Captain Midnight here. Long-time no see.
I notice that Himself has jumped back on the blogging bandwagon. I didn’t want to give him too much of a head start, so I thought I’d better return to the keyboard myself. Otherwise, the shameful story of our recent trip to Ireland may never be told.
Shameful is not a term I use lightly, but the series of gaffes committed by Himself, with blatant disregard for my reputation as his canine companion, was so embarrassing that no other word will do, and I feel obliged to put the record straight.
Day -5, we paid the veterinarian a visit (not my favourite place, as you will understand from previous unfortunate incidents). This visit was planned well in advance to fork out £250 for a Certificate of Health to enable me to travel to Ireland. You may recall the ease with which I was previously able to chaperone Himself abroad thanks to the EU Pet Passport. He complained vociferously about Brexit and wondered out loud whether my company on the trip was worth such a ‘shitload’ of money.’ I confess, my feelings were hurt.
Day 1, we drove to Pembroke Dock in Rosie the VW Campervan, arrived in good time and were ushered through the priority lane as Himself had booked a kennel for me on the ferry. I’m not keen on kennels at the best of times, but these turned out to be bare metal cages strapped to the bulkhead, with sirens going off all around. The noise was ghastly, especially for a creature with sensitive hearing. Fortunately, Himself came back 20 minutes later with the Purser, released me from incarceration, and popped me back in Rosie for the duration. He whinged for the next two weeks about getting oil from the lorries on his best linen jacket, but I considered it a price well worth paying.
Day 2 Part One, we woke up in a campsite near St Margaret’s Beach (one of my favourites) and Himself complained that there was an acid smell somewhere in the van. I could have told him that the day before but he wasn’t in the mood to listen so I kept it to myself. We spent the morning in various garages getting expert opinions, and disconnecting something called the leisure battery, which was having a meltdown. We had no electricity, but apparently this wouldn’t be a problem because we could just treat Rosie like a mobile tent.
Day 2 Part Two, on the way back to our campsite, we made a detour to see if a pub called The Lobster Pot had survived the pandemic. It appeared to be flourishing and Himself then consulted Google Maps to find a good route to St Margaret’s Beach. ‘This one looks nice,’ he said. ‘We’ll be able to see the sea.’ Something didn’t sound quite right but I let it go, it was Google Maps after all. Five minutes later, the tarmac road became a track. Another five minutes, and we had passed under a height barrier (never a good sign) and the track became a rough, sandy trail. Five more minutes, and Rosie was buried axle-deep in a sand dune. Himself had been right though, we could see the sea. It was very close to the driver’s door. An hour later, we’d been dragged out by a nice man on a tractor and were parked up in our original spot as if nothing had happened.
Day 3, the calm before the storm. We had a nice walk on the beach, during which I continued my futile efforts to teach Himself that if he must throw a ball, he should run after it himself, otherwise I have to fetch it so it doesn’t get swept out to sea.
Day 4, things went well until Himself started to complain that he didn’t feel very well and that perhaps he’d picked up a virus somewhere. Hours later, he remembered that we were in the middle of a pandemic and it might possibly be Covid. He stuck something down his throat and up his nose, dipped it in liquid and squeezed a couple of drops onto a plastic thingamajig. ‘Negative,’ he declared. ‘Must be a cold.’
Day 5, he didn’t feel any better and did the throat, nose thing again. ‘Positive,’ he declared. ‘Bugger.’ He sulked most of the day, then rearranged our return ferry for the next morning. I still got my walk on the beach, so that was OK.
Day 6, we got to Rosslare harbour with 45 minutes to spare and this time I asked Himself to let me stay in Rosie for the whole trip. He said that was a good idea and that he was going to get a cabin so he could stay out of the way and have a rest before driving home. The crossing was calm and I snoozed most of the way. The problem came when the loudspeaker announced we had reached Pembroke Dock and that drivers should return to their vehicles. I waited and waited but there was no sign of Himself. Maybe he’s very ill and can’t make it out of the cabin? I thought. Maybe he’s fallen overboard? He wouldn’t just go off and leave me here, would he?
By the time he eventually turned up, there were only a handful of vehicles left on the ship. I gave him my best ‘where have you been?’ look, at which he was obliged to confess that he had forgotten on what deck he’d parked and had ‘lost’ Rosie. How, I still ask myself, can you lose a campervan on a boat? Well, Himself managed that seemingly impossible trick. If you want lessons in idiocy, you know where to come.
Days 7-10, back in Folly Cottage for me to nurse Himself through what seemed to me to be a pretty light dose of the dreaded disease. Lemsip for him, no walks for me. We both slept a lot: Himself to ‘recover his strength’ and me so I didn’t have to listen either to him whining about how rough he felt, or boasting about his ‘heroic dash for home.’ I’m not sure which was more depressing.
I’m glad he’s feeling better now!