Tuesday, February 27, 2007

see gulls

fledgling, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

i overheard a fascinating conversation over the breakfast table this morning.

over the weekend herself has modified a bird feeder. one of the birdfeeders is a basket for stale bread. the bread got wet and went all icky so herlsef decided to construct a roof for it.

this morning herself and my boy were commenting on how there were very few birds using the new contraption. "i expect they don't like change" said my boy, who knows about this sort of thing. "if we had seagulls in the garden they would be braver." "seagulls are not very attractive birds" said herself, "and one wouldn't fit under the new roof."

this set my boy off on an odd train of thought. "if you dated a seagull i wonder where you could take it" (i assume this was because in his book attractive equals dating) "well you couldn't take it to the pictures," said herself, "it would squawk all the way through the film."

they then talked about how seagulls dance on the ground to fool worms into thinking that it was raining. "i suppose you could take it clubbing" said my boy, finally. "why not date a person" said herself, ever the logical one. "i suppose a person would be nicer to snog" said my boy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


a former shed, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

this week is half term. this means that himself and my boy are off school. in order to keep an eye on them and make sure they don't get too much rest, herself has taken the week off too.

herself has come up with a plan to build a barbecue. there is a bit of history in this family concerning the construction of barbecues. herself has tried on two previous occasions to build one. neither time was a howling success.

when the peeps moved into our house it was a bit basic. the only heating was a couple of storage heaters. they did not work all that well. eventually the peeps had central heating installed. the bricks from the storage heaters were very heavy and taking them to the tip would have bent the car. "i know" said herself, "we'll build a barbecue with them!"

construction commenced. soon a rather nice barbecue was built. however there was a fatal flaw. she had made the mortar too weak. when it was lit it fell down. not to be deterred, she went off and bought some readimix quick setting mortar. "this will work" she said, "the readimix people know how to mix the stuff." true to its name, the quick-setting mortar set quickly. far too quickly for herself to keep up with it. so there was a partially built barbecue and a rather fetching sort of rock.

herself was becoming discouraged. she wailed about the catastrophe in an e-mail to mrs prof. "i have the solution," said mrs prof, ever the feminist. "get a man to do it. sit in your lounger with a nice glass of wine and watch himself build it." so that is what happened.

when the time came to light the barbecue, it became apparent that there was a design flaw. too much air rushed in and burnt away all the coals before anything could be cooked. various modifications were tried with little effect. then a small mouse moved into the ashes at the bottom of the barbecue and had a family. she could be seen running backwards and forwards with tasty morsels for her babies. so the barbecue could not be used. by the time the mouse moved out the peeps had got out of the habit of barbecuing.

however, this year they are all fired up (a little joke there for my more discerning readers) about eating outdoors. the new barbecue is a grand scheme. it also involves getting rid of the rotting shed and paving a bit of grass that is too icky even for me to sit on.

herself got to work with her jemmy. this is her favourite tool. her dad got her it when she was at college. i suppose this was in case the career in law didn't work out and she had to take up burglary. soon she had removed quite a bit of the shed. himself was left holding up the roof while she took some pictures. himself was not enamoured with her idea to convert the shed into a gazebo. nor indeed her idea to convert the shed door into a bench.

once all the walls had been razed to the ground she set to work breaking them up for kindling. my boy was impressed. "hey mummy, you are really good with the jemmy!" he said. i am not sure if this is the sort of thing a lawyer would want on their cv but herself is not, it has to be said, a typical lawyer. she has a chainsaw certificate on her wall above her desk. she says this is much more likely to impress people in her line of work than all her other certificates put together.

things have quietened down a bit now. baths have been had. i finally got a walk. tomorrow the fun starts. luckily herself has agreed that himself can do the bricklaying. they both know how to do it. but if himself does it there is less chance of all the food rolling off the barbecue as he uses a spirit level...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

hang onto your hats

getting things done, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

the task of getting the household organised is catching on. my boy has now started to make lists too. he has decided to set up a business. this morning he said he was going to go into business with his friend round the corner.

his friend, it would appear, might also be a beefburger person. herself has been saying this to his friend's mum for a while. "ah, you say everyone is autistic" his friend's mum replied. now to my wise old lurcher eye it would appear that a fair proportion of the people that come our way are indeed autistic. this may be just the way my peeps select their friends.

and of course all cats are autistic. this has been scientifically proved. anyway, it now appears that both the doctor and his friend's school have said to his mum that he may be a beefburger person. when he told my boy, the reply was typical. "well, obviously!" my boy could not understand why it had taken so long for everyone to work this out.

herself was not thrilled with the business idea. my boy and his friend round the corner argue like a pair of old men. one of the things about beefburger people is they like to be in charge. now this works fine if there is only beefburger person. but if you have two (i think this is called a double whopper) there is a problem. hence the arguments. they cannot even agree on which computer game to play, never mind agreeing on all the fine details that would be needed to run a business.

herself is also a little worried about the first item on my boy's list. it would appear that a title deed is a bit of paper that proves you own your house. the fact that my boy is looking at updating a title deed sounded to herself as though he might have taken a leaf out of her book in the re-mortgage stakes. obviously a business would need finance and as my boy at the moment does not own a house, he seems to have come up with a devilish plan.

this is the same boy who worked out the pin code on the sky zapper for the telly by watching herself key it in. this only became apparent when the sky bill had a load of films you had to pay to watch. luckily they were not the sort of films with bare people in. so herself had to change the pin and for good measure also her pins on her credit cards which were the same number.

these beefburger people are very clever. my boy's friend, another beefburger person, managed to order a real live husky from canada on the internet. luckily the owners got in touch to arrange delivery and her parents found out before they got a call from heathrow saying it had arrived.

as i have said before, that sgt goose has a lot to answer for with this list stuff. while herself and my boy were operating in total chaos it kept them in check a bit. the idea of them being organised opens a whole lot of rather scary possibilities...

Monday, February 19, 2007

watch the birdy!

i can hear you all cry "what's this? two posts in one day? joker's paws must be on fire!" actually, dear readers, herself is on holiday so is playing on her computer rather a lot.

this picture is rather difficult to fathom. but i will tell you what this is. it is a birdfeeder webcam. herself built this yesterday after reading an article in lifehacker. lifehacker is a sort of blog with lots of ideas as to how you can save time and be more efficient. the only trouble is that if you spend too much time reading about time management the two lots of time cancel each other out.

we have a lot of birds in our garden. modesty prevents me from taking too much credit but suffice to say that the smell of lurcher wee around the place keeps those pesky cats off. no cats equals more birds. the birdfeeder webcam looked fairly straightforward. herself had purchased some very cheap webcams for christmas presents for people and had somehow overestimated how many people she could fob them off on. so this project would use up another one.

it took about an hour for her to get the software onto her laptop. "if this was a mac you would just plug the bloody thing in and it would work!" she wailed. finally the recalcitrant laptop deigned to accept the drivers. she clicked on the thing that was supposed to make the camera work. "agh!" she shrieked. my boy and himself went running in thinking she had got an electric shock or something. but no. the laptop has a built in webcam so you can chat to your friends. somehow the laptop did not understand the point of the birdcam and instead was showing herself her own image. and she really does not look like a sparrow.

after another half an hour of swearing the laptop was persuaded to pick up the signal from the birdcam. herself settled down to wait for birds. needless to say the birds were a little wary of the technology and gave it a bit of a wide berth. himself came into the kitchen. "haven't you noticed that you can actually see more clearly looking out of the window than looking on the webcam?" he said. not one of his most tactful observations, i feel.

herself decided on a new plan. she would set up a lurchercam. the whole caboodle was dismantled and erected pointing at my bed. now, i am used to a bit of fame, and it has been said by some that i am probably the most famous lurcher in the world. but a chap should be able to put his paws up without the whole world peering at his rear end. i decided that the best plan was to keep perfectly still so that if she ever did manage to get it to upload the footage on the web it would look no different to a photograph. that way any viewers would get bored and go away to nose into someone else's bed.

i'm not sure if she has worked out how to beam it into cyberspace yet, thank heavens...

a request from a reader

hello dear readers! today i present my first post by request. it is indeed an honour for a humble lurcher to have such a loyal readership. this picture is at the request of sgt goose, one of my regular readers and one of herself's mates at work. the picture is of sgt goose's desk. as you will see the desk is not arranged in the traditional manner.

sgt goose is a great believer in being organised. indeed it was him who got herself into the devilish list-making thing. one of sgt goose's earlier innovations was to label his trays. there was one tray which said "urgent", one which said "catastrophically urgent" or something similar and one which said "beyond hope" or "too late" or something equally fatalistic. the trays seem to have vanished. this may well be because all of the contents began to fall into the "too late" category.

sgt goose's new desk arrangement looks as though it might be part of the whole de-cluttering of life project upon which sgt goose has embarked. it is quite clearly impossible for anyone to leave anything on the desk when the good sergeant's attention is elsewhere. but it did occur to me that such an approach was rather extreme. i tentatively raised this with herself when she showed me this picture which she took with her phone.

herself assured me that, far from sgt goose having done this to his own desk, it was the work of the driver orderlies. their main two purposes in life seem to be to drive around and to keep things orderly. they have clearly failed with the latter. it would appear that the driver orderly who dismantled the desk has disappeared off the face of the earth, taking with him all the bolts that would allow the desk to be re-constructed. so poor sgt goose has to sit on the floor and tape his bits of paper to the desk to stop them sliding off. it gives a whole new meaning to "enhancing vertical focus"...

Friday, February 16, 2007

think back to where you last saw them

well readers. i can see you are wondering what this is. i will put you out of your misery. it is a sonic keyfinder keyring. what you have to do is whistle and it will flash its little red light and beep wildly at you so you can find your keys. its a little bit like a dog in some ways, although of course no self-respecting dog would bleep when whistled at.

herself purchased one as a present for her friend's partner who is always losing his keys and while she was at it she thought she would also purchase one for himself. himself gets very stressy about his keys. if he can't find them he flaps around like a tornado, shouting at everyone "where have you put them? think back to where you last saw them!" they are usually located where he left them, often in the all-consuming kitchen drawer under the silly pompey hat.

himself put his keys on the sonic keyfinder keyring and came into the bedroom to kiss herself goodbye before heading off to work. herself was waving the infernal hair machine round her head. "bleep, bleep, bleep" called the sonic keyfinder keyring from himself's pocket. it must have mistaken the infernal hair machine for someone whistling. poor thing must be tone deaf. himself looked a little dismayed. "i'm sure it is just teething troubles" said herself, "its just a case of getting used to it."

himself came home from work and gave the sonic keyfinder keyring straight to my boy. my boy was thrilled as he loves bleeping things. herself was less pleased. "why have you given it away?" she wailed.

it seems there is an advert on the radio station that himself listens to. the station is called talk sport and seems to be full of opinionated men sounding off about chickens, or fowls of some sort and slide rules and all sorts of nonsense. himself is something of a football fan so listens avidly to this drivel.

the advert that caused the problem is for a burger place called asperger king. this is the proper name for what is going on in my boy's brain that makes him so good at computing. or maybe the burger place is called macdonalds. anyway, in the advert there is someone whistling. so the whole way to work the sonic keyfinder keyring was going off and himself couldn't do anything about it because it was fixed to his keys which were in the ignition. i don't think apoplectic quite covers it.

some people are never grateful...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

valentines day

today was valentines day. herself had the day off. this was not for romantic reasons but because my boy had his annual review at school. beefburger children like my boy have a thing called a statement. this tells teachers and other people how they are special and explains why they sometimes get in a muddle because of thinking of other things. each year the teachers have a meeting with the peeps to go over what my boy has been up to. this is called the annual review. originally it was to be in the morning which was why herself took the day off. but himself was on a course about motor skills ( i think this is about how to steal cars) so the review had to be moved. herself took the opportunity to go to the gym with mrs captain and then managed to persuade mrs captain to make her lunch too.

anyway the peeps went off to the review. they were gone ages. when they got back they had a huge load of food. this was not donated by the school but in fact was the result of a panic trip to waitrose after the review. my boy it seems has not been an angel. he has been dissing the teachers and being heavy with some of the pupils. on the good side he has been working hard at his work. mostly.

the peeps felt a bit low after the review. herself in particular was a bit of a nightmare at school by all acounts so always feels like she is in trouble if she sets foot inside a school. anyway they decided to go to waitrose where they sell lovely grub. hereslf seems to have run amok. it would appear that himself had to put his foot in front of the trolley to stop her rushing off while he asked her what she was planning on having for tea (he is having cowballs and my boy is having chips and what are known as intact peas). herself was buying vegetables which always make himself go clammy, especially the aubergines. herself got him to let go by saying she would scream and pretend he was a mugger. as he has a fine beard and is rather sartorially challenged (that means scruffy for those who don't have a dictionary handy) this would probably have worked and as he knows she rarely makes an idle threat the vegetable fest carried on.

anyway, the plan was to have a nice meal. herself decided to look on the waitrose website where there is a recipe finder. what you do is put in the ingredients and then it tells you what to cook. however when herself put in aubergine, purple sprouting broccoli, curly kale, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, cheese and potatoes it ground to a halt. himself suggested that she put in "help" but this resulted in a huge number of recipes with no relation to the ingredients.

in the end they settled on mediterranean vegetables. there was a long discussion about the size of tray to cook them in. himself explained in very simple terms, as in "nod, if you understand..." - that if they cooked all the vegetables it would lead to a serious case of global warming and further, that surely the leftovers lesson had been learnt from the red cabbage?

herself had to move the bunch of flowers that himself had bought for her from the sink. before she put them in vases she thought it would be nice to take some photos so she went off to get both cameras. "where have you gone?" called himself, weakly. just then she returned. "i cannot believe you have been distracted again,"he said, "you are taking f-ing photos!" unfortunately the pictures she took are still in the camera. she thought it might be prudent to try and help with the kitchen stuff. although i am not sure how welcome her attentions are in that department...

Monday, February 12, 2007

the colour purple

red lettuce, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

tonight himself has gone out. he is the clerk to the governors at the school where he works so now and again he has to go to meetings and write things down.

himself is always rather nervous about going out. it is not the meetings that bother him. it is the fact that herself is left in charge of the cooking. tonight was no exception. he tried to interest her in a salad. but no sooner than his back was turned was she asking my boy what he wanted for tea. "i don't know" he said, "just let me deal with this killer flea and then i can think about it". the house is not infested. it is one of my boys computer games.

they settled on bubble and squeak. although this sounds like a recipe that witches might make it is in fact a meal made of leftover cabbage and potato. there was quite a bit of cabbage left over from some friends visiting at the weekend. so herself set to work.

soon it was ready. my boy came into the kitchen. "what's that?" he asked. "its bubble and squeak" replied herself. "why is it purple?" enquired my boy. "its red cabbage" explained herself. (i know the picture i have selected is in fact a lettuce but that is all i could find).

my boy made a valiant effort with the purple stuff. in the end he was defeated. "sorry mummy but it hurts my teeth". (my boy has a loose tooth) "can i have some toast?" now i would have said that toast would be tougher on the teeth than cabbage and potato. and herself obviously thought the same. "is it really too tough or is it the purpleness?" she asked "only i wouldn't want to make it again once your tooth has come out and you still not like it." "well, it is the purpleness really" he said, unable to bear up under cross-examination by the forensic mind.

then himself rang up to say he was on the way home. (readers, you will have to allow me a little artistic licence here. obviously i could only hear her end of the conversation but she told me afterwards. it would just ruin my flow to try explaining it all chronologically.)

himself asked how things were. herself explained about the bubble and squeak. "and i bet you didn't peel the potatoes either!" he said "well, not exactly" she admitted. "and did you use all those potatoes?" "well, yes" "so there is loads of this purple stuff?" "er, yes..." "and we can't give it to joker because it will make him fart." "er, no."

now readers, i would not want anyone to think that i have a flatulence problem. not for me those weird yoghurts that fill you up with bacteria on the pretext of being good for that bloated feeling (herself says it is a marketing triumph to be able to sell people germs).

but i suppose a bucketful of cabbage might have a bit of an effect. the air would in fact be purple...

Thursday, February 08, 2007


well i have to say i am in the bad books. big time.

yesterday the peeps had tomato soup and bread and cheese. apart from himself who had some sort of cow stew which herself was a bit scathing about. herself and my boy had grated cheese on their soup.

my boy got full. herself said it would be good for 11ses. i suppose even if i could have got my head round what 11ses were i may not have take it on board. anyway the soup and the cheese were left unattended and somehow i ate them. all of them.

this caused a bit of consternation last night but nothing compared to this morning. my boy was making cheese straws. regular readers will be aware of the whole cookery (or food technology as it now seems to be called) thing. the teacher is not altogether understanding of how things are round our place. so herself had to write a little note about how "the dog ate my homework" which was not altogether true as had i known it was for my boy i might have left a bit.

also herself went off to her counseller. this is a lady who makes life better for her. when she got back i did not hear her so i was caught red-pawed sleeping on the new sofas. hmmm.

as it turned out the cookery lady donated a bit of cheese so my boy was able to make cheese straws rather than just straws. somehow i have failed to manage to try them...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

life, the universe and well, life...

the universe, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

you may wonder what this is. well, it is the complete history of the world and also the universe. or at least the solar system. today we are thinking big.

the solar system has arrived in our kitchen. it was a christmas present from mrs prof to herself. mrs prof likes to get herself presents that keep her busy so as to keep her out of mischief. the sort of mischief that herself is capable of over the christmas period has to be seen to be believed. she is not someone who does the sitting around chatting thing all that well. so by boxing day she has designed some mad project which will not only go wrong but which will involve everyone else in the chaos too.

however the solar system has proved a challenge. this is not unrelated to the fact that herself has managed to lose the instructions. i suspect this was when there was a massive cull of wrapping paper after the presents were opened. herself has also lost her camera case with a memory chip in it which probably went the same way.

so the solar system has been put together with scant regard to which planet goes where, with the added problem that herself ran out of twine so some planets have ended up rather too near each other or, more seriously, too near the sun.

anyway tonight herself was in need of a bit of company so while himself was making the tea (he is the only one with any culinary skills in this household, as regular readers will be aware) herself sat at the table putting the finishing touches to the planets. then it was time to hang them from the ceiling.

there was something horribly inevitable about what happened next. the planets hang from a criss cross of poles. it appears even to a humble lurcher that there is a need for balance in such an arrangement (there is no point in going all buddhist on me - i am talking simple physics here) and because of the loss of the instructions this was not possible. himself started to curse mrs prof. herself was more philosophical. "this is just how it is in real life" she said. " just when you think you have it all levelled out it goes skewiff again".

"and what of the book?" i hear you ask. well himself was visited at work by a bookselling person who sold him all the secrets of world history for £15. i am not sure what this says about world history. maybe it is not worth the paper it is written on?

Monday, February 05, 2007

rushed off my paws

when it snowed, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

i have had to be very firm with herself and make her sit down to write my blog. my public have been getting nervous. i think even herself became aware of this when sergeant goose asked here what i have been up to and enquired as to whether i have abandoned my writing career.

the answer, dear readers, is no. unfortunately, until they perfect voice recognition software for dogs, i have to rely on herself to put my ideas down on paper or in fact in cyberspace. and i think it may be a long time. how a computer would be able to tell that a "woof" from me meant the same as a "woof" from a chihuahua is a perplexing thought.

herself is not all that reliable. there have been myriad excuses. she has blamed designing websites, producing newsletters, taking grandma out for lunch, designing major projects (which i have to say sound destined for failure) in the garden, talking with friends and most of all making lists.

the whole "getting life organised" thing seems to be taking up a lot of time. quite a bit of this is clicking on the little box which says "postpone" next to tasks which say "overdue". i am sure all this gives her some sense of control over the domestic chaos but it should not get in the way of my literary endevours.

so, dear readers, i have made her add "write joker's blog" to her list. along with "groom joker" and various other essential jobs. i will be watching her...