Sunday, 22 March 2020

Jumbo Comes Up Trumps!

This post is rated 12+

     We are joining The Kitties Blue, from The Cat on My Head blog, for the weekly celebration of blogs and bloggers from across the world, and across the species.

     To join in, get the Linky-Link code from their website, add it to your page, and enjoy the hop!


     A link to part 1 of the mini-Valentines adventure story: 'My Sweet Valentine' can be found HERE.
     A link to part 2 of the mini-Valentines adventure story: 'As fit as a Flea' can be found HERE.
     A link to Part 1 of this mini-story: Of Rice and Roses! can be found HERE

     Hello, and welcome to the 9th selfie of the Year 2020.


     Ok, so this has been a trying week, not least because of social distancing, but also Mrs H is all bunged up, nearly as bad as the sink, and that's saying something, MOL

     Anyways, in light of this distancing, I have slacked off my usual photoshoot schedule, and bring you my best and very hurried selfie.  I know what you'll be thinking, in fact, Mrs H said just the same when she saw the picture, which was "You can't show THAT! You look all unkempt."

     OK, to be honest with you, with her bunged up nose it didn't sound like that, but you get the gist. My reply was, "Well as this is social distancing then nobody will be looking that close. At fifty feet they'll never notice the stray hairs and scurf!" Oh, if that were true we girls would have a far easier time of things.

     So here it is, warts (of which I have none) and all. Please do stay on after the selfie, and enjoy the conclusion of our current mini-story.


NOTE TO PARENTS AND GUARDIANS:-

This weeks episode does touch on some 'life and death' issues. Some younger members of my audience may find this difficult to understand. For that reason, I have rated this story suitable for those age 12 and over, as defined by the UK cinema guidelines.

 

And now for the story!

    "Mrs H, does this mean we're all going to die – even you?" Erin was sat up in bed, the blanket pulled up to her chin, and tears in her eyes. She'd had a bad dream that had left her shaken and very upset. A dream where Mrs H and many of the humans she knew had died. The only people left were, for some bizarre reason, the curmudgeonly old neighbour type. We all know the ones. They always grizzle at you no matter the weather or wherever they are. And no amount of compliments seem to placate them. 

    Mrs H had been awakened by Erin's nightmare yowls and came to soothe her distressed employer and friend.
     
    "There there, Erin, it was just a bad dream brought on by the worries of shortages caused by panic buying, and fake news on social media. If you and I are careful and don't get stressed, we will have the best chance possible. In fact, dear, if everyone did just that, then we'd all be better off."

    "But you won't. . . ." Erin struggled to find the word through the tears, sniffs and sobs. "You won't, you're not going to, you know, die?"

    "Good grief, no, I hope not. Not with a sniffle at least. But that fate, death, awaits us all someday. Life and death are the natural order of things, Erin, and not to be feared. Respected – yes, abused or taken for granted – no. Not least because what we do, whether it is good or bad, affects others – not just those we love. There are those we do not know, that have to pick up the pieces, pick up where we left off. 

     Pausing, and watching Erin's reaction, Mrs H decided the time was right to say what had to be said. "I won't mince words, Erin, as it does not do justice to the tragedy that is unfolding before us. Many good people have already died, and I suspect many more will before we have a vaccine and medicine to help prevent and cure those that fall sick."

     "But, if we are strong and help one another, this crisis – though severe and dangerous, and in some cases fatal – will pass. People that flaunt the rules, be they not adhering to social distancing or panic buying food and toilet paper, are selfishly risking the lives and wellbeing of everyone."

    Erin fell silent for a while, taking it all in. "Social distancing, Mrs H?" Erin finally asked, conscious that the words had been bandied around a lot on the radio of late. "Should we be doing that too? I mean should you be sat here, or indeed should I be here either? What with that head cold of yours maybe I should go back to my old ways and find a shed to sleep in till this or your nose blow over?" And what about the hens; they're always socializing with that cockerel that sneaks in from the village.

   A look of relief, and then a smile appeared on Mrs H's face. "As to the hens, the virus doesn't apply to them or any other creatures, bar mankind. As to the shed, oh my, that does seem a bit extreme, and thankfully not needed, yet! As long as I feeling well and not showing any signs of the virus, then we can carry on. Just so long as we, I, don't take risks. So, realistically that means that I have to avoid busy times at the shops, unnecessary trips, and the bus. As cycling is my thing, then the latter will be easy. And for you, it means you will have to work from home." 

    "But we're out of mice here," Erin protested, knowing she'd been far too enthusiastic with her spring cleaning. In fact, she now had to travel across the estate to the village in search of mice.

    "Not for your nightly mousing activities, as I doubt you meet anyone at that time. Well, except for the village bobby. Incidentally, when he called round last week, he complimented you on your speed in and out of those gardens. 'Faster even than Slippery Sam, the human cat-burglar' he said." Mrs H smiled. It wasn't exactly the reputation she wished for the young princess, but at least it wasn't a criminal reputation or record she'd acquired. 

     "But I digress. What I mean is all those Feline Women's Institute meetings. They can be done on FaceTime or Skype. As can the other charity committee meetings. Or you could just reschedule for later in the year. Maybe you could learn to text correctly instead of using that dictation function on your mobile phone?" Mrs H had received some very spurious 'voice to text' messages from Erin in the past and ended up searching for 'Nice' brand rice, and buying two dozen trees. What Erin had actually enquired about the 'price of mice' and requested 'two pounds of cheese, please'. "Think of this as an early holiday. It's not as though we are Key Workers."

    "But I thought YOU were a key worker, Mrs H. I mean you have that big ring of keys on your belt and do the work of three people." Erin thought of all the tasks Mrs H undertook each and every day, without fail or grumble. Well, not grumble in the ordinary sense of the word. When Mrs H grumbled, it came as a reproving finger, a hard stare, and sometimes even a recleaning of the dishes that Erin had attempted to lick clean and file away!

    "Oh, that is kind of you, but Key Workers tend to be from emergency services, doctors and nurses, charity workers, priests and those people that keep the shops supplied with food and medicine. Housekeepers are, I'm afraid, not key workers. Well, not unless we are on official business." Mrs H tapped her nose with her finger in a very secretive fashion.

    Erin knew better than ask about such things, and just mimicked the action with her paw. Then, after wiping her nose on her nightie sleeve,  she asked. "Is there any way we can help them fight this invader to our shores? I mean like in the olden days you reminisce about."

    "Well, as it happens we already have," Mrs H smiled in her best, knowing smile. "Jumbo has had to go back to Mrs Singh. And the potting shed really wasn't the best place for him what with those tusks knocking the sides out. The Kraken was not best pleased either, with that large trunk of his swizzling around in the moat and syphoning off the water. Apparently, she felt quite exposed by the shortage of mud! Alas, Ned-the-gardener was feeling the reverse after being caught in Jumbo's deluge. I've had to wash his clothes thrice this week already!" Mrs H looked at her hands which were starting to take on a wrinkled look from having been immersed in soap suds for hours doing the laundry.

    "Anyway," she continued, "that aside, Mrs Singh offered to distribute packets of rice when she took Jumbo home. I'd made the packets up from those two big sacks, and each villager – be they elderly, infirm or alone, will get a supply each for as long as the rice lasts. Mrs Singh even offered to throw in a selection of frozen main courses, and a complimentary roll of toilet paper too, at cost. And all delivered free! Now that, Erin, is community spirit working to keep everyone fed and well."

    "Wow, that was kind. I'll miss Jumbo though, but to be fair the smell was starting to wilt the roses. Maybe next year he could come again, but just for the day?" Erin looked longingly at Mrs H, as she really had enjoyed sliding down Jumbo's trunk, or taking a nap behind the cooling breeze from the ears. Best of all was getting her own back on the squirrels who'd thrown acorns at her all winter. Jumbo, it turned out, was a dab hand at firing acorns from his trunk at a fast rate, back at the squirrels. Doubtless, there would be repercussions for Erin come winter when the squirrels started again, but the shocked look on their faces had been priceless.

    "Is there anything else we can do? If that is all done then I feel a bit useless sat here." Erin's expression of delight at Jumbo's antics turned to one of sadness.

    "Well nothing at the moment, dear, after all, it is still three A.M. But, I have a plan, and with a little bit of planning, Mrs Singh and I can help out the village residents stuck indoors. Meet me downstairs at 4.30A.M., and I'll tell you all about it! Oh, and bring your harness and that bag of acorns you have stashed away under the bed!" Mrs H gave a knowing wink and then left the room, whistling "Land of Hope and Glory." No mean feat for that time of the day, Erin thought, especially after having been up past midnight bottling homemade sherry and peach jam. Jam which, judging by the bottle on the kitchen table, had more sherry in it than the recipe directed. . . . 

Time: 6:31A.M.
Location: The village of Upper Much-Mousing.

    Erin ran up to the front door of No. 9 Squeaking Terrace and placed a toilet roll and a pack of cream crackers on the doorstep. She then signalled to Mrs Singh, who was astride Jumbo's neck just behind his ears. With a muffled trumpeting that sounded more like a nose being blown, Jumbo sent a small volley of acorns bouncing off the front door, narrowly missing Erin in the process.

    "A bit higher up if you will, Mrs Singh, that lot nearly got me!" Erin said, starting to collect up the acorns.

    "Goodness gracious me, sorry Erin, I got my ups and downs mixed up. It has been a while, you know. Definitely not as easy as falling off a log!" Mrs Singh gave Jumbo a gentle nudge with her legs to indicate which way he should go and then the two moved off to No. 13, and another delivery.

    "Ere! Whose been rattling at my door at this ungodly hour!" Shouted the curmudgeonly Mr Blasstet, who grumbled and groaned at everyone and thing, but had taken a particular dislike to Erin. He usually grumbled from his front door, and not just to visitors. Any passers-by were fair game in his book. Currently, he was grumbling from his upstairs window and coming perilously close to toppling out, though Erin doubted he'd actually notice if he had. "Is that you, Erin? You pest. Why I'll have the Parish Council on to you, you whippersnapper!"

    "Your crackers, Mr Blasstet!"

    "I'm what!" Roared Mrs Blasstet, who really did need a hearing aid but swore blind it was everyone else who was deaf.

    "NO! YOUR – CREAM – CRACKERS!" Enunciated Erin, in her best and loudest voice. "And the pink scented toilet roll, from Mrs Singh's Corner Shop," she continued, wondering if Mr Blasstet's delivery had been given to her as some sort of punishment. "I'm doing deliveries with Mrs Hudson whilst things are bad. Listen out for the rap on the door in the morning, then come down and collect your order. Mrs Singh says she'll bill you later when things calm down."
  
    
      "OH. AH. Well, I. Er – I don't know what to say?" was all Mr Blasstet could say, in a blustering kind of way. And though he clearly wasn't used to saying thank you, he blushed from his neck upwards, which Erin took as the closest to thanks she or anyone had received in a long time. She also couldn't help but smile to herself as she ran to get the next order. With the white tousles of hair on his head and deep red complexion, he had looked like a strawberry sundae topped with whipped cream! Now that was an image she'd keep to herself, for a while at least. A reminder of the power of giving. Maybe she'd chance a visit to Mr Blasstet's garden that night, to see if he had any spare mice and was in as kind a mood?

The End . . . . or maybe the beginning? :)

Stay well, everyone, and like Jumbo and Mrs Singh in this story, a little help to an elderly or infirm or housebound neighbour can make a MASSIVE difference. And who doesn't need a little help every now and then? 

To see what antics our other socially distanced pals are up to this week, please click the links below – No hand sanitizer needed!

30 comments:

  1. A really good story, a beginning we hope. Love your comfy selfie sweet Princess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, we are very pleased folks took the time to read, and liked it.
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  2. That is a very lovely selfie, Princess Erin! Has Mrs. H tried using essential oils to debung herself? They can work quite well, says our #1.

    Purrs,
    Tama and Genji

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Mrs H is keen to know your remedy. does she snort them or let them gently waft over her?
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  3. Nice selfie, Erin. These are trying times, indeed, but we are glad you and Mrs. H. are practicing social distancing. You stay safe and healthy, okay? We love you! XO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Yes they are; we all need to be like Mrs Singh, in a safe way of course.
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  4. That is a very nice story and perfect for these times.
    Your selfie is lovely too. What's a stray fur between friends?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. It was hard to write down fears, but pleased it has been well received.
      Lots of purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  5. Hee! Hee! You had Mummy laughing so hard, she started to cough...her cough is still pretty nasty, though she does sound better than last week when I thought she was doing sea lion imitations.
    Thanks for the the fun! And I could use a Jumbo! I'd like to have them throw things at Jo Jo!
    Purrs
    Marv

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our pleasure, a bit of fun always helps flush the Toilet Roll Blues away, MOL
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  6. That's a real beautiful picture ! and a very nice story !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. A story for our times with an international flavour :)
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  7. We think your selfie is purrfect, Erin. We purr Mrs H is feeling less bunged up soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. And I hope she is as I'm fed up of sniffles — thats my new name for her ;)
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  8. It's such a difficult time for all of us, dear Erin. Love your selfie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, but we must do what is needed till they get a handle on it. For me that is eat and sleep and chase mice at night, MOL
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  9. I think an elephant delivery in these times is definitely social distancing!

    Stay safe you two and keep busy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would work, but can be a tad messy and smelly! Then again, that wrks even better at distancing folk. Not so good in a supermarket though, MOL
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. Cheers, and thank goodness nobody seems to have noticed the scurf what with the story. MOL
      Stay well and safe
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
  11. ERin; ya bee lookin gorgeouz in yur selfeez thiz week, N we will bee sad ta see jumbo go az well,
    him made fora grate N most kind storee....tho we due knot think mizzuz H liked de "stay in de shed" sentenze...may bee her will forgetz a bout it in due time :) bee safe N healthee N bee for ya noe it, mouzin seeson will bee bak in full force !! :) ☺☺♥♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mrs H was thinking about all the nails she'd broken hammering the shed back together, MOL
      Bee Safe my friends, and come on over when you can for a whisker or two of nip gin sometime.
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete
    2. ERin; it just bee announced; we bee gettin reddy ta go on lock down sew we iz knot sure when we will bee abe bull ta sneek ta blogland ~~~~ we most shirley will sneek crozz de pond N help ya with the nip !!☺☺♥♥

      Delete
    3. Oh my! Please do email me if you can, erinthecatprincess@gmail.com. Or on Facebook under my name, assuming phone service allows. Do you have Instagram? That is a great way to do it.
      Purrs till we meet again, as they say ;)
      ER

      Delete
  12. Princess, I've always known that you and Mrs. H have kind, generous and loving souls. I am proud to call you my sweetheart, Tuxie dove. What a great story you have paw penned. Say, I hope you didn't get any bruises from those flying acorns. Sending kisses to help keep you safe and healthy. Your Prince, V.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, my sweet prince. Oh what fun we had with Jumbo. Mrs Singh is a real hoot, too. Plenty to share around so long as we dont get carried away. Ah those acorns whistled this way and that, and I have to admit one got me on the bum after a rebound, MOL
      Purrs and kisses (socially acceptable and duly distant)
      ERin
      XOXO

      Delete
  13. Erin, you are so blessed to have Mrs. H. looking after you, and also that she is doing a great service to those in need, like the cranky Mr. Blasstet. I bet he softens like butter in the cupboard toward you from now on. Life is scary right now for so many of us, but we are greatly relieved to know you are in good hands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I'd rather it was cream on the floor than butter in the cupboard, MOL. Alas I am sure he will be back to his normal self come end of this crisis!
      Purrs
      ERin

      Delete