Halfway House

stairs  Today I wanted to sleep somewhere different  and so I found the exact halfway point of dear Ebony’s stairs and stretched out. Readers, I have been to dear, dear Ebony’s house three times this week and even the best of friends need a little time apart at times.  So I very generously let Ebony have her own bed, and made do with the staircase.  Of course this meant that if anybody wanted to go up or down the stairs they would have to climb over me, but I felt there wasn’t really a safety issue here.  I was highly visible.

Really, it’s too much to expect Ebony’s Pack Leaders to have me there day after day.  Nobody gives a second thought to what they actually want to spend their days doing – it is just assumed they will share their time with me.  I feel this is taking advantage of good neighbours, but then my family are masters of this.  Luckily tomorrow it’s dear Pippa’s turn to look after me, which releases Ebony’s family to do something more enjoyable.

It’s been a busy few days here, as usual.  Everyone has been at work or school, but today Young Lad had a very exciting school trip.  They went to look round a University, for the purpose of inspiring young minds and motivating them to Work Hard and Achieve.  Young Lad has told us all about the cafeteria.  Nothing else, just the cafeteria.  

However, Young Lad hurt his foot playing dodgeball at school yesterday, and then had to walk round a large university campus all day today.  Then, Readers, he had to walk all the way home after school!  Poor Young Lad is limping and needs to rest his foot – he should not be expected to do all this walking.  He will fade away to nothing at this rate.

Dinner tonight has been Quorn chilli with jacket potatoes, sour cream, broccoli and carrots.  It smelled quite nice and the plates were pleasingly messy as they went in the dishwasher. There hasn’t been much Quorn used in the last week or so, as Veganuary is going on at the moment and Sainsbury’s have had a big run on vegetarian mince.  This made She cross and there was some moaning about jumpingonthebldybandwagon when some of us have been eating Quorn for decades and not just for one month of the year when it’s cool to do so.  Thankfully Tesco have stocked up and so our freezer has been replenished.

There is also a chocolate cake in the kitchen, freshly baked last night.  Lad and Young Lad both need to eat more ‘proper’ food rather than snacks from the cupboard and by some warped logic, it was felt a home-made chocolate cake is more nutritious than bags of crisps.  I fail to see the reasoning behind this, as being ‘home-made’ does not counteract the amount of butter and sugar in the cake.  Still, I will enjoy it if anyone drops a crumb or two, and I will enjoy it even more if they leave it too near the edge of the working surface.

I’ve been finding it harder and harder to get up in the mornings, Friends.  The ruddy alarm goes off at 6am, and I do make the effort to go downstairs for a quick comfort break and my breakfast, but then it’s straight back up to bed for me. This morning I was back on the warm duvet by 6.23am.  Gingercat joined me, and we both had our heads down and were out for the count.  In fact I was pretty irritated when She tried to put my collar on me and woke me up by lifting my head.

It may be that the weather is cold and damp, or it may be that I’m getting old but I really do love my sleep.

Tonight I am cuddled up on the sofa with Lad and Young Lad, and a fleecy blanket.  They are watching a football match on the telly – Wet Sham again – which means She has been relegated to the study for the evening with its rather uncomfortable chair and NO sofa.  I could go and keep her company but it’s much nicer in here.

There is tension in the air this evening as tomorrow the car goes in for its yearly service and MOT. This is likely to costabldyfortune and there is apprehension about what the bill might be.  Someone has managed to scrape against pillars in hospital car parks and argue with white vans quite a lot, and our car is in a pretty awful state.  Lord only knows what sort of mechanical condition it is in.  And so, as every year, there will be a tense day tomorrow waiting for the phone call from the garage to say “your car is ready”  and more crucially, “the bill is…”  I hate to think what the mood might be like here tomorrow evening, Friends.

I’m glad I don’t have to worry about these things as they are rather tiresome.

Well, Readers, the match is about to start so I must down tools and make sure I snore loudly throughout.

Bye for now,

Russell

 

 

Back on Form

thumbs-upReaders you will be very pleased to know that I am back to normal and able to go out for walks.  I am not as stiff, and can get up the stairs or onto people’s beds with a spring in my step again.  The Evil Vet gave me some good medication, even though they were rude about me shaking with fear in the waiting room.

In fact, I’m so full of energy that yesterday at dear Ebony’s house,  I decided to initiate a playfight that went on for AGES!  In the lounge I went up to Ebony and hit her with my paw – this was enough provocation for her to try to bite me, and then we rolled around and jumped on each other for a nice long time, snapping and biting. It was terrific fun.  I decided when it was time to stop,  and signalled this by jumping in the armchair for a kip.

I’ve had two days at dear Ebony’s for daycare, and tomorrow I’m off to dear Pippa’s house.  You will notice how little time my own family are spending with me as usual.  I mean this evening I am here with She and Lad, all nice and cosy in the lounge and what are they doing?  Throwing a ball round the lounge for me?  Letting me sit on their lap?  No Readers. They are ignoring me and watching a documentary about Belmarsh Prison.  I ask you.  Storm Brendan is howling outside the windows and the clematis plant thing keeps bashing into the glass, but we’re taking no notice of that as Ross Kemp is telling us all about The Special Cell on D Wing.  My family do love a bit of dramatic gloom.

It was good to get back down to the river at the weekend and stretch my legs properly – it’s exceedingly muddy still, from when the river burst its banks, and quite tricky for a white dog to return home white.  I saw many of my friends and they were all plastered too. Having missed my walks for so long, I did a little romping around with a spaniel but not for long, as you can have too much of a good thing.  

Lad has been working hard again this week, and surprised everyone by volunteering to empty the airing cupboard and do the ironing.  So touched was She by this turn of events that it very nearly brought tears to the eye.  Well done, Lad.  Young Lad had rather a lot of homework to do at the weekend, and due to poor time management ended up doing hours of it yesterday evening.   This is because Young Lad underestimates how long/how much effort he should put into tasks.  For example, when asked to write definitions of poetic terms such as “stanza” or “onomatopoeia” I heard the following:  Siri, what does stanza mean?  Naturally there was then a huge argument about whether this is the correct way to do homework when you’re in Year 9, and the shouting became very tedious.

One new development, Friends – Young Lad has decided to give up playing football.  This means no more driving to far-flung pitches on a Sunday and crying in the car when She gets lost.  Yes indeed, there will be a little more opportunity of a lie-in on a Sunday and for this I’m grateful.  She told Loadsakids the good news, and Loadsakids is quite jealous.  They won’t need to send each other thumbs up emojis when the pitches are water-logged any more.  It also means that Wednesday nights are no longer so busy with Midweek Training.

Instead, Wednesday nights will be busy with Indoor Cricket Nets.  She says the time-frame is bldytight again, because they have to leave home at 6.00pm and She won’t be in from work until 5.45 pm which is a bldytightfit.  Lad has been told he will have to cook a nutritious meal for Young Lad, which inevitably will involve oven chips.  I feel this is unfair on Lad, as he is not the Parent and it is the Parent who should be responsible for feeding the offspring.  That is how it works in the natural world, Readers – we don’t say “I’m too busy, someone else can do it.”   She will have to content herself with scrambled egg on toast on their return from cricket at 8.30pm.

Readers, I have some sad news.  My friend Buddy the Bouncy Labrador – the one who was part labrador, part kangaroo and used to swing from tree branches – had to be put to sleep at the weekend.  Buddy had something horrid called cancer, and you might remember that a few months ago The Evil Vet did a huge operation and removed a lot of Buddy’s stomach.  You would never have known, as Buddy was soon back to  jumping up and grabbing high tree branches in his teeth.  His energy was frightening.  Unfortunately the cancer returned, and poor Buddy was very poorly last week.  This time he was not able to bounce his way back, and I am going to miss him very much.  Poor Buddy’s Pack Leader will miss him too – first Rocco the Inspirational Three-Legged Labrador, and now Buddy.  Life can be very hard and very unfair.  She says “why does bad stuff always happen to the nice people?”

Buddy’s Pack Leader and my Pack Leader stood with their arms round each other on the pavement outside my house the other day – it must have looked very peculiar to anyone driving past but if you are a dog owner, you would understand.

Buddy, I hope you are leaping high and bouncing freely for evermore.

I think I’ll watch the Belmarsh Prison documentary now, to cheer myself up a little. 

Bye for now,

Russell

Paws For Thought

paws Well, Readers, we are only a few days into the New Year and already I have been subjected to undignified and unpleasant procedures.  You will remember that I was lame for a week before Christmas, and the Evil Vet said that it was probably stiffness in my hip.  Well, once the meds kicked in I was able to walk normally again and all seemed to be well.  Then I started furiously licking my paws day after day, barely letting up for a bldyminute and it seemed to get on somebody’s nerves.  I couldn’t help it!  My paws were itchy right between the toes and I had to nibble really hard to get in there and alleviate things. Yes, all four feet!  It was very vexing for me – so I was dragged off to the Evil Vet’s surgery yet again.  This time I climbed underneath the chair in the waiting room and lay there, shaking like a leaf.  When my name was called, I wouldn’t come out from under the chair and She had to get down and drag me.  As we passed the main door, I made a run for it but as usual to no avail.

People in the waiting room were laughing, Readers.  It was awful.  She said “for God’s sake stop making such a fuss,” and the nurse who was waiting for me said, “oh good grief, Russell, you’ve only come in for a pedicure.”

Then the nurse took my lead and said, “on Russell’s notes it says he needs to be muzzled and away from Mum.”  Honestly!  As if it wasn’t bad enough that I had to have a horrid muzzle shoved on my face, I was separated from my Pack Leader who was told to stay in the waiting room.  This was too much.  Even She seemed a little hurt and put out that I was Taken Away to The Back Room.

The nurse tried to touch my front right paw.  I screamed.  The nurse said, “oh poor Russell, maybe you have a broken toe”, and examined me carefully.  Then she touched the front left paw.  I screamed.  The back right paw.  I screamed. Back left.  I screamed.  The nurse said, “there is nothing wrong with your paws and you are just a drama queen.”  Then she cut all my toe nails.

You would think this was enough.  But several days later I had was unable to jump onto the sofa in the evening, or anyone’s bed.  As you know, Friends, this time the Evil Vet said I needed to rest for another week, have a whole load of tablets AND, get this, have my paws wiped with special anti-allergy stuff twice a day.  I HATE having my paws touched!  No way will I tolerate anyone separating the toes and cleaning in between them with cotton wool pads.  I will wrinkle  my nose, make silly whiny noises and quite possibly bite whoever is doing it.

I really have had enough of this, and it’s only January 6th.

Thankfully today everyone went back to work/school and life has returned to normal.  I went to dear, dear Ebony’s for daycare today and it was jolly relaxing, as I didn’t have to go out for a walk.   More time for lolling in the armchair.

Lad and Young Lad both expressed their disappointment, yesterday, that the Christmas and New Year break was over.  Neither of them seemed keen to rush back to school, and there was a collective groan in the house when the ruddy alarm clock went off at 6am today.  Lad has had a tiring fortnight, what with all the trips to a town far away, and lots of studying.  Young Lad has had a tiring fortnight – bear with me, he must have done something, surely – ah yes, two cinema visits and one to the bowling alley.  On Sunday afternoon, Young Lad was asked for the hundredth time to check whether he had any homework he should have done over the holiday – Young Lad finally checked this at 4pm and of course it transpired that there had indeed been homework.  Young Lad was shouted at.

Yesterday morning, being Sunday, we looked after Lovelyneighbourontheright’s cockapoo.  Now I find the cockapoo a little annoying at times, for he is somewhat bouncy, but due to the lack of walks for the last few days I needed some entertainment.  Thus I threw caution to the wind and ran round the garden with him – She threw a tennis ball and I chased after it, followed by the cockapoo.  Then the cockapoo chased me round the garden trying to snatch the tennis ball, and so it went on.  This game lasted for seven and a half minutes, and then I went in for a nap.  The cockapoo had to content himself with snatching She’s slippers and running off to the garden with them.

There was a concerted effort to nourish Lad and Young Lad properly yesterday.  What with it being a new school term, it was felt that some Proper Nutrition was needed to set them up for the weeks ahead, and so a huge pot of leek and potato soup was made, served with crusty bread , followed by bangers, mash and onion gravy with three vegetables.  Yes, Regular Readers, Jamie Olive was dusted off the bookshelf again.  Luckily She made about four times the quantity of onion gravy that was required for a small number of diners, so Gingercat and I helped finish it up with our dinners.  It was good to see Lad and Young Lad full of nutritious home-cooked food, as this is an increasingly rare occurrence.  Working Full Time should not be considered an excuse, and giving Lad a “student cookbook” for Christmas was a cop-out if you ask me.  

The house has been tidied up fractionally since Christmas, and there is some carpet space visible.  The snooker table was even cleared ready for a festive game (it never happened), but it has now been re-covered with Lad’s revision cards in an assortment of colours.  The day that Lad’s exams finish in the summer will be a day of much celebrating in my house for many different reasons. 

Oh Readers, poor Lad.  He had to text She this afternoon, to point out yet more parenting failures.  Nobody had thought to renew Lad’s train ticket for the new term, and so he had to pay an extra fare on the way home.  Lad says ticket inspectors are all ANAL and it was perfectly clear, as he was in school uniform, that he was a student going to/from school like he’s done for the last seven years, but no, the ticket inspector was not falling for any “my Mum didn’t renew my train pass” nonsense. No Siree.  Lad was quite tempted to punch the ticket inspector but thought better of it, and now tonight She has to find threehundredand fivebldypounds from somewhere for his train pass.  This could prove tricky.

Gingercat and I have decided to get our heads down and sleep through all the wailing and gnashing of teeth that will ensue with trying to find threehundredandfivebldypounds.

Golly I’m tired just thinking about it.

Bye for now,

Russell

 

 

New Year Drinks

blood orange ginOh dear, Readers.  It is New Year’s Eve and there is every intention of me writing my blog for you, but somebody has opened the blood orange gin and it is “slipping down very nicely”, which means there is a limited window in which to write anything meaningful.  I do apologise.

Well, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, with plenty of marvellous food and drink.  I had a smashing Christmas Day at dear Ebony’s house – there were a lot of visitors but I rather like them, so I enjoyed the fuss and they all let me have my usual armchair which was nice.  I was even given the odd treat or two, and particularly enjoyed the sausage rolls.   Eventually my family returned well into the evening and took me home.  The day had started nicely, to be fair, with presents  under the tree which included, wait for it, a new bottle of Fox Poo Shampoo!!  How fortuitous was that?!  I only said, on Christmas Eve, that I had nearly run out – well, dear Pippa came up trumps and has bought me another year’s supply.  Fabulous.

So Christmas Day was pleasant, with a festive walk first thing in the morning;  this involved many a cheery “Happy Christmas” to all the other dog walkers out early.  I did find it strange, however, that someone was fishing at the river by 10am on Christmas morning – I can understand that the peace and solitude is preferable to the chaos of Christmas morning at home,  but it did strike one as an unusual activity for this particular day of the year.  I don’t like fishermen at the best of times, as you know Readers, with their nasty long rods and unnatural stillness, so I barked menacingly at him.  He ignored me which I felt was rude and unfestive.

Then on Boxing Day there was another lovely walk at the river and lots of sitting around sleeping and eating.  It was just perfect.

Today has been a funny old day.  She went to a town far away this morning, to sit in John Lewis and gaze around at all the lovely things that we can never quite afford.  The clean smell and tidiness in there is, as Regular Readers know, quite calming and much cheaper than therapy.  Now, She has been given a gift voucher to spend at John Lewis by NanaAged88, as NanaAged88 is fed up with She going to the hallowed halls but never buying anything.  Oh the choice, Readers. Should it be spent on Eqyptian cotton towels?  200 thread- count bed linen?  A sensible shirt reduced in the Hobbs section?  Or a couple of buttons on a Ralph Lauren t shirt….. it really was quite overwhelming.  The decision was narrowed down to a floor lamp that was half price as it had lost its box, a radio for the kitchen or a pair of pyjamas reduced to £17.  You can see the dilemma.  In the end, the voucher remained intact and the only purchase was a small nail varnish, as the pyjamas were eliminated due to there being a pair in Sainsburys for £10, the radio was eliminated for being slightly too large and the lamp was eliminated for the LED bulbs being too expensive at £12 for 3.   But on the plus side, we still have a voucher to spend in John Lewis! 

I know, Readers.

So tonight is New Year’s Eve, and Lad has gone to a town far away – that surprised you, didn’t it! – with his friends for a couple of fizzy drinks.  There was a stern lecture before he left about Staying Safe and Idiots Out Drinking and the such like.  Lad yawned and said he would be ok.  Lad will probably text She at 3.30am to wish her a Happy New Year, and I’m sure She is looking forward to this.  Then there will be another text message sometime tomorrow, asking for a lift home.

Young Lad and He have gone to the snooker club this evening, for a fun-filled hour or two of hitting some balls round a table. 

 I am having a cosy night in with She (in her new Sainsbury’s pyjamas) and Gingercat.  We have food, drink, candles, blankets and Netflix, and this is all we need for a Good Time.   The food has been a little disappointing, actually.  Someone was fixated on the thought of a Sparks Means Marks prawn linguine for this evening, but left it until mid afternoon to pop over to Sparks Means Marks. Alas, the ready meal shelves were stripped bare!  Crowds of people were fighting over the last few lasagnes and four cheese raviolis – but there was no prawn linguine in sight.  Oh the bitter pill of realising one is too late to the party….

And so a  low-fat smoked haddock risotto from another store was purchased but it really wasn’t that great, and didn’t all get eaten.  I was quite pleased to be given the container, but it was nowhere near as nice as a prawn linguine container would have been.  There is some talk of a bag of mini cheddars in a few minutes, to try to raise the standard of tonight’s meal.

Sadly, Friends, I am still having a few problems with my hip and am not quite as flexible as usual.  For instance, I find it a little tricky to get up the stairs to bed, and instead of racing everyone and pushing them out the way, I am clambering up much more slowly.  I have also struggled a couple of times to jump on the sofa or into my armchair.  The Evil Vet is going to see me on Thursday this week, to have  a look and find out whether it is my hip or back that is problematic.  I imagine they will weigh me again and do a lot of tutting, and She will  be told I have to Lose Weight yet again.    She is crossing her fingers and hoping that XRays are not involved as XRays are bldyexpensive and nobody has any money.  

The Evil Vet does not take John Lewis vouchers.

I did snatch a small portion of chocolate fridge cake the other day, but don’t tell anyone.  It was being transferred from one dish to another and a whole slab fell on the floor – as quick as you could say butter, cream, dark chocolate and biscuits, I hoovered up several small (ish) pieces.  I am none the worse for this experience despite the ratio of dog to unsuitable ingredients.

Tonight’s cosy New Year Night In was going to involve a) writing a list of jobs for tomorrow  b) a pedicure and manicure   c) returning emails (long-overdue) to our Australian relatives.  None of this is going to happen, now that the blood orange gin is open.  Any attempt at painting one’s nails with the new nail varnish will need a lot of squinting and deep concentration, and I can’t see it happening.  In fact, I think we should just hunt through the cupboards for the mini Cheddars – this seems far more sensible to me.

Well it’s been a funny old year, Friends, with a few ups and downs, but I have stayed true to myself throughout and  continued to raid bins, tear the laminate off the kitchen cupboards, throw the recycling round the garden and cover the lounge carpet in potato peelings every so often.  I feel it’s important to stick to what you know.

Readers, I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year and thank you so much for still being there.

Bye for now,

Russell

Christmas Wishes

tipped over It is Christmas Eve, Friends, and I have been wishing very hard for a few things.  Firstly I wish everyone would go out and leave me here on my own for a bit – you will remember that this time last year I ate 12 mini mince pies while my family were out for Christmas drinks, and we had to go to the emergency vet at 11pm.  I have been SO looking forward to tonight, for they were bound to go out for Christmas drinks again, and I’ve had my eye on the selection boxes and some prawns that are de-frosting on the working surface.

But NO! She has stayed in!  Lad is out in a town far away with his friends, and Young Lad and He are out, but to my utter dismay She said that there was no bldy way She was leaving me home alone this Christmas Eve, so the pyjamas are on, her friend Gordon is fizzing away in a special Christmas glass, and I have NO opportunity whatsoever to eat the chocolates and prawns.  This is very vexing, as I feel they would have been a nice combination. 

Oh, we can pretend that this is due to her being so bldyknackered in the run-up to Christmas Day with all the bldyshopping, bldycooking, bldywrapping and bldytidying up, but I know for a fact that the decision to stay home in pyjamas was taken purely to stop me enjoying myself. 

Another of my wishes has been about the brandy butter.  While this was being made tonight, a lump flew off the electric beaters and landed on the floor.  I was there like a shot and ate it.  Readers, brandy butter is divine. How I wish that the little ramekin pot of heaven could fall out of the fridge when they open the door, straight into my mouth.

And my final wish – nay dream – is to find the kitchen bin like it is in the photo above, EVERY DAY for the rest of my life.  Oh the fun I had the other day, when She drove Lad to the station and was gone for ten minutes – but hadn’t put the bin out!  Just look at the state of it!  There had been mass-production of brownies and shortbread that morning and the bin was overflowing with baking paper from the cake tins – it was nothing short of bliss.  I dragged everything out of the bin and pulled a lot of it into the lounge all over the carpet, and ate as much as I could before She returned home and shouted at me. 

Tomorrow it is Christmas Day and they are off to relatives for lunch.  I, yet again, have not been invited because these relatives, of whom I am particularly fond as one of them is very pretty, have an extremely over-sized white cat called Snowy who would gouge my eyes out if I stepped foot in the place.  So I am going for Christmas lunch at dear, dear Ebony’s house where I shall spend the afternoon being spoiled and fussed over, and hopefully asleep in an armchair.  I think there are a lot of visitors at dear Ebony’s house tomorrow, with it being Christmas Day, but they will just have to accept that I am a guest and have first dibs of the armchair.

We walked to my friend dear Pippa’s house this afternoon, to deliver some presents.  As soon as I recognised the road we were in, I started running fast towards Pippa’s house and wagged my tail.  Luckily they were in,  so I wasted no time in making myself at home – I needed to check what was in the kitchen first, in case anyone had been making a cheese sandwich as they are wont to do at Pippa’s house.  I do love it when anyone heads into Pippa’s kitchen for cheese sandwich making.   She kept shouting at me, telling me I was rude for treating Pippa’s house as though I own it, but I couldn’t care less. Pippa was very pleased to see me and barked a lot, then we did some gentle sparring with our lips curled back and a lot of growling – Pippa’s Pack Leader’s Mum did say, rather warily, “are they playing?”  but everyone laughed and said “oh yes, they love each other. ”  It just seems very vicious to an outsider.

Well, Christmas Eve or not, I was forced to have a bath today.  This is partly because I need to be clean and smell nice for Christmas Day at Ebony’s house with all their visitors, and partly because I rolled in cack this morning up in the fields.  Readers, you should see the state of the fields above the river – everywhere flooded really badly this week and the river burst its banks, leaving the path completely submerged.  See diagram.

flood

This diagram shows someone trying to walk along the path even though it is patently obvious that it is under five feet of water.   Thankfully we didn’t try as She says her welly boots (only a year old!) have a hole in them and She didn’t want a soakingbldywet foot.  Apart from the flooding, though, Friends, this really is quite a beautiful picture don’t you think?  There were ducks and birds swimming on what is normally a grassy area and footpath.  I felt it was quite unnecessary to spoil the ambience by striking up a conversation with another dog walker about how much raw sewage might be in the water.

So as well as hoovering out the car, washing the kitchen floor and scrubbing the shower screens – these are typical Christmas Eve activities, I presume – we also had to fit in “bath the dog.”  I am very nearly out of Fox Poo shampoo, but I have to say it has lasted marvellously as dear Pippa bought it for me last Christmas!  That’s very nearly a year and Lord knows I’ve had a lot of baths. 

They did all go out for a short while this afternoon, now I think about it, but someone shut all the doors so I couldn’t get near any food or bins.  Lad and Young Lad were told it is a Christmas tradition for them to take She to Costalotta in town on Christmas Eve and buy her a coffee as She deserved it after all the Running Around and Work of Christmas.  Lad and Young Lad can’t really recall this being a Christmas Eve tradition but they knew better than to argue and so off to Costalotta they went.   Lad queued up and paid while Young Lad sat down and kept She company at the table.   This won’t come as a surprise to you. 

Goodness me, Readers, I have been notified by Amazon that a few more of my books have been purchased!  They must be wrapped up under someone’s Christmas tree somewhere – what an excellent choice of present.  It’s hard to believe that it is a year and a half since I became a published author – where does the time go?

I have one more Christmas wish.  I hope you all have a lovely  peaceful Christmas and enjoy time with your families and friends.  Preferably with some nice food.  Thank you so much for hanging on in there and still reading my musings on the blog – what loyal Friends you are.

I will let you know whether Lad makes it home on the last train tonight (does he know they finish earlier on Christmas Eve?  Methinks not), whether I manage to taste a little more brandy butter, and how Christmas lunch is tomorrow. 

Merry Christmas,

Russell

Decorating

decorating I think I may have mentioned, Readers, that I helped with the Christmas decorations last weekend by pulling them out of the boxes and dragging them round the floor.  My particular favourite was the glittery ribbon that was all over the carpet – the glitter fell off quite pleasingly –  and the Christmas Crackers that I ripped into small pieces. 

Well it’s been a funny old week. The hideous Christmas tree from Pidl has been quite the cause celebre  round here, and photos of it have been shared and ridiculed all over town.  She became quite defensive of it and when random strangers called it “appalling”, a decision was made.  There was to be no giving up with the Pidl tree, and so it has been brought into the hall, had some of the lengthier/more wieldy branches pruned and is now squashed into a dark corner with some coloured  lights on it. (The tree has been tied to the radiator pipe with string to stop it committing suicide again.)  In the pitch dark it actually looks passable, especially if you’ve been at the Christmas gin.

Being ten days before Christmas, there has been a lot of Frantic Baking going on.  Last week saw the annual shortbread-making festival and the kitchen was in a dreadful state with crumbs and icing sugar everywhere. It was disgraceful and I had to clear it up.  The annual shortbread-making always starts off in a nice mood, with Christmas music in the background, but the atmosphere quickly changes to one of slight and then intense irritation with mild swearing.  Then there is the clearing up.  Most of the swearing occurs when transferring the shortbread Christmas trees from the baking tray to the cooling rack – as someone has the patience of a gnat and doesn’t wait for it to cool down properly, the shortbread trees often break in half and the tree effect is ruined.  I don’t mind whether my shortbread is tree-shaped or not, and happily clear up any bits that fall on the floor.

Tonight it has been the turn of a large batch of chocolate brownies, which have made marginally less mess due to the lack of rolling out.

My hip is much better, Friends, you’ll be glad to know and I managed a full week of daycare with dear Pippa and Ebony.  I even managed to keep up with them on our long walks and didn’t limp at all.  I’ve been told there is No Money for Vet Bills until the Next Century, so that means I have to stay off the mince pies this year and avoid injury at all cost.  We’ll see.

Down at the river at the weekend, I was shocked by the amount of flooding.  The river has burst its banks in a couple of places, and the fields are in an awful state.  It has rained and rained for ages here and the ground can’t absorb any more.  This was the very dull conversation being conducted by all the Pack Leaders down there, while the dogs all wandered through the river water looking for dead rats. 

Of course, this meant that all the local football pitches are water logged, so Young Lad’s football match was called off yet again and She swapped a thumbs-up emoji with Loadsakids.  Then they went for coffee at Costalotta to celebrate.  Costalotta have put up the price of a small Americano (the cheapest drink in the place other than tap water) to £2.20, which is less irksome than the previous £2.10 which necessitated endless scratching around trying to find a 10p coin, but still bldyexpensive.

I went to visit Grandma at the weekend as there was a big family lunch. He,  Lad and Young Lad came with me and we had a splendid time – as you know, Grandma is an excellent cook and made roast beef for dinner with all the trimmings.  It smelled divine and I did my best to sit right in the way in the kitchen so that any falling pieces of beef fell into my mouth.  We went for walks on the seafront, and other than that I stretched out on Grandma’s sofa and had a lovely sleep.  There wasn’t much room for anyone else but that didn’t bother me.  Young Lad didn’t want to go for walks with me as he was tired and had to be encouraged.  Or FORCED as Young Lad called it.  Young Lad wanted to sleep on the sofa just like me.   Too much is expected of us.

Lad met his friends in a town far away and they went to a nightclub.  If you get there before 11pm, it is free to go IN the nightclub and you just pay extortionate prices for the drinks, but what Lad and his friends had failed to grasp was that this is quite a popular policy and so everyone tries to get in before 11pm.  Hence if you rock up at 10.50pm you stand no chance whatsoever and have to queue in the torrential rain for 45 minutes, then pay an entry fee.  I know, Readers, Lad is having to learn a lot of harsh lessons about life these days.  Poor Lad was completely drenched and had to remain in soaking wet clothes until he got home at lunchtime the next day.  Lad thinks he may have pneumonia.

Lad has been given no sympathy whatsoever.

Whilst everyone was out at the weekend, She used the opportunity to do a Lot of Tidying Up.  The ground floor of the house has been unspeakably messy for quite a while, with Lad’s revision notes (yes still) , school bags, bills and paperwork all over the bldyplace.  Everywhere has been given a good tidy up and clean, and there is now one enormous pile of crap in the study for sorting out, instead of several hundred piles on every surface imaginable.  This was a Very Satisfying Weekend and She rewarded herself with a pastel de nata in Costalotta which, incidentally, is about the cheapest thing you can eat to go with the cheapest coffee you can buy.  Give me strength.

Golly I’m tired, Readers – with all this coming and going to Grandma’s, and the walks with my newly-recovered hip.  Time for me to get my head down.

See you soon,

Russell

 

 

 

 

Oh, Christmas Tree….

christmas tree As Money Is Tight at the moment, Readers, it was decided that instead of purchasing this year’s Christmas tree at the nice garden centre, where one can wander around looking at shape and needle drop before making a decision, we would buy ours from Pidl, the low cost supermarket.  Pidl does not have its trees out on display for inspection but they are slung on a trolley, already tied up in white mesh so that you have no idea what the damn thing will look like.  It is a risk, Friends, but for £17.99 as opposed to double that amount at the garden centre, a risk worth taking.  Or so it seemed.

As you can see from the photo, Pidl’s Christmas tree is very unique.  Indeed, the girl on the checkout commented that my Pack Leader might be pleasantly surprised at how nice the tree was, once it was free of the white netting – oh what a sense of humour.  The checkout girl even used the word ‘rustic’ as they discussed what sort of shape it might be.

Gingercat and I have hardly stopped laughing since the monstrosity was erected in the lounge.  Poor Lad was made to stand out in the garden in his pyjamas with a saw, to cut off three inches from the bottom of the trunk, but alas this has done nothing for Pidl’s tree’s shape.  Every half hour or so Young Lad yells, ” it’s leaning over again,” and She has to come running in, lie on the floor and try to tighten the screw thingies into the trunk.  What fun this promises to be in the, let’s see, three weeks left until Christmas.

The words FALSE and BLDY ECONOMY have been bandied about here a lot today and there has been some swearing.  The mood has not been Christmassy at all despite Michael Buble’s best efforts.

She told her good friend Loadsakids about the bldy hideous tree, and Loadsakids suggested taking it back to Pidl.  This seems very labour intensive as it will involve taking off all the lights and decorations, hoisting it out of the house and somehow getting it into the car, and then three hours of hoovering up pine needles.  No, Friends, my Pack Leader has decided to show photos of the appalling tree to the manager at Pidl and is hoping he might give her a bottle of gin in recompense.

Poor Lad was put to work AGAIN this afternoon and instructed to put up the lights round the front door and windows etc – I do feel too much is asked of him.  Young Lad’s role in all this had been to check that all the sets of Christmas lights worked, before anyone wasted their time putting them up on trees or houses.  Lad did a very good job of putting up the outside lights and She went indoors to switch them on.

They don’t work.  Everyone was cross with Young Lad and don’t believe he did his task properly.

Enough of all that.  As you know, I have been on restricted exercise for over a week due to my dodgy hip and I have been bored rigid, Friends.  Really, it was awful.  On Thursday I was allowed a short walk round the block in the evening which was heavenly, as there were interesting smells, and today we managed a good old walk down at the river.  I limped once on the way home and was shouted at, something like “oh for God’s sake not again,” or some such pleasantry.  In fact I was so bored yesterday that when Lad had gone to a town far away for the evening with his friends, and Young Lad had gone to stay at Detention Friend’s house, and She had popped to Tesco for a low-fat prawn linguine to de-stress from the tree debacle, I got hold of a box of Christmas decorations, tablecloths etc and dragged them all over the floor.  This was the most fun I’ve had for ages.  I was shouted at when She returned ten minutes later, as there was a lot of glitter and some ribbons all over the place, but really I did need that stimulation after such a boring week.

My anal glands have played up a bit this week, Readers.  One evening I was happily asleep on the sofa when there was a slight leakage and everyone started moaning at me and holding their jumpers over their noses.  How ridiculous.   At least I know I won’t be taken to the Evil Vet to have them squeezed for a while, as we had a bill at the Evil Vet’s just last week and can’t afford another one.

Down at the river today I saw my good friend Buddy the Bouncy Labrador, and indeed he was bouncing so high up into a tree that he could grab the branches in his teeth and swing around.  Buddy is part labrador and part kangaroo, and you would never know he has just had something nasty called chemotherapy.  Well done, Buddy.  Everyone at the river has missed me dreadfully as I haven’t been down there for over a week, and there were lots of sighs of relief when they all saw  me today.  It’s good to know that someone likes me.

I spent most of last week with dear Ebony or dear Pippa at daycare, but of course wasn’t allowed to go out for walks which was frustrating.  She is just about to organise my daycare for the week ahead – oh the things one has to do when one chooses to work FULL BLDY TIME – and it has been decided that I can now go back to walks as normal.  This is a relief.  I have been told that if I start limping again, there will be trouble.

Readers, you know and I know that over the coming week with a Christmas Tree (allegedly), decorations, boxes of stuff all over the place, I am bound to have the odd moment of poor behaviour.  They will try hard to shut all the doors, lift up all the bins and cover all bases but we know full well that I will find something appalling to do.  I can hardly wait.

See you soon, 

Russell