Devoted readers of these pages may remember a post, nine or so months ago, where I outlined the rules of Poosticks:
Like the better-known game invented by Pooh, it involves sticks: unlike that game, it involves poo. Well, now a new version of Poosticks has been invented by none other than the good old NHS. A while ago they wrote offering me a kit something like a home pregnancy test except that it was a home bowel cancer test (just routine, no cause for concern). I thought I might as well, so I said yes, whereupon a mysterious brown envelope arrived in the post containing All You Need to test for bowel cancer.
*WARNING! GROSSNESS ALERT: DO NOT READ IF EATING*
Well, I had to read the instructions a few times before I could understand them – but basically the test is an alternative to taking a stool sample to the doctor’s and having it tested. However, it is not easy. First you must peel back the cover to reveal two small windows. Next you must catch your stool. This is an unpleasant process involving folded toilet paper and much reaching: it can be quite alarming to feel just how much crap is emerging from the anus and trying to decide on a cut-off point which will not overspill the toilet paper (I did warn you it was gross.) Then, having caught your turd (and still not able to wipe the bum) holding said steaming grossness in one hand, you must take a stick in the other hand (hence the name) and delicately scrape a little from the turd, transferring some of this in the form of a smear onto one of the windows. This soiled stick must then be deposited somewhere whilst repeating the process with a clean stick. The window can then be sealed and the cleanup can commence. This ordeal needs to be repeated three times on consecutive days before the tiny package of disgustingness can be sealed and posted.
Oh my days!
And that’s my new game of poosticks. I hope the results will be clear: no reason to think they won’t.
No, that isn’t a typo: I am well aware that the traditional game of racing sticks under bridges is named after Winnie-the-Pooh, but I have discovered a local variant which I am calling Poosticks. Here’s how to play: first take two dogs (you can play this game with any number of dogs but two is the optimum number). Saddle up the dogs and then find a sturdy stick to use as a walking-cum-poo-stick. Begin walking, choosing country lanes rather than streets which would bring into play the ‘plastic bag’ penalty. Allow the dogs to stop now and again to sniff and urinate. Sooner or later one of them will need to poo: allow the dog to finish, then when the poo is lying on the path, address it with your stick in the same way as you would address a golf-ball. Then whack the assembled turds at a point near the ground but not on it: too near the ground as you will incur penalty points for kicking up the mud, not too near the top as you will achieve the undesirable result of spreading the poo over a wider area. Experienced players can whack assembled turds into the rough (a desirable end in this game) with a single stroke, pausing only to twist the end of the stick into the long grass to clean it before moving on to the next hole (as it were). A single afternoon with two or three dogs can yield up to seven or eight ‘holes’. Much more fun, less expensive and far more socially useful than golf…
I have explored many of the paths in the immediate vicinity of the village here. There are some good walks, though most of the paths go through or round agricultural land and many of the short-cuts are made impassable by fields of sheep or cattle. I haven’t been able to go too far afield because of the hypothyroidism: about three miles is my limit, and that’s on a good day. But as my fractal colouring book teaches me, everything is a matter of scale; and getting to know a small area in detail is just as good as travelling over a wider region:
Yesterday I went to Llangattock, where there is a stunning white church and an unexpected friar who led the service in matching hooded white habit. Offa’s Dyke runs past the church and I experienced a longing for serious walking. So after taking the dogs for their constitutional, I fired up the Aga and made bread in the oven and vegetable chilli on top.