What have I done? What HAVE I DONE?
I'll tell you what I've done. I've made a great big, feathery, bruised and bloodied stick with which to beat myself, that's what I've done.
In the first instance, I must report that the baby Buzzard died the morning after it was brought to us. It passed its final night in our warm airing cupboard, so a better way to go, I suppose, than at the jaws of one of the local cats. The little thing was just too young to be away from its mother - plus it had sustained unpleasant injuries from the magpie that we ascertained had attacked its nest. I was sorry for its death, though unable to deeply mourn a Buzzard. If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you will know why. The trouble is that, since the infant raptor expired in our airing cupboard, I'm sure I can still heard it scrattin' and shuffling around in there. My partner doesn't believe me - but I swear on my favourite whiskers that (especially in the dead of night) the ghostly scrattin' starts... I even made my partner get out of bed one night, to open the cupboard door and check for me. There was definite scrattin' going on - but the cupboard was empty - save for its usual contents. I begin to grow reluctant to walk up the stairs past the cupboard door by myself...
Being no stranger to supernatural acts, having lived with my New Teal Megane and its psychotic, devil-possessed windows, for over a year now, I thought I was becoming hardened to such things - but this paranormal scrattin', twittering and shuffling begins to grow too much for my pure young mind.
At least poor Starsky rests in peace. I miss him terribly. Whenever I see his partner, I race to the fence to bark to him - and then remember that he's no longer there. However, I have it on good authority that I may soon have another new neighbour. Starsky's partner has been visiting another West Highland Terrier at a Rescue Shelter not too far from here, but I'm not sure when he is coming to live here.
I must bark that I was sincerely impressed with new friend Keetha Denise's ability to diagnose the unfortunate Starsky's brain tumour before my words confirmed it. Angie said that KD is really good at Biology-type stuff and she wasn't wrong. My partner remarked to me that Biology was one of her favourite subjects whilst at school. She laments that she did not pay more attention to the teacher at the time; instead of listening and learning, my young partner elected instead to amuse her friends by turning to the section on "sexual reproduction" and drawing little faces on the sperms in the pictures. (I cannot judge her, I would probably have done the same. Yet another example of why my partner and I were formed for life together. Indeed, had I been blessed with opposable thumbs, I don't doubt that I would still be drawing faces on sperms in pictures even today.).
I see that I have digressed from the point of my original lament. Allow me to return to my tale of woe. Some two days after the Buzzard had been brought to us, at around 10.00am ('twas a Saturday), my partner and I were readying ourselves to go out for the day when there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find two young boys from across the road, cradling something wrapped in a fleece jacket.
"Please help!" asked one of the boys, "It's dying!"
My partner, naturally, asked them what they had and they carefully unwrapped the jacket to reveal in its folds a rather harassed-looking female (adult) blackbird. "It's wing is broken and it was just sitting on the ground, not going anywhere."
The other boy piped up.
"That horrible black cat from along the road was just about to get it, so we saved the bird from it!"
"Well done boys, that was very good of you." said my partner, as I muttered "Bl**dy Peaches." under my breath. My partner gently lifted the unprotesting bird and stretched out its wing with the utmost care.
"Well, its wing isn't broken." She said, continuing to examine the bird.
"It's got some blood coming out of its beak." said one of the boys. That was true, but - aside from that - the bird had no other injury.
"OK, I think this bird is going to be just fine." pronounced my partner. "I'll tell you what I think has happened. I think she's flown into a window and is just a bit stunned. I think she just needs a quiet sit-down and then she'll be alright again."
"What about the cat, though?" asked one of the boys, who were both clearly concerned for its fate.
"If you leave the bird with me," said my partner, "I'll keep her safe until she's better and can fly away." The boys were very grateful and, after asking if they could check about the bird later, they scampered off. Abandoning our plans for the morning, my partner was true to her words. She gently carried the bird through the house and carefully placed it on our patio, near the wall of the house. She then leaned a square panel of wood over the bird's resting place, so that it was sheltered from view and could fly away as soon as it was ready. I needed no prompting to stand guard at an appropriate distance, lest Peaches be tempted to once again try for a lazy kill. He didn't, which was just as well for him. Sure enough, after about half an hour, the bird hopped out from its temporary shelter and flew happily away.
But that's not the end of the business - not by a long whisker. Some ten to fifteen minutes after the blackbird had been brought to us, there was another knock on the door.
Yes. ANOTHER feathered casualty, for the attentions of Doctor Jasper and Nurse Partner. It was the same two boys - this time accompanied by a very dead pigeon. Dead enough to be beyond even my powers.
"How did this bird die?" asked on of the boys. Squirming slightly, and doing her best to hide her revulsion (I remained stationed at my guard post, but watched all this transpiring whilst keeping one eye on my feathered charge), my partner took the bird and examined it.
"I think it was hit by a car." replied my partner. "These wounds were from the car's impact and the wound on its back is from where it fell on the road. Perhaps we should bury it before your little sister sees it." Leaving me in charge of the blackbird and the house, my partner accompanied the two boys and the ex-pigeon to the hedge, where they found a suitable place to lay it to rest. After advising the two little boys that they must go and wash their hands, she returned to me.
"Honestly, Jazz." she sighed, "I'm starting to feel like Rolf-bl**dy-Harris." (Mr. Harris is a much-loved artist and TV presenter, who for many years hosted a phenomenally-successful programme called Animal Hospital, covering the day-to-day goings-on at a vets' clinic). I barely had time to agree, when there was another knock at our door. Yes - the same two little imps stood at our doorstep.
"Are we annoying you?" one of them asked, as they both giggled. My partner couldn't help laughing with them.
"No," she replied, "But another half an hour and I might have to get Jasper to do some nipping around here..."
"Can we give Jasper a cuddle?"
I am not a man to turn down a cuddle, so I trotted to join my partner at the door and submitted to the attentions of the young boys. Fortunately for my partner's sanity, one of the boy's older brothers clocked-on to what was happening and came across to rescue her from the well-meaning young lads. She silently expressed her gratitude and we were left in peace. But for how long? How long...?
My partner has advised me that it may not be entirely prudent to discuss her late marriage proposal (which she hesitated not to decline). Among the tempting array of offers put forth by her dashing young suitor, to induce her acceptance of his hand, was his assurance that she would be "allowed to continue driving her car" and would be "allowed out of the house once a week, to drive him to the mosque". As enticing as these delights sounded, my partner had one other thing to consider: where would her beloved Jasper fit into this dazzling new matrimonial future? Dogs, came the reply, were dirty animals - not fit to be kept in the house. I would therefore have to be "executed" if the illustrious marriage was to take place. It was thus with a heavy heart that my partner felt she had to decline the gentleman's most generous offer.
It was mention of the word 'mosque' (by itself no threat whatsoever - most Muslims of my acquaintance being delightful people) alongside some rather unsettling opinions concerning other nationalities that first prompted my alarm. I was quick to stamp my veto on the nuptials, which only served to prejudice further my prospective partner-in-law against the canine race. I'm not entirely certain - but I believe I may be allergic to fundamentalist nutters; this blog is no place for such topics, so I will remain silent on this subject forevermore, save to bark that my partner respectfully declined the offer of a future as this gentleman's "mosquito" and invited him to never contact her ever again.
What a fortnight... all of this stress caused me to overlook my blogging anniversary! Silly me.
The first ever entry of this blog was committed to internet destiny on Sunday, 13 August 2006. Four years. To those of you who have been with me since that first day - I thank you for your support. To friends who have sniffed out my trail and joined me along the way - I thank you also. I love and cherish you, dear reader, and am hopeful that we may share many more adventures and find more friends along the way... Four years. Blimey. Don't they seem to have gone by in the twitch of a whisker...?!
I exhaust myself, and will sign off for this evening. I have not been sleeping too well of late and so I - augh! What was that?! That was DEFINITELY a sound! "Scfft, scfft, scfft..." it went... It's the scrattin' THE SCRATTIN'.... It's in the cupboard....!!!
Good night. Sleep sound - because I will not.