Call off the dog

The truck broke down last Monday on the way back from Stirling market. I was hauling the empty cattle trailer, but that was not the problem.
Coming into Perth it occurred to me that the fuel guage was behaving a mite erratically: in fact, it seemed to be registering more diesel than when I set out.
As I continued north, the dial continued to rise the further I drove. I should have realised that something was wrong but perhaps wanted to believe that I had been granted a goblin’s bounty: riding in some enchanted pick-up with a constantly renewing fuel supply.
It ground to a halt in the Drumochter hills, fifteen miles from home.
I booked it into Jimmy’s as soon as I got home.
This morning Moira and her starving calf must wait while I run the truck down to Kingussie.
I make time to pressure-wash the wheel arches so that any attached mud won’t fall into the mechanic’s eyes.
Jimmy straightens up as I arrive;
‘O I should have ‘phoned: Ian who does the car electrics couldn’t make it today. There’s a bug going round. I’m sorry.’
he hangs out an invisible prompt card that says: Smile and say ‘No bother’
I choose to ignore it: it is a bother.
‘I’d rather not have had to drive in – for nothing.’
‘What more can I do? I’ve apologized – you make mistakes; I make mistakes’.
Perhaps you might convince me that you valued my time as highly as you value your own, Jimmy;
but I don’t say so.
The calf is perkier this morning – near one month old and not sucking from his mother, he was very feeble yesterday.
After a mineral boost, intravenous rehydration and steroids, for goodness’ sake, he is up and about this morning, and when released from the pen, applies himself to some serious but ill-considered grazing: it’s mother’s milk he needs.
I make a change of tacK. I will leave him with an unmilked Moira, and then tube some recovery liquid into him this afternoon.
Who knows what will work – if anything?
This evening, a doe, disturbed from above or mistaking what the breeze is telling her, gallops between me and the Nog in the birches below the crags. He gives chase, but quickly gives up, outclassed.
Some dogs would follow a hopeless chase out of sight.
He knows when to give up-
life is much easier that way.


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