Since last writing, poor Gisèle has been laid low with an ear infection much like Betty's. Exactly like Betty's, in fact, for she caught it from her Giant Schnauzer friend on her previous visit. Betty is back with us once more (unexpectedly, but we are pleased to have her nonetheless) and we have all been hanging around the house. A plumber was scheduled to visit on Tuesday morning to attend to a leaking pipe in my partner's bathroom ceiling, but decided not to come (grrrowl).
At lunchtime, my partner got to her feet and both girls jumped up, anticipating a walk. Betty was not impressed to find that a lead was only affixed to Giz's collar and she was told that "we'll be back soon". Gisèle cackled in high glee - she shouted a cheeky farewell to Betty on the other side of the door and capered down the street at my partner's heels, yapping a rude song at the unfortunate Betty. Giz's joy was cut brutally short, however, when she crossed the road and all-too-quickly found herself in the vets' waiting room. There was further displeasure and humiliation to be had when the tiny but powerful terrier was wrestled into a muzzle and had an auroscope introduced to her ear. To bark that she was not amused would be an incredibly gross understatement.
The vet and my partner were happy, however, as Gisèle's infection is healing nicely (a week ago, she was in such pain that she wouldn't allow the auroscope to even touch her ear) but she still needs to continue with her drops for another week. Happy days... Now, one might think that Gisèle would be a little annoyed that she had contracted an unpleasant and excessively painful infection from her best friend. Not so our Gisèle-Stephanie. She exclaimed that she was glad she now knew how very painful it was for herself, so that she would better be able to comfort Betty in the future. Bless her - only one so rare as to be as beautiful on the inside as she is to the eye could look at things in that kind and unselfish way. No wonder she was able to tame the wild and aggressive Betty where seemingly-greater others had failed.
Less happily, my partner was taken extremely unwell yesterday and had to keep to her bed. So poorly was she that her parents came and removed Gisèle and Elizabeth from her care so that she could rest in complete quiet. Fortunately, the malady (an incredibly powerful migraine) has almost entirely gone, but it was not pleasant. The most concerning point for my partner came during the later part of the afternoon - weakened and in pain and hardly able to move upon her bed, my partner suffered a most alarming phenomenon never before experienced: an hallucination. That is to bark, not a visual one, but a corporeal one. She felt me jump onto the bed and snuggle up to sleep beside her, as I ever did during my lifetime, she says she even felt me beside her and heard my breathing (and - yes - deep snoring). Most alarming for, if I am certain of anything, then it is that that is completely impossible. I think my partner was thoroughly creeped-out by the experience (well, wouldn't you be?) and much relieved when Betty and Giz were brought back later that evening. Most odd.
But away with these miseries and tales of non-existent phantoms. Betty's stay has been extended, which has set both tails (well, one tail and one little blunt stump) a-wagging. They have been enjoying sitting on the patio over the recent bank holiday weekend, "helping" with the gardening tasks. My partner was showing them how some of the seeds they had planted a couple of months ago were now growing into healthy little plants (specifically, for the most part, the radishes; the tomatoes died a swift and brutal death and our hopes for the courgettes aren't high...). Both dogs were very impressed at this example of nature's magic, Giz in particular, and I could tell from her slightly misty expression that she was formulating some sort of plan.
This plan manifested itself later in the afternoon. Betty lazily got up and stretched after a nap in the sunshine, and was greeted with the sight of Gisèle carefully carrying something in her mouth which she then placed in a small freshly-dug hole in one of the borders. The large dog padded over to her friend, as she began to scrape soil over her trophy.
It was an egg. Gisèle was burying an egg in the garden.
"What, in the name of sanity, are you doing?!" demanded Betty, as Giz gently patted the top of the earth down on the buried egg.
"Gardening." replied Giz simply, as if this ought to be enough to satisfy Betty's curiosity.
"But... what - why...?"
Gisèle sighed heavily and turned to face her friend. "Lillibizzles-" Betty grimaced and clenched her teeth at this detested new pet-name Gizzy had allocated to her. "I think you and me are both very much agreed that there are few things nicer than some tasty roasted chicken. Yes?" Betty nodded, mutely, looking doubtful as to what might be coming next. "Right. So I'm going to grow a chicken-tree! Then we can have them whenever we want!"
At this point, had I not been certain that chronological and biological evidence precluded the possibility, I might have wondered if the late, lamented, lunatic Ewan's father might once have had a dalliance with little Gisèle's mother. This was precisely the sort of nonsense he used to come out with (recall, if you will, the episode during which Ewan grew concerned for cows whose milk was used to make cottage cheese; he feared for the cows who had to pass pineapples through their udders for the 'cottage cheese with pineapple' variety. Or the time he believed that he could relieve Fizzy's menstrual sufferings with the topical application of a potato... these are but two examples amongst a myriad of delusional nonsense).
"So, to be clear, Giz," frowned Betty, "You have planted an egg in the hope that it will grow into a chicken-producing tree...?"
"Yep!" Gisèle was extremely pleased with herself.
"And you think that's going to work, do you?"
"How else?! I hope it starts to grow as quickly as the radishes! Should we put some water on it?"
"Erm... I'm not sure it works like that..." offered Betty, dubiously.
"Well, not if it was a boiled egg, obviously, but this is a fresh one. I got it from the shelf in the kitchen pantry. How do you think it works then?!"
"Er, I haven't got much experience with chickens, but the gamekeepers on our estate raise the pheasants from - well - other pheasants..."
Gizzy laughed. "That's just stupid!" Betty remained unconvinced. "Look!" persisted Giz, indicating some pigeons sitting in the tree nearest to our fence, "That must be a pigeon tree!"
"Well," replied Betty, looking around, "What about those three sitting on Rosie's back fence?!"
"They're just having a rest, you duffer!" giggled Giz.
"Right." wuffed Betty sceptically, as the pigeons in the tree flew off, "So those three are having a rest, and those ones flying away have just grown and hatched out of the tree, have they?"
"Yep!" declared Giz, a rather self-satisfied look on her face.
"You are a very strange little dog, Giz, you know that?" sighed Betty, shaking her head.
"Hihihihiiiii - oh yes!" squeaked Giz happily, content with the world around her, however ignorant of it she might be.
Next time - A spotter's guide to dubious birds of prey, courtesy of Betty; from which Gisèle is not minded to profit...