I’ve never been much of a scientist but there is one law I am familiar with and that is Murphy’s or Sod’s Law. Well not that I understand it precisely, more that it is a phenomenon which seems to occur quite frequently in our house.
I first remember hearing about it on some random television programme, where a group of seemingly otherwise normal people buttered pieces of bread and tried repeatedly dropping them on the floor to see if they fell buttered side up or down. Of course, they mostly dropped butter side down, thus confirming the law that if things possibly can go awry, they probably will.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am normally a pretty optimistic happy go lucky sort of person but I am also a realist. I do believe therefore in the existence of this cheeky little law and that sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to. My way of dealing with is is to have a fatalistic sort of attitude to it, i.e.. you just have to accept that some days nothing is going to go right, however hard you try. You have to write those days off, get your head down and accept the ensuing accompanying misfortune and calamity with the hope that the next day will be better whilst brushing it off, laughing if at all possible albeit through gritted teeth.
Somehow I find this stoical acceptance of the fact means I expect nothing good to happen on a day like this, so anything positive is a bonus. Sometimes one bad day can be just about bearable. The problem with this theory is the occasional but nevertheless disastrous phenomenon of a bad day metamorphosing into a bad week.
A few weeks ago was one such instance. It all started on the Tuesday morning when my husband announced he needed his trousers hemming in between that busy part of the morning when two of my children need to get the bus and the builders were due to arrive. Of course they required mending before he drove off to work and being a man he couldn’t possibly have asked me in advance, it is so much more fun to add it to my usual school run morning challenge.
After I had waved him off, I received a call from Miss G telling me she had forgotten her geography homework which she had spent a couple of hours producing the night before. It needed dropping to her school, which is some way away, by 12.05.
‘Fine,’ I agreed, ‘I’ll drop it across in my spare time (ha ha whatever that is.)’
This would have been fine except next the builders brought me a fledgling they had found in the road. It did not look in a good way at all, flapping around the plastic bucket where they had placed it, coming to rest occasionally with its feet in the air. Now over the years, I have garnered some experience of trying to rescue injured or fledgling birds and although not exactly an expert, I know that the scenario of birdie lying with its feet in the air is not likely to have a happy outcome.
‘I think it might have something stuck in its throat.’ suggested the foreman. So I went to get my tweezers and had a bit of a poke around gently inside its beak – ‘no, I think that bit is part of the mouth,’ I replied.
After some deliberation, during which I managed to persuade one of the younger builders that it would not be a good idea to ‘put the poor little blighter out of his misery,’ I went and retrieved my bird rescuing younger daughter’s ’emergency box’ complete with shredded paper nest.
“I think we should leave him there and I’ll check on him in a while,’ I suggested and the builders returned to their work thank goodness. I carefully placed a towel over most of the box to deter passing predators, leaving enough air flow for respiration purposes and left the little chap to see if he would recover. At first I returned every ten minutes or so, just to check he was still alive, approaching furtively, reluctantly peeling back the towel, scared of what it would reveal. Each time, the bird wasn’t really great, floundering round like a drunken navvy, his eyes half closed. To be honest I didn’t think he was going to last long.
‘There’s a fine line between rescuing and cruelty allowing a bird to suffer.’ muttered the younger builder ominously, slopping water in the concrete mixer.
I doggedly ignored him and continued my regular checks until after an hour or so, – the fledgeling was miraculously upright, snuggled in the nest, peering at me out of an inquiringly bright little eye. Well of course, that meant I needed to get him to some help. Phoning the vet in these situations is not always helpful as they don’t really deal with birds but this time I was pleasantly surprised, the receptionist recommended a local animal sanctuary – about 40 minutes drive away.
By this time, I was just grateful for someone else to take the little thing as I didn’t know what was wrong with him and had no intention of leaving him at the mercy of our local bad boy rook brigade. Thank goodness the man answered immediately and told me to keep the bird warm and get him to them asap. This was all well and good but by this time, I had only half an hour to deliver Miss G’s homework in completely the wrong direction.
Fortunately I have the most wonderful, long suffering parents, so I phoned my Dad, arranged to meet him twenty minutes away at Waitrose so he could then drive the homework the further 30 mins to school. It was kind of like a homework relay race – not sure that will ever catch on mind you, it’s jolly hard work and not that exciting tbh.
I gently placed the bird in its box in the front of my car, hopped in with my eldest daughter, and all was going extremely well until I uttered the fateful words, ‘Well hopefully at least nothing else will go wrong today.’
Big mistake, because as I exited the drive, my car number plate fell off and I accidentally drove over it. There was nothing for it but to get my husband’s old car out and load bird in there, and the all important homework and drive to meet my Dad. Fortunately the rest of it went like clockwork, Dad took the homework in to school, I found the bird sanctuary and only managed to knock on one incorrect door on the way. Well to be fair, it was in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately the birdie was fine, it was a baby starling, the lady thought it had probably flown into a car but was just stunned and going to be ok.
Now you might be thinking that I had probably had my share of unfortunate events for one day, but no, they kept right on coming. The builders turned the gas off but for some reason the whole house seemed to be infiltrated with the horrible smell of leaking gas. They also discovered they couldn’t fit a beam within the ceiling as planned so it would have to hang down in the hall, making a white bar in the middle of the ceiling.
‘You won’t mind will you?’ they asked optimistically.
‘Er yes actually, I do,’ they had picked the wrong day to take on this girl. Funnily enough they sorted it out eventually.
So from beginning to end, the whole day was just an unmitigated mess, there isn’t room here to list all the stupid things that went wrong. I went to bed with relief, thinking the next day would be better but no, it started as the last one had ended. I was meant to be back from school drop for the plumber early but the entire area was gridlocked with traffic so I was half an hour late. The guys couldn’t fix the water and were here until nine o’clock that evening with the water turned off all day, so no toilet flush, drinking water or any water at all for that matter. It was then I realised this was going to be one of those dreaded rubbish weeks.
So, if you can relate to this type of scenario because you too are having a bad day, take cheer, some days are just destined to be like this…..things can only get better….but don’t say it out loud……..or it might just get a whole lot worse…….