Saturday, 22 November 2014

Saturday 22 November 2014

Well, I should like to be regaling you with information from sweet Gisèle - but when I chatted to her about her news and about what she wished to bark, when she began with "Hihihihi... I's on heat - write my 'phone number and address and tell all boy dogs to come and visit pretty Giz, hihihihiiiiiiiii...", I knew that it would not end well.

Instead, therefore, whilst our diminutive heroine "cools down", here is a piece written by my partner; composed as she visited the WWI commemorative art installation of poppies at the Tower of London.

Blood Swept Lands & Seas of Red


This was the name of the art installation in London, consisting of 888,246 ceramic poppies (one for every British military fatality), created to mark 100 years since the beginning of World War One.  I happened to be in London & went to see it two days before it was fully dismantled.  I found the experience somewhat unsettling & sat on a step to capture my thoughts in writing.  This is what I wrote:

The Tower of London, 15 November 2014, 11:52am

They are coming in waves.  Something vaguely unsettling [is] going on here. [On my] arrival here [earlier, there was] only a certain amount of good-natured jostling followed by apologies & awkward smiles.  But now tourists of all hues & accents pour down Tower Hill as the coaches & tubes disgorge their contents in droves.  A man holds a ladder above the heads of the slowly-moving morass & a pair of Police-officers keeps a vigilant watch, mounted atop powerful, patient horses, both of whom blink unflinchingly as their photographs are taken & their noses are repeatedly tapped by strangers.

The art installation is undeniably beautiful. A single poppy for every UK soldier lost in the bloody slaughter of WWI – & [in this] setting; England’s mighty fortress, which has held firm for centuries -  stronghold of our crown & resting place for executed monarchs & traitors alike.  The mere words “the Tower” once filled Londoners’ hearts with dread – & now it is almost impossible to withstand the huge tides of people rushing to its walls, marshalled by a small army of people with loudhailers trying desperately to keep the crowds in motion & avoid a devastating crush.

There is something ugly about this now.  People are pushing to get at the front, for the “best” view.  An heavily-pregnant woman has just stumbled after being shoved.  Those with high-powered cameras seem utterly oblivious to the presence of tiny children in front of them as they jostle & position in order to get the best angle.  One man barely notices that he has kicked over a toddler, so absorbed is he in focussing his lenses, & he grunts the most cursory of apologies to the tot’s parents.  Helicopters offering “aerial tours” fly & hover noisily overhead at regular intervals, & still more surges of people come.
What have they come to see?  The sea of red spilling from the mighty Tower & filling its moat, representing the blood of the fallen?  The art installation that is the current zeitgeist, the pièce du jour, to keep pace with fashion?  An opportunity for a “poppy selfie” to prove to their Facebook friends that they were here?
Or do they fix their eye on one single poppy & spare a thought for the lost life that that individual ceramic bloom commemorates?  Perhaps a 19 year-old Tommy, shot in the throat by a German sniper, fallen to the ground in abject terror; the last coherent sound he is able to fix upon as he begins to drown in the endless mud & his own blood is that of his mates being yelled at by their commanding officer: “Forget him!  Leave him! He’s gone; there’s nothing you can do! Keep going…!”
Perhaps some do see these poppies as the 888,246 individual lives snuffed out so brutally.  But for the most part – today, at least – more visitors seem keener to push & mutter obscenities at the back of a stranger’s head, when they deem him to have “taken too long” to capture his photograph & his memory.

I wonder what the ghosts of the Tower make of all this?  I found elements here more ghoulish than even Anne Boleyn’s reputed spectral wanderings.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Friday 14 November 2015

Nothing coherent from Gisele this week, though I am prepared to forgive her; my partner is - even at this moment as I bark - at BBC Broadcasting House, raising money for Children in Need.

0500 22 11 22 today - help raise some money for the human pups!

Today from 7am to 7pm it's the Children In Need Jukebox on Radio 2 - Call in on 0500 22 11 22 to make a pledge. 

Calls are free from land-lines - but some networks and mobile operators may charge you for the calls

All terms and conditions can be found on the R2 website:

Might speak to you later!

See you anon!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Sunday 9 November 2014

I was left with no choice, dear reader.  Kind cajoling, implied threats, humble pleading - all came to naught.  And the only option remaining to me was that of the "ultimate weapon".  It has been successfully deployed on a now suitably-chastened Gisèle.  I like to think that her looks of contrition and apology were genuine... (hmmm...).

Having finally consented to fulfil her duty, I turn back to the post that had been only partially completed when 'Sèle decided that her time would be better employed in things other than the upkeep of the blog (not necessarily in order of preference nor a fully-comprehensive list: playing and gossiping with Betty; flirting with boyfriends Boris and Monty and assorted other suitors, visiting her buzzard "friends" (we'll get on to that in a bit); and maintaining her youthful beauty.  I insisted that my work of 25 August should not go to waste - and so here it is:

Monday 25 August 2014

At last, after some three or four days, Gisèle was able to look at Betty without grinning and peace reigned in our small world once again.  Not for long, alas.

Repairing for their evening exercise to one of their usual favourites, Betty and Giz were happily occupied in caperings and gossip for most of their walk.  Until, that is, little Giz spotted the most part of what had formerly been a pigeon just off the woodland path (pigeon-shooting often taking place in the woods).  Seizing it by the remaining shoulder, Giz snatched it up and dashed off with it.  I believed I could guess where she was going.  Betty followed dubiously.
"Hello, nest-babies!" squealed 'Sele, triumphantly displaying the gift she had brought them to one of the adult buzzards.  "This is only a bit manky, but I hope that you will all like it!  Bye!"  She skipped away, pleased with herself.
"I thought you promised me that you wouldn't associate with those buzzards any more?" Betty demanded angrily, as Giz pottered up to her.
"Eh?" replied a momentarily-puzzled 'Sele, "No I never, I - oh sh*t - er, uh, I mean... um... what buzzards...?"
"Pathetic, Gizzle, you invidious weasel," sighed Betty, shaking her head, "Just pathetic." She sighed deeply again. "Well, you cannot bark that you've not been warned.  I will not say that I have 'washed my paws of you', but you must accept that you are mistress of your own fate.  I urge you to rethink, before it is too late."
"Hihihi, OK!" yipped Giz, before dashing off on the scent of an incautious squirrel and leaving Betty, still shaking her head despairingly, on the path...

Betty was able to claw back a modicum of revenge later though, when

And that is where it ends.  I cannot think for the life of me what Betty's revenge ultimately turned out to be.  Giz pretended to try to remember, but Boris is staying with us at the moment and so she is at her giggly worst.  I doubt she could recall what she had for supper this evening...  If I remember, I shall tell you, but my hopes aren't high.

If truth be told, Gisèle is not really barking to my partner at the moment.  The uneasy atmosphere has persisted for almost two months.  The reason for this is that my partner has taken proactive action to get rid of the last vestiges of her debts once and for all.  Her insolvency is over (see THIS ENTRY for the beginning of that wretched affair), but the last after-effects still needed considerable 'mopping up'.  And it was for THIS, dear reader, that I tried so hard to stay alive for my partner - and why I could not leave her even after I lost my fight with the Big C.  I had vowed to myself that I would not abandon her; that I had been there at the beginning of the IVA and I would support her throughout.  Alas, that was not to be; in a physical sense at least.  I hope this helps to explain my steadfast determination not to let go.

I digress somewhat.  Rather than moping and feeling sorry for herself, my partner has gone out and secured a second job, in addition to her full-time one.  This second, part-time, job - and it mortifies me to have to bark this - is at a Vets' Surgery.

A Vets' Surgery.  Oh yes. 

My duplicitous partner is their evenings and weekend receptionist.  She does her day job from 9 - 5 (like Dolly) on Mondays to Fridays, after which she dons a jaunty uniform and works 7pm - 11pm on weeknights, 2pm - 10pm on Saturdays and then 9am - 7pm on Sundays.  It seems to be tiring for her, but she has the gross temerity to claim that she "enjoys it".  The double-dealing wretch.  After starting this additional job halfway through September, it was a full month before Gisèle could bring herself to even look at my partner.  And the occasional gift of a gravy-bone from a well-meaning vet has done nothing to placate her.  Her one consolation is that it is not our vet, but an out-of-hours-only one - based, coincidentally, at Betty's vets.  Sweet 'Sèle has derived some cheap humour from this at Betty's expense, but she remains still largely unimpressed.  My partner has promised to buy Gisèle a special Christmas present, now that she is less financially-embarrassed, but I suspect it will take more than that for 'Sèle to fully accept the situation...

And so - now that I have secured Gisèle's agreement and her (not entirely convincing) mitigations; let us trust that normal service will now be resumed!  Hurrah!

And the ultimate weapon...?  Why the worst that there could ever be.

I simply took Gisèle aside and explained that I was not angry with her; I was just disappointed...  How many amongst us would not prefer the righteous irate b*ll*cking?!  Certainly not Gisèle-Stephanie, hehe...

Onwards and upwards!