Thursday, March 27, 2008

superb news!

dear readers, i have good news! and this is really good news, not the 'almost sold the house ' sort of news. uncle martin is what is known as a 'perfect match' for himself! this means that not only does the blood not argue but the kidney will not argue either! the peeps are over the moon (a saying, dear readers, which means 'pretty chuffed').

it is surprising that the internal organs of uncle martin are not bitter. by all accounts himself used to steal uncle martin's food in their youth, in particular his chips. it just goes to show that crime doesn't pay. uncle martin, the victim of the theft, is a fine healthy specimen, whereas himself, the perpetrator of nefarious acts, is crumbling.

anyway, soon himself will be in possession of a new kidney. they will leave his old ones where they are so he will have three. hopefully he will feel very much better soon.

herself has asked me to thank our readers for all your support and kindness. it means a lot...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

phone home

dear readers, yesterday was yet another blog-fodder filled day. it was herself's first day in her new job. as regular readers will know, herself has been off work since last july with vicarious trauma, and in the middle of february she was made redundant. luckily this coincided with a part-time job coming up in the very town the peeps are moving to. herself will be working 2 days per week for the local authority. and better still she doesn't have to deal with all the nasty people who did her head in before.

yesterday was her first day. there was a certain amount of nervousness about it. my boy was off school for an insect day which meant that himself had to take the day off. so they dropped herself off at work before taking my lady friend and i for a romp on the beach. when we went to collect herself at close of play she was full of news. it was hard to hear at first due to my lady friend's rather solid tail thumping on the side of the car with delight at seeing her mistress after a day apart but i managed to piece things together. i have always been a dab hand at lip-reading.

"the new people are really nice and my new boss is really nice and there is a chocolate machine and i only have to share the office with one other person and she is really nice and i dropped my phone down the loo!"

dear readers, only herself could pull off this stunt with the phone on her first day at work. it seems that the phone incident arose as a result of the house selling thing. the people who were going to buy the house, then said they couldn't raise all the money on the day before contracts were due to be exchanged, seem to have had a visit from the easter bunny. he seems to have brought them some extra cash. not quite enough cash but near enough to have everyone scrabbling around to try and find enough coins from down the back of the sofa to let the sale go through. the peeps are broke, so our sofa has already been cleaned out, but the people they are buying the new house from have helped a bit by dropping the price to help make up the gap.

anyway, the upshot of all this was that herself needed to keep an eye out for calls from the estate agent. so she put her phone in her pocket in case she missed a call. she was just about to spend a penny when the phone escaped from her pocket and took a nose-dive into the loo. luckily the new office is very clean, as are the loos. so herself gingerly rolled up her sleeve and fished out the poor phone. she dried it off as best she could and took a look. the light on the screen was going on and off and then the flash on the camera bit started to go off. repeatedly. the phone started to get a bit hot with all the flashing. herself got a bit panicky and rushed back to the office, trying to conceal the phone in her sleeve so her new colleagues wouldn't think she was trying to photograph them. it is very early days in the new job. there is plenty of time for the new colleagues to find out just what they have let themselves in for. herself managed to subdue the phone and switch it off while she dried it out. after basking on the radiator all evening the phone seems to be none the worse for its adventure, although it remains to be seen whether it is still in possession of all its faculties, most particularly its flash.

as for the house sale, it is beginning to look a bit more hopeful. but as you can see from the time this missive was dictated, herself is not sleeping too well again...

Saturday, March 22, 2008


dear readers, i had to just let you know that my boy has regained access to his room without having to climb through the window. with herself's help and a bit of jemmying the door was opened. there was a certain amount of damage but herself patched this up while my boy was at the yoof club.

the trip to the yoof club was quite entertaining. herself took my lady friend and i so we could have a run after my boy had been dropped off. we went to the beach. a little while ago a shipwreck left huge amounts of wood all over the beach and, although the bulk of it has been cleared up, there is still a fair bit of driftwood. never one to pass up wood, especially in these times of less than plenty, herself set about collecting a heap of it. the problem then arose as to how to get the wood back to the car. herself spied a lobster pot which on the face of it was a potential container. but on closer inspection the pot had a chunk of concrete fixed in with a rope. herself has a little penknife on her keyring. but unfortunately she had himself's keys as they are where the car key is. so she fashioned a bundle of wood using my lead to tie it together. i then had to be fixed to the other end of my lady friend's lead, which is in fact not a lead at all but a horse martingale. a fine sight we would have made, herself with her poacher's bag, two lurchers and a huge bundle of wood.

anyway, aside from all this, the house stuff rumbles on. it seems that the people who were going to buy the house have messed around long enough, and indeed have been less than truthful. herself has told the agent to put the house back on the market. it seems we will have to go back to all that 'keeping the house clean and trying not to get dog blood on things' regime. ah well.

my lady friend and i are looking forward to tomorrow. lupin the lurcher is coming for lunch and bringing his peeps. i suspect i will have to have my muzzle on, given past events, but at least we should get a good walk...

a little light relief

its nice to know that, even in the midst of such stressy times, the peeps still retain a sense of fun. yesterday evening provided ample evidence of this. we are at the time of year when herself's optimism about the coming of spring means that we run out of coal and wood before the weather is warm enough to dispense with the fire. in past years the problem has been solved by popping out to a petrol station and purchasing bags of logs and coal to tide us over until the warm weather. the combination of being about to move and having no money has led to a more inventive approach.

a few days ago found herself and my boy dismantling a rotting garden bench with a jemmy and a bowsaw. the resulting wood has kept the place warm for most of the week but last night herself had to venture out to chop up the remaining bits of the bench. just as she made a start the heavens opened and hail rained down, challenging even herself's optimsim. cutting the wood in a hurry meant that when it came to insert it into the wood-burner, nearly every bit was a tiny bit to long to get the door shut. this only became apparent after said wood had already started to catch fire. so we started our evening with the room full of smoke from the smouldering bits of bench in the grate, with herself trying to remedy the situation using a hammer and screwdriver.

things carried on in the same vein. himself went to bed early, as he is feeling very poorly with a cough. but he was rougher still later on and emerged to throw up. my boy has a fear of vomit and ran into his room and shut the door. himself tried to go in to explain that it was the kidneys and that my boy wouldn't catch germs but my boy held the door shut from inside. the standoff continued for a few minutes but himself eventually crawled off to bed. my lady friend and i were exhausted by all this and breathed a sigh of relief when herself and my boy went to bed.

silence reigned for about 5 minutes. then a loud banging erupted. my lady friend and i leapt out of bed and ran around barking. herself was dozing off. she had been awake for most of the previous night and was exhausted. but no-one can sleep through loud banging and two lurchers careering around barking so she groaned and got up again. the banging was coming from my boy's room. herself quickly established that he was locked in, a fact which had become apparent when he got up for a pee. the battle to keep out the germs had somehow got the door stuck. herself got her toolbox and started to dismantle the handle but it became apparent that the problem would not be easy to resolve. luckily my boy takes this sort of thing in his stride, having grown up with the peeps as parents. the porch window is at right angles to the window in my boy's room. so herself passed the screwdriver through to my boy so he could dismantle the handle from his side. but although removing the handles meant herself and my boy could see each other through the hole, it made no impression on the recalcitrant door.

by now herself was dropping with exhaustion so she told my boy to collect bertha the bear and to climb out through the window. although the house is a bungalow it is quite high up at the front. but luckily under my boy's window is a shed which used to house geese (the geese were a gay couple called gilbert and george who eventually were eaten by the fox so the shed now houses the lawnmower). my boy passed bertha the bear and his pillow through the window and then climbed across. luckily the hail had abated by this point. my boy bedded down on the sofa, cuddling bertha the bear, who has seen a lot of this sort of thing during her life so is unphased by being passed through a window in the middle of the night.

this morning herself has to somehow gain entry to my boy's room so he can get his clothes before going to the youth club. at least this practical problem it will take her mind off the house business...

Friday, March 21, 2008

do not pass go...

dear readers, events continue to unfold in the world of house-selling. the estate agent phoned yesterday. the people buying the house are trying to get the peeps to drop the price. these are people who first saw the place and offered to buy it at the beginning of february. it has taken them all this time to get a surveyor round to look the place over. they told the peeps that this was because they were having problems with sorting out their mortgage. in spite of thinking this was an inordinately long period of time in current financial markets, where there are not exactly queues of people buying houses, the peeps gave them the benefit of the doubt.

yesterday was the day that was planned for what is known as exchange of contracts. this is when a firm date is fixed for everyone to move and binding contracts are put in place. however it did not go ahead. the buyers' solicitor had decided to take the day off and, in spite of her working for a national network of lawyers who deal with house buying and selling, no-one could be found to deal with her work. then, to really put the icing on the cake (a saying, dear readers), the buyers said their surveyor had valued the house at £20,000 less that the contract price. they wanted to knock £20,000 off what they would pay.

himself hit the roof (this is a saying, dear readers. it means got a little tetchy. and then some.) he is not at his most patient just now. these people appear to be relying on the peeps' desperate situation to make a fast buck. they are not borrowing 100% of the price of the house. indeed, they have a very large cash sum to put down from the sale of the man's house. so the argument that the valuer has put a lower price on the place is academic. in the current property market it could rise, or more likely fall, by this amount in a week.

but for the peeps this is a major problem. and on top of all the other problems is just a little bit much. the peeps cannot sleep. it is now 4.30am here in the uk. the peeps are sitting in bed. himself is reading the times history of the world, for the third time. this is a large book and is not what you could call sensible bedtime reading. himself is in the habit of falling asleep when reading in bed and with a book like this there is a risk of a broken nose if it falls onto his face. herself is laptopping frantically. my lady friend and i are sitting watching and trying to hypnotise one of them into fetching breakfast.

i can only hope the dogs that are moving in here managed to persuade their owners to be nice people and stick to what was agreed. this whole business is beginning to leave a rather nasty taste in my mouth. and, given some of the things i have eaten over the years, that is saying something.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

t-t-time to be brave

her ma'amship (formerly known as mrs prof) is visiting. she is off tomorrow to pick up the extreme programmer from heathrow where he will be arriving at some unearthly hour having been in san francisco.

today her ma'amship offered to treat herself to lunch. this was very welcome. the peeps aren't eating out much just now. unfortunately, as the tt is rather small, there was not room for my lady friend and i to tag along. i would have been happy to sit on herself's lap, and my lady friend is happy to be anywhere that people do not hit her, but we had to stay at home.

as the ladies were going to a restaurant near to the town where herself used to work, it was decided that they would also try and brave driving through the town. part of herself's vicarious trauma thing seems to involve being scared to go to the town where she worked. it is not so much a little bit scared as having panic attacks which stop her breathing and are rather alarming all round. the lady who knows about trauma says that you have to face this sort of stuff head on. being scared of it makes it worse.

so her ma'amship agreed that they would drive through the frightening town and then have lunch. to sweeten things she offered to let herself drive the tt. this is her ma'amship's car. you can see a picture of it with me in above. herself loves this car. it is like sparky the audi with bells on. and it is a sweet drive. but as she only has third party insurance on auntie bernie's fiat, which is now elsewhere, she is not covered to drive the tt.

so her ma'amship drove, fortunately fast enough to take herself's mind off not being able to breathe. things were by all accounts going fine until they got near the hospital. the hospital is right by the estate where herself used to work. herself got a little worried.

"keep calm!" commanded her ma'amship, "think of something else. like end-stage renal failure!"

this worked. herself needs to be able to go to the hospital. it is where the renal unit is, and if himself is rushed in herself needs to not be looking like she is having a heart attack in the ambulance, especially with my boy there too.

mind you my boy is pretty calm in a crisis. the main problem would be stopping him adjusting the controls on the resuscitation gear...

a tough week

this week has not been one of our easiest, dear readers. herself has been busy packing up the house. the trouble is that moving house is very stressful for beefburger people like my boy, and indeed himself. they don't like change. and moving house is change on a quite a big scale. so herself is trying to move house without it showing.

luckily we have the garden room. this is a place which the peeps built for my boy to live in when he was grown up. it has a little bathroom with a shower. the idea was that my boy would be able to live independently and the peeps could make sure he got fed and had the odd shower. alas, this plan will have to be placed in the file labeled 'good ideas that life threw in the bin'. anyway, because the garden room is separate from the house it is the ideal place to put all the boxes. so herself is carefully packing up everything and secreting the boxes out of sight so we can keep the house looking normal for as long as possible.

the lady from the renal unit came to visit. she is a lovely lady who is helping the peeps get their heads round everything. she is particularly helping herself. herself has a thing called vicarious trauma. this is apparently as a result of nasty stuff from work. the lady from the renal unit has rather perceptively seen that the vt will not help matters when himself has his transplant. she has been helping herself using a technique called emdr. this is funny to watch. herself has earphones fixed on her head and sits with her eyes shut. my lady friend and i do what we can to interrupt proceedings.

anyway, this week the lady brought with her a letter which was sent to the doctor. it seems that himself's kidney function is now down to 12%. this is not good news. it means the old kidneys have pretty much given up the ghost. they may not last even until we move. so himself may have to start dialysis at any moment. it will depend on the results of each blood test. as uncle martin is already being tested they are going to rush through the rest of his tests in the hope that they can do the transplant before himself needs to have a pipe put in his stomach.

on monday my boy's teacher rang. she had some very bad news. one of my boy's friends at school had died. this was a little fellow who was in a wheelchair. he had died of a heart attack. as my boy is at a school for special children, the teachers had to carefully explain what had happened to them all in ways they could understand. some of the children don't have many words so they find all this hard to take in. my boy has been shell-shocked by this news. it is wrong that young people die.

amidst all this there is something going on called conveyancing. this seems to be a necessary part of moving house. it seems that the peeps need to exchange contracts with the people they are buying the new house from and the people who are buying our house all at the same time. i cannot see why they can't just hang onto their own contracts. the plan is that we move on 1 april. only the peeps would choose to move on april fools day. but until all this contract stuff is dealt with herself can't book a van. it is all getting very close to the wire. it seems the contract swopping is now not going to happen until next week.

on tuesday herself starts her new job. luckily it is only 2 days a week. if it was full time i don't know when she would find the time to sit and cry among the boxes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a clever robot and a clever little dog

dear readers, this little dog has his own robot! and his own mischievous boy too by the look of it...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

wise words

my boy has been coming out with his usual words of wisdom. while watching a drama documentary about the aztecs the following interchange was heard:

my boy: "is she his wife?" herself: "why?" my boy: "she's nagging him."

herself: " you'd better not get married then."

my boy: "i'll get a clockwork wife."

good news - so far!

dear readers, it seems that uncle martin has had a letter from the hospital telling him that so far the blood is getting on. there are no anti-bodies. anti-bodies are things that hate bodies and are not good in the blood argument stakes. it will be a couple of weeks before we know for sure but things are so far looking good. herself has asked me to say thank you to everyone for all their support. it means a lot to us all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


above is a recipe. you will see that it is entitled porridge. but the recipe is not for porridge. it is the instructions on how to cook a burger. why, you may ask, is it headed 'porridge'? well this is a piece of paper from the long thin pad that the peeps use to keep track of what they need to buy when they go shopping. having a list is apparently a money-saving trick. it avoids impulse buying. although since the peeps have been shopping at lidl the scope for impulse buying has been greatly reduced. herself does not somehow feel the same impulse to buy a 12p tin of baked beans as she did a £3 bottle of luxury bubble-bath. i would prefer the beans, but there you are...

anyway, porridge is at the top because herself wrote it on there. himself has in fact now purchased porridge but he didn't want to waste the whole bit of paper.

"why not cross out where it says porridge?" asked herself, perfectly reasonably.

"i don't like crossings out", explained himself. he can be a bit like that. a little bit of the beefburger, i feel. anyway, that is why the instructions on how to make a burger are on a piece of paper headed 'porridge'.

why, i hear you ask, does anyone need instructions on how to cook a burger? ah, dear readers, this is because himself was going out and the burger-cooking was left in the hands of herself and my boy. while they have many skills between them, and herself even has a domestic use chainsaw certificate as well as a masters degree in law, they cannot be said to be very on the ball in the cooking stakes.

himself had to go out as he is the clerk to the governors at the school where he works. he is also a teaching assistant, the ict tzar and now also the e-learning manager. unfortunately, none of these lofty job titles is paid at a very high rate. they are all paid at the rather derisory rate of a teaching assistant which, given it involves nurturing the minds of the next generation ought to be considerably higher. anyway, i digress, as i am wont to do. to make up the money a bit himself also clerks for the governors who meet in the evening.

my boy decided he wanted a burger for tea.

"well, you and mummy will have to make it!" said himself, "i've got to go out." panicky looks were exchanged.

"can you write down how to do it?" asked herself, pitifully. himself was about to explode but then remembered previous culinary triumphs. he sat down and wrote out the recipe.

you are welcome to try it, dear readers. just don't go adding sugar to it...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

a big day

dear readers, this is uncle martin. he is himself's youngest brother. himself is the third of four brothers. they are very close in age, and the oldest one, uncle pete, is a beefburger person, although no-one knew when he was a boy, so his strange behaviour was a mystery to everyone. when asked how she managed, grandma says "it was all a bit of a blur!"

grandma is a piano teacher and when himself and the uncles were young she used to have pupils for lessons in the front room, leaving himself and the uncles to play football in the back room (a pastime which was not great for the furniture).

uncle martin is a cabinet maker and has very skilled hands. he made our table for the peeps for a wedding present. he is also a very kind man. he has agreed to be tested to see if he can donate a kidney to himself. this would be a marvelous gift. it would mean that himself would not need dialysis - the kidney could be put in as soon as all the tests have been done. it would mean that himself would soon be back to his old self, with a bit more energy and a bit less moodiness.

the first test is today. himself has to go to his renal unit and uncle martin has to go to the renal unit where he lives. blood samples are taken from both of them and taken up to london by motorbike courier. then they are mixed together to see if the blood argues. if the blood argues, it means that uncle martin cannot donate a kidney. this is because the kidney would argue too. i am hopeful that blood is similar to its owner. in that case all would be well as himself and uncle martin get on very well together. if all is not well then himself will just have to carry on waiting on the list for a kidney.

so my lady friend and i, and my boy and herself, are all sitting around with our fingers and paws crossed. i will let you know as soon as we have any news.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


dear readers, things have been very exciting round here. on thursday the peeps were sitting watching the telly when the phone rang. it was sacha, herself's former assistant. i have always had a soft spot for sacha. he grew up with an irish wolfhound called scarlet who seemed to find her extreme size in no way a bar to leaping over the furniture and causing terror to the young sacha and his brothers. at parties, where i have to be kept on a lead to prevent theft of all the food, sacha has obliged. i suppose a lurcher is only like a small wolfhound...

anyway, sacha had some tickets for a concert. this was no ordinary concert. it was the zombies. these are not flesh eating monsters. oh, no. in fact sacha's dad is a zombie. this did not become apparent until sacha had been trying to get herself organised for at least two years. the office was always full of music and a zombies track came on the radio.

"that's my dad playing the guitar on that!" said sacha.

"what?" yelled herself, "that's the zombies!"

"i know - my dad was in the zombies." said sacha.

it would appear that herself is, and always has been, a big zombies fan. more particularly she is a big colin blunstone fan. this is the man who does most of the singing by all accounts. when she was a teenager herself used to put this man's dulcet tones on the record player (yes really, she is old enough to know what a record player is) to lull her to sleep. so he is ingrained into her psyche, or at least her eardrums.

so the idea that she might see the zombies live was a little too much for her. she jumped up and down on the spot, squealing in a most undignified way. it was quickly arranged that my boy would spend the evening with the peeps on the corner and would be collected in the middle of the night when the peeps got back.

the evening of the concert came around and the peeps made their way via many trains to shepherds bush. there was something of a scrum at the theatre. but the peeps were on the guest list, so they had to queue up with the important people. herself, needless to say, made the most of this. she is nothing if not a middle-aged groupie.

the concert itself was by all accounts wonderful. even himself, who has no history with the zombies and was therefore only judging things by the music, said it was the business. afterwards sacha took herself backstage in the hope of meeting young colin. it has to be said sacha was a little worried about the prospect of his former boss behaving like a star-struck teenager, when she is of an age when she will soon grow a beard as fine as mine. he gave her strict instructions to behave and she promised not to be too embarrassing. (dear readers, the devil is in the detail, as lawyers are prone to saying. how anyone would define embarrassing, never mind work out the gradations of embarrassment, is another matter.)

as things turned out the main man had a better offer. a man called paul weller, better known for his liking for jam, had popped by. there wasn't much of a contest really.... so herself is doomed never to be a middle-aged star-struck groupie, which is probably just as well.

Monday, March 03, 2008

good news!

dear readers, just a quick newsflash! the vet rang this morning to say that the lab results are back and my lady friend's lumps are benign. which is just what i would expect of such a gentle lady but it is good to have it confirmed by a proper scientist. it seems we will need to keep an eye on her tummy to make sure no more lumps grow, but as of now things are good.

my lady friend has asked me to pass on her thanks for all your good wishes. she is overwhelmed by having so many friends, after a life with none.