‘The Peace of Easter’

I put this rant on my FaceAche page just before the schools broke up for Easter.  I must admit to getting just a tad annoyed  by the cacophony outside my kitchen window every weekday morning and afternoon

. It should be pointed out that the local school is of a particular religious denomination and as a consequence many of the pupils and their parents live some distance away – hence the expensive overpowered cars.  The particularly strident parents (some of whom have threatened us for having the temerity to park in our own driveway while they are trying to get their offspring to school or back home)  sound a little bit Scally.

We have been known to take our boys to school by car but when they were small we used to park in the pub car park (with the owner’s blessing – his trade increased hugely on sunny days) and walk round the corner.  When they got bigger and went to high school we were permitted to drop them off and collect them only if we parked in a side road away from the school and didn’t play the car stereo too loud – SO embarrassing.  As the boys are n-n-n-nineteen and almost twenty-one now, those days are gone; replaced by longer and more complicated collections and droppings off.

The school-bound moronic mummies ceased to bother me when I went back to work full-time but now that I am home and not particularly gainfully self-employed, they make me a bit cross – sometimes – at other times I want to dash out there and slash their tyres but I am reluctant to blunt any of my new kitchen knives.

Rant!!!!!! We live on a blind corner. There is a very good reason for 20 mile an hour signs. My breakfast preparations have been marred yet again this morning by the sight (and sound) of screeching brakes and screeching thirty-something harpies in over-powered 4 x 4s who have narrowly avoided a head on crash outside my kitchen window. Oy! Surely it is a greater sin to kill your children, your air-headed selves and to smash up your car than to be a few minutes later for the school drop off? Get up earlier! Drive more slowly! Look where you are going! Oh Brainless Bimbo Mummies! (and Daddies but Mummies are in the majority).  Yes, you know who you are! Your parking is selfish and thoughtless but pales in comparison to your awful driving. Rant over – will eat breakfast now and shut up. The sun is shining and it is good to be alive. Let’s keep it that way eh?

Well, they really are dreadful.  When my boys were small I would often walk them to school and back – when I say walk I mean one in the buggy and the older school age one hanging off the back.  It was me that did the walking. Trying to get past the on the pavement by the school just up the road (not the one my boys went to) was almost impossible. Huge gas-guzzling cars barred my way whilst I ran the gauntlet of gossiping mothers with far bigger, better buggies than  mine, looking down their noses at me as I struggled to get past.  They only used said buggies to transport the youngest from the car  to the school gate; the wheels were spotless and only a matching designer changing bag hung from the handles whilst mine were festooned with carrier bags.

After one particularly frustrating trip which resulted in us taking a detour past the  local shop (once an old-fashioned newsagent with jars of sweets and a man who did bird impressions – now an estate agent), I phoned the council to complain and was rewarded with a set of zig zag lines outside the school.

Not that the mummies took much notice. In some cases they are parked up on the other side of the road as much as an hour beforehand leaving the latecomers to park as close to the zig zag lines  as possible and leave no room for cars to get through the middle – especially when the car doors are wide open as they take an age to lash their little ones into the car seats.

Just before the Easter holidays bestowed peace and tranquility on all our houses; I called the police to have a moan. The woman on the other end of 101 listened patiently and even gave me a crime number.

I was mollified.

Whilst sipping my Vanilla-Latte-Macchiato (no added Valium or painkillers) and idly channel-flipping, I received a call from a very nice PCSO from the local (and very nearby) police station.

She was picking up on my complaint about the speeding and parking.  She was very sympathetic (she’s a local girl) but told me a few facts that make me dread the coming term even more.

  • The 20 and 30 mile an hour signs that have blossomed on lamp posts throughout the locality are not enforceable.  They have been put there by the council as a traffic calming initiative.  This may be why the mummies don’t take any notice of them – or it might just be because the mummies are morons and paid someone else to take their driving test.
  • Similarly, zig-zag lines outside a school are not enforceable and the Highway Code suggestion that you should not park right on road junctions is merely that – a suggestion.
  • The mummies could get done for dangerous driving if caught in the act but with five primary schools and a  high school on their beat, the police are trying to solve real crime – allegedly.
  • The mummies could get busted for obstruction if their god-awful parking barred the lawful progress of an emergency vehicle – no doubt trying to speed through and attend an accident caused by other stupid mummies.
  • The police say it is the council’s responsibility to sort out the parking and speeding issues, the council says it is the school’s responsibility, the school says it is up to the police and hey presto! We are back where we began.

The nice PCSO promised to get a colleague to pop into the school after the break and have a word. I can think of several but I am still mellowed by the uninterrupted sound of birdsong and my dog wuffing at the postman – oh, and the people across the road having a very colourful and explitive filled row – and the man on the other side of them throwing his empty whisky bottles into the blue recycling bin.

Dammit!  Back to earplugs and  ‘Homes Under the Hammer‘ on subtitles next week then.

I didn’t mean to hurt you – I’m sorry that I made you …. fall over




Back into the Spanish sunshine mode.  My Valencian roots are emerging, together with the need to laze, eat and occasionally go walkies in the fresh air.

My Mum has taken to sitting outside and studying at the garden table – which I like particularly because I have to keep an eye on her.

The Big Boy is home from this Uni place and he seems to have been bitten by the sunshine bug too. Every other time he’s been home he stays in his room with big books – occasionally popping out to have a shower or cook food that smells wonderfully of garlic.

My Dad goes off to the work in the CAR but he doesn’t take me.  I am sad for a little while when he leaves but overjoyed and bouncing when he returns.  I think he is just as pleased to see me although it usually means he has to take me out for a walk no matter what time of day it is.

My Boy spends most of his time shouting at friends on his computer thing – he shouts because he has something over his ears – he can’t hear himself and he can’t hear my Mum and Dad when they shout at him either.  I love it when he comes downstairs because he gives me lots of fuss and !

My Mum had this idea of getting some kind of paddling pool for us to cool our toes/claws in – they tracked one down and my Dad set off in hot (very hot) pursuit, snatching up the last one in the shop from the sweaty hands of some other doting dad.

I didn’t like the noise the long snake thing that spits water made and I was quite wary of the big blue plastic shell that appeared in MY yard.  My Mum sat on the bench with her feet in the cold water and smiled. It really was a very hot day.


My Boy decided to put me in the blue shell.  He lifted me up and I stood, uncertain and wary, up to my elbows in cold water.  Then he poured the water over my back and tail.  I remained where I was, shivering, and  my Dad took pity on me and told my Boy to get me out. I shook water all over my Boy for that.

I have given the blue shell a wide berth since but my Mum still likes it because she can watch the blackbirds flying into the ivy with food for their fledglings.  I am NOT allowed to harass the blackbirds however tempted I am.

The other new garden acquisition is less scary. So overjoyed was my Mum to find that her eldest son wasn’t a vampire after all (with all that garlic – no chance!), she and my Dad bought him a sun lounger and a long lime green cushion to go on top.  It looks very inviting but once he sat down there was very little that would move my Big Boy upright and away from his extremely large and heavy books.  He is currently reading ‘Organic Chemistry’.  My Mum is reading ‘Cognitive Psychology’, my Dad has ‘Shares’ magazines and my boy is shooting BBs out of the bathroom window (he’s not allowed to do it if any of us are in the garden but sometimes he forgets).

So, yesterday afternoon we are out in the garden – well – me, my Mum and my Boy.  My Dad has gone back to bed because he was up at five o’clock in the morning and my Boy was in shouty mode again.

We had an unexpected but extremely welcome visitor – on a bicycle.

Bicycles make me anxious at the best of times and unexpected visitors make me very excited.  My Mum sent the Big Boy for Scooby Snacks so that I could be bribed into submission.  He went, my Mum grabbed my collar, I pulled and she went down – in her words – lie a sack of spuds.

Since the bad crate bashed her toe, my Mum’s balance has been decidedly off.  She tries to fall on soft things – sofas, chairs, my Dad –  but on this occasion she failed.  Her knee hit the ground, her elbow hit the brickwork edge of the flower bed and her head hit the side of the garage.  My Big Boy, my Mum’s friend and I watched her go down in slow motion.  Ouch. We were all very sympathetic and concerned.

She was okay though (she whispered to me later that if we’d been alone she would have cried a bit – but it wouldn’t have happened if we’d been alone because I wouldn’t have gotso  excited.)

With a stiff upper – how do humans do that? – she got up slowly and staggered over to the chair she uses for studying al fresco. Big swollen knee, bleeding elbow and bumpy head, but my Mum and her friend had a nice long chat and by the time my Dad came down she had lost the green tinge and was smiling again.

It has been a difficult weekend with my Mum making some important decisions.  She’s had some help in this and I’m putting some links (who am I kidding – dogs don’t do typing or computers or links!) at the end of this piece of FICTIONAL writing.

I’m sorry Mum.  I didn’t mean to pull you over and hurt you.  I’m just an anxious guy. xxx

SUMO – Shut Up and Move On






The heat is on ….

Hola amigos!  Wotcha mates! Or even Aiya luv!  See how proficient I am at this multilingual stuff?

I am still here after my first month and my paws are well and truly under the table – well they would be if it wasn’t for the fact that my Mum, Dad and the Boy seem to use the table as a general dumping ground rather than for eating off.    At the moment it is a mess of paperwork, gloves, hats, books, CDs, DVDs and – ooh drool – I can see Scooby snacks half-hidden by a magazine and just waiting for me to devour them (the magazine is ‘Heat’ – bought by my Mum for the ‘Weird Crush’ article – it seems that she has a weird crush on three-quarters of the weirdos therein).

Back to life   – back to reality – back to the here and now.  What a lyrical pooch I am but before the present a small recap to explain the even greater level of disorder and chaos in this house.

The boiler died.  My dogservatory became very cold at night and as a consequence I was permitted to sleep in the living room  – on the sofa – AT NIGHT and ALL NIGHT  – not just when the Boy couldn’t sleep and came down for munchies and a cuddle.

I hasten to point out that during this period I was very, very good, and didn’t eat or destroy anything.  In fact – since the one-off incident with the stale bagel I have not pinched anything at all.  I’ll say this for my family, they provide me with decent grub so that I don’t have to help myself.  Not that I would take anything that my Boy cooks anyway – he has a tendency to lace everything with lashings of Tabasco Sauce – not good for a  doggy constitution.

Whilst my main meals are stable and of high quality (they got a 10% discount at the pet shop and bought some decent food in bulk) my Mum has been browsing in the pet aisles at various supermarkets to find a variety of healthy and enticing snacks with which to encourage good (i.e. subservient) behaviour.  Anything that smells highly of bacon is good for a snuffle hound like me but cheesy stuff is appreciated too.

I digress.  Apparently my Dad has been intending to replace the boiler – and the entire heating system –  for some time and then Fate forced his hand.  It was going to take two days, there would be no heat or hot water and LOTS of disruption.  Not ideal for an old lag like me who is just getting acclimatised to my new surroundings after eighteen months in the chokie but the alternative wasn’t too palatable either.

So there were quite a few days of dust and disorganisation whilst my Mum and Dad cleared away years of detritus from in front of the radiators (there was some recycling but much of the junk has just been moved from one space to another).  On the Sunday before the work was due to begin I became so excited about the patio door being left open that during one of my mad running in and out moments I made the mistake of revealing to my Dad how easy it would be for me to jump over the six-foot wall by the gate (not that pleasant though as there is a huge Pyracanthus bush on the other side that would have seriously wrecked my lovely glossy coat and left my family picking prickles out of me for months afterwards.)

The patio door was shut firmly at that point and the Dyson brought out in an effort to keep the dust levels down and stop my Mum wheezing and sneezing.

Monday morning and the men (well – big boys) arrived.  I should state here that I now I have my own home again I am just a little protective about it – ask the postman.  I confess to a bit of huffing and growling at first, and due to the number of open doors and heavy metal radiators in the yard, I had to wear my lead and be tethered to a family member.  We spent a large amount of the day huddled together for warmth on the sofa whilst the boiler boyz whizzed from room to room whipping out the grungy old radiators and installing the shiny new ones.  There was also a fearsome and intriguing amount of noise from my Mum and Dad’s bedroom which had a lot to do with the removal of a giant copper tank, several smaller tanks and the collapse of a wooden louvred door that used to cover up the big tank.  There was much wuffing on my part but the growling ceased.

On Tuesday a third boiler boy joined the team and there was even more noise so my Mum and Dad took me for a nice walk in the woods.  There were bunnies but although I was on the extending lead I couldn’t quite catch them (well – when I say ‘quite’ I mean they were some distance away in reality but if they’d been cats ….. who knows?)

The boiler boyz were finished by Tuesday tea time; they cleaned up and took all the old radiators, tanks and packaging away with them so that I could have my yard back again.  My day doesn’t seem right unless it starts with me and my shivering Mum out in the yard playing hide and seek for treats – it is best in the dark but she only does this when my Dad is on a morning shift or she can’t sleep.  Once I’ve stretched my legs and consumed sufficient treats we usually curl up on the sofa together and heckle news readers on the BBC.

The house was warm again – a bit too warm until my Mum read the instructions on how to programme the new heating system.  It meant that my freedom of the living room was curtailed though and I was back in my room at night (apart from the time when the Boy didn’t shut the door properly and I sneaked out once he’d gone to bed).

So a week on and we still have dusty boxes and bags scattered around; the pressure  is off so my Mum and Dad have slowed down on their good intentions – the Boy has his own standards of tidiness regarding his room but as I still won’t do stairs they must remain a mystery – I have heard my Mum yelling at him about clearing up his pit, bringing the rubbish down and putting his dirty dishes in the dishwasher.  He only seems to do these things for reward however – and we aren’t talking Scooby snacks either.

Last Friday was a pretty wonderful day for me.  We had our longest drive over to the Wirral and went on a big sandy beach. My Mum and Dad took the extending lead and I ran.  I ran a lot.  In fact I ran so much that I pulled the lead out of my Mum’s hand and legged down the beach. Hampered by wellies, my Dad came after me but couldn’t catch me.  At that point I remembered the Scooby snacks in my Mum’s pocket, took pity on my Dad and ran back to my Mum’s relieved and ever open arms.  I do like to be beside the seaside.

The Boy was helping his friend move house all day that day and we went to collect him – another car trip.  I LOVE our car especially when I can stick my nose out of the window and drool down the glass.  I was allowed in the new house and after some persuasion and many Scooby snacks, I actually made it up the stairs.  Well, they were carpeted, unlike the clattering wooden slats we have at home.  They let me off the lead and I explored but disgraced myself a bit by christening the carpet in one of the bedrooms.  They all needed to be cleaned anyway.  A dog has to leave his mark.

We went visited again a couple of days ago and discovered that their own dog (an elegant older woman greyhound who I have already approved) and a dog belonging to another family member (a skittish little whippet girl who has NO manners at all) had followed suit and also watered the same piece of carpet.  I had to be relegated to the car on this visit because the intrusive nose of the whippet made me bad tempered, growly and I used the edge of the sofa as a lamp post substitute. Oops.

I’m afraid I am being a bit of a trial to my family at the moment.  My wuffing and growling whilst out has become a bit unpredictable and as a consequence there are now places in the neighbourhood that are no-go areas – sometimes only limited by the time of day as with the local school and the demented mothers who park all over the pavement and have yappy designer dogs that they can’t control.  There is also the road where the mad man with long grey hair lives.  He too has a yappy little dog and allows it to hurl abuse from behind a gate usually but the other day when my Mum and I were having a leisurely stroll, he let the thing out and it went for us.  I out-wuffed it but my Mum had me on a tight rein (so tight that she burnt her hands and ripped off a fingernail – I am very strong) so I couldn’t do much more than tell it what I thought of it.  The mad man grabbed his dog by the tail and tried to get it back on to the other side of the road – not back behind the gates – just to the other pavement where he let go and the dog came charging towards us again.

We turned tail and walked back the way we’d come with my Mum muttering about ‘responsible dog ownership’ and the mad man stating that it was a ‘free country’.  I expressed my feelings by having a huge poop when we got out of sight.  It made me feel better but my Mum, already struggling with the burnt hands and torn fingernail, was not impressed.  The mood lifted when we passed the bus stop and a nice old lady remarked on how handsome I was.  My Mum had to agree and doled out the Scooby snacks as I melted hearts with my big brown eyes.

There have been a couple of other incidents since then; I went for a large black husky-type yesterday – well – when I say went for, I mean growled and wuffed and pulled  – but my timing was a bit off.  I really shouldn’t do that sort of thing when my Dad is scooping poop.  He got a bit cross and stern.  The day continued to deteriorate with the visit from the nice man installing some equipment for the broadband upstairs.  Unfortunately, although my Mum and Dad said he was nice, he smelled very strongly of cigarettes and that set me off with the growling and wuffing again.  My Mum put me on lockdown; on the lead and sitting at her feet, banned from the sofa, stern voice and in disgrace for the rest of the afternoon.  They took me out for a walk later but it was one of those ‘we are in charge and you will walk slowly and nicely or we stand still till you do and there are no Scooby snacks’ walks.  Being an intelligent dog, I latched on quickly, did as I was asked and got lots of praise, hugs (and Scooby snacks) as a consequence.  We were all shattered when we got home though.

So – I need to accept that my family are in charge and that they don’t like me to wuff and growl excessively (four wuffs is okay in the house – that’s part of my guard dog duty).  They need to be consistent however, and harden themselves to my imploring eyes.  I think they understand now that sometime in my past a bad man smelling strongly of cigarettes, with a shaven head,and the physique of a bouncer, hit me and made me frightened.  I know they won’t let that happen to me again but I am only a dog (albeit a beautiful and intelligent dog) and such fears are deeply rooted.

On the upside (as my Mum has discovered by reading one of the many dog books that she has acquired) I am very good in the house, I was very gentle with the little girl and the baby that visited last weekend, I don’t get territorial about food, I am not destructive and I wait to be invited to sit on the sofa where I give excellent cuddles.

We are all shaping up – and considering we’ve only had one month together – not doing too badly.

When can we go to the seaside again?



Equal Rights for Toes!

Okay – so this is my first blog – it doesn’t look that difficult and the person attached to me (to be known as PAM from now on) is so knackered she has no idea that I have taken over temporarily.

This has been a horrible day from a toe point of view.

The shower this morning was fine; then she had to ruin it all by sticking me in a plastic container full of salty water to wash off the nice smelling shower gel (Snowfairy from Lush if you must know).  I don’t care what the podiatrist says – salt water STINGS!

She was quite gentle drying me and as a consequence I held still whilst she took ANOTHER photograph of me with her Blackberry. I am SO photogenic.

Then comes the bit I hate the most – the dressing.

It is SO boring!  We have two sorts of dressing – white indoors and white outdoors.  Boring.  Boring.  Boring.  Her other half used to put smiley faces on me but there hasn’t been much to smile about lately.

I know she’s bought these willie warmers for me – but where are they? Christmas post bah!

The other day I rebelled against the dressing and caused an allergic reaction to the adhesive  – I made a HUGE blister on my back.  She used her ingenuity with some non-allergic tape though and the blister disappeared.  I had another trick to play on her today though; I’ve been sending aches down to the place where I join the foot – that’ll teach her to drop things on me.

I wanted to stay in the warm today; propped up on my cushion with the occasional hobble to the loo or the kitchen and the possibility of a proper lie-down on the bed after lunch – some chance.

As soon as she started putting the finger bandage over the top of the indoor dressing this morning I knew we were in for some – exercise.

I don’t mind going out in the car. PAM doesn’t drive and her other half always puts the heater on so I am nice and warm on the journey (she has the heated seat on but  that never reaches me). We usually have to get out of the car at some point though and that’s the bit I hate.

We parked up in the wet and draughty multi-storey car park.  I got slightly damp on the way to the lifts and the stinging began.

We walked to a shop full of glasses and up some stairs – loads of stairs – I hate stairs.  Then a woman puffed air in PAM’s eyes and she sat down to wait.  Then a man put drops in her eyes and she sat back down again and waited some more.  Back to the eye puffing stuff then into another room where the man looked in her eyes with a bright light and accidentally bumped into me.  HEY!  I am the prominent white toe sticking out of this black suede boot!  Use your eyes you optician man you!  He apologised to her and sent her back downstairs so that another woman could take pictures of her eyes.  What about me then?  Does anyone give a damn about all this getting up and down I’m having to do?

They brought me home again then – after a trudge through the shopping mall (horrible hard floor), back into the lifts and across the wet car park.  The bliss of the car heater but the sudden change from cold and wet to warm makes the stinging even worse.

She went for a lie down when we got in.  I was looking forward to a nice rest but she attached this electrical gadget onto her foot.  She dozed off whilst this thing sent electrical pulses through me, kept me awake and made me feel quite numb. We’ll have to put a stop to that then.

So I have rebelled. I have taken over her blog. From now on it will be the world according to Vee-Toe.  Look on my works ye mighty and despair. 🙂