Saturday, 30 October 2010

Saturday 30 October 2010

And so another payday grinds around for my partner and I.  We allow ourselves a special treat each month, come payday.  She treats herself to a pizza for her dinner (Sainsbury's Thin 'n' crispy Roasted Vegetable this month) and a packet of treats for me.  If there is spare cash, then a nice piece of unusual cheese may be procured for us to taste.

This leads me on to Ewan, the pea-brained dog who shares my office space.  Ewan is a dog who would struggle to comprehend the pricing structure at The Pound Shop.  Most likely due to some unspecified occurrence during his birth or puppyhood, Ewan's head is almost entirely empty.  He is, however, one of the sweetest-natured, most generous and friendly fellows one could ever chance upon.  If you have previously encountered him on these pages you will know of his bizarre and delusional obsession with cheese in all its forms.

As we sat in the yard enjoying some autumnal sunshine, I shared with Ewan a nugget of trivia which I knew would appeal to my friend.
"Ewan, did you know that France alone has over 359 different types of cheese?  Some people think there might be nearer to 1,000!"
"Ooooooo....!" gasped Ewan, wistfully.  He closed his big brown eyes and I could tell that he was imagining himself floating through clouds of all kinds of cheeses - every now and then he stretched out his neck and head and snapped his jaws open and shut; sampling random mouthfuls of the dream-cheeses.  "Ooooo..." he sighed again.  "That's, like, loads...!  Jasper, that's... that's..." Ewan struggled to find a way to verbalise his wonderment.  He leaned in closer to me and whispered "That's... more than six!"
I grinned at him and nodded.  "Is it, Jazz?" he asked, "Is it more than six?"
"Many, many more than six, Ewan." I replied.  Ewan leapt to his paws and scampered off to tell his basket-mate, Fizzy (who was hunting for weasels in the woodpile), of his new-found fact.  He wasn't gone for long, and soon returned to sit down beside me again.
"Jasper," he asked, "If you was a cheese -"
"If I were a cheese, Ewan." I corrected him.
"Oh, right. Brilliant, yes.  If you was were a cheese, what cheese would you be?"

I smiled as I considered my friend's question.
"Probably a nice, strong, mature true English Cheddar." I decided.  Traditional, loyal and flavoursome.
"What about Fizzy?  What cheese is Fizzy?"  giggled Ewan.

I thought about the feisty, sparky little black Labrador bitch.  She was not reknowned for her patience, but she was obviously deeply fond of Ewan and had done a vast deal to calm him and limit the extent of his excitable mania.  One could almost say that she had tamed him.  Back in the pre-Fizzy days, Ewan would bark, whine and yelp to himself constantly.  That stopped within a few short weeks of Fizzy's arrival and Ewan went from a hopeless basket-case to a well-behaved, presentable, dog who did his best with what nature had bestowed on him.  It really was a most remarkable change.

"Parmesan." I announced.  Ewan laughed and squealed in delight.  "Fizzy is Parmesan." I went on. "She is very rough and hard to start with, but she is quick to melt and she adds so much flavour and enjoyment to the simplest of dishes."
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" yipped Ewan, jumping up and down in high glee.

"And me, Jazz?!" barked Ewan, once he had calmed himself a little.  "What cheese is Ewan?!"
I had anticipated the question, but not yet formulated an answer.  How to describe Ewan in cheese-form?  At length, it came to me in a flash of inspiration.
"Ewan, my friend," I said, solemnly.  "You are Emmental - or possibly a nice piece of Jarlsberg.  Full of holes in the most random of places - and so many holes that one wonders how the whole cheese works.  And yet it DOES work, with a warm, mild and entirely comforting texture - a bizarre but ultimately sweet and delicious unique cheese."

Ewan was rendered barkless.  He beamed from ear to ear and looked actually quite moved.  Fizzy ambled up, having abandoned her weasel-hunt.
"Fizzy!" yelped Ewan, as he jumped up to kiss his beloved lady, "Jasper says I'm a holy cheese!  I'm a cheese priest!"

Shaking my head, I grinned and winked at Fizzy, who returned my smile as Ewan slobbered all over her.

Good old Ewan.

But - hey! - It's Saturday night after payday!!  And so you get TWO Ewans for the price of one!  There's an unexpected bargain for you, eh?!  Yes - my partner's brother and sister-in-law and their delightful children, six-year-old Ewan and one-year-old Carys came for an unexpected visit, and my partner and I were thrilled to see them.  Little (human) Ewan is anything BUT dim, and his baby sister is equally charming - she is my particular favourite, I'll admit - but then I always do tend to get along better with lovely ladies...

Possibly the two loveliest human children in existence.

One of young Ewan's current passions is for cars of various types.  Seated alongside my partner the other evening, the lad was extolling the virtues of the new vehicle belonging to one of his school-friend (Adam)'s father.  My partner keenly enquired as to the make and model of this new carriage.  The reply, I'll admit, left me somewhat startled. 

It was, apparently, a "Toyota Enema".

Apparently it has sliding doors.  Well, that would be a useful feature, I daresay.  Not, however, a chariot I shall be looking to ride in anytime soon.

Mind you - consider the humble "Vauxhall Nova".  In Spanish 'no va' means "doesn't go".  And in Japanese 'Coca-Cola' means "bite the wax tadpole".  So think on, my friends.

Think on.


Only a few short days after the previously-described fight with the Alsatian, I was ushered into the young lady’s car for an outing. I must admit that I DID like this part of my new existence – whilst in the rescue kennels I had missed the regular trips in a vehicle. ‘Twas true that the new carriage was not of my favourite kind – a white work-van – but was a nicely-compact green Vauxhall Corsa.

In actual fact, the young woman who became my partner never DID fully understand why I always used to dash enthusiastically towards white vans. It took several years to get that out of my system. I believe she suspected that it had something to do with my former life – but she had not yet learned to comprehend my language and therefore my explanations that the white work-van rides were the happiest times of my pre-rescue shelter days.

I digress. I enjoyed my rides in the car. Right up until the point that I jumped out at a destination which did not please me.

It was a deeply rural location, in which the scent of horses, donkeys and dogs was rife. We emerged from our vehicle (the young lady and I) into a muddy and sodden field, to be greeted by a somewhat unique lady with whom my partner had made a prior appointment. There followed an hour of utter misery. I was hauled here and there in the lead, whilst being “educated” in concepts and ideals which I had grasped whilst still a puppy.

The odd lady pronounced me to be an acceptable pupil and off we went. I thought I’d seen the last of her – but no. Oh no.

The following Wednesday evening, I was just settling down for the evening when I was unceremoniously hauled off my beanbag and encouraged into the Little Green Corsa. Anticipating some unexpected treat or social occasion, I was keenly compliant. HA! If only I had known…

We proceeded to a local village hall, some three miles away. Entering the hall, I passed a number of young pups and marginally-older canine infants on the way out. This was Dog Training School – and I was enrolled as an “adult beginner”. Oh, the humiliation…

I was registered with the odd lady we’d met the other day, and her equally-odd female compatriot, and invited to take my place in a circle of dogs and owners currently taking form in the hall. One or two of the pups remained with their owners at the edges of the hall, watching. Probably because they had older housemates in the “adult beginners” class and had to wait for them to finish before they could leave. The little pups giggled ceaselessly.

I took a position in front of a placid spaniel and behind a large Alsation bitch, who turned and winked at me with a grin. She seemed to belong to someone who was a friend of my young lady.

“Alright?!” she smiled. “This is my third time repeating this class. I keep getting chucked out for being naughty!”

Now this was MY kind of woman!

“My name’s Tiki.”

“Captain, er… Jasper.” I replied.

“Jasper’s better.” said my new friend. OK then, I thought. Jasper it is, from now on.

The training was a bit of an eye-opener, though not in a tail-wagging way. The setting was totally inappropriate. For a start, there were far too many dogs in the class, so how anyone learned anything was beyond me. Quite apart from that, the heating was on full blast, with no open door or windows – so it wasn’t long before the majority of dogs either started to nod off to sleep or became increasingly irritable. I positively HATED having to walk round and round in stupid circles.

As a diversion, I began to nip and fuss at Tiki’s tail, eventually gripping onto it and being dragged around the circle by her. The little pups at the side hooted with laughter, which spurred us on to greater and cheekier antics. After only a couple of sessions, Tiki and I were forcibly separated and forbidden to stand with each other in the circle.

Eventually, my young lady seemed to tumble to the fact that I was making a mockery of the training. When we moved onto the “lie down” instruction, I would loudly pretend to fall asleep and snore (which my puppy audience really loved) and then not wake up when told and having to be dragged around the once-again-moving circle on my belly. That very night, the young lady glared at me after putting me into my car seat.

“You’re basically just taking the p*ss, aren’t you, Jasper?” she accused. The gleam in my eye betrayed me. “You know how to do all this stuff, don’t you?”

I couldn’t deny it.

The upshot was that that was the last-ever time I had to go to a dog-training class. The regrettable downside was that I was forced to develop new, more inventive, and increasingly-harsher strategies for punishing this evil girl who had stolen me from my happy rescue-shelter security…

Good night.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Sunday 24 October 2010

What a delightful weekend, which was, to be honest, more than I was expecting.

Friday witnessed my partner's birthday and yesterday was my own.  I have reached the age of twelve years with all parts in good working order.  My partner has banned me from mentioning her age.  So I won't.

I received a selection of pleasing gifts, all food-based, as well as the usual array of cards.  First to greet me on the celebration of my natal day was the gorgeous Rosie, my new next-door-neighbour.  She really does have the most entrancing bark.  It's quite hard to describe, but is basically extremely high-pitched and melodious - akin to yipping, but without the irritation.  She hailed me as I went out to download my first weemail of the day - a powerful, long-lasting jet from which I was unable to turn (I was sadly facing the opposite direction), so I wagged my tail frantically in response to her calls.  However, when I turned (after shaking the drops), Rosie dissolved into coquettish giggles and fled back into her house.  I do feel flattered by her attentions, but I wish she would stop giggling for a moment and have a chat.  Whilst having my nap this afternoon, I caught a glimpse of her being chided by her partner - Rosie had been trying to jump the fence that separated our two gardens.  I pretended not to see, as I was enjoying my nap too much.

When not celebrating our birthdays, my partner and I have been busy in the garden with our weeding and pruning.  My partner calls it "putting the garden to bed for the Winter".  Not having heard that phrase before, I hid my favourite blanket, in case my partner was going to tuck in her borders beneath it.  No such horrors ensued - and my partner was good enough to replant the bulbs I had unearthed (for the third time) without any harsh words in the direction of the birthday boy.  We bought some more bulbs yesterday with some of her birthday money, but she's going to put them into tubs - "out of the reach of naughty paws".

The last stage in the gardening session saw my partner bringing in her six geranium plants on a tray, so that the frost doesn't kill them.  I don't like those geraniums - they aren't natural.  ALL summer I have been trying to destroy them.  I tried eating one - but I didn't like it.  I kept kicking the pots over - but my partner kept standing them up again.  I repeatedly pee-ed into the pots - but they survived even my most toxic brew.  If I'm honest, I was actively looking forward to seeing the frost finally killing-off the stubborn little b*st*rds.  But no.  Thwarted again.  Now they are sitting on their tray on our upstairs landing.  I don't trust them.  I don't like the way they are looking at me.  I think they might be plotting to hurt me.  I will be keeping a very close eye on them.  They won't be getting away with any liberties, let me make that abundantly clear right now.

Right then.  I can procrastinate no longer.  Here is the next instalment of my little biography (see, for the previous episode).  Please view without prejudice...:


After several days in this new house, I was no less unhappy.  There had been no recourse to my preferred type of dinner, despite repeated protests and entreaties.  Each evening I was forced to swallow down what was put in front of me.  I have located a picture of me on such an occasion - and here it is:

Not happy.
Things were no better on my daily "walks" to the local park and back. I wasn't allowed off the lead and was cross and bored. Tempers flared on only my second outing.

I trudged along the pavement beside the young girl, treating all I encountered with supreme indifference. Approaching us was a fellow accompanied by a cheerful-looking Alsatian. The girl seemed to have a passing acquaintance with the man and stopped to chat with him. He seemed interested in my presence at her side and made a number of enquiries. His Alsatian trotted up to me and greeted me affably:

"Alright, mate? How's it sniffing?"

I ignored him, angry at his informal address. Didn't he know who I was? The upstart then had the audacity to begin sniffing at me.

"Not seen you 'round here before." continued the ghastly nonentity before me. "Nice to meet you."

I could bear it no longer.

"WHO do you think you are?!" I demanded angrily. I received only a startled look in response. "You will bow and request permission before you address me!"

"Eh?" queried the bemused Alsatian.

"I am CAPTAIN!" I announced - as if I needed any introduction!!

The Alsatian's silent look of puzzlement confirmed that he had either never heard of me (ha!), or had forgotten any previous reference to me. "Pack leader," I announced angrily. "Kipper's chosen successor! And you WILL bow before me!"

The Alsatian shook his head and sighed. At that moment, his human having finished his chat with the girl, the pair moved off.

"Arrogant d*ckhead." muttered the Alsatian, as he passed me. That was it. I lost my temper. I leapt at him, fangs bared, managing a complete, lead-tangling, back-flip as I launched myself at his throat. He put up a good fight and we collapsed onto the grass beside the path in a frenzied heap of teeth and fur.

All of a sudden, I felt a sharp sting on my rump. The girl had spanked me! ME!! I turned my fury on her, but she was too quick for me and pinned me to the ground, holding me down as I bucked, snarling and swearing. Eventually, I exhausted myself and lay, panting and silent. The young lady began to apologise profusely to the man and the Alsatian. The man reacted with good-natured amusement and proceeded to continue on his walk, my protagonist striding confidently alongside him. He only glanced back at me to give a disdainful shake of his head. Once they were out of snapping distance, the girl released the pressure on my ribcage and I jumped up.

"What the h*ll were you playing at, Jasper?!" she demanded angrily. "That dog was only being friendly! And don't you dare, ever, threaten ME again. Alright?"

"Captain." I grunted sullenly. I would have continued - but at that point the girl noticed that I had lost my brand-new golden collar-tag in the fight. Not good, apparently, as it had been a gift from her parents. We returned to the site many, many times over the ensuing weeks - but we never did find that tag. The girl's parents were, as she had predicted, livid. I cared not.

The episode bore unfortunate and unpalatable fruit. A few days later, words were uttered by the young girl which no canine ever wishes to hear.

And those words were: "dog", "training" and “classes”.

Oh NO...

There would be consequences of that decision, I can tell you now...

Good night.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Sunday 17 October 2010

In a rare departure for all things concerned with my "Little Jasper" - I am afraid that they just weren't big enough.  Hehehe...

I refer, of course, to the napkins forced upon me by my partner who - for some unknown reason - took exception to me downloading fresh wee-mails into our bed.  The tiny napkins were donated to one of my partner's colleagues, whose wife is anticipating the birth of a child any day now.  I thought that was it... until a second pack of larger-sized napkins arrived.  Bah!  These ones were patterned with some gaudy cartoon "bees".  I wondered why humans decorate their napkins in such a fashion - perhaps it harks back to the primitive cave paintings of pre-historic times...?  At the end of the day, however, the items to which I refer are merely nothing but (forgive my crudeness) p*ss-pouches; so why go to the trouble of decorating them with cute imagery?  It's beyond me...

Unhappily, this second type of napkin fitted me very well.  However, I soon realised that a complex system of squirming and kicking resulted in the failure of the napkin to seal itself properly, thus enabling me to swiftly remove it myself when my partner wasn't looking.   I was extremely pleased with my powers of reasoning.

Alas, my wee-mails betrayed me.  Just a few nights ago, whilst my partner was recovering from a particularly unpleasant viral fever, she suddenly awoke in the night to find me widdling not only within the bed but also all over her hand.  That night's napkin lay neatly folded and dry at the end of the bed, where I had carefully placed it after removal.  To say that my partner was not amused would be to grossly understate the matter.  She attempted to re-position the napkin.  I bucked and kicked like an irritable Spanish donkey confronted with a load of ignorant tourists from Florida.  Eventually, my exasperated (and slightly damp) partner threw the napkin at me and put me from the room.  Attempting re-entry, I found that the door had been barricaded shut.

So I went downstairs and, just to spite my partner, pee-ed all over my armchair.  That taught her!

Actually, it didn't.  She was very VERY cross.  Now, when she is next due to be paid, she is going to buy the special canine napkin system for nights, from which I will not be able to release myself.  In the meantime, her mother has supplied a rubbery-plastic sheet to put under my side of the bed.  I was minded to attack it, but then my partner's mother informed me that this is the very sheet that my partner slept upon when she, herself, was a newborn.  My partner said that somewhere, lost deep in the very dark recesses of her psyche, she can remember the feel of the sheet and what it was to lie upon it.  I find that it is not uncomfortable, so for this reason, and its historical importance, I will tolerate it.

Right then.  The kittens.  I am delighted to be able to report that they have ALL, each one, found good homes.  Though not before a little mystery swirled about their sweet infant selves.  At the first attempt, two of the three kittens were captured and re-homed.  One went to a friend of one of my partner's colleagues.  The other went to another colleague who occupies the desk adjacent to my partner's.  He named the kitten 'Oscar' and is very pleased with him - apparently, wild little Oscar had got the hang of his litter tray and was purring and sitting on laps after a mere 48 hours or so.

We were somewhat mystified, then, the following day when on entering the work-yard two kittens were sitting on the haystack, blinking back at us in the early morning sunshine!

Everyone had a theory as to what might have happened.  Well - apart, as may be supposed - from Ewan, who got as far as the word "cheese" before he had to go and have a lie-down.  Ultimately, the various photographs taken of the kittens in situ were examined more closely and this provided our answer.  The late queen had not delivered, as had been thought, three kittens - she had given birth to four.  Upon her death, the bravest and most hardy kitten had been regularly sallying forth to procure food for his weaker litter-mates.  That is why, during the daylight hours, we had only ever seen three kittens together - although there had always been four.  Four very lucky kittens, now safe and warm in their own houses, thanks to the diligence and care of my partner's colleague.  I am glad that this story, like the heart-warming tale of the Chilean miners, has had a happy ending.

Barking of happy tales (or, indeed, tails) - I must explain, if I can, the continued absence of the next instalment of my biographical series "The Evolution of Jasper".  Be assured, that the episode is well under-way.  It's just that I was in my element when detailing the exploits of my friends - Kipper, Rex, Rats, etc. - in the dogs' rescue home, and now those reminiscences are over...  In addition, despite the fact that it will soon (this week, in fact) be ten years since I came to live with my partner - TEN YEARS!!! - I am still deeply ashamed of my behaviour in those early days.  Oh!  The things I said and did...

If you thought you have read accounts of my naughtiness in previous blog entries, then NOTHING will prepare you for the relation of my shameful conduct when I was a young pup in turmoil - the things I said and did in order to punish my partner-to-be... the young lady and her family who had adopted me... I cringe now, in merely alluding to it.  It has been many, many years since my partner forgave my inconsiderate actions.  Whilst she is clear with me that she understands why I behaved as I did and has ceased to blame me, I confess that I fear the reaction from You, dear reader.  Yes, YOU.

My partner says that it is important that I share these accounts with you, so that you can appreciate as she does the various life-stages that have made me the dog I am today, and why she loves and values me so much.  This, in itself, provides some comfort.  But I am utterly ashamed of myself for what I did to my partner in those first, difficult, weeks.  I am prepared to post the next instalment.  But I now beg that you will not judge me too harshly and thus withdraw your affection from me when you learn of the things I did...  I can bear everything except the scorn and indifference of those whom I value.

For now, then.

Good night.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Wednesday 6 October 2010

My partner thinks I haven't seen them.  But I have.

I saw them when she carried them out of our New Teal Megane.  I am not impressed.  Take a look for yourself:

The daft girl bought ones that are too small for me as well, so I am (she thinks) to wear two napkins fastened together (until the above pack runs out) in order to facilitate my reintroduction into the world of nocturnal dryness.  She is particularly diverted by the image of two cheeky monkeys on the waist-band.  She tells me that it is "very appropriate".  We shall see about that.

Moving swiftly on, I should like to bark a very BIG thank-you to those who sent messages of sympathy and support after my last blog-post.  They made an incredible difference to the misery under which my partner and I were labouring after the late trying few days and we did sincerely appreciate your kind thoughts.  I send best wishes for a swift recovery to the beautiful maid of the Philippines, lovely Scarlet.

I will admit that a part of my agitation stemmed from the napkins, shown above, about which I was pre-warned by my partner - and I knew not in whom to confide.  Granted, I only have to wear them during my hours of repose, when no eyes save my partner's will fall on my neatly-packaged rump, but I still feel and regret the necessity.  And who remained in my life to supply succour and wise counsel?

  1. My wife, Isolde?  Dead.
  2. My friendly neighbour, Starsky?  Dead.
  3. Staffy-Chum, Harvey?  Not seen in public since the death of Starsky (his best friend).
  4. Principal-Girlfriend, Candy?  Making a rapid recovery, but still convalescing from severe illness.
  5. Female Staffy-Chum, Latté?  Too much of a delicate lady for toilet-talk.
  6. Colourful Rotti-Chum, Edward?  Would descend into immediate panic and flap about like an angry wasp.
  7. New pretty neighbour, Rosie?  Giggles helplessly whenever near me.
  8. Jack-Russell neighbour, Archie?  Always too busy to stop and chat.
  9. Doting partner?  Instigator of napkins in the first place.
  10. Maisie?  In agreement with above creature. Obviously hoodwinked.

 Do you see my predicament now, dear reader?  Do you?
An unexpected sympathetic ear was, however, extended in my direction from the generally-empty head of Ewan, the fluff-brained dog belonging to my partner's colleague.  His basket-mate, Fizzy, snorted with laughter when I mentioned my potential new sleep-attire.
"Blimey, Jazz," she giggled. "You don't mean to say they've actually made the pants to finally take the job on?"
"Fizzy?" I replied, mustering my dignity.
"B*gg*r off."
She trotted off to the corner of the yard, wagging her tail and cackling like an old witch.
"That wasn't very nice, was it Jasper?" said Ewan, sidling up close to me and nuzzling my neck with his snout.  "Ignore her.  She's being mean today.  I think it's nearly 'that time'."
"It's alright, Ewan."  I replied, trying to inch away from his strong, prickly whiskers, which were stabbing sharply into my flesh.  "I don't mind."
Ewan grinned and nodded, but stayed sitting beside me in a companionable silence.  I sighed and, before I knew it, I was telling Ewan everything about my late lavatorial mishaps.  He listened quietly, nodding at the right moments, with neither laughter, mockery nor any mention of cheese whatsoever.  I felt much better after having unburdened myself to a willing listener.  When he was sure I had finished barking, Ewan sighed and said
"When I was before I went to live with mummy, I had to wear nappy-pants on my bottom.  Only mummy taught me properly that toilets were only for outsides." [When Ewan says 'Mummy', he means his partner, my partner's colleague. J.]  That was rather sad, as Ewan had been adopted when he was two years old - his toilet-training must have come as a bit of a shock to him.  "Actually," continued Ewan, after a pause, "I'm still not really sure why toilets must be outside.  Especially when rain is happens."
I nodded, sagely.  Ewan went on "I think it is ladies.  They just doesn't want to clean up our toilets for us.  It's an evil plot."
He chuckled to himself and I'll admit that I grinned too.
Not for the first time (nor, I suspect, for the last), I felt Ewan's friendship to be a rare gift  - a precious blessing which I had done little to deserve.
Next entry: Napkin progress report; will I or won't I have finished my next "Evolution" instalment?; and a kitten-update!
Good night.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Sunday 3 October 2010

I got a bad feeling about this - as The Mighty Boosh's Bollo often says.  Something very strange has happened to me.

The week was proceeding perfectly normally, without sensation.  And then, without warning, on Wednesday night  one of my back legs stopped working.  I got up to take a drink of water and promptly fell over.  With tender expressions of concern, my partner helped my to my paws and supported my body as I drank.  I had to be carried up to bed that night, and carried back down the stairs the following morning.  I felt utterly wretched.  My partner gave me an Ibuprofen tablet, which I accepted, although I didn't wish to eat my normal breakfast.  I was so miserable that I elected to stay in the car, where it was warm and quiet, in preference to accompanying my partner into her office and I didn't move an inch until lunchtime.

Halfway into the day (after my partner had checked on me several times and thoughtfully left me sleeping soundly), Ewan's concerned face appeared at the car window, on my side.
"Jasper!" he cried in panicked tones.  "Are you OK?!"
"Mmmnf...?"  I murmured, coming around slowly and lifting my head.  "Oh, hullo Ewan.  Not feeling too good today, mate.  Just lying low for a bit."
"Oh no!" yelped tender-hearted Ewan.  "Have you taken any cheese for it?!"
"Ummm... not yet."
"Don't think I've got any with me.  I'll go and check."  His face disappeared from the window and I heard him pattering away.  He soon came back.  "No cheese, I'm afraid.  Do you want anything else?  I've got a stick."
"'S'alright Ewan, " I mumbled.  "I'll just stop here."
"D'you want a teddy?" he persisted, "Fizzy's got a teddy.  D'you want to cuddle Fizzy's teddy?"
"Maybe later."
"D'you want some of my chew?  I can get you my chew - d'you want that?"
I heard Fizzy (who was too short to look into the window) talking to Ewan in a low voice.  His worried face reappeared at my window.  "Fizzy says I have to go with her now.  See you later Jazz - hope you feel better soon!"
Fizzy escorted Ewan away, and I settled back to sleep.  I was grateful to Fizzy for restoring my peace - but infinitely more grateful to Ewan, despite all his noise, for his affectionate and whole-hearted endeavours to bring me some relief.

That was not the end of the day's misery, however.  Once at home again, my partner saw me creeping furtively out of our bedchamber and discovered my guilty secret of the past couple of weeks.  I confess it to you now:  I have been urinating in the house, in a particular spot, for some time now - always when my partner is downloading a weemail of her own in the bathroom (the next room along).  My spot of repeated choice has been my partner's pile of freshly washed and dried clothing.  Even as I type, the washing machine is issuing its comforting hum as the affected clothing is re-laundered.

I expected to be punished.  Whenever I have made a mistake before, it has been after my requests to go outside have gone accidentally unheeded by my partner.  I think what made this worse was that I had not asked to go beforepaw.  I had merely accompanied my partner to the bathroom and then sneaked away to the clothes-pile.  My partner, however, expressed tender concern and gave me a warm, lasting cuddle.  When I moved to give her a little kiss, I saw that she was silently crying.

I understood why.  It was our first shocking dose of a brutal reality - the reality that, sooner rather than later, one of us is going to have to face the future without the other.

My leg is much recovered, and my partner has solved the other problem by forbidding me to enter the bedroom alone - a compromise with which I am happy to comply and the event has not been repeated since.

It may yet be many years before we are parted.  Many happy blog-filled years - and I am determined not to waste precious time in completing my "Evolution" series.

But we have witnessed a change this week - and it marks the beginning of the end.