Sunday, December 28, 2008

winter fuel

dear readers, yet again i have neglected you all. this has partly been due to what is known as the festive season. although this year the peeps have not had the usual amount of shopping for gifts to distract them. they agreed not to get each other anything in order to allow them to purchase a nice present for my boy. he has been wanting a satnav for quite some time and it was decided that he could have one as a joint birthday and christmas present.

some of my more astute readers will have spotted the slight anomoly in this idea - my boy does not have a car. this has not stopped him, of course. he has navigated the peeps on foot round the neighbourhood. and of course whenever the chance to go out in the car has come up he is there like a shot, in contrast to recent weeks when the prospect of going in the car caused fear and trepidation.

as well as a decidedly scrooge-like approach to gift-buying, another side effect of the credit crunch chez nous has been a fall in the ambient temperature in the house. herself has, as regular readers know, been trying to make the family finances add up. this has stretched even her creative genius. the price of domestic heating has gone up exponentially in recent times. gas (as in the blue stuff that comes out of the cooker, not the stuff my readers in the usa run their cars on) has gone up in price 76% in the last 5 years.

herself has always paid the fuel bills by a nifty little thing called a direct debit. this allows the fuel company to sneak into your bank account every month and help itself to a large chunk of money. the upside of this arrangement is that you don't get hit with scary bills that you can't afford every 3 months. instead you get hit with slightly less scary bills that you still can't afford every month.

herself has increased the direct debit several times recently in an effort to keep up with price hikes. but the peeps are still considerably in the red with the fuel companies. so herself decided to do an online energy survey. this was on the website belonging to the fuel company so it may be seen as being a little biased, but herself entered into the spirit of things. however, there was soon a general air of disatisfaction.

" 'how do you heat your house?' " she read from the screen, "they give you a choice of gas or electricity. they don't have a box for 'i go out in the freezing cold and pouring rain and collect wood which i then bring home and saw up and burn on the fire like an old troll-woman!' "

and then she read some more.

" 'when do you have your heating on? a) all the time b) evenings and mornings in the week and all the time at weekends c) evenings and mornings 7 days a week' how about d) 'when one or both dogs teeth are chattering' !"

herself finally got to the bit where the recommendations for saving energy were delivered. this caused even more mirth.

" 'turn your heating thermostat down by one degree.' how is that going to save us any money? you would have to have the heating on for that to make any difference!"

luckily uncle martin's generosity got us through christmas in a warm and cosy glow. uncle martin works in a place where they make things from wood. there are big chunks of wood that are offcuts from this and just before christmas uncle martin gave himself 3 large bags of this wonderful stuff. it burns very hot and does not need sawing up. so we had a roaring fire to sit by over the festive season.

i hope all my readers had similar good fortune and that your paws are warm and cosy.

Monday, December 08, 2008

how does your garden grow?

today provided ample blog-fodder, dear readers. in order to explain events today i will have to rewind a little. i hope those more distractable among you are able to keep up.

you may remember before himself's operation there was frantic activity involving mick and martin the builders. among other things they constructed a raised bed. this was for the knit-your-own-vegetables project, which is part of the money-saving drive. anyway, the raised bed has been sitting there waiting for herself to fill it with soil. she came home from work the week before himself's operation grinning like a cheshire cat (wash my mouth out!)

"i've met a man in the street and he is going to bring us some soil!" she said. it transpired that this was not quite as insane as it sounds. the man in question lives round the corner and has a lurcher so he can't be all bad. herself decided on him supplying the soil, not because of the lurcher, but because he has a truck which says that he is a landscape gardener. he came and had a look and a price was agreed for the work.

however, before the soil arrived, disaster struck in the form of a water bill. it seems we now have to pay for water in accordance with how much we use. regular readers will be aware that my boy likes to take his time in the shower. in addition there is a lot of hosing up after young dave. and the peeps are always washing clothes. so the water bill was huge. it ate up all the money herself had earmarked for the soil, so she had to tell the man she met in the street that it was not going to happen.

fast forward to the last time we saw the snake-charmers. they have a large garden which they have great plans for. they also have a large pile of topsoil which they don't want. herself, ever the resourceful one, said she would take it off their hands.

today was the appointed day for the collection of the soil. young dave and i were put in the back of the car. my boy was put in the front. he is off school with mysterious queasiness and dizzyness and general out-of-sorts-ness. the trailer was hitched up to the back. i had assumed that we were off on one of herself's wood-gathering expeditions but no sooner had we moved off than we pulled up outside the snake-charmers' house. the wheelbarrow was taken off the trailer, the trailer was unhitched and pulled off the pavement onto the drive and herself disappeared from view.

she soon returned, pushing very hard on the wheelbarrow, which had thoughtlessly acquired a flat tyre. in the barrow was a huge pile of soil. herself shovelled the soil into the trailer, while young dave and i watched in growing disbelief. it was quite obvious that the walk was not going to be for a little while. the operation was repeated at ever-increasing intervals, as herself got more and more tired. eventually she ground to a halt and my boy was collected to help hitch the trailer back up. they tugged away at the bit that attaches to the car but it would not budge off the ground.

herself went in and fetched mr snake-charmer. he doubled-up with laughter at the sight of the stricken trailer. then the three of them tried to lift it but it still would not budge.

"why us?" wailed herself, "i only want to grow a few vegetables!"

the trailer was left where it was to await a time when mrs snake-charmer would also be available. my boy also pointed out that removing the wheelbarrow from the top of the pile of soil might be helpful.

those vegetables had just better appreciate all this effort...

Friday, December 05, 2008


oh readers, has it been that long? i have been remiss in the extreme in keeping you up to date with events chez nous. herself has been somewhat distracted by the men in her life. the largest of these has been backwards and forwards to the hospital having blood removed and peered at, and worse still, having a little pipe removed.

this latter procedure occurred last friday. it seems that when superkidny was placed in himself's rather fine belly the doctors thoughtfully placed a little piece of plastic between superkidny and himself's bladder. this was to make sure superkidny's wonderful output of wee found its way to the great outdoors. once things are all working swimmingly the little piece of plastic is removed. i am not sure i can bring myself to tell you how this is done without my eyes watering, save to say it involves a tiny camera called a shuftyscope, and an even smaller pair of pliers on a very long stalk. and a man with very steady hands.

the hospital told himself to bring someone to drive him home. presumably this was because his eyes would be watering and he might not be able to see. herself accordingly took the day off work. my boy was off school and so the peeps set off at some unearthly hour, leaving myself and young dave in charge of things at home. the peeps were gone for hours and hours and hours. as time ticked by i mused on the ear-bashing himself would be in for. herself does not do waiting. and she does not do hospitals. and she does not do london all that happily either. for a procedure that was due to take 2 minutes, things appeared to be dragging rather.

when they finally returned, it was with stories of kafkaesque systems within the hospital. herself can rant for britain on the subject of systems. i will confine myself to just one example, lest you fall asleep. himself had been sent a letter saying his appointment for the shuftyscope was at 12 o'clock. the peeps had to get to the hospital for 8.30 so himself's blood could be peered at, so they were very early for the appointment. they dutifully went along to the day surgery place and checked in at about 11am. they were told to wait. at 12 o'clock himself was called over and given a rather fetching gown. he was told to put it in a locker and to come back at 1 o'clock as the shuftyscope man was at lunch between 12 and 1. so why send people appointments when the man would be eating his sarnies? especially for something so nerve-wracking. the waiting area must have been full of men with shrinking wedding tackle. i suspect this would make the shuftyscope man's job much harder. trying to get the shuftyscope down the end of a todger that has turned itself inside out in fright must be quite a skill.

the other man in herself's life has also been keeping the peeps busy. my boy got through all the weeks of serious medical stuff in one piece but fell to bits when it all stopped. he was off school for a week a while ago with a little tummy trouble. then he went back, but not for long. soon he was off again, complaining of feeling sick and indeed showing all the signs of someone who was feeling sick, from the green tinge to the shaking hands. visits to the doctor followed, for his ears to be peered down and his chest listened to. meanwhile he got even thinner, having decided that eating was not a great idea. it became apparent to the peeps that there was more to this than met the eye.

after forensic cross-examination by herself my boy finally admitted that the feeling sick was being triggered by the thought of school. things there have been a little tricky, with my boy coming out with rather too many of his tactless and inappropriate comments in lessons and getting into bother. he has also been causing grief to his mates, to the point that they are beginning to avoid him. all of this became clear to the peeps after a meeting with my boy's teachers, which had herself in tears when she got home.

the upshot is that we are going to have family therapy. and my boy is going to have some other sort of therapy as well. so at last we are going to get some lessons in how we are supposed to go on. better late than never is all i can say.

and as for young dave and his delicate insides, the tale of that will have to wait for another day...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

daily bread

on saturday himself was well enough to go to the footie. so herself decided to take young dave and me to the beach. she was hoping that the seagull had wended its way to the blue yonder.

all went well with this plan. the sun was shining. people were pottering around doing their shopping and errands. herself decided to pop into the bakers and buy a cappuccino to drink on the beach while we ran around. there were quite a few people in the bakers, buying rolls and croissants. due to the unreasonable prejudice against lurchers herself has a technique which allows her to be inside the bakers while young dave and i are on the outside, at the end of our leads. while this meets the requirements of environmental health, it does not allow much control on the part of the handler. young dave's lurcherhood skills are coming along very nicely and he was able to put part 2 of the theiving course into effect - with a deft forward half twist he relieved a rather surprised looking lady of one of the bread rolls that she had purchased. i was pleased to see that young dave had been paying attention to the packaging module, as these particular rolls were in a paper bag.

there was a bit of a kerfuffle while herself apologised and offered to buy the lady a fresh roll. personally i would have been quite happy if it had been dusted off on her jeans but people can be fussy. herself asked the lady in the shop for a new roll and for her coffee. the bakery lady is very nice and refused to take payment for the replacement roll.

"of course not, it was an accident," she said, "nobody's died, have they?" herself is of the same attitude to life, especially after recent events, but a surprising number of people are not. herself is often reduced to tears by petty unpleasantness from complete strangers. she felt compelled to tell the bakery lady about how himself had just taken delivery of superkidny and how she was touched by her kindness.

our walk on sunday was rather less successful. it was a little rainy and the peeps decided a walk in the woods was a good idea. the original wood was decided against as the rain got heavier and a wood nearer home was settled on. herself brought some bags to collect wood, for the 'knit your own firewood' project. himself is determined to get exercise as instructed by the hospital but he was totally worn out by the previous day's football. not that he was playing, you understand, but watching is tiring too when you have just had surgery.

we wandered round the wood, herself collecting wood like an old troll-woman. the rain eventually became too much so we beetled back to the car. usually young dave and i would be on the lead long before the car park but no-one was around and the wood and the rain were taking all of herself's attention. himself was looking decidedly ropey. as soon as the boot was open i leaped into the car but young dave was distracted by something that looked like a balloon. herself shrieked, which gave young dave the idea that this was something to be prized. before herself could catch him he had swallowed it. herself managed to bundle young dave into the car and we headed for home.

in the evening the snake-charmer and her folks came for a meal. herself has finally got the entertaining thing sussed. not only did they bring wine, but they brought the meal too! all we had to provide was a table and some plates and things. it transpired that this arrangement is temporary, until himself is less tired. although herself can cook, it is simply not possible for himself to sit and watch. so in order to keep him seated the food must be prepared out of sight. talk turned to lurcherly topics and young dave's balloon-eating was the cause of much mirth. except that it seems this was no ordinary balloon but a special balloon called a cardamom. i think they are sometimes used in curry, although having seen one you would need to grind them up first.

anyway, it appeared that the snake charmer did not know about cardamoms, in spite of having such gourmets for parents. so herself had to explain what one was. i have to say i got a bit lost in the technical stuff...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

teenage hormoans

dave enjoys the bubbles after neptune washes his hair

the sense of humour failure caused by the seagull wing was nothing compared to what happened the following day. herself decided that young dave should be kept away from the beach for a while in case he found the other bits of the gull. so we went to the river. this is a lovely walk, with grass where young dave and i can indulge in a bit of silly running. silly running is a sport known particularly to hounds and involves running in circles at high speed, sometimes with the tail tucked under in a silly fashion. if done inside this is known as the wall of death, as sometimes centrifugal force leads to the walls coming into the equation.

anyway, there we were doing a spot of silly running when young dave pulled up sharpish and sniffed the air. before you could say "dave are you sure you know what you are doing?" he was rolling about on his back for all he was worth. at first herself did not notice anything amiss. but then something about the technique alerted her to the fact he was not simply enjoying the clover. she leaped over to young dave just as he grabbed what he had been rolling in between his teeth and made to run off. herself was faster and grabbed his collar. he wagged his head from side to side in an effort to free himself. the object in his mouth wagged around too. it was very flat, very slimy, very smelly and had a pink foot at each corner. herself held her breath and tightened her hold on young dave until he reluctantly released his grip. the object fell to the ground, revealing itself as a very dead mole.

young dave was placed on the lead and we headed back to the car. it was not until we were inside the car that even i became aware that this was a fragrance that took male perfume to a new height. or more accurately a new depth. herself obviously felt the same way as we had to endure the journey to collect my boy from his taxi with all the windows wide open. as my boy got into the car he buried his face in his shirt and shrieked,

"what the hell is that smell?"

herself explained. we journeyed home in a freezing, smelly wind tunnel. as soon as we got back, young dave was unceremoniously dragged into the garden and bathed. as you can see from the picture, he usually likes bubbles. but the pathetic wails that emanated from the garden seemed to indicate that he does not like them as much as he thought. after herself had given young dave a swift towelling we sat down to endure the usual galloping round the house, barking and rolling around that accompanies a bath.

and now young dave looks like a very fluffy bear. and it has to be said, smells like one too...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a wing and a prayer

oh my! yesterday saw herself's sense of humour failure reach new heights. young dave and i were taken for a late afternoon walk on the beach. himself came along to get a bit of fresh air. things were going fine until we got out of the car. and indeed they were not going badly until we hit the shingle. from there it was downhill.

young dave found a seagull's wing, or in fact two wings joined together with a bit of seagull in the middle. a fox (wash out my mouth!) or some other creature had eaten the rest of the gull. young dave became very boastful about his catch and ran gloatingly in circles for quite some time. herself ran fruitlessly after him. she very quickly decided that i should take over and attempt to relieve young dave of his smelly prize. young dave had other ideas and let out a rather alarming growl before heading off at high speed. after a little while of this himself was sent to sit in the car to avoid getting a chill. herself and i circled after young dave. he managed to keep just ahead of us, pausing every now and again to pull more sinews and fat out of the former gull.

herself would probably not have minded this little diversion, but for the thought of the aftermath of regurgitated seagull sinews in the house (or as my boy calls it since the new cleanliness regime, the biosphere). but young dave was off in a gull-induced trance and spent a happy hour or so being chased round the beach by herself. she alternated between cajoling him with treats and throwing handfuls of shingle at him while shrieking that she hated him. how is the poor chap supposed to know where he stands? the peeps are always on about consistent parenting but young dave was being given a very mixed message.

it began to get dark. herself stood forlornly on the beach waiting. young dave, having been allowed to finish off his snack, pulled the last couple of sinews from the carcass, licked his less than wholesome chops, and wandered over to herself, before sitting down perkily and waiting for a treat. herself, with admirable composure, clipped on his lead and brought him back to the car, where himself and i were watching proceedings in a resigned fashion. young dave climbed in, smelling rather interesting.

the evening was spent with the whole family watching dave for signs of intestinal discomfort. no-one wanted the results of his binge spread around the floor. but young dave has the constitution of a lurcher. apart from the odd belch he appeared to suffer no ill effects. until this morning, when herself came down to find a very large cylindrical pellet, that looked as though it had been left by an oversized owl. it appears that even young dave cannot digest feathers...

Friday, November 14, 2008

not a good morning

dear readers, yet again i must apologise for the long gap in news from my neck of the woods. herself has been a little tied up. himself has been recovering nicely and superkidny is settling in well. but there is no doubt that a person with a wound in their tum that looks like someone went at them with a machete cannot hoover, or walk dogs, or carry anything or undertake many other daily tasks. so herself has been rushing around like a mad thing.

things are not helped by the early start necessitated by himself having to go and have his blood checked twice a week. he has to go to london and the hospital are kind enough to send a man in a car to pick him up. the man is called patrick and used to be a steward on cross channel ferries so he has many interesting stories to tell. but somehow years at sea have made him unable to either tell the time or find his way around. i suppose one bit of sea looks very like another, and in any event patrick was probably too busy feeding and watering people to look out of the window. or porthole.

the first time patrick came for himself there was a call the night before. himself was told to be ready at 5.30am. as this was 2 days after himself leaving hospital herself was aghast (be aghast - your country needs ghasts...) tired was an understatement. but being the good wifey that she became for a short period after himself's op she got up horribly early, made tea and sat and chatted while they waited. time ticked by. himself likes things to be on time. by 6.30am himself was off his head. i had given up all thought of trying to sleep. the phone rang. it was patrick. he said he was in our street. we do not live in a long street and there was no sign of a car. after some questioning it became clear that he might have been in a street of the same name but he was clearly in a different town.

it was agreed that himself would stand on the pavement so that when patrick found the right town he would have no trouble finding the house. herself offered to stand outside but himself by now was on a mission. the downside of this plan was that there was a frost and himself was not long out of a hot hospital. after 10 minutes herself lost her patience.

"you go inside and i will stand out here in the cold!" she whispered, loudly.

"i said i would stand on the pavement!" himself whispered back.

"but so long as someone is standing on the pavement it doesn't matter who!" hissed herself.

"no, i said i would stand here." said himself firmly.

"if you don't get in the house this minute i will thump you!" said herself, forgetting to whisper. by now the neighbours must have heard. young dave and i could certainly hear from in the house. himself knows when herself cannot be dissuaded and he came inside, muttering. herself stood cursing on the pavement in her pyjamas. eventually patrick arrived, smiling.

"i've been across many seas, but this is a long journey even by my standards," he joked.

himself did what is known in our house as "putting his other face on" and smiled politely at this witticism, while bidding herself goodbye.

many more mornings have had the same pattern, although himself has become resigned to it all. today was no exception, except that both peeps were exhausted and grumpy. once himself was collected, this time by an ambulance bus which seems designed to pop all the patient's stitches, herself got our leads out and took young dave and me for a walk. it was not one of our best walks. young dave has forgotten his name and kept running off to eat nasty things. then when we got home young dave ran round the garden, including through some of his little smelly piles, and then ran round the house, even faster, spreading smelliness in his wake. herself stood weeping. then she cleaned and washed the floor. luckily my boy is still off school with a lurgy so at least she didn't have to drive him to meet his taxi. but by the time she set off for work she was looking like she had been whacked with a wet towel for half an hour.

when she arrived at work, it appears that she was reminded that she had failed to attend a training course to be a fire warden the previous day. the health and safety man called her into his office as she went past and said:

"must be a woman thing!" at which herself, in her usual calm and measured way, said,

"no, its a 'wife of someone who has just had a kidney transplant, mother of an autistic boy, owner of an incontinent puppy' thing!" the poor health and safety man gulped.

"its just that the other person who forgot is a woman too. she has just found out she is pregnant."

herself had to admit that this trumped any of her excuses and that this other forgetee would have an excuse for years. i hope to goodness she doesn't get broody...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


young dave has had a little trouble with his waterworks. i had wondered if it was entirely normal for a chap of his age to still need to pop out to have a tinkle twice during the night, and herself has muttered repeatedly about the lack of sleep.

so yesterday young dave was carted off to the evil vet for a once over. in order for a proper diagnosis herself had to obtain a sample of wee. now given the amount of wee that young dave has been producing lately this should not have been a problem. but the sample of wee has to be free from contamination by gravel or soil or other substances so it has to be obtained straight from the dog, before it hits the ground.

i was a little puzzled when herself asked himself if she could steal one of his little pots from the hospital. i had visions of the hospital having the heebie jeebies about superkidny if the samples got muddled up. i was also a little puzzled as to how herself proposed to persuade young dave to aim into the tiny bottle. but true to form, she came up with a devilish plan. having researched the obtaining of samples from puppies on the internet, she collected the necessary tools from the kitchen - a funnel and a soup ladle.

young dave duly performed the deed and herself held the soup ladle in the correct general area. the resulting sample was then poured through the funnel into the tiny bottle. she is nothing if not resourceful.

when they saw the evil vet he dipped a stick into the wee and pronounced it very alkaline. as far as i knew young dave has not been having excessive baths or drinking shampoo so this was rather odd. the evil vet asked herself to provide a second sample, taken first thing in the morning, in order to check for crystals. in the meantime young dave was given some pink pills for pale pooches.

so 5am saw herself in the garden, in the dark, in her pyjamas chasing young dave around with a soup ladle. the resultant sample was packaged in a jiffy bag and posted through the letterbox at the evil vet's surgery, looking rather like a suspicious package. the evil vet telephoned later on, with the news that young dave does not appear to have much wrong other than a little infection. i knew the young whippersnapper was malingering.

so the soup ladle is back in its rightful place, having been thoroughly washed. the only trouble with this method of collecting samples is that no-one will want to chance eating soup round at ours for a while...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

ello john, gotta new motor...

well readers, it seems we have a new motor. i have yet to see it because it appears that young dave and i are too hairy and too badly behaved to travel in it until it has protection. the picture above is of a similar one but ours did not come with a free herd of horses. i suppose this is because it was second hand and in the 8 years of its life it has mislaid them.

why do we need a new car? because our car is a special disabled person car and now himself is an almost-not-disabled person we will have to give back the car. luckily herself had foreseen this likelihood and saved enough of her redundancy money to purchase a car. in fact she had saved quite a bit. herself has bought enough cars at auctions to know that the more you spend when you buy the car the less you spend on people under the bonnet with spanners later.

anyway, herself had planned to buy the new motor in january, when himself went back to work. however, this failed to take account of the joys of hospital transport. himself has to go to london 3 times a week to have blood removed from his arm so the pills he takes can be adjusted to make sure superkidny is having fun and that himself doesn't go green. or yellow. but to have the blood taken and the other stuff he has to get up at 5am to go up to london. and then they do all the medical stuff. and then he has to sit among a load of germ-ridden folks in the patient transport lounge until someone is willing to take him home. so herself decided he needed to drive himself as soon as he was allowed to drive. but she needs to take my boy to meet his taxi and to do this she needs a car. so until himself can go locally for his blood to be removed, which will be after christmas, the peeps need two cars.

so herself stepped up to the challenge of car purchasing. she researched all the possible vehicles that fitted the bill - big boot for yours truly and young dave, big engine for herself, not too rattly or tinny for my boy, fuel efficient. you get the idea. a suitable car was identified and herself got on the net to find one. suffice to say that the type of car that had been identified was like gold dust. but herself is not easily defeated. a car was found in a town some 60 miles away. last week herself went to test drive it. it went very fast and stuck to the road like glue. and it had leather seats. herself was in love.

"i suppose i ought to kick the tyres or something," she said to the car salesman, "but you know and i know that i am smitten, so there would be very little point." a deal was struck. herself would collect the car in a week's time.

the week went by. mrs snake-charmer kindly offered to drive herself to fetch the new car. herself made the necessary arrangements with her bank account, moving the money across from her savings account to her current account so she could pay for the car with her plastic card. everything went according to plan until the salesman put the card in his machine. the machine decided that such a large amount of money on the card was slightly unusual. the car salesman had to phone up the bank and herself was taken through a lot of security questions. as herself had been a victim of identity fraud not long ago this was comforting, if rather long-winded.

eventually the bank believed that herself was the person she thought she was and after more paperwork she was the proud owner of the car. by the time she got home it was dark and raining so the family outing in the new car was postponed until the following day. in the style that only my peeps can manage, the family outing involved a trip to lidl to stock up on food and other goodies. himself has not been shopping since being in hospital so he was quite excited. my boy was persuaded to join them to help with lifting heavy things. he did not need much persuading as he wanted to suss out the gadgets in the new car.

things went swimmingly. the new car was pronounced a huge success by everyone. a trolley full of shopping was collected, including tasty morsels to tempt himself's appetite, and lots of teenage food for my boy. then came the time to pay. herself's card was declined. a large queue built up while herself explained to the checkout lady that it was probably because of the new car. but lidl, being a no frills supermarket, did not have a telephone and could not call the bank. the lady behind the till suggested that herself go to the cashpoint and get some real money.

herself rang the bank on the way to the cashpoint to explain that lidl did not sell cars and that she was only buying food this time. after going through endless security the lady told herself that her card had been blocked because the transaction for the car had gone through twice. as the car cost £5,000 and herself runs to a pretty tight budget this meant that her account was now £5,000 overdrawn. the lady on the phone at the bank said that this mistake was the fault of the garage who had swiped herself's card twice. herself pointed out that she had been standing there when the car salesman had dealt with the card and that he had certainly not done this. herself also pointed out that even if he had, the bank ought to have security in place to prevent people helping themselves to large sums of money like that, and that the car salesman had been given an authorisation code that presumably only worked for one lot of £5,000.

the lady at the bank was having none of this and insisted that the bank was not to blame. given how banks are getting something of a bad press at the moment i can understand her defensiveness but herself was furious by this time. as the call had taken so long she was now back by the checkouts at lidl. there were large queues of people, all watching herself on the phone to the bank with interest. when herself finally admitted defeat and hung up, several customers and one checkout lady said to herself that the same thing had happened to them. but this did not help to pay for the shopping. himself by now was feeling decidedly ropey and he and my boy retired to the new car to wait. in the end herself was forced to admit defeat and join them. by now she was in tears.

"why us?" she wailed, "all we were trying to do was have a family outing and buy some shopping. its not a lot to ask!"

himself agreed that it was not a lot to ask but that this sort of thing was only to be expected. my boy raged and ranted about evil banks and hatched plans to blow up the bank. fortunately for the bank it is situated a long way away and the peeps would not have been able to get there without buying more diesel, which of course would be impossible.

when they arrived home, young dave and i did our best to cheer them up. but it swiftly transpired that among the shopping was a large bag of dog food and a small packet of dog treats. the latter are essential in the 'get young dave to pee in the garden' campaign. i foresee more puddles, and not just of tears...

Thursday, October 30, 2008


dave trying to look so sweet he won't be chucked off the sofa
oh readers, what can i say? i have yet again neglected you. himself has been home for over a week and i have failed to write a word. this is because herself has been run off her feet keeping things afloat. there is walking young dave and i, cleaning, cooking (this last said with my paws over my eyes) and work. she is worn out. but she is very happy not to have to go backwards and forwards to the hospital any more. not least because one of the nurses mistook her for himself on the last day he was there. now i know she has been looking tired with all this upheaval but with the best will in the world she does not look very much like himself. for a start he has curly hair. and baggy eyes. and more to the point, a beard.

i think possibility of resembling someone with a beard is the thing that upset her most. she is reaching the age when ladies start to grow beards. she often jokes that she needs to grow one in order to keep up with the rest of the family. my boy is sprouting whiskers. in spite of young dave's attentions i still sport a tidy growth on my rather handsome chin. and as you will see from the picture, young dave's beard is coming along well. but at the moment herself is beard-free. so to be mistaken for himself set her off in a humph.

himself was more worried that a nurse with such poor eyesight was in charge of inserting fine needles into veins in his arm...

Monday, October 20, 2008

a blond moment

dear readers, i am exhausted! herself has been unable to sleep for some time and has taken to getting up at 5am and cleaning the house! while she has at least had the decency to refrain from hoovering until more civilised hours, it has been very stressful for young dave and i, dodging out of the way of the bleach. it seems that when himself comes out of hospital he will be prone to catching any illness that passes his way. this is because the drugs they give him to make sure his body doesn't have a row with superkidny also make sure his body doesn't have a row with any other germs.

herself had not quite grasped the level of cleanliness needed until she was pacing the corridors with the gypsy on the day of the operation. as regular readers will remember, the gypsy has had experience of replacement kidneys as the bionic boy has had two of them.

"you have to degunk the shower head, you know," she casually threw into the conversation, "and then bleach it - all sorts of germs can live in the shower head."

i would have thought that given the shower head spends its whole life having a shower it would be the cleanest place in the house but apparently not. and then there was the bathroom sink, which has been decidedly sluggish lately. that had to be unblocked with evil powder. the bathroom walls were cleaned with neat bleach and the venetian blinds in the bedroom had to have a going over with anti-bacterial spray. this latter job has been on the list since the peeps moved into the house but somehow herself has always found something more interesting to do. having seen how long it took when she finally got round to it i can see why.

a gate was screwed to the wall at the bottom of the stairs. this is to keep young dave and i downstairs. herself has craftily fixed it at a place where i cannot get a proper run at it to jump over. so young dave and i have resorted to sitting looking pitiful at the bottom of the stairs.

then there was the car. young dave and i, and of course all the other dogs who have travelled in it, have left our mark in terms of hair and mud and of course aroma. herself has been meaning to give it a good going over for months but she has been too busy not cleaning the venetian blinds. so her maamship took it to a place where they will hoover and clean it for you. the car cleaning man was somewhat aghast at the state of it.

"its not my car!" said her maamship, "it belongs to my dirty friends! they have dogs!" this latter comment was superfluous. anyone with half an eye and a quarter of a nostril would have been able to deduce that the owner of the car had dogs. it did not require a forensic legal mind. in fact you could probably have made a new dog by sticking together all the hair. that is if you had time in between not cleaning the venetian blinds and bleaching your existing dogs. the car cleaning man explained that he reluctantly had to charge extra due to the extreme hairiness of the car. her maamship was so busy standing as far away from the car as possible in an effort to dissociate herself from it that she willingly paid over the surcharge and hot-tailed it out of the place in a cloud of pine from the little smelly tree that the man hung inside it in a vain attempt to overpower the canine miasma.

after all the preparations herself rushed off to fetch himself from the hospital. but it was not to be. himself explained that he had become so popular that the hospital wanted to hang onto him for another day. he had to have more tests and more tweaking. he was not a happy bunny. but today is a new day and he may be allowed home to us. i hope so. i have missed him...

Friday, October 17, 2008

super kidny

dear readers, here is the picture of super kidny as promised. you will see that my boy has dispensed with an unnecessary 'e' in the interests of economy.

super kidny is firing his ak47 at the bad cells who have very much inferior weapons. you will see that he is on a drip which i assume refills his gun.

uncle martin is much better today having been in pain yesterday and he is probably going home today. himself has had quite a lot of tubes removed and is planning on a shower later, after which he will jettison the flowery dress and stockings in favour of his loungewear.

i will update you further once herself has been to the hospital.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

good news!

dear readers, what follows is reliant on a report from herself, as for some inexplicable reason lurchers are not allowed into hospitals. i can only assume that this is because they are worried we might catch something from all the sick people, but i would have been happy to take that risk to see himself after his op. but we were left in the care of her maamship, who also had the job of keeping my boy out of mischief.

himself and uncle martin had the transplant yesterday. they had to get there the day before in order to make sure they didn't go out on the town and get beered up. herself was picked up by the gypsy at 5.30am and they drove up to london and arrived in time to give both brothers a good send off. it sounds as though the brothers were dressed rather oddly, with white stockings and blue patterned dresses. it was too dark for a photo but in any event himself might be slightly embarrassed to be displayed on the internet in drag, especially as he has a rather fine beard.

the brothers went down to theatre at 8am, leaving herself and the gypsy to wander the corridors of the hospital, reminiscing about previous occasions when they had done the same. the gypsy's son is bionic. he has had a lot of surgery in his short life, including a metal back brace being inserted to keep his posture up to scratch. he has also had two kidney transplants, one from the gypsy herself. so a better companion for yesterday was hard to imagine. the gypsy has a vast knowledge of things medical, and especially things kidney-shaped. she also has a nice line in interrogation of doctors. she was able to put this to good use when my boy was born. herself rightly foresaw that himself might be a little shy about telling doctors what was what, so she took the gypsy along to make sure things were just so.

anyway, the ladies (and readers, i use this description very loosely indeed, as neither of them is particularly ladylike), roamed the hospital and its environs, alternating between laughing and weeping. herself took a couple of photos, but didn't really have her heart in it. the day dragged. uncle martin came back to the ward at about 2pm, looking sleepy but cheerful. himself had to have various scans and tests and it was not until 4.30pm that he was back on the ward. by this point herself had melted into a tearful jelly. himself was attached to an array of pipes and tubes and bags were collecting things that ran out of him. herself sat by him, stroking his beard and weeping with relief.

the nurse who was looking after himself and uncle martin described the operation. the kidney had apparently carried on peeing even when attached to neither brother. this kidney sounds a most amazing chap, a superhero among kidneys. my boy has made a card for himself and uncle martin, with a picture of the superhero kidney wielding an ak47 and shooting at bad cells. i will ask herself to scan it in and if that is possible i will post it on my blog.

herself and the gypsy left the hospital at 7, leaving himself and uncle martin watching football on the tellies above their respective beds. when they got home, they spoke to himself on the phone. my boy was very pleased to hear himself sounding perky. himself asked what my boy had for tea, a sure sign that he was on the mend. my boy asked about himself's day:

"so how was your day, apart from being unconscious?" herself and her maamship burst into giggles.

"what's so funny about asking that?" said my boy, "he can't tell me about the bit when he was unconscious, can he?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

swimming in treacle

we thought we were on the home straight as far as the operation was concerned, but true to form, life has thrown us a googly. himself started coughing last weekend and by monday morning was in a bad way. herself said he should stay off school. himself was worried that his colleagues would run into problems with their equipment if he wasn't there to sort them out. herself said he would have to worry about a different sort of equipment if he didn't behave. her maamship suggested that herself hide all his pants (for my american and canadian readers, this is pants in the british sense - ie underwear). fortunately, himself stayed at home.

the cough got worse. in the middle of wednesday night herself e-mailed the transplant coordinator to see if himself should have antibiotics. the transplant coordinator is a most impressive individual who gets things done. even the doctors do what she says. first thing on thursday she was on the phone. himself had to go into the hospital for a chest x-ray. luckily my boy was at school as this is the sort of thing that freaks him out.

after a fair bit of waiting around a picture of himself's lungs was taken and the peeps went in to see the consultant. the good news was that the lungs were clear. nothing was lurking down there. the bad news was that unless the cough gets better the transplant will have to be postponed. it will be too risky to do if himself is ill, as the anti-rejection drugs will remove any immune system that he has left.

so we are waiting and hoping that things will look up.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

mud, glorious mud

dear readers, it is hard to know where to start with this post. things have been hectic since i was last in touch.

in view of the fact that himself is about to go in for surgery, herself decided the time was right to re-make the garden and have laminate flooring put down in the living room. the flooring i can go along with. young dave has been somewhat leaky since he arrived and the carpet was very much the worse for wear. this wasn't helped by his habit of chewing the corners. presumably he didn't like the taste of the middle as this was where most of his accidents happened. as himself has to be careful about germs after he gets his new kidney, the carpet had to go.

but the garden? i suppose herself had a point in that if it wasn't done before the op it couldn't be done until the spring which would be too late for getting a lot of things planted. and i always like it when our builders are here as they are very careless about supervising their lunches. this time i liberated a sausage roll or two.

our builders are called mick and martin. they are brothers. with them come craig and mark. mark is a most unusual young man. he can ride a unicycle and has strange body piercings, including a sort of metal loop in the back of his neck, which i assume is for hanging him up at night.

the job the builders were doing in the garden involved building a deck across the end and building a raised bed to prevent young dave from digging up the vegetables before they are ready to eat. but first the shed had to go. mick lent herself a wonderful tool that she has coveted for a long time. it is called a sabre saw and is very scary. herself is unphased by power tools, and has a domestic use chainsaw certificate over her desk at work. but mick the builder drummed into her that this was a dangerous tool. so when the time came to take down the shed, herself was suitably careful.

however the main problem with herself's shed demolition technique was not so much the tool but the order of work. mick the builder had made it very clear that the roof had to come off first. but when the roof refused to budge, herself was so keen to get on with the sabre saw that she simply started on the sides. there is a fundamental principle in demolition that you should not demolish the bits that are holding up other bits. but somehow this had passed her by. it is not the first time that this has happened. it was not until two of the walls had gone and the roof was leaning at a rather rakish angle that the folly of the methodology dawned on her.

luckily it was at this moment that mick the builder phoned to arrange a delivery of timber. hearing the panic in herself's voice, he reassured her that if the shed would not come down willingly it might be more amenable to the attentions of proper builders and that she should not risk hospitalisation. even more luckily, the heavens opened and rain stopped play. herself retreated inside with the sabre saw.

anyway, the chaos is over. apart from the small matter of shifting a ton of gravel through the house that is. then there is the business of filling the raised bed with a couple of tons of topsoil. but the latter will have to wait until himself has recovered from his op, so we are probably looking at january now. i have to say i breathed a sigh of relief when i heard that. it is all rather stressful for a chap my age.


my boy came home yesterday with his own tale of mud. it seems that in pe his class were learning how to play rugby. this appeared to involve being made to roll around in the mud. my boy was not keen on this and spoke firmly to the pe teacher.

"i think you must have the sort of psychological defect that makes you like watching children rolling around in the mud!" he squawked, mid roll. when this had no impact on her, he tried another volley.

"its a wonder you aren't taking pictures!"

a career in diplomacy beckons...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

just when you thought it was safe to come out of the cupboard...

while all the world's financial institutions are tumbling, and water is pouring through the house, herself has one other little problem. someone has decided to steal her identity. why on earth anyone would want to steal her identity is beyond me. the last couple of days, and indeed many in the recent past, would have most people running in the other direction. but it seems that someone has pretended to be herself and applied for various credit cards in her name. some of the banks have spotted a rather glaring error in the applications in that herself is not a man, but one of the larger banks has allowed the charmer who pulled this stunt to withdraw several thousand pounds. fortunately this did not happen to herself's own bank account or we might have been in bother.

so herself has spent most of the morning on the phone to various financial institutions, trying to save the stock market from total collapse, and to the police, who were very nice about it all. she is feeling a little under siege...

plumbing - a postscript

dear readers, in the middle of all the excitement i forgot to tell you about another classic blogworthy incident from yesterday. himself is the clerk to the school governors where he works and now and again this involves him attending meetings in the evening. yesterday was such an evening.

herself bundled me and dave into the car (for the pedantic among my readers - mrs captain, you know i am talking to you - i think you will find that, whilst this looks to be rather shoddy grammar it is in fact correct. although my explanation of that has to be one of the most clumsily constructed sentences i have seen in a long while). after dropping himself off at his meeting we went for a walk on the beach, then off to lidl.

we returned home to the house in darkness, giving the game away as far as my boy is concerned that he had spent the evening on the computer and not hoovering the house. having located my boy in front of his computer herself was just pulling the bedroom door closed to prevent young dave from eating the large pile of shoes that have been displaced from the bottom of the airing cupboard, when the door appeared to faint. in fact what had happened was that it had fallen off its hinges in a classic piece of attention-seeking behaviour. when they had stopped laughing herself and my boy propped the door up against the wall behind the pile of shoes and went down to unpack the shopping.

when himself came home from his meeting herself was halfway up the stairs on the way to remove the contents of the airing cupboard from the bed so the peeps stood some chance of having a good nights kip. ( the end himself did not avail himself of the newly emptied bed as he was itching from head to foot from his kidneys, so he slept on the sofa.)

"hello lovey!" she said. "nothing!" this latter is a fairly normal utterance around here. 'what question is she answering?' i hear you ask. both herself and my boy have perfected the art of looking innocent in the face of damning evidence to the contrary. himself followed her up the stairs and looked at the door in disbelief.

"i can't leave you alone for 5 minutes!" he exclaimed, somewhat unfairly. herself had to rope in my boy to corroborate her account of the collapsing door and it was only after extensive cross-examination that himself appeared to believe them.

so this morning dawned with the prospect of herself getting hold of de-humidifiers, fixing the door and trying to keep out of the way of errant jets of water. i just hope she finds time to take us for a walk...

plumbing - an update

dear readers, 4am finds me unable to sleep, having been woken up by a cafuffle.

my boy's bedroom is flooded. he had the sense to wake herself rather than himself (who is snoring on the sofa) and she has stemmed the flow and put a baking tray under the leak in an optimistic gesture that brings to mind horses and stable doors. (that is an oblique reference to a saying, for those readers of a literal leaning). my boy put the kettle on and made tea while herself twiddled with pliers behind his radiator, making things considerably worse for a while by removing the drain plug altogether, thus creating a rather pleasing fountain. young dave decided to sample the water pouring out and had to be forcibly removed due to the likelihood of it being contaminated with chemicals.

but all is now calm and tranquility. i have to say the existance of my blog makes such moments in life much less stressful than they might be. even my boy now says, in the middle of it all, "this will be good blog-fodder"...

Monday, September 29, 2008

all fingers and thumbs

here you can see young dave and i carefully arranged in a tasteful manner ready for herself to take a photo. i thought this was a particularly inspired pose, what with the light and the sofas and the general greyness of it all. i feel that it is a comment on modern life. quite what it says about modern life i don't know but since herself popped into the national gallery at the weekend she has been all arty farty with her pictures. young dave, in contrast, is simply farty.

all was calmness and relaxation. a man is in the process of fitting a boiler for the peeps so herself was laptopping in the living-room in order to keep young dave out of the man's tool box. the new boiler is being paid for by way of a grant because of himself's dodgy kidneys. just as well as the old boiler hasn't worked since we moved into this house and himself will need to be kept warm after his op. luckily the shower is electric or the peeps would be getting a bit high even for me.

anyway, the man was busy cutting pipes and chatting to herself about the joys of macs as against pcs, a subject upon which herself could bore for britain. suddenly he went quiet.

"could you turn off the water at the stopcock?" he asked in a rather strained voice, "only these pipes shouldn't have water in them after i drained the system but they have." the peeps bought the house from some blokes who fancied themselves as plumbers. but they had missed out on various crucial bits of the 'how to plumb up your house' course. the old boiler met its end because they had put the wrong pipes into the wrong end which caused it to overheat every time it fired up.

anyway, herself disappeared into the cupboard under the stairs to try to turn off the water. but the stopcock was jammed.

"you come and put your thumbs over these pipes and i'll turn it off!" said the man. the boiler is situated in a smallish cupboard which normally houses the camping gear. herself squeezed past the man, who was already inside the cupboard, and took up her position ready to slide her thumbs over the pipes. young dave decided to pick this moment to see what fun was going on in the cupboard. the man climbed over dave and rushed out to his van to get the thing for turning off the water under the pavement. what he hadn't bargained for was that herself has smaller thumbs than your average heating engineer. so while his thumbs were perfectly adequate to do the job, hers were not. water came squirting out with some force. due to the positioning of the thumbs it was diverted into herself's face. within seconds she was soaked to the skin. eventually the man came back and instructed herself to slowly remove her thumbs. a further bucketful of water came out, more slowly this time, and then the flow stopped. herself climbed out of the cupboard and squelched upstairs. the man started to show her the pipes in the airing cupboard and tried to explain where they should go as against where they actually go.

"er, can i just get changed first?" she whimpered.

as she climbed out of the shapeless t-shirt that says "my other t-shirt is clever" and into the shapeless t-shirt that says "geek" i thanked the plumbing gods for this wonderful piece of blog-fodder...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

fun and games

dear readers, young dave and i have invented a new game. its called 'bet you can't get me off the bed!' regular readers will recall a variant of this played by myself and young rokit, called 'bet you can't get me on the floor'. the aim of 'bet you can't get me off the bed' is for me to show young dave who is in charge. he will sit grinning in my bed in a rather over-confident way that gives me no option but to take measures to wipe the smile off his face. my bed, as my readers will know, has a rather fine grey blanket on it. dave makes a point of sitting smack in the middle of the blanket, which is his downfall. i take hold of a corner of it and slowly but surely pull the blanket, and with it young dave, off the bed and onto the floor. any puppy with half a grain of sense would admit defeat at this point. but young dave likes a challenge and sits grinning on the blanket on the floor. i then have to pull the blanket out from under him. it did not dawn on me until i saw the photograph taken by herself that dave rather likes this bit. he stands on the blanket while i drag him all the way to the other end of the living-room. then we have a tug-of-war with the blanket. all very good for the teeth.

in an effort to accommodate young dave's desire to sleep in my bed alongside me, herself had a bright idea. she has recently tidied my boy's room, a job which requires mental preparation for many weeks beforehand. part of the thinning out process liberated an old futon which had been gathering dust in a corner. this has now been turned into a large and rather glorious dog-bed. the theory was that there would be room for myself and dave side by side. however, due to living alongside an artistic boy for so long i have caught some of his beefburger tendencies. i do not like change. so i am making a point of sleeping in my old bed. young dave insists on climbing in on top of me. after playing 'bet you can't get me off the bed' i have to lie on the blanket to make a point to young dave. he of course lies on top of me. so there are 3 dog-beds, one of which is large and wonderful, all empty, and two lurchers crowded onto an old and increasingly tattered blanket.

this morning herself took matters in hand and propped both the other dog-beds up against the wall. it will be interesting to see if young dave is able to sit on a vertical bed...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Pasta of the Undead

The Pasta of the Undead, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

this is what necromancers eat, dear readers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

top gun

relax, dear readers, my boy is not on the rampage. this is a picture of him shooting (or more accurately trying to shoot) clay pigeons. don't ask me what a clay pigeon is. the whole concept is beyond me. how would anything made of clay be able to fly? i know the pigeon is not the most elegant of our feathered friends but they do manage a certain degree of altitude. perhaps the clay ones don't get out much. come to think of it i have seen china ducks on people's walls...

anyway, there i go again drifting off the point. as regular readers will know, my boy is mad on guns. he draws them, collects model ones and turns any object you like to mention into one (pogo sticks, scooters, lego, you name it, he has made a gun out of it). so when herself saw a kind offer by one of her cyberfriends to come for a mornings clay pigeon shooting she was there like a, well, shot.

young dave and i were not invited. while dave is clearly a fellow of tender years and might be startled by the gunshots, i rather hankered after my poaching days and tried to wheedle her into secreting me into her bag so i could tag along. however, when she explained that there would be no deer or even rabbits to fetch and that no animal would be harmed all morning, i turned over and went back to sleep.

when they returned my boy was brimming over with excitement. he had a pile of cartridges in a variety of colours as well as a small orange disc made of bitumen, which he told me was a clay pigeon. i have to say it bore no resemblance to any pigeon i had ever seen. no wonder they aren't breeding much.

my boy is over the moon at having discovered a way of learning to shoot which does not involve neighbour nuisance and an asbo nor killing furry animals. they plan to go again in a month. and my boy is desperate to earn money to pay for it. which suits herself down to the ground as she has a gravel moving job for him...

Friday, September 12, 2008

the dark arts

here is a picture of dave and i chilling out. we are exhausted. not only am i having to walk miles on the lead to show young dave how its done, but i am being kept up till all hours by my boy. he has taken up necromancy. necromancy involves sitting around with his dressing gown over his clothes writing endless screeds in funny writing, then covering them with tea to make them look old and rolling them up. it also involves pacing round the house wielding a broom handle and saying he is a mage. i think this may be short for magician but i am not sure as the whole point of necromancy seems to be to maintain an air of mystery.

my boy has re-arranged all the ornaments and candles and lines up various jars containing liquids which he says are potions. i have had to lean hard on herself to break the habit of a lifetime and use capital letters as all the things to do with necromancy have names in capitals. there is The Key of Anarchy, The Weight of Justice (actually a brass fob from a hotel doorkey given to us by a doctor friend), The Elixir of Truth, The Stone of Destiny and The Staff of Wisdom. my boy lights a great many candles and sits by the fire mumbling spells. it is really difficult to get to sleep with him pacing around with The Staff of Wisdom, hence the bags under my eyes.

herself has been slightly more enthusiastic about the new hobby than i am. it keeps my boy off the computer and gets him writing things, albeit in unintelligible runes. or perhaps Runes. and she says it will be a slightly more socially acceptable career than that of an assassin. she will be able to boast about "my son the brilliant necromancer" at coffee mornings...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

dark matter

this morning young dave and i ventured further afield for our walk. herself cadged a lift with himself and my boy on their way to meet the taxi. the plan was we would walk back home along the river, thus introducing dave to more grass. dave has taken to the beach like a duck to shingle as our garden has a lot of stones underfoot. but the lawn, as regular readers will recall, was paved over in one of herself's landscaping projects. so dave tends to look a little perplexed when faced with grass, hence the river idea.

as we disembarked from the car my boy gave herself a hug and in a rather gloomy manner said,

"see you after school, so long as the world doesn't end."

there had been a certain amount of discussion about the world ending last night. it seems that in assembly at school one of the science teachers had been explaining how a very important experiment was due to take place today. this experiment involved a couple of very large magnets in a tunnel. it seemed that the experiment would involve a number of bisons and other creatures buzzing round in circles at high speed. the mind boggles at what bisons would look like running in circles. lurchers of course do this sort of thing with no trouble at all but your average bison is a much bulkier beast. the whole point of the bisons running in circles was to produce dark matter. i really would not recommend anyone getting downstream of a bison that has been running in circles for any length of time. a dizzy bison would almost certainly produce quite a stream of dark (and no doubt very smelly) matter.

anyway, the reason they wanted to make the bisons produce dark matter is because they can then see what the beginning of the world looked like. it is well known that all living things came out of a very big swamp. what i had not realised was that the swamp was the result of dizzy bisons. which means there must have been bisons before the swamp. so where did they come from? this sort of thing makes my head hurt. it is almost as bad as the chicken and the egg thing. i suppose that is why i am a lurcher and not a particle physicist.

the trouble with dark matter, it seems, is that it acts like a sort of hoover, sucking things into it. my boy seems to have interpreted this as meaning that the experiment would lead to the whole world getting sucked into the bison poo and not being able to get out. this is because bison poo is apparently full of things called glue-ons, which do exactly what it says on the tin.

my boy was most perturbed about the whole business and spent most of yesterday evening looking things up on the internet, interspersed with coming down and worrying the peeps about it all. in the end himself got a bit exasperated.

"what kind of idiot, in a school where a third of the kids are autistic, announces in assembly that the world might end?" he bellowed. this had me ducking for cover as i recollected the business of the cookery teacher's demands for impossible ingredients, and how my boy never fails to tell the relevant teacher just how complimentary himself has been.

i left writing this post until lunchtime in case my boy had been right. no point in writing something that no-one will be around to read...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

puppy love

well, dear readers, i have to say young dave is growing on me. i have had to pull him up a couple of times for putting his head in my bowl, which causes a whole lot of fussing and screeching, but on the whole we are settling down into a nice routine.

his interest in gardening is causing some consternation but, as herself says on a regular basis, there is no point sweating the small stuff. or indeed the medium sized, evergreen stuff. as you will see, our carpet is pale. this was not the choice of the peeps who would always go for something the colour of mud that you clean with a mop. but the pale carpet is not really enhanced by lumps of soil and moss.

and there is a little matter of bladder weakness. i am the last one to point the paw at someone for this sort of thing. regular readers will recall the little problem i had with the prostate. so i will confine myself to supportive remarks when he does the right thing.

but on the whole he is a cool little bloke. he likes to give my old ears a lick and even tries to wrest the chocolate bone off me once in a while.

one other thing, for those loyal readers who have got this far, himself's kidney transplant is 15 october. so pray, or whatever you do, for him. and for the rest of us.

Friday, August 29, 2008

ok computer

my boy is quite keen on computers. well, to tell the truth he is obsessed. herself encourages this interest, largely in the hope that my boy will be the next bill gates, who is apparently also a beefburger person. herself is not so much keen on my boy developing software that makes everyone want to buy a mac, it is more the thought of untold riches. and bragging about 'my son the software magnate' would be infinitely preferable to bragging about 'my son the assassin'.

because of my boy's computer obsession, he gets through more computers than most people. he seems to wear out the hardware and clog up the innards with downloading code which allows him to adapt his computer games. it was just such a piece of code that allowed him to fly his lorries in the sky in hard truck 2, as well as making them burst into flames. his last computer was made by herself when she had a snapped achilles tendon. herself felt that she should keep busy with projects so she asked the extreme programmer how to build a computer. he sent her a link to a website with a couple of pages of instructions and a shopping list full of things with names that did not sound as though they would be nice to eat, like heat sink paste.

my boy's new computer was cool. well, actually it was hot. so hot the fan sounded like a jumbo jet. but it had lovely lights on the front.

and it was small. but not, alas, perfectly formed. it had many problems, not least of which was entirely outside of herself's control, being a duff graphics card that had been recalled by the manufacturers. this problem was not identified for some considerable time and in the interim my boy was going off the scale in the way that only an artistic person can. my boy has valiantly battled along with the unstable computer for 3 if not 4 years but the time has come to start afresh. not least because when my boy has problems with his computer it filters throughout the whole house, leading to sparks coming from everyone's ears.

the problem this time was lack of cash. it is not possible to acquire a marvellous computer without spending some of the readies. but yet again the extreme programmer came to the rescue. having become sick of being harangued by text message and e-mail by my boy, who learnt his haranguing skills at his mother's knee, the extreme programmer decided the time had come to upgrade his own machine, thus freeing up some parts to build a machine for my boy.

so this week parcels have been arriving, closely followed by the extreme programmer with his screwdriver. as i type this (well strictly speaking as herself types this with me leaning on one elbow on the desk dictating) a computer is being constructed. we are having to sit in the garden to keep an eye on young dave. a puppy and loads of bits of circuit board do not mix...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

knit your own dog lead

dear readers, apologies again for my absence. life has been all a bit of a blur lately. much of my time has been spent educating young dave into the ways of lurcherhood. he is a quick learner and if, i say so myself, i am not a bad teacher. i cut my teeth (a saying, for those readers of a literal type of mind) on young rokit, who had a school report every day detailing his performance in skills such as 'eating nasty things' and 'rolling in nasty things'. young dave has learnt how to sit looking cute before he gets his food, how to get off the sofa when he hears someone coming, how to steal tea from the cup (this will get easier for him as his nose gets pointier) and some basic gardening techniques. in this picture you can see him tending to some rushes.

the rush is an interesting plant. from what i gather you can make things from it. i have been keeping very quiet about this in case herself hears. we have just entered phase 2 of the 'knit your own muesli' project. herself has decided to take up dressmaking again. she sent off for a book from the internet about how to make your own dress patterns. this book is second hand and dates back to the 1980s. the photos of garments being modelled by ladies with very big hair made herself laugh. the drawings of the pattern made himself laugh. the principle of this pattern is that you make a large T shape and adapt it to make garments.

himself reminded herself about her efforts at knitting when my boy was a baby. somewhere she had got the idea that to be a good mother you had to knit things for your baby. as she did not have much skill in the knitting department she decided to make simple jumpers. they were a T shape. the first jumper, while rather odd, at least fitted my boy. it had black and yellow stripes and made him look like a bee. the second jumper was not quite such a success. it had red and green stripes. but the colour was not the problem. the problem was that it was a little tight under the arms, making it impossible for my boy to put his arms down by his sides. he looked like a little aeroplane. the peeps decided in the interests of blood circulation to his hands that he had better not wear the red and green jumper.

anyway, in order to make the pattern for the T shaped clothes, herself had to cut out a large piece of brown paper. first she had to go out and buy brown paper. then she had to fix the table so that the middle leaf stayed in (the removal men had done something to it redering it rather floppy). my boy came down in the middle of this and asked casually why the table was lying upside down like a stranded beetle when herself was supposed to be sewing. he was soon roped into holding it together while herself hammered and screwed brackets in to the underside. i bet he wished he had kept his mouth shut.

the brown paper T shape was eventually completed. i could not for the life of me see how this could be worn out of the house. one drop of rain and it would be mush. but it appears that this is only stage 1. there are many more stages before the garment is ready, not least the one where herself will cut out fabric in the T shape. the paper is just to cut around.

earlier in the week himself and uncle martin went up to london to meet the surgeon who is going to do the kidney swopping. it all sounds fine, although some of uncle martin's tests had not arrived the day before the appointment and had to be biked around the country by the 3 hospitals involved to avoid the appointment being cancelled. they have now been given a date for the operation. in fact they have been given two dates, although i understand only one kidney is moving. the first date is 15 october, but in case this doesn't come off they have a second date of 12 november. her maamship is coming to mind my boy while himself is in hospital so herself can go up and down to london without having to bring him each time. i am going to mind young dave. i hope by then his puddle-making tendencies will have diminished. i am not sure how to work the mop with my paws...