Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wednesday 29 September 2010

My canine chums Ewan and Fizzy were back in the office the day after my encounter with the electric fence.  I described my experience, while they listened politely.

Fizzy, who had never before encountered an electric fence, professed a great desire to see one.  It was decided that, at lunchtime, I would escort her down the bridleway to take a look.  Ewan jumped about excitedly at the prospect of this adventure.  I asked him if he'd ever seen an electric fence before.
"Oh, yes!" he yipped, happily.  "I've seen loads and loads and loads!"
I nodded, doubtfully.
"I like a boiled egg for my breakfast!"

Fizzy and I exchanged a baffled glance.
"Ewan, eggs come from chickens." I said.
"Oh, right. Yes. Brilliant. Chickens."
"They don't come from electric fences." added Fizzy.
"What don't?"
"Eggs!" I barked, irritably.
"I know."  said Ewan, shaking his head solemnly at me.  "Eggs come from chickens."
"So where does the electric fence come into it?" enquired Fizzy.
"What's an electric fence?  I've never seen one of those before!  Is there one near here?!  Can we see it?"

I walked away - it was all I could think of to keep me from giving Ewan a smack.  Fizzy resorted to her tried and trusted method of telling the marshmallow-headed Ewan that he was tired and needed to be asleep.

A few hours later, at the appointed time, Fizzy and I walked side-by-side down the bridleway with Ewan capering around us.  We arrived at the badger-sett, to find that the badgers had been busy laying out all their bedding, to give it a good airing.  Ewan was fascinated and sniffed over every inch of hay, sheep-wool and other associated matter.  We were almost in danger of running out of time and facing the prospect of having to return to our office without getting as far as the electric fence.  In the end, I decided it was best to chivvy the inquisitive Ewan along.  Not because I was desperate to reach the fence, but because I could see the cogs turning in Ewan's limited reasoning - both Fizzy and I were too broad-shouldered to be tempted into an invasion of the large sett, but Ewan was gangly (and daft) enough to hazard a more detailed exploration.  Generally, I don't tangle with badgers (if you've never seen one for real, you'd probably understand why.  They're a lot bigger than you think) - and I had no desire whatsoever to have to explain to an angry head-boar of a principal sett why one of his access tunnels was plugged with a grinning idiot, who was irritating the sows and cubs with ceaseless cheese-talk.  Fizzy lent an eager paw and we managed to move Ewan along.

I quickly found myself at the fox-path entrance to the field once again.  I pointed out the electric fence to Fizzy, who observed it with great interest.  We looked at each other - and then at Ewan.  Fizzy read my thoughts in my eyes and flashed me a surreptitious, conspiratorial grin...
*******
A moment's digression, if you'll indulge me.  I was intending to post this in any case, but I note that my friend Lance has forestalled me in his comment on my previous blog-posting.  In addition, I am aware that some readers may suspect me of cruelty towards pea-brained chum, Ewan.  I can almost hear keyboards being sharpened now, in order to chide me for my actions.  But I appeal to you now:  please be completely assured that I am fond of Ewan, for all his shortcomings, and if I thought that there was even the remotest risk of him being seriously hurt or distressed, I would never have attempted such a prank.  I enjoy a harmless prank or practical jape - but I will never, ever, allow such jests to escalate into bullying or malice.  I ask you to keep this in mind, and judge me not with harshness.  I thank you.


*******
I pointed out the electric fence to pretty Fizzy.  She studied it intently, registering in her mind the regular clicks and hums of the current through the strands of wires, subtly nodding as she comprehended the premise of an electric fence and its purposes.
"Hey!  Ewan!" barked Fizzy, after a few minutes.  (See?  She started it, anyway).  Ewan bounded up to us, tail wagging wildly, abandoning his investigation of the badger-sett.
"What?!" he yipped.
"Look at those fence strands, in the field there." continued the diminutive black Labrador bitch.  "What d'you think they're for?"
"Ooooo..." replied Ewan, staring intently at them.
"Yeah, Ewan," I added.  "They're a bit mad, aren't they?  They're a fence - within a fence!"
The good, simple-minded, Ewan puffed out his chest.
"Stand aside Fizzy, Jasper!"  he barked, loudly.  "Don't you fret.  I will investigate!!!"


Fizzy and I winked at each other as Ewan squeezed himself through the fox-gap in the outer fence, into the field.  He lowered himself to slither under the lowest strand of electrified fence and stood in the inner-section, his vast, bushy tail resting against the inner-fence strands.

I swallowed a mild tinge of guilt as Fizzy and I waited for the inevitable...

It came.  But NOT, in any way in the manner we'd anticipated.

---Fzzzzstht!---


Ewan squeaked and his body stiffened as the current entered his body via his tail and passed through his body.  He stood bolt upright, raised his snout, and in a loud, clear voice, barked:


"Occam's Razor states clearly 'Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate', from which we may conclude that the simplest, most straightforward explanation for an event or observed phenomenon which appeals to the fewest variations or unexplained theories and/or miracles is considered to be the most-likely solution."

Fizzy and I stared, barkless, at each other whilst Ewan coughed, spluttered and caught his breath.  He wagged his tail and grinned broadly, but did not move away from the inner-fence.  As he turned and beamed stupidly at us both, the current moved again.

---Fzzzzstht!---

Once more, Ewan's body twitched instinctively.  Once more he stood upright and firm.  His voice sounded clearly for a second time:


"Einstein's Theory of Relativity has not yet become an everyday application in this lifetime. Relativity predicts concepts that are not tangible with current technology.  In time, perhaps, such concepts will become as commonplace as Newton's apple-generated conclusions."


As the electric charge left Ewan's body he stumbled a little, but continued wildly wagging his tail.  Fizzy and I, however, were altogether more effectively stunned.  In fact, Fizzy was so shocked that she had to suddenly sit down.  I could not think of a single sound to bark and merely gaped, open-mawed, at my friend Ewan.  Before either Fizzy or I could react:


---Fzzzzstht!---

Another little squeal, a quick glance back at us and then, as clear as before:


"In any given capitalist environment the disenfranchised proletariat will revolt against the repression of the bourgeoisie and, after a brief period of socialist rule, emerge in a classless society governed by the community corporation."


I was the first to move.
"Fizzy," I barked, ashamedly. "We have to stop this.  It's bordering on the cruel."  Wordlessly, Fizzy nodded, and we summoned Ewan back to the bridleway.  He trotted back to us without complaint, coughing and wheezing very slightly.
"What just happened?!" he muttered, dazedly, still wagging his tail.
I wasn't quite sure what to reply.  Fizzy was noticeably avoiding my eye as she trotted back towards the office behind us.


"Sorry, Ewan." I replied, sheepishly.  "I don't think that fence was normal.  I really am sorry."
"That's ok, Jazz!" yipped Ewan, giving me a good-natured lick - which I felt I did not deserve.  "To be honest, it did smell a bit funny.  Between ourselves," he continued, leaning towards me and whispering conspiratorially, "I think electric fences are a bit boring.  I don't know why Fizzy was so interested in seeing one.  Don't say anything, though.  I don't want to disappoint her."
"Ok, Ewan." I replied, grinning at my good-natured friend.  "Our little secret, eh?!"  My chum nodded and winked at me.


I felt more relieved that I suspect I deserved to be.  Fizzy continued to trail behind us.  After about five minutes, when we had almost gained the work-yard once more, Ewan turned to me again.
"Jasper?" he asked.
"Yes, Ewan?"
"Badgers."
"What about them?"
"Would you say they are more of a vegetable - or a mineral?"


I grinned, almost as widely as Ewan often does, with a vibrant wag of my tail.  The dear, affectionate, unrepentantly-idiotic Ewan that we ALL know and love was back!


"Ewan,"  I sighed happily, in reply, "I think they are a bit of both..."


Ewan nodded confidently, and we returned to the office - having shared a uniquely bizarre experience.  An experience, however, that has helped me to better understand that I love and cherish simple Ewan just the way he is...


Good night.
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