When I started writing this blog I read lots of advice about what you should and shouldn’t do to attract your audience and keep them interested. Apparently, you should never bang on about how long it’s been since you last posted anything. That’s partly because you should be posting regularly so the need for an excuse doesn’t arise, but also because no-one cares except you. Either your readers are interested in your stuff or they aren’t – you’re not going to convince them with sad tales about how busy work has been, and that nasty bout of flu, and how you’re now sporting an attractive Harriet Potter type scar in the middle of your forehead as a result of an uncharacteristic bout of fainting and an unfortunate collision with a basket of bath oils.
So none of those excuses here. Promise.
All the same, whilst topics for posts came and went, it’s taken something a bit special to give me the spark of inspiration to fire up poor, neglected Mrs Holder and put virtual pen to virtual paper. I won’t keep you on the edge of your seat any longer. That something special was yesterday’s encounter with the World’s Most Good Looking Vet.
By vet, I should be clear: I’m not talking about a grizzled ex-soldier with haunting war stories, but a lovely, warm-hearted human being who spends his life being kind to animals. Yesterday was the second attempt at getting our cats to what’s known in our household as the V-E-T for their jabs. Embarrassingly, we lost this annual battle of wits two weeks ago when the most timid of our two felines, Poppy, displayed a frankly supernatural ability to work out that Something Was Up and hastily exited stage left, legging it under the garden fence and refusing to come back until well past the allotted appointment. This time, though, the Husband and I had a battle plan and arrived at the surgery – which, to protect the innocent, I shall say only is located in south east London – on time, with two cat carriers complete with occupants.
Now this is not the first time we’ve visited this particular vet’s. We’ve been turning up regularly, usually shaken and scarred from the Clash of the Cat Carrier, for the last six or seven years. We don’t often see the same vet, but here’s the thing: they are all of them, Zoolander-like, ridiculously good-looking.
Where they find these people I do not know. Perhaps there’s a vet school somewhere that only takes students from Models One. Perhaps the head vet, who is – naturally – a George Clooney/Richard Gere type (though not in a way that would make you worry for your hamster) travels the globe searching out potential colleagues able to meet his own standards of aesthetic beauty. Perhaps they’re all injecting themselves with some kind of Ridiculously Good-Looking-Making serum. However they do it, it’s almost a trial to deal with.
Let me tell you how it goes.
Scene: Yak and Husband, sitting in reception each with a cat carrier on their laps. Plaintive mews are emanating from one, eerie silence from the other. There is a door to the left and a figure emerges.
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: Patsy and Poppy Cooper?
Husband: Yes, that’s us.
[Yak thinks: Oh God, not again…]
Scene changes: Yak, Husband and Ridiculously Good-looking Vet in small consulting room.
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: Everything okay?
Husband and Yak exchange looks.
Yak: Well, they really don’t like the cat carriers, and they don’t like coming to the vet’s, so we’re all a bit traumatised actually…
[Yak thinks: It’s this guy again. I think he’s the most good-looking of all of them. Is he the most good-looking? He must be. Surely he must be. But then there’s the one that looks like George Clooney…]
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: Ok, which of them is the most scared?
Husband: Poppy – the black one.
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: Ok, let’s take a look at her first, get it over with.
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet takes the lid off one of the cat carriers and lifts out a black cat. The cat has gone floppy, playing dead. He cradles her gently in his arms and carries her to a weighing scales.
[Yak thinks: Oh, he’s so gentle with her! He’s definitely the most good-looking one. The way his eyes crinkle at the edges… Oh My God, he’s kissed her head! HE’S KISSED MY CAT! Though – is that entirely appropriate?]
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: She’s lost a little bit of weight.
Husband: They haven’t eaten much of their food for the last couple of days. They’ve gone off their usual stuff.
Yak: Yes, they’re ever so fussy, the pair of them. We have to change the brand every so often…
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: That’s cats for you. The thing to do when you’re choosing cat food is to look at whether it’s fixed or open formula…
[Yak thinks: Oh God, he’s looking at me. I have eye contact. Eye contact! Am I being normal? God, please let me be acting normal…]
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: …because if it’s fixed formula, it contains what it says on the packet, but if it’s open formula…
Yak: No! Can they really do that? I didn’t know they could do that!
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: Yep, if it’s open formula, one week it can be, say, chicken, the next week, it’s whatever’s cheapest from the abattoir floor…
[Yak thinks: He must know how good-looking he is. Maybe I should just say something and get it over with. Address the elephant in the room…]
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: Consumers just don’t know. So sometimes their pet gets ill and they think, well, it can’t be the food, because they’re having the same thing they always do…
Husband: Goodness, I had no idea…
[Yak thinks: I could just say it. ‘Look, I’ve got to acknowledge this. You really are spectacularly good-looking…’ Oh God, he’s looking at me again. Why can’t he look at the Husband more often? It must be the woman-as-carer thing. I’m not blushing, am I? Please don’t let me be blushing. I should just say some words. Say some words!]
Yak: To be honest, we just keep trying to find something they’ll eat. I mean, we’ve tried Felix, and Gourmet Perle, and they eat it for a bit and then they just stop, refuse, as if they’re saying, “What is this crap?” And I bought loads of Science Plan, and that has a 100% taste guarantee, right? And they just wouldn’t eat it at all…
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: And what about drinking?
Yak: Well, they never touch the water we put next to their feeding bowls, but…
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet: They like running water, right? Sinks, toilet bowls…
Yak: No, actually. I mean, we bought them one of those drinking water fountains and they hated that, wouldn’t go near it…
Husband: They like drinking from glasses…
Yak: Yes! We have these two little glasses outside the bathroom and they drink from those. They seem quite happy with that…
[Yak thinks: He’s still looking at me. I’m being normal, though. My voice sounds ok. I’m definitely being normal. Well done me! I bet most women don’t manage to be this normal around him…]
Ridiculously Good-looking Vet turns away and starts tapping on a keyboard.
Husband (sotto voce): Calm down – you sound really stressed!
Yak (irritated): What are you talking about? I’m not stressed.
[Yak thinks: Well, I don’t know what he’s talking about.]
Honestly, it’s a nightmare.
Still, at least it’s got me writing, and I do have a book to get on with. They say beauty’s good for the artistic soul, don’t they? I’m sure I’ve read that somewhere. Maybe I could go back every time I need to put a dent in the word count.
No, that would be ridiculous.
Though now that I think of it, Poppy hasn’t been quite herself today. I’ll keep an eye on her.
Just in case.