Do you see this, AOL? Do you? Do you? Eh? I cannot be silenced! Oh, yes, your universal cr*pitude may try to suppress me but, phoenix-like, I rise again. I refuse to be crushed!
I must say that I have strongly felt frustration at the hiatus that ensued whilst my partner was scrambling to salvage my works before AOL banished them to Internet Purgatory. I made her work as fast as possible, but she only just made it before 31 October. She then came down with a nasty bug (from which she is just recovering), brought on, no doubt, by the strain of the important conservation work she was undertaking. As a consequence, there was no Jasp O'Lantern for Jasperwe'en this year (she was too ill to even carve a pumpkin. Hmmm. Lazy, more like). Next year, she says that I can have a special turnip one to make up for this year's disappointment. I'll bet you never knew that the Hallowe'en lanterns were originally made from turnips as opposed to pumpkins, did you? See - it's a lifetime of learning with ol' Jasper. Not just spurious stuff either - these facts are important.
In actual fact, we are (in a roundabout way) grateful to AOL, for we LOVE our new home here on Blogger. It's much easier for a dog to use and infinitely preferable. If AOL is a plasticky supermarket's-own-brand disgusting dog "treat", then Blogger is a huge meaty bone fresh from the butcher's shop, dripping with blood and oozing with marrow-bone goodness. We love Blogger.
But enough of this. For I am enraptured.
Utterly enslaved by her quirky beauty.
Her name is Fizzy. She is a black Labrador of small stature; a sleek, ebony beauty. Actually, her full name is Fizz-Bang (she was born on Guy Fawkes' Night), but she prefers Fizzy. She is a true delight. But there is a thorn (actually more of a thick plank) in the ointment here - Fizzy is the new companion of EWAN. Yes. Do not imagine that he has disappeared off the thicko-meter. He and I still share our office space and Ewan is still happily baffled by life and the many mysteries it holds for him. The basic facts are these - Ewan and his partner were looking after Fizz-Bang while her partners went on holiday. On their return, they mentioned that they were having to find a different home for the poor lass. Ewan's owner instantly said that she'd keep her and thus it was that Ewan proudly (and a bit smugly, in my view) introduced me to Fizzy one Monday morning.
I think that Ewan's partner is hoping that some of Fizzy's intelligence might waft over to the unfortunate mutt. Hmmm. Let us not forget that he recently tormented himself with thoughts of a cancerous lump, which ultimately turned out to be his willie. My hopes aren't high.
After a few polite conversations, I took the first opportunity (while Ewan was outside trying to remember how to go to the toilet) of speaking alone to the enchanting Fizzy. "How are you getting on with him?" I asked.
"Don't even ask." replied the sweet maid, "What's the matter with him? He went on forever about that bl**dy lump of his, and how he was only saved when you operated on him at the last minute."
She continued. "It's constant. Every cough is T.B. Every splutter, a stroke or heart attack. He woke up last night thinking he was choking to death. He was burbling something about having something stuck in his mouth and throat, which he couldn't spit out,"
"Don't tell me." I put in, "His tongue?" Fizzy nodded wearily.
"It took me nearly half an hour to talk him down from that one. And don't even get me started on the cheese."
Ah, yes. Cheese. I have only briefly alluded once in the past to Ewan's obsessive predilection with cheese in all its forms and his bizarre theories thereof. To be blunt, I find them disturbing and try to blot them from my mind. One of Ewan's chief comforts in life lies with cheese. He believes it to be a precious mineral - used by humans as currency and mined from the earth. I had tried on a number of occasions, as, I'm sure, had Fizzy by this point, to disabuse Ewan of this bizarre theory and the dairy-based cheese-making process. All to no avail - each time, he would nod his head, wag his tail, claim to understand and simply revert back to his own strange notions. In the end, I washed my paws of the matter and let him believe what he wants.
"Still on the cheese then, is he?" I said, with a sympathetic smile at the poor beleaguered Labrador.
"Oh, G*d." replied sweet Fizzy, becoming more and more agitated. "The bl**dy cheese. What is it with the cheese? Our partner has a barbecue the other evening and, afterwards, Ewan found some cubes of Red Leicester on the grass where the table had been. He thought they had fallen out of the stones in the rockery. He kept them under his blanket for five days, until our partner worked out where the smell was coming from." I politely concealed a laugh behind a cough. It was clear that Fizzy was not in the least bit amused with her new basket-fellow, and it is clear that she is not a woman with which to trifle.
I smell trouble. And it isn't the broccoli I had for my tea.