Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Only a minimal dusting of snow today.  I am annoyed (for I do enjoy snow-based frolics).  I thought one always got rewarded for being a good boy.  Instead I find only torment - not only from the weather outside; but also from the weather within.

The weekend was most agreeable, for the majority.  Something of a small lie-in on the Sunday (neither of us slept well on Saturday night.  The cold kept my partner alert, whilst I was deprived of slumber by the lively activities of my over-wrought bladder), followed by a gentle morning and most acceptable breakfast.  A delicious roast-chicken dinner, followed by a pleasant walk (blighted only when I failed to heed my partner's advice and took a swim in the icy river.  Hmmm.  I won't be doing that again in a hurry...  My "Little Jasper" has yet to forgive me.) and then a little shopping (£4.50 for a garden broom - can't argue wit' dem apples!).

On arrival back at Chateau Jaspère early in the afternoon, I assisted my partner in a little light gardening.  We used our new broom and other devices to tidy the garden; replanted into a border the impressive Antirrhinum which sprang up in the centre of my estate; and planted ALL of our spring-flowering bulbs (which I dutifully promised not to unearth during any potential future fit of pique).  I may, however, have no option but to reconsider this last statement.  I have been grossly humiliated.  Grossly.

My partner changed our bedding last evening.  A new bedroom set was given to my partner and I as a joint birthday gift from the normally-reliable Dolores (partner's human best friend).  As the last bedroom set was prepared for the washing-machine, this new set was unsheathed from its shiny wrapping as I watched with interest.

Interest rapidly turned to disgust as I saw the abomination being applied to my large, luxurious, berth.

"I am NOT sleeping in that!" I barked, angrily.
"What's wrong with it?!" queried my partner.  "I love it - I think it's gorgeous."
"It's PINK!" I spluttered.
"The bed sheet is." replied my partner, frowning at me, as she unwrapped the duvet-cover and pillow-cast set.  With a mounting sense of humiliation, I found it difficult to wrest my gaze from the roses and general floral design of the duvet-cover.  I felt positively nauseous.
"I REFUSE to sleep in that!" I snarled.
"Jasper - no-one will know unless you tell them.  Your friends can't see you when you are asleep!"
"If the curtains were open they could see THAT bed-sheet on Mars."  I grumbled.
"Fine, then.  Fine." declared my partner crossly.  "Be like that.  You can sleep on the floor if you feel that strongly about it.  Personally, I think it's gorgeous and very pretty.  No-one's saying you have to sleep in the bed.  You're quite welcome to the floor."
"Right, then.  I shall sleep on the floor if you're going to take that tone."
"Fine then."
"Yes.  Fine."

When my partner got into her nice clean bed set, I lay defiantly on the floor beside the bed, glaring at her and wishing all manner of nightmares upon her sleeping subconscious.  My stare burned into her, so she turned her back on me and faced the wall, wrapped in her new-covered duvet.

I lasted about six minutes.  It may have been as many as seven, but certainly no more, when I felt the draught - so welcome during the summer yet chillingly icy in winter.  It seemed to get right into my bones.  There was only one solution (much though it grieved me to admit it).


Good night.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thursday 25 November 2010

Monday 22nd November.  For goodness' sake.  That was the day on which the first Christmas lights appeared on the outside of one of the houses that neighbour mine.  22nd November!  That is a full week earlier than last year (although not the same household).  I am disgusted.

Please do not misunderstand me - I love Christmas, the trees, the scents, the decorations (the tasteful ones, at any rate), the carols, the food (inevitably) and - yes - the lovely lights.  But I love all of these things at Christmas.  NOT half-way through November.  Grrrowl...

I did actually growl at one of the twinkling plastic icicles, but it served no purpose.  The wretched illuminations continued to shine, oblivious to my disdain.

I mentioned the arrival of this year's lights to Ewan and Fizzy at work the next day.  Almost as an afterthought (and don't ask me why I decided to pursue this line of enquiry - I ought to have known better from the outset), I thought I'd better make sure that the pea-brained, cheese-obsessed, but ultimately adorable canine Ewan understood what "Christmas" was.  He is almost eight-years-old, but one can never tell with Ewan...
Ewan chuckled affably when I asked him if he knew what Christmas was all about.
"Oh, Jazz, you duffer!" he grinned.  "Of course I know!  Christmas is when we celebrate the arrival in this world of the innocent, simple, saviour of our hearts and souls."
I was most impressed.
"Blimey, Ewan." I exclaimed. "Well done you!"  Ewan nodded and grinned proudly, before he added:

"The baby cheeses."

"The baby cheeses." repeated Ewan, innocently.  At that, Fizzy got up quietly and trotted over to the wood skip in the yard where, as soon as she disappeared from view, I heard her dissolve into hysterical laughter.  Totally oblivious to this, Ewan continued.  "The baby cheeses came into a humble stable to bring purity and cheesy-goodness to all living things."
"Ewan - no.  The Baby Jesus, Ewan, it's The Baby Jesus."
"The baby cheesus?"
"No - Ewan - no -" I began, before deciding that it really wasn't worth the effort.  After all, he seemed to be almost half-way there...
"But yes." persisted Ewan earnestly.  "The baby cheesus came from God to make everything better."
"Well," I began, "I concede that one might associate God with cheese-making - in that (if you are a follower of the Christian faith you believe that) he provided humans with the means and the materials necessary for MAKING cheese.  But I'm not sure what his more direct involvement was - say, in the way that the cheese-producing Oke Valley Creamery, in Devon, is..."
"What do you mean, Jazz?"
"Well, I'm not sure that God Himself is an accredited cheese-maker.  And, whilst Jesus of Galilee, no doubt, enjoyed eating cheese (primarily from the milk of sheep and goats, one suspects) he was in fact a man of mortal flesh and blood, as opposed to an actual cheese."

There was the merest moment of silence.

"So why was he called the baby cheesus, then?"

"Well... - He wasn't.  He - oh, never mind.  Just trust me on this one, Ewan.  And be careful with whom you share this theory.  Not everyone will take kindly your comparison of the Son of God with an unripe cheese."
Ewan looked somewhat deflated.
"But..." he whimpered, "I wanted to get leaflets printed and everything.  Mummy is going to go round where we live putting little books about the true story of Christmas through peoples' letterboxes.  She got them from church.  They've got pictures in and everything."  He began to get quite agitated.  "I MUST help to spread the word about the baby cheesus!"
"Ewan - you concentrate on spreading actual cheese, just for you.  And let the Word shift for itself, OK?"
My permanently-baffled friend looked rather crestfallen.  However, true to his nature, he soon perked up.
"I like spreadie cheese!" he announced loudly.  "I like it when I spread it on my biscuits!"
"Jolly good." I smiled.  Ewan giggled conspiratorially.
"And Fizzy always likes it when I spread it on my -"

"YES! -  Thank you, Ewan!" I interjected, hurriedly, as Fizzy instantly appeared from behind the wood skip with a stricken and mortified look upon her pretty face.  "I believe that is a nugget of information which I can do without."

I will admit to feeling somewhat ashamed as Ewan trailed off, guiltily, "- breakfast biscuit for her to eat.... what?!"
"Never mind, Ewan, never mind.  You worship at the altar of the cheeses.  As long as you're happy."

"Oh, I AM, Jazzy, I AM!"  beamed Ewan, wagging his mad, over-sized, fluffy tail.  "How can I ever be sad when I have, not just the baby cheesus to love but, as well, my mummy, my daddy, my pretty lady Fizzy and my bestest-ever friend in the whole of the world, who is Jasper?!"

How could anyone NOT love Ewan?

"Ewan." I replied. "You are like no other dog I've ever met.  Don't you ever stop being you."

As Ewan beamed his silly smile wider than ever, I realised that I had learned not just to tolerate him.  Oh no.  I had learned to love him.

True, he had the brain of a cold, overcooked, sprout on Boxing Day.  But that just made him all the more loveable.

Baby cheesus, indeed.  For goodness' sake...

Good Night.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sunday 21 November 2010

I feel you will be proud of my efforts this evening, dear reader.  For I have been in the kitchen, assisting my partner.  Together, we have been making bird-seed 'cakes' for the many feathered visitors which I am pleased to welcome to my garden.  I like to provide sustenance to those less-fortunate than myself during the harsh winter months, and I enjoy watching the activities of birds through the French Windows on a cold weekend afternoon.  The fact that they also act as bait for rashly-inclined local cats is merely an unlooked-for bonus.

I don't believe I will see my squirrel friend from last year.  He stopped calling around some months ago.  One of my spies informs me that my tree-dwelling chum found himself an amiable wife at the end of the spring and, together, they moved to the edge of a field at the other end of the lane (just beyond the ford, which serves as my personal bathing-pool).  There is a small grove of young beech trees and two hazel hedges there, and no houses (ergo no cats) - an ideal location for a young couple to set-up a drey and raise their family.  I felt a stab of pride in having played my part in the saving of this young squirrel's life - and I still smile when I think of the assault he launched on the cruel cat Peaches.

In any event, more birds seem to be around this year than previously.  I don't like to see the poor fellows going beakless and hungry.  My partner bought a second-hand library book earlier this year (we have done an incredible amount of reading since we parted company with the television back in March 2009) - The Patio Garden Month by Month for a mere £2.  It's rather helpful for my partner, though not for me - if you are a regular reader of my barkings then you will be well acquainted with my views on gardens and domestic horticulture.  As well as larger garden designs, suggestions, and monthly tips, the book also offers little projects which one may undertake for the benefit of one's garden and its wildlife.  The mini-project for December is a recipe for the afore-mentioned bird-seed cakes.  Despite it being only November, my partner and I thought we'd have a go.  I believe we have achieved some measure of success - despite the fact that I let my partner do the stirring of the mixture.

We amended the recipe to better suit our budget and have accomplished the production of seven acceptably-sized cakes.  Here's how we did it.  We used:
  • Some empty yoghurt pots.  Any will do, but we found the best size and shape to be a Muller Light individual pot (Any flavour for me, black cherry or mandarin for my partner.  I won't hear a bad word barked about yoghurt).  You could also use any old plastic tub or even half an empty coconut shell.
  • Two normal-sized pats of lard or dripping (you could also use suet).
  • A bag of wild bird seed from the Pound Shop, one of those red-bag thingies with peanuts in (79p from Mr. Sainsbury's emporium), a small packet of sunflower seeds and the crushed-up remnants of a box of dog biscuits I decided I didn't like any more.  With hindsight, we'd either have used a bit more lard or a bit less seed-mix, but our results were quite acceptable for a first attempt - and I very much doubt that the birds will complain if our first batch of cakes should chance to break apart when subject to peckage.
And here's what we did:
  • In a large pan, we melted the lard down to liquid - keep the temperature low though, you don't want that stuff bubbling up and spitting burning goo onto your face and whiskers.
  • We added the nuts, seeds, etc. (we could have put in a few currants as well, actually.  Maybe next time.) and mixed the whole stuff together.
  • When mixed, we transferred the mix to the individual yoghurt pots, ensuring an even mix of seed/lard each, and pat down firmly.
  • Leave the pots to cool completely and solidify.
  • When cold, either place or hang the pot as it is - or turn the cake out of its mould and place or hang it with string as desired for the birdies to feast upon.
I certainly think my partner should have used a greater ratio of lard to seed.  On balance, perhaps I should not have been quite so forward in offering up my old biscuits.  Ah well.  'Tis done, however - and done for the best.  Here is a link to an easier description of how to make a bird-seed cake (my partner cannot use this method - I shall tell you why in a moment):

RSPB - How to make a bird seed cake

This method was unsuitable for my partner because she has a life-threatening nut allergy.  We therefore prepared our mixture in an old wok, which will no longer be used to prepare food (I knew we'd saved it for a reason), with similarly-redundant utensils).

It is a good feeling - to be able to spend time doing good deeds in order to assist one's feathered brethren.

I entreat you to keep that - and my many other charitable works - in mind as you read the following:


Once I had taken my first, faltering steps on the way of wickedness, I had neither the will nor the inclination to turn back.  The bin-emptying was just the beginning of it.

I created a new, fresh, mess every day and even began to take a certain pride in my work.  Each evening, the young lady would clear up the strewn-about rubbish whilst telling me, in no uncertain terms, what she thought of me.  Inevitably, her parents became involved and a solution proposed.  The very next day I trotted into the kitchen to find the bin placed high on a worktop surface, next to the sink.  Muttering a curse, I determined that I would not be thwarted this easily.  I sniffed about, trying to settle upon a fresh channel of cheekiness.

I was toying with the idea of pulling down the curtain, although lamenting that this would not also furnish me with something to eat, when my nostrils alighted on a tempting aroma issuing from the main kitchen worktop.  I was very agile in those days and, using the handle on the oven-door as a half-way leverage point, managed to half jump, half climb onto the worktop.  A delicious pat of butter stood there on its little dish.  Wasting no more time, I stole it, retreating to my beanbag to savour my prize.  That evening, I pretended to be asleep as I enjoyed the sounds of confusion and bewilderment as to the whereabouts of the butter pat.  Suspicious eyes fell upon me, but I maintained an expression of the purest innocence.  The mysterious butter disappearances continued without explanation for several days until, one day, I clambered up to my lofty perch and found that the butter-pat was surrounded by large empty glass bottles.  I laughed disdainfully at the humans' pitiful efforts to thwart the thief.  'Is this really the best they can do?' I wondered to myself as I delicately moved one of the bottles aside, taking the utmost care not to upset it.  Similarly careful nudging of the adjacent bottle created a space large enough to enable me to slide out the buttery booty.  I initially planned on simply jumping down to hasten away with my prize but, on reflection, I decided that it would be far more effective if I repositioned the bottles to their original stations surrounding the butter dish.  The sounds of utter astonishment and surprise which met my ears when the humans discovered the bottle circle intact but the butter missing convinced me that I had done he right thing and, throughout the evening, I found concealment of laughter well-nigh impossible.

Unfortunately, the following day, my butter adventures came to - quite literally - a sticky end.  Shortly after consumption of my latest plunder, most unpleasant sensations began to develop deep within my belly.  Unable to restrain the feelings, the entire pound of butter, now liquefied, gushed forth onto the carpet.  It went everywhere.  Happily, though, I felt much better after the outpouring.  I resolved to have a little recovery nap and then clean up the mess.  Alas!  The young girl returned from work early, emitting a loud shriek as she saw the state of the living room carpet. I leapt up at the sound, tripping over my beanbag in the process, which revealed the collection of butter-wrappers I'd been concealing within it.

Trembling with rage, the girl just glared at me and finally muttered darkly "Get out."  I had to sit in the garden whilst she cleaned up the mess and then told her parents what I had done upon their return.  I was in deep disgrace.

The following morning, a guard-rail was installed between the kitchen and living-room door - preventing all but closely-supervised access for me to the kitchen.

Kicking the wretched guard with a hind-paw as I turned from it, I knew it was time to step up the pressure.  No more b*gg*ring-about with bins and dairy-products.  It was time to get tough.

Next time in "The Evolution of Jasper"- books, parcel tape, wool and the moment when the line of acceptability was finally crossed.  Yes.  It gets worse.

Good night.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sunday 14 November 2010

To the vets' for my annual health check-up and booster vaccinations this week.  Despite my usual aversion to the surgery, it made a rather pleasant little jaunt for me on an otherwise inclement evening.

I was checked-over with more thoroughness than on former occasions, due to my increasing vintage.  With a smile on the face of my surgeon, I was pronounced to be in excellent health and had suffered no diminishment of my faculties.  My delighted partner found an extra supper-chew to mark this happy achievement, which I hesitated not to snaffle up with great enjoyment.

A mere day or two later, however, and I began to wonder if perhaps there was not something to be barked for the occasional touch of blindness or hearing-loss.  I was taking my exercise with my partner, when I espied two ladies in the far-distance walking towards us.  I was just selecting the most appropriate one from my catalogue of winning smiles, when I noticed that the ladies were accompanied by two black/brown shapes, which were growing ever-larger and clearer as they neared me.
'Oh, bl**dy hell...' I muttered to myself, trying to find an escape-route in the thick scrub alongside the path - but it was too late.  The blobs formed themselves into Eddie and Angus, the Rottweilers.  And they'd clocked me.

They trotted up, both hailing me brightly in unison, as they approached.
"Here he is!" wuffed Angus.
"Jasper, my dear boy!" barked Eddie.
"Ooo - er -- hello, um, lads..." I replied, doubtfully, wondering why they weren't still at each other's throats, following the vicious fight described in my previous Blog entry.  I blinked hard, thinking that I might have been imagining things - but no.  Here they stood before me, side by side, large tails enthusiastically on the wag.  "I thought you chaps weren't barking to each other?"
"Whatever do you mean, old boy?" asked Eddie good-naturedly.

I began to wonder if they were deliberately winding me up.  After all, both Angus and Eddie had used words and expressed sentiments against each other in their late disagreement which I would not have considered using against any other dog - even in jest.  But both Rottweilers were looking at me earnestly, without any hint of sarcasm or mockery in their eyes.

"Erm... the croissant thing the other day...?" I mumbled, and the dogs instantly comprehended.  Angus laughed.
"Ah, that!" he chuckled.  "A mere trifle.  Heh-heh - we're always having our little spats!"
"Don't laugh at him, dear." chided Eddie.  "Jasper isn't used to our odd little ways."  He turned and addressed me.  "Please accept our sincere apologies if you were troubled by our little debate.  You mustn't mind our nonsense."  I mustered a watery smile before they bade their farewells and trotted off in pursuit of their human partners.  As I watched them go, I grinned and shook my head.

Somehow, whenever I encounter Angus and Eddie together, I am always put in mind of those marvellous  doyennes of English television's glory-days, Dr. Evadne Hinge and Dame Hilda Bracket...

(The Dear Ladies)

"Evolution" Part Thirty-One next time!

Good night.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Tuesday 9 November 2010

I had intended to have a whiskery rant about the surfeit of fireworks, which disturbed my peace this past weekend.  However, fireworks of a somewhat different nature have forestalled me...

I was assisting my partner as she did some weeding in our garden on Sunday morning.  The sun was shining, no cats were in evidence - I was almost beginning to enjoy myself.  Across the way, I saw that parked outside my friend Eddie the Rottweiler's house was the car belonging to Angus and his partner.  Angus was also a Rottweiler and Eddie's long-term gentleman 'companion'.  Occasionally, the strains of affable chat wafted across to my ears from the direction of Eddie's high-fenced back garden, so they were enjoying their Sunday morning.

All of a sudden, just as my partner was battling with a particularly stubborn dandelion plant, the peace of the morning was shattered by an outraged snarl and volley of Rottweiler barks.

"You fat b*tch!" - that was Angus.
"What did you call me?!" snarled Edward.
"You heard me."
"Say it again! I dare you!  Say it again!"
"You FAT B*TCH!"
"You spiteful old sow!  If I had to sit in a hot room with you or a bucket of sick, I'd choose the bucket any day!"
"Finally, you get the company you're fit for!"
Eddie howled in fury and there followed the sounds of an agressive fight.  Female human screams and shouts were heard and, a few seconds later, the front door flew open and Angus was dragged unceremoniously out, hauled along the front path and shoved into his car by his partner.  Edward stood triumphantly in the doorway.
"Aye - go on!  Sling yer bl**dy hook, you tubby little titwitch.  And that's the last croissant you share with me, you vicious old queen!  Ah - Jasper! Come here, my dear boy.  Can I tempt you to a croissant?"

Oh poo.  As soon as I saw the two dogs emerge from the house, I had tried to slink away unnoticed - fully aware that I would be drawn into this undignified spectacle by either one of the participants.  It didn't escape me that a couple of cats had appeared and were hiding behind a bush, laughing.

Rolling my eyes heavenwards, I sighed and trudged over to Eddie's front garden.  Angus was still shouting, swearing and spitting out some of the foullest insults I'd heard in a long while.  The car windows misted up with the heat of Angus's rage and his breath.
"Alright, Ed?" I muttered, feeling quite relieved that the car doors were shut firmly on the livid Angus.
"Jasper darling, would you be a poppet, and tell that creature that I am no longer speaking to him?"
I shook my head in resignation.
"Angus, Ed says he's not talking to you." 
Angus's reply was largely muffled by the car windows and upholstery, but I managed to catch something addressed to Eddie about "not turning dearest, darling Jasper into your lickspittle..."
I raised an eyebrow.  There are many and varied roles I am prepared to fulfil in life - but a position as someone's "lickspittle" is not one of them.

"Oh, dry up, you malevolent old trout!" hissed Edward.  He continued.  "I would never inveigle dearest, darling Jasp - urkk!"  Eddie's collar was grasped firmly by his partner and he was pulled back into his house, the door being firmly closed upon him.  The last sounds I heard were Eddie at the receiving end of a lengthy telling-off from his partner.  I took the opportunity to bolt back to the safe haven of my own garden, kicking the gate closed behind me.  I found my own sweet partner digging out the roots of her persistently-rebellious dandelion.

"Blimey, J!" she exclaimed. "What was all that about?!"
"A French breakfast pastry, apparently."  I replied, casting a last glance Eddie's front-door and at the car which held the now-quiet Angus.  "Bl**dy hell."

As I trotted to my water-bowl for some refreshment, and my partner finally met with success in her struggle against the dandelion, I took the opportunity to reflect.  Much as I am loathe to take issue with one such as Kipling, I believe that when he wrote his oft-quoted line concerning the female of the species, Angus and Eddie cannot have been at the forefront of his mind...


Having established, despite my efforts at deception, that I was as well-trained in the usual disciplines as I was in matters lavatorial, my only reward was a permanent break with my schooling.  I was still, however, decidedly fed-up to the point of almost constant irritation.
The young lady persisted in refusing to acknowledge my position as pack leader.  I gave her ample peaceable opportunity to submit to my dominance but she refused to accede to the natural order and bow before me.  Even her parents seemed to side with her and assign to me an inferior role in the pack.  I couldn't understand it.

I considered myself then, as now, to be a reasonable dog.  I was perfectly prepared to overlook the fact that I was not fed before the rest of the household, as befitted my status.  I was prepared to comply with instructions (provided I could see the reasoning and logic behind them) and I was  even willing to, on occasion, sit upon the floor.  However, once all peaceful solutions had failed, I was regrettably left with no other option than a recourse to more drastic measures.

It had not escaped my attention that the house was kept meticulously clean.  Each week, a strange creature - entirely mute save for a bizarre, indecipherable, humming sound - was guided around the house.  It seemed to exist solely on a diet of dust and small particles on the floor and lived in the cupboard under the stairs.  Several times I attempted to engage it in conversation as it ambled along on its weekly walk - I even offered it one of my biscuits, thinking it might like a bit of variety in its diet - but all was to no avail.  It never so much as responded to me.  'Ah well,' I mused with resignation, 'Whatever tickles its pickle...' and resolved to ignore it in future.

I digress.  The young lady's parents - her mother in particular - took pride in the cleanliness of their establishment.  My way was immediately clear.

I waited until the young lady had departed for work and her parents likewise.  As soon as the sound of the latter's car had faded away I hopped down from my armchair, yawned, stretched and trotted into the kitchen, where stood my quarry:  the kitchen dustbin.

I had not been unobservant since the formulation of my plan.  I had learned that, to open the bin, one had to apply pressure with one's foot to a pedal, which caused the lid of the receptacle to flip up.  I placed one fore-paw on the pedal and pressed down.  As anticipated, up flew the lid.  I repeated the action a few times, mildly amused at the simplicity of the device.  I was swiftly distracted, however, by the tempting cornucopia of aromas issuing from within the bin.  Here was an unexpected bonus!  Reverting to my original plan, I opened the bin lid once more and then pushed the whole thing over onto the floor - drawing on skills and experience gleaned with Rex and Kipper on "The Night of the Isolated Bitches" (from Part Fifteen of this series).  The bin was - by a fortunate chance - almost full.  Over the kitchen floor spewed the contents: vegetable and fruit peelings deemed inappropriate for the compost heap; skins from some baked fish; all kinds of wrappers; tea-bags; metal foil; waxed cardboard cartons; oh!  I was enraptured.  The bin's contents were within a thin but large white plastic sack - here was another unanticipated advantage:  I had prepared for a morning of heavy labour, but the white sack made my task much simpler.  Grasping the upper edge of the sack gently within my fangs, I pulled it free from the casing of the bin and dragged it into the living-room.

Although some of the sack's contents had disgorged onto the kitchen floor, there was plenty left for the living room.  I dragged the sack around and around the living-room, leaving trails of unpleasant-smelling filth in my wake.  Once the sack was almost empty, I pulled it back to the kitchen and sat for a moment to catch my breath.  That achieved, I wandered around eating the various appealing items before settling back into my armchair well-satisfied with my efforts, occasionally chuckling to myself as I considered the attendant pleasures that sometimes occurred when punishing one's inferiors...

My plan bore delightful fruit.  The cries of shock and displeasure from the young lady when she returned home were balm to my ears.  She hastened to clear away the mess and render everything to its former ordered state - berating me all the while - before her parents got home.  She succeeded by the narrowest of margins.

"Don't you EVER do that again, Jasper!" she hissed, viciously, through gritted teeth as we heard the vehicle belonging to her parents drawing up to the property.

'You're having a laugh, love.' I thought to myself, whilst giving her a doe-eyed and contrite, apologetic look.  'I shall be doing it again tomorrow - and the next day - and the next day after that.  Until you recognise me as pack leader, in fact.'

And that was just the beginning of my campaign.  With a delightful shiver, I realised just how good it felt to be bad...

Good night.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Thursday 4 November 2010

I've seen some mad stuff in my time, believe me - but this honestly takes the Schmacko, it really does.

Is it me?  I mean, seriously.  Is it me?!

Taking cuttings from Geraniums.  Why?

Today was one of those autumn days that I love: sunny during the daylight hours, showing-off the autumnal colours in all their glorious golden splendour; an acceptable afternoon walk; a hearty dinner upon arrival home from the office and luxuriating in the warmth of one of my favourite blankets as the wind howls through the trees outside - my partner has left our French Windows curtains open, as I like to watch the trees as their branches bend and whirl about in the gales.  I was distracted, however, from these joys by the sight of my partner ascending our staircase with an odd assortment of items in her arms.  I felt I had no option but to follow.

I watched, intrigued, as my partner cut several small shoots from one of the geranium plants that hadn't been killed-off by the first frosts (oh, how I was grateful to those frosts - I've been trying for months to annihilate those bl**dy little hangers-on).  Initially, I assumed that my partner was experimenting with a bizarre form of plant-sacrifice to an as-yet un-named garden deity, and was failing miserably.
"Oh, give it here woman." I sighed, stretching out a wearily-resigned paw.  "I'll finish it off for you."
"No, no Jasper!" cried my sweet young partner, gently patting me.  "I'm not killing it; I'm trying to propagate some new plants!"
"Proper-what?!"  Oh, here was a new one...  Images of a Nixon-Watergate-type scandal flashed briefly before my eyes...  I thought I had hidden what I'd recently done in the garden beyond any form of investigative discovery...

"Propagate!  It means that you help to start a new life, in this case a baby geranium, from the flesh of an old one."
"Fine..." I muttered doubtfully.  "Why?"
"Because I would like some geraniums in the garden next year and want to have a go at doing this.  It's exciting!"

I wasn't convinced.  I looked dubiously on as my partner rinsed and soaked her three tiny shootlings in the bathroom sink.  She was following a set of instructions obtained from the BBC website's gardening pages.  Hmmm...  I bark no complaint whatsoever about the BBC's cookery pages (particularly the excellent and always-reliable recipe finder) - but gardening?  Oh no.  Gardens are for basking and relaxing in, not for the encouragement of salads (which can be easily procured from our local greengrocer with only minimal effort) and/or noxious weeds.  To my mind, gardening is like stroking a cat:- relaxing to a human at the time - but ultimately pointless.

As my partner carefully dipped each cutting into a small white tub of brown gloopy stuff, described as "rooting gel", I decided it was time to put my paw down.
"Those geraniums are not being planted out in my garden." I barked.
"Quite right, Jasper." responded my partner, not even turning to look at me.  "These geraniums are being planted out in our garden."


As if the above-described madness wasn't ludicrous enough, once the tiny shoots had been "potted" in a small flower-pot, my partner constructed an elaborate 'tent' for them out of three small twigs and some clear plastic sheeting.  This witlessness accomplished, the shoots in their little bubble-cocoon was placed (markedly out of my reach) on our bedroom window-sill.  I quickly scanned the locality for leg-up points to utilise when my partner's back was turned, but none showed any promise - and the bedroom sill IS particularly high.

I had been thwarted again.  Adopting a thunderous expression, I stalked back downstairs and sought refuge in my armchair.  I endeavoured to find succour in a resumption of watching the winds in the trees outside my French windows - but, alas, the whirling and bending branches now seemed as though they were fingers, pointing at me in derision and making offensive hand-gestures.  The howling winds had taken on the distinct tones of taunting, mocking laughter... and they were laughing at me.

I shoved my head under a couple of cushions and made a mental note to mete out an appropriate punishment to my partner for her disrespectful impudence the very next time my bladder was full.

More "Evolution" next time!

Good night.