applications then being politely informed that I was nearly-but-not-quite-good-enough.

Sadly I was unqualified for the job entitled "Head of Large Objects' at the Imperial War Museum but did seem to have the necessary skills to apply for the post of  'Funeral Arranger' with one of the UK's principal funeral directing companies. The application process included a multiple-choice questionnaire:

Q. 1 - As a Funeral Arranger you will sometimes have direct contact with 'The Deceased' how do you feel about that?
A) Fantastic, I've always been fascinated by dead people
B) Horror, I would not be able to do that
C) I understand that it would be a necessary part of the job

Q. 2 - You will have to meet relatives and friends of 'The Deceased', they might be upset how do you feel about that?
A) Great, I thrive in emotional situations, I would cry along with them
B) Embarassed, people should keep their emotions buttoned up
C) Being upset is a normal reaction to bereavement, I would be sympathetic

Following my success at pressing the 'C' button I was telephoned and interviewed by a Call Centre Person - she knew nothing about the job. When I mentioned that I had not been able to access a full job description or details of compensation/benefits/terms/conditions etc. I was told that those details would be forthcoming only if I was offered the job - I persisted and discovered that I would be expected to own a reliable car and use it to do the job, that I would be expected to be entirely flexible in my availability as I would work rotating shifts including weekends, evenings and bank holidays - but I would be paid only for 20 hours per week, the salary would be around the level of the National Minimum Wage (not quite £8 per hour)

In Other News 

I have discovered a new Hero 
Natalie Haynes is very funny and very clever, do listen to her talk about Sapho on BBC Radio 4, or just check her out on Youtube - she is simply the best Classics teacher ever!

Wednesday, March 14

the oldest cat in the world

is my responsibility this week. She has become so fragile and bony that I am almost afraid to stroke her, she creeps gingerly up to me then complains loudly that there is not enough food or her water needs freshening - I fear the effort will see her off.

Last night I dreamed that I went down in the morning to find her stiff little body on the sofa. 

Sometimes I stay in homes that are so full of pillows and cushions that there is no space for a body, this house was moderately cushioned but had an amplitude of odiferous things -  'linen sprays' - I didn't even know 'linen spray' was a thing -  pots of sticks dipped in scented oil, jar upon jar of scented candles on every flat surface.  

My sister had a theory - they must be really farty!

Tuesday, March 6

before Christmas

my ears, nose and cervix were inspected in the appropriate medical establishments. Yesterday the orificial examination circuit was completed with visits to the dentist and the colonoscopist. Inside the colonoscopist's inspection chamber the kindly nurse asked me to take off my own clothing and put on some stiff navy shorts with a velcro'ed flap around the sitting area, they were labelled 'Dignity Shorts' Once again Edward Lear provides an appropriate illustration

Friday, March 2

The Beast from the East arrived in Bristol yesterday

it came in from London with me. By the time I'd skidded the car into our road the kerb was no longer visible. I had to park quite a way from the house, the blizzard forcing me to comedy-walk to our front door. Already the kids were out with sliding devices to polish the hill outside our house.

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