Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Do animals go to heaven mummy?

Lal is asleep, I'm caught up with Monicaness (housework) and I'm bored.. so I'll tell the tale of the animals of our house. Ah yes... when the children came home from Daddy time this weekend, G discovered a floating fish. RIP Shrek.

G loves the idea of animals. Cute, fluffy little things that with engage her interest and adoration until it comes time to feed them or clean them out. We have had lots, and lots of animals over the years. Except anything rat like, hamsters, guinea pigs.. urgh. Horrible little things with their sniffy noses..

First, the fish. We've had Bob, Billy, Billibob, Cod, Ginger, Fishy Mcfisherson, Goldy, Swimmy, Shark, Shrek, Ben, Millymollymandy (started out as three fish.. 2 died.. it's a memorial thing) and about a million guppies who just had numbers. I may have mentioned before the great fish massacre of 2002. There were 8 fish in a large tank. I got something wrong with the filtration system and there were 7 floaters one morning. G was distraught. I was, and will remain, a fish murderer who killed them for my own sport. We had to have a funeral.

I managed to convince a 6 year old G that dead fish couldn't be buried in the garden, they'd suffocate, so we could have a proper and dignified toilet service instead. This was acceptable to the grieving owner. Except she had preparations to make first. Or rather, I had to prepare food for the wake, music for the mourners and invite all her "down the road" friends in for the service. G dressed in one of my little black dresses and a navy blue towel covering her hair.. It was a solemn and mournful affair. I had to read prayers and all the children gave little eulogys. She made little plaques with names and dates and sellotaped them to the wall of the downstairs loo. They had to stay there for a year. Any visitor who came to the house immediately learnt that the toilet was a graveyard for murdered fish - oh yes, the plaques had the name of the killer on. *sigh*

Now, not only did we have fish, we had birds. Not birds in cages you understand, but birds from the sky. Birds who suffered heart attacks in mid flight and landed on the road outside our house, death was confirmed by the tyre tracks of car on the wings. Not that I knew that at the time. The first I knew of a dead bird was when 5 year old G decided to bring it into the garden, in her hands, for me to perform mouth to mouth. URGH. Funeral again. This was the first funeral, and it set the tone for the million others. This time, birdy had to have a proper shoe box casket and a proper grave. With a cross. And flowers. It was spring, the ground was hard.. I was digging in clay. We nearly needed the pall bearers for me. Once again, a wake was called for, but this time, as it was the first funeral.. we had to have hymns. And prayers, sobbing, questions as to why poor little birdy had to go..She knows how to grieve, does G. She was only 5, her friends the same age, and none of them knew any hymns except for "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.." The tuneless chorus rang out through the neighbourhood. Rest easy, birdy. And on to the party. There have been 8 bird deaths since then. Basically our garden is pet cemetary. There are crosses everywhere.

Then my cat. My Charlie Farley cat. I was heartbroken when he died. It was so unexpected, he was only 17.. he started climbing the stairs and just keeled over.. a good way for him to go.. but not for me. I screamed, tried to perform CPR (Tip.. don't try and give a dead cat mouth to mouth, it's not nice) and then, when I was sure he was gone, sang Old Deuteronmy from Cats, by way of CS Lewis. I wonder where G gets the flair for the dramatic from? Charlie had a lovely £91 private cremation, and we have a little box with his ashes in (or ash from someone's cigarette and hoover dust most likely) and he went wrapped up in a fleecy blanket with my two teddy bears for company. Still miss that cat. Not if Poppy were to keel over... no.. really, that's not nice.. but she's just not a cat. She's a wailing banshee..

So, when Shrek died on Sunday, I was expecting the worst. Full on funeral, prayers, but nothing. The only sound was a lonely flush of the toilet and G telling me to clean out the tank so Ben would live and that the water in there stank.

I miss the young G years..

K x x

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