Traditions

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,

Russell

Attuned

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,
Russell

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