Birds do it, Bees do it …..

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Whilst I am loving the sunshine  and the opportunity to loll in the garden, there are some disadvantages to the outdoor life.

The year of the cat has come and gone, so the birds have returned to our garden with a vengeance.

We have – according to my Dad who knows these things – pigeons, blackbirds, starlings, dunnocks and sparrows in the side garden, and a variety of tits in the front garden – steady – I am a dog and I don’t do innuendos.  The blackbirds have got a nest in the back courtyard and the pigeons are getting through the fatballs at a rate of knots.  My Mum has been a bit sneaky and hung a container of fatballs on a very wobbly branch so that only the lightest of birds can land there.

Talking of balls – she has sown these seedballs all over the garden – little clay balls that contain flower seeds. Part of the strategy to bring back the bees and other insects.

I can cope with most of the birds but those blackbirds keeping hopping about behind me when I’m trying to kip under my very own sunshade.  They swoop down over my head in order to tease me and they even had the cheek to grab a lump of my discarded fur after my Mum had brushed me. OI!  MY FUR!

The seedballs worked and we know have bees in abundance.  They are even more annoying than the birds and far more dangerous.

There I was, innocently chasing a bee and snapping my jaws at it, when it turned round, stuck its bum up my nose and stung me.

Unfortunately the incident happened so quickly that no one else saw.

That afternoon the nice man came to see how my annoying habits were shaping up.

Still pulling.  Still whoofing.  Still randomly growling. Lovely with it though.

We did some more work – the de-stressing was very nice but the bad noise when I woofed was not.  I am learning – slowly. Then I got treats and more de-stressing so all was good.

Except for the fact that I kept licking the air and sneezing – the humans around me came up with various hypotheses to explain my strange behaviour but it wasn’t till the next morning that my Boy and my Mum (with the aid of a torch) looked up my nostril and discovered that the inside was bright red and swollen where the bee’s bum had left its mark.  I was washing everything in sight in order to stop the pain.  Wet sofa, wet cushions, well-washed Mum (my Boy doesn’t like it when I lick him but my Mum doesn’t mind – she keeps baby wipes in the bathrooms still).

Got lots of fuss, Wonky Chomps (Yay! My favourite), treats and a handheld ice cube to ease the swelling (love, love love these doting humans).

They booked me into the vets so that my Dad could take us when he got back from work.  I was doing my best to look pathetic when my Dad came home and it worked because he made a BIG fuss of me.

To the vets – in the CAR.  I love the CAR!  Only a short trip though as the vet is just round the corner.  It was a lady vet this time and I did all the charming head-on-one-side-with-a-slight-tail-wag stuff.  It worked.  She was smitten.  I had a steroid injection but they didn’t charge me for the anti-histamines – did you know that dogs can take 4mg Piriton for insect bites? I was a very GOOD dog (that’s if you ignore the ominous growling at the other smaller dogs who were at the vets as well).

Went home.  Still lickyand a bit dopey from the drugs but oh, the attention I got from all of them – it was worth it.

There have been various other pieces of excitement darting around the house this week.

The Big Boy who lives away has done well in his exams and will be coming home next week.

My Boy has been invited to a wedding in America – so all else has to take second place whilst he holds forth about it. The next two months are going to be horrendous.

My Dad has a very posh new suitcase thing for keeping all his paintball stuff in.

My Mum has been to mysterious meetings that make her alternately mad and sad.

Although I don’t like to see her sad, it does  mean that I get the best cuddles from her when we fall asleep on the sofa together.  When she is tappity-tapping on her laptop I am at her feet to stop the bad people from coming in.

My Dad takes us up to the Monument.  He and I run up and down the hill whilst my Mum puts things back into perspective, says hello to her favourite tree (I’m not allowed to wee on it) and smiles again.

My Dad will be home in half an hour and that should mean walkies if he isn’t too tired from looking at planes and stopping them bumping into each other.  At the very least my Mum will take me outside to the front garden for a late night pitstop and some treats.  There is a bolshy looking Hebe bush that I am slowly subduing with the power of wee.

Our friend Paddy Pickles has an iPee app for his phone – it shows your where you last sprinkled.  My Dad says there is no need for us to get an iPoo for me – scented nappy sacks remove all trace of my whereabouts.

That was a bit of fantasy – Paddy Pickles is a canine chum and doesn’t have a mobile. I am a dog and I don’t do jokes either.

It’s going to be a nice day again tomorrow – takes me back to my days in the Spanish sunshine.  My Boy will be unlikely to surface till lunchtime as he has been running around in heavy boots, camouflage and shooting things with small plastic balls all day today. My Dad will be spending the day shooting people with larger balls of paint and coming home with brightly coloured bruises.  Hope he takes me out for a walk first then.

Sunshine in the garden, cuddles with my Mum, Wonky Chomps and doggy treats.  It’s a dog’s life alright.

Adios amigos.

Oh! Dad’s HOME!

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No one gets hurt if they don’t act funny – aggressive dogs,chatty women,cold callers, joggers – and cats!

Ey Up (that’s Northern speak for Hola)

Week two in my new home and I’m slowly getting my humans sorted out.

I confess – we have all rather fallen for each other – my Mum because she gets up first and plays silly games with me in the garden and is actually beginning to understand what I want.  My Dad because he runs fast with me and makes me grin and I am SO pleased to see him when he comes back from this thing they call work.  My Boy because he laughs when I do funny things, he gets up in the middle of the night and hugs me when everyone else is asleep, and because he is MY BOY.

We’ve done rather a lot of stuff this past week.  After the adventures at Spike Island, my Mum and Dad took me to a local park where they knew there would be lots of dogs, geese, ducks, swans and those funny little black things – coots and moorhens – I think.  There were also some disreputable characters smoking whacky baccy under the railway bridge but we’ll draw a line under them.

We did running – me and my Dad.  My Mum was in charge of the Scooby Snacks; I get them when I sit, stay, lie down and don’t pull anyone’s arm off.  I growled a bit; only at dogs that looked a bit dodgy (and the chavs under the bridge of course). Some of the other dog walkers we encountered put their dogs back on leads when they saw me pulling a bit – very considerate.

We were all enjoying the walk when this woman  with a very wet black labrador came up to us.  The labrador was a bit lippy so I barked a bit  – back atcha Soggy Snout!  My Dad took me over to the pond and gave me a hug so that I stopped barking.  The lippy labby shook smelly canal water all over my Mum, and the woman said she recognised us from the RSPCA.

The woman said “Isn’t he socialised?  I didn’t think they were supposed to be homed until they were socialised?”

Pardon me?  All I did was growl a bit.  Your dog has been chasing the wildlife, jumping in and out of the canal, making people wet and smelly by shaking himself all over them, and actually – he growled at me first!

My Mum was trying to get away from this mad woman who had now gone on to complain about the park and how she hated bringing her dog there because he always jumped in the canal, frightened the ducks and made people wet when he shook himself.

Oh for heaven’s sake woman – put him on a lead then!  Or don’t bring him to the park! And most of all don’t accuse me of not being socialised when your own dog wouldn’t win any prizes for grace or charm. I’m the one that’s been incarcerated for the past eighteen months after all.  Woof!

She went in the end and we walked on through the park, ran a bit more and then I got to stick my nose out of the car window and drool all the way home.  I love fresh air!

By comparison the next day was a bit quiet; my Dad was off shooting things with paintballs and my Boy was off shooting things with little white pellets.  There are a lot of these pellets in the garden but you can’t eat them.  I had a quiet day with my Mum, although she did take me for a walk round the block after I woofed at the United Utilities man outside.  My Mum and I were both very pleased when my Dad and my Boy came home though.  There was much excited tail wagging and grinning – on my part – my Mum doesn’t have a tail but she smiles a lot.

There have been other incidents this week; nothing terrible really but my family now know that in addition to cats, aggressive dogs and mad women, I don’t like joggers either.   Someone knocked at the front door the other evening when my Mum and I were dozing on the sofa/watching Pointless.  Oh boy did I bark!  Whoever it was had vanished by the time my Mum had calmed me down – Hah! Another cold caller bites the dust.

Oh, I have a new bed!  I still have one in the dogservatory but this one is furry and fluffy and takes up quite a lot of floor area in the living room.  I still like getting up on the sofa to have hugs but this new bed is good to crash out on and keep an eye on everyone at the same time.

I’m gradually getting introduced to my family’s favourite places too.  Yesterday we went down to another place on the river by the big bridge, no dogs but a dangerous looking jogger who got the benefit of my most menacing growl.  He passed us again but my Mum was sneaky and spotted him first; she sent me and my Dad up some steps into a lovely smelly wood and by the time we got back the jogger was just a dot in the distance.

I was a bit muddy when we got home and my Boy decided that I should have a bath.  My Mum and Dad were dubious.  Bear in mind that for the past two weeks I have been firmly told that the bathroom is out-of-bounds; it also has a clattery floor that makes my nails slip and it smells of flowers.  My Mum put a towel on the floor and with the generous dispensation of Scooby Snacks managed to get me to acquaint myself with the bath.  I got one paw in it and my snout but that was all.  I think she understood that this bath thing was a non starter so she filled a container full of warm water and we all went back into the living room where I had a fairly decent wash and brush up of the undercarriage area.  Hah! Managed to avoid the bath AND got lots of hugs into the bargain – not  to mention the Scooby Snacks.

Tonight we went up to the Monument to watch the sun set.  It was a bit chilly for the humans but I loved it.  The whole place smells of rabbits and other dogs and even more rabbits but no cats.  I had a really good sniff around, we watched some buzzards circling and a couple of planes and helicopters but the humans wimped out eventually and we went back to the car.

So I am a happy perro.  Life is full of food and snacks and sleeping and running and walking and games of hide and seek in the garden with my Mum, but best of all are the hugs.

‘”Bah, humbug!” No, that’s too strong ’cause it’s my favourite holiday. But all this year’s been a busy blur, don’t think I have the energy’

Well, the PAM has brought new meaning to ‘that’s you off my Christmas List then!’  The list has been cut by half due to circumstances beyond our control.

Not that I’m complaining – she has to sit still with this poor old foot up when she’s writing Christmas cards – and to some extent when she’s wrapping up presents – though she tends to wriggle and fidget a bit more with the latter.

The last two days have been difficult here in V-toe land.

On Friday the teen had to be taken to his Muay Thai lesson as the teacher had no transport (some weird sort of martial art if you must know).  This entailed a trip to the outer reaches but the PAM’s face lit up when she found that these reaches touched on the Trafford Centre.  Truculent teen was dropped off and PAM and the other half hit the TC – she with glee – but not he.

It wasn’t too bad to start off with but the other half had to go to collect the teen and left the PAM in a queue a million miles long.  Goods bought and paid for eventually, she lugged me off to that newsworthy coffee shop where, after some suitably comic moments, she finally managed to heave us all up onto a bar stool with an excellent people-watching advantage and a venti gingerbread latte.

The other half and the teen were supposed to meet her there, they’d go for lunch and have another little spot of retail therapy.

Ha!

The world descended on the TC at lunchtime.

The other half and the teen had a falling-out which resulted in both of them phoning the PAM separately to complain about the other. I sat smugly tucked up under the bar stool (I was wearing one of my little black WWs with sparkly black trim and a white ribbon bow – so cute).

It was a race to see who was the most cross and therefore walked the fastest.  The teen won but in his haste completely overshot the coffee-house and had to be texted to bring him back.

The PAM and I were captive; all the effort that it took to get us up on the stool was sapped by the animosity being expressed to each other by her menfolk ( the rest of the toes and I NEVER fall out with each other – although there have been occasions where we’ve been more than a little squashed and tetchy).

The other half helped her down and the consensus was to get the flock out of there; the TC is no place to be with an over-sensitive toe, grumpy husband and deeply morose son.

Usually the car is a safe haven but not on that day.  It is a large car but not with two miserable men in it.  Food was essential to restore the equilibrium and after a long and winding route back into civilisation, sustenance was obtained from the other fast food place with a drive-thru (not the chicken-y one).

After the morning’s traumas, I thought the PAM would be kind and tuck me up on her cushion whilst she tackled the ominous essay.  No such luck.   Some of the other half’s temper was caused by an achy-breaky back but luckily the physio with the magical fingers had a five o’clock slot and so we were off out into the rain again in the rush hour.  Plenty of over the top Christmas decorations to be appalled at on the way though.

The other half  had his back cracked and was more cheerful but still no chance of going home.  They have run out of food again and a trip to the supermarket is the only solution.

I’m getting used to the cold – changes in temperature will cause the stinging stuff and occasional jab of white-hot pain – but RAIN!  The holy boot I wear is no protection against rain and on the way back from the car, hands full of shopping, the PAM went straight through the water feature that gathers on the paving stones outside the kitchen door.

Cold!  Wet! Pain!  My chic little WW was soaked as was my boot.  Thank heaven for radiators (although not for drying wet clothes on  – you get that horrible rank false-dry odour that often wafts past you in the office, or supermarket, or TC).

Everyone was talking to each other again and the evening was spent in cushion cuddling bliss for me – essay-agitation for the PAM.  Don’t know why – she should be an expert on corporate harm and negligence by now – ooh – controversial!

Up with the lark on Saturday to collect the other one from Uni. Various issues conspired to make us all late – as usual; my outfit for today was the giant Christmas WW which allows me to peek cheekily out of the boot in scarlet splendour and has apparently caused male envy due to it’s size (the one that accommodates me AND the the other four toes).

It was a long drive North but the heat was ON – and I was content.  The PAM and the other half were singing along to 80’s hits and all was reasonably well with the world – especially when it stopped raining.

The other one is in a shared house now but  there was no frantic cleaning of the communal kitchen or washing up flamingo-style this year  – his housemates are tidy ladies and he meets their exacting standards.  There was a huge pile of recycling to take, but the other half likes doing this and the PAM and I merely sat in the still-warm car and made silly comments.

What looked like several weeks worth of washing and ironing, together with enough equipment to supply a small independent office, was packed into the car and we stopped en route for home to have a late but extremely civilised lunch.  We all avoided alcohol – well nearly – the PAM was seduced by a coffee laced with Tia Maria and was therefore a tad merry when clambering back into the car – hey  – it is Christmas nearly!

Homeward bound and the roads weren’t too bad considering.  A slight detour to buy more fast food for the teen – who had been left home in bed with strict instructions to clean up his mess – instructions that were ignored of course.

Getting his priorities right – the other one unpacked his computer gear first and ensured that he had Internet access before he touched  anything else.

I’d like to say that we all had a peaceful night – I’d like to – but the teen was playing with the other kids in America and the yattering went on all night so that it was almost a relief to get up with the other half who was heading off to work at some ungodly hour.  It should be mentioned that his bad back was caused by a combination of crouching ready to pounce at paintball and spending most of Thursday sitting in the jump seat of an Airbus 317 whilst it went to Madrid and back via Valencia.

The PAM was suitably sympathetic and the other half had a nice time despite his back.

Oooooh, time for Christmas wrapping – but not the waitress sort.

“Take off your shoes and pat your feet, we’re doin’ a dance that can’t be beat, we’re barefootin'”

Way-hay!  The other half has gone on a flight to Madrid (and back again) today leaving me, the PAM and the sleeping teen in the warm – after yesterday we deserve to rest but the PAM has been horribly active this morning in an effort to avoid writing her sociology essay – only 7 days to go PAM!

So far we are on our second lot of washing, the old flowers have been thrown out and fresh freesias (go Tesco) have replaced them.  We also have a bucket of blue hyacinths ready to bloom for the old Crimbo celebrations.  A box of bits has been gone through and stuff that has been dumped in the big teen’s bedroom whilst he is away has been moved to a pile in another room  – it’s true – this place IS known as Haemorrhoid House (because of all the piles – doh!)

There is washing up still to do – oh and lunch – my idea of day spent curled up on my cushion under her ironing board cum desk whilst she battled with the differences between social harm and criminalisation has effectively disappeared.  Her to-do list keeps getting longer and longer.

Still – a quieter day than yesterday.

My lips are sealed about the morning (yeah – I know – toes don’t have lips – but this is all fiction anyway so who cares?)

Lovely to see our Breath of Fresh Air though and catch up over hot chocolate afterwards. It took me some while to recover from the changes in temperature – no matter how much the PAM wraps me up there is always a cold draft that cuts through and stings like billy-oh.

Home for lunch and a trip to the good old garden centre where a time-limited shopping was remarkably successful – unless you are a cold, stinging toe that wants to be home in the warm.  Christmas  – Bah Humbug!

But the worst was yet to come…..

……The POD!

This was the fourth pod we’ve seen in 6 weeks (I don’t count the student pod – who was very sweet but was remarkably cack-handed when she tried to dress me). This appointment was to check my other nine toe-mates and the feet they are attached to.

So – the good news is – the PAM still has beautiful pulses in her feet (of course) and no sign of any sensory damage anywhere else – just moi. We passed the tuning fork test and ‘shut-your-eyes-whilst-I-poke-your-feet-with-a-ball-point-pen’ test.  Hoorah!

Then it was my turn to have the starring role – gulp – he got out a scalpel!

He poked and it hurt.  He prodded and it hurt; he stuck his scalpel into places where no one has ventured before without the PAM having to be scraped off the ceiling – the other half let her squeeze his hand – hard.

Contrary to the last pod’s opinion – this one reckons my toe will have a nail – eventually – and that there are signs of regrowth – but it could take up to 12 months and (I love this bit) it may come out warped (tee-hee just like me!).

So – overall – the feet are okay but I have to go back again between Christmas and Lanzarote time for another appointment.  We have purchased tons of dressings, bandages and sticky stuff because the pod says I have to be kept covered at all times – EVEN in the swimming pool – but at least I can go paddling.

None of the pods we’ve seen seem to agree with each other but perhaps that is because my prognosis is so uncertain – it looks as if I shall be hanging around with my nine mates for some while to come yet – but no barefootin’.

Come on PAM!  – eat some lunch – wash up and get on with that flipping essay!