Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Saturday 18 October 2008

My partner and I made some pumpkin soup today (I tasted some: delicious). This can mean one thing: A Jasp-O'Lantern for Jasperwe'en this year!! Our efforts last year (our first) were very successful (see pictures on relevant blog entry), so I am confident about this year's carving.

This coming week sees the birthdays of both myself and my partner. I will be ten. Maisie has promised me a special cake. My partner doesn't want anything. Except BC, but he won't be back. I might offer her a bit of my cake, but hopefully she will be too full of pumpkin soup to take it.

I hope my partner hurries up and finishes uploading my back catalogue to the new blog site (http://jasper-thedogsblog.blogspot.com/); my little furry head is simply bursting with tales to share with you. Tales of ladies, of adventures with my partner, of all sorts of escapades. And also some thoughts on cheese.

Good night.

Tuesday 6 October 2008

Oo-er. There is a new woman in my life. But wait! She is also a new woman in EWAN'S life! Will this lead to friction...? ...bloodshed? ...indifference?

Find out very soon - over at http://jasper-thedogsblog.blogspot.com/! (Just as soon as my idle partner has finished transferring over my back dogalogue).

Good night.

Wednesday 1 October 2008

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

I am very, very, very, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY angry.

Just take a look at what arrived in my inbox this morning:

Dear AOL Journals user,

We regret to inform you that AOL Journals is shutting down on 31 October 2008. After this date your content will no longer be available and will be deleted.

In order to save your valuable data we suggest you save your AOL Journals content as soon as possible and we have... ...to receive more information on how to save your content.

Sincerely,
The AOL Team



Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgh! I can't believe it.

Two years - two years!! - of my work is shortly to be deleted. All my adventures, mishaps and triumphs confined to the AOL dustbin. I am to disappear from search engines, all the blog directories kind enough to feature me will now be lumbered with redundant links and - worst of all - I will be denied YOUR readership. My heart breaks with the injustice of it all. But I will not be rendered impotent by the suits at AOL.

As soon as I read the email, I commanded my partner to ring up DHL or FedEx and have me couriered 'round to AOL's head office, to give them a piece of my tiny, livid mind. But my partner pointed out that the office is actually in the USA so, if I went, I would not be back for supper. S*d that then. But I will not be silenced. Oh no.

My partner has already located an alternative location for my writings (although some unthinking proletarian has already claimed the term "The Dog's Blog" - pah!). I have ordered her to begin uploading my archive of entries tonight.

The NEW address for my blog (which will, of course, retain its customary tone and quality - I leave it to you to decide whether or not this is a good thing) is as follows:

http://jasper-thedogsblog.blogspot.com/

PLEASE do continue to visit me there. I would be terribly sorry to lose you.

My partner says that, after all this vitriol, I must find something nice to say about AOL, lest I grow bitter (ha-ha-bl**dy-ha). OK then. AOL - I thank you for hosting me for the past two years. I am sorry that we may not continue to co-exist, but I daresay you have your reasons. There.

Bye bye on AOL then. - See you over at http://jasper-thedogsblog.blogspot.com/, for the latest on Ewan and a new development at my partner's workplace...

Good night.

Sunday 28 September 2008

What a beautiful weekend it has been.

There has, however, been a definite autumnal nip in the air. So much so that I feel it may be time to hang up my swimming towel for the season, for fear of the trauma that a sudden plunge into the icy-cold river may cause to my own dear, tender Little Jasper.

Friday afternoon saw Candy and I sitting on the riverbank, discussing this very issue. We had both dipped tentative paws into the water and decided against our swim. As we chatted happily, we became aware of a strange sound, growing in volume as it approached ever nearer. We both turned and looked up the gradient of the lower park field, which sloped gently down and ended at the riverbank. We saw a tan-coloured speck hurtling towards us.
"CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA..." said the speck. The speck became a tan-coloured blob. The blob became Harvey. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!" he hollered, running with all the speed of a healthy young Staffordshire. I quickly stood up and nudged Candy to one side, for fear she would be knocked over by the speeding youth. He barrelled past us, running so fast he was barely visibly.

Have you ever seen the Road Runner cartoons? In particular, the bit where Wil E. Coyote runs over the edge of a cliff - when his little legs continue to run for a few seconds while he hangs in mid-air, before he plummets downwards. This was the effect displayed in Harvey as he shot off the edge of the riverbank and proceeded to plunge into the deep icy water. Candy snickered a bit at the sight but I winced slightly, imagining the shock and despair that Harvey's 'Little Harvey' would be experiencing any second now. Sure enough, when the head of Harvey broke the bubbling water's surface, it was accompanied by shrill yelping and squealing. As quickly as he had entered the water, he was out of it again. He positively flew past us again, still yipping shrilly and proceeded to run around the lower park field twice, squealing all the way.

This completed, he returned sedately to the riverbank and sat down beside us.
"Good afternoon." he said, trying not to shiver.
"Harvey." I said.
"Good afternoon, Harvey." said Candy.
"Bit fresh, that water." said Harvey, after a pause. "I'd give it a miss, if I were you, Jasper."
"Thanks Harvey, I'll bear that in mind." I said, nodding. There was another awkward pause.
"See you later then." said the young Staffie, trying to disguise the chattering of his teeth. In fairness to him, Candy and I waited until he was well away and in the arms of his partner, before we collapsed into laughter. Poor Harvey.

Yesterday (Saturday), I was part of a really quite madcap scheme. It was my partner's father's idea. He had noticed that I was miserable through being tormented by the hedgehog, and knew that my partner had not been feeling well, so suggested that we should all take a day-trip together - to Dartmoor! Yipppieeee! I had not been since 2006, so was more than happy to accede to this suggestion.

Thus it was that my partner, her parents and I all piled into their car (not my Little Green Corsa, but their swanky new wagon - lovely), and made the four-hour journey to Dartmoor. It was a truly delightful day, the pleasure of its unexpectedness only enhancing the enjoyment that the scenery and the weather occasioned.

Straight away, my partner managed to hit paydirt. She and I were still in the car park when she was smiled upon and spoken to by a blonde, tousle-haired young gentleman. I questioned her as to whether she only spoke to him because he looked like a blonde version of BC (a bit), but she would not meet my eye, so I dragged her away and onto the moor. And here are the pictures to prove that I was indeed on beautiful Dartmoor only yesterday:
Me, beside my partner's rucksack, in front of the appropriately-named Hound Tor. Blonde BC-alike can be seen in the distance (white t-shirt). Don't look at him.
Getting a "Dartmoor Massage"

Happy to find myself there on such a lovely day.

We had a fantastic walk and did a spot of letterboxing (our favourite hobby, and one we can enjoy together). I am not going to go into what Letterboxing is here, but instead, for those who may be interested, shall direct you to http://www.dartmoorletterboxing.org/, where you can find all the information you need, some very nice people, and some rather charming pictures of a certain Mr. J. Stafford. My partner has been Letterboxing whenever she can since 1988 and I have proved myself quite an accomplished sidekick. This is our 'personal stamp':
Oh yes.

And after our walk, it was another four-hour drive back home, for fish and chips. What Saturday could be more perfect? A wonderful way to bid farewell to the summer and herald the approach of autumn.

Maisie is going away for a few days, so I will be accompanying my partner to work tomorrow. I hope to be able to bring you more tales of the hapless Ewan from my time in the office - although I shall take care to avert my eyes from any pigeon couples this time.

Good night.

Sunday 21 September 2008







Another day, another celebrity appearance.

Last Sunday, my forthcoming presence at the annual Pet Service at my local church was announced by way of an inducement for the general public to attend. Unfortunately, my attendance was announced before the appropriate booking forms had been completed. I was minded to protest, but feel it wise not to tangle with the ecclesiastical folk at present (at least, not until 21 October has safely passed), so I duly pitched up at the appointed time. Actually, my partner and I were a bit late, so I had to sit in between two cats. I struggled dogfully to contain myself, but the mogs were fairly inoffensive and I was able to acquit myself with dignity. I then left my pawtograph in the church record book for posterity. Job done.

I wish my dealings with the hedgepig were as straightforward. He continues to plague me. I saw the fat toerag eating the food my duplicitous partner put out for him the other night, and raced down the path, hoping to have the satisfaction of sinking my teeth into his foul, corpulent behind. Alas, he heard my approach and hauled his tubby ar*e under the gate, putting the wooden posts securely between us.
"Evening, numb-nuts." he said, as I skidded to a halt on the other side of the gate. I snarled at him, but he didn't even have the grace to look a little bit frightened. "How's life in the slow lane?"
"I told you to stay out of my garden." I muttered.
"Just a thought, meatbreath," he continued, "I've noticed that the meals you provide are either turkey or beef flavour. I do prefer the turkey. Could you see to it that I get more of that, please?" I just growled menacingly, showing him the sharp, glittering weapons concealed within my jaws. The impudent gitwizard went on, totally unaffected (which, alone, would be enough to annoy me intensely) by my mounting rage. "Also, the water bowl provided for me is a little too high. See that it's lowered for me, old boy."
"Anything else?" I asked, through gritted teeth.
"Now that you mention it, there is," he grinned, winking, and tiptoeing a bit closer. "Your type is generally only fit for servitude. I'd appreciate it if you could stand by me while I eat and serve me chilled champagne on request. Please don't stand too close while you pour, though. Your breath is rancid and makes my eyes water."
That was it.
"COME HERE!!" I bellowed at the fat fool, who merely snickered, provoking me further. "COME HERE NOW!!!" I hurled myself at the gate and felt the wooden fence and posts give way slightly against my mighty shoulders. The hedgepig abruptly stopped sniggering and scuttled into the hedgerow. I watched him receding into the darkness. He can wait for his battering - I will catch him one day. For now, I turned, lifted my leg and urinated over the remains of his supper. There is his champagne - a premier cru. Much good may it do him.

I sighed as I walked back up the path to my house. I had once thought to make a companion of the hedgepig, learning from him and teaching him much in return. But the old adage holds true: you cannot polish a turd.

And now - dum deedeedum deedumduuuummmm... FINALLY, I post my pictures from my favourite day of my holiday in Wales (from May. Ahem.). My partner says I should be ashamed of myself for leaving it so long. But I didn't want to post them before because I was so looking forward to sharing them that I knew that, once they were posted, I wouldn't have the posting of them to look forward to anymore. Does that make sense? But my partner says I should do it now or not at all. Here we go then:

Jasper's Holiday Diary - Day Four

This was the day appointed for the achievement of one of my chief aims in life: a ride in a boat. All too often boat companies boldly (and unfairly) announce "NO DOGS". But, on our arrival at our holiday cottage, whilst perusing some of the leaflets provided my partner found one entitled "Ramsey Island Cruises", which proclaimed that dogs were extremely welcome on their vessels - hurrah! We duly telephoned the company and made our booking. (This is the company's website: http://www.ramseyislandcruises.net/. They welcome dogs: support them if you are in the area).

On the appointed day, I could barely contain my excitement. We drove to the parking place and walked down to the lifeboat launch, which also served as the starting point for our trip. I was carried in my partner's arms down the lifeboat slipway and our hosts, three engaging young men (one of whom was the grandson of the gentleman who used to farm Ramsey Island) lifted me onto the boat, a noble little craft called the Coral Ann.

The trip was a delight from start to finish. The young men's commentary was interesting and they were able to answer any questions put to them with competence and humour. My partner was a little concerned that I might have been seasick, but I found my sea-legs almost straight away. Sailing was every bit as pleasurable as I had imagined. In fact the only member of my party (which included delightful three-year-old nephew Ewan) to feel a little unwell was my partner's sister-in-law Nicky. Although Nicky was in pup at the time (and still is) and to this we must attribute her queasiness, for Nicky is a game lass and not at all prone to being feeble.

I relished every turn of the waves, every new sight that enchanted me and the very sensation of travelling over the clean sea water. I wanted to sail off again as soon as the trip was done. Witness my joy:
Enjoying the view from my partner's side (she was paranoid about me trying to jump into the water. Happily, I managed to struggle free, hehehe.)

Contemplating a spot of piracy.

Captain Jasper takes the helm! (I look a bit sulky here because I've just realised that we're heading back to port).

Perhaps the highlight of the trip (along with seeing some dangerous sharp rocks called The Bitches) was the dialogue prompted by occasional sighting of a seal. (Apparently, the boys have a regular seal visitor to the boat. They call him Ron. Ron Seal. Hmmmm. But we didn't see him that day). My partner raised the fact that I have often dreamed of engaging in a 'Battle Royale' with a seal. She asked one of the boat's crew who they thought would win in the event of such a fight. The sailor looked me up and down and considered the matter carefully.
"The dog, probably." he said, "Although he'd come away pretty badly injured."
Yes! YES!! YESSSS!!! This was one of the happiest days of my life.

After the trip, we had a delightful picnic in a field and returned to the cottage. I was tired out by my nautical adventure and climbed the stairs to bed with my head filled with nothing but happy memories. I cannot recommend this little boat company and their trips highly enough; it would be a pleasure to return for another little cruise.

That's cheered me up. I'm not even annoyed by the hedgehog and his impudence anymore. Ah, memories - why do they ever fade?

Good night.

Thursday 11 September 2008


I am still alive, apparently. We all are.

I had it on good authority (Harvey, occasionally assisted by Candy) that the world was going to end yesterday because of some caper that a few scientists are getting up to in Switzerland (for us rational beings, that's the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratory). The numpty boffins (the scientists, not Harvey and Candy) are trying to recreate the Big Bang with their machine - though goodness knows why; it will only ever tell them what might probably have happened - only someone who was there at the time can say for sure exactly what occurred and eyewitnesses to that particular event seem to be a bit thin on the ground these days.

I must say, I was almost a little bit disappointed to find that we hadn't all been sucked into a big black hole when the machine was switched on at 8.30am yesterday morning. I felt it would have been an ideal way to deal with the New Cat once and for all. And the hedgehog, for that matter, who continues to blight my life - but more of him later. In the park this afternoon, I challenged Harvey about the fact that we were all still in existence, as he had been getting more and more boring with his doomsday predictions as yesterday drew ever closer.
"Ah, er, no, um, ah, yes..." he stammered, trying to find some kind of explanation that would make him look less stupid than he already did. Candy and I waited patiently while he dithered. Then Harvey piped up "Ah but, if you recall, I DID tell you that they were just switching it on yesterday. The actual experiment isn't happening 'til later."
"No you didn't." said Candy, wagging her tail.
"Yes, I did." countered the unfortunate Harvey, "If you remember, I told you that the first high-energy collisions..." WHAT has he been reading? Harvey's vocabulary has increased almost tenfold lately - his partner must be putting something in his food. "...will happen on 21st October..."
"No you didn't." repeated Candy.
"...and THAT is when the world is going to end."
"Two days before my birthday." I said. "What a lovely gift."
"You didn't say anything of the kind, Harvey." said Candy, "You told us we were all going to die on Wednesday."
"No, definitely on 21st October." protested the young Staffordshire. "It will create a big implosion thingy and we will all be turned instantly into shapeless grey goo."
"I'm not sure that some of us aren't already halfway there." I muttered and Candy laughed. "Anyway, there's no point worrying about it." I continued, "It's out of our paws and there's nothing we can do. I'm sure we'll all be ok."
"Really, Jasper?" said Candy, looking really quite relieved. "Do you honestly think that 21st October will pass by and we'll be alright."
"Of course." I replied, "But not before I have passed this turd." And I scuttled behind a handy bush to lay a little dog-egg, while Candy told Harvey what she thought about his soothsaying abilities.

On a purely personal note - I am not in the least bit bothered about what may or may not happen as a result of these "tests". The scientists can please themselves. But I DO think that it is obscene to spend such vast sums of money on a largely spurious and highly dangerous experiment while there are still starving babies in this world. But I'm only a humble Staffordshire - what do I know? I daresay I'm barking out of my own little black hole.

My partner has been away for a few days, at the wedding of one of her cousins. I was abandoned to the care of Maisie and cried for my partner for a whole day (actually, dear reader, do not fear. I lived like a King for those days, hehehe). The wedding was in Lincolnshire - a long way from home. My partner received "offers" from three interested young men at the wedding reception, but spurned them all. I questioned her sharply as to whether she turned them down because she still prefers BC to all others, but she refused to be drawn on the subject. Hmmmm....

Whilst I was still labouring under the delusion that my planet would be blown to smithereens on Wednesday, I was looking over some past blog entries over a thimbleful of sherry and reliving old memories. I realise - quelle horreur! - that I have not yet finished my holiday diary from my trip to Wales! Shame on me. The hour is now late, so I will endeavour to secure some computer time tomorrow and share with you the favourite day from my Welsh holiday, when I achieved one of my key aims in life. I've got the pictures to prove it.

And barking of pictures, I also realise that I never post the picture of me taken after I had completed the Cancer Research 'Race for Life' from earlier this year. I don't know how that can have happened. Standards on this blog are most certainly slipping. I blame the hedgehog. Anyway; this particular problem is swiftly remedied:

I look slightly more smug than I should here. But I was tired, and did not wish to be photographed at that time. Although I DID finish the race, hehehe...
Before I sign off, I will make a slight reversion to the subject with which I began (that of having made it past Harvey's apocalyptic predictions through to today) - I would like to spare a moment to remember in my thoughts all those good men, women, children and one dog who made it as far as September 11 2001, but did not get the chance to live beyond it. Rest in peace.

We all know how,
We all know when.
But why was it you?
Why was it then?


Good night.

Saturday 30 August 2008

I cannot deny that the past few days have been of a somewhat challenging nature.

In the first place, my second wife, Ellie, passed away a few days after I posted my last blog entry. She had a good, long and happy life and is much mourned by her partners (my partner's great aunts).
Rest in peace Ellie. I will miss you, my sweetheart.

I have not mentioned my bereavement to anyone, lest the news should travel as far as the ears of Candy. Candy has long been angling for an upgrade in status from principal girlfriend to wife, and I fear this may provoke an increase of her jealousy - which, in turn, could prove detrimental to my relationship with my wife Isolde. Oh dear. Sometimes I curse the desirability with which nature chose to burden me.

The only one to whom I confided my loss was Ewan, who immediately offered to alleviate my grief by marrying me himself. I considered enlightening him as to the basics of marriage between heterosexual canines but swiftly ruled it out, fearing the deluge of further questions it would provoke. Instead, I thanked Ewan for his generous offer but politely declined, telling him that I had no further thoughts of matrimony at present.

The next disturber of my peace proved to be my partner's gammy foot. For some time now (since our holiday back in May, in fact), my partner has been enduring an excessively painful foot. She has rarely complained (having a remarkable tolerance of physical pain for a human) but her suffering has been really quite pronounced and her discomfort on her walks extreme. About a month ago, she reached a point where she could bear the pain no longer. I recommended to her a consultation with my personal physician, Mr. Matthews (he's terribly good with paws), but she chose instead to seek the advice of her own GP. He advised her to take some painkillers and procure a pair of sturdy trainers. These things she did, receiving no relief from either.

Thus it was that my partner returned to the GP a few days ago to endure the agony of a steroid/cortisone injection into the muscles at the base of her foot. She departed for this in some trepidation, having been strenuously forewarned by the doctor of the extreme agony involved with this particular injection. Initially, I had scant sympathy for the girl, calling to my mind the myriad occasions when she had ushered my protesting self into Mr. Matthews' chamber of horrors for the humiliating bottom violation that is my anal gland evacuation. However, witnessing the hobbling, whimpering remnants of my partner being escorted back into my house by her mother excited all my most tender feelings. The poor dear was in extreme pain and I accompanied her into bed shortly afterwards, keeping a nurturing, reassuring paw upon her throughout the night. I believe she taught the doctor a few new words whilst he was administering the injection.

With paw on wood, I am pleased to report that with the subsiding of the pain caused by the injection has come the freedom from discomfort altogether in her foot. My partner's relief is exquisite - she is overjoyed and now faces the delightful challenge of remembering how to walk without a pronounced limp. We are going for a very long walk in the woods tomorrow to celebrate.

But, as ever, the joys of one day are soon clouded by the irritations of another. On entering my Little Green Corsa yesterday morning, I saw that several browning leaves had fallen from the sycamore tree onto the windscreen. This is unacceptable. I have not had enough summer and am not yet ready for the autumn. Consequently, I have ordered my partner to get out the step-ladder and sellotape the leaves back onto the tree.

I will not be ushered into a change of season until I am good and ready.

Good night.

Thursday 21 August 2008

Today, I saw a pair of pigeons engaged in the procreative act. I was intrigued, for it looked not only most uncomfortable but also highly impractical. Precarious too, as the young lovers had chosen a very precarious old, decaying branch for their deed of feathery passion. It was all very unromantic too. I thought BC was not good for the ladies, but his efforts against my partner's tranquillity pale significantly when compared with the pigeon. It was over in seconds, amid much flapping of wing, and his lady looked distinctly unimpressed. I almost felt sorry for her, considering she was by now, in all probability, with egg. After this lusty interlude, the couple just went on with the business of building their nest. Not even a post-coital biscuit.

All this was viewed through my partner's office window the other day. It has been preying on my mind, so I am glad to have finally had the opportunity of committing the event to blog. For, I have been denied access to my computer of late. My partner has been adapting a poem into a short stage play. She has been asked to produce and direct a small piece of drama for a group of local children to act at an environment-themed day in October. Unable to find anything readily available that suited the purpose, she turned to the last bastion of support for the needy - Yahoo Answers. I highly recommend it. A bright spark replied and recommended Dr. Seuss's The Lorax. My partner was dubious (not being the biggest fan of green eggs and ham or cats in hats on mats, nor even the duck with luck having a ..., etc.), but when she tracked the poem down, and we read it together, it proved to be absolutely perfect. A serious, valid message, clearly presented, yet not so bleak and chilling that it would distress young and sensitive children. A bit like me, really.

So now, my partner is engaged in forming the poem into a playlet suitable for the children to perform. It is proving a little more challenging that she anticipated, but I believe the initial work is almost done. Honestly, it was Jane Austen last year and Dr. Seuss this year. I sincerely hope there will not be any Fedor Dostoevsky-themed events next year to occupy her and keep my blog and I apart. I have been trying to teach her to say "No", but all I can achieve is a small sound similar to "Of course, I'd love to." The only time she ever correctly pronounces "No" is when I am inexplicably detected in naughtiness. It simply isn't fair.

Yet I digress. I had segued nicely from the pigeon incident to my partner's office before I became distracted. The same day of seeing the pigeon-tryst was the first time I had seen Ewan after he confided to me his fears regarding a sinister lump found on his body. Upon my arrival at the office, poor Ewan was trembling and looking exceedingly forlorn.
"How's it going?" I asked, kindly, "Did you get on alright at the vet's?"
"Didn't go last night." he shivered, "I think I'm going tonight." He leaned in closer. "Jasper, I'm scared. I think it's got a bit bigger."
"Oh no!" I sympathised.
"Oh yes. Last night I was just lying down, thinking about cheese, and I swear that it was bigger. It's still leaking that hot runny greeny-stuff as well." The poor dog began to whimper. I pitied him.
"Well," I said, "It might not do you much good, but would you like me to have a look at your lump? I might be able to smell if there is anything seriously wrong. No promises, but I could try..." Ewan's eyes brightened.
"Oh, would you Jasper?" he said, "I'd be ever so grateful." Ewan flopped onto his side, exposing his skinny, furry belly. I commenced my examination.

After several moments of looking, I had not been able to locate the lump and I could smell neither infection nor tumour. I stole a glance at Ewan's face - he was looking pensive, still waiting earnestly for my prognosis.
"Erm," I said. Ewan jumped at the sound of my voice. "I can't seem to find your lump, Ewan."
"Are you sure?" he asked, trembling, "It's pretty big. You should be able to see it."
"Well, where should I look?"
Ewan craned his neck around to look at me, and jabbed his paw in the general direction of his lower belly.
"Quickly, Jasper." whimpered the unfortunate dog, sounding like the very epitome of dignified suffering, "It's getting dark... I think this might be it...." he howled mournfully. I hurried to examine more closely Ewan's shuddering body.

I found his lump.

"Ewan."
"Yes, Jasper? Should I go towards the light, Jasper? Goodnight, sweet friend...."

"EWAN!"
Ewan opened his eyes and looked at me hopefully. I hardly knew what to tell him. But the painful truth had to be told. "Ewan, that... that lump.... that lump is.... your willie."
"What?!"
"It is your willie."
Ewan looked down sharply, back up at me, then down at himself again.
"Ah, but no. Yes, no - Jasper." he replied, "What about that horrible hot stuff that comes out?"
I sighed.
"Ewan, does that 'stuff' coming out coincide with your trips to the toilet, by any chance?" Ewan tilted his head while he considered this.
"Ye-es." he said, "D'you know, I think it does. Oh, Jasper, what is it? Do you think we shall ever know?"
"It's WEE, Ewan. That is YOU, going to the toilet. It is your own, normal, healthy wee."
Ewan started wagging his tail, and he licked my nose.
"Does this mean that I am not going to die in a minute, then?" he asked. I merely glared at him.
"Possibly, Ewan." I replied dryly, "Possibly." I was not even going to ask about the cheese.
"Wow, Jasper. You're brilliant." enthused Ewan, "You should be on the television."
"I'd only fall off." I replied sourly. I was not in the mood for ANY further conversation with the pea-brained Ewan.
"What?"
"Ewan, would you like to play a little game I have invented?"
"Oh, brilliant! Yeah!!"
"It's called 'Ewan Sits in the Corner All Day and Doesn't Annoy Jasper'. Off you go."
"Wahey! Great game, Jazz!" Yes. I thought so, too.

And thus ended Ewan's brush with death.

Last week heralded the anniversary of the creation of this blog. Two years since I began sharing my thoughts with the world. I had hoped to have something more worthy to share with you on this occasion than Ewan and the everyday functions which baffle him so. How the mighty are fallen.

Good night.

Sunday 10 August 2008

And so now my partner's mother tells me that I am elderly. What is WRONG with the ladies in this household? Could it be that they are jealous of my Peter Pan-like retention of my pupish charms and vitality? I have my suspicions. Happily, on this occasion my partner was quick to defend me. She castigated her mother for her abuse of me and obtained the concession that I "have plenty of good years left".

I suppose I did bring this particular attack upon myself. Maisie had been away for around ten days and I was seriously beginning to miss the specially cooked and blended suppers with which she has taken to providing me, while my partner is finding things a little difficult financially. I was feeling particularly aggrieved at the temporary loss of my fine dinners when, on the evening in question, my partner placed the contents of my usual "Gourmet Hi-Life" sachet in my bowl and set it down on my food-mat. I just stared at it.
"But this... this... this is dog food!" I spluttered.
"Your point being...?" responded my partner, unamused. I was rendered barkless. Completely without sympathy, my partner just muttered "Eat it, Jasper."
I had a full-on strop, refusing to eat my meal and stubbornly resisting any attempts by my partner to take me out for some exercise.

After the afore-mentioned "elderly" dialogue, I submitted to my partner's demands that I get into our Little Green Corsa and be taken to Abbotstone. I quite enjoyed it. Upon my return, I ate some chives from my partner's mother's miniature herb garden, as well as a few of her nasturtiums, to punish her for her insolent accusations. I found that this sparked my appetite, so I gobbled up my dinner while no-one was watching. Absolutely delicious.

Quite apart from all this, there have been troubling happenings at my partner's workplace. I accompanied my partner to work on Friday and arrived to find Ewan (nitwit dog, not cherubic nephew) looking utterly miserable. As Ewan's usual state is 'so relentlessly chirpy you want to batter him' (even when he is asleep), I was concerned.
"Are you alright, mate?" I asked. Ewan let out a doleful howl.
"Oh, Jasper, no." he whimpered, "I have to go to the vet. I have got a lump." I expressed my sincere sympathy and Ewan nodded. "I think I'm going to the vets tonight. I'm really scared." and he howled again. Although it may seem callous of me, long-time readers of this blog may be aware that even basic things like breathing and going to the toilet present Ewan with something of a challenge. I therefore wondered if Ewan's "lump" was going to turn out to be a toe, or his nose. Upon closer questioning, however, Ewan's problem appeared to be genuine. His fear was certainly very real.
"It will be OK Ewan." I said comfortingly, "I've had two operations and everything was fine. You just have a little injection and go to sleep, and then you wake up and it's all better. It will all be alright." He nodded, but didn't look convinced.
"I'm still scared though." he whimpered "The lump is quite big and horrible stuff keeps coming out of it."
"Blood?" I questioned, rather doubtingly. I could not smell blood or broken flesh on him.
"No." he replied, quivering a bit, "It's yukky hot, yellowy-green stuff."
"Pus." I said, "It probably means you've got a little infection somewhere."
"Really?" said Ewan, sounding hopeful for the first time.
"I'd still get it checked out though." I surreptitiously eyed his 'below-tail' area. "Ewan, can you remember ever having an operation before? If you can remember, you'll know that it will all be OK." Ewan frowned and shook his head.
"No-oo." he said, after some thought.
"Are you sure, Ewan? Not a little operation when you were younger? I think you have probably had the same operation that I had when I was a young man..." Ewan looked completely lost. "You know, " I prompted, "A little operation downstairs...?"
"Oh no," said Ewan, brightly, "No. There are no stairs at my vets, it's all on one floor."
Good grief.
This would normally be the point when I would walk away, for fear of doing Ewan actual harm. However, he was in genuine terror about his lump, so I remained to try and soothe him. I think I succeeded, for after a few minutes Ewan said "Can I have a cuddle Jasper?"
Here was a new one.
I gritted my teeth and said that he could, and Ewan flung himself against my flank, whining pitifully. I stayed still, after a short while realising that he had fallen asleep. I dutifully remained, until I got pins and needles in my shoulder and it went all numb, and then I gently freed myself and scuttled away. I will see how Ewan gets on at the vets. If it does turn out to be something serious, I may recommend to him Mr. Matthews - a very gifted surgeon and my own personal physician.

My partner is developing a new game, for readers of my blog to play online. It is based upon my sleeping arrangements and is provisionally titled "Where Is Jasper?" I am interested to see what the game involves, although it does smack slightly of disrespect, so I may not allow it to be uploaded.

Good afternoon.

Sunday 3 August 2008

My partner tells me that I am getting "elderly". The reason for this impudence is not the sprinkling of 'frost' that peppers the black fur on my face. Oh no. This came about yesterday morning - she left me to have a lie-in while she fulfilled her morning routine. On returning to our room, she found me looking out of the window and muttering to myself. And that was it. How, I ask you, does this make me 'elderly'? My partner regarded me silently for a moment before she laughed and, gesturing out of the window, said "Jasper, do you remember when all that was just fields?" I scowled at her. It IS all just fields (apart from the bits that are houses and roads). I suppose that, in human terms, I would now be approaching 63 years old. But I am a man in his prime. Aside from the afore-mentioned frosting (paw on wood) I can keep up with the best of them - and still outstrip some. I have as much energy and vitality now as I had when I was a pup. My partner is very cheeky - and she would do well to remember that my teeth are still in perfect working order.

But this has been a somewhat unhappy week. Last weekend, sadly, came the news that one of my friends from the USA, Stoker, passed away on Friday. Rest in peace, mate. Actually, no – I hope your body rests in peace – the soul that is the true Stoker is, I am sure, up in heaven as I type, harassing angelic deer. Have fun Stoker – and save some venison for me!

Prior to that sad event, my friend Angie told me that she has taken a nasty fall and is not well. I do hope that she will be lots better soon, and flying around like Queen Boadicea in her mighty wheeled chariot. GET WELL SOON, ANGIE.

Compared with the above, my little problems seem rather trivial. But problems there have been. If you are a dog, and therefore lower to the ground than some, you will know that, cometh the summer; cometh the grass-flea. Oh yes. The irritating little b*st*rds have been feasting on Jasper this year. It is an annual problem for me, but this year seems worse than usual. The itching is driving me insane. Accordingly, my partner found the bottle of medicated shampoo, obtained from the vet at greatcost last year. I uttered no protest as my belly and Little Jasper-region were lathered and rinsed with the power-shower. The relief was exquisite.

Not long after I had dried off, Maisie escorted me to the park. Candy and Harvey were already there, playing with Candy's football, the recent troubles all forgotten. They hailed me as I approached and encouraged me to join in with their game. As we gave each other the usual sniff-over, I saw a wicked twinkle appear in Harvey's eye.
"Somebody smells nice!" he grinned, mockingly. I knew what he was getting at, and I wasn't having it.
"Shut up Harvey." I growled, but he just winked at Candy.
"Has someone's little lapdog had a bubble bath? Aren't you all soft and fluffy, like a little puppy?!" Candy laughed.
"Harvey," I cut in, dryly, "Just remind me exactly what it was you said the other day about Candy's fat bottom?" My so-called friends just hooted with laughter, and Harvey snuffled over my newly-bathed belly.
"Mmmm..." he continued, "Fresh as a summer meadow, and silky smooth too..." I bared my fangs and saw the sunlight glinting off them reflected in the silver buckle on Harvey's collar.
"Harvey, I'm sure your mother told you never to play with sharp objects?"
Their giggles continued, and I sighed and decided it was easier to just let them get on with it.

I was diverted from the mocking taunts by the approach of a newcomer, who bounded up - an affable looking border collie. I looked beyond him and saw his two partners stopping to talk to Maisie and Harvey and Candy's partners. The new chap said that he was staying in the town on holiday and his name was Charlie. I introduced myself and he asked who the other two were.
"Oh, they're just some animals I used to know..." I muttered, watching Harvey, rolling on his back, entertaining Candy by pretending to lather soap into his belly. I sighed and shook my head.
"What are they doing?" asked Charlie. At that, Harvey got up and he and Candy came over to sniff the newcomer and introduce themselves.
"Where are you staying?" asked Candy, politely. Charlie explained that his partners had a caravan and they pulled it along with their car and then they parked it and slept in it. I HATE caravans - my partner and I always get stuck behind a slow one when travelling to Dartmoor. I suspect it might be the SAME one, with a secret vendetta to annoy me.
"It's fun." explained Charlie.
"Yes, it probably is." I replied, "Compared to a rectal examination." Candy laughed. "After all, what could be better than living in a tin box for two weeks, listening to your partners pee-ing in a little bucket?" Charlie wagged his bushy tail and smiled.
"I pretend I can't hear that." he grinned. "Can I play football with you?" We all agreed that he could, and his tail wagged even harder. "Yes!" he yipped, bounding over to the ball, "Come on then, England v. Germany 1966! I'm Geoff Hurst's dog!" This was more like it!
"Bobby Moore." I barked
"Bobby Charlton!" yipped Candy, "Harvey, you can be Alan Ball - your fur is the right colour."

We began our game, and had been happily playing with the football for a good few minutes, before Harvey stopped and stood still, a puzzled look on his face.
"Hang on a bit," he said, "Shouldn't one of us be Winston Churchill?" The remaining three of us skidded to a halt, crashing into each other as we did so. We all turned to look at Harvey.
"Is he joking?" asked the new dog, Charlie.
"Unfortunately not." I replied.
"Harvey, you nematode." said Candy. Poor Harvey. He's nowhere near as bad as Ewan, but he does have his occasional flashes of idiocy. We stood and regarded him uncertainly, until I happened to catch Candy's eye. We leapt on Harvey in a moment, our footy game entirely forgotten. Charlie joined in, wuffing and scuffling as we all piled onto the unfortunate Harvey.
"Buuuuuundle!" he cried, in rather a muffled bark, from beneath the pile of assorted dog. He wriggled out and took off down to the bottom of the park, with the three of us in hot pursuit, baying like hell-hounds. We caught up with him by the edge of the river and tipped him into the water - a fair price to pay for being witless. Harvey surfaced and paddled back around to the bank, spluttering and laughing. He clambered out of the river and then chased the three of us back up to the park, where we finished our game.

I enjoyed myself so much that I decided I would endeavour to forget Harvey and Candy's mockery. There's nothing quite like your friends, after all.

Good night.

Sunday 19 July 2008

As so often in such situations, the downfall of one heralds the rise of another.

It did not go unnoticed that Harvey was very swift to step in when I inexplicably fell from favour with my chocolate-coloured Labrador girlfriend, Candy. I was smartly dismissed from her good books when I asked her too many questions about another young lady. I still cannot fathom out why this should have been so disagreeable to her. However, I decided that the only option available to me was to offer her a gift and crave her forgiveness.

When venturing to the park, Maisie (who looks after me while my partner is at work) fills her pockets with biscuits, which are shared out among the members of my pack that we happen to meet. Armed with the knowledge that Candy likes these biscuits, I paid a visit to the tin. I proceeded to carefully pick out all the yellow ones, as they are my least favourite. Actually I can't stand them. Sometimes I will be brave and eat them, but I often spit them out. They are yukky. We made a little bag out of clingfilm for the yellow biscuits and my partner found a pretty sparkly ribbon on a Kylie Minogue fragrance set that she got for Christmas, so she made a bow with that at the top of our little gift bag. The next day, it was off to the park...

Half-way down the top field of the park, my ears picked up the sound of raised voices. I couldn't hear the actual barks, but someone was clearly extremely cross. Intrigued, I trotted towards the sound. Before I could get into the lower field, there was a shrill yelp and, a few seconds later, Harvey came crashing through the hedge, yipping frantically. He skidded to an abrupt halt when he saw me. I noticed the sunlight glinting off a few flecks of saliva droplets on his neck fur, indicating that he had been nipped.
"Jasper! Jasper! She BIT me!" wailed Harvey, panting heavily. I quickly sniffed over the young Staffordshire.
"It's alright Harvey," I said, "The skin isn't broken, it's just a nip. Now, just be calm. Who nipped you?"
"Candy!"
I frowned. Candy may have the occasional mood swing, but she is no biter.
"Come on then," I said, "What did you do?"
"Ummm..."
"Harvey...?"
"I said she had a big bottom."

Oh, Harvey. No, no, no, no and no. I thought I had schooled him well. True, he is NOT the brightest bulb in the box, but he is no Ewan. I gave a heavy sigh and fixed my eyes on him.
"Harvey." I said firmly, "What have I ALWAYS told you?"
"Ummm... Not to say things about ladies' bottoms?"
In fact, I had given the pup a sturdy grounding in all things female. Aside from the bottom topic, I had also cautioned him NEVER to mock ladies' weight, fur-styles or menstrual cycles. Never. Not under ANY circumstances. Don't even THINK about them, in case something just slips out accidentally. And I even warned him about the question that should be feared the most... "Beware." I had told him. "Beware. If she turns to you and asks 'Do you think this new collar makes me look fat?', be rightly afraid. For you cannot win here - it is a cruel trap. You are damned either way. If you answer 'Yes' the painful ramifications are obvious. If you answer 'No', you lay yourself wide open to the inevitable 'So you think I am fat normally?'. Flee from this scenario. The only sure-fire way to win this one is to pre-empt the question. As soon as you see your lady trying something on, or brushing her fur, this is the moment to step in. You IMMEDIATELY say 'How lovely you look, my dear. I am lucky to have such a beautiful companion.' If, despite this, the question arises then run. Just run. I usually employ the 'Was that the doorbell?' technique to instigate my flight from the dressing-basket."

All this I had told Harvey. All this I told him again. He nodded sagely and said he would seek out Candy to apologise the following day (when his eyes weren't red from whimpering).
"Will you put in a good word for me, Jasper?" he asked, in such a plaintive voice that I pitied him.
"I shall see what I can do, Harvey." I said, winking at him. Actually, I was privately relieved that I was having this conversation with him, and not Ewan.

After Harvey had trotted off with his partner, I ventured into the lower field and spotted the fair Candy. Looking closer, I could see that she did indeed seem to have a bit more slip to her hips, but I did not care to go the same way as Harvey. As I neared, Candy turned and ran towards me.
"Boohooooohooo, Jasper!" she wailed, "Harvey said I had a fat ar*e!" I wasted no time.
"Oh no, my dear. You are as perfectly formed now as you ever were." And with that, I produced my gift. Smooth, Jasper, smoooooth, heh heh.
"Oh, THANK YOU, Jasper!" cried Candy, bestowing me with happy licks and affectionate nips, "How could I have ignored you? I hope you will forgive me. And you have picked out all the yellow ones because you know they are my favourites! You're just so wonderful!" Ahem, yes....
"No, no, my sweet." I said, "It is I who must humbly beg forgiveness. I tormented your pretty mind and should not have asked you about that smelly old vixen. She is nothing to me. Please accept my apologies."
"Of course!" she sniffled, as her partner took the little bag of biscuits for eating at home. We raced each other down to the river - I let her win.
"And do not mind that Harvey." I said, once we were in the water, "He is young and foolish. We must not judge him too harshly."
"You are right, Jasper." said Candy, looking adoringly at me, "You are ALWAYS right."

A fine result. Phew.

Good evening.

Sunday 13 July 2008

What a rum old week it has been.

I think I have just about recovered from the shame of last weekend's exposure at the fayre. Alas, Candy still is not speaking to me, though I cannot fathom out why. I picked up the scent of my beautiful exotic vixen in the woods the other evening, and had a rather unpleasant epiphany. Her odour marks were, as before, rich in warmth and femininity but were tainted with the scent of something I had inexplicably missed before - pregnancy. Oh bottoms. That's the end of that, then. I wouldn't even want to look after my OWN mewling pups, with their attendant concerns of milk provision, education and tiny puppy-poops, let alone someone else's glut of passion-fruits. Especially a scabby old fox's. I shall just have to sigh over what could have been.

I ventured humbly into the park the other day, seeking out Candy. I saw her in the lower field - she was playing with Harvey (tan-coloured young Staffie: my former protegée, now a bit of a pest. Not a bad soul though, really). I bounded up to them. Candy stopped playing and just looked at me.
"Alright, Jazz?" yipped Harvey as he gave me the customary sniff-over. I offered my greetings to them both. Candy gave a little grunt and raised her snout into the air.
"Harvey." she said, as before, in a high-pitched, rather strangulated voice, "Would you tell Mr. Stafford that I am not speaking to him." And off she stalked, towards the gate that leads down to the river. Harvey looked at me and shrugged.
"Jasper," he began, "Candy says-"
"Yes." I cut in irritably. "Thank you Harvey, I heard what she said."
"Blimey mate, what did you DO?" I shook my head, and explained my last rational conversation with Candy, pertaining to the vixen and my series of questions. Harvey considered this for a moment and then shook his head. "Nope." he declared, "Can't see anything wrong with that." I nodded and was about to reply, when we heard Candy's voice.
"Harvey! Come and have a swim with me!" Harvey smiled apologetically at me, shrugged again, and capered off. I was left to amble back to Maisie, just as confused now as I had been before. I think I might have to purchase Candy's forgiveness with a little gift.

But now to other matters. In the strictly non-Mafia sense of the word, I recently became a godfather.

A delightful pair of swallows set up home in a nesting space in one of the outbuildings at my partner's place of work. Nature took its course and five little eggs duly appeared. These birds being inoffensive, I took it upon me to guard their home and soon grew as fond of the eggs as if I had laid them myself. Ewan and I watched as, one by one, the eggs hatched and the parents busied themselves feeding their new brood. And here, in a picture taken by my partner's boss, are my little godchildren:
My partner says the one in the centre looks like "old man Steptoe".

As Ewan and I surveyed the growing family, I with a growing sense of pride and he with a growing sense of ignorance, the familiar question-and-answer carousel began to spin.
"Jasper?"
"Yes Ewan?"
"What are they?"
"They are birds, Ewan. Little baby birds."
"Oh right, yes. Brilliant."
The usual few seconds' pause.
"Jasper?"
"Ye-es?"
"Wh-" But I was away and into the edge of the woods before the inevitable "what are birds?" could fall from his mouth, to lay a few little eggs of my own, heh heh....

But alas! Why will such things ever come to pass? Wednesday last week was a day of constant torrential rain, without a let-up. The downpour made it impossible for the babes to be fed, and it was excessively cold and damp. The next day brought us the tragic realisation that all the tiny ones, without exception, had perished from hunger and cold. Brad (the ranger) and my partner's boss gently lifted down the five tiny bodies (the parents had gone, we know not where) and laid them to rest at the edge of the woods.

There are some dangers from which even I cannot protect the innocent. Their loss affects me deeply - but, dear reader, do not weep for them. They are gone over to a better place, where the predators never have to be feared and the food is always plentiful. I will miss those little tinkers though.

And so another week begins. I wonder what this one will bring....?

Good night.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Monday 7 July 2008


Aha! (grrff... snuffle..httt...snort)

Hang on... (sssfhhh...snff)

And... I'M UP!

Phew! I am not used to doing things for myself. I am used to better attention than this from my staff. My partner has been MOST neglectful in lifting me into the typing chair to update my blog. I have been most dissatisfied with the enforced separation. However, my partner has gone out with Dolores to see Maureen Lipman and, as you can see, I have managed to log on and haul myself into the typing chair unaided. I think I might have strained something.

As an illustration of just how tardy my partner has been can be taken from the fact that this entry was originally begun in the local pub, being paw-written on a sheet of paper before I returned happily home to type up my notes. This was LAST Monday. A full week has elapsed since then. And this despite my very clear squeakings and hints to my partner. I suppose, when you love someone, you have to love them even when they are annoying but, really, this is a bit much.

I have also had a most trying weekend. It is no small wonder that I have kept my sanity. Yesterday the weather was so foul that I could not be persuaded into taking my exercise. Well, neither would you, if you had to clean yourself with your tongue... But the day before, Saturday, was more testing even than that.

My partner's dramatic society had a stand at a local "fayre" (and I'll tell you frankly now: I didn't find the fayre fair at all). She and her colleagues were promoting their next production - a pantomime for December; this year it is to be Robin Hood. I had benevolently agreed to accompany my partner to this, knowing as I do that my presence always attracts much positive attention (see the recent photograph of my charming mug from the local paper in a previous entry). As a way of drawing further attention to our forthcoming theatricals, it was agreed that one or two bods would dress up in suitable Robin Hood/Maid Marian/Merry Outlaw-type costumes.

Now then. The perceptive among you may have already twigged as to what might be coming next. I still struggle to find the words to describe my opinions on the subject. So instead, with barely-concealed indignation, I share with you now the following photographs featuring the lovely Helen dressed as Maid Marian, her boyfriend Tom costumed as one of the two Robin Hoods and one other "volunteer".




How can I show my face in the park again?

My partner informed me that, if I wished to continue being fed, then I would enjoy myself. True, the lady in the ice-cream van DID give me a few broken cones to eat, and I did attract a lot of adoring attention. But I believe it came at a rather high cost to my dignity. I learn, however, that it could have been WORSE. The other outfit that my partner was considering for me was that of a medieval court jester. My partner ultimately decided that the little bells on the hat would be too irritating for me. And for this I am supposed to be grateful. I am still considering what punishment to administer. But I believe it may involve a light supper of hard-boiled egg, broccoli and Jerusalem artichokes consumed just before bedtime. Oh yes. There will be nothing "merry" about that.

On to easier topics: My partner and I attended the local pub quiz the other day (the day I composed my now-outdated paw-written article, in fact). We usually do quite well, winning at least a free drink or two and sometimes even some cash. My partner is good at history and general knowledge and I like the meat-related questions. The evening was also a bit of a compromise between us - I wanted to go out that evening, but was too tired for sport, as I have been somewhat overdoing it of late in the woods. On a previous evening, I had been en route back to the car after a highly satisfying time chasing wily beasties, when a rather chubby fox unwisely crossed my path. Naturally, I gave chase and a frenzied pursuit ensued. I was somewhat surprised to scent that my quarry was actually a young lady, and it didn't take all of my nasal capacities to detect that she was mighty attractive. Pondering this fact slowed my pace a little, and the fair bloom outran me. I was so busy watching her magnificent behind swish away that I tripped and fell face-first into a stagnant and befouled old puddle.

I returned, stinking and filthy, but exhilarated, to my partner who was seriously unimpressed. I was taken directly to the river and told to clean myself immediately. This I proceeded to do with a very bad grace. But I was laughing on the inside.

A day or two later, while pursuing the same route, I picked up the sweet maiden's scent again. It seemed ripe with messages of attraction and invitation. However, not wishing to appear precipitate with the young damsel, I decided to seek the advice of my girlfriend Candy in the park the next day. I asked Candy a variety of probing questions - "What could the scents mean?", "If the vixen was indeed attracted to me, then why did she run away so?", "Did I stand a chance with her?", "Where might this relationship go?". And so forth. Candy listened for a while, and then pursed her lips and rose to leave. She turned her back on me and began to stalk off.
"Come back!" I called, "What d'you think?"
"Jasper." Candy replied, without looking at me and speaking in a strange, high-pitched, rather strangled voice, "I might not have time to play with you in the park tomorrow. I might be busy." And off she padded - and she hasn't spoken to me since.

Eh? What did I do? I don't understand women.

Oh, for goodness' sake.

Good night.

Tuesday 24 June 2008


JASPER'S HOLIDAY DIARY - DAY THREE

To the town of St. David's today, where there is a most impressive cathedral and ruined Bishop's Palace. My partner and I waited outside while all went into the cathedral and enjoyed the peace of our surroundings. I was very excited, as the Bishop's Palace looked a lot like an old castle and I have always wanted to explore an old castle. Alas, the perennial problem again beset my plans - dogs were not allowed into the Palace. I muttered silent curses, wholly inappropriate to my surroundings. My partner was rather compromised as well, because entry to the Palace site was about £5.00 and spare cash is rather tight with us at present...

Thus it was that my partner and I enjoyed some quiet reflection, sitting on a medieval wall, next to a sparkling medieval ford, in between the cathedral and the medieval palace (having circumnavigated the all-too-modern gift shop) while Ewan (delightful nephew, as opposed to dimwit hound) and the rest of the family explored the Palace.

Ewan and his parents explore the Bishop's Palace...

... while I sit upon my wall with my partner and her father:


As we waited and enjoyed the sunshine, I gradually became aware that a man was carefully walking up to us, snapping away with a professional-looking camera. My partner gave him a rather quizzical look, and he explained that he was "really impressed with the handsome dog you have there." He was an American gentleman, on holiday, and asked my partner's permission to photograph me properly. With the appropriate permissions in place, I am always happy to pose for photographs and obligingly arranged myself into a variety of delightful situations while the chap snapped away. How unexpectedly flattering. After this we enjoyed a fine picnic upon the grass.

We returned to our cottage after a little potter around St. David's, followed by a rather disappointing drive (my partner's boss had recommended a visit to Whitesands Bay. We found it, and it was well worth the recommendation, save for the large "No dogs permitted between May to September" notice. Grrrowl). Suitably rested and refreshed, my partner and I enjoyed yet another delightful cliff-top walk in the evening.
Surely Heaven itself could provide no finer sight?


And the following day, I would finally - FINALLY!! - achieve one of my long-cherished holiday aims, and get one paw closer to achieving a second! Happy days...

Good night.

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Enough is enough. I have endured too long a separation from my blog. Do not seek to blame me, however, dear reader. The blog and I were forced to part when I contracted a severe case of conjunctivitis. I was very poorly, with sore eyes and a fever and my partner and Maisie have been most diligent in bathing my eyes and putting in drops thrice daily. The only light note in this melancholy tune was the leaflet that came with my drops from the vet. It exhorted me not to drive, operate heavy machinery or wear contact lenses when using the drops. So, obviously, the keys to my forklift truck had to be put out of my reach... For goodness' sake.

Happily, I am now almost recovered. My partner, however, has been excessively troubled of late. I am not going into details, as I do not want to depress you, dear reader. I have been an oasis of calm and reliability throughout and she has delighted in my support. I had almost - almost - got out of having to explain myself online following my naughty episode. Less happily, Maisie did me up a salad for my tea last night containing, among other things, hard-boiled egg and cold steamed broccoli.

It kicked in about fifteen minutes after my partner and I had retired to bed. She was too tired to get up again and open the window. Let me just say that she was not happy and leave it at that. Then, this evening, one of our online friends was encouraging my partner to make me repeat my tale of wickedness and what she said was enough to turn my partner's thoughts. I mention no names - but, Angie, you have much to be ashamed of.

Right then - and let me make this clear - this is the first and positively, irrevocably, last time that my partner is allowed anywhere near writing in my blog. And I'm not allowed to delete what she writes, because she's going to check it before I post it. Read without prejudice:

Jasper's Version
After a delightful evening's stroll on Abbotstone, I took a brief lie down to enjoy a light snack. After a moment my partner appeared, somewhat inexplicably distressed, and asked me to escort her back to the car. I dutifully complied. All was well.




Jasper's Partner's Version
After a delightful evening's stroll on Abbotstone, Jasper disappeared off after a rabbit in the usual place (close to the warren). I know that, if he has not reappeared after a few minutes, it's ok to walk back to the car because he will either catch up with me in a bit or cut through the woods and wait for me by the car. This is ALWAYS what happens and I have no fear of him straying or getting lost - he often journeys back to the car by himself if he has had enough on Dartmoor (or elsewhere) and waits quietly and patiently for me next to our vehicle.
On approaching the Abbotstone car park, I could see that he was neither waiting for me there nor coming up the path behind me. I waited for ten minutes, but there was no sign of him. I then started to walk back down towards the rabbit warren (approximately three-quarters of a mile away). No sign of him. Back to the car I walked; again, no sign of Jasper en route or at the car. So I wait in the car park for twenty minutes. Still no dog.
It is now beginning to get dark, and Abbotstone is a fairly isolated spot. I walk again from the car park to the warren, calling and whistling for Jasper, and starting to feel uneasy. No sign of mutt anywhere - so back to the car I go.
I now feel distinctly sick. I have been hollering for my normally well-behaved little Jasper for some time now, with no response. This has never happened before, to this extent. I am now scared and in tears - remember that Jasper has now been missing for nearly forty minutes. On the way back from my third walk to the warren, desperately worried, near-hysterical and almost hoarse from calling Jasper's name, I see a white shape lying on the ground a short distance away. "JASPER! Is that you?!" I cry. No response - not even a movement. "JASPER! Are you alright, sweetie?!!" Nothing. The shape lies motionless, but I have stared enough to know that this can only be Jasper.
At this point, I believe him to be dead or dying. There has been no sign of life whatsoever from the prostrate body. He has either been shot by a poacher, hit his head on something or had a heart attack. I had to get to him, but was terrified of what I would find, and dreading the confirmation of my worst fears.
To reach my beloved Jasper I must negotiate a barbed-wire fence, which I hasten to do, cutting my knee and tearing my favourite comfy jumper in my desperation to reach him. All the while, I am sobbing out loud "Jasper! Are you OK!? JASPER!!??!"
I reach him.
He is pretending to be unaware of my cries. Feigning deafness. Because he has a little prize of a deer-leg, which he is happily gnawing. The look on his face tells me clearer than any words could do that he has deliberately ignored me so that he can have the maximum possible time with his meaty bone. He looks pleased with himself and only just deigns to look a bit guilty. He knows what he has done.
I can just summon the energy to glare at him and say "Car. Now." He does not protest.
To Jasper's credit, I will say that he knew straight away that his actions were terribly wrong and that he caused a great deal of distress. He will probably not admit it, but he was extremely sorry for his deeds. I have forgiven him, but I did send him to bed early that night, to think about what he had done.


She's gone now. She and Dolores went to see the Sex and the City film the other night (which they very much enjoyed), so now my partner is watching the whole series through on DVD. I don't mind it actually, and it keeps her out of my fur.

I meant to put in Day Three of my Holiday Diary with this entry, but my partner took too much time to put down her version of events and I have an urgent need to go into my garden and download some wee-mails, so that must wait for another time.

Do not judge me too harshly, my friend. I was a very naughty boy, but my sweet partner has forgiven me.

And that deer-leg was mighty tasty, heh heh heh.....

Good night.

Monday 2 June 2008

Man alive. It has NOT been an uneventful week. I hardly know where to begin. In the first place, here I am dressed as Sherwood Forest from page 9 of the local newspaper.



In the background, you might be able to see my Little Green Corsa. And, believe me, I was every bit as fed up as I look.

I have had the company of my partner today, as she was not at all well. Yesterday, we did the Cancer Research "Race for Life" with Dolores. I was festooned with a pink scarf and received a medal for completing the race at the finishing line. I drew much praise and admiration from the viewing public, but the efforts proved a little too much for my partner. We love our extra-long walks, but at our own pace and with appropriate rest-stops, and I am sorry to say a migraine ensued in the poor girl, which lingers on even now. She made a valiant attempt to get up and dressed for work, but was ultimately defeated and returned to bed - with trusty Jasper snuggling down selflessly at her side.

Apparently, I have been a particularly naughty boy just recently. Heaven alone knows exactly what I am supposed to have done but my partner says that the world must be told of my apparent crime, that I may think twice before repeating the offence. However, this must be a tale for another time - my partner says that making any reference to my heinous actions (for she will not trust me to relate the tale myself and demands to be allowed access to my blog to commit it to posterity. I have not yet managed to see a way out of this.) may bring about a return of her migraine. Instead, I offer to you:

JASPER'S HOLIDAY DIARY - DAY TWO

My partner and I awoke to a glorious morning in Abercastle. The sun shone and the gentle waves lapping at the beach serenaded us as we broke our fast with a pot of tea on the sun-kissed patio. While I tried to work out a way of scaling the cliffs that descended to our garden (rock-climbing is a particular hobby of mine), my partner sipped her tea and read her holiday book - a biography of Marie Antoinette (a loving woman, innocent of what she was accused of saying and doing. What happened to her was a travesty, but don't even get me started on that subject...).

After I had reluctantly conceded my inability to climb the cliffs without the aid of a crampon, my partner and I quickly and efficiently unpacked our Little Green Corsa and stacked away our goodies (my partner did the work: I supervised). We then pottered the few yards to the little beach and I took a most refreshing dip in the crystal-clear Atlantic waters. At this point, two golden retrievers ambled down the hill to introduce themselves - the first of my holiday friends. Their names were Mali (a chap) and Cadi (an elderly, yet elegant, lady). They lived in a big pink house on the opposite cliff and were allowed to wander at will around the hamlet. They made a tour of all the houses every morning and were most affable.

Cadi (on the beach)

Mali (on his rounds, at my front door)

Their compatriot was a little brown chap of indeterminate origin (but with a truly majestic tail) named Bobby, unfortunately I don't have a picture of him. The three were really quite comical. All very sociable, and at 10.00am sharp every day they would trot off to the end of the hamlet to await the bus. The driver always had a biscuit for them. At 10.30am they moved on a little further to greet the arrival of the postman, who was also armed with a supply of biscuits. How I envy their lifestyle. I also enjoyed meeting a lovely young lady, a whippet named Rowley, who was holidaying with her partners from Henley-on-Thames. She was very sparky and fun to play with on the beach.

Just after lunch-time we were joined in our cottage by my partner's parents, along with her brother, sister-in-law and little Ewan. I was most relieved to see that they had performed their journeys without incident. Following an afternoon of football in the garden and a little bit of sandcastle-construction on the beach with Ewan, my partner and I took a simply delightful walk over the cliffs in the evening. I share with you now some pictures from this. Witness heaven on earth:






Good night.

Monday 26 May 2008


Ah, how swiftly the paw of Nature works its magic in such a short time. The bluebells are all gone over and sylvan glades that once were light, airy and inviting are now dark and forbidding as the trees stretch their emerald canopies wide to absorb the sun. And all this in the space of one week - Yes: I have returned from my holiday in Wales and have been out to inspect my woodlands.

I am not currently speaking to my partner as, today being a Bank Holiday and the annual fête in a neighbouring village, she had volunteered herself (and me) to assist with a stall for her local Dramatic Society. I wore a vest emblazoned with the name of the society and the fact that this is its sixtieth year. I did not agree to this, but decided to tolerate it. Due to the foulness of the weather, the fête was moved into the village hall, so all was cramped, crowded and distinctly damp. My spirits picked up a little when I was recognised by a family who had seen one of my turns as "Bullseye" in Oliver!, which was hugely flattering. My recovery continued as a gentleman representing two of the local main newspapers asked if I would appear in the photographs to accompany the articles reporting the event. I naturally concurred; this was my first mistake. The next production for the theatre company being a pantomime version of "Robin Hood", a large string of silk and plastic foliage was produced and my partner proceeded to dress me with it - in addition to the vest - to portray me as "Sherwood Forest". The photographs were taken outside, in the car park. In the pouring rain.

AND I had to sit in a pram.

Depending on how the photographs turn out and how they affect my public image, I may have to take steps to deal with my partner. I shall consider the matter privately.

My holiday was hugely enjoyable, however. Far too full to summarise in one blog entry, so I have pleasure in presenting Part 1 of a brief new series:

JASPER'S HOLIDAY DIARY - DAY ONE

My partner and I were travelling a day in advance of everyone else in our party, as the others had been summoned to a celebration elsewhere. Our scheduled time of departure was 11.00am, but customary unpreparedness and procrastination saw us off, following a tearful series of goodbyes for me from Maisie, at 3.30pm.

We made good progress in our Little Green Corsa, stopping only twice for downloading wee-mails. A sight which caused intense irritation arrested me on our first stop. A number of cars containing football supporters had overtaken us at one stage - the day being that of the FA Cup Final between Portsmouth and Cardiff, held at the Welsh stadium. As I passed my golden-amber liquid at the edge of the service station car park, two cars seemingly engaged in some sort of race, squealed into the area, turning every head. The cars sped through the parking area and stopped in the two disabled-only parking bays nearest the doors of the restaurant complex. A number of young chaps poured out of the cars, all drinking some sort of beverage from lurid tins.
Now, as a supporter of Southampton FC (well, it's more toleration than support these days if I'm honest), I naturally would not wish to impugn my Portsmouth brethren - but suffice it to say that these chaps were Pompey fans, and fine upstanding examples of the Fratton Park community they were too. With a disdainful stare, I was ushered into my seat and secured within my seatbelt. It gave us great pleasure, an hour or so later, to see one of these same cars parked up on the M4 hard shoulder, flanked by two lights a-flashing police cars and a group of angry rozzers. With a wry smile, I settled down to sleep.

I woke only to observe our passage over the Severn Bridge (the toll has increased to £5.30!), and slept well again until we reached our destination. Surprisingly, we did not get lost, and the journey took just under 5½ hours, including the two stops.

The cottage, the hamlet (Abercastle) and the beach immediately before us were all an absolute delight. The cottage owners had left two bottles of wine to welcome us, one of which my partner cracked open to toast our successful journey. I was thrilled with the large patio and garden, and its proximity to the shore. We wasted no time in taking a stroll on the sand and I launched myself into the sea with great gusto and a happy yelp.



We decided to round off the evening with a dvd from the selection provided in the cottage. We found a copy of "Ricky Gervais - Animals" and, as my partner is a huge fan of his work, settled on that. We opened the case - to find that someone had nicked the disc. Ah well - we were so pleased with our holiday location that, with a philosophical sigh and a last swig of wine, we retired to bed, the gentle lapping of the waves soothing us off to a happy sleep.

Good night.

Saturday 17 May 2008

I have had a very busy week and must apologise to those who sent me messages. I deeply regret my inattention in not being able to respond - and send you my grateful thanks.

My partner and I are off to Wales in a moment. Our deadline for leaving was 11.00am this morning. It is now 2.39pm. We are almost ready to depart, however, so this is better progress than usual.

My goals for this holiday are as follows:

1) Playing on the beach. LIKELIHOOD: 100%. The cottage has its own beach.
2) Fight with a seal. LIKELIHOOD: 42%. My extra long walks with my partner have made me quite buff of late.
3) A Boat-trip. LIKELIHOOD: 67%. Depends on the weather.
4) For the journey home NOT to take over 8 hours, with my partner stopping to vomit every half hour because she had gastric flu and drove the wrong way. LIKELIHOOD: 2%.

Will I achieve these aims? A full report will be provided upon my return next week.

Good afternoon.

Saturday 10 May 2008

The weather of late has forced me into idleness. For we are enduring a heat-wave in my lovely part of the country that is most unseasonable and which renders activity during the day nigh-on impossible.

My partner has installed a small paddling pool in the garden for me, that I may take refreshment at any time I choose, but it is still something of a trial. Last weekend I did brave the heat in order to inspect the bluebells in the woods where my partner works. I have to say that they were worth the effort. Observe:

Here, I am pretending to be a bluebell. Can you see me?


But the passing over of the bluebells swiftly ushered in my first tick of the season. My partner pulled it off with tweezers last night, which was slightly less than pleasant.

Barking of annoying parasites, the fat waster of a hedgepig has now taken up permanent residence in my garden, the git. He didn't even deign to ask my permission. I know where he is - he's in the corner by the Hostas. I have issued him with repeated eviction orders, but I'm sure I can hear him laughing at them from the safety of his many-rooted cabin. Just the other day, my partner's mother was being complimented on the beauty and slug-free nature of her border plants.
"Yes." she said in reply, "We have a hedgehog now." Eh? WE HAVE A HEDGEHOG?!? It sickens me the way he has wriggled his way into the household. Well, he is not on MY list of employees. I trust he is not expecting the pension or health benefits that I provide to my staff.

The one thing that amuses me is seeing how fat he has become. He is at least twice the size he was last year. There is a most satisfying squeaking and grinding noise when he tries to squeeze his fat ar*e under the gate to next door's garden. It reminds me of a line from that excellent film, Parenthood. Jason Robards is describing fatherhood to his put-upon son played by Steve Martin. Of the experience, he says "It's like your Aunt Edna's a*s - it goes on forever and is just as frightening." The hedgepig is looking like a spiky Aunt Edna.

This time next week, I will be in Wales! I am getting so excited! The cottage where we are all staying this time is of a luxury nature and has its own beach. Here is a little picture of it:
Oh yes.

My partner and I are to make up the advance party in our Little Green Corsa next Saturday, being joined on the following day by her parents, brother Tim and sister-in-law Nicky and the ever-delightful Ewan. It is a year ago that I was forced to revise my opinion of him (I formerly believed him to be a little git-wizard. I now admit that I was wrong) - it may be that I find additional closeness with him as the months pass, because I have to report that Nicky is again in pup! She is due to be whelped at the end of November. 2-year old Ewan is still too little to understand properly, but I can enlighten him as to how annoying siblings can be. I shall teach him my stealthful tactics, such as head-butting your littermates out of the way so that you get the best teat or the sunniest corner of the whelping-box. My partner says this is not necessary, as Ewan neither feeds from teats nor lives in a box. But I'm sure I have SOME tips that he can utilise, heh heh...

I will outline my plans for the holiday in a subsequent entry. But I shall leave you now with Ewan, dressed up as Tigger:
Heh heh, that's my boy.

Good night.

Sunday 27 April 2008

I am writing my blog entry early today, in the hope that it may prove balm to my tormented mind. The flashing, rumbling sky-dog paid a prolonged visit this morning, reducing me to a shadow of my normally buoyant self. Despite my partner's assurances that it was only a temporary weather condition, I was beside myself with terror.

I attempted to carve myself a niche in which to hide within the putrid compost-heap in my garden, thinking that the sky-dog would never dare to follow me in there, but my partner caught me, fished me out and forced me into renewed cleanliness. By the time she had finished towelling me down and telling me what she thought of me, the sky-dog had rumbled away. But fear has wearied me, so I might pretend to be dead when my partner wants to take me out for my exercise later this afternoon. This is a skill the practice of which I would recommend to anyone. When I am about to be summoned into something against my will, I instantly assume the position of one in the preliminary stages of rigor mortis. I reduce my breathing to its shallowest and fail to respond to all stimuli. I have mastered all aspects of this state, except one. I cannot resist taking a look to see if my ruse has succeeded, and this is my downfall. Instead of seeing my partner prostrate with grief at my untimely passing, as soon as I open one eye for a sneaky peek she crows "AHA! I knew it! Get up, you lazy maggot." It's no good - I just have to look. It seems there are some skills even I cannot perfect.

As if all this were not torment enough, my garden has been invaded again. The hedgepig (see previous entries) has now taken up permanent residence and has been OPENLY lauded by my partner's mother for his efforts in keeping slugs off her prized Hostas (and, for the mucky-minded amongst you, that is NOT a euphemism).

Sometimes I think I might be the subject of some kind of wildlife-sponsored Hedgerow Outreach Programme. The latest 'community worker' to be assigned to me was first sited a few days ago and initially proved a bit of a mystery. We saw him on the bird feeder, helping himself to some goodies. Though clearly a rodent with brownish fur, he was too small and differently-coloured to be a squirrel, yet too large to be a mouse, and was most definitely on MY property. I was intrigued.

Just the next day, I encountered the fellow as I took an afternoon tour of my estate. He was nibbling some succulent blades of my grass and I was upon him before he could flee. "What are you?" I demanded. He looked up at me, as if not quite understanding. "Are you a rat?" I calmly placed a restraining paw on his tail, to prevent his escape.
"Not exactly." came the reedy-voiced reply, as his dark eyes wildly searched for an escape route.
"Come on, then." I said. "Don't worry, I'm not going to eat you." The visitor relaxed a bit, though his eyes never stopped darting about.
"I'm a water-rat."
I nodded, and was about to release him when I was struck by a thought. My home is not close to the river, and the busy main road lies between my grounds and the fields before the river. I asked him how he had ended up in my territory. He shrugged.
"Buzzard." he replied, matter-of-factly. (And regular readers of this blog will know enough of my opinion of these foul raptors to believe that my sympathy was instantly bestowed on the river-dweller). "Caught me and flew off. I managed to struggle round and bit him hard," (Respect was instantly added to the sympathy), "so he dropped me and I ended up here."
"Blimey." I said. I told the water-rat that I was not able to return him to his home but, in recognition of his troubles, he was welcome to make himself comfortable in my garden. I have since found that he has accepted my offer and has tunnelled a small burrow under one of my little ornamental trees. As I released the fellow's tail and turned to re-enter the house, I felt a certain curiosity about his experience and asked him what it was like - being captured by a buzzard. There was a brief silence and then he said
"Didn't think much of the in-flight entertainment."
I laughed, despite myself, as he scampered away and I decided he might be a welcome addition to my garden. Plus which, I've ALREADY seen the New Cat sniffing about outside the gate at the new 'mousey' aroma - so, as bait, he is already proving his worth. Hehehe.

Good afternoon.

Wednesday 23 April 2008


Happy St. George's Day! Today I celebrate my Englishness and all that makes my country great. Cricket, cream teas, and plucky Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

With profound apologies to Gustave Moreau:


St. George spays the last dragon in England.


If you are not aware of the noble legend, here is a brief summary: In the First Century AD, the King's Chief Vet in Charge of Birth-Control (St. Snippus) ordered that all dragons be spayed to eliminate the nuisance they caused. St. George dogfully volunteered for the task and is depicted above dealing with a typical miscreant. This naughty fellow had kidnapped a dusky maiden to fulfil his every sordid whim, so brave St. George was able to liberate her as well as sorting out the dragon.

So there you have it - St. George spayed the last dragon in England. Although, to judge by the appearance of the New Cat and his cronies, one or two might have slipped under the radar.

Good night.

Tuesday 15 April 2008


Exactly 96 years ago today, at 2.20am, the R.M.S. Titanic (which sailed from Southampton, close to where I live) disappeared beneath the surface of the North Atlantic, two hours and forty minutes after striking an iceberg. 1,223 people died - 705 survived. My partner has been a student of Titanic's history ever since the wreck was discovered on September 1, 1985.

So, on this day, we remember the great ship, the lives that were lost and the people who suffered as a result of the tragedy. This year, as well, I would like to add my bark and pay tribute to those canine passengers who accompanied their partners on the Titanic.

(my partner actually has a lovely memorial postcard from 1912, but it was packed safely away when the decorators were in and we can't find it, so you'll have to make do with this picture instead).



The Titanic Dogs Roll Call
Gamon de Pycombe, French Bulldog. Died (but was seen by several witnesses swimming in the water after the ship went down).
Sun-Yat-Sen, Pekingese. Survived.
Frou-Frou, breed unknown. Died.
Name unknown, Chow-Chow. Died.
Name unknown, King Charles Spaniel. Died.
Name unknown, Airedale. Died.
Name unknown, Pomeranian. Survived (while waiting for the lifeboat, Mr. J. Clinch-Smith joked to Miss Hays, the dog’s owner, that the White Star Line should have provided a little life-jacket for the dog. Mr. Clinch-Smith died).
Kitty, Airedale. Died.
Name unknown, Airedale. Died.
Name unknown, Fox Terrier. Died.
Name unknown, Pomeranian. Survived.
Name unknown, Newfoundland (or may have been a St. Bernard or Great Dane). Died.*

And Jenny, the ship's cat - along with her litter of newborn kittens. Died.

* It is widely believed that this last dog belonged to Miss Ann Isham, one of only four First Class ladies to die when the ship went down. It was reported in a 1912 newspaper (The Daily Sketch) that she refused to get into a lifeboat without her dog, choosing to stay with him until the end. Another contemporary 1912 newspaper report, held in the Southampton City Heritage Collection, states the following:
"From our own correspondent, New York, Wednesday. More than 100 of the Titanic's victims were seen floating on the water by the steamship Bremen, which arrived today from Bremen, when, on April 20, the German liner passed over the spot where the Titanic went down. Mrs. Johanna Stunke, a first cabin passenger on the Bremen, gave a vivid story of the scene from the liner's rail. 'We had been told by some of the officers that [we were] going to pass within a few miles of the position given by the Titanic when she sank... we all rushed to the starboard rail. It was a beautiful afternoon... but as we drew nearer we could make out small dots floating around in the sea... We passed within a hundred feet of the wreckage... we distinctly saw a number of bodies so clearly that we could make out what they were wearing, and whether they were men or women...
There was another woman, fully dressed, with her arms tight around the body of a shaggy dog that looked like a St. Bernard.'
"

My partner would not have boarded a lifeboat and left me behind, either.

Good night.