Kindred Spirits

sofa 1 There has been some sadness in our house, Readers, over the last few days.  Dear, dear Grandad passed away on Friday night and this is very upsetting.  I liked Grandad a lot.  I’m not sure Grandad liked me a lot as he did sometimes tell me to bugger off, but we had so much in common.

Grandad and I both loved a good sofa.  We would happily spend hours reclining on one, preferably with our feet up, chatting away or even better sleeping.  We were both quite annoyed if people disturbed us while we were sleeping on the sofa, or trying to watch the Test Match.  (In fairness, this was probably more Grandad’s thing than mine.)

Grandad and I shared a common love of food, too.  We would both be at our happiest with a large plate of roast beef, and a good quality claret – no, that’s Grandad again, I just get water.  Oh how we were connoisseurs of fine cuisine.   We were both partial to a cheeseboard and infinitely preferred that to a sweet dessert.  Regular Readers will know that I have often run off with a large chunk of Cambozola, Brie or Cheddar, and Grandad was much the same with a really smelly Stilton.

Grandad and I also shared a distinct dislike of moving fast.  Neither of us could see the point.  Or washing up, come to that.

One day when he came to visit, Grandad sat on Gingercat.  Gingercat was on the sofa and had rather unfortunately blended in, so Grandad didn’t see him when he sat down.  It was very funny.   Grandad swore and I laughed.

So I’m very sorry that Grandad won’t be coming to visit any more, or telling me to bugger off.  This makes me even more melancholy than ever.  I will miss him dreadfully.

As you can imagine, it has been a little emotional here at times over the last week, and I did my best to cheer things along.  On Friday night, while some tearful phone calls were being made, I farted extraordinarily loudly and at length – this had the effect of sending Young Lad into fits of immature laughter, so that the sombre phone calls were accompanied by howls of mirth.  I wonder what the people on the other end of the phone thought.  Also, my anal glands have chosen the last few days to play up, so anyone visiting the house has been treated to an extra special smell of fish.  The good thing is that She has been too sad about Grandad to take me to the Evil Vet to have them drained, so I’ve just leaked away to my heart’s content.  I feel I do contribute to the general atmosphere of the house quite a lot.

It hasn’t all been sorrowful.  Lad has started back in Year 12 and has been very excited about having homework again, after nearly three months’ break from academia.  He couldn’t wait to crack on with it.  I’m not sure about the wisdom of studying Philosphy for A level – it really is going to crank up the level of Dinnertime Debates even more, and I fear for everyone’s sanity.  And what do you think?  Young Lad has also been doing some Philosophy at school, and there was a big discussion here on whether one would prefer more time, or money.  I didn’t join in, as there wasn’t a third option of food and this is the only one for which I would have voted.  But really, as if it wasn’t dreary enough before they both started learning Philosophy!

Oh yes, and the White Goods drama has been so funny this week!  After the exploding glass of the washing machine, and Error Code E24 on the dishwasher, we now have Error Code E09 on the dishwasher!  This is much more serious that E24, Friends.  E24 just meant it’s filthy.  E09 means the heating element is stuffed.  Plus there is brown water coming out the bottom of the tumble drier!  Really, you have to laugh.  That’s what She said.

Young Lad has done all his homework this weekend, most of which was covering books with sticky back plastic.  This is, in fact, the work of the devil and whoever invented sticky back plastic needs punching, She says, every year in September.  It would seem that covering books in sticky back plastic is right up at the top of World’s Most Hated Jobs.  Readers, if She took more time and perhaps looked at a Youtube tutorial, Young Lad’s books wouldn’t be in the wrinkled state they are.  In fact this year it has been far easier, because His sister was staying with us and said “I know a good method”, which she showed Young Lad.  Young Lad wasn’t really watching, so then She had to learn the new method which is, in fact, pretty good.  So the moaning about sticky back plastic is really not necessary.

The culinary standards have been about as high as ever here this week.  Feeling that He and his sister would need good nourishment after long days at the hospital, She went to all the effort of ripping open Tesco pizza boxes for them one night.  Then on Friday night, She decided they would need something warming and comforting and made a curry.  There were only a few slightly old vegetables lying around, and the result was less Balti and more Sludge.  It really did look poor.  Fancy being faced with that after a Difficult Day.

This morning He and Young Lad took me for a lovely walk, and tonight She took me for another one.  As we started down the narrow path, there were some people on bikes coming up and it was a clear case of them or us.  Somewhat cantankerously She decided to push on through and force the cyclists to wait for us.  This was regretted when we realised it was the Friendly Electrician and his Lovely Wife, and to be honest I’m amazed they bothered to stop and say hello, faced with the aggressive pushing down the path.  Honestly.

So here we are about to start another week.  I’m hoping that Meghan Markle is in the middle of reading my book now, as it must have reached her mid-week, or at least reached an aide of some sort and surely they will have passed it on.  Maybe they are reading it first, which is quite rude as it wasn’t addressed to them.  I would think I will hear from Meghan towards the end of next week. 

It’s the usual story here of endless work and school, plus a couple of evening meetings thrown in for good measure.  I might get to see my family for an hour next Friday afternoon, if they can be bothered.  In the meantime I’m off to dear, dear Ebony’s tomorrow, and may help her dig the flower bulbs up again.

See you soon.

In loving memory of Grandad.  1932-2018.

Useful

IMG_2971001 Carrier bags are very useful, aren’t they?  So today while they were all out at work or school, I dragged a load of bags out of the kitchen cupboard and chucked them on the lounge floor.  They looked nice there.  Pippa’s Pack Leader came in to take me for a walk, and tidied up a bit which was a shame.

Anyway, the first few days of Extra Working Hours have been interesting.  Yesterday I went to dear, dear Ebony’s house and to be honest I couldn’t wait to get down to her house.  I barely looked back at Pack Leader as I ran down the road with Ebony’s Pack Leader.  It’s so refreshing to feel wanted and loved.  I was extremely well behaved at Ebony’s house all day, and on our walks, unlike Ebony who was naughty when we got home.  Ebony went out in the garden and dug large holes where the bulbs had recently been planted, so there was soil and bulbs all over the shop.  I would never behave like this.

When I returned to my own house, I went out in the garden and threw the recycling all over the lawn.  In particular I found a Young’s cod in batter box and a Sparks Means Marks lightly dusted plaice box (fewer calories), so I ripped those to shreds and threw them around.  The garden looks appalling now.

The other night, Lad was eating a bag of chilli peanuts on the sofa.  Rather carelessly he wandered off to the kitchen to get a drink, so I felt I had no choice but to snatch the bag of chilli nuts and ran under the table.  I finished them off.  Lad tried to crawl under the table and pull the bag out of my mouth, but I snarled and snapped at him until he retreated in fear.  They were nice.  A bit hot, if truth be told, and I did need a lot of water for the rest of the evening.  And I’m sure you can imagine the effect they had on me.

I had a really quite stressful night on Tuesday. We were very excited to be visited by His sister, and she came to stay for the night.  This was lovely, although she would insist on sitting on the lounge floor right up against my chair which made it tricky to get in.  At bed time there was some changing around of who was sleeping where, and Young Lad ended up sleeping in the big bedroom where I usually sleep.  I simply did not have enough room on the bed, and in the middle of the night I FELL OFF THE BED!  Yes, Readers, there was a loud thump as I landed heavily on the floor.  Did anyone get up to see if I was ok?  Of course they didn’t.  The next morning they all said that they’d heard a loud crash in the night, but nobody had bothered to check that I didn’t break a leg or shoulder in this terrible fall.  You would think that one of them might have cared.  In the event I stormed out of the big bedroom and flounced off to sleep on another bed.

I had been shouted at before this, would you believe, for sitting on Young Lad’s face while he was asleep.  How am I supposed to understand all these changes of arrangements?  That pillow normally has plenty of space on it, and the fact that Young Lad happened to have  his face there when I sat down is hardly my fault.

So today everyone had left the house just after 7.30am, and I was left.  I had been given a Kong with  (you’ve guessed it) out- of -date hummus in it, mixed with a teaspoon of out- of- date bean salad.  I know!  They only have themselves to blame.  It was rank but I ate it.  It took about forty five seconds to clear out the Kong.  Next I played with my silly dog toy puzzle, in which some more out of date hummus had been smeared along with a chopped up carrot.  Did I gently nuzzle the star shape around and around until I could get into each section?  Did I heck, Readers.  I banged it hard on the hard hall floor, until it broke apart. Then I gobbled up the hummus and carrot.  It took fifty five seconds.  What to do with the rest of the time until Pippa’s Pack Leader came for me?

  • go through the bathroom bin and chuck make-up remover pads on the floor
  • go through the bin in Lad’s room and chuck God knows what on the floor.
  • go through the bin in She’s room and chuck tissues and a box on the floor (ripping them up first.)
  • go through the bin in the downstairs loo and chuck tumble drier fluff on the floor.

I know.  All they had to do was shut the doors, but this was Young Lad’s responsibility as he was last to leave the house and Young Lad failed in this respect.

So there was quite a lot to tidy up once She got in tonight which pleased her greatly.  Young Lad has been spoken to about the Routine Before Leaving The House in the mornings.

Tomorrow they are all at work/school again so the goodwill of Ebony’s Pack Leader has been called upon yet again.  How the people in this neighbourhood tolerate all this relying on them, I really don’t know.  Young Lad is thoroughly enjoying his daily lifts to school from someone round the back, although he does have to walk all the way home, to be fair.  She says that all this is called “community spirit” and “having good friends” but I think it smacks of being indolent and badly-organised.  Honestly.

Golly I’m tired tonight, what with all the ripping up the recycling and dragging the carrier bags around. I don’t know where I find the energy.

Bye for now,

Russell

 

Working Hours

5060156533345Unbelievable.  Readers, I don’t know how to put this, so I will be blunt.  She has INCREASED her working hours, and I will be abandoned home alone MOST OF THE WEEK!  Can you believe it?  I get scant love and attention as it is, and now this.  I am at a loss for words, which is unusual as you know.

Yet again, Ebony and Pippa’s Pack Leaders are stepping in and taking care of me. Frankly I can’t wait to see them.  It is all too clear how important I am in the scheme of things in my own home.

I can only assume that Gingercat is upset about the extra working days, as he has been behaving very strangely.  Gingercat was sitting in the bath this morning, looking ridiculous, and then climbed into the bathroom sink.  He peered up with an “aren’t I cute?” look on his face but he really didn’t look cute, he looked half-witted. Then yesterday, as Young Lad was putting away his clean clothes, Gingercat climbed into his drawer – the one labelled Tshirts and Joggers – and went to sleep.  Gingercat is quite fat so Young Lad couldn’t shut the drawer, and Gingercat stayed in the drawer all day.  Can you imagine if I’d climbed into the sink or a drawer?  I would have been shouted at.  But oh no, it’s enchanting and sweet if it’s Gingercat.

Today was Back To School for Lad, and He and She were at work so Young Lad was home alone with  me. Now, Young Lad isn’t meant to be on his own too long due to one of the myriad of medical conditions that are prevalent in this house, so of course the neighbours were called upon to check in on him.  Saturday:  Lovelydor down the road has to do our washing, Tuesday: Lovelyneighbourontheright has to supervise the offspring.  How we depend on everyone else.  And in a further example of this selfish abuse of people’s kindness, another neighbour round the back has now been drafted in to give Young Lad a lift to school of a day.  Shameless.

Yesterday was relatively nice as it was the last day of the school holidays, and She, Lad and Young Lad were at home.  Well, Lad stayed in bed, and Young Lad said he fancied one final portion of toast and butter from Costalotta before his annual eye test, so there was a detour there.  Nobody gave me any toast and butter.  She says there will be no more trips to Costalotta for quite a while now, as there is no bldy money left, plus of course She’s working every wretched day.  

It was very warm yesterday despite being September – an Indian summer I think they call it. I was extremely hot out in the garden but chose to lay in the full sun and pant heavily anyway.  We delayed my walk until the evening when things had cooled down. Our walk was marched in time to a Beach Boys song, so it was rather jaunty.  Thankfully that nasty habit of singing aloud in Far Field seems to have abated.  We saw Teddy the Australian Copper Labradoodle, whom I haven’t bumped into for ages.  He tried to make me play, but I wouldn’t.  Teddy has recently had a hair cut by the look of it, and I’m glad nobody tries to do that to me.  Poor Teddy.

Walking back up the road in the balmy evening, I was excited to see Ebony’s Pack Leader sitting outside in the sunshine, quaffing a cheeky prosecco.  What a civilised thing to do, I thought to myself and typical of a person of her class.  I was rather keen to join her, and sit in the sun watching the world go up and down our road at teatime, but no.  I was yanked indoors and moaned at for dragging Gingercat’s food bowl outside. Nobody in my family sat outside in the sun drinking a light sparkling wine.

Partly this was because there was a pathetic effort to make up for the increased working hours by cooking a home-cooked dinner.  This makes one feel less guilty about neglecting everyone.  A curry was decided upon, and Young Lad decided to help.  I must say it smelled delicious, and the rice that inevitably fell on the kitchen floor was light and fluffy.  There was some korma paste stuff all down one of the cupboards too.  

Down at the river tonight, we saw Rocco the Inspirational Three-Legged Labrador’s Pack Leader.  She made a HUGE fuss of me and is clearly a Russell fan.  It’s a good job someone is.  I was shouted at for grabbing piles of manky stuff in my mouth and eating it – someone has kindly cut the grass down there, and there is lots of loose stuff all over the place.  Somehow this clumps itself together into nasty-looking clots, which I suspect are held together with decomposing rats.  It’s nice.

Tonight it is fairly peaceful.  Lad is in the bath, whilst Young Lad and She are watching Bake-Off.  This episode is all about traybakes and there are some questionable flavours being added to perfectly decent sponge cake.  Spinach, anyone?  How ridiculous.  Though I would eat it.  Young Lad loves watching Bake-Off, and it comes right up there with Masterchef, Police Interceptors and 24 Hours in A &E for him.  What an eclectic mix.

Well, Readers, as if there wasn’t enough excitement on the domestic appliance front with the washing machine exploding, yesterday the dishwasher had a sinister E24 warning light on it!  The drama never ends.  After much googling it was decided that E24 means your dishwasher is filthy and you haven’t cleaned out the filters for years you slovenly wench.   After a quick clean of the filters, the E24 light went off. Phew.

So tomorrow I’m at Ebony’s house for daycare, and don’t forget that Young Lad is being dumped with someone round the corner in order to get to school.  Lad has his first whole day back at school, in the wonder of Year 12.  Who knows what will happen.

See you soon,

Russell

Disturbed

59922293-cartoon-washing-machine-clip-art-illustration-with-simple-gradients-all-in-a-single-layer-Yesterday was absolutely ridiculous, Readers. I have never known such disruption and noise of a day.  It started in the morning when I was having my post-breakfast sleep in my chair – suddenly there was terrific banging from the kitchen and a worrying burning smell.  This all ended with a loud crack as the glass door of the washing machine shattered.  Really!  I was trying to sleep!

What makes it worse is that this was completely avoidable.  If somebody hadn’t rammed clothes into the machine knowing full well that He had put his enormous bldy trainers in there, this wouldn’t have happened.  Any four-year old German-made bldy expensive machine is going to struggle with the force of all that during fast spin.

Then of course there was loads of swearing and bad temper, as it is very inconvenient to not have a washing machine the weekend before Back To School happens.  I simply could not get back to sleep with all this going on, and it really annoyed me.

She stomped out the house and drove off to a town far away to collect the final items of school uniform (I told you it was all very last minute).  Young Lad went on the Xbox to de-stress from the washing machine incident and He forlornly hung his trainers out on the line.  I did eventually doze off again as it all quietened down for a while.  But really this isn’t good enough.

When Lad finally got out of bed, I felt the day was picking up a little.  Then She returned from School Uniform collection, and huffed and puffed about ordering a newbldy washing machine in the twenty minutes available before they all went out.  It was still imperative to read reviews of a few washing machines so that it wasn’t a completely impulsive decision, but I feel a lot more research should have gone into buying such an important household good.  “That’ll do” really doesn’t suffice.  Then, Readers, and get the rudeness of this – LovelyDor down the road was texted and asked to re-wash all the washing in the machine that had exploded.  We do know how to use people in this house, don’t we!

To be honest I was glad when they all went out.  I had a quiet couple of hours, in which Gingercat and I were able to relax properly.  It was irritating to find all the bedroom doors shut, mind you, and we had to make do with the sofa but at least there were no exploding domestic appliances or sweary language.

But THEN things deteriorated.  On returning from their visit to see Grandad, She decided to drive down to LovelyDor and see if the washing was ready for collection.  As She did so, a small grey dog was spotted running in the road.  Reluctantly She pulled over and looked for the dog’s Pack Leader, but there was nobody with it.  Fearing the little dear would end up under the next car zooming round the corner, She had no choice but to pick it up, put it in the car and bring it home.  Yes, Readers, to MY home.  In they came, and I was told to be nice to it as it had  been very stressed.  Well, I can tell you I was fairly stressed too.

We were chucked in the garden, where the grey thing tried to chase me around.  I made it clear that I simply don’t do this. Good God it was irritating.

Then, and this really beggars belief, it was decided to take us BOTH out for a walk to the river, to see if there was a Pack Leader frantically looking for their dog.  This was incredibly annoying as the grey dog kept trying to sniff my bottom and our leads were constantly becoming tangled.  It was rather fraught, and of course we had to stop and chat to every single person that walked past us, to see if they knew whose dog it was.  The whole thing made my hackles rise, if I’m honest, and I was jolly glad when Social Media found some sort of useful purpose and the dog was reunited with its careless owner.  Dear God.

I was exhausted after all these interruptions to my sleep yesterday.

In other news, niceladywiththelonghair and the brown labrador told me that she’s read my book, and that she’s lending it to her father.  Another nice lady at whom I barked ferociously the other week for walking by the river without a dog and therefore no legitimate purpose, also said she has bought my book and is going to purchase another copy as  a Christmas present for someone.  How wonderful – I am humbled by the kindness of these people, but then they know a good read when they see it.

Guess what is sitting in a Jiffy bag by the front door?  Waiting to go to the Post Office tomorrow?  Yes!  My book for Meghan Markle!!  It is a brand new nice, shiny copy, and I’ve written her a letter to explain why a random book is turning up at Nott Cott.  I’m a little concerned that it won’t get past security but surely there’s nothing threatening about my photo on the front –  miserable, but not threatening.  I do so hope her personal assistant or the butler pass it on to her. Do you think she’ll like it?  Will she understand the humour, not being British?  Will she know what Tesco is?

Today He took me for a lovely long walk really early, when there was still dew on the ground. I’m not quite feeling myself though, today, which may or may not be due to all the manky apples and greengages I’m eating from the garden.  My stomach does seem somewhat distended and I’m a little subdued – not that anyone has noticed.  I was very tired after my walk and dropped off into a nice sleep – and what do you think happened then?  Yes!  A new washing machine was delivered, the old one was disconnected and dragged out, and the new one was plumbed in by Pavel and James.  Can you imagine the racket?  Bang, crash, drag, rip.  For the love of God, I just want a quiet morning.

Readers, you would have been ashamed of the floor behind the old washing machine.  It was DISGUSTING.  Black, greasy, covered in pen lids, eggs shells and the everlasting satsuma peelings.  Poor, poor Pavel and James – I am quite sure they have never been to such a filthy house. It was excruciating.  I can hear the conversation Pavel and James had in the lorry, after they left.  And this is the hovel in which I have to live!

Meghan Markle won’t have black grease and egg shells behind her washing machine.  Her kitchen vinyl flooring doesn’t have rips in it, I know for a fact.  Oh I do so hope she reads my book – this might be the start of something.

Well, another tiring day – He played cricket this afternoon but I wasn’t taken to the club as it was very warm and I made it perfectly clear that I didn’t feel myself.  I was dragged down to Lovelydor’s to take her some flowers, but really I don’t think a bunch of alstromeira makes up for treating her like Mrs Tiggywinkle.

Lad isn’t here tonight – he has gone to a town far away to hang out with his friends.  Lad found it difficult to make a time-efficient decision about whether to go or not, and it turns out there were no trains due to engineering works, so She said yes of COURSE She would love to drive him to a town far away late on a Sunday afternoon, it would be FUN!!  There was a conversation with Lad about try making a bldy decision before 3pm in future, which I feel is a little harsh.

Well let’s cross our fingers and hope for a morning uninterrupted by white goods or grey dogs tomorrow, Friends.

Bye for now,

Russell

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