- Richard Haywood
A ray of sunshine in a gloomy week…
Ah now. There I was having a bit of a shitty week. It’s just after Christmas and everyone I know is either very grumpy or very angry or a worrying combination of both.
It hasn’t stopped raining for days either and my dogs are tracking mud everywhere. I’m on a constant cycle of washing dog towels, washing dogs, washing everything and mopping floors while listening to Noah, my weird neighbour, jauntily whistling while building a stonking big boat in his garden.
I’m getting knee ache too, and neck ache and everything-ache cos Crusty has decided that he needs to sleep under my desk and I haven’t got the heart to kick him out. His dad used to sleep there but his dad was a lot smaller and sort of curled up into a tidy ball whereas Crusty tends to sprawl out.
Hmmm, what else…oh yes – the wing-mirror on my van got knocked off by a passing fuckstick…I mean motorist. Then this morning, the heel on my favourite training shoes peeled off in the gym and was flapping about while I was trying to run and do physical stuff. Which was just bloody annoying, and it also means I’ve got to get new training shoes now too (and a new wing-mirror), which means either going to the shops and braving the super grumpy super angry staff or ordering online and maybe getting them sometime next month (the Isle of Wight is yet to grasp the concept of Next-Day-Delivery).
I’ve also got an important meeting in London this week and cannot find a dog-sitter for love nor money. I placed an advert offering cash / jewels / internal organs / whatever you want to come and dog-sit, and get this…TEN people called and made arrangements to come down. None showed up. Not one. Not one of them even text or called to say they weren’t coming. There’s some weird quasi Bermuda / Isle of Wight triangle of mystery going on here. How do ten human beings all collectively decide to not show up? How does that even happen?
So yes, a bit of a shitty week. Oh and the Christmas tin of choccies I bought has only got the shitty orange and strawberry ones left.
Then I remembered I had one of those cards the delivery people sneak through your door when they can’t be arsed to ring the bell and wait the ten seconds while you answer. So I duly went into town to try and reverse park a van with only one wing-mirror, in the rain and with a flapping gym shoe going slap slap slap every time I took a step which earned lots of super grumpy super angry looks from the locals, none of whom apparently want to turn up when they make arrangements. (I might go and live on Noah’s boat. I swear I saw some penguins running up a gangplank and called Noah to ask him. He said he would pop round and explain but never showed up….)
Anywho. The super grumpy super angry Post Office staff glared and tutted and pushed bits of paper about then one of them went out and came back to thrust a big box marked FRAGILE into my arms, then he went off muttering and glaring and tutting while me and my slappy gym shoe slapped our way back to the one-wing-mirror van in the rain while carrying said big box.
So yes. All of those things, plus the post-Chrismas (or other religious or non-religious festive season) general fug all conspired to make me a bit grumpy, almost to the extent I thought about replying to some adverts and agreeing to meet then just, like you know….not turn up….arrggghhh!!!
Then I opened the box and all of those little niggles and annoyances buggered off for a bit because oh my gosh…
I mean…OH MY GOSH…
One of my readers (I say my reader but I don’t actually mean like mine as in only mine and no one else’s) – a wonderful warm-hearted American lady called Cassandra had taken the monumental effort of contacting lots of other readers and putting together the most amazing box of gifts you could ever imagine.
It’s just staggering. I’m speechless. The two booklets you can see are filled with messages from readers. One is giving Christmas greetings and the other is filled with accounts from readers that Cassandra contacted saying what The Undead and Extracted mean to them.
The glass book is just gorgeous and etched with a passage from my favourite poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling, and the two glasses are etched with artwork from The Living Army facebook group. They’re so beautiful.
It’s hard to express a suitable level of gratitude without sounding trite or cheesy, but I’m so touched by this gesture. The effort taken, the planning involved and the sheer number of people that contributed too. Thank you, Cassandra & family, and thank you to everyone who contributed. I’m genuinely humbled. This is a real ray of sunshine in an otherwise very gloomy week.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (or other religious or non-religious festive season) and I wish you all the best for the new year.
(Noah popped in to ask what was in the box but I think he was just trying to distract me from the two giraffes walking past my fence…)