Difficult Days

In this photo, Friends, you can see me trying to relax on the garden sofa after an exceptionally hard day. I can’t remember what I’d been doing, but I’m sure it was exhausting. Most days in my life are. But at least it is warm enough to have dragged the cushions out of the shed and slung them on the garden sofa. This bodes well – maybe summer is around the corner.

I have no idea how long it is since I last wrote my blog, Readers, but I do know that several of you have commented on the absence of my thoughts for so long. I’m so sorry. It’s not my fault – Pack Leader has been ridiculously preoccupied with other things and has given Gingercat, Young Lad and I scant attention. It’s a wonder we’re still alive. There has been the usual wittering on about ‘workload’ and ‘doing stuff on the laptop’ all evening, and then at the weekends we are generally at New Buddy’s house. Our own house rarely has a hoover run round it these days, and the whole place is filthy. Don’t look in the corners if you ever pop round – it’s embarrassing. Last night She had to try and catch a very large black spider that was running around Young Lad’s bedroom floor – even the spider looked appalled at the squalor we live in and decided to go round to the neighbours’ house. But hark – what’s that I heard earlier this evening? Yes indeed, it was the forgotten tones of the vacuum cleaner – this only happened because it is tipping down with rain and cricket practice has been cancelled. Otherwise no cleaning would have been done YET AGAIN.

It’s amazing what you can do when cricket training is cancelled. The dishwasher has been emptied, sheets changed, and the ground floor hoovered. Plus Young Lad was cooked a proper meal of steak and creamy mashed potato etc – instead of the usual shoddy fare he is given. Young Lad has taken to cooking his own meals lately, and seems to live by the motto, “when in doubt, cook egg on toast.” I quite agree with him. Though I would advise a large amount of bacon with it.

There is a lot to catch up on. Young Lad is watching Masterchef, and all is peaceful so I’ll fill you in as much as I can. Gingercat has been re-named GingerTwat by New Buddy which I feel is a little harsh, but he really is quite annoying. Gingercat, that is, not New Buddy. New Buddy can walk on water as far as I’m concerned. Gingercat, however, is now even worse at remembering that he’s just been fed, and yowls loudly after every meal, wandering around and asking for his dinner. He has a hideously loud, raucous yowl now which smacks of a cat that has lost the plot. He is sitting in MY chair as I write, which is bang out of order, so I have no choice but to sprawl along the sofa. Honestly.

I am having a lot of trouble with my hip and am not as mobile as I once was. Pack Leader says I probably have arthritis and need to see the Evil Vet for a bldy expensive Xray – but of course She hasn’t had time to take me. There is a small window of opportunity tomorrow evening between meetings, Young Lad’s Maths tutor, and the gym. It’s good to know my needs are prioritised like this. I really do struggle with walking, especially in the evenings and I look sad as I hobble along. Friends, I am getting old. It happens to the best of us . Mind you, when New Buddy shouts, “biscuit” and chucks one out in his garden, I go gamboling out after it like a spring lamb. New Buddy thinks my arthritis is selective. There wasn’t much stiffness in my hip the other weekend when they cooked a barbecue, either. Strange. But I do need to see the Evil Vet as the natural remedy tablets I’m taking aren’t really doing enough, so I need proper drugs. And a bldy expensive Xray. And my anal glands drained again. And a pedicure. Pack Leader is checking her bank account. I don’t know why she’s bothering -there is never anything in there.

Now , you all know how much I adore New Buddy and New Buddy The Younger. They treat me like a prince, rightly so, and give me so much love and attention. I always behave impeccably at New Buddy’s house as I have so much respect for him. Well. I used to always behave impeccably. Last weekend I forgot myself and thought I was back at home, reverting to the abysmal attitude I show here.

New Buddy and She had popped out to look at a car (how dull). I was really annoyed as I like to spend my Saturday mornings going into town to the cafe to meet my fans. I was somewhat irritated to find they went out without me. So I managed to drag a huge black bin liner of rubbish round the garden, rip it open and eat loads of stuff that was inside. This included some out of date, putrid raw burgers. I stuffed them down like a mad thing, then immediately vomited them back up all over New Buddy’ garden. Undeterred, I went into the kitchen and found the big bag of my food. I chewed my way into it, and ate around seven or eight dinners in one go.

All I will say of the next twenty four hours is that I looked very poorly. My stomach was the size and shape of a giant barrel, and my eyes were glassy and glazed. Apparently I looked completely stoned, whatever that means. The smells from my backside and the comfort breaks all over the lawn for the rest of the weekend were something to behold. New Buddy even had to get up early to escape from his bedroom due to the noxious gas. Pack Leader was so worried about me on Saturday night that She debated whether to take me to the Emergency Evil Vet instead of going next door for drinks with friends, but a glass or two of bubbly won.

Eventually, after fasting for a couple of days, I recovered. I would do it all over again in the blink of an eye, Friends.

Lad appeared home late one night recently. As usual he hadn’t told anyone he was coming home, and everyone was asleep in bed, when he let himself in at half past midnight. I didn’t even look up from my bed. What’s the point? She was very cross with me yet again and said I’m a rubbish guard dog, and we could have been murdered in our beds, but it’s only ever Lad! And we know full well he heads straight for the kitchen and the sandwich toaster. Lad headed off to university again the next afternoon – I know, it barely seems worth it – but he and I had a lovely day together before he left. He even took me for a short walk. I love Lad. He is very misunderstood. I wonder when he’ll pop back again.

I loved my trip in the camper van during the Easter holidays – we only had one night away and I feel I need longer so that I can wind down properly. I will suggest this.

She had to buy a car at the weekend, as She’s old one cost £500 a couple of weeks ago for repairs, and there are loads of other things going wrong with it. I’ve never liked it, Friends, and could have told She it was a bad buy. Anyway, armed with her advisor and mechanic (New Buddy) She found a better car. It is all black, and lovely and clean and valeted inside. The first time I was to be in the boot, sheets were draped everywhere to stop my white hair covering the boot with fluff. This took a lot of careful planning and securing. I took no notice and ran (yes ran) round to the passenger door, jumping on the front seats and sat on the driver’s seat. White fur went all over the immaculate interior. I found it very funny. She didn’t.

Funnily enough, Young Lad has just cooked himself egg on toast again. Well done, Young Lad.

Well, the cricket season is upon us and we have managed two training sessions before rain interfered. I have thoroughly enjoyed rushing round the boundary eating bird poo all evening. It is an annual tradition that I look forward to so much. Young Lad has his first match next Tuesday evening, and a whole summer of cricketing evenings stretches before us. I can’t wait. There will be lots of baking in the kitchen, and lots of cake mixture dripping down the cupboard doors for me to lick. Happy, happy days Friends.

Hope you are all well.

See you soon,


Ginger Cat

Goodness me, Readers, look what naughty Gingercat did recently! One minute the kitchen was fairly tidy, the next there was an overflowing bin tipped over and rubbish dragged all over the shop. Just look at Gingercat – posing with his handiwork. That cat has more front than Blackpool. I was disgusted by his behaviour. There was even an empty box of Covid Test kits amongst the mess – I mean, what on earth was Gingercat thinking? (Friends, I know the empty Covid Test box should have been in Cardboard Recycling, not the bin, but standards are increasingly shoddy round here. Bad luck, planet.)

Gingercat really does need to think about his behaviour. He drives me insane with the yowling every time he has been fed and then immediately forgets he’s been fed – honestly, it goes on and on. Plus he’s taken to sleeping in my chair recently, which is unacceptable. I’m working up the courage to give him a piece of my mind, but I’m not quite there yet. Gingercat has sharp claws.

Readers, if any of you Doubting Thomases are thinking that it was me that trashed the kitchen, I am very hurt.

Well as usual it’s been ages since my last blog. In fact, last time I wrote it was my birthday. I had some lovely treats from my special friends dear, dear Ebony and dear, dear Pippa and I even had a little present from the neighbours. What do you think my own family bought me for my tenth birthday? That’s right. Nothing. She was far too busy and couldn’t be bothered, Lad is away at university and Young Lad was, er, on the Xbox. It’s dreadful, Friends, the lack of concern for my welfare. Thank goodness for New Buddy, who saved the day by taking me to PetsRVetsRus or whatever it’s called and spending a small fortune on me. I had a marvellous time, Readers, sliding my body under the counters and cleaning up all the spilt biscuits and food. For a dog of my advanced years, it’s amazing how supple I can be if there’s a gravy bone underneath a low counter. I had such fun in PetsRVetsRus, and I was very glad that every time She said, “No, he doesn’t need that,” New Buddy totally ignored her and bought it anyway. Oh there were biscuits, bones, a special travelling water bottle, a new MASSIVE Kong toy….I wasn’t so keen on the flea treatment or the muzzle but I let it go.

New Buddy continues to be the best thing since sliced bread, as far as I’m concerned, as he actually bothers to do things like brush and comb me, and lets me sleep uninterrupted in sunny spots round the house and garden. He does NOT make me go out for walks that I don’t want to go on, and has a similar view to my own of what weekends are for. This involves sleeping and relaxation rather than hiking through the countryside. Far more sensible. Any form of exercise should be limited to walking to a nice cafe for brunch. We tend to do this a lot.

That reminds me! Last time I was at the nice cafe with New Buddy and She for brunch, the lovely lady who works there took my photo, as she was starting a “Dog of the Month” thing on their Facebook page. I am meant to be the very first Dog of The Month because I am so handsome. (And go there a lot.) I must check out their Facebook page to see if I feature yet. I tried hard to look really beguiling in the photo. Pack Leader said I looked suicidal as usual.

It’s been hectic round here, as usual, with Very Long Hours at work and a Heavy Workload, which means there is no time to give me any attention whatsoever. Added to this, it is Mock Exam week for Young Lad this week, so you can imagine what the lead-up has been like….. Young Lad is not awfully keen on the idea of revision, and rather views revising Anglo Saxon History in much the way I view having my anal glands emptied.

Talking of which, She dragged me to the Evil Vet last night for my six-weekly manicure. But I was tricked, Friends! Not only did I have my claws clipped, but once I was in my muzzle and there was no escape, I also had my fatty lumps felt, my anal glands drained (they were VERY full), and my teeth looked at because my breath stinks apparently. Oh I was SO cross. Fancy having all these indignities thrust upon you when you aren’t prepared. I was so annoyed. I did, however, accept the treat that the Evil Vet gave me for being so good.

Nobody ever takes She to have her fatty lumps looked at, and there are plenty of them.

The kitchen smells divine tonight, Friends, as She has been frantically baking for something on at work tomorrow. There are cheesecakes, fruit cake, cookies…. I made sure that I lay across the kitchen floor for the hour and a half of baking activity so that I was completely in the way and able to catch any mixture that dropped. I was sworn at and told I’m a nuisance. Nice.

Well, I haven’t seen Lad for a few weeks but I’m sure he is very busy at university. Nobody is ever entirely sure what he’s so busy doing; both New Buddy and She remember their own days at university and can’t recall ever being busy. But there you go, Lad is very underestimated. I hope Lad comes home over the Easter holidays so I can catch up with him – we do miss Lad, in a strange sort of way.

Young Lad, apart from the stress and trauma that is GCSE Mock week, has also been very busy recently – yes, really – in the kitchen. It suddenly became apparent that Young Lad was meant to have planned, cooked, evaluated and practised several dishes for a meal. Young Lad hadn’t quite got round to any of this. So there were ten days of a VERY tense atmosphere, a lot of snapping and snarling such endearing comments like, “chop it FASTER!!! FASTER!!!! Use TWO hands for the love of God!!” and so on. Poor Young Lad. To be fair, the dishes he cooked tasted absolutely divine and She suddenly stopped moaning at him as She shovelled them down her gullet. Young Lad cooked chilli bbq king prawns, roast cod with fennel and orange, mini garlic sauteed potatoes, and chocolate fondant. Well done, Young Lad.

Nobody gave me any of this to taste, and I feel my feedback would have been useful.

Well, Friends, it has been a long day and I really do need to settle down for the night. My anal glands are cleared out, nails trimmed, fatty lumps felt and teeth examined – but my proudest moment was standing on the scales at the Evil Vet’s. In fact I ran straight over and stood on the scales as soon as we went in the room – that’s how cooperative and well-behaved I am. My weight has stayed the same for a long time now, and I am at the better end of my range. Pack Leader said something ridiculous like, “ooh a proud Mummy moment” but I can’t for the life of me see how She can take the credit for this. Obviously the contents of the bin haven’t been very calorific lately. I must try harder.

I hope you’re all well, Friends, in our strange world and strange times.

See you soon,


A Decade of Me

I know, Readers, I know. I don’t look it, and I certainly don’t behave like it, but it was in fact my tenth birthday this week. Ten whole years I have been alive, causing carnage every day at home and behaving impeccably everywhere else.

You would think my tenth birthday might necessitate some celebration, but no. Not in my house, Friends, and in all honesty it didn’t surprise me. Nobody cares. In fact I spent most of my tenth birthday on a doggy sleepover at dear, dear Pippa’s house as my own family were away or too busy to look after me – I ask you! Now, I’ve been told that She and New Buddy were away on a little trip, most of which was spent in a large Scandinavian furniture store, and that New Buddy kept picking things up to buy for me as a birthday present, but She snapped,”NO!” at him each time. This is typical. Thank you, New Buddy, for trying. (Though I really wouldn’t have been impressed by a cuddly toy and would have preferred the meatballs or hot dog from the Scandinavian furniture store.)

The day AFTER my tenth birthday, my family actually deigned to be at home and I must say I spent a very pleasant evening last night curled up on She’s lap and slightly sprawled across Young Lad, as they watched television together. It was a cosy family scene, and Gingercat joined in too. This was a rare but peaceful moment in our house, and we were all very happy.

The same won’t happen tonight, however. She, Young Lad and Gingercat are all here, but I have phenomenally bad wind tonight and won’t be allowed to join them. There has been a scented candle on the go since mid afternoon, but the lounge still smells like a septic tank. I don’t know what I’ve eaten, Friends, but it is a little potent. She says I have bad breath too – I kept yawning in her face whilst sitting on her lap last night – so I appear to reek from both ends. I can’t help it. Really and truly She should take me to the Evil Vet to see why my breath stinks – I might have a terrible tooth abscess or something – but She says She can’t bldy afford it, and I can wait till my next pedicure appointment. Quite how the Evil Vet will look at my teeth I don’t know, as they have to muzzle me to even get me through the door. I suppose they know what they are doing.

I had a MARVELLOUS time last Sunday, Readers, as I was taken out for long walk in the countryside with my old friend Ruffles . Ruffles is a very large, very bouncy and very energetic Cockapoo and I haven’t seen him for TWO years!! How we leapt all over each other with joy when we were reunited after all that time. Now, poor Ruffles has been very poorly indeed recently – he had eaten something stupid – and was in a A Very Bad Way. But after worrying his Pack Leader and running up a huge vet bill for cutting his stomach open and removing things, Ruffles is now back to normal. We had tremendous fun on our one and a half hour’s walk – Good Lord, I was exhausted.

As I write this tonight, Friends, I am looking around the room and am quite pleased with my handiwork. She spent a whole day recently “tidying up” as the house was a bombsite – “tidying up” means clearing up two rooms and chucking all the stuff in the study. Anyway, the lounge and kitchen have been looking quite organised and clean all week for a change, so I got hold of some bits from the recycling bag outside and dragged them in the lounge. Under the dining room table I can see a ripped up breadsticks box, cat food wrappers and a plastic pot that once contained houmous. She will have to lie down on the floor and wriggle under the table to clear all the mess up. Serves her right. The garden also has things from the recycling sacks thrown all over the shop where I’ve ripped them up and spat bits of cardboard everywhere. It looks a complete hovel. I don’t EVER do this at dear, dear Ebony or Pippa’s houses when I’m there.

That said, last weekend at New Buddy’s house (which really is my weekend home, let’s face it), I did make a bold attempt to re-distribute his recycling round the garden. I got as far as a ham packet, Friends, and ran off with it before New Buddy shouted at me. I apologised straight away and explained I had simply forgotten where I was.

Young Lad has been busy in the kitchen recently, Friends – well, occasionally – and put his new pasta machine to use. Young Lad did a very good job, making pasta from scratch and rolling it out many times in the machine, and using the tagliatelle cutting setting. They had a delicious dinner of tagliatelle aglio e olio and it really was marvellous. Well done, Young Lad. Then She decided tonight that She would use the pasta that hadn’t been used for the tagliatelle, and try to make tortelloni. Ha ha ha. How I laughed, Friends. Young Lad was busy doing some revision (yes, really) and then relaxing on the Xbox, so She cracked on all by herself. The mushroom and sage butter filling smelled quite tasty to be fair, but dear God…..the fuss cutting out circles of pasta , filling them and shaping them into crescents… the end result was grey and stodgy and smacked of little talent. I really think She should leave these things to Young Lad. Admittedly She had already made a nice cheesecake and gluten -free choc chip cookies, but the tortelloni was a step too far and She should know her limits.

I went to my favourite cafe recently, Friends, on a Saturday morning with New Buddy and She. This had become a rather nice routine for me, but recently they’ve been going to the gym instead. I know! How selfish and unnecessary. I was very glad to see normal service resume last weekend, and the gym visit was moved to the afternoon so that I could go to the cafe in the morning. Quite right too. Sometimes they forget to hang on to my lead and I wander off round the place – nobody seems to mind. There is always something to hoover up off the floor, and I feel I’m providing something of a service.

I had rather a shock when I went for daycare to dear Ebony’s house recently. There is a new resident at Ebony’s house, called Bill. Bill is a very small, very young kitten. I’m slightly scared of Bill. I was very well behaved, though and let Bill sniff my nose and try to kiss me. Bill has sharp claws.

There is a lot of shouting from the other room tonight, as Young Lad is on the Xbox with his friends and things are getting heated. I don’t know what the point of it all is. I think Young Lad deserves to let off steam, though, as he has had a demanding day. Not only did he have to get up and have a shower (“AND HAIR WASH!!”) by lunchtime today, but then he was dragged into town for a haircut. The only way to make Young Lad agree to this is to take him to Costalotta for lunch. This makes the haircut quite expensive but needs must. Then Young Lad was forced to do school work as he has exams coming up, so HAD to do revision for both Food Tech and History for goodness’ sake. Poor Young Lad. Too much is expected of him, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Then there is Lad. Lad is still at university and has surprised us all by not coming home for the last five weeks. Lad is in She’s bad books as usual, in many, many ways – not least because She spent an afternoon assembling Lad’s workout bench, which was a Christmas present. This required a lot of huffing and puffing, and moaning about crap instruction booklets, and failing to line up holes properly, but eventually Lad’s workout bench was assembled. She texted Lad to brag about having assembled his bldy workout bench and to ask when he would like She to drive it all the way down to university – Lad said don’t bother, I don’t need it here, just keep it at home. There were some firm words.

Lad is very busy, as usual. Nobody really knows what he’s very busy doing, but he is rarely able to answer text messages or phone calls. It must be exhausting being at university.

I have a lot of lumps, Friends. Apparently this is due to my age, and dogs in their more senior years do tend to grow lots of fatty lumps. I’m also a bit stiff and when I’ve been asleep and try to get up, one of my back legs isn’t quite as flexible as it used to be. I have to be lifted in and out of the Range Rover, of course, as that is very high up, but sometimes lately I’ve intimated to She that She needs to lift me into the boot of her soppy car. I really can’t be bothered to jump up. She takes pity – I know, surprising, right? – and lifts me in and out. Maybe it’s because She is getting old too, and has lumpy bits and stiff bits.

There is a massive storm forecast for tomorrow here, Friends. Obviously those of you reading this in Australia or America, it won’t affect you, but everyone in the UK has Been Warned By The Met Office. So I jolly well hope I don’t get dragged out for a walk in the woods – She has been known to be that stupid – and that we all stay in, nice and cosy and safe. For their sake I hope my bad wind clears up a little, as it really is unpleasant tonight, but hey ho.

Stay safe everyone.

See you soon,


Firm and Frank Conversations

Readers, I am heartily sick of ‘firm and frank conversations’ with New Buddy. Whenever I go to his house for Doggy Daycare, we have a major disagreement at around 2.30pm when I start demanding my 4pm dinner. Now, if I’m at home and start whining and barking (any time from 1pm actually), Pack Leader caves in within five minutes as She can’t stand me making a racket. Not New Buddy, Friends, oh no. He prides himself on his resilience and is much less flaky than Pack Leader – New Buddy Will Not Be Moved and it has become something of a challenge between the two of us. So far I have had to accept defeat, annoyingly, and wait till 4pm after New Buddy gives me a talking to, but I will not tolerate this much longer. Humph.

What on earth is Gingercat up to in the photo, I hear you ask. Well, as it happens New Buddy came to my house the other evening to teach Young Lad how to cook poached butterfly chicken with garlic butter, and fondant potatoes. Frankly this seemed over-complicated to me but the smells coming out of the kitchen were divine so I didn’t complain. New Buddy even came armed with a sharp kitchen knife as it turns out ours are inadequate, and a fresh roll of clingfilm as ours has done that annoying thing of not pulling off cleanly and being one tiny narrow strip. (The tin foil has done this too.) So Young Lad and New Buddy had a splendid time in the kitchen cooking delicious food, and I waited patiently in the lounge. When they all came in to eat, I sat very nicely looking at the plates of food, but Gingercat’s manners were dreadful, Readers, and he sat next to Young Lad, occasionally extending a paw to grab a piece of butterfly chicken. I was appalled by this greediness and lack of finesse. You wouldn’t catch me behaving like this. Honestly!

It’s been a while since my last blog – yes I know, it was just before Christmas – and I do apologise. It’s the same old lame excuse – She’s too busy. Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, Friends, and enjoyed being able to spend time with your loved ones this year. I had a splendid Christmas with Pack Leader, Lad, Young, Lad, New Buddy and the two new Buddy The Youngers – much food was cooked and much merriment had. It was smashing. Then came New Year’s Eve, Readers. Oh dear.

The plan was for Pack Leader and New Buddy to go out for dinner followed by fun and music in a pub. This was likely to go on Very Late which meant leaving me at New Buddy’s house for a Very Long Time on my own. Now, Regular Readers will know that leaving me on my own for, say, fifteen minutes, is not a good idea as I tend to find ways to entertain myself. Anyway, between them they came up with a cunning plan. I was given a bone, just as they left the house, and another bone was hidden in my bed on the landing for me to find later on. Then, in a final insult to my intelligence, they decided to leave RADIO 4 playing in the room with me, to provide me with a soothing voice and company.

Friends, I have never heard anything so dreary in my life. Oh my word. I was completely and utterly bored into submission by the offerings of BBC Radio 4 on New Year’s Eve and I slept soundly throughout the evening. I can heartily recommend switching Radio 4 on, if you ever have trouble sleeping.

I made my feelings on the matter very clear, when they finally staggered back in the small hours, and deliberately barked to be let out in the garden quite early the next day. Serves them right.

Readers, I couldn’t help laughing the other Sunday. It was decided to take New Buddy the Younger and Young Lad to the coast, for a spot of crabbing. Yes, I too think this is a stupid idea in January, but there you go. So wrapped up in coats and bobble hats, off they went… I would almost have preferred staying home with Radio 4, but wasn’t given the choice this time. Instead of a nice brisk walk along the beach or seafront, Friends, I had to spend HOURS standing still on a man-made metal jetty thing, while a pathetic attempt was made to coax crustaceans out of the water with a bit of bacon in a net. I mean, what self-respecting crab is going to want to play that game in January? Readers, I got so cold that I was shivering all over, and She – in a rare moment of sympathy – walked me around a bit to warm me up, finally sitting on a bench and allowing me to sit on the bench next to her, so She could cuddle me.

Friends, Young Lad etc didn’t manage to catch ONE crab. Not one. And the thing that was so amusing was that families of sweet little girls on the jetty were all gleefully hauling crabs out of the sea and popping them into the bucket – they had no problem whatsoever catching the crabs. Alas, not so my family. We even moved to the exact spot where pre-school children in welly boots had just pulled out loads of the damned things – but no. Not one crab. You have to laugh. Of course, She was largely to blame as She had provided the bacon, and we all decided the lack of crabs was due to her ineptitude as She hadn’t bought smoky bacon. Everyone knows that crabs only like smoky bacon.

I have to say it was really lovely having Lad at home for a few weeks over Christmas, and I did enjoy his company of a day. Lad came home complaining about his sxxxhole of a student house, and what a pigsty it is, and how his housemates never clean up and leave food everywhere. Within a day or two of being back, Lad’s nicely cleaned and tidied bedroom was covered in rubbish, plates, bowls and food so there was the occasional Heated Debate between Lad and She about the situation. I have missed those Heated Debates that Lad and She used to have quite frequently, while he was still at school. It was just like old times, Readers. Lad and Young Lad spent lots of time together over Christmas and New Year, mainly on the Xbox and not really speaking to each other, but this is Quality Time. Then Lad’s girlfriend came to stay for a few days, and that was lovely as she makes a massive fuss of me. As you know, it’s rare for me to get any attention round here.

Again like old times, Lad had a lot of work to do on his laptop while he was here – essays and exams and the like. How I’ve missed those random slightly Touretty things Lad used to shout out during A level Philosophy essays: “Descartes arguments” or “Is God the designer?” etc. It was lovely having Lad home, hearing him mutter and call out during his essay writing again.

But last Sunday it was time to take Lad back to university for the next term. The order was barked that we would be leaving at 10am on Sunday morning. At 9am on Sunday morning, Friends, Lad hadn’t even started packing…..She stomped out and went to Costalotta; the very place that has saved She’s sanity on many an occasion. Finally Lad was ready, the car was packed and off we went. I was in the boot, as I go everywhere with them plus we were popping in to see Nana Aged 90, and I know how much she likes seeing me. When we got to Nana Aged 90’s house, I ran in, totally ignoring her as usual and looked for some cat food. I had forgotten that Nana Aged 90’s cat died a few months ago. This is very disappointing.

On the way back home that evening, we dropped in to say hello to other family members who happen to have two spaniels. As I ran into their house, I headed straight for the kitchen where one of the spaniels’ bowls of food had just been put down on the floor. Quick as a flash, I grabbed mouthfuls of his food before She screeched at me and picked the bowl up. Readers, I know I let myself down a little here in terms of propriety as I hadn’t even stopped to say hello to any dogs, humans or anything on entering their property, but one has to take one’s chances wherever possible. She said I was a disgrace and an embarrassment which was a little harsh.

I am limping at the moment, Friends. Well, some of the time. Apparently I don’t limp when I’m running across the fields with my dear friends Ebony or Pippa, and spend the rest of the day happily sleeping in armchairs, but when they take me home, I start limping. The other evening the pain was so dreadful that I had to hobble around on three legs. Then the next morning I was right as rain. Dear, dear Ebony’s Pack Leader says I’m getting old, and I fear she might be right. I prefer that diagnosis to “attention-seeking,” which is what She snapped at me. Anyway, I definieley need a mani-pedi as my toenails are long again and we all know that I suffer from sore toenails. This might not be very manly but I can’t help it. She was meant to ring the Evil Vet at the beginning of the week to book me in for a pedicure, but has She got round to it? Of course not. Such is the level of care here.

No wonder I prefer being at Ebony’s house, Pippa’s house or New Buddy’s house. Except when he starts the silly full and frank conversations about dinner time. Give me strength.

Golly I’m tired, Readers – it’s all the limping.

See you soon,



In this picture, Friends, I am extremely reluctant to leave the sofa at New Buddy’s house to come home to my own shabby dwelling. This is a regular occurrence these days – I simply do NOT want to leave, and make it clear by refusing to get off the sofa. Even when I’m being dragged off by my lead, I stand my ground as long as possible. I really do like my time at New Buddy’s house and am heartily sick of all the to-ing and fro-ing in the car. Recently dear, dear Ebony’s Pack Leader and dear, dear Pippa’s Pack Leader were both unable to have me for daycare – I know! The selfishness! – so I was dumped at New Buddy’s house for two blissful days. There I spent my time sofa hopping and sleeping, with nobody nagging me to go out for long walks. It was heavenly. We did nearly fall out over my dinner time one day, as I started reminding New Buddy at 2pm that it was nearly time for me to have my meal, but New Buddy went all alpha male like he does, and made me wait until 4pm exactly. It was rather churlish of him.

Anyway, the title of tonight’s blog is “traditions”, because it is Christmas and there are certain things that I always do at this time of year, much like yourselves.

I always, ALWAYS eat something really inappropriate that means a trip to the Emergency Evil Vet. A couple of years ago it was a box of luxury mini mince pies late on Christmas Eve – Regular Readers will remember this episode – which I demolished whilst my family were next door having jolly drinks and fun and not considering me. Mini mince pies contain raisins, which are toxic for dogs so I had to be taken to the Emergency Bldy Expensive Evil Vet who forced me to sick everything up. That was a cracking year, the mini mince pies year.

This year, it’s a box of luxury mini mince pies. Yes indeed, yet again I found an accessible box of Tesco’s Finest Mini Mince Pies with brandy, and dragged them into the lounge where I ate the lot. What’s that, Readers? You would have thought I’d learned my lesson last time? Or that Pack Leader would have learned hers? That’s a no on both accounts.

This time, though, Pack Leader was very cross with me and instead of taking me to the Evil Vet to have my stomach pumped, She shouted at me and called me an idiot, and said She was NOT paying good money to the Evil Vet again because of my own stupidity, and that I could jog on and take my chances. I know, Friends, it was wounding. Then Pack Leader was a tiny bit remorseful in case I passed away during the night from kidney failure, but not so remorseful that She stayed up and nursed me or anything. She just said, “please don’t die in the night,” and went to bed.

Thankfully I have the constitution of an ox, as I have proved thousands of times, and had no ill effects from the toxic raisins. In fact they were jolly nice mince pies with buttery pastry, and I would happily eat them again.

It’s not just me that likes to keep these traditions. Dear, dear Ebony was in trouble yesterday as her Pack Leader was about to bring a present up for Lad and Young Lad, but Ebony ate it. It was a box of Celebrations chocolates. Chocolates, like raisins, are supposed to be poisonous to dogs. Ebony was fine as she is made of stern stuff, like myself. That’s partly why we get on so well. Anyway, the Celebrations chocolates made a nice change for Ebony, as last year it was the entire rack of sausage rolls that her Pack Leader had just taken out of the oven.

I do like Christmas, as there is so much nice food around and people let their guard down with food and bins. Also, there are more family members around as nobody is at school or work for a couple of weeks and we all have nice lie-ins. Everyone apart from She is in a nice mood and full of fun, but She just says She is full of Lists and Jobs Still Not Done – thought quite why everyone needs clean fresh duvet covers for Christmas Eve, I do not know. Does it really matter?

New Buddy popped over to see me tonight and he was in a playful mood. As I refused to chase my ball round the lounge, and wasn’t feeling very whimsical (I could smell roast chicken from the kitchen which was distracting), New Buddy decided to throw my smelly fleece blanket over my head and watch in fascination as I walked around the lounge like a ghost. I’m sure this seemed a good idea at the time, but when I wandered near the lit candles on the hearth – look, I couldn’t see a damned thing as I had a blanket over my head- someone suddenly realised that fleece blankets are fairly flammable and perhaps this wasn’t such a jolly good wheeze after all. Give me strength – these are supposed to be mature, responsible adults. You see what I have to put up with?

But I can’t be cross with New Buddy for long, as rumour has it that he has made up a stocking of presents for me. She sighed and rolled her eyes and said, “he’s just a dog,” but we all know otherwise, Friends, don’t we.

I’ve also had my muzzle shoved on my face tonight as She said I can’t go anywhere at Christmas unless I’ve had some flea treatment, so I had to be restrained whilst the three tiny drops of liquid were put on the back of my neck. I whined, and bucked and tried to bite She, and made a terrible fuss – it might not seem a lot, three tiny drops of liquid, but I DON’T LIKE IT!

Gingercat will have his flea treatment tonight, too. We know how to rock Christmas in this house.

Lad and Young Lad will be forced to do Covid tests tonight and again tomorrow. I say again, we know how to rock Christmas.

Yes, Friends, Lad is back! Oh the cleaning, and tidying and primping of Lad’s bedroom that went on all day on Tuesday – the bed was made with fresh linen (see earlier point), smoothed down nicely to hotel standard…. a new, fluffy coordinating big towel was bought and placed artistically on the bed for Lad…..scented reeds were placed on a shelf….. Lad’s room looked lovely for his return from university.

Lad came in with forty five carrier bags of dirty clothes which he dumped all over the bedroom. The room looks like a bomb has exploded and it stinks. No scented reeds are enough to cope with eau de student’s dirty washing.

Young Lad is very happy to be off school for the Christmas break, and spends any time that he’s not on the Xbox asking whether he can have some mozzarella sticks/tempura prawns as a nice Christmas snack – when She snaps, “no, they’re for Christmas,” Young Lad reminds her that he needs to increase his food intake and She gives in. Thus Young Lad is tucking into plates of hors d’oeuvres and nibbles at all sorts of times of the day and She has to keep going back to Sainsbury’s to re-stock. This makes her cross. As does everything.

She had coffee with her good friend Loadsakids this week, and they spent the hour swearing and muttering about bldy Christmas and bldy teenagers and generally sighing. Everyone else in Costalotta seemed quite jolly but there always has to be an exception. I don’t know why they find Christmas so trying. Admittedly the fairy lights round the window keep falling down which is a tad vexing, but now that She has invested in some suction cups rather than slapping sellotape all over the place, things are improving. The pretty outside lights had to be replaced this year, so Young Lad helpfully held the stepladder whilst She balanced precariously and swore a lot as She put the new ones in place.

Young Lad had an EXHAUSTING day yesterday, Friends, as he had to go the barbers for a haircut, have a snack in Costalotta, do his Christmas shopping (three items in Tesco) AND was made to deliver cards up and down the road when he got back! I mean, one of the houses was three buildings down from us! It’s really too much and I feel dreadfully sorry for Young Lad.

Lad has gone out tonight, to a Town Far Away to see his friends, whom he allegedly hasn’t see for weeks. Even Lad has been put to work in the two days since his return – as She managed to do something to the freezer drawers whilst putting away another box of tempura prawns yesterday, and couldn’t get the freezer drawers to stack on each other properly. Lad was ordered to see what he could do, and luckily Lad managed to assemble everything properly once more. Well done, Lad.

Readers I am very excited as I am going to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at New Buddy’s house this year. There will be two adults (She and New Buddy though after the silliness with the blanket tonight, I’m not sure he counts), Lad, and three teenage boys. Just imagine the fun I’m going to have!! And the food! All my favourite people together in one place. She is already being difficult by saying that She normally listens to Classic FM whilst cooking Christmas Dinner, and would prefer that to Metallica, but it’s New Buddy’s house so his rules apply. Allegedly. He was quite rude about Classic FM. But I really am excited and think we will have a lot of fun this year.

Friends, wherever you are and whatever you are doing for Christmas, I hope you are in good health and see the people that matter to you. It’s been a funny old year again, and we all need a glass of something nice (or two.)

Merry Christmas, Readers.

See you soon,



As you can see, Readers, I was very reluctant to get up the other morning as the temperature had dropped and it was a little nippy out. When Pack Leader’s hideous alarm went off at 5.50am, I dashed out into the garden for a quick comfort break and whined until I was given breakfast, then I was straight back up those stairs and back to bed. Gingercat had the same idea and we refused to budge. Gingercat and I aren’t often in agreement but on this, we were as one. She moaned at us and told me to get off the bed, but I dug down deeper into the new Ikea duvet and pretended I couldn’t hear. It was far too cold to get up and I needed to make a point.

Talking of my comfort breaks in the garden, Readers, you would not believe what happened here at the weekend. Now, She will tell you that the problem is that She leaves for work in the dark, and doesn’t get home till after dark, so there is no opportunity during the working week to clear up the back lawn in daylight. Call me old-fashioned Friends, but there are such things as torches and phones with apps and such like, and there is NO reason whatsoever that someone couldn’t be navigating the lawn in their high heels with a head torch in the evenings, picking up my comfort breaks. But no, apparently this is too arduous and so on Saturday, She stomped out there with some poo bags and a lot of moaning.

How many bags of comfort break do you think were collected, Readers? Bear in mind we are talking about six days since the last lawn clearing. Eight? Ten?

Thirty one.

I kid you not. Thirty one little black bags of my comfort breaks cleared up from the back lawn. How absolutely disgusting. And yes, you might well be asking how on earth I had produced that quantity in six days, and I don’t really know to be honest, but that’s not the point! How utterly slovenly and sadly rather typical of the poor standards in this house. Oh believe me, She moaned and whinged as She tiptoed around trying to work out whether the brown patches on the grass were leaves or something else but really, it served her right. New Buddy stood and watched while this was going on, and helpfully pointed out a couple of missed comfort breaks, and Lad – yes, Lad! more of him later – helped out by doing some picking up. It really was a family affair though you will notice Young Lad didn’t participate, as he was busy on the Xbox.

Well, blow me down with a feather – fancy seeing Lad. He wasn’t very well last week and so She went to pick him up one evening and forced him to come home for Healthy Food, A Clean Bathroom and Kitchen, and a Nice Comfy Bed. Lad wasn’t given much choice in the matter but felt too poorly to argue and so was under virtual house arrest for a couple of days. He was ordered to eat home-made shepherd’s pie and things like that, in an attempt to Sort Him Out. Readers, I would love to be force fed a shepherd’s pie but nobody ever thinks about my nutritional needs.

Anyway, Lad felt a little better after a couple of days of central heating, comfort food and not living in the squalor of a student house ,so yesterday New Buddy very kindly said he would drive Lad back to university and we could all go on a little road trip. These are always great fun with New Buddy, and I do like being in the back of a Range Rover. New Buddy is exceptionally kind, and says that he and I are ‘attuned’ to each otherShe snorted loudly at this – and insisted that Young Lad put my bed into the back of the Range Rover so that I could do the road trip in comfort. I do love New Buddy. The road trip was quite good though the conversation between Lad and Young Lad was exceptionally dull as they spent the first thirty miles discussing whose Airpods were whose – as this involves four identical pieces of white plastic, I really couldn’t see the point. And I did make my feelings known at the Services on the A23, Friends, when they stopped for a coffee and all piled back into the car with lunch from Greggs….nobody had bought me a sausage roll from Greggs, but they all expected me to sit nicely in the boot while they ate pastry products! I was NOT going to put up with this and stood up on my back legs, barking at them over the back seats. For heavens’ sake!

The only way I could get my own back was to make vile smells for the rest of the journey – there was no escape for anyone – and continue to do so when we popped in to see Nana Aged 90. Nana Aged 90 doesn’t like me much anyway, as Regular Readers know, but she likes me even less now.

That’s not the only road trip I’ve been on recently. The other Saturday morning, She and New Buddy decided they needed another visit – also known as ‘breakfast’ – at Ikea for all sorts of things they didn’t really need, and took me with them. Now, a trip to Ikea bores me rigid but there was always the chance that one of them might remember to pack some snacks for me. When we parked, New Buddy walked me round the car park to a small patch of grass – by the smell of it, that’s where all dogs on their day out to Ikea go – and then I was put back into the boot of the Range Rover with a treat or two to keep me quiet. I tried not to laugh as I heard She say, “I only need two things, we won’t be long,” and of course if was bldy ages before they returned with a large trolley full to the brim of stuff. Give me strength.

Young Lad is having a Difficult Time, Friends, as it is mock exam time and poor Young Lad has a lot of work to do. He has to do exams at school every day this week and is supposed to be revising hard in between the exams. Young Lad finds this very exasperating and who can blame him. I tried to help him out by getting hold of a pack of GCSE Science Revision Cards and ripping up the packet the other day – I thought it would make it easier for him to pull each card out to read if I had ripped up the box. I was shouted at, of course.

I’ve also chucked the recycling round the garden as usual, and managed to knock the over-full kitchen bin off the table on the patio where it had been put so I couldn’t get to it. I could. I knocked it off and dragged everything all over the garden.

Now, in a change to my normal behaviour at New Buddy’s house, I also got hold of one of his bags of rubbish and emptied that round HIS garden! I know! This was very daring of me. New Buddy and She had gone out, leaving me in the care of Young Lad and New Buddy The Younger, both of whom were rather engrossed in their games and didn’t notice me trashing the garden. It was fun.

I had to go to the Evil Vet again recently. I was overdue my mani-pedi to keep my claws nice and short, plus my anal glands stank like old fish and needed draining. Readers, sitting in the waiting room I was shaking like a leaf. Every muscle in my body was quivering. It is absolutely TERRIFYING knowing that the Evil Vet is going to put gloved hands up your bottom and squeeze… you would be quivering too! There was no need to call me all the names that She did.

Well, I am snuggled up on the sofa tonight in between She and Young Lad, and Gingercat is with us too. It is at least ten minutes since Gingercat walked round yowling for his food which he had just finished eating – Gingercat simply cannot remember that he has just eaten the equivalent of a Sunday Roast, and asks loudly for another meal seconds later. Everyone shouts, “shut UP!” and gets very cross with him. Poor Gingercat.

Well, that will have to do for tonight, Friends. To be honest, Young Lad and I are honoured that She has spent the evening on the sofa with us as mostly there is a lot of huffing and puffing about How Much Work She has to do – sadly this doesn’t extend to cleaning up the house or garden. Sometimes I wonder how we’re all still alive, such is the lack of care in my home.

Golly I’m tired – haven’t written so much for ages!

See you soon,

To and Fro

Readers it really has been a trying few weeks, with so much going on and half the time I don’t know if I’m Arthur or Martha. Having a waste paper bin on my head has been the least of my worries, to be honest and anyway I had enjoyed distributing the rubbish all over the garden. Nobody has had time to help me write the blog, and it is only due to pressure from my fans that She has bad- temperedly sat down with the laptop now. Honestly.

So settle down with a drink, as this is likely to be a long one.

I’ve been abandoned on more than one occasion in the last few weeks, and it has rather rankled with me. First of all, She and New Buddy went away for four days – selfish – and couldn’t take me with them, so I had to go and stay with Young Lad and Grandma. This was fairly relaxing in that I didn’t have to do much, but there was very little opportunity for behaving badly.

Then I was allowed to return home once She and New Buddy deigned to come back from wherever they went – suddenly realising, perhaps, that they had Responsibilities such as Teenagers and Me. However within a very short space of time, they were off again to visit Nana Aged 90 and Lots of Family – they took Young Lad with them, of course, but I was considered to be too difficult and so had to have sleepovers with dear, dear Ebony and Pippa. Nobody bothered to ask me what I wanted to do but thankfully I am treated like royalty at dear Ebony and Pippa’s houses, and so I should be. I had a lot of fun and it was far preferable to being in the back of a Range Rover on the M25 for hours.

When I’m not being dumped with other people, I am taken backwards and forwards between the two houses that I now seem to live in. There was a ridiculous incident a couple of weeks ago where She decided to go and surprise New Buddy by cooking dinner for him when he returned from a long day at work. So I was bundled in the car and driven over there, which was quite pleasing as I much prefer it at New Buddy’s house. Nobody moans at me, for a start. And I am brushed and given treats. Anyway, we cooked dinner and waited for New Buddy, who was very surprised but of course thrilled to see me. Then New Buddy was going out, so we offered to give him a lift. I was bundled back in the bldy car and was very upset, as I didn’t really want to go home. Nevertheless I am nothing if not stoic and I resigned myself to finishing the evening at home. Imagine my confusion, then, when I jumped out of the car at the end of the journey to find myself not at home, but back at New Buddy’s house for a Surprise Sleepover. Apparently She “cba” to drive home, whatever cba means. Couldn’t be something or other.

Friends I was SO confused. I really did go into quite a huff and had no choice but to go to bed early as I was exhausted. When New Buddy returned in the small hours to the house he was expecting to be empty, lo and behold there we were again. Really, I feel it’s unacceptable and rude to invite oneself over without asking. But standards have slipped so badly here that nothing surprises me any more.

Take yesterday as an example. She was baking brownies and talking on the phone to Nana Aged 90 at the same time – this in itself is rude and disrespectful – and in a lapse of concentration, dropped the phone into the brownie mixture. You couldn’t make it up. To make matters worse, She licked – yes licked – some of the brownie mixture off the phone, then gave it a cursory wipe, and put it back to her ear. This caused a large smear of brownie mixture to attach itself to her hair. It beggars belief.

I did add a little je ne sais quois to proceedings at this point, as once the bowl that had contained the brownie mixture was put into the dishwasher, I pushed past, grabbed the bowl and ran off with it. She screeched at me and tried to kick the bowl out of my mouth with her foot so I snarled and threatened to bite her foot off. A wise decision was made to retreat. I had brownie mixture all over my face and even now still have some on one ear, as I can’t reach it to lick.

But let’s go back to the appalling lack of care and intelligence that I have to put up with here. Last Sunday the clocks went back, whatever that means, and we all had an extra hour in bed. Then in the evening She – in a rare moment of levity – took Young Lad to the cinema. Young Lad purchased a huge bag of popcorn which was spilling everywhere as they always over-fill them, a large Coke and She had a coffee. Off they went to show their ticket – on an app, we are slowly moving forward with technology – to the nice man. The nice man looked at their ticket, looked at his watch and said “you’re an hour too early. You forgot to change your watch, didn’t you.”

Poor, poor Young Lad. How utterly humiliating for him. Fancy being parented by someone that incompetent. Young Lad wanted to sit in the cinema foyer for an hour but She snapped “no, we’re going home so I can run a hoover round,” which was rather sad for Young Lad. Back they came, for a whole 45 minutes, ran round with the hoover, then off they went again. The popcorn and large Coke had been left in the car so nobody was tempted to have them before the film started, and the coffee was put in the microwave to warm it up.

The level of ineptitude in my house is quite staggering.

Last week She decided to make leek and potato soup for Young Lad’s dinner, as it’s one of his favourite things. Now, She may have had a long day at work but that is no excuse for the lack of concentration on the job in hand. Readers, I could smell a very strange smell that didn’t smack of leek and potato soup one iota. She had managed to burn (or ‘caramelise’ as She liked to put it) the onions. Even though there was a brown slimy mess at the bottom of the pan, there was no thought of abandoning the idea – oh no. She was determined to finish the process, burned onions or not. Young Lad does love his leek and potato soup and even called out from the Xbox “what’s for dinner?” He was mighty pleased to find it was home- made leek and potato soup – it’s a Delia recipe, Friends, and very tasty.

Not on this occasion, alas. The usually pale green creamy leek and potato soup was the colour of dishwater once you’ve washed up all the pots and pans from a Sunday roast. There is only one word for it – sludge. The whole lot had to be thrown away and Young Lad was terribly disappointed as he had been looking forward to that. Poor Young Lad. This is shoddy parenting.

I try to liven things up here, as a change from the parenting chaos, by frequently emptying the bins and dragging the recycling round the garden. One of my favourite pastimes is to rip up the empty Alpen muesli box and chuck it on the flower beds. That’s about all Alpen muesli is good for – dear Lord, it’s like eating sawdust. Now there was a time that I would only tip the kitchen bin over and empty it once everyone had gone out, but I’ve grown in confidence lately and have to decided to knock the kitchen bin over even if they are in. Readers, it keeps them on their toes as the bin makes a distinctive “doonk” sound as it hits the kitchen floor, and She comes running from elsewhere in the house shouting, “don’t you bldy dare you stupid dog” and things like that.

I was moaned at a lot yesterday, as whilst we were at New Buddy’s house, they went into his new office in the garden (little does he know that now he’s put a nice sofa in, that’s going to be my garden room, not his Man Cave) and they spent twenty five minutes putting together some Ikea shelving. Yes, Friends, I too was impressed by the speed with which this was done, and I think we all know who had the most skill and talent out of the pair of them. Anyway, I wandered up to the bedroom, found She’s pack of silicon ear plugs in her toiletry bag, chewed through the plastic box and ate them. Then I found her little bottle of eye drops and took that out in the garden and chucked it in the long grass. This morning She was groping around for ages by the bed trying to find her eye drops, to no avail. I knew where they were. So yes, what with the brownie mixture bowl and the ear plugs, it was quite a fun day.

Feeling confident, having ‘helped’ put together a large Ikea shelving unit in the morning, She decided to put an identical very small one together for Young Lad’s Xbox and whatnot, in the afternoon. All I will say is that if you get impatient with the Allen key and the little dowling things, and wallop the shelving unit with a hammer, you are indeed likely to make a hole. See my earlier comment about who had the skill and talent.

How is Lad? I hear you ask. I know how concerned you all get. Lad is missing me dreadfully whilst he’s at university, in his “sxxxhole” of a student house with four other nice young men. Only one toilet, mind you. And if they have Overnight Guests – know what I mean – one toilet is rather a stretch for all those people. Poor Lad. She says Poor Lad needs to bldy shift up a gear or two and find a bldy job, but Lad is much too busy studying hard and going out. He is very, very busy what with all the domestic chores and doing the washing, and going to Aldi. It’s exhausting and he has no time for part-time work. Too much is expected of Lad, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. And while we’re on the subject, he is MUCH too busy to pay his rent on time, and She will just have to put up with the endless emails from the rental agency announcing that the rent hasn’t been paid. He Is Busy!

Today’s walk, Friends, was not down to the river and over the hills through Far, Far Field but a mere trot into town. Young Lad was refusing to set foot in the fresh air as usual – he’s tired for heaven’s sake! – and lots of threats were being made. In the end a grudging agreement was made that he would join us on my dog walk so long as we went to a cafe for a drink. This is the cafe that I often go to, and where TWICE I was given a bowl of roast beef bits. Imagine my disappointment today when there was no food on offer. I did whine and stamp my feet and She snapped “it’s just coffee you stupid animal,” but I felt I needed to make a point. I will NOT be taken to cafes without being given some sort of treat. It’s unacceptable.

Well, this evening I am in my armchair – which smells a bit doggy in all honesty – in my own house. Who knows whether we are staying here or jumping in the car and surprising anyone with an uninvited sleepover? Oh wait – I’ve just heard that clink clink and fizzing sound, which means She’s friend Gordon has appeared. That means we’re staying at home for once.

Young Lad has double Food Tech tomorrow and is making Jamie Oliver’s seared salmon with couscous. Yes, that’s what I think too. I would eat it, though, if push comes to shove.

So it’s Monday tomorrow which means work/school and I will be going to dear, dear Pippa’s for daycare. This makes me very happy as I completely take over the sofa and Pippa has to perch uncomfortably on one end.

Goodness I’m tired – there is only so much chaos a dog can put up with. Time for a sleep.
See you soon,


A Thing Of Beauty

Just look at me, Readers. What an exquisite creature I am – really, it’s quite breath-taking. This stylised, arty photograph of me was taken by New Buddy The Younger and yes, a photo by someone not even in their teens is far superior to the standard of pictures She ever produces. It just takes a little thought and imagination of which my Pack Leader has very little. Well done New Buddy The Younger. I love my picture.

You would think this photo was taken somewhere exotic, or maybe Kew Gardens, but it was in fact outside Costalotta on a retail park. This particular branch of Costalotta is special in many ways, not least of which is the rainforest style vegetation around it. I had a lovely time there, whining and stamping my feet while people drank Americanos and ate Biscotti. I love a Biscotti, I do. Or anything, in fact. I seem to spend more and more of my life these days sitting outside cafes, where I have no choice but to whinge and grizzle until someone gives me a treat. It is a pleasant way to spend time, Readers, I can’t complain.

Going back to the quality of photography – just look at this one. Abysmal, isn’t it?

Seriously! It’s out of focus and looks like someone had been with their friend Gordon for a long time. This picture is evidence, allegedly, of my bad behaviour tonight. When She got home from work – yes, yes a long day at work , blah blah blah- the state of the back garden was vexing. The kitchen bin (which was rather full) had been hastily dumped on top of the table on the patio before leaving for work at silly o’clock this morning, in order that I couldn’t empty it and trash the place. Friends, I was bored when I came back from Doggy Daycare, so I knocked the bin off the table, tipped the entire contents out and dragged it all over the garden. I ate a huge amount of what was in there. Even the stuff that wasn’t edible. Some of it was disgusting, frankly, but I ate it anyway. I can’t really remember all of it, but I know there were several eggshells, tea bags (yes, they SHOULD have been in the food recycling bin, you are right, Readers!) a smoothie that Young Lad made for Food Tech that didn’t go very well as the mango wasn’t ripe, and about three hundred cat food sachets.

I was shouted at and there was a lot of moaning. This continued with a stomp round the garden to pick up my comfort breaks in the little black bags this evening – yes, there were a lot of them! It’s not my fault! Clear up more often, I say. It’s not a difficult concept.

It’s not like I’d had an easy day, Friends. There I was, happily trashing the bin and eating loads of crap, when I was dragged off to The Evil Vet. Regular Readers will know that I HATE going to the Evil Vet and do my best to stay in the car. I back myself into a corner of the boot and refuse to come out. She has to use a lot of force to remove me from the car and tells me I’m pathetic. So there we were, back at The Evil Vet’s yet again to have my anal glands emptied as I stink. This is an unpleasant procedure that involves The Evil Vet poking his or her fingers up my nether regions and squeezing hard. It hurts, Readers. And the smell I produce is like nothing else this world has ever known. So I stunk out The Evil Vet’s room, and also our car on the way home as there was still some leakage. Serves them right.

But it wasn’t just my anal glands that needed looking at tonight. I have sore toenails again, Friends, and have been licking at my front paws for some time which gets on everyone’s nerves – never mind the fact that my poor toenails hurt. So The Evil Vet had to cut my nails (helped by a very nice Veterinary Nurse) and I was incredibly good and made no fuss at all. Obviously I had a muzzle on, as She told them as soon as we got there that I Can’t Be Trusted and Have Been Known To Bite. So as fast as you could say ‘oily fish’ I was back in the waiting room with shorter toenails that don’t hurt, and a leaking backside.

Now , The Evil Vet was actually very kind and said that I need my toenails trimmed every month for a while. Yes!! I’m having a monthly pedicure. There was one heck of a lot of grumbling about this, with, “I can’t afford to get MY nails done every four weeks!” etc etc etc. Give me strength.

I had a splendid day out recently, Friends, as I went to my first ever gig. I know! Get me. We went to a bike show – it was my first ever bike show too, as it happens – and there was a rock band playing. I sat nicely and listened to the band – they can hold a tune quite well, I thought – though I did keep well back from the speakers as it was heavy rock and rather loud. It was pleasant enough, but I was far more interested in the German sausage stall nearby. Goodness me, the smell of bratwurst made my mouth water and I dived under the picnic tables to grab any bits on the floor. Then She went off to get a samosa from the samosa stall, and I barked and became a little agitated until I was given a crumb of filo pastry to shut me up. New Buddy wanted something from the pie stall, so She and I wandered off and bought him a venison pie – I employed my usual irritating barking and whining technique until I was given morsel of shortcrust pastry from the venison pie. I preferred this to the samosa filo pastry, for obvious reasons. Meat. It was a marvellous day out, with a vast range of food stalls to walk past, and on the way back to the car at the end of the day I put my nose down and hoovered up the entire showground.

I’ve been at dear, dear Ebony’s for daycare a lot recently, as dear, dear Pippa has been away in the Lake District. In a change to routine, though, I have also been going to New Buddy’s house for daycare sometimes and this has been marvellous too, as he expects nothing of me and I can lie on his sofa in the sun ALL day. I was told off last time I was there for daycare though – I decided to stand on the back of the sofa and bark loudly and repetitively for no apparent reason, just as New Buddy was on an important conference call or some such nonsense. New Buddy came in and went all alpha male on me, and made me get off the sofa. We had a little stand -off, which I feel I won. I don’t often fall out with New Buddy, but he was pushing his luck that day.

And what of Lad and Young Lad, I hear you cry? Lad is still at university – yes! He hasn’t been home to cook toasted cheese sandwiches in the middle of the night for ages! It was Lad’s birthday last week, so we sent him a Breville sandwich toaster and a smoothie maker. We do like a useful present in my family. Who needs glamour. Lad celebrated his birthday by going to another festival with his friends, as he hasn’t been to many recently. Oh wait, yes he has. But the good news is that the shower in the shxxxy student house has been fixed so Lad no longer has to go up to Nana aged 90’s house for a shower. Well done Lad.

Young Lad is busy – er – mostly watching Top Gear and Cobra Kai, but occasionally doing some school work too. His Food Tech practical last week was excellent, I have to say, with smoked salmon, king prawns, horseradish creme and green leaves as a starter. Really, it was marvellous. Well done, Young Lad. Let’s try some more meat cookery soon.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here, and it really does tire me out. Gingercat continues to drive us mad by yowling every five minutes as he forgets he’s been fed, and other than sniffing his backside when he walks past me, I do find Gingercat a trifle wearing. Especially when he gets into my bed.

Golly, Readers, I’ve made a fair old effort with my blog tonight and am ready for a sleep. It’s nearly October and I’m glad to say the heating was put on last night as I’ve been a little chilly in my armchair of an evening. Nobody ever thinks about my welfare in this house.

Take care, Friends.

See you soon,


Tempis Fugit

Here I am, Readers, sitting up nicely at the pub on a warm summer’s evening. This may be part of the reason that I haven’t written a blog entry for ages, as I seem to be terribly busy all the time. In fact, New Buddy pointed out to me rather curtly that it’s been ONE MONTH since my last blog – Friends, I just don’t know where the time has gone! They say it flies when you’re having fun, and whilst I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m feeling frolicsome, my days and evenings have been unusually hectic. I can only apologise and try to assure you that I have plenty to tell you.

Lad has finally gone back to university and, after some early misunderstanding of the instructions “bldy well stay there” he appears to not be coming back home every five minutes. It was a tricky weekend when we took him back, as we had to get the roof box on the car first, which always involves a lot of bad language, and then just as we were pulling out of the services near a very busy main A road, our car appeared to break down. I kept my head down and stayed asleep while She panicked and swore a lot, and Lad patted She’s knee and said “it’s ok Mum,” and She swore a lot more. Then She decided it was too dangerous to wait for the AA with Lad, Young Lad and myself in the car so called one of The Cousins to come and pick us up. Thus we were made to get out of the car and walk back down the busy slip road to the services – quite how this was a less dangerous option I do not know, but I was fed up with all the swearing so was glad of a walk.

Anyway. We went to Nana Aged 90’s house for a nice cup of tea and wander round the garden while She stayed with the car and the police and waited for the AA.

It turned out that the clutch had stuck down. A nice policeman got in the driving seat and said “your clutch is stuck down” and flicked it back up with his large boot. Thus the car was instantly driveable and the other nice policeman sighed and said into his radio, “cancel the rolling roadblock.” Readers, I was very glad not to be there to witness this charade and She’s utter humiliation.

So eventually the car packed to the brim with Lad’s belongings for university (including his weights and gym equipment – I do wonder why the clutch stuck) arrived at its destination and we helped Lad move into the student house he will be sharing with some friends this year. It’s a xxxxhole, said Lad.

We stayed at Nana Aged 90’s house overnight as we were fairly exhausted by the day’s goings on, and waved farewell to Lad, saying “see you at Christmas, Lad.” Then we came home.

The following night, or in the early hours of the next morning, She and Young Lad were woken by noises downstairs. There was clearly someone walking around. I had bravely refused to bark or even wake up, but She crept to the top of the stairs to find out what was going on. Naturally the first thought one has is of burglars, but as there was a strong smell of toasted cheese sandwiches this seemed unlikely unless they had been distracted by the antique Breville .

Yes, Readers, you’ve guessed it. There in the lounge, watching Netflix and eating a really lovely looking cheese toastie, was Lad. I felt She’s words to Lad lacked a certain warmth and motherly love if I’m honest, and do you know the funny thing? I was moaned at for being a ‘rubbish guard dog’. Really, you couldn’t make it up – somehow the whole thing was my fault and why is it I bark hysterically at old ladies by the bus stop but don’t alert anyone when an intruder is preparing snacks at 1.30am?? I give up.

Friends, I am in disgrace tonight because I was at daycare with dear, dear Ebony today and while we were up in the fields on our walk, I rolled in something absolutely vile and plastered my sides in it. I was going to use the photo of this for my blog tonight, but actually it’s so disgusting as to be in poor taste and I have High Standards about these sorts of things so will leave you to imagine. Anyway, when we got back from our walk Ebony’s Pack Leader had to hose me down and shampoo me in the garden – Friends I wasn’t very happy about this, as I prefer a warm bath. Anyway, when She came home from a very long day at work She was cross with me and told me I’m rank, and then proceeded to make baked goods for Ebony’s Pack Leader and Pack Leader Male as way of an apology. Young Lad was made to walk down the road to deliver the baked goods, as is the way of things here. Honestly what a ridiculous fuss.

Several people at the river have told me lately how slim I’m looking, and the nice French lady with bichon frisse thing gestured with her hands to indicate I have a waistline and nice figure. This is very pleasing. I have raided bins, emptied recycling bags round the garden every couple of days and ran off with She’s Yeo Valley Lemon Curd yogurt the other night, but somehow I am managing to keep trim. Ish. It might be the stress of living with my family, of course, as I’m sure I burn off a lot of nervous energy.

I was moaned at about the Yeo Valley yogurt. She had opened it and left it on the side in the kitchen while a call of nature was answered, and I just stood up at the counter and took it. I have no regrets. It was nice.

New Buddy and New Buddy the Younger keep coming to see me of an evening as they enjoy my company, and appreciate my wit and bonhomie. They will insist on trying to train me though, and it does become a little tiresome. I can just about tolerate the muzzle training, and I do humour them a little on this one in order to have lots of treats, but once that silly grey ramp came out again I felt enough was enough. I had already made it clear that I was NOT going to walk up a ramp into the back of New Buddy’s Range Rover, and everyone has been perfectly happy lifting me in and out all summer. But no – we can’t leave any project unmanaged can we, and so this week the silly ramp was put leading into my armchair, and treats were placed along it in the hope I would walk up it. Give me strength. To keep them quiet and let them think they are winning, Friends, I walked up the ruddy thing ONCE in order to get the treats. If they think I will be making a habit of it, they are sorely mistaken.

A few weeks ago I went for a sleepover at dear, dear Ebony’s house while She and Young Lad went on a road trip with New Buddy and New Buddy The Younger. Naturally they wanted to take me with them but She snarled, “I am NOT taking the dog round HMS Victory or the D Day Museum,” so that was that. Anyway I had far more fun at dear Ebony’s house, and was the perfect overnight guest just like I was when I had a sleepover at dear, dear Pippa’s once. I have impeccable manners.

The greengage tree that overhangs our garden is in fruit at the moment, Friends, and I am very partial to a greengage or four. Unfortunately the stones within a greengage don’t digest and my comfort breaks are full of them. The greengages are keeping me very regular though, I have to say.

The other day She came in from work to find a brand new tupperware box chewed up and chucked on the lounge floor. There hadn’t been any food in it, Readers, it was unused. I was bored and needed something to do.

Young Lad started back at school this week, and in an unusual feat of resilience, Year 10 (who are now Year 11) have actually stayed in school for a WHOLE WEEK!! This is quite possibly the longest period of time this particular group of students have been in school since their primary education. Poor Young Lad is exhausted and has taken to screaming and shouting on the Xbox to let off steam. Young Lad has a Food Tech Practical Assessment coming up soon – I have no idea what this is and couldn’t care less but he says it involves making smoked salmon roulade and steak with red wine jus, so I’m in.

Well, who knows what the weekend will bring. I won’t be going to visit the cafe where I’m a much-loved regular on a Saturday morning now as I’m not going to New Buddy’s house this weekend, so will have to put up with the boredom here. She says She has bldy loads to do as the house and garden are a bldy shambles, so I’ll do my best to get in the way and not help. Young Lad will undoubtedly expect a trip to Costalotta at some point, and will moan if asked to unload the dishwasher. Poor Young Lad. It’s his weekend too. Hopefully there will be a couple of good long walks up over the fields, and I will endeavour to find the same stuff I rolled in today, as it smelled like Chanel to me.

Whatever you’re up to, Readers, take care and enjoy yourselves.

Golly I’m tired.

See you soon,



Do settle down with a drink and a treat, Readers, as this will be a long blog. The Olympics has finished so I will do my best to entertain you for the evening instead. This promises to be a bumper issue as so much has happened to me recently. Most of it was good.

The last blog I wrote was all about my cottaging experience in Hampshire with the family. It was a splendid weekend, as you will have read – however what I forgot to mention was that before we set off for the cottaging weekend, She had foolishly packed my food in the front porch and then left the house. Neither Lad nor Young Lad had the wit or wisdom to shut the inner door when they went out – ergo I was able to access my box of food and ate at least four dinners’ worth in one go. Readers, I was very bloated and made a lot of smells but it was great. Now, I was travelling to the cottaging weekend in a large Range Rover as this is the kind of lifestyle I expect these days – the boot of the large Range Rover is VERY high, Friends, and I simply cannot jump that far. New Buddy had thought of this and bought me a dog ramp – really just a piece of grey plastic up which I was meant to climb. We had tried this out once before and I was having none of it – however, New Buddy is quite persistent and wanted me to climb up the ramp as we set off for our weekend. Readers I showed him exactly what I thought of his flimsy grey plastic, and KICKED it, yes KICKED it out the way with my paws. New Buddy had no choice but to pick me up and lift me into the boot, which is what he should have done in the first place.

Believe it or not, I have just come back from another mini break. I know! I am a lucky dog, but I feel it is well deserved as I lead such a stressful life. What annoyed me though, Friends, was the ridiculous amount of fussing around that was deemed necessary before we went on our second mini break. Last Friday I was taken to the Evil Vet so that my itchy ears could be checked, and my anal glands squeezed. This was because we were going in the camper van, and She said it would smell like a tin of old sardines if I had leaking anal gland problems. Once I had finished at the Evil Vet’s I then went home and had to have a bath so that I was ‘clean’ for the camper van. It was a camping holiday for goodness’ sake! Who cares?!

So we set off on the Sunday morning for somewhere called the Peak District. I had no idea where this was and couldn’t care less. I was very comfortable in the back of the camper van on my bed, attached to a special dog seat belt so that I didn’t slide around . New Buddy is very kind and thinks of everything. I was having a lovely sleep when we stopped for a coffee – really, we had only been going for an hour and a half! And no, I did NOT need a comfort break thank you very much, I was quite happy. But while She went to Costa at the services, New Buddy dragged me round a patch of grass with all the other dogs who were on car journeys so I obliged him by having a long pee.

I had JUST got back to sleep, or so it seemed, when we stopped yet again, this time for brunch at the OK Diner. Readers, I would have LOVED brunch at the OK Diner but dogs weren’t allowed in so yet again I had to wander around a small patch of grass then sat in the camper van while they went for brunch. I was given a chew but I would much have preferred the full breakfast or club sandwich. Humph.

Things looked up though,once we arrived at the lovely town near our campsite. She and New Buddy were peckish again and in need of more coffee, and on the way to a lovely-looking cafe we spotted a special pet shop. This pet shop had LOADS of snacks, treats, bones and cakes for dogs – it was heaven! She said “let’s get him something so he shuts up while we’re trying to eat” and so I was bought a long chicken stick thing. It took me twenty minutes to eat, which just about gave them time to eat a Bakewell pudding or Hunstman’s pie in peace. This was a clever ruse on their part, and was repeated several times over the next few days.

Then we went for a long walk on a disused railway track. We do seem to like a disused railway track, Friends. I was very tired after all this excitement and couldn’t wait to get back to my bed in the camper van.

My first experience of camping was wonderful – the campsite was large and green with many, many smells of barbecues and food all around me. It was sensory heaven. I cocked my leg on lots of different things to make it clear that the territory around our camper van was mine. I was not going to let ANYONE get too close – they would have me to deal with! Yes, a melancholy beagle is not to be messed with, Friends. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Whilst She and New Buddy pulled down the bed in the camper van, I had the whole front seat area to myself with my comfortable bed on it – to be honest, I was so exhausted that I could have slept on a rock. I couldn’t even be bothered to attempt climbing onto the double bed with big sleeping bag and two bodies – that will show you how tired I was.

My camping holiday carried on for four days – though by day two I had climbed up enough hills to last me a lifetime. I dug deep, Friends, and showed willing. Every day we had to stop to admire the view with lots of oohing and ahhing – to be honest the view bored me rigid. I developed a very annoying habit, allegedly, of needing a large comfort break at the foot of every hill. Now, there are no dog poo bins in the Peak District as dog owners are politely asked to take it home with them so She said it was REALLY irritating to have to carry the little black bag – not so little at times, quite full and occasionally more than one was needed – up a large hill and back. It also didn’t help one’s balance and coordination when one was trying to scramble up steep stony paths.

Readers, I am ashamed to say that on one of these occasions, at the foot of a mahoosive hill called Stanage Edge, my comfort break was large and smelly and She decided it was too unpleasant to carry all the way to the top of the hill and back. To my utter disgust She decided to hide the black bag by a rock on the way up, and remember to collect it on the way back. New Buddy agreed with this plan, which surprised me as he has High Standards of conduct unlike She. I was worried out of my mind that they would forget the black bag on the way down, or fail to find the right rock, and become the sort of people who leave dog poo in black bags in the countryside.

Thankfully they found the rock and retrieved the bag. It was still extremely smelly and a lot of fuss was made about having to put it in the camper van, so while New Buddy drove to the nearest public toilets (quite a long way away), She hung the black bag out of the window. We passed a cyclist with panniers on his bike and a suggestion was made about dropping my black bag into his panniers, but thankfully this was just a joke. My black bag was deposited in the nappy bin of the public toilets and a swift exit made.

The title of my blog today is a whimsical play on words – not only were there lots of mounts as in big hills, but something about the Peak District air made me feel things I haven’t felt for a very long time. I tried to mount several dogs, Friends, over the fours days and my absolute favourite was a handsome young grey labradoodle. There was just something about him! You know when you’ve met someone special, Readers, and I couldn’t resist climbing onto his back, or his front – I wasn’t fussy really. New Buddy says I am gender fluid but I have no idea what he means. I just know that I felt a little frisky and tried it on with several dogs over the mini break.

As I said earlier, there was a cunning plan to keep me quiet every time they wanted to eat, by giving me large bones or chews. This backfired a little on day three, however, as I had some fairly explosive comfort breaks which were tricky to clear up from long grass. Never mind. In the dog-walking field where this happened, I met another beagle – a lemon beagle – called Milly. She was a soft whitey/fawn colour. Well she was, until she ploughed through some wet mud and had what looked like four black wellington boots. Milly looked silly.

I did produce some awful gas in the camper van that night. There were some loud noises from my backside whilst I was asleep and She was worried that I might have passed something, but of course I hadn’t. I am far too well brought up for that.

So it was a truly lovely camping holiday, Friends, and I can’t wait to go again. I felt my behaviour was impeccable and everywhere we went, people adored me and said “is it a beagle?” I lost count of the the number of people who stopped to make a fuss of me – it was all day, every day. She said She doesn’t understand it as I look suicidal the whole time, but clearly this is an endearing expression and attracts a lot of attention. New Buddy was a dab hand with the Cadac barbecue set, and always cooked an extra piece of bacon or sausage for me. I was less enamoured with the veggie bacon but She seemed to like it.

And what of Lad and Young Lad, I hear you cry. What were they up to whilst I was on my camping mini break? Plenty, Friends. Plenty. Let’s just leave it there.

I’m still very tired from all the walking and my toenails hurt (yes really). I had to go back to the Evil Vet and she cut my claws. The Evil Vet also said I’ve put on weight. How on earth this can happen when you’ve climbed every hill in Derbyshire I do not know. In my case the lack of weight loss might be due to all the bones and snacks. In the case of She it might be the Bakewell puddings. In the case of New Buddy it might be the Aspalls Cider. Who knows and who cares. In this strange old world, in these strange times Friends, we need to take happiness wherever we can find it – and we found plenty in the camper van in the Peak District.

If you’re up there in the near future, you might want to give the public toilets near Stanage Edge a miss though. Certainly until they’ve emptied the bins.

Golly I’m exhausted.

See you soon,


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