Thursday, January 28, 2010

one and a half hosses

dear readers, another eventful week!  at the weekend bonzo's new friend arrived.  she is being lent to bonzo to stop him escaping in search of company.   she is called libby and is very small and just like a bear.  she has very thick fur and lots of hair over her eyes, just like bonzo.   bonzo took to her straight away and soon they were happily charging round the field.   

things were going swimmingly until bonzo realised that he had to share his food with libby.  this caused a certain amount of ear flattening and teeth baring.  libby pretended not to notice this rather ungentlemanly behaviour but drew the line at bonzo nipping her rather large behind.  she turned round and let him have it with her back feet in his chest.  this is called establishing the pecking order.   it seems that whoever can behave in the most scary fashion is allowed to peck the other one.  young dave and i have a similar arrangement.  

so the equine friends settled down to domestic bliss, punctuated by argy bargy at mealtimes.  for a couple of days this was fine.  then yesterday herself was getting the food for the pair of them, while young dave and i were pootling round the field, and all of a sudden bonzo sped up to libby at full tilt.  bonzo is not called 'the magnificent bonzo' for nothing.  he is a sight to behold at the best of times, but at speed is something else.  libby sped along beside him, her little legs running at twice the speed of his.

unfortunately bonzo has not read the highway code and had no idea about stopping distances.  as he approached the new wooden fence we could see his large but rather slow brain working.  it was clear that even with an emergency stop he was not going to avoid catastrophe.  but behind all that hair is a hint of genius.   as bonzo approached the fence he suddenly took off!  young dave and i had never seen anything like it - a flying horse!  unfortunately bonzo had got his calculations slightly adrift and, while he cleared the lower two rails, he smashed through the top one as though it was matchwood.  

libby galloped around the field neighing.   bonzo galloped up and down outside the field shaking his impressive head and neighing.  young dave ran round the field, dodging libby, with a plastic bottle in his mouth.  the only creature with any sense was myself, as you would expect.  i sat quietly and made mental notes.

eventually herself managed to catch young dave and we were placed in the car.  then herself whistled for bonzo, who came running in a way that put young dave to shame.  with the help of the nice lady at the stables eventually everyone was where they were supposed to be.  herself stood staring at the wreckage of the new fence.   i could not hear from inside the car but it looked to me as though she may have uttered an expletive.

the rest of the morning was taken up with fitting little rubber screw thingys into the new fence to take an electrified tape.  this gives bonzo a zap or two, after which he avoids it like the plague  (the problem with the previous electric fence appears to have been that the electricity was not traveling down the tape).

aside from all this horse-related drama, things have been a little sore in the thumb department.   regular readers will recall a little problem i had with my thumb.    it appears that, true to form, i am taking a while to heal.   so this evening, after a busy day of horsing around, off we went to the evil vet.  dr andy had a look at the thumb and gave it a little bathe.  then he stuck more needles in me.  having the ear of the vet herself asked about my poor old hips, which give me a fair bit of gip these days.

"i have a friend who is an acupuncturist," said dr andy, "it is very good for arthritis in dogs."  herself looked amazed.

"you mean stick more needles in him?  wouldn't the screaming be unbearable?"  at this i pricked up my ears.  i have no idea what an acupuncturist is but if they stick needles in you then i would be out of there before they could get their sewing kit out.   

anyway, i now have more pills and painkillers.  as soon as we got home from the evil vet's i felt better.  i gave young dave a little duffing up, just so he remembered who is where in the pecking order...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

no snow

dear readers, at last the magnificent bonzo is coming home!  regular readers will recall that after herself fell off him in december, bonzo was sent to uncle gary's hoof camp for some lessons in coping with an incompetent rider.  this included modules on standing still while said rider clambers aboard, keeping all four feet relatively near the ground, only galloping when told to, and saddle management, with special emphasis on its positioning on top of the body and not underneath.  

just before christmas uncle gary declared that bonzo had passed with flying colours.  he took herself out for a ride.  herself was a little apprehensive.  her apprehension turned to panic when bonzo started to get a little irritated with a small dog who was running in and out of his feet and barking incessantly.  bonzo prefers his dogs large and hairy, like his good self.  fortunately young dave and i are able to oblige in the largeness and hairiness department.

"gary, i'm really scared!" squeaked herself.

"just breathe," said uncle gary.  uncle gary is not herself's uncle, by the way.  he is bonzo's uncle, although i fail to see the resemblance.  i think it may be one of those courtesy titles.

herself breathed.

"i'm still scared!"  i suppose at least she was scared but breathing.

"if you calm yourself down, bonzo will respond," said uncle gary, "make your voice lower."

herself understands the importance of a low voice.  going into court and squeaking tends to give the game away to the other side that you are on the back foot.  over the years herself has learned to sound deeper voiced and more confident that she feels.

"good boy, bonzo," she said, sounding like a sumo wrestler.  or perhaps a bishop.  the rest of the outing passed without incident.  

a second attempt a couple of days later was much more successful and uncle gary said bonzo was ready to return home to his field.  however, the night before the big day it snowed and carried on snowing for some time.  everywhere was bathed in white.  the stables were snowed in.  the field was snowed in.  bonzo wasn't going anywhere.  it has to be said that bonzo had no objection whatsoever to this.  uncle gary's place is the horse equivalent of a health farm, with a warm barn, friendly people to scratch bonzo's big head, nice horses to chat to and lots of grub.  bonzo was very happy to spend christmas in the warm rather than in his drafty field.

eventually the snow thawed and plans were made for the journey.  but the day before bonzo was due to come home it snowed again.  this time it snowed even more.  mrs collie was snowed in up the hill where bonzo's field is (or more properly where mrs collie's field which bonzo lives in is) and had to be rescued by herself.  i was beginning to think that bonzo had come to an arrangement with the weather people.  it is decidedly suspicious that each time he was due to come home a blizzard arrived.

time passed and last week both the stables and the field were accessible.  herself began to make the final arrangements at the field to make it comfortable and safe for the big fellow and his new little friend.  there was one last bit of fencing to do, which fortunately a proper fencing man is doing today (the prospect of a fence erected by herself does not bear thinking about).

there is a ton a gravelly stuff to spread where the mud is but first herself needed to lay her hands on some hardcore to build up the area by the gate. yesterday she went on the internet and found some.  she rang the man and arranged to come and collect a trailer load.  the only downside was that the man was an hour's drive away, but at least the hardcore was free.  herself peeled herself off the computer and took young dave and i out for our walk.  as we approached the house the new neighbour the other side of the next-doors (this is not the owner of the little dog but the other way) came out.  he and his dad are doing major building work before his wife and baby move in.  the building work involves knocking down walls.

"you wouldn't have any hardcore, would you?" asked herself.  i didn't know where to put myself.  herself is a totter of many years experience.  she finds it hard to go past a skip without peering in to see if there is anything useful in it.  the advent of recycling as a worthy lifestyle has made this less of an embarrassment than it must have been in the past but by all accounts herself was at this lark long before recycling was invented.  but this poor man had hardly got the wall down and there she is scrounging it.

anyway to cut a very long story short (a saying, dear readers, no stories were injured) herself popped young dave and me into the house and wheeled her trusty trailer along to where the building was happening.  the arrangement is that the builders will fill the trailer with hardcore and herself will take it up to the field.  on the way down she will bring a load of the unmanageable and prickly old fence which she is slowly taking to the dump.   it made the fencing job cheaper if herself got rid of the old fence but she is regretting this particular money-saving ploy.   getting several hundred yards of rusty wire netting into a small trailer is something of a task.  it involves herself standing in a very precarious manner on top of the coils of wire in order to squash them into shape.  i may start selling tickets.

anyway, i am being told that i must draw this musing to a close as we are off to the field with the first load of hardcore.   i just hope that hoss appreciates all the effort...

Monday, January 11, 2010

a new toy

dear readers, thank you all for your good wishes for my recovery.  i am now back to normal and much relieved to no longer be in pain.  this evening young dave and i had a surprise.  mrs next door knocked on the door saying that there was a little dog running up and down the road.  herself, being a lover of animals, put on her coat and joined mrs next door in trying to ascertain what the little dog wanted.   herself immediately recognised it as being one of the little dogs from next door but one.  

the peeps had been over the road at her maamship's house when the new next door but one moved in, giving them ample opportunity to view her and her two little dogs.  and a few days later the same little dog had been found in the road, having escaped from the garden through a very small gap.  

herself and mrs next door tried to find the little dog's owner, but could not get a reply.   as the temperature is sub-zero it was clear the little dog could not be left outside.  mrs next door has a house full, what with young ruby and the next doors, and mrs next door's friend who is staying while she recovers from pneumonia.  added to this mrs next door has had a tooth out and is suffering.  so the little dog was brought into our house and a note was placed on the door where it lives.  

i have to say i was at first rather concerned at the appearance of  a canine visitor.  young dave, however, was thrilled.

"look joker, they've got us a toy dog!" he beamed.  it was only when he approached the little dog that he realised it was alive.  and not only that, it bore more than a passing resemblance to the chihuahua that chases him at the local park.  young dave circled the little dog very cautiously, sniffing its ears.  

the evening has proved entertaining.  young dave is huge compared to the little dog but is very alarmed every time it moves.  the peeps were hoping to have an early night but are rather worried about going to bed before the little dog is claimed by its owner.  i think young dave and i may have to share our sofas again...

ps: the little dog's owner arrived to collect her at 10.45 so all is well!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

all fingers and thumbs

well dear readers, happy new year to you all!  i hope you all had a nice break from the daily grind over the winter hols.  we have had a lovely time with a stream of friends round, most of whom are not clued up in thievery.   this has allowed young dave and i to liberate considerable amounts of grub from unattended plates.

the new year was seen in with true lurcher style.  we went for a visit to herself's friend miss jones, who lives on a boat.  the boat is on an island in a large river.  as miss jones has two lurchers, young dave and i were also invited.  we have met these two before when they visited us, so it was assumed that things would go smoothly.  however, for some reason, perhaps due to female hormones, the lady lurcher decided to have a bit of a growl as young dave and i climbed up the steps.  in the chaos that followed i somehow managed to catch my thumb claw on something and wrenched it upwards.  to say this hurt is something of an understatement.   and then there was the blood, although not in the quantities i am capable of producing it, thankfully.  

when things had settled down a little and i had declined the offer of a bathed thumb, followed with a sock and gaffer tape, herself, miss jones and another friend sat down to lunch.  because the boat has windows in the roof, lunch was punctuated with snatches of young dave running around above, chewing a squeaky turkey which he had taken a fancy to.  there was something decidedly surreal about the sight of young dave's undercarriage above the table, with a rubber turkey clutched in his over-enthusiastic jaws.

luckily the rest of the visit passed without incident and we headed home.  by now the old thumb had settled down to a dull ache so i was saved a visit to the evil vet.  but only until the following day.   herself arranged for me to see the evil vets where we used to live, as they understand my delicate constitution.  the new vet in our road has not yet managed to worm himself into my affections.  young dave of course has been won over with gifts of dog treats.  but i have had to curl my lip on a number of occasions when the new vet has tried to take liberties.  so it was off to the old evil vet for an appointment with dr andy.  

on the way we called into the feed merchants.  this is where magic jim works.  magic jim is the man who saved my life when i was hit by the car.  he was on the phone when we arrived so herself and i had a chat with the nice ladies behind the counter while we waited.  no sooner had i accepted some dog treats than a lady came in looking for a coat for her goat.  it seems the goat is called hermione and has a nasty cough.   the lady rather carelessly did not have hermione with her so when it came to choosing what size coat she should buy i was drafted in to do an impression of a goat so she could see which coat might fit.   luckily i did not have to cough as well.  it seems that every time we go out of the door something interesting happens, but this is the first time  i have had to pretend to be a goat.  magic jim was still tied up on the phone so we eventually reluctantly left for the evil vets.  

we had quite a long wait while a very fluffy lady dog was seen but eventually the moment could be put off no longer.   dr andy looked at the thumb claw.  

"i could have a go at just tugging it to see if it comes off," he began.   he must have seen the look on my face because he swiftly moved on.  "but given this chap's age, and the fact that he is a lurcher, i think it would be better to sedate him and do it properly."

it seems that i am to have a sedative that costs as much as gold dust, which is reserved for dogs with poorly hearts (there is nothing wrong with my heart but due to my advancing years you can't be too careful).  so today i am off to the evil vets again.  i have to say i don't relish the thought of more pain.  i am a bit of a delicate soul on the pain front.  but at least i know i am in safe hands.  dr andy and dr matt are responsible for the bulk of the train network of scars that criss cross under my fur.  without their needlework i would not be around today so i must be brave and try not to cry too much.

it is just as well i have a personal assistant to do my typing.  it would be even harder with one paw...