Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Wednesday 21 December 2008

Well, I returned from Hereford with life, limbs, "Little Jasper" and most of my whiskers intact.

It was a lovely Christmas, though a somewhat muted reunion with my wife, Isolde. I managed to not incriminate myself with my fair one, but I believe she may have suspected me. After two days, this was the most pleasing picture of us together that could be obtained:

I think I have an air of guilt about me.

The ice had begun to thaw after the second day, but then it was time to come home. It was nice to see the fair maid again, however.

Just a short entry tonight - my partner and I are shortly off to the pub to herald the entrance of the new year. This is going to be a good one; I can feel it in my whiskers. Years with the number nine have not gone well in the past for my partner. A brief examination, to back up what I mean:
  • 1979: My partner was a mere five-year-old pup, but was about to undergo a major life-change, as she and her parents prepared to move from London - the most happening capital that happens - to the small country town where we now reside. DOG: none.
  • 1989: My partner's puberty years. Not a happy time - and only her GCSE exams to look forward to. DOG: Jaki; a sparky, attractive little Jack Russell Terrier. Notoriously accident-prone but ultimately loveable. Lived a long, happy life, ending with Leukaemia.
  • 1999: My partner's mother just recovering from her first brush with Cancer, and my partner recovering from first brush with a rotten boyfriend. Not good times. DOG: Tess; exceptionally beautiful collie-lurcher cross of impressive tail and ginger fur. Loving and with a recorded intelligence that put her in the top 2% of dogs. Was able to open car doors unaided. Was tragically to succumb to cancer after a truly heroic fight, aged only seven.
  • 2009: She's over the wretched BC, plans are in pipelines, things are looking up. DOG: Jasper. Draw your own conclusions.

Tomorrow, you can sit back and enjoy Jasper's review of the year. But now we have a party to go to, people to see, bottoms to sniff (that last one's just me).

Look out world - 'cause Jasper and his partner are COMING!

Good night - and a Happy New Year to you.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Wednesday 24 December 2008

The weather has become increasingly cold of late. So much so that I have been able to revive one of my favourite Winter pastimes: cracking the ice on puddles.

I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed this. My method is to tap on the fragile puddle-ice with my front paws until it breaks and begins to float and I can lap up mouthfuls of the icy goodness contained beneath its tender crust. Wonderful.

Thus it was just the other day, when Candy, Harvey and I stood on the riverbank at the bottom of the park, looking at the crystal waters before us. Harvey was distracted by some interesting leaves and Candy and I moved closer to the water, noticing that it did not seem to be flowing past as usual.
"Look, Jasper," remarked Candy, "The river is frozen from the bank almost to the middle!" And, sure enough, the river had frozen over, apart from a small channel in the middle, which continued to race on by.
"Watch this Candy," I said, stretching out a front paw, "This is really cool." (Hmmm... almost literally...). I tapped on the ice, but it failed to crack. I tapped harder - still the ice did not yield.
"What am I supposed to be watching?" asked the bemused Candy. I explained about cracking the ice puddles. "Well, perhaps the ice is thicker here?" suggested the ever-practical Candy. "Try it again." Tentatively I put my right front paw fully on the ice and transferred my strength to the arm. STILL the ice did not crack. Candy and I exchanged a nervous laugh.
"I'm going to try something else now." I said, and (somewhat nervously) I stepped fully off the riverbank and stood fully on the ice! It supported my weight, and still did not crack. I hadn't seen fun like this since the last Christmas I spent of Dartmoor, a few years ago, and where I had enjoyed skating on large expanses of solid ice. I gave a little jump and Candy squealed with delight and amusement.
"You're standing ON the river, Jasper!" she giggled.

Enter Harvey.

Attracted by our laughter, he barrelled in and said
"What are we laughing at?"
"Jasper's walking on frozen water." replied Candy.
"Wow! Great idea, Jazz!" yipped the little brown Staffie, and before I could shout
"NO!! Harvey!!!", he had leaped onto the ice beside me, laughing, slipping about and jumping up and down madly.

At that point, the ice cracked.

Two Staffordshire Bull Terriers fell into the now-unsheathed water with one, united scream.

The shock of the sudden plunge into freezing cold water had a most alarming effect on my own, beloved, Little Jasper (my mighty willie). With this unexpected immersion in the icy river, Little Jasper retreated back into my body with such force that he nearly became lodged in my throat. I squeaked as I surfaced and began to paddle hastily for the bank.
"Harvey, you total p*nis." I spluttered as Candy helped me out of the water before we both turned and hauled out Harvey.
"Sorry Jazz," he wheezed, as we both sat on the bank, trying to catch our breath. Candy, I noticed, was doing a very poor job of trying to hide her laughter.
"You two had better do some running to warm up." she advised, her bark cracking with sniggers.
"Harvey, go and get your football now." I growled. Harvey immediately trotted off to find his partner and Candy and I began to walk more slowly in his dripping wake, back to the park for a vigorous game of footie.

"Are you OK, Jasper?" asked Candy, more seriously this time.
"I'll live." I replied, my voice slowly regaining some of its gravelly masculinity.
"You were a bit quiet before you fell in the water."
"Yeah..." and I let out a long sigh.
"Come on," said Candy, kindly, with a small lick of my snout and a wag of her tail. "What's up?"
I sighed again.
"Well, to be honest, Candy," I said, "I'm really worried about Christmas."
"Yes. I'm so paranoid that I might slip up and actually mention your name and the names of all my other girlfriends to my wife Isolde - urk!" WHAT HAD I DONE?!!

Oh ball-bags. Why, Jasper, WHY? OK, I'm dead. I looked meekly at Candy out of the corner of my eye. I'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdeadI'mdea-
Candy regarded me through narrowed eyes, with her head on one side, for a moment and then burst out laughing.
"Oh, Jasper!" she barked, "You're so FUNNY! You're a naughty little pickle, to be always trying to wind me up like that! Oh look, here comes Harvey with his football!" And she bounded happily up to him and playfully tried to wrestle the ball from him.

I appear to be not dead. A lucky escape.

But now, dear reader, do you see why I am concerned about Christmas? Isolde is not so easily hoodwinked as sweet Candy. But I have bought my dear wife a handsome present and I hope and trust that it will distract her from any indiscretions that might inadvertently tumble from my lips. We travel to Hereford on the morrow. I shall provide a full analysis upon my return.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very, VERY happy Christmas and a healthy and enjoyable New Year. I hope that Santa Paws is good to you this year.

God bless, (Is that sleigh bells I can hear...?) and good night.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Why is it? Seriously, I want to know. Can anyone tell me?

I want to know why, when one part of your life starts improving and going well, another part of it turns inexplicably to sh*t.

To illustrate my point, enter my partner.

She realises the truth about BC. Years of torment for her are now at an end and her renewed self-confidence has already attracted the attention of several new young bucks. So, naturally, things immediately start to go wrong for her with a sudden and unexpected recurrence of the violent ear infection which nearly claimed her life earlier this year.

Fortunately she was able to get an emergency appointment with a doctor, who prescribed immediate and regular application of strong drops which, I am happy to say, improved the situation before it required hospitalisation.

Immediately after that trauma, my partner scored a success with her appearance in the local pantomime. Her character was well-received and her performance appreciated. Happy days again. But be not calmed by this. Oh no. Less than 48 hours after her final triumph on the stage, we both (Jasper AND partner) succumbed to the worst case of food poisoning that I have ever known.

How can you deny that I have a point when faced with this overwhelming evidence? But it's the food poisoning that really wound me up - perhaps because I suffered as well. Some sly detective work by my partner identified the culprit. It was a pot of prawn mayonnaise sandwich filling, obtained from a leading supermarket. It was well within its use-by-date, but still it felled us. My partner made herself some sandwiches and then allowed me to lick out the little pot. Never again, I can tell you that right now. It was the only thing that the both of us had consumed. However, knowledge of the cause was scant comfort as we spent the day fighting each other for access to the bathroom.

The world has now stopped spinning quite so violently for us both, I am happy to say. Although we still continue to view the humble prawn with deep suspicion.

Away with these torments! I have not posted an entry for some time, due mostly to the events described above. But I am happy to report that there has been progress on the Ewan/Fizzy front. In my last blog posting, you may recall that Fizzy had reached the limit of her tolerance with the cerebrally-challenged mutt, Ewan.

Fizzy (left) and Ewan (right) in the work-yard sunshine today.

I greeted my two friends as they bounded into the office this morning. They both greeted me heartily, with none of the animosity of the previous occasion.
"How's things?" I asked.
"Brilliant!" said Ewan, with an enthusiastic wag of his tail. Fizzy corroborated this with a nod.
"And did you play the 'Ewan Sits in the Corner...' game?"
"Better than that!" cried Ewan, "We played, um, er, ummm..."
"We played 'Ewan Sits in His Basket and Lets Fizzy Watch The Weakest Link in Peace'." put in Fizzy, quickly. "Ewan is very good at it."
"Oh, really?" I grinned, winking at Fizzy.
"Yes! Brilliant!" grinned Ewan, wagging his big tail even faster, "And after ten minutes, I found a secret hidden magical level in my game."
"Ah yes, the secret hidden magical level." said Fizzy, looking quietly pleased with herself, "That was called 'If Ewan Doesn't Shout out Stupid and Pointless Answers to the Questions in The Weakest Link for the Rest of the WHOLE Programme Then He Can Have One of Fizzy's Biscuits'."
"I won TWO biscuits." said Ewan proudly.

"And tonight," said Fizzy, "I have told Ewan that if he lets me watch my programme without making a single sound, he can talk to me for five whole minutes afterwards about cheese." The pretty Labrador smiled and sighed. "Life is so much sweeter, Jasper. I never thought it would be so easy."

Ewan grinned happily.
"I love you Fizzy." he beamed, giving the hapless Fizzy a big, slobbery kiss while she winced and tried to escape.

So, job done - although I'll admit to feeling a twinge of jealousy...

Good night.