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...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


this evening herself and i went to the beach. this was rather sudden. my boy was fixating on the purchase of a cap gun, which even i could see was a silly idea given dave the puppy's tender years. yesterday my boy drove both peeps to distraction with the cap gun thing so today herself tried to head him off by saying she was going to sit in the car outside the house to do some laptopping (we have wireless internet so the laptop would still work, although the neighbours might have thought it a trifle odd). in the end, as i had not stretched my legs all day, we went to the beach in something of a gale instead.

when we got back we came across mrs rokit coming out of her house. it did not take much to persuade mrs rokit and the rokettes to come and meet dave. they miss young rokit badly, although he seems very happy in his new career as a fashion model. here you can see him on a rather fancy bespoke dog bed.

they brought round a wonderful toy! it is a rubber bone with a very loud squeaker. i love squeaky toys! i have rather blotted my copy book on the toy front and it is very hard persuading the peeps that i have seen the error of my ways in terms of eating the squeakers out of toys within the first 5 minutes. but the new bone appears to be indestructible. while dave was otherwise engaged cuddling the rokettes i put the squeaky bone through its paces. it is wild! admittedly the peeps had a job making themselves heard above the squeaking...

when dave had tired of being cuddled he caused a diversion and ran off with the squeaky bone with me in hot pursuit. i have to say he is already displaying some decidedly crafty lurcherish tendencies. no sooner had he seen me on his tail than he shot under the sofa. here you can see me trying to persuade him to come out.

when he finally did come out himself rather unsportingly removed the squeaky bone, as it was drowning out the commentary on the footie. so dave and i had to make do with the jingly rubber ball. he soon tired of this and climbed into my bed. i am going to have to have words with him about this.

luckily at night dave has to be locked into his cage. the night-time wailing is abating a bit. last night i was put on story-telling duty after my boy had told dave a story about merlock coastrunners and river poor gnolls. there was also a little tale about the scarlet crusade in the land of the undead. my bed was put by dave's cage and i regaled him with details of the day i caught the big deer. i hope the poor little chap doesn't have nightmares after all the blood and gore...

puppy training

puppy training 1 - incorrect
puppy training 2 - method
puppy training 3 - correct

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

sleepy puppies

dear readers, i have been sent a link to a most marvellous film which shows how to get puppies to go to sleep. there is a special song that you have to sing. now i just have to get the peeps to learn to sing...

Monday, August 11, 2008

my puppy!

dear readers, this puppy business is growing on me! once i got past the initial fear that the peeps had found me another bride i decided to speak to him. he is actually rather sweet. admittedly he has some funny habits, but no doubt with sound leadership from yours truly he will soon get the hang of things. his most irritating habit is undoubtedly night-time wailing. i suppose it is only to be expected that a chap will find it a little tricky moving from sleeping with a pile of other warm bodies to sleeping alone in a crate but even so, at my age i need my sleep without neighbour nuisance.

on the first night herself slept on the sofa. it is not uncommon for me to have company in the living-room. himself regularly is relegated to the sofa on account of his snoring. at least herself is relatively quiet. but young dave was a little restless and needed to pop outside to answer the call of nature on a number of occasions. i wouldn't have minded that in itself. i know what its like to have trouble with the old plumbing. but after he had had a tinkle he took forever to get used to his bed again. there was wailing and fussing and all sorts.

herself remembers well when my boy was a pup and the many happy hours she spent sitting by his cot with her hand on him so he knew she was there. its a technique invented by the peeps called 'being boring but reassuring'. you must never do anything interesting like put the light on, or jiggle toys, or even move around much. you just have to let the small crittur know you are there so it doesn't panic.

some of herself's friends had a different approach to their babies. they left them to wail. it is called controlled crying, although from what i hear there is nothing very controlled about it. the peeps gave it a go but by all accounts it was not a success. after about 30 seconds herself turned to himself and said,

"if i have to do this for a moment longer it will destroy my insides. i don't care if it ruins his psyche for years to come i cannot listen to a little thing alone at night in a state and not go to him. i will not be able to function at work if i have to do this." himself agreed that it was not for them and they went back to the boring but reassuring technique. it seems to have worked - my boy sleeps like a log nowadays.

so dave the puppy is coming in for the same. after he is back in his crate, with his soft toy and fluffy blanky, herself sits on the floor by the door and puts her hand on dave. she sits like this in the dark until he is asleep. sometimes she misjudges the level of sleep and is creeping out of the door when a little wail starts up and she has to start again. i would not have the patience. the little fellow would have a swift cuff and be told to get on with it. but having said that this technique seems to work on puppies as well as it does on babies. last night was only day 2 and dave slept from midnight to 5.30am without a break. if we can just get him round to 6.30am we will have the sleep thing cracked.

last night dave had the delight of a bedtime story from my boy. while herself made cuppa teas my boy read to dave about modern weapons. dave got to hear about how a double action shotgun works, and the joys of ak47s. he seemed to find this very relaxing. mind you, my boy used to enjoy having the regulations relating to fluorescent light in offices read to him every night for a long time. beefburger people are funny like this. herself greatly impressed a colleague who asked if there were regulations about strip lights in offices and she was able to reel off the whole thing word for word.

today herself is going to buy young dave some toys. i may be able to liberate one for me...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

dave the puppy

well dear readers, let me introduce my new puppy. here is a picture of him taken on herself's phone so it does not do the little fellow justice. he really is very sweet, although alarmingly small.

we set off yesterday very early to go down to devon to collect him. after the google maps fiasco last weekend herself had the forethought to print off the directions from the computer before we left. she handed a wad of paper to himself, who expressed his displeasure that the directions used the numbers of the roads rather than telling you which town to head towards. you just can't please some people. herself pointed out that these directions were from multimap rather than google maps and that we were fast running out of alternatives.

we had reached dorset, accompanied by my boy asking at each lamppost whether we were nearly there yet. my boy asked for the postcode of the place we were heading for so he could look it up on his phone. my boy still has faith in google maps. the postcode began with 'e x'.

"i thought you said it was in exmoor" asked himself.

"it is," said herself, "that's why its e x."

"but e x is for exeter!" said himself.


"exeter is nowhere near exmoor!" himself waved the printed out map at her. "its near dartmoor!"

it would appear that, had this little matter not come to our attention, we could have had to drive the whole way to north devon before anyone sussed out the error of our ways. himself groaned.

"you are priceless!" he said. i fully expected my boy to pipe up with the refrain "for everything else there is mastercard" but he was otherwise engaged reading his book on the modern history of weapons by this time.

eventually we found the farm where dave started his life. the kind man came out to meet us. so did a variety of small noisy dogs, larger slightly less noisy dogs and many cats, some with no tails. as this was the place where my late lady friend had lived before we took her home i wondered whether the lack of tails was anything to do with her, but the kind man explained that these were manx cats who had never had tails to start with.

we had a cup of tea and a chat. that is the peeps did. in spite of my efforts i failed to steal any tea at all, although i did liberate the kind man's biscuit when he wasn't looking. the little chap was in a cage with a fluffy duck. he was flaked out, having had a bath and been hairdryed afterwards. my boy was entranced.

"he is the sweetest little creature i have ever seen!" he said. i let this one pass as he had of course never seen yours truly as a puppy. i was very sweet indeed.

after a fair bit of chat we set off for home. dave sat in the middle of the back seat on a towel between herself and my boy. i sat in the back and tried to retain a dignified aloofness. i didn't want young dave thinking his new uncle was a soft touch.

the journey back took forever. there were breakdowns, accidents, traffic jams and just delays. my boy started wanting a pee almost immediately and kept up a constant reminder of this fact until we found some services. rather wearing i have to say.

eventually we got home. young dave and i were left on the floor to get acquainted. i made the mistake of giving him a little nudge with my nose which sent him screaming and wailing into the kitchen. the young chap appears to have been rather molly-coddled. soon knock him into shape though.

last night herself slept on the sofa in order to be available for trips out into the garden in the night. i took the precaution of sleeping upstairs. if the choice is between himself's snoring and the squeaking of a puppy, give me the snoremonster any day.

dave is giving me a rather wide berth this morning, which can only be a good thing. i have heard what puppies can do to an old dog's beard...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

world of witchcraft

dear readers, my boy and himself have taken up online computer games. they sit in my boy's room at their respective machines, running through tunnels and slaying gremlins. when herself went in yesterday evening they made their characters wave at each other! it is most surreal. my boy has already managed to drag proceedings down to a smutty teenage level. he proudly showed herself how he had been on a quest to find some odd sort of berries and that in return for completing this quest a lady character was going to bake him a pie and take her blouse off. as he says, computer games are so educational...

and some other news which has had me leaping about with glee - i am going to have a puppy! not me personally you understand. that would be a first for medical science even if i had not had my wedding tackle removed. no, this puppy is going to come and live with us! as you know, i love puppies. they have a real sense of fun and make me seem really grown up. i so enjoyed taking young rokit under my wing and teaching him a few tricks. its a pity he had to go and live in london, although i gather he is now something of a media star.

our new puppy is called dave and is also a lurcher. he was named after my boy's taxi driver. the little chap is the son of a lady lurcher belonging to the kind man who originally rescued my now sadly departed lady friend. dave is one of 8 puppies. when i heard this i was rather alarmed. while one puppy will be sheer joy, 8 might be a little too much for an old codger like me. but i was worrying unduly, dave's brothers and sisters are all going off to other homes.

we are off to fetch the little chap on saturday, so i will post some pictures of him as soon as we get back. wish me luck!

Monday, August 04, 2008

good morning campers

dear readers, i can only apologise for my silence in recent times. some of my readers have been getting worried about us. it is simply that i cannot get the staff. herself has been all over the place. but i have forced her to type this post so that you know i have not disappeared off the face of the earth.

above you will see a picture of himself looking less than cheery. this is because i told him that a car was about to crash into his head. this picture was taken last weekend when we went camping. there is a camp site halfway between her maamship and the prof's house and our house so we meet them there. it was looking as though we would not get any hols this year so the peeps eagerly awaited getting away. it was also going to be the first outing of the new tent. another new tent? i hear you say. yes, another new tent.

the peeps have a bit of a history with tents. when my boy arrived and they started camping as a family they had to buy a bigger one than the little old dome tent that had done them proud for years. so they bought a big tent. but not big enough for what the future held in store. herself decided that she would order some campbeds from the internet. these were very large campbeds. herself rather uncharacteristically checked the floor plan of the tent to make sure they would fit. but when they arrived they were not just large. they were huge. and although they might have fitted on the floor of the tent, this would have meant the peeps had to saw off the legs which would have defeated the object. herself had failed to take account of the fact that tents go inwards as they go upwards.

so a new tent was purchased. this was large enough to accomodate the beds. for a couple of summers it provided comfortable quarters for holidays. then we went to dorset. the tent got destroyed in a storm.

so another new tent was purchased, again from the internet. this tent was even huger. but it had room for the campbeds and had a large living room bit where the peeps and their fellow campers could sit of an evening playing cards and glugging wine. there was even room for me and my bed. the problem with this tent was that it was a devil to erect. it came with a dvd showing you how to put it up. the first time we went camping with it my boy and i sat in the car puzzling over the dvd on herself's laptop while the peeps valiantly struggled to prevent the tent going into orbit in a gale.

putting this tent up also took at least 2 adults and preferably 4 of them. which was all well and good until himself got poorly. herself couldn't even lift the bag never mind putting the thing up. so the very huge tent was sold on ebay and a smaller tent was purchased, also on ebay. because our new garden is not very large, it was not possible to have a practice run with the new tent. so the camping trip this weekend was a bit of a blind date. the peeps had no idea whether the new tent would have holes in the roof, or indeed if it would have a roof at all.

when we arrived at the campsite, after a journey 3 hours longer than it needed to be due to google maps on herself's phone not knowing which way the car was pointing, her maamship and the prof were already there. they had already erected their tent and were enjoying a beer. after the hellos were out of the way, the peeps started on the new tent. or more accurately herself started on the new tent as she wanted to make sure she could do it on her own.

as the new tent was of a quick erect design, it was soon erect. or more accurately it was up. as her maamship so delicately put it, it was flaccid. and not very tall. a discussion followed as to whether this was why it had been sold on ebay. the peeps walked around the tent scratching their heads. a search was conducted to see if there were more poles. then herself had the bright idea of getting out the instructions. on the front was a picture of how the tent was supposed to look. our tent looked like the little brother of the tent in the picture. herself delved randomly into the instructions, looking for pictures of smaller tents.

"aha!" she said, "it has telescopic legs!" this sounded like a useful trick. i wondered if i might be able to purchase some telescopic legs to help me with my thieving.

the prof and her maamship fiddled around with a pound coin and the legs and eventually the tent grew until it stood proud and tall. i breathed a sigh of relief. my ears were still hurting from the raised voices in the car over the google maps incident, without having to listen to a tirade from himself about the evils of ebay. anyway, now we are home safely and i can catch up with my correspondence. i do love camping but i miss the internet...