First off, my partner's murder-mystery evening was a rip-snorting success, enjoyed by all. My partner even received a few wolf-whistles (nothing to do with actual wolves, though) for her leather trenchcoat and trilby combination (she played the detective).
Also, now that our finances are on more of an even keel, we are turning our attentions to making our little house more of a home. The kitchen and living room have been somewhat reorganised and space has been made for my favourite armchair from the old house. These days I even eschew the once-treasured sofa in favour of my old friend. Lovely. We have also been labouring hard on our bathroom, which had been full of cardboard boxes. The boxes are stored away and, in some cases, even emptied - our bookshelves are groaning with my partner's books (actually we need more bookshelves, but have no space to put them. My partner says there would be room for another bookcase if we ditched the armchair. I have vetoed this.).
The first birds have visited our new bird table, carefully positioned in our garden. First to call was a little blue-tit, closely followed by a female robin. All most exciting. Other areas of my estate are less encouraging. The extremely unpleasant weather has made my nasturtiums go a funny colour. I am hoping that they will recover with the coming of kinder atmospheric conditions.
I am now firmly established as a daily fixture in my partner's workplace. I enjoy accompanying her, and doze happily 'neath her desk, until lunchtime when we go for a lovely walk in the woods. Sometimes I snooze in the afternoon; sometimes I play with my partner's colleagues. I have even managed to assist the team in a very exciting event: last Friday, I killed a HUGE rat in the yard. It was massive - larger than a puppy - and very dangerous. I dispatched it quickly, and basked in my glory - I have not actually killed for some years and was beginning to think I might be past it. Not so! Alas, my partner would not let me eat my prize because the farmers next door usually put out rat-poison and my partner feared that I could also ingest poison via the rat, if it had taken some. But the praise and gratification was reward enough for me.
Most pleasant of all in my new routine was being reacquainted with my old chums Ewan and Fizzy (dogs belonging to a colleague of my partner). For descriptions of the pair, you will need to refer back to an earlier blog posting. As a quick recap, however, Ewan is a large gangly mongrel who has some kind of unspecified mental deformity, but who is unstintingly friendly, enthusiastic and willing to chat. He also has a bizarre, inexplicable, and entirely random obsession with cheese. Fizzy arrived on the scene some months after Ewan and I had become friends. She is a somewhat small, yet highly intelligent and attractive black Labrador. She came to stay with Ewan and his partners for a couple of weeks - and never left. There was initial friction at her appearance. Ewan and I were both attracted to her but she didn't show much interest, save for a rapid loss of patience (which was somewhat understandable) with Ewan who, despite his keenness and eagerness to learn, asks constant questions and generally fails to comprehend the answers. I had grown accustomed to this, being well aware that it was a manifestation of Ewan's cerebral disadvantages, and had learned to deal with him. Fizzy, however, found nothing but frustration and anger with her new companion. In the end, I had to step in to thaw out hostilities and, the next thing I knew, the pair of them had formed some kind of relationship! It was around that time that I stopped going to work with my partner.
Despite all that had passed, I was delighted to see my two chums again - though completely taken aback at Ewan's appearance. His once-tousled fur was brushed and combed neatly. He wore a smart new blue collar (Fizzy wore a similar one, though it was red). He walked sensibly, without dashing about and careering into things. We ALMOST had a sensible conversation. Well - almost.
"Jasper!" he yipped, as he and Fizzy capered around me.
"Ewan and Fizzy!" I cried back and we all ran in mad, happy circles.
"I missed you." said Ewan, panting. "I've got something to show you. Shall I, Fizzy? Shall I?"
Fizzy nudged him forward and sat down beside him, grinning proudly.
"Watch this Jasper!"
I wondered what was coming. But I have to admit, it surprised even me. Fizzy opened her mouth and barked:
"Rabbit. Squirrel. Fish. Which one?"
"Fish!" yapped Ewan, as I struggled to comprehend what was happening.
"Why?" asked Fizzy.
"Because he lives in the water and the others live on the ground!" barked an obviously beside-himself-with-excitement Ewan. I raised an eyebrow.
"Impressive." I said.
"Fizzy has been learning me! Another one! Another one!" yipped Ewan, jumping up and down.
"Teaching you, Ewan. I have been teaching you." said Fizzy gently. "Alright then. Sparrow. Robin. Frog. Which one?"
"I know!" squealed Ewan, "Frog. Because the others are flying and he isn't."
"Well done." said Fizzy, positively beaming with pride at her "pupil". She had obviously been working hard.
"That is really impressive." I added. "How about this: Squirrel. Fox. Monkey. Which one?"
Ewan looked stricken, and Fizzy hurriedly muttered:
"He only knows British animals - we tried to do zoo animals, but it was too much too soon."
"Ah. Hey, Ewan! How about a game of football?"
"Yaaaaayyyyy!" barked Ewan joyfully, capering around the yard. The three of us had a fine game, which only ended when Ewan became distressed because he couldn't find where he'd put his football. Here is the proof:
Ewan loses his football.
The best picture of the three of us together that my partner could get:
And no mention of cheese whatsoever. I was extremely impressed - although I allowed myself a private smile, pleased to learn that, somewhere under Fizzy's teaching, grooming and vigilance, the old Ewan that we know and love was thriving.
So, then, I turn to the inexpressible low. An exceptionally disrespectful cartoon, left by an anonymous colleague of my partner's, on a workplace noticeboard. It nominally depicts both myself and a colleague of my partner's called Peter, in a most unflattering way. I intended to share it with you - but inadvertently deleted the image of the travesty. No bad thing. You - dear reader - do NOT need to see me depicted as a flatulent, obese hell-hound with hugely deformed claws, fangs and horns. You are too pure. Suffice it to say that the culprit of this gross mischief was identified and swiftly "disinfected". Oh yes.