Aggrieved

Readers, I was not happy the other day. There I was at dear, dear Ebony’s house trying to sleep in the sun but goodness me, the selfishness! Just look how much room Ebony is taking up on the garden seat. I actually had to stamp on her tail (look closely) to make her move over enough for me to lie down. Really, this is unacceptable. Thankfully dear, dear Ebony soon remembered her place and got off the garden seat so I could sprawl across it. Honestly.

It’s been a very busy few weeks, as you can tell from the lack of a blog. So much has happened, I don’t really know where to start. I have emptied lots of bins and strewn recycling across the garden, rolled in something dubious on the back lawn, dragged loads of rubbish under the dining room table (on several occasions) and moulted over everything. The latter can’t be my fault, surely.

On Tuesday this week I came back from dear, dear Ebony’s house to my own home- Friends, there was a window of an hour and a half before anyone else would be in! Now, the bedroom doors were all shut and the bin had been put out – in an unusually good effort of organisation – so I occupied myself by opening a kitchen cupboard and pulling out Tupperware boxes, a roll of kitchen foil and a box of pastry cutters. These made a pleasing clanging noise as they rolled all over the kitchen floor (which was filthy as usual). Then, on the bottom shelf, I found a box containing a large gin glass, miniature Gordon’s pink gin and small bottle of tonic. This was a present that somebody had given She. I dragged it into the lounge and ripped the cardboard off. I couldn’t find a way in to the bottle of gin, but I suspect that’s a good thing.

Anyway, the long and the short of it was that when She came in from work and saw the mess, I was shouted at. That didn’t bother me. What DID bother me, however, was that She decided not to clear up the mess I’d made as She wanted my New Buddy to see it when he popped round for the evening. For goodness’ sake, how petty! “New Buddy needs to see the real Russell blah blah blah, not the sickeningly well-behaved one he knows, blah blah blah, but the idiotic one I’ve had to put up with for years blah, blah,blah.” I think you get the picture. And so it was. New Buddy came round and saw the gin and tonic on the lounge floor and the pastry cutters over the kitchen floor, and had a mildly stern word with me about my behaviour. I refused to speak to him for the rest of the evening and sent him to Coventry.

Prior to all that, I had enjoyed a splendid weekend. On Saturday I went on a bus ride into town – it was the number 65 – and behaved impeccably, sitting nicely under the seat. Until I farted and stunk the bus out. I did this on the number 65 INTO town and on the number 65 coming BACK from town. Readers, everyone has to wear masks so it really isn’t a big deal and I’m sure it didn’t smell as bad as She and New Buddy made out. Then back at New Buddy’s house on the sofa, I lay with my nose towards his feet and my rear end towards his upper body/face. Unfortunately my flatulence continued apace, and wafted directly into the nasal cavities of New Buddy. I couldn’t help it and I do feel it was a little excessive of New Buddy to jump off the sofa and stand up.

Readers, the pubs are open!! Lockdown is nearly over and we can now sit in pub gardens, or at a table outside a cafe – the luxury of not having to perch on walls any more! Needless to say I have been dragged into town on numerous occasions to sit outside cafes or in pub gardens, even though it is barely above freezing and not a pleasant experience. I think some people are a) insane and b) trying to make a point. In addition to this, outdoor sport has re-started and last night saw us back at cricket training with Young Lad. Ah yes, Regular Readers will remember the halcyon years of my blogs from before Coronavirus, where Wednesdays were always on a tight bldy schedule, as She had to get back from work and get Young Lad out to cricket within minutes. The atmosphere here is always a little snappy on a Wednesday night.

We were all so excited to be back at cricket last night. I can’t tell you how much I have missed walking round the boundary for an hour and half every Wednesday night, eating bird poo and sometimes finding a dead bird. Or – and this used to be splendid – going into the clubhouse and hoovering up all the crisps from under the chairs. Alas, last night the clubhouse remained shut due to coronavirus, so I had to content myself with the boundary. I had quite a result, actually, as I found some tiger bread to go with the bird poo.

The excitement of being back at cricket wore off after a little while, due to the sub zero temperature. As there was no way of taking refuge in the clubhouse with merriment and jollity to warm us, we had no choice but to walk repeatedly, and in She’s case, dejectedly, round the boundary or sit on a cold plastic chair to watch the action in the nets. Readers, it was FREEZING. I wanted to go home to my armchair and made this clear.

I think my face shows the level of my misery.

To be fair, Young Lad thoroughly enjoyed his first cricket training session for 18 months, and barely paused for breath the entire time. Young Lad is very good at directing operations and telling everyone what they should be doing – well done, Young Lad. Keep your arm straight when you bowl, though.

Next week there is another Wednesday night cricket training session AND, potentially, a cricket match the night after! I do hope it warms up a bit. And that the bar opens.

Young Lad had a triumph in Food Tech last week, Friends. He had to make dough balls, and She found a BBC Good Food recipe for him and weighed out the ingredients whilst Young Lad watched Top Gear – look, great chefs have a commis chef to do the donkey work – and then Young Lad took the ingredients to school and made EXCELLENT dough balls. They were big, soft, doughy and gorgeous. They were much better than the loaf of bread Young Lad had previously baked in Food Tech, which was something of a brick , and Young Lad has definitely found his stride with smaller packages of dough. Well done, Young Lad.

Lad is away at university – he had taken to popping back rather often but it has been gently suggested to him that he stays put. This may or may not have something to do with him cooking meals at 2.30am when he’s home and getting on people’s nerves. Lad is very busy as he has a lot of Deadlines to meet, and some Important Exams, and don’t forget the poxy laundry facilities which cause so much distress of a week. Poor Lad. His life is very hard at times. His bedroom door is kept shut and I’m not allowed on his bed to scrunch up the duvet. This is ridiculous. There is a perfectly good double bed on which I could be spreading out, and it’s sitting there unused.

Readers, you couldn’t make up the level of incompetence in this house at times. On Monday, She left for work five minutes early and was very smug as She had put Lovelydor’s birthday card through the door and hung up a new hanging basket, all by 7.15am. She had booked a table (outside of course) at Prezzo for Lovelydor, She and Young Lad in the evening to celebrate Lovelydor’s birthday.

Lovelydor was rather bemused by all this as it wasn’t her birthday.

Lovelydor’s birthday was several days later. We have known Lovelydor for over twenty years and therefore known the date of her birthday for over twenty years. Give me strength.

And then there are the items that are mislaid. On a daily basis it will be phone chargers that have vanished, an item of clothing that can’t be tracked down, a piece of paper with a password scribbled on it and – this one is quite bizarre- the metal sink strainer thing. This has disappeared off the face of the earth. How can anyone lose a solid round metal thing with holes in it, from the kitchen sink? But lost it is. How we pray at the temple of Amazon.

On top of this, She felt it would be lovely, as soon as the pub gardens reopened, for New Buddy and New Buddy The Younger to come over for an evening dog walk, so we could walk into town and sit nicely in a pub garden surrounded by laughter and the tinkling of glasses. We started off with a game of ‘Russell fetch the ball’ over the Rec (New Buddy The Younger is much better at this than they are) and then wandered happily into town, where there were bound to be several pubs open – how would we choose which one?

Nowhere was open.

After a very long walk investigating each of the hostelries in the town centre (the only one open sounded very rough and I am a pedigree, after all) we had to walk all the way home to the pub at the top of the road, which doesn’t have a nice garden but did at least have drink and peanuts. It wasn’t quite the bonhomie-filled adventure that had been envisaged, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The Stupid Collared Doves are still endlessly making out on the back fence – really, they are very attached to one another and anyone less cynical might find this rather beautiful. They sit on the fence and one rests his head on the other one’s back – I can’t work out which gender is which – and it would appear they are talking about profound things like the meaning of life. Which of course they aren’t as they are incredibly stupid and do things like fly smack bang into the French windows. They have built a nest in the large conifer next to the French windows so let’s hope they choose the right direction when flying out of the nest.

Readers, I’m exhausted. What with a long, cold evening at cricket last night and daycare at dear Ebony’s every day this week (dear Pippa is away in her camper van) I really am ready for my bed. I’m hoping to be having a trip in a campervan myself soon – in fact a large 2 man sleeping bag was purchased recently for me, for this very reason. I think it was for me. I’m sure it must have been.

Enjoy those freezing cold pub gardens and cafe outside seating Friends, or if you have more sense, curl up in the warm and wait two more weeks for indoor hospitality to open.

See you soon,

Russell

Molton Brown

Readers, I know it isn’t long since my last blog entry but I have had such a busy Easter weekend that I feel obliged to tell you all about it, plus I’ve been pressurised by some quarters to crack on with an update. I really am quite exhausted by all the activity of the last few days but I am nothing if not obedient (these days) and so I will dig deep and fill you in.

It would be rude and ignorant of me to simply write about myself, though, so I will begin by wishing you all a belated Happy Easter, and I do hope you had a lovely time sitting outdoors with your friends and loved ones after all these months of Lockdown. There has been an air of optimism and general bonhomie that even I have sensed.

But now back to me.

On Good Friday we went to visit Nana aged 90 and this was very exciting a) because I could sleep for two hours in the car each way and b) Nana aged 90 isn’t a big fan of mine and it’s always fun to try to ingratiate myself with her. I was very good in the car, and didn’t even complain about Young Lad’s music which played most of the way – it really was shockingly awful gangsta rap type stuff and She kept moaning about all the swear words and tried to put Magic FM on instead. To be honest Magic FM was just as dreary as the gansta rap music and so I just slept throughout. We pulled off at the services right at the end of the journey, where there are nice clean toilets and an M&S food outlet – Young Lad and I stayed in the car whilst She joined the queue to get in, crossing her legs as the queue was quite long and the need for the clean toilet facilities was quite acute. With moments to spare, She made it through the door – I had hoped my Pack Leader might treat me to a nice snack from M&S as Young Lad had been bought a large bag of Maom Joystix sweets for the road trip, and She had a coffee from M&S but of course, nothing was bought for me. It gets worse, Friends, as when we arrived at Nana aged 90’s – knowing full well we would be out for the entire day – it transpired that my Pack Leader had failed to bring any of my dinner with us. What on earth was I going to eat at dinner time? I was aghast – just what level of shoddy care is this? Really, it was very disappointing.

To be fair it was lovely to see Nana aged 90 after all this time. It is nearly six months since we saw her, due to Coronavirus and Lockdown, and I’m sure she was ever so pleased to see me. I ran straight into the kitchen and tried to eat the cat food as usual, but apart from that I was impeccably behaved. Then The Cousins all turned up and we all sat in the garden in warm sunshine, until it was time to go down the road for Fish and Chips. This is a family tradition on Good Friday, and one that I enjoy very much. Everyone ate their fish and chips in the warm sunshine in the garden, and because my Pack Leader had failed to bring any dinner for me, I had no choice but to sit and beg chips from everyone. They all felt very sorry for me, understandably, and so I was in luck on the chip front. Then I went for a lovely walk with The Cousins and two spaniels called Jarvis (he’s a cocker) and Hunter. We all socially distanced very nicely.

I finally had my proper dinner that evening, after the long drive home. Readers, this is not acceptable and I made my feelings clear.

The next day was Saturday and much to my delight, I was put back in the car with the big overnight bag which usually means we’re going to stay at my New Buddy’s house. This was excellent news, as it’s only a short car journey and then I am with people who love and understand me. My New Buddy had been shopping with New Buddy The Younger and they had spent a splendid hour in Pets At Home, buying me all the things I could possibly need and several things I don’t really need but are treats and, let’s face it, I’m worth it. So now I have my own new bed, food and water bowls, poo bags and treats at New Buddy’s house and in all honesty, She would do well to observe the level of attention and care shown to me. New Buddy wouldn’t take me out for the day and forget to take any dinner for me. Oh no, Friends. In fact New Buddy took me to Greggs and bought me my very own sausage roll over the weekend. Can you see the difference in standards of dog management? Yes, so can I.

So as soon as we arrived – well, after I had cocked my leg in several places in the garden and hoovered up the kitchen floor – I was taken for a cracking walk across some fields near the town. There was some attempt at throwing my tennis ball with the pink ball flinger thingy, and after an initial poor show, I did remember that I only get a treat if I bring the tennis ball back. It took a while and She said something like “sheesh it’s like being at work” which I didn’t fully understand, but eventually the penny dropped and I knew what to do. All this chasing a tennis ball around was quite tiring so I was glad when it was deemed coffee time and we trotted to the cafe in town. New Buddy The Younger held my lead most of the time and I liked this, as he doesn’t moan at me to hurry up all the time, like She does.

Now, I want you to see the result of all these long walks and ball chasing. If I may say so myself, I think I am looking magnificent at the moment – people have commented on my waistline in a favourable way and really, I’m in wonderful shape.

She said rather curtly that it’s just a deceptive camera angle, but Friends, have you ever seen me look this lean? I’m in my prime, I feel.

The weekend just got better and better from then – in the afternoon I was put back in the car yet again and driven to visit some friends. They have a large house in the country with dogs and horses and a lot of grounds. The dogs are actually the size of small horses, but we got on very well and I didn’t try to fight them and they didn’t try to mount me, so all was well. The Pack Leaders all sat around outside for nigh on four hours chatting and drinking, and eating cake, so I busied myself wandering around the grounds and finding interesting things to eat in the bushes – more of this in a moment. Occasionally I did bray in my best Beagle bray at the horses in the field as I felt they were about to attack, and they needed to know who was in charge. There were pheasants flying around, owls… you name it. I was bored rigid by all the talking and drinking, but had a lovely time with so many different country smells. Everyone said I’d been very well-behaved.

Unfortunately, Friends, it turned out that one of the things I’d eaten in the bushes was decaying and possibly quite poisonous, as during the night I vomited over my own legs on my new bed. I was too tired to do anything about it, so when Pack Leader and New Buddy finally got up, they were perplexed as to what the greenish stuff over my legs and new bed was. Then I went out in the garden and had a lot of difficulty with my comfort breaks – I produced several very large cow pats of unpleasant loose texture all over the lawn, and had to scoot my bottom along quite a bit. These comfort breaks were a ‘complete nightmare’ to clean up, but it wasn’t really my fault.

As I was covered in my own vomit, I needed a bath. Pack Leader had failed to pack my dog shampoo and as it was Easter Sunday – I do have interesting timing when these things happen – no shops were open. New Buddy and Pack Leader had no choice but to bathe me in She’s last dribble of Molton Brown Davana Blossom shower gel, which is her all-time favourite, very hard to get hold of these days and FAR too expensive to waste on a vomitty dog blah blah blah…. and so it was that I had a Molton Brown £15 a bottle bath. I smell absolutely divine and my coat positively gleams.

The laugh was that after my bath we went to the coast for a lovely long Easter Sunday walk along the beach. Obviously this involved sand and a little mud. That said, the weather was glorious and we sat on a big log thing basking in the sun, all agreeing that life is pretty good. Then we went home and carried on basking in the sun with a few glasses of wine, and life seemed even better.

I was very sad to leave New Buddy’s house and have to come home to my own boring residence. Having had a quick walk in the m0rning – this included the trip to Greggs for a sausage roll for me – I had every intention of sleeping in my armchair for the rest of the day, but no – She’s good friend round the corner said did She fancy a walk in the afternoon sunshine, and so despite the freezing wind I was dragged down to the river for yet another long walk. She’s good friend round the corner was pondering over whether to get a dog, so She said “don’t get a Beagle whatever you do,” which is rude and hurtful.

So what of Lad and Young Lad over Easter weekend? Well, we know that Young Lad came on the road trip to Nana aged 90’s house where his cousins made lots of funny comments, and they all laughed like drains. Lad was unfortunately too busy to attend this function plus of course, the rule of six meant that if Lad had come, someone else wouldn’t have been able to. Lad was very busy in his own rule of six with friends in A Town Far Away. When we returned from the road trip, She and Young Lad spent the evening catching up on Masterchef and there was lots of oohing and ahhing about the very high standard of presentation. It bored me senseless. Who gives a stuff about presentation? Lad came home very late and needed a good lie-in the next day – he seems to need a good lie-in most days – but it is lovely to have him home from university. Even if he does leave glasses and bottles all over the house, the extension lead and Alexa in the bathroom, towels all over the floor and the microwave looking like something has been massacred in it. No,really, it’s lovely to have him home from uni. Really, it is.

Friends I could not believe my ears this morning. She had gone to meet friends for a jolly long walk in some woods, and not taken me for which I was quite thankful as they ended up walking and talking for over two and a half hours! I would not have enjoyed this. So I stayed at home with Lad and Young Lad. Can you believe it – She had booked Young Lad’s Maths tutor for a lesson this morning. It’s the school holidays! What the heck? She said that Year 10 have been on chuffing school holiday for the past chuffing year, and Young Lad was going to have a one hour lesson come hell or high water. Readers I feel this is nigh on neglectful of Young Lad’s needs and rights. Poor Young Lad. This meant a whole hour not spent on the Xbox, which is unacceptable. The shame of it.

Lad is having some trouble with his appetite at the moment. She went to SparksmeansMarks the other day and bought a whole load of what She thought Lad would like – the prodigal son home from uni and all that nonsense. A fortune was spent on chicken goujons, mac & cheese oven bites, spicy chorizo filled pasta parcels…… Lad has not enjoyed any of these things. The only thing Lad enjoyed was the Four Cheese Ravioli ready meal, which exploded all over the microwave (see earlier comment) and has yet to be cleaned up. I don’t know what’s wrong with Lad. I would have enjoyed the mac and cheese bites, the chicken goujons, ths spicy chorizo pasta parcels …. I would have LOVED them, Readers. She is cross with Lad and says She doesn’t know why She bothers.

I had to laugh the other day, Friends. On Thursday night She spent ages in the kitchen making mini bitesize cheesecakes to take to Nana aged 90’s on Friday. These were put in the freezer overnight to harden properly. It turns out that my dinner wasn’t the only thing She forgot to take to Nana aged 90’s…. there is still a tray of bitesize cheesecakes in the freezer. Bitesize, I ask you. What’s the point?

As you can see I have had a very busy few days, and what with another walk into town with New Buddy The Younger holding my lead and yet another wait outside Costalotta, I am exhausted again tonight. But really, I am having a splendid life at the moment and am the happiest I’ve been for a long time. You wouldn’t know it as I still look suicidal in my resting face moments, but I’m very happy. And slim. Ish.

I hope you had an equally lovely weekend, Readers, and don’t forget, the pubs open outdoors next Monday. Happy days.

See you soon,

Russell