Readers, there is a saying that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks but it is a bare-faced lie. I am seven. I am not old but decidedly middle-aged and not known for my spontaneous development of new skills. Well, blow me down with a feather – you should have seen me last night at the river!
Regular Readers will know that the very most I do – on a swelteringly hot day – is to carefully side-step down the bank and put my paws in the water. If I’m feeling particularly courageous I have been known to walk around up to my ankles, ignoring all the silly labradors who throw themselves into the deep parts. I have NEVER let the river come right up my sides.
Yesterday evening it was warm and a trifle muggy, and we had a long walk all the way up through Far Field and back again. As we neared the river, I began my cautious side-stepping down the bank and went in up to my ankles. She walked on ahead, assuming I would soon be back on dry land. I wasn’t. From a LONG way up ahead She turned round and realised I hadn’t emerged from the lethal river. “RUSSELL!” She screeched in an unpleasant fishwife voice, and started blowing frantically on the whistle. Still no sign of me.
Readers, She had no choice but to run in a panic-stricken manner back towards the river. The thought of me being caught in some weeds and somehow drowning in very shallow water was too much. As She neared the wide part of the river where the silly labradors throw themselves in, a lot of splashing was heard.
I was in the middle of the river – yes you’re right, that’s the DEEP part – and I was swimming! Proper, actual, swimming! Oh my word, the sense of achievement. Really I am so proud of myself. Pardon? Why was I swimming instead of paddling after all this time? I was trying to catch a duck. There was a dull brown mallard thing over the other side and it didn’t look like the sharpest tool in the workshop, and I thought to myself, “hmm, duck for dinner?” So I started swimming towards it, but then the ruddy duck started swimming towards me but a bit to one side so we ended up going round in circles somewhat. The long and short of it is that I tried to catch a duck and was DAMNED close! If She hadn’t arrived on the river bank (puffing a lot) and blowing the whistle/shouting “biscuit”/screeching I am sure I would have caught the duck.
Anyway. I climbed out not only soaking wet all over, but also utterly exhausted.
You would think after this – swimming is notoriously tiring – that when I got home I would be able to sleep for the rest of the time. But no. We looked after Lovelyneighbourontheright’s cockapoo puppy thing. This dog hasn’t been round to ours for quite a while and I never give it much of a welcome at the best of times, but really this was too much. One’s first ever swim on top of one’s first ever attempt to catch a duck called for quiet slumber, not an over-excited youth jumping on my back. Golly I was annoyed. Luckily Detention Friend and Young Lad were playing cricket in the garden and so they kept the cockapoo thing happy.
Sadly my dinner last night was not the duck a l’orange as I intended but my normal dry stuff. This was disappointing but I ate it anyway.
The good thing was that there was some big football game on telly last night, and Young Lad had invited Detention Friend to come down and watch it, then stay overnight. This means sleeping in the lounge with a lot of tasty snacks, which get tipped all over the carpet and there is lots for me to clear up. I love it when friends come to stay. Sure enough there was a nice mosaic pattern of Pringles, cheese puffs, breadsticks and the odd crumb of chocolate lying around. It was glorious. Then Lad arrived home on the last train, from seeing his friends in a town far, far away and he was in a very jolly mood, I must say. In fact Lad decided to start cooking fish fingers and chips even though it was nearly 1am, and I was delighted to see him take the plate of food to his bedroom. I waited till he had popped to the toilet and then ran in and grabbed as much as I could.
Lad has had a talking-to today, and been told he will no longer be cooking meals at ridiculous times and that if one is hungry after a night out, one has a bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes like normal people.
We’ve all been out in the garden a lot today and what do you know, next door’s cockapoo thing came round again. I’m surprised it wanted to in all honesty, as it came face to face with Gingercat yesterday and Gingercat was not impressed. He hissed and spat and arched his back, and then tried to thump the cockapoo thing. Gingercat quite scares me at times.
This afternoon another feeble attempt was made at a barbecue – why they don’t just buy one of those big ones I really don’t know. But no, this time a small bucket was piled with firelighters and charcoal briquettes, and yet they were surprised when they couldn’t get it going. Good grief. After an hour of moaning and three boxes of matches down, the charcoals smouldered enough to grill a few thin burgers and some slices of halloumi. Honestly, all that effort.
After lunch, it was very pleasant. Lad was on the sofa doing his revision (where he’d been since early morning), She was in the one comfy garden chair doing some work, and Young Lad and He appeared with towels and pillows to put on the grass. As soon as they had laid them down, I strolled over and sat on them. I have no idea why everyone shouted at me.
Anyway, I’m tired out from all this activity – swimming and the like. How do those silly labradors do it? They have more energy than me that’s for sure.
See you soon,