Monday, September 28, 2009

fame and misfortune

dear readers, this picture has nothing much to do with my musing for today, but herself likes to have a picture for you. this is gimley and daisy. more unlikely friends it would be hard to imagine. daisy tells gimley what to do. daisy is on the right.

today's musing is about legal matters. and shingle. i will start with the shingle since it is more interesting. regular readers will know that her maamship has had to buy a house over the road to the peeps in order to avoid having to sleep in her van when she visits. the house over the road was previously owned by a lady whose health was poor, so the garden is in a bit of a mess. herself offered to do the garden. her maamship was pleased with this plan. she gave herself a free rein on the design, as she is so fond of our garden. i am not sure this was such a good idea. himself was rather negative about it too. he likes things to be done properly, with a plan. herself tends to be rather more organic in her designs.

today herself ordered a huge bag of shingle and some railway sleepers. the shingle is to cover all the weeds and the railway sleepers are to make a raised veg bed. herself made it clear to the bloke at the builders merchant that when they delivered them they should place the bag of shingle in the front garden on the lawn and be careful not to crush the flowers. she then went off to ride mrs lupin's horse, who is a most charming chap.

when she got back, the builders merchant had delivered the railway sleepers and the shingle. the railway sleepers were neatly stacked alongside the house. the huge bag of shingle was in the road. this in itself would not have been such a problem. but it was in the space for the car owned by the lady at the end of the road. this lady cannot walk very far which is why she has a special space for her car. her car was in the rest of the space but herself felt very worried that the lady would have trouble getting out. she went round and apologised to the lady. then the peeps spent a happy hour shovelling shingle into the front garden of her maamship's house. as soon as they had lightened the bag sufficiently they were able to pull it out of the lady's space and into a space that adjoined it. by now the peeps were a little flaked, so after a shower they settled down to an evening of chefs and forensic science dramas.

and the legal thing? i am threatened with being sued! i cannot think of a greater honour than to have annoyed someone enough for them to feel they need to sue me. and as herself says, all i have to my name is a magnetic collar, so it is a fruitless exercise. i am to be sued because i offered words of support to the famous inspector gadget, a blogger of repute. as the dear inspector is also owned by a lurcher i felt it was the least i could do. so watch this space...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

fame at last

dear readers, i have finally arrived. i will need to provide a bit of background first, so do try to keep up. i know i am prone to rambling a bit, but a chap my age is allowed a bit of leeway.

as regular readers will know, a nice lady comes to see my boy every saturday for a couple of hours. this started some years ago when the peeps discovered the sitting service. this is run by social services and involves volunteers coming to sit with wild young people so their parents could go out together. when my boy first had his sitter the peeps had not been out together for almost a year so it was revolutionary.

now my boy is old enough to be left on his own you would think he would no longer need sitting on, but my boy and his sitter have become firm friends so she still comes every week. they are an unlikely pair to be friends. she is a retired civil servant, who has led a very quiet life. she is a lady of strong religious convictions, so my boy had to be firmly instructed very early on to keep his atheist rantings to himself. so they sit side by side in my boy's room, surrounded by imitation guns all over the walls. my boy plays whatever horrific computer game has his fancy that week and his sitter does crosswords and word puzzles. meanwhile the peeps go out on a date.

it has to be said, the peeps took some time to understand the meaning of going on a date. they were decidedly out of practice. so for a long time they went to lidl, or the tip. but they are gradually learning. last night, when my boy's sitter came, young dave and i took the peeps for a lovely long walk along the beach. we rounded off the outing with a pint at a local hostelry. i have of course been visiting such places for many years but for young dave it is still a novelty. there was a certain amount of grizzling from his direction, largely because the people at a nearby table had failed to understand that he wanted to help them finish their dinner.

herself apologised for young dave's manners. it is stretching things to say he is a puppy these days as he is over a year old, but he still retains a very puppyish look so he is forgiven a lot of misdemeanours. the people at the nearby table were charming. they said they had seen us earlier on our walk and that we were gorgeous.

"they ought to be famous!" said the lady. herself explained that we were indeed famous and that i was a world famous author and had my own blog. she had to explain about the typing business and how i found it hard with my paws so she had to do the typing for me.

"so he even has his own p.a.!" exclaimed the lady, thrilled to have met me.

as we left the pub herself said that having a p.a. did not mean i was going to get away with any nonsense and that i shouldn't get too big for my boots. we shall see...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

one step forwards, two steps sideways

dear readers, this week has seen yet more drama. my boy goes to college on mondays, tuesdays and thursdays. herself foresaw potential for fussing on monday and tuesday and roped in girl in a trench to assist. monday dawned and my boy was hauled out of bed, placed in an upright position and left to get himself dressed. girl in a trench had spent the night on the sofa with young dave keeping her feet warm. at home she has a hot water bottle with a grey furry cover so young dave is a good substitute. when herself came down in the morning, girl in a trench told her about having got up in the night for a pee and returning to find dave fast asleep in the warm bit in her bed.

"you had better watch out how you tell people that," said herself, "it would be less open to misinterpretation if he was called fido."

my boy eventually came downstairs, munched some breakfast, took his meds and was ready to go. herself, girl in a trench and my boy set off in a fairly cheery fashion. after my boy had been dropped off, herself dropped girl in a trench at the station as she had to go to london to see about getting herself a trowel and various other tools ready for her own college course. herself went off to the stables. she was having a lovely ride in the autumn sun when her phone went. it was my boy's tutor. herself said she would ring back when she had disembarked from the horse. at the stables she called back.

"he's saying he wants to come home," he said. herself said this was not really a good idea as my boy would not go back if he was allowed to do this. then my boy came on the phone, wailing. herself spent some time explaining to him that this was not going to happen and that he had to get used to college. then his tutor came back on the phone and said that it was fine and that my boy would be ok. when herself went to fetch him at the end of the day he was indeed ok and had spent some happy time with the chickens.

on the tuesday girl in a trench was again in attendance, having returned from london the night before. dave had again performed hot water bottle duties. my boy was much more alive and ready to roll and they set off with no bother at all. when he was collected, having managed to keep in good heart all day, he grudgingly agreed that it was not such a bad place at all. herself almost refrained from having a good gloat.

on wednesday evening things began to look less positive. my boy had spent the day at home and had reminded himself of the comfort of a darkened room. he started up.

"if i say i feel sick you won't think i am making it up like with school will you?"

"i will make a judgement based on the facts before me," replied herself, in something of a lawyerish tone. her scepticism proved well-advised. about half an hour later my boy re-appeared, looking pale.

"i've got a bad tum!" he wailed.

"that'll be the thyroxin," said herself. my boy has to take pills to make his fire-oid work faster.

later he appeared again.

"i feel sick!" herself stood firm.

"we'll see how you are in the morning. if you still feel sick you can have a travel pill."

my boy eventually went to bed, moaning and groaning. in the morning he started where he had left off.

"i'm too ill to go to college! i feel dreadful."

"its just nerves," said herself firmly, "we've been through all this. if you feel sick you can have a pill."

some time went by and there was no sign of my boy. himself went up to get him moving. soon yelling could be heard from under my boy's duvet. it became clear that he was refusing to get up. young dave and i were unable to assist as there is a gate across the bottom of the stairs to keep young dave downstairs. (on the odd occasion when he has managed to wangle his way past it he has been found stretched out on the bed, once when both peeps were asleep on either side of him. it takes considerable stealth to climb onto the bed without waking herself, who is a very light sleeper.)

herself went up. himself had hold of one arm and was tugging my boy out of bed. my boy was resisting. in the end he stood up and himself got him dressed. my boy came downstairs and spent the next quarter of an hour slouching around looking pale. by now himself had lost the plot and was told to take me and young dave out for our walk. this was probably wise as he was looking rather murderous.

herself then tried reasoning with my boy for a while. she offered him a travel pill to help with the sickness. my boy refused, no doubt worried that he might stop feeling sick if he took the pill. when herself was reduced to shouting "take the bloody pill!" she realised that she too had lost the plot and went for a shower.

himself returned. by now my boy was back in his bed, although he had not had the forethought to get undressed. this was his downfall. the peeps pulled him out of bed and shuffled him down the stairs, with himself behind pushing and herself in front, pulling. young dave and i watched open-mouthed. my boy is nearly six feet tall and not easy to push, or indeed pull. he was brought to the bottom of the stairs. herself opened the front door. my boy took the opportunity of her having let go of one hand to attach himself to the bannisters like a limpet. for someone who had been so wan and feeble he had found a store of strength from somewhere.

himself went behind and pushed from a different angle. herself pulled. all at once my boy was in the front garden. herself let go of one arm to shut the front door and my boy sprinted off up the road. it is amazing how a little fresh air gets rid of nausea so quickly. the peeps stood on the doorstep looking at each other.

"you get his bag and i'll get some help," said herself. she went next door. mr next door opened the door.

"help!" said herself, pointing up the road to where my boy was visible, pressed against a wall.

"i'll go and get him," said mr next door. he is a man of imposing stature but in fact did not need to do any more than chat to my boy for a while before my boy came back. the peeps were waiting by the car. mr next door was talking to my boy about how he would teach him the guitar (mr next door is the most amazing guitar player) and talking about how long my boys fingers were.

"i need my pocket knife, and my satnav," said my boy. herself got out her phone and rang the house. from the road you could hear the phone in the house ringing. you could even hear himself answering. it is at moments like this that the absurdity of the situation strikes home. himself said he would look and bring them out. at this moment mr snake charmer came round the corner, carrying the long-handled pruners. my boy looked alarmed. in fact herself had asked mr snake charmer to drop them off so she could tackle her maamship's garden, but their arrival was opportune.

"so we're in the happy tree today then?" asked mr snake charmer. herself was feeling somewhat out of her tree so did not grasp that this alluded to a rather odd tv programme. just then herself's phone rang. it was himself to say he could not find the pocket knife.

"look, i'll go in and get it," said my boy.

"if you think i am going to let you go back in there after all this you have to be madder than you seem!" said herself.

"i know when i am defeated," said my boy, waving vaguely at the surrounding adults. having extracted a promise that he would come back out herself agreed. as they stood by the car waiting for the next round, herself remarked on how moments such as this, while trying at the time, provided good blog-fodder.

my boy was eventually put in the car and herself drove off, having locked the doors as a precaution. one of my boy's earlier efforts to put the peeps off making him go to college had been to say he would jump out of the car when it was on the dual carriageway, so herself was not being over-cautious.

after 5 minutes in the car my boy ate a bag of crisps and settled down to his fate.

"did you know that you can send yourself into a catatonic state by reverse blinking of the eyes?" he asked.

"did you know that you can send yourself into a catatonic state by having an autistic teenager?" she countered.

when she went to pick him up at the end of the day, his tutor came out. he is a wonderful man with a will of steel, disguised in a slightly camp manner, a nice sense of humour and a clear empathy for wild young people.

"how you went on this morning is not acceptable," he said to my boy, "if you give your mum jip, you give me jip. i will not have it again." my boy looked suitable chastened and promised not to repeat the experience. i think this time the message has sunk in...

Friday, September 18, 2009

and relax...

i know my readers will be keen to know how today went so i have forced herself to type a quick post. the day started off with a rather poor omen - herself cut her mouth on her muesli. how anyone can get an injury from breakfast cereal is beyond me but if anyone can it is herself. luckily things improved after that.

my boy got dressed with scarcely a whimper. mr snake charmer came round to cheer us all on. mrs next door went along to the nice college with the animals with herself and my boy and by all accounts it went swimmingly, in spite of there being a lot of hanging around and paperwork. my boy was photographed for his id card and managed not to look like an axe murderer. they met the other students and the tutors who seem very nice.

my boy is going to be part of a project involving chicken husbandry which herself said meant he had to marry a chicken. my boy said this was a rather limp joke. anyway, they came home half an hour ago looking very much cheerier than before. so there will be celebrations this weekend...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the end of the world is nigh

dear readers, since our return from our hols, things have been a little on the tough side with my boy. regular readers will know that he has not been in school since january. for the whole of this year herself has been attempting to sort out some sort of education for him, against a backdrop of threats from the local irritation authority to take the peeps to court.

after several false starts, the peeps settled on the nice college with the animals as a good place for my boy to go. my boy was on the face of it very happy with this. herself and my boy went for taster days, which, although my boy was less happy with, seemed to go pretty well. my boy was offered a place to start in september. herself then embarked on a lengthy battle with the local irritation authority about them paying the fees. this has yet to be resolved so her maamship has very kindly lent the money to the peeps in the interim.

fast forward to the present. as the date for starting at the nice college with the animals drew near, my boy started to get the collie-wobbles. this is largely because he does not like new things. people of the beefburger persuasion do not like change. there was a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. herself felt this keenly and spent many hours comforting my boy, whilst telling him that it would be fine once he got there and got used to it.

as my boy's main objective was to avoid going to the nice college with the animals in order to devote himself to a career sitting in a darkened room playing computer games, he decided to try a new approach. this involved saying his life was no longer worth living if he had to go to college. herself felt this even more keenly. she grew up with a father who had a similar approach to life and went to considerable lengths to put it into practice, at great emotional cost to his family.

after 3 or 4 days of my boy saying he was going to kill himself herself snapped and burst into tears.

"when i was your age i was in an ambulance with my father being rushed to hospital having his stomach pumped out! it is totally immoral for you to be using emotional blackmail like this to avoid going to college!"

with that she went into the garden for a good cry. my boy came out and apologised. for a few days things quietened down.

as the day approached when my boy would start college, he tried a new tack.

"i'm not going to that hell-hole. you can't make me. you are practicing satanic experiments on me!"

"we can make you and we will make you," said herself, "your father and i will end up in court if you don't get back into education. i will get the Hoard of Menopausal Women to come round and we will get you dressed and put you in the car and take you there every day until you get used to it and stop fussing."

my boy went off to think this over. a little later he came back.

"you can't make me go if i am not here. i will run away."

this plan had the peeps open-mouthed.

"running away might be a little tricky, given the agoraphobia," himself pointed out, "where would you run away to?"

"the stables." said my boy, "i like the stables. the atmosphere there is nice."

"that's good," said herself, tongue in cheek, "i'll be able to see you when i go riding." (my boy has recently been to the stables with herself and girl in a trench. they had spent a morning painting stable doors while my boy harangued herself with how poor a parent she was and how she had never made a good decision about his upbringing in his whole 14 years. girl in a trench took the opportunity of him wandering off to kick a stone around in a depressed manner to compliment herself on her patience in the face of such a relentless onslaught of woe. "it takes practice," said herself glumly.)

yesterday mr snake charmer and the young snake charmer came round after school. the young snake charmer had made up a song about mushrooms which she sang to everyone. in between the mushroom song my boy entertained the assembled folks with increasingly extreme plans for avoiding college. mr snake charmer has a robust approach to my boy. having taught him smiths for most of a year he knows most tricks in my boy's book. the running away plan came up again.

"how will you know where to start?" asked mr snake charmer, "have you got 'running away simulator' on your computer?" (my boy has been collecting the weirdest simulation games he can find, including 'fork lift truck simulator', 'crane simulator' and 'farming simulator'. he also has 'subway train simulator' which has the added complication of being in german.)

then my boy moved onto a more extreme plan.

"i will nail myself to a cross," he announced, "then you won't be able to get me in the car."

this was greeted with a stunned silence, followed by a cacophony of responses, ranging from guffaws from mr snake charmer to herself's more thoughtful contribution.

"there is a rather obvious flaw with that plan," she said.

"what?" said my boy, taken aback at her lack of distress.

"unless you have a very long handle on the hammer you will not be able to hammer in the last nail." herself often retreats into practicality in the face of horror.

this prompted mr snake charmer to do an impression of my boy trying to persuade a passer-by to help him out with his last nail which had even my boy beginning to see the absurdity of his latest idea. he went off in a huff with the young snake charmer to play bus simulator, leaving the adults to plan for friday, when he has to attend for the enrolment and induction day.

as well as the Hoard of Menopausal Women, mr snake charmer is going to call round to supply additional muscle if required, together with caustic wit, which he has in spadefuls. i think my boy is beginning to realise that he is going to have to buckle down and get on with it...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

tanked up

on day two of our hols we were woken again at the crack of dawn, indeed well before the crack of dawn, and taken off to the park with the metal trees for a quick run around. then the peeps spent a frantic hour tidying up her maamship's flat, which had descended into the chaos they take with them wherever they go. after that we all piled into hattie, who is her maamship's campervan. the reason we went in hattie rather than arthur the audi was because of my boy's fear of travel. he loves hattie and spent lots of time fiddling around with her cupboards and switches before settling down with his laptop to play a computer game called morrowind.

young dave and i managed to find a space on the floor to kip, although young dave very quickly wormed his way onto himself's lap, where he collapsed in a hairy grey heap. after quite some time we arrived at the services where we were meeting her maamship and the prof. and sure enough, there they were! it always amazes me when any of the peeps' arrangements comes off. after a bit of pottering around and a cuppa we set off again, following their car. about 20 miles further on the deisel light came on. this was hattie's way of telling the peeps that she was thirsty. herself indicated to her maamship and the prof that she was turning off and we headed into the filling station. herself pulled up by the pump and got out.

"its the other side!" called her maamship. herself got back in and moved to a different pump. she fiddled around with the keys and unlocked the filler cap. as she finished filling up her maamship came out from the shop, having paid for her own fuel.

"its the ignition key," she said, seeing herself having trouble locking up the cap. herself managed to lock the cap with another little key and got back into the driving seat. we headed off again up the motorway. a little bit further on herself turned to himself.

"the fuel light hasn't gone off," she said, rather worriedly, "i hope its ok."

"you don't think you put it in the wrong place do you?" said himself, ever the optimist. a rapid phone call to the prof established that this was indeed what had happened. herself had filled up hattie's water tank with deisel. there was a fair bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of herself. it was agreed that we would all turn off at the next exit. it was also established that hattie would need a new water tank. herself was somewhat crushed.

this time her maamship filled hattie up, which seemed like a sound idea. herself might have filled up some other tank instead. luckily her maamship is a person who is not easily flustered. she seemed to take all this in her stride.

we carried on with our journey and eventually got to the place where the boat was. we had a quick lesson in which end was which (something her maamship and the prof have very little need of, being boat experts) and then got into a sort of boat queue. ahead of us was a rather impressive structure, which i discovered was a boat lift. now usually it is young dave who exhibits signs of a nervous disposition. but on this occasion it was my good self who got the collie-wobbles. teetering hundreds of feet in the air in a boat in a large container filled with water is not my idea of a relaxing time. in the container with us was a tour boat, filled with people taking photos of us, with a man giving a commentary with a microphone.

once we were at the top things improved. over the next couple of days we pootled along the canal to edinburgh, a large city full of people who we couldn't understand. young dave left his mark in the middle of the main street, much to the peeps embarassment. herself did what she could with the old plastic bag trick but a certain miasma followed us. young dave never fails to deliver.

the rest of the week was spent pootling back again, and was unremarkable save for one breakfast time when herself was frying eggs for everyone. she was about to pour in some oil when she let out a shriek. yet again she had got her liquids muddled and was about to pour whisky into the frying pan. in her defence, the bottles are very similar. i suppose it gives a whole new meaning to scotch eggs...