Thursday, 31 March 2011

Thursday 31 March 2011

Grrrrowl.  Computer has been BROKEN since last post.  This is an update from my partner's work computer whilst she is away from her desk.

Uh-oh - she's coming back.  Hopefully repaired home computer will be up and running again soon and I will be back in business!

Until then - keep wagging your tail!

Good afternoon.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Friday 18 March 2011

Comic Relief (Red Nose Day) today.  To mark this day, here is one of my blog entries from long ago for you to enjoy all over again:

Thursday 28 June 2007

A troubling affair this evening with the psychotic swan that blights my life on a regular basis.

He is a complete head-case. The two young ladies employed by the Environment Agency to maintain the rivers and their banks once told Maisie that he is the most dangerously-crazed nutter that they've ever encountered. And they once had to catch and remove a pike from the water, so they know of what they speak.

The swan's equally nut-job wife has managed to hatch nine cygnets, so daddy is extra-tetchy at present. Actually, the much milder-mannered swan on the private lake behind the fence has a wife who is sitting on babes as I type this. He wasn't swimming too close to her the other day, so perhaps they have had words. Personally, I suspect the psycho-swan has been playing away from home and may have forced himself upon the lady. I wouldn't put it past him. He could well be the real father of those eggs. If they hatch and grow up to be large and white, with long slender necks and orange beaks, we shall know the sordid truth...

This evening, I was being delightfully entertained by a group of young ducks. One poor lass managed a total of eleven - ELEVEN!! - eggs earlier this year. All of them hatched, foxes and rats kept away, and each duckling has survived to maturity, I am happy to say. I like ducks. They are harmless and they amuse me. I was finding particular glee in watching the eleven adolescent ducks mercilessly goading the evil swan. Three or four would swim up to him quacking until he turned on them, shouting and using words inappropriate for the ears of children, while chasing them and flapping his over-sized wings. The ducks would be just too fast for him and he would give up, only to have three or four more of them pop out from under the river bank right behind him. The eleven of them were a perfect example of a team working in unison to annoy a git and he rose to it every time. A lady watching from the bank was very worried and said that we should stop the swan; he was trying to kill the ducks. He would have killed them, if he'd caught them, but it only took a few minutes' observation to see that those little lads knew exactly what they were doing. The calm nearby presence of the ducks' mother proved that psycho-swan-baiting was an oft-practised game.

Of course, while the white-feathered-wacko was wasting his energy on cheeky ducklings, the stupid oaf was leaving his own wife and children entirely unattended. I could have gobbled up the lot of them and he wouldn't even have noticed. But I know enough about ladies with pups to leave WELL alone. Kipling was right: the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Besides, watching the hated swan repeatedly falling prey to the ducks' pranks was far too funny to miss.

Unfortunately, when he was growing tired, the swan spotted me laughing and started paddling angrily in my direction.

Oh sh*t.

He accosted me before I could slink away. He demanded to know what I was laughing at. "Nothing, Sir." I replied.
"You were laughing at those little b*st*rds." I assured him that he was mistaken. He repeated his original question.

Perhaps - on pondering this with the benefit of hindsight - I should simply have told him the truth. Instead I explained that I was laughing at the thought I'd just had, which was that if I had a face like those of his wife and children I would shave my bottom and learn to walk backwards. For some reason, the evil beast took exception to this and flew at me, howling in rage. I (bravely) shrieked in terror and my partner quickly put herself between me and the irate swan. She sheltered me with her body while the swan attempted to assault me in the most foul manner. A tactical withdrawal was clearly in order.

"I hope all your children have really tiny willies!" I screamed at the flapping swan as my partner dragged me away from the scene, "And that INCLUDES the girls!!"

At this point, my partner scooped up all 20kg of me and legged it.

For her bravery I will award her, for one night only, an extra half-inch of duvet. I hate that swan.

Good night.
Looking back over my earlier blog entries, I am somewhat shocked to discover that I have become less buoyant, less witty, less tolerant.  In short, I am become a whingeing old git.  I shall try and mend my ways from now on...  Why am I more moved by Comic Relief this year?  Perhaps I have grown a little more 'human' than formerly... Perhaps it was because I witnessed celebrities whom I admire (and some whom I have interviewed for magazine articles) debase themselves in the worthy cause of fundraising.  Or perhaps it was because I viewed a clip where a 15-month-old baby girl with the same name as my partner almost died from malaria - but was saved with equipment provided by Comic Relief.
No matter what we do - whether it is the fabulous Miranda Hart cooking and dancing, Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles broadcasting the longest-ever radio show in history - or a little child donating his 50p pocket money - we can make a REAL difference.  There should NEVER be starving babies in this world while others have a few extra pence to themselves.  MY partner and I donated what little we could.  I urge you to visit and do the same.  Thank you.
Good night.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday 11 March 2011

Well - I did have prepared for you, this evening, an account of my rehabilitated (good) behaviour, an angry encounter with a representative of the builders' firm ("How would you rate the quality of the works undertaken by us?"  "Get out of my house.") and (finally!) the thirty-fifth instalment of "The Evolution of Jasper".

Not so this evening, however.

Instead - all of my thoughts are now turned towards my Japanese friends.

I cannot bark how devastated I am by the immense earthquake, the resulting tsunamis and aftershocks experienced by all within that Pacific region.

8.9 on the Richter scale.  Dear G*d.  I wish there was something I could do or bark to make everything better.  But not even the most mighty amongst us can take issue against Nature.

To my friends in Japan and other affected areas - HEIWA  - or: 


With my compassion,

Good night.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday 6 March 2011

At last the wretched saga of my home improvements is at an end.  My partner and I have spent much of this weekend in restoring our house to some semblance of order.  Photographs will be posted, when all is once more as it should be.

For the time being, I sense (from those of you kind enough to comment on my previous post) a certain keenness to learn the truth behind my recent spanked bottom.  Sometimes, dear reader, it concerns me to learn that, however much care I take in producing intelligent prose for the delectation and edification of the great minds of our time (including, obviously, your good self), my most popular postings invariably involve me in getting in some manner hurt, punished, detected in mischief, or hoodwinked by an evil predator.  Perhaps my life would be easier if I simply posted a variety of clips of me falling over, banging my head on stuff, being pecked by a pheasant, etc...  But my partner says that it is good for me to post accounts of my various mishaps.  She says I should find it to be a cathartic process.  Well, I don't know about that.  AND my partner's emergency Vodka supply had been placed well and truly out of paws' reach.  Grrrowl...

That barked, however, I cannot deny you the sorry relation of my late misdemeanour. 

For several days prior to the incident I had been quietly slipping away from my partner in order to investigate a most delightful and intriguing scent.  My nasal talent told me that a recently-deceased deer was not too far away - and a big 'un at that.  On my third foray, whilst my partner was occupied in playing football with clot-headed doggy-chum Ewan, I actually found it.  Big, fresh and deliciously meaty.  On the previous two occasions I had returned to my partner's side after her calls.  Not so on THIS day.  I had a whole flank of fresh venison all to myself - and suddenly I found myself to be terribly hard-of-hearing.  I wasted no time in getting to work on my prize, ignoring the increasingly angry calls and whistles of my partner (which, of course, I could not hear). 

Hearing an approaching soft tread through the woods, I glanced up to see Ewan carefully putting his football down at the edge of a moss-covered tree trunk.  He padded over.

"Jasper, your mummy is calling for you."  he said, all wide-eye earnest innocence.  "You need to go back to her."
"My mummy is NOT calling for me." I replied, irritably.  "And the reason for that is that I am a pure-blooded Staffordshire Bull Terrier."
"Yes, but..."
"That means that my father was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier - "
"Oh, yes, but..."
"And my mother was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.  I must therefore conclude that it is my human companion to which you refer - and she is NOT my mummy.  We are equal.  She is my partner.  And SHE can take a running jump."

Ewan could not have looked more shocked if I had suddenly struck a match and set fire to his whiskers.  I don't think he had ever brushed up against the concept of disrespect before.  I don't even think the word "disrespect" was in his vocabulary (actually, there are a vast number of words and concepts not in Ewan's vocabulary - but let us not pursue that further).

"Yes... anyway..." mumbled Ewan, recovering himself, "Your mummy is calling for you and you have to go back."
I was just about to invite Ewan, in the time-honoured fashion, to occupy himself elsewhere when I was suddenly hauled off the deer by the scruff of my neck and flinched as my bottom received a short, sharp smack.  Ewan politely averted his eyes, although I could see he was still peeping at the proceedings from the corner of one eye.
"Back to the path - now!" hissed my irate partner, "And don't you ever disobey me like that again.  You are supposed to set a GOOD example for Ewan.  I am VERY angry with you."  On and on she continued, whilst I endeavoured to look suitably contrite.  It didn't escape me that Ewan, under the guise of downloading a wee-mail, took the opportunity to help himself to a few good mouthfuls of the tasty red venison.
"Look what Ewan's doing!"  I interjected.
"Never you mind what he's doing - I'm talking to YOU!" replied my partner, crossly.  "Ewan!" she called, turning around, "Stop it; we're going back to the path.  Go and get your football!"  Ewan eagerly complied, dashing off to fetch his ball and then rejoining us as we picked our way back to the path.
"Little creep." I muttered under my breath, ignoring him as we returned through the woods.  Ewan suddenly sidled up to me.
"Jasper!" he murmured, his voice muffled by the ball he held in his mouth, "That was MEAT back there!  We should go back to eat it."
"Oh, bl**dy h*ll, well done, Lassie,"  I hissed at him.  "If only I was as quick thinking..."
"Shhh!" whispered Ewan, "I'll distract your mummy and then we can have the meat!"

This I had to see.

Ewan began dancing about like a loon, dropping the ball, and jumping madly in front of my partner.
"What on Earth...?!" she said to herself.  I began to wonder if Ewan's tactics might actually work and I slunk behind a large Yew tree, trying to evaluate the best possible method of doubling-back on my partner and returning to my feast.  Unhappily, my partner was on the watch for just such a manoeuvre and clocked me straight away.
"Pack it in - the pair of you!" she ordered.  "Both of you back to the path - now!!!"  Ewan meekly retrieved his football and trudged, shame-faced, back to the path.
"Sorry Jazz." he mumbled.
"'S'alright Ewan."  I sighed.  It wasn't his fault, after all.

It was not the spanked bottom that irked me so, nor even the fact that I was denied the succulent flesh of the deer.  Oh no.  It was the fact that Ewan had witnessed the whole.  And that was the worst of the entire piece.

Suffice it to say that I have been impeccably-behaved ever since.  That should lull my partner into a false sense of security until the next tasty deer falls to the ground,  hehehehe...

Good night.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the bathroom...

... you find sharks circling there still.   Yes:  my partner and I are STILL beset by "builders".  I was awakened this morning by the sound of my pretty young neighbour, Rosie, shouting at some of the very same fellows about some damage which they had inflicted in her house.  I was rather intrigued to listen, actually.  I have only ever managed to get a few words out of her myself, before she starts shyly giggling and then runs away.  She does stare at me a lot though, and always comes to the fence to see if I am in my garden - but always with the same resulting giggles and evasion.  Mad.  As I ear-wigged on the proceedings I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was quite articulate.  Her voice was so sweet and melodious, however, that it was odd to hear her using it to be angry.  I totally agreed with the West Highland lassie, however.  Here is a summation of what has happened since I last barked with you, dear reader :-

Work continued to progress slowly, on occasion because contractors forgot to put units on their lorry when leaving the depot (a series of little notes left in the kitchen for my partner revealed the truth - although the kitchen bloke was nice (and quite handsome, according to my partner, although that is no excuse as far as I am concerned).  I am prepared to be generous with regard to the kitchen fellow, however, as he also left little notes for ME.  He is therefore forgiven for his part in these crimes.

Following a request from the contractors', my partner and I agreed that their decorators could work in the property over Saturday 19 February as they were so far behind. That morning, however, prior to the decorators’ arrival, we found another leak in the bathroom.  Happily, however, the decorators were able to fix the leak.  These gentlemen (said decorators) were Polish, with a smattering of English, but both delightful young men with a high quality of professionalism, work ethic, and resulting finished tasks.  The decorating was the only part of the whole business which has, thus far, proceeded without a hitch.  I could comment further - I choose not to.
The whole process thus far had been extremely irritating and distressing. But I was sadly mistaken in my belief that my partner and I had seen the worst of the business.
On the evening of Thursday 24 February my partner and I arrived home after a night out to discover more water on the bathroom floor. It seemed to have originated from the bathroom radiator, which was now positioned at a distinctly slanted angle to how it was formerly fixed to the wall, although I could not detect any more water coming from the radiator pipe at that time. At the same time, my partner noticed that two large boxes which had been placed in front of our bedroom door had been moved (the one formerly at the bottom was now on the top and vice versa). I followed my partner into our bedroom and was, quite frankly, stunned by what I found. Our duvet was absolutely saturated.  And, for once, I was NOT to blame (indeed, not even a Blue Whale has that much wee in him).  When my partner touched the duvet, water readily seeped out.  It was abundantly clear what had happened – the bathroom pipes had obviously been leaking once more, presumably more seriously this time and whoever was in the room at the time had gone into our bedroom and taken the duvet from the bed to stem and mop-up the water.  As if this were not bad enough, the soaked duvet was then placed back on our bed!

Water had soaked from the duvet through my sheets and into my mattress.  The duvet and bed-sheets were filthy, smelly and water-stained.  As it was late at night, my partner and I had no option but to sleep on the floor with a cushion and a blanket (actually, my partner slept on the floor - I slept in my comfy armchair, but don't tell my partner that).  My partner has had to throw our duvet away as goodness only knows what the water was contaminated with, but it was extremely unpleasant.

Alas, that is STILL not the end of the matter.  Our blundering builders had forgotten to re-install our washing machine yet again, so another weekend without that - we had to go back to my partner's parents' house in order to do a load of washing so that my partner could have clean knickers.  I wondered aloud as to why she didn't follow my sartorial example - but, apparently, there are different laws for humans in this country...

We had to telephone the contractors again yesterday morning for yet another leak in the bathroom, from the same radiator pipes.  And now?  NOW?  We have water from the taps; we have a new, clean duvet (provided by my partner's mother); we have heat from our boiler and cupboards in our kitchen.  What we don't have is half a bath and no water whatsoever from the shower.

AND - if all this weren't enough - today, at work, I got a telling-off and a spanked bottom - all in front of Ewan.   Grrrowl.  I'm going to go and sniff-out my partner's emergency Vodka supply.

Dear friends, I am very cross indeed.

Good (ha!) night.