The Tale of the Headache
There once was a woman whose head ached continually and filled her waking hours with constant pain. Most of the time it was a dull, nebulous pain that could be worked through if she was concentrating but sometimes it was spiky and jagged and tore at her thoughts until she could not speak simple sentences and sometimes it morphed into a full blow migraine that confined her to a darkened room until it passed of its own accord.
Such an existence was not a pleasant and the woman tried everything in her power to get rid of her ailment; she drank lots of water each day, took walks in the fresh air, ate plenty of fruit and vegetables, and tried every pill her local pharmacist could offer. But nothing helped.
Finally, once all other options had been exhausted, the woman visited her doctor. He couldn’t tell her what was wrong either but gave her some different pills that he assured her would make the pain go away. That night she took the dose he had prescribed her then lay quite still in her bed, fingers crossed in a silent prayer, until sleep overcame her.
When she awoke she found that the headache had receded. She could still feel it at the edges of her brain but it was such a small ache that it was completely ignorable. Yet the joy she should have felt did not materialise. In fact she couldn’t feel much at all. It was such an effort to even get out of bed and go downstairs for breakfast that she wasn’t sure how she was going to make it through the day.
At work she struggled to concentrate and every task seemed to take twice as long to complete. She forced herself through the working day, feeling her headache return as the effects of the pill ebbed out of her system, but finally she completed her last job of the day and was able to go home. Once there she collapsed into her comfy chair, opened her computer and started typing. And this is what she wrote.
So that was my unfortunately-not-a-fairy-tale about what’s been going on with me in the past month and what happened on Friday. I’m hoping that my body will adjust to the ultra-strong painkillers and I won’t feel like a completely zombiefied every morning for the next six weeks until I’ve finished the course I’ve been prescribed. I would also like to know the root cause of this but I suspect it is simply the last eighteen months of stress and worry catching up with me, especially since there’s still so much going on at work at the moment.
But that’s enough about me. The Other Stories, or rather Other Story, is much more interesting
THE DOINGS OF DOG
As a black Labrador of mature years, I am not built to withstand the warmer extremes of the British climate and suffer greatly when there are occurrences of such distressing weather. My suffering, however, has been lessened by the assiduousness of She-Who-Thinks-She-Is-Pack-Leader, who has been brushing me most carefully twice a day and has ensured that my coat is as light as it can possibly be. If it weren’t for the fact that She-Who-Thinks-She-Is-Pack-Leader insists on doing this whilst I am eating and will keep brushing my pantaloons when they absolutely do not need to be rushed at all, I would be more grateful.
Your transcriber would like you all to know that if the brushing is not completed whilst Dog is eating, it is only possible to brush Dog’s head and shoulders due to her dancing about like a loon, sitting down every time she so much as thinks her tail might be brushed, and the street has to listen to her grumbling loudly the whole time (and the word grumbling here is being used to mean growling loudly, in a tone that suggests she’s about to disembowel everyone in the vicinity). It should also be noted that Dog’s “pantaloons” (the hair around her bottom) always need brushing because they seem to be the main hair collection point on her body and she should just put her big girl pants on and stop whining about it. Your transcriber also remains amazed that despite the twice daily brushing Dog has continued to shed at an alarming rate. The amount of hair that has been gathered via brush and vacuum seems to be enough to make several new Labradors.
She-Who-Thinks-She-Is-Pack-Leader informs me that I should be dictating this instalment for you all in the form of a story and I am more than happy to comply.
Of Fur and Fortitude
Once upon a time there was a Labrador whose tongue was as slick as blood, whose nose was as cold as snow, and whose fur was as black as ebony. She was the most sleek and beautiful Labrador in all the Kingdom and was adored by all who knew her for her sweet and loving nature. She lived in house that contained all she required for a peaceful existence; a big fluffy bed, a never-ending supply of food, a lovely dish full of cool water, many toys to amuse her during the day and a servant who attended to her every whim.
Every day her servant would take her for a walk in the woods surrounding the cottage so that she could meet all her admirers and keep up with the gossip of the kingdom: just where the marauding squirrels were said to be planning their next attack from, exactly what the Doberman down at number 29 had been doing with the miniature poodle at number 4, and precisely what next door’s cat had dragged in most recently. Most vexingly there were also rabbits that needed chasing – purely for exercise of course, blood sports are so last-century – magpies that needed scolding, and miles of trees that needed greeting and sniffing and watering.
For many years she was the happiest Labrador in the Kingdom, as well as being the most adored, and she couldn’t imagine anything that might disturb her well-ordered life. But change comes to all things, as surely as night follows day and thus one morning she was awakened not by her servant coming to serve her breakfast but a noise that had not been heard in her environs before. It was not a strange noise – on the contrary, she knew it at once for the bark of another dog – but it was shrill and annoying and disturbing her slumber, coming as it was from so close to her main border. However, as befits a gracious, elegant Labrador who is beloved of all who know her, she chose to assume that this interloper was unaware of the sort of Kingdom it had arrived in (never mind that it was perilously close to straying into her territory) and would immediate cease its incessant yapping once she had appraised it of the situation. So she rose from her bed, went outside and, as politely as she knew how, explained the situation.
At once she realised that she might as well not have bothered, for the horrible little animal did not even cease its outpourings to greet her in a civilised manner, and disregarded her claim to the area in words that she would not even use to a fox. And so began the Border Dispute of the Century, wherein all manners were abandoned, all decorum lost, and all sleep broken.
She fought tirelessly, forsaking all other pursuits in order to protect her territory and the reputation of the Kingdom she loved. No tone of bark was left untried, no blade of grass unturned, and no twig un-chewed in her search for the one thing that would send this appalling pretender running with its tail between its legs and its mouth finally shut.
Weeks turned into months, months into years and still she fought, knowing in her heart of hearts that she was in the right and that to back down was to offer victory to a usurper of dubious morals. She was tired though and wished for some advantage, some well-spring of power that would aid her in her extremity and allow her win the fight once and for all.
And that was when she found it. A golden ring, with strange words carved into it, which called to her with a voice that promised all she wanted and more, with such compelling promises she could almost taste the victory. It was just lying there, offered to her freely, and the Labrador was sorely tempted to take it in her mouth and claim its power for her own. Yet she knew that the ring would corrupt her, turn her soul to ash and twist her to its own nefarious ends. And so she spurned the gift, remained Dog and knew that when her time came she would diminish and go into the West …
And your transcriber must step in at this point to prevent Dog breaching the copyright on Tolkien’s works and providing you all with a rather odd retelling of the Lord of the Rings.
Dog is most vexated that a mere transcriber of her words dared to interrupt her thrilling tale before its conclusion. Dog would do well remember that referring to someone as a servant is bound to have consequences and to thank her lucky stars that the only thing that’s being stopped is her story. However your transcriber does not wish you to finish this post unsatisfied and so offers several pictures of Dog, in various poses of grace and beauty, in order to assuage any upset the curtailing of the story may have caused:
Beautiful both awake and asleep
Unrepentant chowing of cardboard – but she did clear it all up!
And thus we reach the end of this months musings. Dog and I hope you all have a lovely August.