Sunday, December 31, 2006

there's no smoke without smoke alarms

the peeps have the prof, mrs prof and their son the extreme programmer staying. this is always a welcome event as these are the sort of guests who not only make their own cups of tea but even make cups of tea for the peeps. they also have the same sense of humour as my peeps so a good laugh is always had. added to this the extreme programmer usually mends the various computers round the place which makes for domestic harmony for a while as no-one has to borrow anyone else's computer.

the day before yesterday the peeps and their guests met the captain, mrs captain, the wild girl and their boy at the local pub for lunch. having got everyone in a mellow and relaxed frame of mind herself broached the question of the thermostat with the captain. "would you folks like to come back to our house for a cup of coffee?" she said innocently. "why that would be lovely!" they cried. she then dropped the bombshell on the captain "while you are round our place, could you just have a quick look at our new thermostat?" the captain is handy with electrical things. something to do with needing to understand wires in order to get a plane off the ground, i suspect.

herself is a master of understatement. the words "quick" and "look" are instructive here. nothing involving herself is ever as quick as it might at first appear. and most people do not need to stand with a torch between their teeth and a screwdriver in each hand to look at something.

regular readers will be familiar with the thermostat issue. basically the old thermostat has bitten the dust, with a little help from herself. so she and mrs prof purchased a new one. the new one is rather more technical than the old one. so instead of sitting quietly enjoying their coffee, the captain, the prof, the extreme programmer and herself found themselves in the bedroom in the dark, with several torches, trying to work out which wire went where on the new thermostat. meanwhile the rest of the assembled company sat in the dark in the living room making singularly unhelpful comments. my boy and his mate were most put out to find the computer would not work with no leccy so had to resort to the age-old art of conversing with each other.

eventually the combined intellects of the fearsome electricians won over the thermostat (after a couple of false starts) and some semblance of order was restored. so the peeps settled down to enjoy their by now rather cool coffee.

i can hear you wondering what the picture of a prof flapping at a smoke alarm has to do with any of this. not a lot, dear readers. this picture is to do with yesterday's roller coaster ride. in order to explain i will need to backtrack, which i hope will not leave too many of you behind. i would draw you a diagram but i fear the blog does not allow this.

our fire is a sort of box which for a long time i thought was a television. it has knobs to adjust it so this was an easy mistake. i did think the range of programmes was limited but not excessively so. my boy's viewing diet consists of wall to wall disaster programmes, many of which have a lot of flames, so i just assumed the fire was stuck on the same channel. it only dawned on me that it was not a telly when they opened the door and added logs to it.

anyway, one log too many was added a couple of days ago and the roof of the fire caved in. it appeared that a thing called a firebrick had collapsed. on closer inspection all the firebricks were past it. not to be defeated mrs prof got on the net and tracked down a man who was not only open during the festive season but who would cut us some bricks.

so yesterday herself and mrs prof set off to horsham. they returned from their trip with the bricks and triumphantly fixed the fire. amid much jubilation it was lit. all went well for a while. herself played with her new camera. the prof peeled potatoes for tea. the extreme programmer and my boy raced each other on computers.

but the peace was rudely disturbed by quite a lot of nee-nawing. the house was full of smoke. and i mean full. himself was flapping at the living-room smoke alarm, spouting his favourite smoke alarm incantation which is, i think, intended to lull it into submission. the prof was flapping at the kitchen smoke alarm. herself was overtaken with a fit of coughing so did nothing useful at all. my boy thought he would give her some encouragement by saying "i simply cannot believe you!"

all the windows were thrown open. the curtains blew all over the place as outside there was a gale. i have to say this was one of the peeps' most spectacular smoke alarm adventures. you could have been forgiven for thinking that we were in a disaster movie. usually only one smoke alarm goes off at once. no-one would believe that herself had only been playing with her camera. they were convinced she had done something to cause this commotion. it was eventually concluded that the new bricks in the fire had made it draw rather more efficiently than people were used to and that more care would need to be taken with the amount of fuel from now on.

tonight the peeps are cooking a huge meal for a bunch of friends as it is new years eve. on the draining board is a large lump of dead cow. next to it is a fish kettle containing a whale. i may pop out to the pub for the duration...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

halt or you will be exterminated

today started fairly calmly. grandma and the uncles are coming for lunch so himself had purchased a rather tasty looking peice of pork. he was rubbing it lovingly with salt when my boy surfaced from his slumbers and wandered into the kitchen. "agh! what's that?" he squealed. "its a bit of dead pig" replied herself, who prefers her pigs alive and squelching around in a field. she then went off to play on the computer.

just then someone came to the door. this necessitated me heaving myself out of bed and barking. the peeps have not got a doorbell. the doorbell was removed a couple of years ago when they rebuilt the porch and they have failed to get a new one sorted. if i am out they don't know that a visitor has arrived as there is of course no barking.

at the door was a man with a large box. "yippee!" shouted my boy "its the new dalek!" my boy saves up marbles, which he gets for good deeds such as bringing in logs, lighting the fire and wearing scratchy new trousers. he usually negotiates one marble for each leg, which seems a bit steep to me, but before this system was arrived at he would grow out of his clothes before he would wear them so i suppose it makes sound economic sense in the end. when he has enough marbles he can buy things. he already has one dalek but i suppose he thought it was getting lonely.

in this picture you can see that a short interlude in the cooking was called for while my boy got the dalek up and running. this went down a treat with himself, as you might imagine. there then followed a period of tension while the two daleks got to know each other. "we are the supreme beings!" shouted the new dalek. "exterminate!" said the first dalek. personally, i think they need a bit of help with their social skills. their first interaction didn't bode well for a loving and mutually supportive relationship.

just then there was a loud bleeping noise. herself assumed that this was a dalek feature and carried on with editing photos on her mac. then there was a loud explosion of expletives from the kitchen. we all rushed in and found himself standing on a chair, dressed only in a towel, flapping ineffectually at the smoke alarm. on the draining board was the bit of dead pig with clouds of smoke coming off it.

"this f-ing smoke alarm!" he shrieked. he actually said the whole rude word but i am aware that some of my readers may be of delicate sensibilities and i have therefore edited this somewhat. "well what do you expect" bawled herself, "there's smoke everywhere! its a smoke alarm. its whole purpose in life is to alert us to smoke. its just doing its job! the bloody pig is on fire!"

"i'm just searing it" said himself. i just hope he doesn't ever try to burn anything. there was a flurry of opening windows, while herself tried to dissuade him from wrenching the smoke alarm out of the ceiling. she has only just replaced the old smoke alarm with a new one after several attempts and did not relish balancing on a chair with a screwdriver while the rellies tucked into the dead pig.

while all this was going on the daleks circled each other warily, uttering threats of extermination in their garbled and rather tinny voices. "i am not living in a wooden house with no smoke alarm!" she protested, "so you will just have to learn to put the fan on and open the windows before you set fire to your lumps of dead animal!" although i am not with her on the vegetarian thing, i have to say that meat cookery tends to be a bit fraught round here.

things have quietened down a bit now. the peeps are waiting for grandma and the uncles to phone. the plan is we meet them on the downs for a walk. normally i have no issues with grandma's girly dogs. they do pretty much what i tell them, as all girly dogs should. (it was hard getting herself to type that bit but i draw the line at censorship of my writings). however, grandma is looking after a third dog while his owner is away and she seems to have thought it might be a good idea to bring him along too. i am hoping he doesn't think he can come swanking in here throwing his weight around.

anyway, the plan is that we get to know each other on what the peeps call neutral territory. i am not sure why they think the downs are neutral territory, given i pee all over them every day of the year. just hope the new chap gets the hint without the need for spilt blood. i may have to learn to use the remote control on the dalek so i can tell him "multiple spectrum scans are enabled"...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

the sofas have landed

the new sofas, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

today looked like it might be a more relaxing day when we got up. my boy was ready for school early. there were enough clean socks to go round. the peeps even managed to buy a present for my boy's taxi driver and his teacher. but then the phone went. it was the ikea delivery man. he was up the road with the new sofas and would be with us in 10 minutes.

himself went pale. he hates deliveries. as herself is very keen on internet shopping and not very keen on going to the shops, we regularly have lorries turning up with things. there is usually a lot of packaging and chaos afterwards. there is also the matter of strange men at the door wanting the peeps to sign for the packages.

shortly afterwards a very large lorry arrived. two men got out and spent the next half an hour struggling across the icy paths and up the icy steps into the house. three times. "you didn't tell me you had bought 3 sofas!" himself said. "i'm sure i did" said herself, nonchalantly. the room was full of sofas. "did you measure the room first?" he asked. that was a very silly question. he has known her a long time. even if she had measured the room she would have added it up wrong.

then the captain and mrs captain turned up. they were having the old sofa. so that made a bit of room to move round. herself started tearing off the packaging and getting out her electric screwdriver. at this point himself had to leave for work while he could still stand up.

there did not appear to be any instructions for the sofas. i retired to my bed, which had been unceremoniously dumped in my boy's bedroom for the duration. when i finally emerged there were 3 very nice sofas. i was looking forward to trying them out but when herself went out she cunningly placed clothes airers and a cricket bat in the way.

my boy was mightily impressed, in spite of having been very anti the whole idea. beefburger people don't much like change. "why can't you just leave the house alone for a couple of days?" he wailed. but he was soon snuggled down with the burping pineapple on the new sofa as though it had always been there.

after a little while he said "how much did these sofas cost?" herself told him. "so if we had that much money, why didn't you pay the leccy bill?" (the peeps have run up a big bill due to the direct debit not being enough to cover it). herself explained that the sofas were bought with plastic money rather than real money. she's a clever woman.

its no wonder my boy has a firm grasp of economics with a mother like herself. when he was a mere whippersnapper of 3 he apparently made a very perceptive comment when herself was telling some friends that the peeps were re-mortgaging the house to pay off the debts. my boy piped up "if we pay off the debts we'd better get some new ones". herself took this advice to heart and has been doing so ever since...

Monday, December 18, 2006

the heat is rising

i can hear all you readers scratching your heads. "why has joker posted a picture of an electrical terminal?" i hear you say. well, as you might imagine there is a story behind this. herself takes quite a few pictures of this nature. they are taken so that, once she has taken whatever electrical item it is to pieces, she knows which wire goes in which place. normally these pictures do not see the light of day but this one perfectly illustrates life chez nous so i stole it for my blog. (for those readers who don't speak french "chez nous" is french for "round at our gaff").

there was one famous occasion when, on a saturday morning, she took the sky box and the telly apart in order to move the telly. (there is a long and rather boring story behind this too - relating to the new sofas and having failed to measure the living room to see if they would fit first, but that is for another day. suffice to say that there was a certain amount of panic about himself going bonkers about not being able to watch the footie). a photo would possibly have saved the day.

anyway, this particular masterpiece of photography also relates to the "moving the living room round for the new sofas" project. a book case has had to be moved to a new home. unfortunately the new home was in front of the thermostat for the central heating. not only did this mean you couldn't reach the dial to turn it up and down but also it made funny readings of how hot it was on account of being behind a bookcase. so it had to be moved.

herself is on holiday this week. it would have been no problem for her to do the thermostat moving in the morning. but she got embroiled in watching films and reading stuff people had written on the net. then we went for walk on the downs and she took lots of pictures of grey sky. so by the time she got round to doing the thermostat it was beginning to get dark. not such a problem, i hear you say. except that the power had to go off so she didn't get zapped.

this job should not have taken long. but half way through the door was knocked by a friend of himself who was dropping off a christmas card. so herself had to down tools and make him a cuppa, which took twice as long as usual as the gas wouldn't light because of the power being off and she couldn't find the matches as they were by the fire with the logs. so by the time she got back to the electrical stuff it was even darker.

then she realised that the hole where the wires came out on one side of the wall was nowhere near the new hole on the other side. and in between was loads of glass fibre insulation. herself said "if only i did knitting i could tape this wire to a knitting needle and thread it through the wall". luckily himself's friend is a man of ideas. "how about a chopstick?" he said. and sure enough a chopstick was just the ticket. in a flash the wire was threaded through the wall. then herself had the tricky task of fitting the thermostat to the wall. as she had butchered the wall so badly trying to reach the wire, the place where the screws would have gone was no more. not to be defeated she turned the thermostat round and fixed it on at 90 degrees as there was still some wall at the top and the bottom. not a problem. the power goes back on and the lights even work. joy all round. especially for himself who came home in the middle of all this.

however, the heating is now on all the time. the thermostat has given up the ghost. then herself remembers that it has a funny mercury switch which works because it tips when the dial turns. now it is permanently tipped. so we have to adjust the heating on the boiler. so she could have simply joined the two wires together and saved all this aggro...

as i say to her on many occasions "stick to the day job..."

silent happy birthday

silent happy birthday, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

well readers, i am sure you have been waiting with baited breath to know how the birthday treat went. the cake was not as traumatic as had been feared, although there was a nasty moment when the melted chocolate cake covering overflowed the plate in a rather spectacular fashion. i did offer my tongue in place of a cloth but this was rather rudely and abruptly declined by herself.

my boy said "i thought my cake might be a gun" which showed remarkable perception given he has spoken of hardly anything except guns for the past 6 months. i just hope he doesn't become obsessed with spiders next. a spider cake might test herself's culinary powers to the limit.

and the silent happy birthday went down really well. my boy thought it was a very cool idea and the peeps plan to save the cards for next year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


grandma and the uncles have given my boy a chemistry set for his birthday. i am not sure if this was an entirely good idea. i suspect it was uncle pete's idea. uncle pete is the astrophysicist and computer programmer uncle. he has a certain affinity with the way my boy's mind works as he is another beefburger person.

my boy tore open the wrapping paper with great glee and shrieked "oh brilliant - i can make a bomb!" the peeps spent a little time explaining that this would not be too clever on account of it being likely to destroy the house.

having read the instructions it appears that the chemistry set requires what is described as "parental supervision". i am not sure why the manufacturers of chemistry sets think that parents are likely to be able to supervise bomb-making any better than lurchers. having seen the destruction herself can bring to the kitchen making a chocolate cake i would not in a million years leave her in control of chemicals. himself is slightly more sensible. but he has a habit of wandering off to play computer games, leaving my boy with the test tubes and scary looking bottles of chemicals.

my boy started off being very sensible. i suspect that this was a deliberate ploy to lull the peeps into a false sense of security. my boy is crafty like that. he started out with litmus paper. this seems fairly innocuous. you dip it into liquid and it changes colour depending on whether the liquid is acid or alkaline. all well and good when the liquid is vinegar or washing up liquid. so herself went to sit on the sofa to watch tv.

almost immediately my boy came rushing in saying "this liquid has gone solid and the litmus paper has got stuck!" sure enough the test tube was fully of jelly. herself ascertained that this was calcium hydroxide which my boy had added water to. it turned out that he had not quite understood that the instruction given to him very firmly by both peeps that he was not to open any of the chemicals unless one of them was actually in the room. or more likely he had decided that they didn't really mean it. and that he knew best about the chemicals anyway...

it does bring to mind the occasion when he decided to practice striking matches. he went outside to do this, being conscious of the house being entirely made of wood and therefore rather flammable. however, herself found him squatted down about a foot from the house, dropping the matches into a pile of leaves when the flames reached his fingers. there was a certain amount of heavy manners about that.

i am keeping well out of the way. things can only go downhill. herself is going to make him a birthday cake this afternoon. my boy has an aversion to people singing happy birthday so herself has made some cards for their friends to wave to do 'happy birthday' silently. the cards say 'happy', 'birthday', 'to', 'you', 'dear' and 'owen'. the plan is that mrs captain will conduct and the other peeps will raise their cards at the appropriate moment. i do not seem to have been allocated a card so i will wag my tail instead.

the cake-making will almost certainly be traumatic. herself is planning to make a cake shaped like a gun. each year she makes one in the shape of my boy's current obsession. so he has had them shaped like strip lights, light bulbs and daf lorries, to name but a few. she has not managed to buy new blades for the whisk so i dread to think what she will use to mix it all up. i think it might be an idea to hide the electric drill...

Monday, December 11, 2006


being photographed, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

my boy has had a brush with religion. this is not, you understand, his first brush. but it was a formative experience.

the peeps are atheists. herself was brought up an atheist and was never baptised. himself on the other hand was brought up the son of the church organist and made to sing in the church choir which seems to have made him rather more atheist than herself.

herself is of the opinion that people should make up their own minds about religion. she is cool with people believing in any shape or form of god or goddess so long as they don't shove it down her throat. so my boy has had an entirely free reign as to what to believe in.

he started off being rampantly atheist. after quite a few long conversations where herself pointed out that quite a few of the peeps friends were of various religions and of none and that my boy at the very least had to learn a bit of tact about it all, he decided to be an agnostic. i think the logic behind this was that if he was wrong about there being no god at least he had some sort of insurance policy to fall back on. at his old school (where quite a lot of things were not all that brilliant) his school report said "it is a shame that he cannot see the value of the teachings of jesus christ". herself was pretty annoyed about this and pointed out that he as a 7 year old had probably given quite a lot more consideration to religion and god than most of the teachers. he had just approached it with a more questioning mind.

anyway, my boy came home a couple of days ago saying the giddy ones had been to school. i took this to mean that these people spent too much time on roundabouts. but no. it appears that they are a type of religious people. they had come to school to talk to my boy and his mates about god. this they did at some length. then they pulled out some presents for the youngsters. my boy and his mates were thrilled. "its grand theft auto!" shrieked my boy, who has been trying to persuade the peeps that this game, where people hack each other to pieces with chain saws, is educational and would be good for his development.

"lets hope its san andreas!" said his mate. this is a particularly gory version. one of its main features is the new airborne mode which presumably means you can cut people up from above as well as the side.

but when they opened the parcels they discovered that they were not grand theft auto. they were not even the sims. they were bibles.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

get a grip

herself has tidied her desk. "so?" i hear my readers ask. "what is so special about that? people tidy their desks all the time." herself's desk is something else. it is a small writing bureau which she bought when she was at college. it is made of oak and has a green leather bit where you are supposed to write. i suppose this is why it is called a writing bureau.

herself doesn't do all that much writing at her desk. she isn't really a writing sort of person. she does a fair bit of typing with a magic keyboard that is not connected to mac the computer by any visible means. next to the keyboard is a thing that looks like a bar of soap which seems to beam messages to mac through the ether.

the desk is the centre of operations for quite a few things. it is herself's dressing table. i don't have a dressing table but then i don't have any dresses. herself doesn't actually stand on the desk to get dressed but she has a little mirror which she looks into every morning while painting stuff on her face. this is apparently to make her look less of a wreck.

(herself came home from work the other day rather miffed. she had been showing one of her work colleagues her flickr pictures and one came past of a younger version of herself. the colleague was apparently shocked that this was one and the same person. it has to be said that a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since this photo was taken. life has not been entirely restful and easy. but you would think the colleague would have been chivalrous enough to pretend she hadn't changed a bit. the trouble with people nowadays is they have no manners.)

as well as the painting face thing, herself also drys her hair with a beastly contraption that has my boy and himself running out of the room with their hands over their ears. i would put my paws over my ears too but it makes running out of the room impossible.

she also burns cds, makes films, plays music on a sort of plug in piano, edits photos, plays her yoga dvd (so we can do yoga without getting in a knot), designs newsletters and leaflets for the autistic people, designs websites for various folks, makes birthday cards, shops (and boy can she shop) on the internet, researches a million and one things and drafts papers for injunctions, asbos and other legal things (which seem to be to stop bad people behaving badly).

on top of this she makes jewellry, tries to keep on top of the family finances (a hopeless task if you ask me), reads blogs and wastes hours looking at photos. so you can see that the desk can get in a bit of a mess. lately the mess has been increasing at a rate faster than herself can keep up. it took her about half an hour to bring some order about. this was spread over a longer period as in her inimitable way she was distracted by the need to order printable cds and dvds, order printer cartridges to print them with, have a bath and discuss with my boy what her favourite sort of dalek was.

but at last it is done. peace rains. or maybe reins. or perhaps reigns? herself is off to meet her work colleagues for their christmas outing. i gather it is bingo. herself used to work in a bingo hall so has given them a wide berth since. maybe she will come back shouting "legs eleven" or something equally opaque. i will take the boys for a walk and then sit by the fire...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

at last - the helium laugh!

just so my poor readers don't think life is all doom and gloom round at our place, i give you the helium laugh by mrs captain:

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

the life of the modern woman...

herself has had a bit of a week. "nothing new there!" i hear you cry. indeed not. but somehow this week has got on top of her more than usual.

it seems work has been busy. the naughty people seem to be extra naughty at the moment. so herself has a huge bunch of injunctions and other proceedings to get rolling. this would not normally be a big deal but her assistant is out of action as a result of a freak accident so herself is doing two jobs.

as regular readers will know, herself works in an office with a bunch of police folks. herself and her assistant are sort of lodgers there from what i can gather. the office is horribly hot and stuffy all year round. this is particularly bad for the police folks as they have to wear stab vests and bright yellow coats. i gather they tend to remove these in the office which must be easier on the eye.

anyway, as usual, even though it is quite late autumn, the windows were open. this was on wednesday when herself had taken a day off to go to ikea to buy sofas (about which i will no doubt report more in the future). so once the police folks had gone off to catch criminals herself's assistant was alone in the office.

[there was a pause in the flow there for a brief interlude of chaos while herself went running into the kitchen having heard a horrific noise which it turns out was caused by a camping stove getting tangled in the fan - don't even ask]

back to the office... herself's assistant had to move a printer and climb on the desk to reach the window to pull it closed. herself has had a couple of near misses in terms of falling out of the window doing this so would have stopped such tomfoolery had she been in the room but she was of course off buying sofas.

anyway, her assistant did some serious damage to her back to the point where she could not walk or bend down to get her bag or anything. luckily she had the presence of mind to phone herself who as luck would have it was on the way back from ikea. herself is nothing if not good in a crisis. she phoned the police. not just any old police but sgt goose who dispatched a policeman to rescue the poor assistant and take her to hospital (there is a security keypad on the door so no-one else could have got in).

must have cut a fine sight, the lawyer's assistant being rushed through town in the back of a police car, sitting on her hands, then heaved out of the police car and into a&e with a policeman holding her arm. probably made the front page of the local paper.

anyway, after a couple of days of agony and some pulling around by a kindly osteopath, herself's assistant is on the mend.

but i don't think this is altogether the cause of herself's autumnal gloom. work is only work after all. i think the gloom has more to do with other stuff. herself is not so great with goodbyes and one of her friends is likely to be moving away to warmer climes. can't blame her given the damp and gloom here but it has caused a certain amount of the old trembling lower lip and wet eyes stuff.

herself will just have to make do with chatting to her trusty old hound. ho hum....

Sunday, November 26, 2006

my new ball

here is a picture of me with my new ball. i haven't had any toys for a long time. i have to say this is something to do with the fact that i get a bit excited when i have toys. the peeps take exception to me doing the loopy lurcher thing round the house. admittedly it does cause a bit of carnage but no more than they do. so i am being really restrained with my ball and only playing with it in my bed.

the ball came about as a result of friday night. the peeps went round to see mrs captain. the captain was off flying planes which was probably a good thing given how strong he makes the gin and tonics. herself had decided to give gin and tonic a miss so stuck to wine, although this had no appreciable effect on her coherence.

it seems a great time was again had by all. mrs captain got out her accordian which sounds a rather good bit of kit and there was also a certain amount of hilarity trying to record the helium laugh. unfortunately the helium laugh was recorded over by mrs captain doing a captain impression which herself is going to try to post on my blog if she can. so my readers will have to wait with bated breath for the helium laugh.

the wild girl loves my boy's burping pineapple so he takes it round there when the peeps visit. in the midst of all the fun the wild girl sat a bit too hard on the burping pineapple. his burp went a little sotte voce. this means quiet, for those who don't follow opera. my boy was a bit down about this. so the following day herself went off in search of another pineapple. not to replace the pineapple but so a voice transplant could be carried out. the plan was to sedate the pineapple and then cut him down one of his seams and swop his voice squeaker with the new one.

however there were no pineapples in the shop. herself found a bouncing ball which also burped. she apparently considered ringing my boy up to play the burp down the phone to him to see if it was the right pitch but the whole shop was full of people buying singing santas and anyway she wasn't sure of the phone would convey the full vocal qualities of the ball so she took a chance and bought it anyway.

my boy played a few burps on the ball but pronounced it a little too treble to sound like the pineapple. it was agreed that they would search for a burping pineapple to be the voice donor on the internet.

but lo! the pineapple found his voice. so no surgery needed. and i got a ball! how cool is that?

ps i think mrs captain had been on the helium...

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

powered by ODEO

my boy has been persuaded to have a go at blogging. this is his first attempt so he hasn't quite got my flair yet but it will come - he's a clever little pup!

for those who can't quite follow his drift, which i must admit is quite drifting, as is his way, he is telling the story of when a friend of the peeps rang in the middle of the night on new year's eve to tell them that her son ben had been offered a kidney. i should explain that ben was waiting for a kidney - this wasn't a late christmas present.

herself and her friend john were the only people still awake. a certain amount of wine had been taken. neither of them is religious so they decided to burn some herbs and make a humanist wish. i suppose if i were to do this it would be a doggist wish. the kidney is still working several years later so it must have worked.

building bridges

the bridge, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

this week has been more crazy than most in our household. herself has been a bit frantic with stuff going on at work and can't sleep. himself is worrying about a fancy dress day at the school where he works and my boy has been obsessed with a weather station.

the weather station was given to my boy by uncle pete. uncle pete is the mad boffin in the family. the peeps are convinced that he has beefburger syndrome but as no-one seems to have known much about it when uncle pete was a pup he was just thought of as a bit eccentric. he is an astrophysicist and works as a computer programmer. another beefburger success!

anyway, there i go wandering off the point again. uncle pete had bought himself the weather station. it is a proper grown up one with loads of wires and bleeping things. uncle pete had decided to mess about with some wires and had mucked them up. rather than get it fixed he had bought himself another one. this is how my boy ended up with the one with messed up wires.

a tiny problem like messed up wires will not defeat my peeps. oh no. herself and my boy have experience of this sort of thing. they built a rather cute little robot from a kit which involved soldering tiny wires onto a circuit board. so the plan is to solder up the wires that have come off and the weather station will be good as new.

as regular readers will know, my boy does not do waiting. he gets this from herself who has to do everything yesterday. so in spite of the fact that the weather is not conducive to putting up the various sensors round the garden on account of high winds and driving rain and that it is dark when he gets home he wants the weather station put up. herself has promised to do it this afternoon as she is working at home so will be here when my boy gets in. i think this could be one of those interesting afternoons...

but i expect my readers are wondering what this picture is. it clearly is not a weather station (although i would not put it past my peeps to make a papier mache weather station). this is a bridge. some of my more perceptive readers will have deducted this from the title of the photograph. the bridge is part of himself's costume for the fancy dress at his school. he is going as a troll. this was herself's idea. i think it arose from himself's habit of being rather taciturn in the mornings. hereslf regularly tells him he is like a grumpy old troll.

the plan is to attach the bridge to a small hat which himself will wear. in case some of my readers are not aware of the story of the 3 billy goats, the troll lives under a bridge. so now all herself has to do is find 3 plastic goats to hang from the bridge.

i have to say, they don't make things easy for themselves...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

life begins at 40!

i had the most splendid breakfast today! some leftovers of steak! this more than made up for an evening in the less than scintillating company of metal dog. the steak was from mrs captain's birthday meal. yesterday mrs captain turned 40 and to celebrate had the peeps round, along with some other friends.

somehow, herself was delegated to purchase the steaks. don't ask me why this was a good idea. herself hasn't eaten anything furry for nearly 30 years. so why she would know one end of a steak from another is beyond me. she solved the problem by going to the local butcher who is a man of great pride in meat. rather unwisely she said "i need 5 rib-eye steaks please. i don't eat meat so you will have to show me how thick they should be." mrs captain had told her that small fat ones were better than big thin ones which is herself's philosophy about people as well.

herself came home with a huge carrier bag which smelt simply divine. in spite of a couple of clever sliding tackles by yours truly she shot it into the fridge before you could say "rib-eye". himself came home later with a halibut steak for herself which i also unfortunately failed to divert my way. as well as the meat purchasing, herself had rashly promised the captain she would make a birthday cake.

in order to explain what happened next i will need to rewind to thursday night. i hope my poor readers can keep up.

on thursday herself came home in tears. this has been a much less frequent occurrence since she started taking the happy meds. something was clearly amiss. to make matters worse, the peeps had the hair-slayer round. this is a nice lady who comes every 6 weeks or so and gives their hair a trim. my boy used to make the most unholy fuss about this but lately he is quite into his quiff so it is a more peaceful experience. luckily the hair slayer is good with people in tears and soon herself had calmed down enough to tell them what was wrong.

it seemed it was all to do with human resources. apparently human resources is a department where herself works. the people there pretend that they are nice people. however their real purpose seems to be to bully people who are unlucky enough to get ill. herself has come into contact with them, not because she is ill but because one of her colleagues is ill. it would appear that she had ended up having a row with one of these human resources people, hence the tears.

anyway, after the haircuts herself and my boy went round to see the captain and mrs captain. the captain saw herself was a bit down so made her and mrs captain a gin and tonic. herself is very partial to wine but has little experience of gin. suffice to say that the captain, who rarely touches alcohol, was a bit generous with the gin. herself had to be brought home amid much mirth. she even made the captain say "chocks away" as he drove down the road.

so yesterday she was a bit tired. so much so that after putting the cake in the oven she decided to have a little kip so as to be fresh for the evening's festivities. the kitchen already looked like a chocolate hurricane had whizzed round it. she had broken the whizzer on the cake mix and had to use a soup whizzer which didn't seem to me to be quite the thing. because of herself being asleep the cake got a bit charred. so she then had to cut off all the burnt bits before icing it.

as by now they were running late they had to leave the carnage and rush off. they of course managed to forget the 40 candles that herself had bought. maybe just as well, given her propensity for disaster. wouldn't have been much of a birthday for mrs captain if the house had gone up in flames.

the evening seems to have been a huge success. the steaks were so huge that there were even a few little bits for yours truly. the kitchen on the other hand took nearly an hour for herself to straighten out. ho hum...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

talking italian

well readers, you may wonder why the long silence. had i been chastised for complaining about my peeps? had metal dog got his own back by wrapping me in his springs? no. it is all to do with a request from one of my fans, the well know dogfacedboy. this person is something of a fraudster. she is neither a dog nor a boy but instead is a very nice and very helpful lady who lives somewhere in america.

anyway, dogfacedboy was interested in my last missive. she wanted to know more about himself's "speaking italian into a glass" trick. more than that, she suggested how himself's vocal talents might be made available to a wider public. it would appear that you can sign up for a website called odeo which is a bit like flickr only for noises.

so herself has been trying to sort this out. first she had to get himself to record one of his phrases. himself is rather shy about this sort of thing and had to be subjected to serious persuasion before he would agree. what herself does is to tickle his neck. himself has quite a short neck, the front of which is covered in beard, but it is very ticklish. when he is tickled he makes a funny noise.

in the end himself saw that resistance was useless and obliged with a short burst about venetian liver. not sure if this is like a venetian blind in terms of little strips but anyway.

then she had the interminable job of getting the little recording to fly off into hyperspace. this should have been simple but herself is a great one for complicating things. it took her 3 days of messing about and e-mailing the dogfaced one before she managed it.

so dear readers, without further ado, i give you - prego:

powered by ODEO

Sunday, November 12, 2006

helium heaven

cat and mouse, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

a rather worrying trend is developing. my peeps are getting a social life. don't get me wrong. i think it is good for them to get out of the house now and again. it keeps them off the computer and helps them develop their social skills. its just that they keep forgetting to take me.

they come back, roaring with laughter, going on about what a great time they have had, while yours truly has been stuck at home with no-one but metal dog to talk to. metal dog is a rather dull character who has a springy neck and just nods at me whatever i say. once i said he should be turned into a frying pan and he just nodded sagely as though i had paid him a compliment.

anyway, the peeps have been off galavanting without me. they went to visit their friends round the corner. the captain was off flying a plane, as captains do, but the other friends were there and it would appear a wild old time was had by all. it seems mrs captain made some really ace grub and as usual a certain amount of wine was taken. mostly by the "grown-ups" i hasten to add. heaven knows what my boy would be like given too much wine.

it would appear that mrs captain has a special helium laugh she can do without even breathing in helium, which has to be better for her. my boy's friend is learning how to do it as well. himself was even persuaded to do his special "speaking italian into a glass" trick, which always has them in stitches. as he can't speak italian he has to resort to reciting the names of italian dishes into a glass but the effect is very good. his italian accent is entirely plausible so no-one would notice that he is talking about food. mind you that is pretty much all he talks about in english...

it seems the friends round the corner had already invented their own version of this trick. they do flight announcements into a glass. i suppose they were taught how to do this by the captain. it is most comforting to know that my peeps are not the only ones who talk to glasses round here.

the evening was rounded off by a fine impression of a mouse by the young lady of the house. here you can see her terrifying a rather aloof looking cat. in fact maybe the cat is why i don't get to go round there...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

the gadget queen

blackberries, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

there has been another lull in the photography this week. somewhere herself saw an ad for a thing called a blackberry pearl. this seems to be a type of phone. herself had a perfectly good phone which came free last time she took out a mobile phone contract. the contract was about to run out so herself saw this as the ideal opportunity to tell the nice people who let her use their network that if she didn't get a new phone she would throw her toys out of the pram.

they appear to have told her to take a hike at first but herself is nothing if not determined and eventually, worn down by the forensic legal mind, they capitulated and said she could have a new toy.

herself already has a blackberry phone for work. this is rather a clunky peice of kit and i have to say i was surprised that she wanted one at home, given the old phone was quite a cutey. but the new blackberry is something else. it has a little lighting up thingy which you can roll (well at least if you don't have paws you can roll it - i didn't find it that easy). it seems with a blackberry you can get your e-mails wherever you are and even find out what you are supposed to be doing.

so if herself is in court and the judge wants to list a case, she can check to see if she is having a haircut that day or getting the car fixed. this has to be a good thing. she was driving around with no brake lights at all for a week recently because she couldn't get to the garage when it was open. the boot in her car is small enough without it getting stuffed in by someone driving too close to see her non-existant brake lights. i'd have to go on a diet.

anyway, the new blackberry is rather clever. but it works in an entirely different way to the old phone. this has necessitated hours of poring over the manual, surfing the net and even collaring the extreme programmer when he visited to get it working. every day she has regaled himself with tales of its feats. "i can make it dial a number now" "very nice dear". "i've downloaded a chicken ringtone" (the latter sounds like a chicken being strangled which i suppose it would do if it was sqaushed into such a small device). "i can get my e-mails at last" "that's nice dear. you can do that on your computer you know".

it would appear that herself has been distracting all her poor colleagues as well. nothing new in that but there seems to have been a surge in crime which co-incides with the new phone. i hope the home secretary doesn't get to hear of it.

the one thing it doesn't do is make a good crumble...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

the dialysis nurse visits

well, readers, you may wonder what this is. i certainly did. a lady arrived with a little wheely suitcase to see the peeps. she seemed like a nice lady. didn't bat an eyelid when i gave her the usual lurcher greeting. she was wearing trousers, which i find helps. a cold nose against the thigh seems to be a bit much for some of the more sensitive ladies. she told the peeps she has a dog at home so she is probably used to this sort of thing.

out of the suitcase she pulled a lot of very interesting stuff. there were pipes and bags full of liquid and little packets with taps in. it seems this stuff is all part of the blood hoovering thing that himself will have to do. there was a certain amount of talk about dogs and germs. she was at pains to point out that it was not so much me personally that would cause a problem but my hair. i have to say this gave me a bit of a start. was i to be shaved? i look very silly in my birthday suit. not only is my fur black and white and grey, but my skin underneath is also black and white and grey. so without the fur i am very splotchy and resemble a bit of abstract art. i think other dogs might well point and possibly even laugh.

however it seems i do not have to go bald. himself simply has to do his blood hoovering thing in a room where i am not allowed to go. suits me fine. i don't want to have to watch all this anyway. it looks very scary.

my boy is made of sterner stuff than me. he was fascinated by all the kit and asked some very penetrating questions of the lady. then he dragged her off to his room to show her his computer game where he races round in a car and shoots people. the lady seems to be very good at this sort of game. it sounds as though she has a boy a bit like mine at home. i think we will all get along just fine.

Friday, November 03, 2006

alls well that ends well

autumn sunlight, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

today turned out better than i expected. i started the day in disgrace. this was as a result of a little digestive trouble in the night. not my fault herself decided to give me a treat and pour mushroom juices and whole garlic cloves over my tea.

the mushroom thing arose as a result of one of herself's website ideas. "now why doesn't that surprise me?" i hear my long-suffering readers sigh. how it came about was that herself is helping someone design a website. part of the theme of the website was pictures of herbs. herself for some reason did not among her 5,000 odd photos have a single picture of a herb.

not being someone who is easily deterred, she spent a happy half hour out in the garden among the rather sorry plants that are trying to settle down in peace for the winter. she snipped a few sprigs of herbs and then spent quite some time taking what turned out to be not very good pictures of them. so she was left with quite a few herbs with nowhere to go.

they soon found a role in life. she found some huge mushrooms in the fridge, glooped an embarrassing amount of olive oil over them, threw in a few garlic cloves and bunged the pan in the oven. a little while later a rather nice aroma wafted out and herself sat down in front of daytime tv (which she secretly likes) and munched her way through the fungal feast.

this is how i came to have the leftover oil and garlic on my tea. and very nice it was too. but that much garlic plays hell with an old chap's digestion and i'm afraid the garlic cloves gave an encore on the bedroom rug at about 4am. so there she is in the middle of the night scrubbing the seagrass flooring, which it has to be said is not the easiest stuff to get, well stuff like that, out of.

herself is not one to hold a grudge so i was still allowed to go for a walk with her and mrs prof, who is down for the weekend. we walked all the way along the downs in glorious sunshine and back along the river and ended up in a very nice pub for lunch. well, the ladies had lunch. i lay on a rather chilly stone floor waiting for himself to come and pick us all up, or "scoop up the drunks" as he calls it. they weren't drunk as far as i could see but maybe its a figure of speech. come to think of it if he tried to scoop either of them up he'd end up in hospital with a hernia, so it must be a figure of speech.

did meet a rather sweet little pup called pebble who tried to climb on my back. herself tried valiantly to take a picture but the little chap moved so fast they all came out blurry.

so tired now i can hardly type. good job herself gives me a hand...

Sunday, October 29, 2006


bonfire, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

i am pleased to report that the new spray helped with the old nerves. still a little shaken by the loud bangs and crashes but managed not to disgrace myself. the peeps had company for dinner and in spite of several attempts on my part the most i managed to glean were some prawn shells. couldn't get near the delicious smelling fish stew and even more wonderful beef stew.

the burping pineapple had a brief outing but had to be confined to barracks after burping too much.

but a fun time was had by all...


a most unsettling start to the day. rudely awakened by herself at about 10am. i usually like a lie in on a saturday but hereslf craftily waved the lead at me to give the impression we were off for a run. however, it swiftly became clear that a run was not what was planned.

there are a very limited number of places that i can be taken for a run. this is because of the incident with the car. some years ago i was out with himself in some woods near where we live. a rather foolish deer ran right in front of us and of course, my genes being what they are (a chap's at the mercy of his genes) i had to give chase. the problem with lurcher genes is they also have a setting which switches off all the useful controls such as pain monitoring and road sense.

all of a sudden boof! there i am lying on the road with a crowd of people round me. a large pool of blood is rapidly spreading which it dawns on me is from my front leg. there is an old man whose car it was that hit me and some younger people talking into phones. then herself and my boy arrive in what can only be described as a manner more suited to a car chase in a computer game. i am put on a blanket and into the back of the car and whisked to the vets. what follows is a blur. it seems i had split an artery in my leg which would explain the extreme lightheadedness and the copious amounts of blood.

it appears that my boy was a complete star. people with beefburger syndrome find change difficult. things happening out of the blue are not easy for them. but because my boy knew herself was helping the vet stem the blood he just stood where he was told and didn't attempt to take anything apart in the vets surgery, thus allowing them to fix me up. the next few days were touch and go and herself had to sleep on the floor with me the first night. but slowly i recovered and i'm now right as rain apart from some new scars for my extensive collection.

the upshot of this was that i am no longer allowed off the lead anywhere near roads. so i knew this morning that we were not heading towards a walk. au contraire, we were going to the vets. the vets is not my favourite place. there is nothing wrong with the people there. it is just that every time we go there they stick needles in me and put nasty things in places they shouldn't to see if i have a temperature.

i have been to the vets more than most, largely due to incidents such as the one i describe above. as well as having troublesome genes, we lurchers also have thin skin. if you add to this recipe living in an area with a lot of flints you will begin to get my drift. i have had more cut paws and legs than you have had hot dinners. herself is forever saying how glad she is that she took out vet insurance for me.

today's trip was one of the less traumatic ones. it seems all we were there for was to get some spray. this is to calm me down while the peeps are at tonight's firework display. it will be sprayed on a sock and then fixed on my collar and i will slide into a state of tranquility. this is good. the fireworks are very loud and even a laid-back chap like myself can get the collywobbles at times.

so peace and love dear readers, have a thoroughly chilled and karmic evening...