Wednesday, December 14, 2011

when is a door not a door?

dear readers, i am not going to bother apologising for my absence.  reading over old posts i see nothing but grovelling apologies for not having managed to get herself to sit at the keyboard for me.  by now all my faithful readers will either have abandoned ship or concluded that i am a dog of very little influence.

what has persuaded herself out of her cave is the saga of the door.  the peep's friend shorn is currently without wheels (for those readers of a literal bent, this does not mean that shorn usually has wheels attached to him.  it means he has no car.  just so that's clear.)   he is managing fine without wheels on the whole but occasionally has large things which need to be transported.  luckily herself has a van. 

the large thing in question on this occasion was a door.   shorn is a songsmith by trade but in order to keep a roof over his head to keep his guitar dry he does things with wood and pipes in people's houses in return for which they pay him.   the job he had to buy the door for was a bathroom in a rather nice part of town.  herself had arranged to collect him at 2.30 to take him to the door shop, after which they would travel to the house where the door was to be fitted and then back to shorn's house.  herself had made it clear that she would have to leave from there at 4.15 in order to fetch my boy from college at 5.

things did not start well.  herself was sitting at the computer looking at lurchers in need of homes (something that always makes me a little nervy) when her phone rang.   it was shorn.

"have you left yet?" he asked.  herself admitted that she had not.  someone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of mathematics would have deduced that she was unlikely to be on time, given that she has no helicopter.  for once fortune was on her side.  shorn explained that he was going to be late as his daughter's christmas play had overrun.  his daughter was playing a playing card which required wearing a wonderful costume made by shorn and mrs shorn and therefore leaving early was not an option.

"no worries," said herself, turning to a web page with irish wolfhounds on it (a sight which had me covering my eyes with my paws), "there's plenty of time."  this assumption showed a spectacular lack of memory as to how things tend to pan out around here.  'plenty of time' tends not to be how it works.

herself arrived at shorn's house just as he and the shornlets arrived home.  mrs shorn had just popped to the shop to get a few things.  after a cuppa, shorn rang mrs shorn to see how long she would be.  the shornlets are too small to leave unattended.  mrs shorn said that she was in iceland.  this seems to me to be a long way to go just to get a few bits of shopping but i am only a lurcher so i may have missed something.  the shornlets were duly deposited with a friendly neighbour and the door-buying commenced.

the door shop had only one door of the required size.  luckily one was enough. a philosophical discussion followed as to whether this was the last door or the first one which occupied herself and shorn until they got to the till.

"this is really embarrassing," said shorn, "i've forgotten my wallet!"  herself pointed out that this was a more usual ploy in a restaurant but luckily she had her handbag so was able to pay for the door.   the door was inserted into the van.  while the van is commodious, it was slightly too short for the tailgate to shut, so a piece of rope was employed to keep the tailgate down.  previous journeys with the tailgate tied down have taught herself that the only way to avoid being asphyxiated is to have the windows open.  in summer this is lovely.  in december it is less lovely.  in fact it is freezing.   luckily young dave and i were at home in the warm, having been left behind to make room for the door.

eventually herself and shorn made it to the part of town where the door was to be delivered.  the road was located fairly quickly.  however, it was a very long road and the houses all looked very large and very similar.  shorn telephoned the customer but she did not answer her phone so they drove up and down looking at the houses.   shorn knocked on a few doors to try and see if they were the door people.  he came back to the van, where herself was shivering.

"no luck so far, but i've found a nice man who i could perhaps leave the door with until i come to do the work.  by then i should have got the door number."  herself suggested that it would make more sense to take the door back to shorn's house.  he was not keen on this plan.

"i won't be able to get it back here tomorrow unless i carry it - in this wind i'd take off!"  with which he went off to try more houses.  herself drove slowly down the road, keeping pace with shorn, and wondering what they must look like to local residents, with a door protruding from the back of the van and a decidedly dishevelled look.  just as herself was about to put her foot down shorn came across the lady whose house he was looking for.   the door was duly delivered. 

all that remained now was for shorn to be deposited back at his house and herself to hotfoot it over to my boy's college.  even this did not go smoothly.  herself could not find the hinges nor the receipt.  what she did find was a lego pirate which she gave to shorn.

"this was from my desk at work," she explained.  "i thought you would like it!"

the lego pirate was missing his hat and had a gap where his brain would be.  i am not sure whether this was the case when he had started working with herself or whether his lack of grey matter was symptomatic of herself's condition.  either way shorn seemed rather puzzled by this gift. 

"don't worry," called herself as she got into the van, "all will become clear in due course."

well, that's ok then...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


dear readers, this is 2e.  2e is currently our guest, while her peeps visit new zealand, a place that is a long way away.   because it is so far away they will be gone for 3 weeks.  2e is a friend of mine and young dave's from the farm where the magnificent bonzo lives.  as you will see from the photograph she is very small.   i have concluded that 2e is actually her size rather than her name, and that small dogs such as this are measured by placing them in a bra and seeing which cup-size will most effectively contain them.

2e's small size does not prevent her from moving extremely fast.  she is one of the few dogs who can keep up with young dave, a feat which involves her little legs going at double the speed of light.  i have rather a soft spot for her as she bears quite a resemblance to young dave when he was a pup.  she has a similar habit of hanging on an old chap's beard, which is endearing, although rather eye-watering.

before 2e came to stay mrs 2e came round to have a look at the accommodation.

"she can be a bit of an escape artist," she said.  herself assured her that our garden was dave-proofed when young dave was smaller than 2e and that she would have a job finding any gaps.

this might have been the case, had 2e not had the back legs of a frog. she is able to jump up to face height.  in addition she has the climbing skills of a cat.  on day 1 of her visit there was a knock at the front door.  my boy answered.   it was mr next door. 

"have you lost a dog?" he enquired.  my boy did a quick head count and saw that our guest was nowhere to be seen.  he went round with mr next door and confirmed that the small dog performing the wall of death with young ruby in their living room was in fact supposed to be in our living room.  my boy is difficult to surprise, having lived for his entire life with the peeps, but he was at a loss as to how 2e had managed to gain access to next door.   2e kindly demonstrated her route by trying to repeat the exercise, which involved climbing onto the veg patch and through a tiny gap in the trellis that runs along the top of the dividing wall.  it was decided that the trellis would be re-enforced for the duration of her visit.

on day 2, herself was spending a happy half hour moving soil around in the garden when there was a knock on the door.  it was a neighbour from two doors up in the other direction.   this neighbour owns the house where until recently there were two small dogs.   there is now one large dog, of a breed known as a rotten-wailer.  this fellow is large, black and brown, and pretty scary.  the neighbour informed herself that 2e had made an appearance in her garden.

herself went round and followed the neighbour into her garden.  sure enough, there was 2e sitting looking thoroughly pleased with herself (that is, with 2e's self, not herself's self.  glad that's clear.)  the rotten-wailer went up to her to have a sniff.   this triggered a ferocious response from 2e which by all accounts was entirely disproportionate to her size and showed very poor judgement in terms of self-preservation.  luckily this particular rotten-wailer still has his tail and his owner grabbed hold of it and hung on while herself whisked 2e up into the air and had a firm word with her on the subject of manners.   further fortifications were added to the garden perimeter and so far seem to have been effective, although the peeps are now rather more watchful of our small guest's movements. 

as well as being an accomplished escape artist, 2e is rather adept at interfering with himself's use of his laptop.   the laptop is known as the square pet, and is loathed by young dave on account of its unattractive habit of hogging himself's lap when young dave would rather be there.  he sits and glares at it and has, with an intellectual skill he does not normally demonstrate, learned which set of key strokes precede it being closed down.   when himself presses the escape key to close down his game, young dave shuffles into position and the minute the square pet is removed young dave takes its place on himself's lap, throwing himself on his back for a tickle.

with a little encouragement from young dave, 2e has developed a method of inveigling herself into the gap where himself places the mouse, next to him on the sofa.   she then sits on top of the mouse hand.  it is still possible to operate a mouse with a small dog on the back of your hand, but it does make it extremely difficult for himself in the fine motor skills department.

i just hope she doesn't discover how to do internet shopping...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

onwards and upwards

dear readers, it has been ages since i wrote, for which i can only apologise.  as you will know, herself has not been herself lately.  she has been off work since january with the collie-wobbles.  this takes the form of an allergy to a number of things, including supermarkets, crowds, people standing too close behind her, people shouting, people looking angry, or in fact just being people.  as you might imagine this has had a rather debilitating effect on her, and indeed on the whole household.  

the only way she can cope with a supermarket is with a minder.  my boy has proved to be particularly good in this role.  he has years of experience of supermarket fear.   when this was at its worst herself came up with a strategy for getting the shopping done, without having to leave my boy at home, where he might have got up to untold mischief.  as my boy was already conditioned to the smell of lavender being relaxing, all herself needed to do was find something in the supermarket that smelled of lavender and my boy would calm down.   so she and my boy would enter the supermarket, dash to where the bubble baths were displayed, and heave the top off a lavender one, whereupon my boy would inhale deeply and calm down.  my boy tried to persuade herself to try this but as the peeps now shop at lidl, which tends to have an unusual approach to layout and a rather random selection of products in the personal hygiene field it was not a success.  they had had to content themselves with shopping at the speed of light in order to get out of the shop before dizziness and queasiness make it untenable. 

there does not appear to be much likelihood of herself returning to the legal world and she therefore was referred to a person called an occupational elf in order to be assessed for retirement.  the elf said she was not mad enough to retire.  a second elf was asked to give a view and came to the same conclusion.   however, herself cannot do her job and so she is likely to be dismissed.  call me old-fashioned but i can't help thinking there is something illogical about all this.    it does give us more time with her and the magnificent bonzo is getting ridden pretty much every day so every cloud has a silver lining.

i am hoping now i have persuaded her to get back at the keyboard i might be able to keep in touch rather more effectively than i have been doing.  i hope you are all well and keeping your peckers up.  (for the benefit of my reader in canada 'keep your pecker up' is not as rude as it sounds).

Friday, July 15, 2011

horsing around

bonzo, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.
dear readers, today's post concerns the equine member of our family. as regular readers will know, the magnificent bonzo resides with uncle gary. he has a lovely stable with a little round window high in the wall, and a huge field which he shares with some other hosses. a hoss could not be happpier. young dave and i help herself with stable duties. young dave is a dab hand at clearing a pile of manure in double quick time, and i sit and supervise from the comfort of the sawdust.

in the winter, the hosses go out in the field in the day and come into their stables at night. in the summer this arrangement is reversed in order to keep them away from the flies in the heat of the day and to prevent the magnificent bonzo's magnificent pink nose from burning in the sun. when the hosses come in in the morning they are usually very tired and lie down for a kip after breakfast. the reason for this tiredness has not been altogether clear, although mrs rose, who lives by the field, has heard thundering hooves in the night.

a couple of days ago the gardener at the big house called over to herself.

"your hoss has been attacking the trees!"

it appeared that the magnificent bonzo had been seen going at a eucalyptus tree in the field with more than a little energy. he had pounded at the cage that was supposed to protect it from harm with his hooves until it had given up the ghost and had then munched through the tree, leaving it more of a bush. there had been several witnesses, all of them amazed at the ferocity of the attack. herself was rather concerned about the effect of munching eucalyptus. in the antipodes there are little bears who live in trees and eat eucalyptus. they become drugged by its chemicals and fall out of the trees. i suppose we should be grateful that the magnificent bonzo ate the tree before climbing up into its branches - i suspect having a beast of his size fall out of a tree onto you might hurt.

the next day herself noticed that the magnificent pink nose was a little runny, and that one of the eyes was also a little damp. she concluded that it was unlikely to be remorse on the part of bonzo and decided that perhaps he had a little cold and had been attempting to treat himself with herbal remedies from the trees. when she saw the gardener she shared this theory with him.

"perhaps i'll bash him over the head with a tree to help with his headache," said the gardener, only half joking. it appeared that a second tree had falled foul of the magnificent bonzo's charms. this time it was a london plane. a brief search of the interweb brings up the following on plane trees:

"Legend has it that in ancient Athens there was a long avenue of Plane Trees that became a popular meeting place for Greek philosophers. They used to pace the long avenue amidst heated philosophical discussions, and so they appointed the Plane Tree the emblem of ‘genius’. Apparently the Plane tree offers a remedy to heal general ills, simply chew the bark straight off the Plane Tree. For a cold remedy, the bark should be boiled first."

it would appear that the magnificent bonzo is something of a genius. and his cold has completely gone...

Friday, July 01, 2011

car, bra, hoorah!

dear readers, in an effort to keep up the newly re-established writing habit, i have persuaded herself to write about today's adventure.   the background requires me to refer to matters pre-dating today.

as i have mentioned before, herself is a little flakey at the moment.   the collie-wobbles do not help with ones confidence.  earlier in the week she was round at her friend kt's house for coffee.  kt has an issue with her paperwork.  herself offered to help tame the paperwork and in return kt is going to provide advice to herself on a number of things, including style.  this came about because herself happened to mention that she could not bear to look in a mirror and that she did not have any full length mirrors in the house.  kt promptly steered her to a mirror which had the effect of making herself cover her face and squeal.   it was obvious that she needed some sort of boost.  an appointment was made for today for the paperwork and style session.

when herself called to make sure things were still on, kt told her that she had no wheels as her car had died.  she was going to try and hire a car for a few days while she bought a new one.  herself offered to drive kt to the car hire place and it was agreed that the outing would incorporate a trip to marks expensive to purchase certain foundation garments.  these are necessary in order to avoid looking like a sack.  those of you with long memories will recall that on a previous occasion herself was taken to marks expensive by her maamship for exactly this purpose.  the garment purchased on that occasion no longer fits and was abandoned by herself some time ago.  

when herself arrived at kt's house she found kt on the phone.  more accurately she was on two phones, as you can see from the picture.  this was something to do with the car hire plan.  herself suggested they just get in the car and drive around until they found a car hire place.  on the way kt updated herself with the full story and explained how she had to buy a car very soon or there might not be any cars for sale anywhere (kt makes herself look patient).  herself took a lofty tone about the whole matter.  only someone who drives an old skoda would dare to get lofty about buying cars.

sure enough, they found a car hire place soon enough.  the only trouble was that it didn't have any cars until tomorrow. kt was reeling from herself's discourse on the merits of patience so she agreed to pick one up in the morning.   they then turned towards marks expensive.

i will not dwell on the whole bra-purchasing saga.  it bore a distinct resemblance to the previous visit, with the added complication of herself's current heebie-jeebies in shops.  there was some amazement when herself came out of the changing room in the bra.

"you look like you have lost half a stone!" said kt.  there is some scientific reason why hoiking up the ladies should make you look thinner but i am not sure what it is.  whatever it is, herself looked less like a sack afterwards.  as they were walking back to the car, herself mused in wonder at the size of her new bra.

"i'm a 38d! that's quite big! no wonder the other one was too tight."

"my dear," said kt, "you're practically a porn star!"

i'm not sure i'd go that far. mind you, it depends how far the re-style goes...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

something in the air

i have finally persuaded herself to sit down and type for me so i am hoping that she will remain focused for long enough that i can finish this post. there is nothing so frustrating as having a typist with the attention span of a gnat when you have paws and cannot take over.

today was a day filled with interest. alas, i was not present for most of it so i have had to piece it together from what i have managed to overhear.  young dave is often allowed to tag along with herself when she rides the magnificent bonzo but on this occasion both of us were left at home due to today's ride being along roads as well as paths.

the road part of today's ride appeared to have gone fairly smoothly, apart from a fracas with a gate.  things only started to unravel when herself and the magnificent bonzo turned down the bridleway leading back to the farm where he lives.   some tents came into view, although  not your usual sort of tent of the type the peeps take camping.   these tents were huge.  they apparently belonged to the circus.  the magnificent bonzo is not easily fazed and walked past nonchalantly.  however in the next field were some creatures that made him grind to a very sudden halt.   it turned out that these beasts were camels. 

the magnificent bonzo has on occasion been likened to a camel, mainly because of his prehensile top lip, which he uses to grab handfuls of grass with.  this lip has a life of its own.  at their first meeting, the magnificent bonzo very gently touched herself's face with his lip, causing her to fall in love with him immediately.  history does not relate whether himself used the same seduction technique.

herself decided that it would be good for the magnificent bonzo's education to meet the camels.  his education has been wide-ranging and random  (he must be one of very few horses outside the military who has met two trombones.  one was played by a retired shepherd up on the hill where he used to live.  the shepherd would take the trombone to the middle of a field to practice to avoid annoying the neighbours.  the other trombone belongs to a jazz musician who lives near his stable).

while herself may have wanted to broaden the magnificent bonzo's mind by introducing him to interesting beasts from foreign climes, he had other ideas.  after a lot of snorting and huffing and puffing he took off up the bridleway with undignified haste, and was only reined in with some difficulty by herself.

back at the farm, herself left the somewhat flustered bonzo to have his breakfast and went in search of uncle gary to have a cuppa.  she found him looking frazzled.  the reason for the frazzlement was all too clear.  george (usually known as person george to differentiate him from chicken george, who is my boy's cockerel) was in the process of taking uncle gary's old car to the dump.  whereas many people would call up a scrap merchant to have the car collected,  george had decided to have the car put on the back of his truck by the tractor driver and drive it there himself.

regular readers will already have seen the flaw in this plan from the photograph above.  george has the same approach to thinking ahead as herself.  he had not thought it might be a good idea to measure the car and then measure the truck to see whether the car would fit on the truck.  (as soon as herself showed the pictures at home himself said "he's just like you!")  herself's idea as to how they might resolve this issue was that they should drive the car into a wall and scrunch it up a bit, thus making it shorter.   thankfully no-one took this seriously, not least because by this stage the car had been relieved of its wheels.

uncle gary has known george a long time.   he had realised george was not the slightest bit deterred by the overhang at the back of the truck and was about to leave to go to the scrap metal place with the car dangling.

"i'm beginning to feel a little queer!"  said uncle gary, ever the master of the double entendre (uncle gary was on the stage in a previous life).  he had visions of the car falling off onto the bonnet of a police car and his career as an upstanding citizen coming to an abrupt halt.  in any event, off went george, making very little concession to his unstable load in terms of speed or cornering.

after several anxious phone calls it transpired that george had missed the car breaker's yard by 10 minutes and would have to bring the car back and try again on monday.  at least this gives my boy an opportunity to participate in the fun, having been unavoidably detained by a warm bed on the occasion of the first attempt.

part of the process of preparation for the trip to the scrapyard was emptying the car of all its clutter.   uncle gary takes car clutter to new heights.  one particularly fruitful compartment contained a vast amount of coins.

"i'll take these and get them changed in one of those coin machines," said herself.  she collected a further pile of coins from the tack room and bagged them all up. 

fast forward to the afternoon, when herself managed to persuade himself to accompany her to tescos.  on account of the collie-wobbles herself is not up to visiting supermarkets alone.  they located the coin-changing machine and started putting in handfuls of coins.  about a third of the way through the machine made an uncomfortable noise and ground to a halt.  a sign flashed up saying the peeps had to call an operative.  himself went off in search of one, leaving herself quaking by the machine.

a lady finally appeared.  after putting in numerous codes she opened the front and revealed the mechanism.  it was apparent that the machine had been defeated by the stuff mixed up with the coins.

"does your friend have a dog?" asked the lady (herself had explained that she had come by the huge amount of coins because of her friend's car going to the dump rather than having been robbing charity boxes).

"er, yes," said herself, "he does have one or two dogs."  in reality the question of whether uncle gary has a dog is in the same category as asking whether the pope has a balcony.  uncle gary has a multitude of dogs, ranging in size from very small to very large.  the thing they all have in common is they all look as though they have run into a wall and squashed in their faces  (as i am a dog of the pointy-nosed variety i am possibly biased).

"that's the problem," said the lady, "its all the dog hair - its blocked up the machine."  she proceeded to brush out the innards of the machine with a paintbrush, causing clouds of it to waft around in the air. 

by now himself was looking less than keen on the turn-your-loose-change-into-untold-riches project.  he was mightily relieved when the peeps were able to retrieve their vouchers from the machine.

"maybe next time it would be an idea to hose the money off first," he suggested.

i feel that this could have an equally, if not more, disastrous effect. wet dog hair would be harder to shift with a paintbrush...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

a little something to watch...

From 2011-06-01
dear readers

i know many of you are finding the long period of radio silence somewhat frustrating so here is a video of my boy driving a ferrari. he was given the ferrari driving day by her maamship for his birthday and christmas and it has taken until now for the peeps to book it and make it happen. as you will see, my boy is something of a chip off the old block in terms of his petrolhead tendencies.

and a special hello to girl in a trench, whose birthday it is today and who is working in a hot place with old things.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

hello, is anyone there?

tomatoes and lemon
hello dear readers, if there are any after this long hiatus. try as i might i have been unable to get herself to focus enough to assist me with a blog post. she is still off work with the collie-wobbles and her state of mind makes young dave seem like einstein. while she usually has the attention span of a gnat, her attention span now is more along the lines of an amoeba. several people have pointed out that ample blog-fodder is passing us by, never to be recorded.

such was the clamour at the waste of good material this week that i have been able to shame her into taking virtual pen to virtual paper and create this post. as always, i have to backtrack a little to set the scene.

the peeps, particularly herself and my boy, are great drinkers of tea. the tea normally comes in little bags that you dunk in the cup until the beverage is the right colour, then hook out and leave to cool on the kitchen worktop (himself is less than keen on this part of the process, being someone who likes a clean kitchen). because of herself's collie-wobbles and inability to venture into a supermarket unattended, stocks of groceries have become depleted. (himself is an accomplished shopper but as he is usually on foot his carrying capacity is limited). the time came when the peeps had run out of teabags. this was something of a crisis.

"never mind," said herself, "we have the emergency leaf tea!" this was a box of tea given to herself by miss shell, her colleague at work.

leaf tea is himself's nemesis. it has all the worktop-and-sink-ruining capacity of a tea bag without the containment. you have to make it in a pot and when you have poured out all the liquid you are left with the leaves, which by now are wet and claggy. they eventually find their way into the compost but first they have to be removed from the teapot. during the course of the day a lot of tea was consumed, and a lot of tealeaves dropped into the sink. until recently there was a little sink strainer thingy in the plug hole which was to catch just this sort of stuff, but himself took against it as it interfered with his clean kitchen policy. this meant that the tea leaves found their way into the pipe below the sink.

herself noticed that the sink was taking a little longer than usual to empty but thought nothing of it. off she went to fetch my boy from college and then they went off to feed the magnificent bonzo. as they left the stables herself made the most of having my boy in the car and announced that they would swing by lidl on the way home, to replenish the cupboards. my boy is showing signs of having inherited himself's shopping acumen and responded positively to the idea.

sadly, the shopping trip was not to be. my boy rang himself to let him know where they were. i could not hear the other end of the conversation from the back of the car but it became clear that we would have to return home. tealeaves and floods were mentioned.

having ascertained that himself had sounded resigned rather than shouty, herself headed for home. when we got in it became apparent that somehow the tealeaves had blocked the sink and caused the washing machine to back up and flood all over the floor. it is not all that long since the whole floor had to be replaced due to a flood so there was a bit of an air of tension around but himself had mopped up the floor and put newspaper around.

herself has a friend who advocates practicing 'restraint in word and deed'. this would have been a good moment to remember this maxim, but unfortunately herself's memory has gone the way of the pear and in one movement she had knelt down and unscrewed the sink trap while asking himself whether he had checked the trap and at the same time asking my boy to pass a large bowl. unfortunately for the floor, my boy's reactions were slower than herself's actions and a large pool of water, gunk, hairy oily nastiness and tea leaves spread across the floor.

i would quote directly what was said by himself but this is a family blog. suffice to say it was loud, very much shouty and not very polite. there followed a showdown, with himself mopping and wringing, herself offering to help, and my boy saying helpful things along the lines of no-one having died. young dave was needless to say interested in helping clear up the oily gunky stuff but was persuaded that this would not be a good idea. regurgitated half-digested oily gunky stuff would not have helped the evening go with a swing.

after a short while herself took over the mopping and eventually the floor was once again clean and relatively dry. the peeps started to put things back in the under sink cupboard. it was at this point that the most blog-worthy bit of the whole business occurred. the peeps use washing powder that comes in a large box with a handle. it usually lives under the sink but had of course been removed in the clear-up operation.

herself picked up the box by the handle to pass it back to himself. unfortunately the box had got wet in the flood. there is no doubt some law of physics which explains how, if you think you are lifting something heavy and it suddenly becomes lighter because the bottom has fallen out of the box, your arm suddenly whizzes up in the air, depositing the remaining contents of the box in the vicinity. i am not all that up on laws of physics so i will leave that to my more intellectual readers but suffice to say that this process is an excellent method of spreading stuff over a wide area.

at this point herself was trying to shrink into as small a space as possible. this is difficult when you are as large as her. luckily himself saw the funny side of things at last and started to laugh. herself joined in, rather nervously. my boy by now had disappeared upstairs but was persuaded down by the promise of washing powder to sniff (sniffing washing powder is something of a treat for his artistic nose) and was persuaded to clear up the latest mess.

there has now been a ban on leaf tea in our house, which seems to me eminently sensible...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

friday night at lidl

friday night at lidl, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

herself has been a little flakey of late and has been signed off work with stress, hence the lack of blogging on my part. stress has many symptoms, one of which seems to be an inability to face the ravages of supermarkets. as himself has been otherwise engaged this has meant that the larder has become somewhat depleted.

yesterday herself decided to pluck up courage to visit the local co-op to pick up some essential provisions. my boy was feeling a little under the weather with aches and pains and asked her to pick up some paracetamol for him. herself drew up in the car and looked for a space. there were quite a lot of spaces and she was not planning on being there long so she left the car at a rakish angle and collected her bags from the back. as she got out a small child, whose mother was strapping an even smaller child into a people carrier, started to shout and wave his arms. it appeared that he took exception to the way herself had parked her car.

"mummy, that lady has taken two spaces!"

the mother tried unsuccessfully to turn his volume down.

"but mummy, look!" he continued.

herself by now was mortified. she has quite a big social conscience and generally tries to do the decent thing wherever possible. the prospect of being thought a sociopath by a small child was too much for her in her fragile state and she very nearly got back into the car and left. all that stopped her rushing off in tears was the thought of the paracetamol for my boy.

walking swiftly into the co-op whilst avoiding the gaze of the judgmental 4 year old, herself grabbed a basket and found the hypochondria aisle. she shovelled 2 packs of paracetamol and 2 packs of ibuprofen into the basket and grabbed a carton of milk before running out of bravado and heading for the checkout. but her shame was not over yet. the checkout lady looked at herself's purchases and rang her bell to summon a colleague.

"am i allowed to put all these drugs through?" she called over. it seems you are only allowed a certain amount of pain at a time. fortunately herself's purchases were of two sorts of drugs and were therefore acceptable. by now she was very keen to leave.

later on mrs toby came round. after a bowl of spaghetti with cheese and tomato the talk turned to shopping and how difficult it was. mrs toby has issues with supermarkets herself and was able to empathise wholeheartedly with herself's experience at the co-op. she confided that, only that same evening she had been compelled to seek out the warm and well-appointed toilets in the very same co-op in order to gather her thoughts before carrying on with her shopping. in fact she may well have been sitting there while herself was having the collie-wobbles.

it was agreed that there was safety in numbers and, as mrs toby pointed out, it was important to purchase provisions before all the food ran out. a plan was formulated to go to tescos that very evening. mindful of the previous outing to tescos herself said that she would be more comfortable with lidl, where she knows where things are and where hers was not one of the mugshots on the security desk. a check on the interweb showed that lidl was open until 10pm and the fearless pair therefore set off without further ado.

when they arrived at lidl the car park was deserted apart from one car that was just leaving. herself parked, again rather rakishly. she was just taking this photo when mrs toby came back from fetching change for the trolley.

"i suddenly thought you might look a bit mad taking a photo of an empty supermarket carpark so i thought i'd better get back quickly," she explained. had i been there i would have pointed out that taking photos of empty supermarket carparks is the one of the least mad of herself's foibles.

they went into the shop and spent a leisurely while collecting foodstuffs. then they got to the central aisle. regular customers of lidl will know that the central aisle is a wonder of the modern world. you never know what the theme will be, other than that it will be a surprise that a not very large supermarket has a market for whatever it is. this week's theme was horsewear.

the pair fell upon the rugs and saddle pads with glee, finally selecting a saddle pad each for the magnificent bonzo and toby and a special rug for bonzo for when he is sweaty. these were remarkably cheap (for my horse-owning readers the pads are £4 and the rugs £6 - get along while stocks last!)

by now the pair had begun to attract the attention of the security guard. this may have been partly to do with mrs toby's famous high-viz yellow shopping jacket, which rather stands out. or it may have been that they were both rather muddy, having been involved in horse-related activities earlier in the day. either way, once they carried on round the shop they were followed closely by the guard. they were also followed by a lady in a grey suit who spent more time than is natural examining the labels on things as uninteresting as bleach and not buying anything. this is a sure sign of a store detective. herself had a job once as a store detective and knows all the tricks. (her store detecting career was short-lived due to her only arrest being one of someone who turned out not to have stolen anything.)

herself refrained from approaching the security guard with her 'i'll have you know, my good man, i am an upstanding member of the legal profession' speech, on the grounds that she did not have any proof of this on her person, and anyone looking at her would have laughed at such an assertion. they finally paid for all the shopping and loaded it into the car, discussing the security guard and store detective.

"i think the security guard fancied us," concluded mrs toby.

mrs toby has great faith in the pulling power of a high-viz jacket...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

a guest post from her maamship

Joker has asked me to write a guest blog about how his boy's dressing gown tag came to be removed.

At first I was deeply honoured. Then, being the old cynic I am, I realised I really am the only writer who can do it. I am the only witness able to give a first paw account of what happened. This is for two reasons. First, herself's cowardice. Secondly, because Tesco's are not too keen on lurchers, however eminent, lurking with very definite intent around the meat fridges.

Joker's boy has, since Christmas Day, been compelled to wear a dressing gown with a security tag attached. This was not of much concern in Joker's sartorially challenged household except to the wearer, who strongly objected to being tagged. For transatlantic readers, this has connotations of a negative involvement with the criminal justice system. At best, it made herself look like a shoplifter.

It was perhaps for such reason that herself bottled out of taking the dressing gown back to the store herself. Using all her powers of persuasion and a bottle of Dr Loosen's riesling, I was cajoled into taking the dressing gown and receipt ( for, despite scurrilous growls to the contrary, she is not a shoplifter) for the tag to be removed.

My problems began when I hadn't appreciated that the security sensors wail just as loudly when you go into the store with a tagged item as when you leave it. All heads turned to look at me. Including the security guard's. Keen to make his first arrest of the day, he trotted officiously over to apprehend me. He was much disappointed when it became apparent that I was not making off out of the store with a stolen item but was heading the wrong way, brandishing a receipt above my head. Deflated, he accompanied me to the customer service counter. Perhaps hopeful that there might still be something dodgy to detect.

I then had the task of giving a credible explanation to a formidable lady in charge of the tag removal gun as to: (a) why the dressing gown was only now being brought back for de-tagging some weeks after Xmas Day; (b) how the purchaser herself had not been apprehended when the alarm went off as she left the store and (c) why herself had not brought it back. She gave me a pitying look and reached for her gun. I was put out of my misery. The tag was removed.

Apologies to my patron and his kind for those last sentences. They were a bit near the bone.

Her mugship.

Friday, January 14, 2011


dear readers, as many of you will know, the weather has been wet pretty much everywhere lately. at least we have not had to deal with the awfulness that so many folks around the world have encountered. the main effect of the rain for us has been mud.

the magnificent bonzo is oblivious to mud. he has a large coat that he wears in the winter which has by january acquired a unique and not entirely unpleasant aroma. it keeps out most of the weather and enables him to spend the day in his field with his buddies, munching grass. herself was always under the impression that munching grass was a perfectly happy way for a hoss to spend the day and had no inkling that the magnificent bonzo might like to be inside in his cosy stable rather than out in the rain.

however, yesterday herself received a phone call from a lady whose hoss is bonzo's neighbour, informing her that the magnificent bonzo had come trotting into the yard, along with one of his buddies, having eased his not insubstantial frame through a gap in the fence. this was not welcome news. bonzo has something of a history with fences. luckily he had come to no harm and was shut in his stable to await further instructions. herself arranged that she would assist with fixing the fence. although i suspect she is more of a hindrance than a help with this sort of job, uncle gary is far too polite to say so.

the following morning found herself suitably attired in waterproof trousers and boots, ready for wading around in a muddy field. on the way to the stables she rang her friend kt who has been poorly. during the course of the conversation kt rather unwisely let slip that she was going to be having some eyelash extensions done.

"oh, crikey, are you sure?" shrieked herself, "they can sometimes make people look a bit scary, you know!"

kt admitted that she was having second thoughts about the plan and that she was not entirely sure why she had thought it was a good idea in the first place. it seems that mr kt is not overly fond of false eyelashes and said that when kt wore them she bore more than a passing resemblance to a drag artist.

"maybe that's why you want to have them," said herself, ever the cod psychologist, "its probably subconscious passive aggression!" she went on to explain that when she wanted to annoy himself she sprinkled sugar on the kitchen worktops, which worked out much cheaper and had the added advantage of being less permanent.

kt said that mr kt was in fact currently in her good books so she did not think it was passive aggression but that she was going to cancel the eyelashes anyway and have a nice rest instead. herself by now had got to the stables and had to get off the phone in order to help with the fence.

some while later she emerged from the field looking rather muddy and dishevelled. while a mud mask might well be good for the skin in certain people, in others it merely adds an air of the swamp. herself falls into the latter category. there is something decidedly ironic about advice on false eyelashes being dispensed by someone who resembles the creature from the black lagoon...