Well, it has been a week since "the attack" and Gisèle, I am happy to bark, is making an excellent recovery. She and Betty are the greatest of friends once more (though this is more due to Gisèle's unequalled capacity for forgiveness and Betty's guilty conscience than anything else). Giz still has a few days' worth of medication to take, but she's back to her normal levels of energy and mischief. Betty's conscience is obviously still pricking her, as she pads very carefully around Giz. Yesterday, Gisèle attempted to engage Betty in a play-fight. Betty was pleased to comply - until Giz happened to turn her head, exposing her scarred and shaved neck. The Giant Schnauzer gulped audibly and stared down at the pink and scabbed neck of her little friend with a stricken expression. Muttering to herself, Betty backed off from Gisèle and took herself off to sit quietly in another room. Poor Giz was left looking bewildered; my partner gave her a hug and then the both of them a chew each, but Betty couldn't be persuaded to resume the play-fight.
And, with that, I must conclude this little update. Gisèle has made it clear that she does not wish the unfortunate episode to be discussed any further, for the sake of Betty's feelings. I can't say that I share Gisèle's empathy. If I had been the one that had been savaged, then Betty would now be awaiting the return of her owner in boarding kennels, never to return. But Giz is now the alpha-dog in this household; it is therefore her decision and not mine - and Giz loves Betty and therefore Betty stays. So: enough.
The weather is very changeable at the moment; summer seems reluctant to arrive. My partner has bought lots of seeds for the garden, but has not yet planted them. The reason for this is that Betty and Gisèle have found themselves an exciting new entertainment: digging. My partner is keen to get her garden seeded, in order to have borders full of fragrant blooms in the late summer and early autumn, but clearly sees the futility of planting-up, only to have everything turned up immediately afterwards by a pair of giggling furry clowns.
In the absence of home-based mischief, therefore, Betty and Gisèle have been content to sit on the patio, enjoying the surroundings and the warmer weather. And thus it was yesterday, with Giz pottering around the borders in the garden whilst Betty dozed on the sofa, when the wretched scion of evil that is Peaches the cat sauntered past on the lookout, as always, for trouble.
"Alright, bum-fluff?" he sneered at Gisèle.
"That is not my name. My name is Gisèle." she replied. Peaches merely sniffed disdainfully.
"That great fat grey old sow staying with you at the moment?" he continued. As Giz opened her snout to reply Betty, with most unfortunate timing, wandered into the garden through the French Windows. "Ay-aye; The Kraken wakes..." he muttered. Betty simply glared at him and sat down as far away from him as she could muster within the garden, having long-ago concluded that any breath spent on Peaches was breath and effort wasted.
"Betty is not fat." Gisèle persisted. "She is a very big dog with lots of thick curly fur, but she is actually quite slender under her coat."
"Alright hippo-hips?" hailed Peaches, ignoring Giz completely. As the little Jack Russell Terrier turned around to look back and roll her eyes at Betty, still sat at the back of the garden, Peaches noticed the still horrific-looking wounds in her slender little neck. "**** me, who did that to you?!" mewed Peaches.
"None of your business!" yipped Giz, not looking at the wretched black cat, as Betty shifted uncomfortably on her patio slab. Peaches, not being one to let a sudden uncomfortable tension in the air pass him by, looked slowly from Gisèle to Betty and back again, a malevolent smile forming on his leering face.
"She did it to you, didn't she?!" meowed Peaches, unable to suppress the malicious glee from his voice. "So she's not as stupid as she looks! Well, well, well... I'm getting a new sense of respect for you, lardy... What happened? Did the little rat try and sneak a bite of your 87th pie of the day?!"
"Oh, p*ss off." grunted Betty, shaking her head. Peaches laughed.
"What I can't understand though," he went on, cackling to himself, "Is why you didn't go the whole hog and finish the job? I mean, obviously there's no meat on the rat, but the satisfaction of killing the annoying little tick would've more than made up for it..."
Peaches grew suddenly tense. "Better luck next time, tubby!" he called to Betty as he sprang over the fence to the river and hastened towards the allotments. We couldn't account for his rapid departure until we heard the click of claws on pavement from the opposite direction and turned to see Laddie, the Cockney market-trader's dog from the far cul-de-sac, trotting up. Back along the road behind him, we could see his owner washing his small van.
"Little git." muttered Laddie, watching the last glimpse of Peaches' tail disappearing amongst the compost bins on the allotments. He then turned to the girls "'Ullo treacles!" he grinned. Laddie was very sweet on Betty, who didn't seem to return his affections quite as passionately. "How yer doin', duchess?! That little claw-rag bothering you?"
"I wouldn't waste my time and effort on being disturbed by that ghastly little insect." replied Betty with a sigh, coming over to greet Laddie politely.
"Laddie, Peaches was REALLY rude to Betty." piped up Giz, "He said some very mean and nasty things to her."
"Did he now?" frowned Laddie, "Don't you worry darlin', I'll give that little scrote more than nasty words if I catch hold of him."
As Gisèle beamed up at the charming Laddie he couldn't help but notice, as Peaches had done before him, the significant scarring on Giz's neck. "Bl**din' Chr*st, gal, who did that to you?!" he exclaimed, forgetting his manners. Recollecting himself, he muttered an apology for his language although he still looked with a stunned expression at Gisèle's wounds. Giz looked uncomfortable and Betty positively squirmed.
"Erm... I can't remember..." mumbled Giz.
"Blimey, you can't remember?! You're lucky you wasn't killed, princess - they're close to all the important veins in yer neck, them wounds! How'd you survive that?!"
"Erm...well it sort of happened quite suddenly..."
"Must've been a big b*gg*r, the size of them teeth-marks!" He turned his attention to Betty. "What about you, duchess? They didn't go for you as well, did they?" Betty mumbled something indistinct. "How come you weren't able to defend the little 'un?!"
"I think Betty was a bit busy at the time." yipped Gisèle, eager to avoid embarrassing Elizabeth. "But it's OK, I'm all right. It doesn't hurt any more and it looks loads worse than it is!"
"Blimey." muttered Laddie again, shaking his head and sighing as he looked at Gisèle's neck again. "Well, you were d*mn lucky, that's all I can bark. D*mn lucky. You look after yourself, treacle - you're too sweet to get snuffed out by some dirty ol' thug."
"Excuse me..." mumbled Betty as she stood up and crept guiltily back into the house.
"She all right?"asked Laddie, watching her go with regret.
"Oh yes!" replied Giz, "I think she's just a bit tired today, that's all. Listen, Laddie, I've got a plan for Peaches - d'you want to hear it?!"
"Do I want to hear it?! Oh yes, anything to sort out that rotten stinking apple!"
"Well," began Gisèle, "I think that Peaches must be very, very unhappy deep down inside himself. He's so mean to everyone and I've never seen him with any friends-"
"He don't deserve no friends."
"No, but everyone should have friends! Peaches must be so lonely. Maybe that's why he is always so mean? I think that I would like to be friends with Peaches and then he wouldn't be always so very angry and horrible to everyone. So I have decided. I am going to have a big party called "I Love Peaches Day" and lots of people can come and make friends with Peaches and then he won't be so miserable."
I have to confess that I was stunned. Laddie seemed similarly affected as, when Gisèle looked up at him after she'd finished chattering, he was gaping down at her with his mouth hanging open.
"What d'you reckon?!" she grinned, wagging her tail.
"I reckon you're a couple o' plums short of a full fruit salad." muttered Laddie in disbelief.
But Gisèle was not to be deterred.
"You'll come to the party, though, Laddie, won't you?" she asked, fixing her lovely brown eyes on him beseechingly.
"No way!" he barked, shaking his head firmly, "I'd sooner roast me own 'nads off than go to anything involving that evil creature!"
"Betty will be there..." added Giz, with a sly smile.
"I'll bring some snacks." retorted Laddie without missing a beat, which caused me to burst out laughing. "Little pies, sausages, dips, y'know. An' I'll see if I can get some of me girls to come along..." (by this, Laddie meant his increasing fan-club of female feline groupies, who followed him around and hung on his every word with slavish devotion).
"Yayyy! Brilliant!" cheered Gisèle, going on to explain in further detail her plans for her "I Love Peaches Day" and how making friends with him would lead to lasting happiness and peace for all...
You may call me cynical, dear reader, but I cannot see any good coming from Gisèle's scheme. In fact, I suspect things may go very badly wrong...
Until next time, then...