When I was 7 I was allowed a rabbit. Because my dad’s allergic to hairy creatures, she lived outside in a hutch that he made from an enormous salvaged sideboard. On winter nights my dad organised for us to cover the hutch in blankets and polythene, give her a bowl of hot milk (whoever heard of such a thing – but she was enthusiastic!!) and to cap it all, a Nescafe jar of hot water slipped into her straw. I love my dad. He was just making it up in his usual empathetic way. After all, everyone in our family had a hot milky drink and hot water bottle at bedtime. (I was also not allowed to touch my rabbit very much and she grew up combative. She used to snarl and lunge like General Woundwort and it was hard to get the hot water bottle in and out without lacerations to the hand – I used to have to wear my dad’s gardening glove. But she was my favourite thing on earth until she died on my lap before her time.)
These days from October onwards my time at home is spent with a hot water bottle in a faux sheepskin jacket tucked into my waistband. But this tends to pop the buttons and interfere with mobility so what I’m after is a kind of specially moulded hot water bottle like a papoose which hangs over the region of my chilly heart and liver but also my kidneys. Anybody know of such a thing?
And last night – disaster! I’d taken two to bed and after handing one over to Matt, decided the other had too much air in it so I sat up and untwisted the top a fraction and squeezed gently. Then Matt justifiably began to gripe about cold air getting under the blanket so I tried to hurry, burnt myself on the steam, lurched and tipped a load of water into my lap! Out of bed I leapt clawing off my steaming pajama bottoms, called Matt every name under the sun and tried to pin the blame on him for making me err in haste. “What would you have said to me if I was doing that over the bed?” he asked appositely. I lied that I’d have merely told him to take his time and be careful. That shut him up. Then I settled myself sorrowfully on top of the now-cold wet patch in the bed which luckily aligned exactly with where the scalded part was.
As I write to you now it’s still rather sore.