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Meatballs for Hector

Posted by H-bomb , 29 June 2010 · 37 views

It’s been a while; I know……

I have been on another business trip, this time to Stockholm and just like Milano we had torrential rain from the time I arrived to the time that I left. The weather was so bad that even my trusted umbrella decided that enough was enough having been blown inside out so many times in the raging storm that was over Stockholm, it was beginning to look more a strange modern art sculpture. May be I’ll enter it into the summer exhibition at the Bigger Picture Gallery next year (talking of which have you been to the summer exhibition? It’s a fantastic show featuring local artists, there is so much diversity and it’s amazing to think that we have so much local talent in the area).

I love Stockholm, the food, the life style and the people who all speak better English than I do. In the Swedish office, the staff start the day with their morning ritual of cinnamon buns and coffee, chatting with their colleagues before the start of the working day: I am a little Swedish centric at the moment having just read the amazing Stieg Larsson trilogy and also I’m a massive fan of Swedish version of Wallander on BBC four on Saturday nights. I am not sure how I will cope now that the series has ended. We watched the last episode in style with a Swedish themed party of smoked salmon, mashed potato and meat balls and an ‘almond/dime’ sort of cake that Angel managed to find out side of IKEA. I digress, back to Stockholm: I find myself on the first morning in the office sitting in the IKEA styled office kitchen eating buns on top of a rather large breakfast trying to explain to my colleagues why the English find their local chocolate bar called ‘plopp’ so funny especially Children. It was a conversation that I wish I haven’t started as the problem with humour that I have discovered the hard way is it doesn’t translate too well and going into toilet humour over of morning ritual of cinnamon buns and coffee probably wasn’t the best way for my to ingratiate myself to the bemused staff. Next time I will stick to discussing Wallander.

Having managed to alienate myself from most of the staff, blow my travel budget for the year on dinning out on pickled herring and feeling slightly damp and soggy for most of the trip managing to catch every heavy rain shower passing I was quiet pleased to heading back to the UK. On the BA flight back (they do fly on occasion) I sat next to this businessman who was overly chatty and had two clues left in order to complete his cross word puzzle. I must say at this stage that I am usually very social able and enjoy talking to new people but I am a very nervous flyer. My symptoms range from

a) can’t stop talking
b) can’t speak at all
c) completely hysterical

I have been known to sink my nails into the poor person sitting next to me if any turbulence is experienced.



Anyway now that I have set the scene, this poor man sitting next to me had the audacity to ask me if I could help him with the last two clues just as we were preparing to take off. ‘No’ I grumped rather rudely, undeterred he then asked the passing air stewardess who didn’t know the answers but kindly offered to take the newspaper into the cockpit and ask the Captain. At this stage I screamed ‘NO NO NO’ rather too loudly ‘ I don’t want the Pilot distracted by cross work clues when he is supposed to be flying the plane – we are about to take off . What are you thinking of women!’ I suddenly realised that the whole plane was looking at me and I feared that one of those U.S air marshal types would come over and throw me off the plane! ‘Sorry every one: nervous flyer’ I said in a little voice. I still can’t believe that I actually said that out loud.

Despite the volcanic dust cloud and the BA strike I made it back to Blighty on sechule to comeback to the most terrible news. Our faithful Springer spaniel and trusted companion of 11 years was seriously ill. Hector had always been a little sickly and accident prone: he was the only gun dog I knew that could jump over a small ditch and end up biting though his tongue, jump through the undergrowth in the woods and server a major artery, chase after a ball and break his leg. If there was an equivalent of the child protection register for dogs, I am sure I would be on it. At the age of six Hector was diagnosed with a genetic bone and joint condition and it always seemed so unfair to me that such an active (if not accident prone) dog should be have such a crippling condition at an early age but with the help of pain medication and a lot of love he managed to live a wobbly but very happy pain free life. What he lacked in mobility he made up for in intellect.

I always dreaded the day when it would become too much for him to go on and I worried that I wouldn’t have the strength or trust my judgement to do the kindest thing for him and end it all. On my return from Stockholm I knew that that day had arrived.

We took him to the vets fearing the worst. The vet took one look at him and said that it was time. Even though we know he was right there is always that little bit of hope that you cling onto that something more can be done and we were just not ready to say good bye. Hector wasn’t in pain at this stage and we made to the decision to take him home for the day so that we could all say good bye properly.

We went to the park for a picnic that evening and some for Hectors friends both four and two legged came along. We spent a glorious evening in the sunshine with Hector holding court with all his favourite people around him, enjoying the fuss and eating his favourite food (meat balls). It so one of the hardest and saddest days of my live but it was also up lifting to be with close friends, celebrating the joy that Hector had brought to our lives. After all most of the wonderful people I have meet and became good friends with in Crystal Palace have been through dog walking with Hector. Thank you Hector.




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