Crisp and Even

crispsAt the weekend, Readers, there was some Frantic Cleaning done at my house because nobody had done any for a couple of weeks and the house was a mess.  When it was time for the lounge to be blitzed, I heard a shriek of despair from underneath the large table – it appeared She had found my secret stash of crisp packets.  There was a whole mountain of them there, ripped up and spat out, and every last grain of salt licked clean.  I’ll admit it did look a mess, but if someone bothered to hoover under the table more regularly these things wouldn’t build up.  It’s not my fault. 

I had collected all these crisp packets from a variety of places.  Some were from Lad’s bedroom bin, others were from the downstairs toilet bin (I’ve no idea either) and yet more were from Lad and Young Lad’s school bags.  By ripping them all up and arranging them in a pile under the table, I created quite a wonderful collage in the style of Andy Warhol.  I’m sure he did something arty with crisp packets. Or was it soup tins….

Anyway I digress.  I was quite annoyed that my secret stash was all cleared up and put in the bin, then the carpet was hoovered and finally some Dr Beckmann’s Stain remover squirted over a grubby bit.   And of course this was accompanied by a lot of moaning about haven’tgotthebldytime  for all this.  Don’t worry Friends, I’ve already started my pile off again with a breadsticks packet and an empty sachet of Whiskas.

It was a busy weekend, after a busy week.  Friday night was a much-needed chilling out session – I was frankly exhausted – and it was a wonderful evening wherein She sat on the sofa (her friend Gordon was within easy reach), Young Lad sat squashed up tightly next to her, I lay stretched out along her legs and then Gingercat came and sat on me/ her shoulder.  You would think most people would love to be sat on by three other people/animals and find the experience warming and loving, but of course we were moaned at.  It was pointed out that the sofa is fairly large and it was totally unnecessary for She to be buried beneath her son and animals – honestly some people are so ungrateful.  There are those of you out there, Friends, who are crying out for such loving attention on a Friday night at the end of a longbldyweek.

But even She could see how cosy it all was, and we all relaxed in front of Netflix for the evening.  I think She found it hard to breathe at times, especially when Gingercat stretched out across her neck, but what a happy scene.  Young Lad said “isn’t this nice?” and hugged She more tightly.  She didn’t answer.  I’m not sure She could.

Readers, my last blog was called “Halfway House” and one of you very kindly sent me a picture from an AA Milne book.  This was a poem called “Halfway Down The Stairs” and it’s ironic, because when we were thinking of a title for my last blog, I did suggest this very thing but She said none of you would know what on earth we were talking about, and that an old Christopher Robin poem would be lost on my audience.  How patronising, Friends. Oh dear, dear, dear.  I think someone needs to be a little more humble and a little less judgemental in thinking they are the only person who can recite “it isn’t at the bottom, it isn’t at the top, but this is the stair where I always stop”.   I can only apologise, Friends, and am very grateful to the reader who sent me the poem.

Lad has been working hard studying this evening and has now gone to the gym.  I feel exercise is good release for Lad and walking all the way to the gym in the freezing cold will do him a lot of good.  Well done, Lad.  Young Lad has PE at school tomorrow, but doesn’t need his kit as it is “theory.”  I imagine this is Young Lad’s favourite type of PE lesson as one can sit down for most of it.  Anyway, Young Lad has indoor cricket nets tomorrow night, it being Wednesday, AND he has to walk all the way home from school, so this is more than enough activity for the poor lamb.

I’ve been to daycare at dear, dear Ebony’s house today.  I was meant to be going to dear, dear Pippa but poor Pippa’s Pack Leader Male has been unwell and so I decided to let him have a day of peace today.  It’s a shame, as Pippa’s Pack Leader Male and I share a penchant for a cheese sandwich, and often sit together over lunch in appreciation of such a simple classic.  I do hope he feels better soon so that I can go back round and gaze wistfully at his sandwich.

Well, Readers, someone has had enough for the evening and wants to catch up with Silent Witness or a prison/hospital/equally bleak kind of programme.  One of these days they might try searching the comedy section, you never know.  I will do my best to snore loudly throughout whatever She puts on, just to make my presence felt.

Golly I’m tired.

See you soon,


Halfway House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye for now,




Back on Form

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye for now,


Paws For Thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golly I’m tired just thinking about it.

Bye for now,




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