Mr Perkins is grounded
This morning, Mr Perkins coughed.
‘I told you the other day that if you coughed today, I’d phone the vet.’
I phoned the vet. Because of all the Covid-19 stuff, instead of just making an appointment, they said the vet would phone me back this afternoon. The last time he went to the vet was because of a cough. I had to look up when it had been: I could only go as far as ‘this year, before lockdown’. It was February. It seems like so long ago – so long ago, that Mr Pandammonium thought it had been October!
Found in the garden
The last day or two have been really windy. I worried about my newly laid black sheeting. I was right to: Mr Pandammonium told me it had been blown all over. The bathroom tiles aren’t enough to hold it down. I needed something heavier.
I had already used stuff I found in the garden, so I wondered what else there was. I remembered the horrible big square pots with the horrible now-dead plants. They’d be good and heavy, but I’d have to smash them up into big pieces. I decided I’d do one, and see how far I got.
I found some safety glasses and chose a weapon: my stubby hammer, after wondering about the fun mattock and the big axe (as opposed to the little axe).
The front of the outbuilding
Before I could do anything about the sheeting, I found a dead baby bird on the decking. I don’t know how it met its fate. I needed to ask Mr Pandammonium to deal with it, but the jingle of furry bells alerted me to Mr Perkins’ presence outside.
Mr Perkins went up onto the roof of the outbuilding and walked across it to the ‘roof bush’ (see extra; can you spot Mr Perkins? I can't, but he is in there). He disappeared inside the roof bush. I feared for the collared dove family that Mr Pandammonium says lives inside it. I shouted to Mr Perkins to come down, but he refused. I went to the side of the outbuilding and to the back, but I couldn’t see him. He was fully ensconced in it.
The leaves were shuddering and the bells were jingling. I kept calling, but could only watch in horror from the side as his swoopy tail followed by his backside appeared hanging over the gable end – if he’d gone any further back, he might have fallen down the gap between the outbuilding and the metal shed – as, I assume, the parent collared doves fought valiantly to protect their young.
A youngish woman parked her car on the street blocking next door’s drive, and she took something up that long drive to the house.
Eventually, Mr Perkins emerged, mouth empty, onto the back of the roof.
‘Perkins.’ I clapped my hands loudly.
He looked down at me, big eyes feigning innocence.
`Perkins, get down.’
He skulked to the front of the outbuilding, where his ungainly, precarious route of ascent and descent is. I scooped him up and took him in to Mr Pandammonium’s den. I told him what Mr Perkins had done, and shut Mr Perkins in. I remembered I’d left my phone on the car bonnet, so I went to fetch it. The young woman was back at her car.
I nodded towards next door’s house. `Is she all right?’
She didn't know, she was only delivering something; she never sees her. After some speculation, she appeared in her porch, and we all waved. The young woman and I looked at each other, satisfied she was ok, and she got in her car, and I went back inside and asked Mr Pandammonium to do something about the bird. He put it in the green bin.
A tentative whack
I dismissed the idea of digging the contents of the horrible square pots out. I tried tipping them out, but it didn’t work. I’d have to smash them up in situ.
Wearing the safety glasses (I had been all this time, to be honest), I took up my hammer and gave the pot, on its side, a tentative whack. Yeah, I needed to do it harder. I ended up with lots of little chips, some small bits, some big chunks and some hefty pieces. I piled up the hefty pieces and attempted to pick them up (knees bent). Ooh, so heavy.
I got out my trusty wheelbarrow and loaded it with the hefty pieces. I rearranged the sheeting, the wind doing its best to re-rearrange the sheeting. I made sure I overlapped the sheets in a sensible way this time (like tiles on a roof). I was a few pieces short, so I smashed up the next horrible pot. That gave me enough to weigh it down round the edges, with the big chunks arranged across the top, especially on the overlaps (see other extra). I watched the wind try to lift it, but it couldn’t. I will win. There are six more horrible square pots to go.
I was hot by then, and I couldn’t think what to do with the cubes of roots and soil I’d recovered from the horrible pots, nor with the little chips and small bits. I put the bigger bits in a pot I found in the garden, and left the rest till I can think what to do with it.
Eating his crunchies
The vet rang back, and he asked about Mr Perkins.
`How is he in himself?’
I explained about the roof bush.
`Is he eating?’
`I could only get him Sheba, not his usual Gourmet Perle, because of lockdown and everything, but he doesn’t like it, he only licks the gravy off. But he’s eating his crunchies ok.’
He recommended taking the same course of action as last time, so I’d have to take him in. There’d be a palaver because of coronavirus and social distancing.
Just before we went, I remembered that Mr Perkins’ vaccinations were due this month. I thought I might as well see if I could get them done at the same time, as well as pick up some more thyroid medication and some flea drops to cut down on the number of trips out.
A white line
The vet had moved across town temporarily while some construction work was going on in the corner of the vet and the train station. They’re back now. I had a neb through the car window while I was waiting for the vet to bring Mr Perkins back out.
There’s a fence all the way round except on the left, where there’s an entrance, maybe a gate. On the right, they’ve built some steps up to the platform. The underpass alongside the level crossing has been resurfaced and a white line drawn down the middle.
It looks to me like they’re building a cycle park, and that they’re going to close the underpass to motor vehicles, with one side for pedestrians and one side for cyclists.
The vet brought Mr Perkins back out, along with an array of drugs but no card machine.
`Erm, how do I pay?’
`You have to phone up when you get home and pay by card over the phone.’
Have this much
I got home, and saw that the vet hadn’t filled in the vaccination record and that he’d put a different dose on one of the medicines to last time. I phoned them up and said I needed to pay, but that I had a couple of questions. The receptionist forwarded me to the vet.
The vet said because of the current situation, he’d forgotten to tell me he hadn’t done the vaccination because he’d given Mr Perkins a steroid injection, and he didn’t want to overload him with all the things and risk making his cough worse. The booster will wait another three months anyway.
He also said that he’d printed the label wrong, and that he was to have this much, which was more than last time because he’s put on weight (5.1 kg, up from 4.8 kg).
I gave Mr Perkins some vegan ham to make up for the trauma of facing the vet alone. He usually nuzzles up to me as if I can stop the vet’s poking and prodding, but this time, he had no one. He enjoyed the ham, which he has to share with Mr Pandammonium. Honestly, the pair of them…