Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Another wonderful day of being Jasper is almost complete.

Yesterday's achievements were crowned with another visit from my new little friend from the hedge. He only seems to come a-calling in the dead of night, when I am making my final tour of my estate before retiring for the night. No matter - I am always glad to see him.
"Alright?" he hailed me.
"Very well, thank you." I replied. My new friend sidled up close to me, giving me the opportunity to fully realise for the first time just how rancid he smelt. He leaned towards my ear, and muttered confidentially:
"Listen. Whisper is: a deer was snuffed on the main road last night. Up by the roundabout apparently. Me and a few of the lads are going to check it out. Want to come with?"
"I can't get out of my garden by myself."
"'Course you can. Look." And my chum moved one of the fence posts aside with nothing but his bare snout!
"When did that happen?!" I barked, incredulously.
"'S always been like that." he replied. "Bit tight for you, but one good shove and you'll be through..."
"I'm not supposed to go out by myself." I muttered. My friend laughed his strange, wheezy laugh and sneered at me.
"You're the man of the house, ain't 'cha?"
"Er... yes." I replied, doubtfully, hoping that my partner was out of earshot.
"Well then," he rasped, "Tell the choppy tart indoors to get stuffed and come out for some fun with the lads."

Dear blog, I have to admit that I was tempted. I looked over the dark fields and up the hill, to the lights of the roundabout twinkling far off in the distance and imagined the taste of fresh venison... Even the thought of being naughty sent a little thrill through me...

But I could not let down my partner. I declined my friend's offer - explaining that I always got too greedy and I didn't want to take all the meat away from him and his friends. The little chap shrugged and turned to go. As I watched his long pink tail disappear into the hedge, he suddenly spoke once more: "Must 'ave a word with you sometime about them kittens."
"What? Oh, yes, the kittens." I replied.
"Don't want the little b****rs getting any older, do we?"
"Er, ha ha ha, no." I responded, wondering what in the name of Cerberus he was on about. But before I could request clarification, my friend (and his tail) had disappeared into the night.

I did not regret my decision not to go looking for the deer. As much fun as it would have been, I must not distress my partner - particularly at present. For tomorrow, she is to attend the local hospital for a rather unsavoury procedure. She has a lump in her left breast and must undergo an operation to have it removed (local surgeons are concerned, as my partner's mother has suffered not one, but two episodes of breast cancer). We have known about this for some short while, but I did not bark of it previously as the subject distresses me. But tomorrow is the big day, and I can deny its reality no longer. My blog may fall silent for a few days owing to these events. But I WILL return and, dear reader, my heart shall remain true to you whilst my computer slumbers.

Until next time - good night.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Monday 27 April 2009

I really am inexpressibly cross.

I had another wonderful walk this evening. I have, of late, been trying to catch a hippopotamus in the woods. I believe I am close to success. My partner tells me that I am highly unlikely to find a hippopotamus in the English countryside woodlands, but this just goes to show that she is of the "glass-half-empty" personality type. I am confident of victory.

Anyway - I was hot on the scent, but managed to lose my quarry. I cooled myself down post-chase by going puddle-diving (my second-favourite hobby) in the deepest, muckiest path-pool I could find. It was terrific fun, but did not garner quite the response I was hoping for in my partner. I was deliriously happy - right up to the point where I was taken to the river and forced into cleanliness. Grrrowl. And I slipped on some river-weed and twisted my leg. My only comfort was that my partner dropped her car keys into the water, so I had the satisfaction of seeing her run, panic-stricken, back to the river and grovel about in the weir until she retrieved them. Happily, I was able to control my wry laughter as she returned, dripping, to the car.

So that was my walk ruined. I was able to cheer myself with the continuing friendship of my new chum, the water-rat. Some people (you know who you are) have seen fit to warn me off this new ally, citing past false friends such as the Buzzard. I am grateful for their concern - but I also pity them for their thinly-veiled jealousy. Why can't people just be happy when two kindred souls find succour in each others' company?

My new little mate stopped by last night - AND he brought me a gift! I smelt him coming as I did my last rounds of the garden for the night. I hailed him: "Is that you?"
"Mmmnf." came the reply. He appeared, and tossed down a couple of items at my paws. "Those are for you." he said, grinning his yellow-toothed grin at me. "It's rabbit." Before me lay a small cube of meat and a little kidney. I hastened to enjoy the meat - it was fresh and delicious. I offered my hearty thanks. "'s alright." replied my friend, "Perhaps you can do me a favour some time. What you been up to today?" I explained about my hippopotamus hunting. "Any joy?" he asked. I shook my head.
"My partner says they're very big, anyway." I said, as my friend expressed his sympathy for my lack of success.
"Humpf. I just go for small game, me." he grunted, "Rabbits, mice, whatever. Never chase after stuff that can stomp on you when you catch it." We shared a philosophical silence. "Good luck with the hippypottawotsit, anyway."

"A little bird tells me there's a young puppy three doors down from here." said the water-rat, abruptly changing the subject.
"Yep." I replied. "A Jack Russell. Eleven weeks old."
"Big lad, is he?"
"Well..." I hesitated, wondering where this was leading. "Smaller than me. But bigger than you."
"Ah. Best leave it then."

My friend then said that it was getting late, and he had to be going back to his friends and the rest of their rabbit supper. I thanked him again for his generous gift of the meat and watched him slink back through the hedge towards the river.

Returning into my house, I thought that my chum was probably right: the little Jack Russell pup IS a bit too young to hang around with us at present.

Good night.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Saturday 25 April 2009

I have returned this evening from a delightful walk, on a delightful day, and now I feel it is time to introduce you to my delightful new friend.

As mentioned previously, I had been somewhat concerned about a silent watcher in the bushes of my garden fence. More than once, I saw a pair of eyes blinking at me, but any closer investigations turned up nothing. All most mysterious. And then, a few evenings ago, I was sniffing around the garden late at night, looking for the most suitable spot to download my last weemail of the day when:

"Alright?" A little raspy voice sounded from the usual spot of the eyes. I wasn't too startled as, being a perceptive chap, I had already suspected I was being watched.
"Ummm, yes, thank you." I replied. "You alright?"
"Where are you?" There was a brief silence.
"Right here." And out of the bushes came a rather rugged but not unattractive fellow. He had the appearance of a large, fat mouse, with a longish snout and whiskers which were constantly on the move. "Just moved in, eh?" he continued, "Welcome. I'm, er, head of the welcoming committee." I nodded my thanks. The stranger and I regarded each other. Try as I might, I couldn't place his species. I could only think of one chap from my past encounters who even vaguely resembled him - the water rat who was dropped into my old garden by a buzzard and took up residence with my blessing.
"Are you a water rat?" I asked, hesitantly. The chap laughed a husky, rasping laugh, revealing a mouth full of the yellowest teeth I had ever seen.
"Yeah, that's me. Water rat. Yeah."
"You're quite a big one."
"Well, I'm like you - plenty of muscle." I liked him immediately. He went on: "I'll bet you're pretty handy when it comes to a scrap, eh?"
"Well, I don't like to boast..." I replied, blushing under my fur.
"Ah, come on now." grinned my new chum, "I'll bet you're the best there is." Well, reader, what else could I do but agree with him?

We passed a most agreeable time whilst I regaled him with tales of my past glories in battle with squirrels, swans, hedgehogs, buzzards (bah!), rabbits and, of course, the stag. All the while, my new friend listened attentively, nodding and chuckling in all the right places.
"Well," he said appreciatively, after I had concluded my tales, "Quite impressive, old son. There aren't many dogs that can bring down a stag by themselves." (Do not judge me too harshly, dear reader. I fully intend to tell him the truth when I know him a bit better).
"No," I replied proudly, "But then, I have been especially trained in elite, unarmed paw-to-hoof combat."
"Hmmm..." continued the newcomer, "And there was me just thinking that I could do with a handy chap around here..."
"Do you actually live here, then?" I asked.
"Here...abouts. It's a good spot. Plenty of kiddies - lots of food gets chucked out, hehehe. Then there's the river. Almost perfect, apart from all them f***ing cats."
I didn't appreciate his foul language, but I did agree with the sentiment.
"Are there more like you around here?" I asked politely.
"One or two." he grunted, "They ain't as nice as me though. Now, look, son - how's about me and you chum up?" I grinned excitedly and wagged my tail - my first new friend in my new house!! He went on: "There's these kittens-". He was suddenly silent, as a little bell could be heard close at paw. "F***ing cats." he spat, and hastily withdrew back into the hedge from whence he came. "See you around, son." he muttered as he disappeared.

I listened to the tinkling of the little collar bell. But its feline wearer was heading the other way. The ringing grew fainter and soon was heard no more. I waited in the silent darkness for my new friend to return, but he didn't come back.

Feeling pleased with the way the encounter had gone, despite my friend's foul potty-mouth and the slight twinge of guilt that I had for telling porkies about the stag-fight, I turned and padded softly along my flower border, when suddenly:

"You want to watch yourself with that one."

"Aaiiieeee!" I yelped, jumping about three foot into the air and, to my annoyance, leaking a little bit of wee into my fur.

It was Starsky, next door, standing in the dark shadows. His voice had come out of nowhere and frightened the bejeezus out of me. I yipped at him, a little more harshly than I intended, implying that he was jealous of my new friendship. To be honest, I still hadn't got over the terrifying suddenness of his comment. Starsky listened patiently to all I had to bark.

"Well, I'm just saying. Be careful. That's all." And, with that, he turned and trotted back into his house through his little dog-flap in the front door. I stood in the dark garden, waiting until my heart-rate had calmed down and then I downloaded the remainder of my weemail and went back into my own house.

"Blimey Jasper, what were you up to out there?" asked my partner. But she was sleepy, and probed no further than that, for which I was much relieved. We retired to our bedchamber and I drifted off to sleep as my partner wiped my pee-tainted fur with a moist towelette.

I can't wait to have lots of fun with my new friend!

Good night.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Saturday 18 April 2009

Life is sweet. Oh yes.

Now that our "little" heating problem is resolved (apart from the big hole in our kitchen wall, but I am warm again, and not minded to complain), my partner and I are growing ever-fonder of our new home. I am happy to report that I have been playing an active part in the household chores. Witness:





Spring is turning rapidly to summer and I am discovering the joys of a sunny weekend in a living room with French windows. My partner and I have come to an understanding: on sunny weekend days, I am allowed to have the French windows open, as long as I do not eat her plants or shout at passers-by/Starsky/cats. The former I have grown accustomed to (her plants are yukky anyway; I'm waiting for next year's border plants), but the latter is something of a trial. NEVER have I been surrounded by so many cats. It sickens me.

The canine presence in my little cul-de-sac is limited to myself, Starsky and a Jack Russell puppy aged only 11 weeks. Almost all the other houses have at least one or two felines present. Why? WHY??

I WAS going to launch into a diatribe about the cat opposite - "Son of New Cat" as I have previously referred to him - but he was struck by a car and killed last week. I would be lying if I said that I mourned him; but I take no satisfaction from his passing. It is always unfair when a life is cut short too early.

A number of the cats (including Son of New Cat's house-mates) wear collars with a bell around their necks. The little tinkling sound drives me mad at times - it is like living in an old Leper Colony. The only redeeming feature is the constant warfare between the various cat factions. The main parties seem to be those cats with bells and their cronies against the non-belled moggies and their cronies. Their fights are spectacular and absolutely hilarious. I have no preference for either side but it's better than television, it really is. One of the best parts is that I can watch from the safety of my garden. There was a prize episode this afternoon, and I settled quietly to watch, chuckling to myself at the cats' impotent violence. The yowling, hissing, scratching and spitting provided top-quality laughs and, this time, the cats without bells came off worst. The black and white puss who seems to be the ringleader of the no-bells slunk past my gate after the victors had dispersed, nursing a rather tatty ear. He was very cross that I was laughing.

"What's so funny, eh?" he snarled at me through the fence-posts, and showed his teeth. "D'you want a piece of me, chunky? Do you? Eh?"
I growled at him with bared teeth and he spat at me and scuttled away. "Chunky", indeed. It will be more than his ear that gets tatty if I get my paws on him.

But this is quite enough cat-talk for one blog post, and the hour grows late. I will hasten to make another post soon, for I have made a BRAND NEW FRIEND! It's the eyes! And they have a face and body!! And it isn't a cat, or Starsky!!! Stay tuned...
Good night.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Tuesday 7 April 2009

At last!! Well-greased with tallow and doused liberally with champagne, the Good Ship Jasper travels down the slipway, hits the water, and sets sail once again. WHAT a tumultuous time it has been of late - denying me the company of my precious blog.

My partner and I are now very settled in our new home and are warming to our new domestic routines. Well, to be more honest, we have been living here since the beginning of March but only started warming to anything three days ago. For a shoddy boiler inspection prior to our arrival deemed our small home to be habitable for such a one as me, whereas in reality this was not the case. It is a long story and, believe me, you do not want to hear all of it. These are the salient points: my partner's innovative temporary repairs lasted all of 48 hours; the house grew extremely cold; we had little or no hot water; the house grew progressively colder; we had to put at least £50 more than we had budgeted for into our electricity meter to power some freestanding heaters to try and warm us up; we were very cold; we used two packs of candles in an effort to be warm and save on electricity; we were very, very cold.

And all this while repeatedly contacting our housing people and begging them to send a repair man. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but we really were very cold indeed.

After a cursory inspection lasting all of five minutes, the inspector pronounced that the boiler "had not worked for a number of years", which is what we had been saying from the beginning. The last inspection sticker on the boiler said "19/5/98". Now, I've known a few old boilers in my time, but none so decrepit as this. And so, on Friday last, scaffolding was erected around my house and some nice chaps arrived to rip out the old heating system and install a completely new one. It took them two full days and apparently was the talk of the company. Never, they said, had they seen a domestic heating system in such a state. Their colleagues visited to see if it was really as bad as claimed. The supervisor actually laughed when he saw it. I was tempted to put a stop to his laughter, but my partner begged me to let him live until the heating was repaired.

And, AT LAST, we have a completely new, wonderful, and WORKING heating system. When the hot tap is turned, heated water issues forth. And just in time for the start of summer, too. Oh yes.

But do not assume, dear reader, that this the only thing that has kept us apart. Oh no. The fall-out from my car accident has not been insignificant. Happily, my partner procured for us a new chariot at a very reasonable cost; we went for the Renault Megane. It is most comfortable and I approve of her choice. The Peugeot option was just proving a little too dodgy in the end - each time we contacted the seller, he mentioned something new that was wrong with the car. Hmmm. We know we made the correct choice and love our new, not-so-little, teal Megane. I am happy to report that there is a permanent record of our accident on the road, however. A narrow white wheal in the tarmac surface pays testament to the life and times of our late, lamented, Little Green Corsa and the day it almost became our shared coffin.

You will notice that there is no Ewan's World of Cheese yet again. I told him he had to try harder with his research and he is having trouble verifying all the things about cheese that he thinks are true. I am informed by Fizzy that his next submission is almost complete. Oh, "goodie".

My partner has a new young gentleman friend. His initials are WS and he makes her smile. I've met him. He seems most pleasant; his most redeeming feature being, of course, that he is not BC. Most definitely not. Which barks highly in his favour. That barked, if he makes a move on my partner I will have no option but to kill him. Which would be a great pity, because I do quite like him.

I must not finish this entry without sending many, many HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to our friend from Michigan, Lance. Lance - we are sorry we forgot your special day. We will make it up to you next time you visit the land of Jasper.

Have to dash out now. My partner's mother has been to put some plants in our little border and I must hasten to dig them all up and eat the leaves. Those beady eyes are STILL watching me from behind the fence, you know. They are beginning to make me nervous.

Good night.