Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas is coming....is that a good thing?

I had a walk with mum yesterday and she took me on one we’ve not been on for a while – it takes us past a pack of Beagles – which is why mum doesn’t take us that way very often ‘cause they end up baying for my blood. It doesn’t bother me, I could take them all on, no probs, but mum doesn’t like the noise. However, I soon found out why she took us that way – one of the young bitches had eleven puppies six weeks ago and today they were all out. ELEVEN! My goodness! That is a serious amount of pup. It was like watching a clip from 101 Dalmatians. In case you don’t know what Beagles are, here’s a clip of some I found on YouTube Beagle Pups Playing with Mom. I mean, I’m a guy right? But even I found myself saying “Aaahhh” when I saw them yesterday. They were seriously cute and mum’s voice went all high and squeaky. But I could tell from the look on their mum’s face that she was thanking God Rex that mum dogs only keep their pups until they’re eight weeks old. If she’s lucky, they’ll be gone for Christmas. Imagine Christmas with ELEVEN pups to provide for? Bloody nightmare.

It got me thinking about mum and her past Christmases. Mum hasn’t got a family anymore. Her mum, dad and brother are all gone. She only has one surviving brother who she never sees and now that she doesn’t have a family or live in the UK any more her Christmases are really uncomplicated. That might sound a bit harsh but it’s true. When she lived in the UK with Uncle Hugh, Christmas was what mum used to call “...the C word…” I can only really remember one UK Christmas. I spent two Christmases in the UK but the first one I was still a pup and it simply sped by in an excited blur because I still believed in Santa Paws and got all hysterical. However, I’ve heard mum talk about Christmases past and they didn’t sound too pleasant.

Uncle Hugh has quite a big extended family and he has something called an Ex Wife. The problem with Ex Wife is that she never wanted to be an Ex. So it was a bit hard for Uncle Hugh to extricate himself from her. However, he’s still friends with Ex Wife, which mum thinks is a good thing. The problem is, Ex Wife is still friends with all of Uncle Hugh’s family too, but Ex Wife doesn’t like my mum whereas the family does. That has caused a few problems. Especially at Christmas. Mum says Christmases are a pain in the bum for lots of people and that there are always arguments and huge amounts of stress around the festive time.

Mum’s Christmases involved lots of juggling and telephone calls to ensure that Ex Wife didn’t end up in the same house as Mum because when Ex Wife and mum were in the same house the rest of the family would feel uncomfortable, not just mum. Uncle Hugh’s grown up puppies like mum but they also love their own mum – Ex Wife – so they didn’t like to be TOO nice to mum in Ex Wife’s company. The little puppies of Hugh’s own puppies like my mum too, but Ex Wife is REALLY possessive of them and doesn’t like them liking my mum. Mum would end up staying at home on her own and telling Uncle Hugh to go to family affairs by himself. That would end up in arguments. Hence, Christmases weren’t much fun.

The last three Christmases, however, have been FAB. No family AT ALL, because they have to stay in the UK and we’re here in France ON OUR OWN and mum loves her Christmases now, but it’s still complicated for Uncle Hugh’s lot. One of Uncle Hugh’s puppies, Alice, has at least one Ex Husband; in fact, it might be two. That means that one of her own puppies, Matt, has two dads. There is Dad Paul and Dad Simon. Dad Paul is his biological dad. Dad Simon is his dad through his marriage to Uncle Hugh’s pup, Alice. It also means that Matt has three sets of grandparents – two biological and one through marriage. The ones through marriage (Simon’s parents) are really close to him because he was a very young pup when Simon married Alice. Matt also has three sets of Uncles and Aunts. At Christmas, all the grandparents (other than Uncle Hugh ‘cause he is now in France) insist on seeing their grandchild and all the Uncles and Aunts want to see their nephew. THIS IS MAKING MY BRAIN HURT!!!!!! There’s a lot of them – it’s more than ten because I had to stop counting (as you know I can only count to ten) So, Uncle Hugh’s pup, Alice, has lots of juggling to do and she ends up looking very fraught. She too calls Christmas “…the C word…” I think she got it off mum.

Uncle Hugh’s brother has complicated Christmases too because he’s got an Ex Wife, two boys who are now adults, a brand new wife and a brand new puppy, and he’s nearly as old as Uncle Hugh, which is ANCIENT.

BUT, what amazes me is that according to mum Uncle Hugh’s family isn’t anywhere near as complicated as some – like the Royal Family – whoever they are, (are they the slobby ones who like watching TV and don’t do much for a living?). Mum says that some families are so complicated that the members don’t know themselves who’s really related to who and how. Perhaps mum’s kidding me.

I wonder why people get all worked up and hysterical about Christmas? I was reading one of my favourite blogs a couple of days ago A Curates Egg and he was talking about Christmas too and how folk need things to look forward to – except nowadays lots of people DON’T look forward to Christmas for lots of different reasons – not just complex family arrangements. Some folk end up feeling lonely at Christmas. I mean, if it weren’t for me and Uncle Hugh my mum would end up on her own wouldn’t she? Some folk can’t afford Christmas. For some folk, it brings back sad memories. But for kids and dogs like me, it’s GREAT. I still think, however, that it’s a good job it only happens once a year. Don’t you?


Lee said...

Granted, Christmas can be very stressful, largely because of misplaced senses of duty. That and a misplaced sense of debt. Where did this notion that people had to get and give presents come from - Xmas would be much better without it.

My loneliest Xmas was spent in Libya - I worked for a German firm and all the German families closed shop over Xmas and we single foreigners drowned our sorrows in illicit home brew.

Beyond that, I am overwhelmed in puppies and ex-wives.

Note: Puppies (dog & human) always look cute. It is a survival thing: if they were not cute you would find them stacked up ten deep at the council tip.

French Fancy said...

Yes, Christmas can be very difficult for people without families or people with families like your mum and Uncle Hugh have. I can just imagine what it's like for your mum when Ex-wife gets her paws - sorry I mean claws - into things. I would be like your mum, Henry, and just opt out and stay home alone.

Isn't it good we're all in France now and Christmas is not such a big thing. the French just have a late night meal Christmas Eve and then the leftovers on Christmas Day then back to work on what we think of as Boxing Day.

Henry, Poppy and Misty say if you lived nearby you and your little family would be very welcome at the French Fancy house.

Pop here - yeh, but talk is cheap, right mum?

Misty here - I hope Santa Paws brings me a new toy.

Henry the Dog said...

Lee - your Christmas in Libya sounds like it was a lonely one, but the illicit home brew sounds as if it were fun. I agree with the present situation - how have we allowed it to become so materialistic? Very sad... Also, you are so right about the cute puppy thing, never thought of that.

FF - you're spot on about Christmas in France, they don't go daft do they? Mum likes that aspect of it. Pop & Misty, it would be lovely to see you but you're miles and miles away - hope you get something nice, but not too 'trayshare':)

French Fancy said...

I wanted to give you an award but the rules said that whoever received it has to blog about 5 addictions and I know you don't want to be tagged. shame

Henry the Dog said...

FF - I only don't want to be tagged because I don't believe in passing things on to folk and in so doing make them feel obliged to do something or pass something on too. I'm a sensitive soul and unlike most people I DO care what others think of me. I don't want people to think I'm lumping something on them. But thanks for thinking of me. If you want me to blog about 5 addictions without being tagged I'm MORE than happy to do so....I'll just have to think of 5 addictions....:)

French Fancy said...

How about, being as you're a dog 'n all, you blog about five addictions and if you want to nip in and take a copy of the award, I'll look the other way.

Let's throw away the rule book, Henry.

French Fancy said...

p.s. if anyone hasa fabulous blog it is indeed you and so I really think you should come and getthe Fabulous Blog award (especially as it has a dog on it) but I won't link to you - then you won't have to tag others.

detroit dog said...

You're welcome to pass a doggy-meme (only) to me. :-)

A note from Quasar:

Mom had a talk with Dad yesterday that she wants to enjoy Christmas this year, and if she wants to bake cookies he'll darn well eat them! Fat chance of that, though, because the oven is broke. :-/ I'm not sure who Santa Paws is, but Mom and Dad say I'm the only one he's visiting this year at this house! Mom's sisters-in-law expect high-priced gifts, which makes Dad anxious because Mom's family doesn't expect squat but are real happy if their kids get something. Christmas used to be fun, I hear, before Dad's Mom passed away. Now, it's so complicated....

lady jicky said...

Hi Boyfriend! Rosie here and I have been "DONE" thank God!!! I am with "Lee" the top poster here - if puppies and babies were not cute they would be 10 deep in the rubbish tips! Sadly that is where some people leave puppies and even babies - its rare but it does happen even today.
It shall be my first Christmas at Casa Jicky and I am so looking forward to it. Oscar is sharing his doggy stocking (nothing in it yet) and tomorrow I go to the eye specialist and get the stitches out of my eyes (I had this prob for 8 years -ingrowing eyelashes-worst the specialist has seen!)My old owners did not take me to the Vet . I get this elizabethian colar off too! Fingers crossed that the Specialist has got out every ingrowing eyelash root or we repeat in 3 months. I am one lucky pug and with my eyes "done" I look at least 3 years younger!
Kisses Boyfriend and tell your Mother to walk real fast past those puppies and boyfriend , I do hope you have been "done" for I am not having a boyfriend with a rep like Gordon Ramsey!!!

Blu said...

Blu's dog big woofer although born in the UK has spent all her Christmas celebrations in France. Its great its low key and you cannot feel the stress in the supermarkets. Christmas day we are staying at friends, Blu met over the Internet!!! We wont be buying anything very special because money is an issue at the moment here. Big family sounds like big headache!!! AGH.

Henry the Dog said...

FF - you are too kind and my head got so huge reading that, I doubt if it will fit through the baby-gro this evening. I will definitely do a blog on my five addictions, but I still won't sneak over to you and get the award, 'cause it wouldn't be fair and I'd be wracked with guilt and wouldn't be able to sleep. I'm ridiculously anal when it comes to doing the right thing and sticking to the rules and get mercilessly ribbed by my pals:(

Quasar - I think your mom & dad should eat and drink what they want at Christmas, it's the only day mom lets her hair down. Pity that your mom's sisters-in-law expect high priced gifts. That's the type of attitude that's spoiled Christmas. Mum's on a tight budget this year -I think most people are. Anyway, I hope you have a lovely time, despite everything else. Give your dad lots of re-assuring licks & cuddles.

Rosie - I haven't been 'done' (whatever that is) but I've heard mum say things like "what he doesn't know he can't miss..." go figure! I don't think I'll EVER be a dad. I never go out unsupervised. I'm so pleased to hear about your eyes - that's GREAT. You'll really be able to enjoy Christmas now xxx

Blu - yes, mum loves it in France for that reason. Mum is on a tight budget too. Something to do with a really muscular euro!!!

French Fancy said...

Blimey - I'm back again! I respect your honourable stance, Henry. When I give an award it will be a tag-free one, I promise.

This is our budget Christmas this year. It's just going to be me, Mr FF and his ma and we've decided to buy silly things up to €20 each - otherwise it just gets out of hand. We've got all the things we want and need anyway, so expensive presents are a waste of time and energy.

Henry the Dog said...

FF - mum got all the presents for Uncle Hugh's family when she went over to the UK and she was very careful what she spent. Mum & Uncle Hugh have the same philosophy as you and Mr FF. They never buy expensive things for each other - they think it's daft. They buy each other small but useful things to open on Christmas morning.

Anonymous said...

Henry . . . I agree. Christmases can be very complicated. I don't know what will happen this year for Christmas, but I do know that my pup, Tenshi, will have his first Christmas with me and I'm quite excited! I think he still believes in Santa Paws . . . please don't tell him otherwise! :o)

herhimnbryn said...

G'day Henry,
You are right Christmas can be awful. I used to have a great Christmas. But for the last two years I have had to go to that bloody kennel place. They are very kind to me, but I don't get to eat stuff that falls off the Bbq or climb onto the sofa when everyone else is out of the house.

But when the Alpha female ( who is she kidding) comes to pick me up, I know I'm in for a couple of days of being spoilt, 'cos she feels guilty about leaving me at the K.P. So I win, I reckon!

Happy christmas to you and your Mum and Uncle Hugh.

Diane said...

Dear Henry,

I've been reading your blog for a little while now and find you terribly funny and quite insightful... for a Schnauzer ;). I just thought I'd say so this evening.

PS... The Curate's Egg is one of my favorite blogs, too.

Henry the Dog said...

Kathryn - I hope Tenshi has a wonderful Christmas, and what do you mean about Santa Paws? What is this 'otherwise'? Of course there's a Santa Paws. Who else would leave me toys under the tree for me to open on Christmas Morning? ;)

Herhimnbryn - yeah, but the kennels can be fun too can't they? And as you say - you'll get well spoiled when you get home. Tell Alpha female that I love her photo of you - 22 June 2008 - Wet Dog, for some reason it made tears come into mum's eyes. I think she likes it too. Humans are wierd. Why do some of them cry when they see something they like? I guess you'll be having a topsy turvy Christmas in Oz. We'll be shivering and you'll be baking.

Diane, thanks for dropping by and thankyou for your comment - I'll have a pop over to yours later. It's a very sociable thing this blogging isn't it? And yes, the Curates Egg is a sharp, dry blog isn't it? My kind of humour.

herhimnbryn said...

Hi Henry,
My Mum, was touched that your Mum like my picture. It is one of my mum's favourite pictures of me. i had had such a grand morning when she took that picture. I was ina dn out of the creek for over an hour. I REALLY smelt good when I got home that day!

Ps you can see a video of me in the creek if you click on the link under my 'labels" column. Oh tell you Mum not to cry I was have a great time.

Henry the Dog said...

herhimnbryn - I'm going to have a look a that video now - don't worry about my mum. She cries at everything these days - anything that moves her slightly and the tears start. I think it's her age. She said there was something about that photo that touched her deep inside. She said your mum captured the essence of dog...I think I know what she means...

herhimnbryn said...

Thanks Henry's Mum.