My mother is nuts. She’s in her mid 70s and in reasonable physical and mental health but she’s bonkers. It’s not that she’s got dementia, alzheimer’s or any other similar certifiable condition but that doesn’t stop her being nuts. She lives on her own and lives a very independent life – she has a wide circle of friends, drives herself all over the place and tends to a reasonable sized garden. She also has a dog – which I’ll elaborate on a bit further down. But she’s still nuts - in her kitchen there are no fewer than 5 clocks (it’s not a big kitchen – 2 people get under each other’s feet) all of which show different times, all incorrect and she won’t change any of them to show the correct time. It’s not like there’s a bank of clocks showing world time zones that you sometimes see in offices though, these are on kitchen appliances and they are all out by anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes fast or slow, but never the same and never correct. God knows what goes through her head at the start or end of daylight savings time but it definitely can’t be rational.
Whilst she is still very bright (she can do the crossword in her Sunday paper far quicker than I can and her reading list is pretty heavy going) she can get something stuck in her mind that is completely unchangeable even if it’s completely wrong. This is where the dog comes in.
Where my mum lives is literally in the middle of nowhere (for the UK at least). It’s a tiny village with no amenities, the nearest shop is 5 miles away but it’s in the middle of the countryside, a mile walk from the beach and there are trails and woods where the dog can be walked. I enjoy spending time there as it’s good to get some clean air and get some exercise by taking the dog out – as an aside I’ve noticed that anyone out walking in the countryside on their own without a dog looks weird, go for a walk in town or a city park and I wouldn’t glance twice at someone out on their own but do it in the countryside and you immediately look like an axe murderer. It’s also about 5 miles from the nearest pub so my alcohol intake drops to virtually zero for a few days when I visit.
So when I visit I generally take the dog out for a couple of hours each day, weather permitting. He’s still young and probably doesn’t get as much exercise as he needs if it’s just my mum walking him.
Now it’s Sunday afternoon and one of my mum’s friends has popped round for a cup of tea. Her friend is just as nuts so I tend to phase their conversation out of my head and concentrate on the sport on TV – one of the benefits of having cost centres is that all kids’ noise is a blur to me, I can immediately focus on the sound of my cost centres screaming or crying but I can completely ignore other people’s kids’ noise. I’ve seen this friend numerous times and I’ve seen her drive past a few times when I’ve been out with the dog and she comments this to my mum who then responds with “Yes, I’ve barely seen him (me) this week because he’s been out dogging so much”. I think I spat most of my tea over the carpet. (If you don’t know what dogging is just google it – probably best not done at work though). I’m hoping that my mum’s friend doesn’t know what it is and she doesn’t respond to my mum’s statement as if she does. But now my mum has got this into her head and I really can’t stop her using it – every time I even start to put my shoes on she asks how long I’ll be out dogging for and it’s been going on for long enough that I can’t correct her now. I just hope she doesn’t tell some of the saner neighbours that her son goes out for long dogging trips as I’ll start getting funny looks from the locals.