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The mushroom cloud of gas ascended the staircase. It grew in intensity as more particles were exuded by the culprit. The whole house was asleep. It was not surprising, as it was 5 am in the morning and the temperature gauge outside on the deck read minus 9 C. I stretched in my comfortable warm bed and waited for the familiar sound of tea cups. This was our morning ritual…….give mom a cup of tea on waking and she could face anything that might come her way! So the rustling, banging and pinging of the security bell continued downstairs as doors opened and closed. My mouth was dry and I wondered if I should relent and assist the tea maker.  I turned over and decided against it, my bed was just too cosy. I was about to doze off again when my comfort zone was disturbed…….

“That damn chimney stack is probably churning something foul out into the atmosphere,” I shouted down to the tea maker. There was no reply but the flurry of activity continued. I stumbled down the stairs suffering from the effects of my lack of ‘the morning cuppa.’ The tea maker was anxiously sitting at the table with his eyes glued to the iPad.

“What is going on?” I am not big ‘on the morning patience thing’ until my being has been gentle coaxed into consciousness. The magical powers of the ‘English Breakfast’ brew is a wonderful start to any morning. But this morning was going to be a challenge as I would have to face it cold turkey. It was soon to become apparent that I might need something a bit stronger than just tea. The tea maker looked up from the computer An antidote has to be here somewhere…………

Josh had been ‘skunked.’ The little bugger ran off when let out for his ablutions and got into a tussle with our resident skunk. Josh has been watching out for him for ages from the lounge window. He had stared out longingly with his jaws quivering and had built up quite an appetite for the little creature.. He was after all a true terrier! The sight and familiar scent of this ‘delectable morsel’ was just too much for him to bear.  He ran across and seized the moment. There was much hissing and growling. I don’t think he was expecting the retaliation that he received. The skunk furiously responded and did what a skunk does best……. Ready, aim, fire and the target was hit! Bull’s eye! The viscous yellow goop dripped off his head and down the side of his coat. Josh was suitably humiliated and ran back to the front door with his tail between his legs.

 

The look of shame......

The look of shame……

 

I was later to learn that this chemical is known as mercaptan.  It has a strong, sharp lingering smell and was vaguely familiar. My stomach turned as Josh was carried into the bathroom. A memory of a stench I had once endured came flooding back to me. We had lived near a paper mill in South Africa and had endured the ‘aroma.’ You never forget that especially if you combine it with ‘morning sickness!’ Josh hung his head in shame and despair. He knew he smelt awful. He could also hear from the tone of our voices and the odd cuss word that we were not pleased. We washed and scrubbed and still the odour lingered. Oh my, this was going to be a marathon.

Three days later we continue to wage the war against ‘the smell’ and wonder whether this is just another step in the direction of becoming Canadianised. Surely a really cold winter will suffice?

 

 

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