Gunning For Spring

April 25, 2010


I skulked past the mirror the other day and thought, ooh, I am losing weight. I had got a little portly over the winter, and it was getting to be a nuisance, what with my fur on my belly dragging a little on the ground, but frankly I didn’t have the will to do anything about it. Nothing – and that includes fur friction – could have persuaded me to venture out in -38.  But now I am losing it and this is because – and I feel disbelieving myself, to be honest, but it is true – I have – wait for it – BEEN OUTSIDE. A LOT.

Today, it was 22 degrees. Plus. I BASKED. I rolled around in the dirt. I ate some grass. I fell asleep on the stairs of the basement and tried to ignore the smell. It was frigging LUSH.

The Mushroom, The Baby and my Dad have only been inside to eat and sleep since last Friday when, out of the blue, after a blizzard and a drop to -19, Saskatchewan was reminded by, presumably, God, that it was Spring and that blizzarding in Spring was not the way the whole Season thing worked.  She and The Baby have run and skipped and been to playgrounds and The Mushroom is now sporting the burn marks of someone who a) hasn’t been outside without wearing her Sheep for seven months and b) is a bit Irish. I think it all got to The Baby a bit yesterday, who awoke from a bad dream about, in this order, ‘Daddy! Slides! Ham!’ which does, indeed, sound like a bizarre and disturbing scenario. Too much sun, I’d say. Or too much stimulation, having been locked in a cellar with her all-singing, all-dancing, crazy haired mother since the end of September and, now, is able to view the world from a slightly clearer vantage point than on her mother’s shoulders through the head-size window.

The trees are starting to bud. The grass is going green. Someone (my Dad? Enthusiastic Teacher? Fluffy Usurper?) has removed all the turds from the garden. And the village is awash with the sound of quad bikes.

“Hey! D’ya wanna go quading?” asked Mystery Neighbour of my Dad. Mystery Neighbour had appeared from, seemingly, nowhere, and bore a dazzling resemblance to Maggie Philbin . I’m guessing he’s a neighbour, I suppose he could have been anyone, really. Maybe he was passing and saw my Dad and thought, he looks like a frustrated quadder, or whatever the word is for someone who quads. I don’t even know if you can, really, turn the noun ‘quad’ into a verb, but Mystery Neighbour did, and who am I to question his grammar? I’m a cat.

“Do what now?” replied my Dad, who had been minding his own business, sunning himself on the ‘deck’ (it’s not a deck. He bloody wishes it was a deck. The outside area of the Basement Suite consists of two concrete steps which, despite three goes with bleach and a desperate attempt with a bottle of lime-juice still smell unmistakably of cat wee. Not my wee. Not even Fluffy Usurper’s. It’s Volvo Cat, dirty little shit. It is, however, the only outside space they have, so my Dad insists on sitting there, although he does so with his eyes shut and his mouth open so he doesn’t have to breathe in through his nose).

“Quading! Wanna go quading with me?” Mystery Neighbour stood in the driveway, jumping up and down a bit. He was clearly very excited about quading. I found this disturbing, although not as disturbing as the fact that he had blatantly never met my Dad before, but was nonetheless asking him out.

“That’s a lovely offer,” my Dad said, looking round for a reason why he couldn’t go, and then finding one pretty quickly. The reason he couldn’t go – or, indeed, wouldn’t go – was long, made of metal and slung casually over Mystery Neighbour’s shoulder. “Why are you carrying a gun?”

“Hunting gophers!” Mystery Neighbour replied, grinning hugely.

My Dad is a complex fellow. He has some training in Martial Arts. He has been in the military. He, for many years, played rugby. His nose is not the shape he was born with. He likes to watch boxing. He likes to watch horror movies. He can contentedly watch humans beating each other up for real for hours. He is a Tory. He is an alpha male. But, paradoxically and unfortunately for Mystery Neighbour, he cries like a baby at the very idea of anyone hurting animals.

My Dad had actually gone a bit pale.

Mystery Neighbour was getting impatient.

I was keeping well out of it.

“I can’t do that.” whispered my Dad.

“Eh?” said Mystery Neighbour, but to no-one, cos my Dad had gone inside to sit quietly and think about gophers.

I was just thinking to myself, well, if people on giant shopping trolleys are whizzing about with guns, I’m going to keep a low profile for a bit and stay indoors until they get bored, but then I looked out the window and it was snowing again, so the decision was taken from me anyway.

What in the name of arse is  a gopher? Does anyone know?

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3 Responses to “Gunning For Spring”

  1. deb maclean said

    Lived in Saskatchewan all my life, never been gone gopher hunting!!!

  2. Mrs Emo said

    Gopher. n. A burrowing rodent of the genera Geomys and Thomomys; a pocket gopher or pouched rat.

    It occurs to me that if you don’t know what a gopher is, then you have clearly never seen Caddyshack and there are, therefore, gaps in your education. I assume your Dad has a DVD player and can rectify this situation for you.

  3. fiona said

    not poor Gordon! I dont blame him

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