« Maman, Flossy a une tique », I whipped my head round in alarm, in case the tick in question should decide to relocate instantaneously to my kids. They were both being thrown around in the back of the Renault Super 5, along with 2 dogs, a stack of sheep fencing and apparently enough wildlife for a safari.
I gave my husband one of those “the dogs have got ticks again, what are you going to do about it?” looks, but he was navigating a steep hairpin bend in the lane. The car shuddered as he snapped it into first; almost coming to a standstill in indecision over whether it could be bothered to defy gravity, before lurching forward with a bit of persuasive coaxing on the accelerator.
“They’ve probably got fleas too” he said matter-of-factly, “the new collars don’t seem to be working very well”. I suddenly regretted that there had been nobody at the farm to look after the children and that we had to bring them with us. This old heap served as the farm vehicle, but a livestock carrier had more amenities and would certainly have been cleaner. My eyes had already begun to swell from the toxic combination of dog hair and dust; the confined space accentuating my allergies.
I rolled down the window. “Hay fever still playing you up?” asked my husband innocently, knowing the real reason why I was puffing and wheezing. I gave him a murderous look and he quickly turned his attention back to the driving.
The sheep were a couple of miles down the road and as usual I would bring the car back whilst he took the direct route with the flock. I glanced into the rear. The kids had disappeared under a blanket of fur, paws and hilarity and I found that I was suddenly looking forward to getting home
Abruptly, Flossy put her paws up on the back of my seat, her face a couple of inches from mine. She opened her mouth and whined her impatience. I blanched; even through a streaming nose, I guessed that her halitosis would take a rhino down at twenty paces. I leaned my head towards the cool breeze from the open window and slumped back in my seat, defeated.