Sunday, June 22, 2008

another saturday night

now that herself has finished cleaning the blood off the walls i have cornered her and sat her down to write about last night, before she goes off and starts getting out her toolbox or something.  last night provided some good blog-fodder.  it all started when my boy came home from school on thursday with an invitation to a party.  my boy finds parties tricky.   well, not so much all parties.  more the children's/teenagers type of parties.  the invitation had a phone number on it.

"you'll have to let him know you aren't going," said herself, "it's rude not to."

"i already have," said my boy, "i said i thought you had invited a load of people round."

"but we haven't!" said herself, "you mustn't tell lies - its a rubbish way to treat your friends!"

"we'll just have to invite some people round then," said my boy, with his indefatigable logic, "then what i said will be fulfilled and it won't be a lie any more."

herself is never one to pass up the chance of a social event so she pinged off a few texts and e-mails, and made a couple of calls.  himself said he would make the grub.   this is a sound move, given herself's record in the kitchen.  it was going to be curries.

because the peeps had left it very late to invite people, on account of not knowing they were going to be inviting people rather than the usual disorganisation, many of the invitees had already made plans for saturday night.   one of himself's colleagues was thoughtlessly getting married and therefore a number of other colleagues were going to that as well, some other friends were building some patio doors and others had a special memorial picnic to go to.  when herself counted how many people could actually make it the numbers were rather small.  it boiled down to the snake-charmers and the next-doors.  and the next-doors had someone staying so they said might not want feeding.

"it will be like one of those parties where you put all your teddies round the table and pretend to give them cups of tea!" said my boy, causing herself to get rather anxious.   himself had arranged to make rather a lot of curries.  mind you, curry is something that will keep, provided it is placed out of my reach, so it would feed the peeps in the coming months.

as it happened all was well.  it is not the quantity of guests that makes for a nice evening, but the quality.  and boy, were these guests quality!  the snake-charmer and her dad arrived first.  the snake-charmer was put to work making naan bread to cook on the dalek.   this is a nifty little charcoal cooker that comes camping with us.  the snake-charmer is a great cook.  while the dough was doing what dough does it came to the notice of the grown ups that her hair was shinier than usual.

"that's the cream," she said.  it transpired that this cream was not what the hair-slayer calls a hair product.  it was the sort of cream you eat.   now i know it is easy to make mistakes when your eyes are full of shampoo.  i have seen my boy try to wash his hair in shower gel on more than one occasion.   but surely no-one has the eating sort of cream in their bathroom?  

soon all became clear.  the snake-charmer is a cook much in the mould of herself.  the cream had been part of making a cake.   unfortunately the snake-charmer had looked at the wrong recipe and had made a huge amount of icing.  at some point she will have to make a cake to go under it.  anyway, somehow quite a lot of cream had got in her hair.   shortly afterwards her mum arrived, having had to work till late, and commented on the increasingly ripe smell from the hair.  i have to say, i rather liked it, but no-one asked me what i thought.

then the next-doors arrived. they have had a visitor who has been going through a tough patch so they had been up talking a lot of the night and were mighty tired.  however they rose to the occasion, as all good guests do.  after a little persuading they went next door and collected ruby the puppy.  young ruby was so excited she forgot herself and made a large puddle the minute she came through the door.  then she ran at very high speed around the house, causing all sorts of malarky.  it all got a bit too much when she bounced onto my sore tail and i felt the need to teach her some manners.   i was removed in a rather undignified fashion when herself got hold of the scruff of my neck but i think i made my point.  young ruby went home while the peeps ate which was probably just as well, especially for my tail.

after the grub mr next-door was persuaded to fetch his guitar.   he is a fine musician.  the peeps could not believe their luck when they discovered they had moved in next door to someone who could coax such notes from a guitar.  he has a funny glass thing that goes over one finger to make the guitar sing.   the snake-charmer had a go.  you can just about see her in this picture.   you may wonder why her hair is wet.  this was because the hair smell was getting a little too high for her mum so herself washed the snake-charmer's hair over the sink.   this averted the need for the snake-charmer to get the hose out (regular readers will recall her affinity with water) as well as rendering her rather more fragrant.

anyway, some singing and playing and eating of chocolates went on for a while.  the blues are wonderful.  or possibly the blues is wonderful.  various songs were made up to fit the conversation.   the one thing that seemed not to lend itself to this treatment was the 'we've got problems with our boiler so we have to use the immersion heater' blues, which just would not scan.  but the 'i lost my snake once and was broken-hearted until i found her behind some furniture' blues were a great success.  

eventually the guests started to flag and the evening wound up.  herself looked around at the devastation and decided to leave it for the morning.   i tried to help during the night but drew rather more attention to my efforts than i planned when a plate took a tumble onto the kitchen floor.  unfortunately the one bit of clearing up herself had managed was to secrete the curries in the fridge.   mind you, last time i ate too much curry there was a rather unfortunate incident with a pale carpet and a large luminous yellow stain, so this may have been for the best.

and today we are off to a dog show!  i will not be able to enter the waggiest tail contest as my tail is too sore.   i am off to the evil vet tomorrow to have it seen to.  it has to be sorted out, if only for the sake of the paintwork...

Monday, June 16, 2008

snakes alive!

well readers, what can i say? yet again a hiatus in my musings, for which i can only apologise profusely. herself has been rushing about like a mad thing. the good news is that she now has 3 days a week at work which will help keep the wolf from the door on the financial front (to those readers who take things literally i should point out that this is a saying - there are no wolves where we live, at least i hope not...)

anyway, enough groveling. my news this week will more than make up for the silence. the peeps have made friends with a snake! this snake is called perky and is rather pretty, as you can see from the picture. perky the snake lives with the people who like swimming in ponds. more accurately, she belongs to the young lady pictured above, who, as regular readers will recall, wants to be an evil vet when she reaches adulthood. my lady friend and i were not invited, so i can only recount what i was told. it is probably as well that we did not go. my lady friend is of a somewhat nervous disposition. were she to be faced with a snake i fear she would throw her huge paws up in the air and cry "oh, lawdy joker, i do declare! it is a serpent! we are being judged!" or something equally foolish. myself, i am rather partial to any smallish creature between a couple of bits of nice brown bread. at least a lot of photographs were taken so we got to see what we had missed.

the peeps were treated to wonderful food. they are not an easy bunch to feed. herself likes everything except meat and vinegar. himself has a complicated diet on account of his dicky kidneys. he can only eat unhealthy things and a lot of meat. my boy tends to have one thing that he will eat for months and then suddenly go off with a loud cry of "but you know i hate noodles!", leaving a cupboard full of noodles, or whatever the foodstuff is. but the hosts had every possibility covered.

first, there were nibbles. perky the snake tried to stop anyone eating them:

but the peeps are not easily deterred. then there was a delicious starter of prawns and ham and things. herself has made a habit of having her prawns peeled for her. luckily himself is good at this task. it appeals to his tidy nature. soon himself had a pile of shells on his plate and herself was grinning like a cheshire cat. the man host caught on very quickly to herself's ruse.

"you are just being a helpless girlie about the prawns!" he said. it was obvious herself was bang to rights (a saying, dear readers. it means found out in a subterfuge, or possibly a whimsy). luckily himself took his prawn-peeling in good heart and peeled some more. meanwhile, perky the snake sat quietly, awaiting her moment.

then there were stews. one stew was squid and the other one lamb. both were, i hear, delicious. the young folks at this point got a bit bored with chatting. my boy invented a game which involved climbing a tree and getting the young host to pass up a number of housebricks which he arranged in a rather precarious structure. after being told to bring them back down again the young folks turned to a rather odd game which involved the young lady host standing with her eyes shut while my boy snuck up on her and poured water over her. in this photograph she is pouring water over herself. i suppose at least then she knew when it would happen.

i feel that the young lady host has a bit of a magnetism for water, what with the pond incident. later perky's husband, pinky, had to have his tea. i will not describe this in any detail, save to say that it was small and furry and frozen. herself did not look, but my boy found it very interesting. he is something of the ghoul.

later still my boy was treated to a show of the host's knife collection. my boy is very keen on weapons of all types. edible knives are even better:

there was even pudding - which i am told was strawberries and cream. eventually the peeps wended their way home, on account of it being work and school the following day. himself was less keen on wending than the other peeps on account of it being in the middle of the footie on the telly by the time they left - the man host is also a footie maniac.

my lady friend and i were very pleased to see them, so much so that my wayward tail managed to whack itself on the wall. this triggered the usual blood-letting that tails seem to go in for. the new kitchen floor, and a fair bit of the walls, took on an interesting polka dot appearance.
that will teach them to leave us at home when there are snakes to be chased...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

a line from the author

dear readers, what can i say? i have been remiss in the extreme in my reports of life in our neck of the woods. some readers have asked me if mrs deb kidnapped me and whisked me off to the arctic wastes of canada.

but no, all it is, as usual, is my inability to get herself seated in front of the keyboard with her mind on the job. part of the problem is that she seems to be sleeping better. i used to collar her to do my typing for me in the small hours when she was up laptopping because she couldn't sleep. but now she seems to be able to sleep all night with hardly a break. i suppose this is a good thing from the point of view of her health but it is a tad inconvenient.

added to the sleeping thing we have had the builders in. our builders had pretty much rebuilt our old house and no doubt thought that was the last they would see of us. but no. herself was paid a sum of money when she left her old job. it is called redundancy money. it seems that herself's job was no longer needed. i don't know if this was because all the bad people had suddenly seen the light and stopped selling crack and beating each other up. somehow i doubt it. but anyway, herself had money in the bank for the first time in years. she had to open a savings account to put it in so it didn't disappear into the void of the household finances. but the redundancy money has been burning a hole in the savings account.

herself was determined to have something to show for all the grief and stress she had been through. so she decided to spend the redundancy money on work to the new house. undoubtedly some things needed doing. about a week after moving into the new house some rather spectacular mushrooms appeared on the back door. after examining them the peeps deemed them unfit to have on toast. the back door had to go.

and while they were at it the peeps decided to have some french windows (i understand these are more commonly known as fenetres) put in the living room too. french windows are a bit of an essential for our house. all of us like the great outdoors. the fact that we now have a small outdoors has not detered us. my lady friend and i have to answer the calls of nature on a regular basis, my boy has to pretend to shoot pretend soldiers behind the pond and herself is something of a fresh air fiend. himself, although not so perky at the moment, enjoys a little chat with the fish.

"the fish are looking hungry!" he will say, putting a pinch of fish food into the pond. it seems to me that fish have no choice but to look hungry. they have to have their mouths open in order to breathe, or burble, or however it is they stay alive.

i digress. the fenetres were to be fitted. and while the builders were at it, a deck was planned as well. and of course, the new back doors, also fenetres. and then while they were here they rather unsportingly built a wall to keep my lady friend and i in and the local felines out. as you might imagine this all caused a bit of chaos. here you can see me trying to get a bit of shut-eye amongst it all.

while they were here herself said she would design them a website. so we had our poor builders up to their eyes in cement discussing the finer points of hexadecimal colour values and cascading style sheets with herself. as you might imagine the laptop has been red hot, but not with my blog.

while the builders are here, herself is in the habit of getting them to do little jobs that she has made a mess of, or can't manage for one reason or another. one such was the washing line. the old washing line used to be fixed to the fence. once the pond was built it ceased to be such a clever idea. quite a bit of the washing would be dangling over the pond. given the peeps penchant for disaster it was only a matter of time before they were pulling goldfish out of wet duvet covers. once the fence came down and the wall went up it was the ideal opportunity to put up an alternative means of drying clothes. a rotary airer was purchased.

"i'll put that in for you," said mick the builder, "let me know where you want it to go."

herself disappeared into the shed to get the airer. after a bit of a struggle it was opened up so the extent of its arms could be assessed. something was amiss. the airer was only 4 feet tall.

"all the clothes will drag on the ground," pointed out my boy, ever the scientist.

"there's another bit that goes on the bottom," explained herself, disappearing into the shed again to search for it. after some time she came out. she was not holding the other bit. she looked a bit crestfallen.

"you know when i was digging that trench and putting the wire to the fountain into conduit to stop us digging through it?"

"yes," said himself, expectantly.

"you know i said how fortunate it was that the people before us had left a metal hoover tube in the shed?"

"yes", said himself, rather more resignedly, knowing, i think, where this was heading.

"well, it wasn't a hoover tube. it was the bottom of the line." herself giggled nervously. the aforementioned tube, along with various bits of hollow curtain pole and other makeshift conduit had been carefully laid under the paving slabs, all the way to the house.

" i can't believe i did that!" laughed herself.

"i can." said himself. martin the builder looked as though he was with himself on this one, having known herself for some time.

a search was undertaken for an alternative. fortunately the parasol pole was exactly the right diameter. however it had one flaw. here you can see himself holding the line with the parasol pole attached.

have any of my readers spotted the problem? if i were a proper blogger i would offer a prize to the first person to write in with the answer. but i will put you out of your misery. the problem is that herself would need a ladder to put the washing out. and she is scared of heights.

after a debate about whether to cut the parasol pole to size (the peeps decided against this on the basis that they would then have to eat with their chins on the table due to the extra low parasol), and whether the shop could be persuaded to give them a new tube (this would have required a certain amount of subterfuge as to the whereabouts of the old tube so herself vetoed the plan) the airer was put away and the wet clothes were hung around on racks.

the following day, mick the builder returned to finish a few bits and bobs. being a nice builder he took pity on the peeps' predicament and fashioned a pole from the handle of his broom. so now the washing can flap in the breeze as nature intended.

and as for my blog, i now hope normal service will be resumed. herself has asked me to convey to my loyal readers her apologies for being such a poor secretary for me. i have told her in no uncertain terms that i will have to recruit someone else for the post if she carries on in this vein. watch this space...