Wednesday, December 31, 2008

BACK NEXT YEAR! (I guess I won't win any awards for the most original title of a post)



Well I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve.

To be honest, I don't get it - this celebration of the passing of time. When you're a dog, with limited doggy years on this earth, believe me you don't get very excited about time passing. You curl up in your basket and pretend it isn't happening - until the fireworks start then you're kind of reminded that another of your very few doggy years has gone by. It's the same with birthdays. A birthday is simply another 'nail in the coffin' isn't it? Oh dear, am I getting morbid? No, I'm not. It's not in my doggy nature to be morbid. I'm just being a tad cynical.

Saying that, we do gain a second this year don't we? But a second isn't going to change the quality of my life is it? I'm just wondering what I can do in one second. I guess I could get an extra sneeze in. Or a cough. I can type a short word in a second, like 'me' or 'to' or 'you' or....No, nothing that will truly enrich my post.

Or perhaps I've got it wrong. Perhaps this New Year celebration is all to do with celebrating exactly that - something new. That's not so bad is it?

Whatever your reasons for celebrating today, I hope you have a lovely time and I'll be back next year. Mum's taking me for a long walk and we're going to feed some ducks - yes, she's still trying to get rid of her bread:)

See you next year, at least I've got my blogging to look forward to and keeping in touch with all my new blogging pals. 2008 was a good year - I discovered all you folk out there and it was definitely worth it - there are some real treasures in the blogging world, and yes, you're one of them:)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Eat more chocolate - it helps poor folk


Don’t quote me, ‘cause I’m only going on what mum said and that was after she’d read her special Christmas edition of New Scientist, so it might be wrong because she only understands a tiny bit of what she reads in New Scientist – she mainly looks at the pretty pictures. Mum never intended to subscribe to New Scientist – it happened by accident one day – I told you about it here We're not dumb animals.

Anyway, according to what mum’s read you should eat more chocolate because when you do you are helping poor families. True, by upping your intake of chocolate you risk becoming morbidly obese and dying prematurely of an obese related illness, but hey – it’s for a good cause. According to this article she read, the stuff that chocolate is made of is almost certainly* grown on small farms in poor countries. So, they reckon that when you buy chocolate, you help poor farmers feed their families. You’ll also be helping to fund research into how to make the cacao tree more productive, less prone to drought and disease – which in turn will also help reduce deforestation.

To be honest it all sounded dead complex to me and I didn’t really understand much of it, other than it sounds as if everyone now has a really good excuse to be eating more chocolate. The thing is, us dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate, but apparently we can eat doggy chocolate – so why hasn’t my mum run out and bought a ton of it?

The full article is here Chocolate in peril – so you can make your own minds up. For those not interested in chocolate or who, like us dogs, can’t eat it for health reasons there is a funny video below to keep you amused (apologies if you’ve already seen it, but it made me laugh).

*Almost certain? Sounds a bit dodgy to me, you’re either certain or not aren’t you? How can you be almost certain? That is getting my doggy brain in a bit of a tizz. Any grammar experts out there?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Too much of a good thing.....


I never thought I would say this “I AM SICK OF BLOODY TURKEY”. I’m serious. Dead serious. Now I can understand why all those TV chefs try and give you folk ideas on how to use turkey leftovers. I used to think, “Why do they want to do anything with the leftovers other than eat them au naturel. What’s wrong with turkey - plain and simple? Lucky them.”

At this moment in time, I would give my hind leg for a turkey curry. I’ve never had a curry but I’d give it a try. I’m starting to have nightmares about turkey. Last night I dreamt I was being chased by a turkey leg with the head of Madonna – the pop star not the religious lady (if you’ve not read my post of 26th December you will find that bizarre until you do read it).

Anyway, enough of that. I still have a leg and a wing to go. It's like a torture.

I think Uncle Hugh is also sick of bread.

Mum has gone into a bread-making frenzy with her bread-making machine. Let me explain something about mum. She doesn’t cook much. Uncle Hugh does all the cooking, ‘cause he’s good at it and he loves it. Mum does the housework and other stuff. That’s the arrangement, and it works for them. Another thing about mum – she’s not really qualified to do anything. She’s not a teacher, or a nurse, or a scientist, or a solicitor or anything like that. She used to say, “I’m a nothing” of “I’m a Jack of all trades.”

Mum did lots of things with Uncle Hugh in his businesses for a long, long time and Uncle Hugh says she was his right hand man. I don’t really know what he meant by that, ‘cause mum’s a lady. Perhaps it’s something to do with him being left-handed. Oh, I don’t know. You folk have strange little phrases that don’t always make sense, like “That takes the biscuit” and “It’s all swings and roundabouts” – I was there when mum tried to explain those to her French friend Stephanie - who ended up looking very baffled.

Anyway, I’m digressing.

So when mum finds something that she can do, and particularly if that something is really easy, then she tends to do it A LOT, until she gets bored. Perhaps it gives her a sense of worth. Well, she’s really mastered this bread-making thingumajig. All she has to do is throw some breadstuff in it, add cold water, press the ‘ON’ switch and in three hours and fifteen minutes (not exactly ‘Hey Presto’ is it?) it produces a perfect loaf. We now have ten loaves and she’s scratching her head wondering what to do with it. Mum doesn’t have a freezer – other than one of those little ones over the fridge, and that’s now full.

Can I just say – I am also sick of bread. Turkey and bread. NO MORE. PLEASE! NO MORE. You really can have too much of a good thing.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I wish it could be Christmas every day.



I had the bestest Christmas EVER – more later (the turkey’s the clue) – I like to keep a smidgen of suspense running through my posts.

As you can tell, mum didn’t get a digital camera. “I guess I started hinting a bit too late,” she whispered to me when Uncle Hugh wasn’t listening. No, it was my fault – I planted the idea in her head too late, but she mustn’t know that. Remember, she thinks I’m just a dog. BUT, I know for definite she’s planning to buy one. So, all is not lost.

So, she didn’t get a digital camera – instead she got three books all about fungus and stuff – what you guys call mushrooms. I couldn’t believe it. I’m sat there thinking, “Uncle Hugh, you’ve really fooked up here mate…” I mean, every lady wants a book on mould don’t they? NOT!

This is where I pause to tell you that mum continues to amaze me. I’m forever learning stuff about her that I didn’t know. Instead of telling him to go and stick his fungus books up his .... and asking ‘Where’s the digital camera?’ she was DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY. WHHAAAA…..? SINCE WHEN? FUNGUS? WHY? I was gobsmacked.

At first I wondered if she were just being dead nice to Uncle Hugh when she said, “Oh Sweet Hart, you are so thoughtful. How wonderful!” But I could tell she was being genuine because she grabbed her reading glasses and started pouring over them – all excited she was. I know that strange things make mum excited – like colliding dust*, and leaves and trees and stuff like that. And flowers – she’s partial to flowers, but she’s not that bothered about those cut ones they sell in the pretty flower shop. No, she likes those rather boring ones that grow everywhere in the Spring. It’s the part of mum I don’t ‘get’. But fungus? Why? Oh well, I guess it takes all sorts doesn’t it?

Mum also got a bread-making machine – now that DID throw her. I could tell she WAS just being nice about that when she said “Ah! How lovely Sweet Hart. Mmmm. Yes. That looks – ha ha – complicated….” She gave me a sidelong grimace when Uncle Hugh wasn’t looking and whispered “...what’s wrong with the fooking bread shop down the road?”

As usual mum’s imagination knew no bounds when it came to Uncle Hugh, he got slippers, socks and a book.

As for me – well. I didn’t get a bone. I didn’t get a new harness. HOWEVER, I did get a tuggy toy that SQUEAKS – but only if you bite it a certain way – so it doesn’t squeak ALL the time. Also, mum had washed my harness and it no longer stinks.

Now for the BEST BIT IN THE WORLD – THIS IS THE ICING ON THE CAKE, THE CHERRY ON TOP.

I GOT THE WHOLE TURKEY! YES! THE WHOLE TURKEY!

Mum and Uncle Hugh had ordered a free-range one from the local butcher, which mum said “…cost a bloody arm and a leg. It’s ok supporting these local businesses Sweet Hart, it’s very noble but we’ll end up paupers. I could have got one for a quarter of the price at Intermarch√©.”

Anyway, not only was it REALLY expensive but it also turned out to be inedible. Mum said it was “…like chewing on Madonna’s bicep. Talk about ‘free range’ this little bleeder must have been running a marathon every day…” Mum and Uncle Hugh chewed and chewed and chewed. Then she said, “That’s it! I give in. This can be Henry’s breakfast and dinner for the next seven days…”

YES! YES! YES!

I am one VERY happy dog. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too.

*like what they were going to do in CERN, until it broke.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dear Santa Paws



Dear Santa Paws

This year, please DON’T leave me one of those awful organic fake bones like the one you left last year. They’re not real and they’re not fun. I pretended to eat it, so as not to upset you, but if you really want to know I sneaked it under the sideboard in the lounge and it’s still there (don’t tell mum).

I want a REAL bone. A real one, Santa. I’ve never had a real one. I know that mum’s old dog, Sam, had a bad experience with a real bone that ended up costing mum A LOT of money and ended up with her threatening to kill Uncle Hugh (‘cause he gave it to him), but that was a cooked bone. Uncooked ones are ok.

So, please can I have an uncooked bone for Christmas? But not one from a cow. That would upset Braja.

Also, please can I have a squeaky toy? PLEASE? I know mum HATES squeaky toys, they get on her nerves and her face ends up looking all hot and sweaty when I play with squeaky toys (hence they are now banned) but I promise only to play with it when she’s not around. Uncle Hugh’s kind of ambivalent about them.

Also, if it’s possible can I have a new harness? Or one of those butch collars like what the Rotti dog wears down the road - the type with the big studs in. Except my mum prefers me to wear a harness because I sometimes pull when I'm excited and she worries that I'll hurt my neck in a collar. I like bad smells ‘cause I’m a dog, but honestly my current harness stinks. I knew mum should have got a leather one instead of a canvas one. Mum keeps saying that she’s going to soak it in bleach, but she keeps forgetting and it now smells so bad that when we go for walks all I can smell is that stinking harness. Mum says the same thing EVERY DAY – “Pooh! Henry, it’s about time I washed this isn’t it?” It smells because mum's a cruel sadist and takes me out when it’s raining. It gets wet through and then she doesn’t ever dry it out properly, so it starts growing mould, then it starts to smell and keeps smelling. I don’t mind smelling doggy but I don’t want to smell like rotting dog. Claude the yellow Lab is starting to mock me. I’ll end up with issues.

Finally, please can you stop this thing called the Pound from falling and make this Euro thing all weak and feeble again? I’ve no idea what all that is about (I’m simply repeating what I’ve heard) but am hoping that you do. It’s mum’s latest stressy thing since the Credit Munch started. If you do that then mum will be happy, well happier anyway.

Oh, and another thing. World Peace would be nice too.

Love From Henry the Dog.

PS: I know that everyone’s seen one of those ‘Elf’ things, and that nearly everyone on this planet has been ‘Elfed’ at some point but you won’t have seen mine Henry's been Elfed – mum did it for her friends. There was going to be three of me dancing, but it ended up with only two because she said it was taking too long to upload the third. Patience is not my mum’s middle name

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE






No, mum hasn’t got a camera yet. Uncle Hugh took these on his ‘phone, then it took him about six hours to work out how to get them from camera to laptop. I’m still hoping he gets mum a proper camera for Christmas. These aren't good ones of me 'cause I got extremely bored waiting for him to take them. I normally look more animated, honest.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I've got a big crush


I have to admit, I have a crush on the lovely Braja. I know it’s stupid because she’s a lady, and even if she were a dog she’d probably be an incredibly sleek and beautiful Saluki like the one pictured here, and wouldn’t give me a second glance. (Actually, since I posted this Braja has told me that her 'inner' dog is a Mini Schnauzer - how cool is that? (Henry smiles broadly and looks rather smug))

I wonder why people have crushes? And why do they have them on folk who are impossibly out of their reach? Like really famous film stars? My mum said that when she was a young teenager she had a hopeless crush on a celebrity called John Travolta. Not only did he live in the US (so there was no chance mum would meet him as she lived in a council estate in Yorkshire) but at that time he was keen on much older ladies. Nowadays she’s not too keen, I remember her saying to Uncle Hugh “…my god he’s so not my type anymore, you couldn’t pay me enough…” I didn’t quite understand about the paying bit (paying her for what?), but it’s obvious he no longer floats her boat.

These days I reckon there aren’t that many celebrities who would float her boat. These days mum reckons that the calibre of celebs – particularly in the UK – is very low How to become a Celebrity in the UK. However, I do know she’s quite keen on that Alexandra lady who’s just won X-Factor – she has a lovely voice. But mum hasn’t got a crush on her ‘cause mum’s a lady too and I know that ladies don’t fancy ladies. Do they? I know that men can fancy men – they’re called 'gay' because they’re happy – mum has friends who’re gay. She went to their wedding. But ladies don’t fancy ladies. I don’t think they do anyway. I’m rambling aren’t I? And I’m digressing. Big failing of mine.

My mum still has folk she looks up to. I wouldn’t say she idolises them. But there are folk who she would like to emulate – like Braja the yogi. The trouble is mum can’t get up early (Braja gets up at 3am – yes! 3am), mum needs a caffeine fix, she can’t do more than four AFDs (Alcohol Free Days) a week, and even though she has now stopped eating baby cow I know for definite that she’ll be having Turkey on Christmas Day. Also, I’ve done some googling and seen all those positions folk get into when they’re doing yoga and there is NO WAY IN A MILLION YEARS that mum could strike poses like that. Mum can’t even touch her toes. Mum’s quite fit, but she is NOT supple.

Going back to celebrity folk, they have a huge responsibility don’t they? Kids and other folk look up to them, want to emulate them, literally idolise them so when they do bad things it could have a bad effect.

If I were a celebrity I would make sure that I lived a faultless life. I’d limit my Fingers of Fun* to twice a week, I’d definitely reduce my consumption of Haribo Jellies and definitely wouldn’t consume them in public – because I wouldn’t want little pups thinking it was cool to eat sugary stuff and get hyper. I’d be nice and polite at all times, I’d not ‘do drugs’ (no idea what that is but I’d not do it), I’d give lots of money to charity and I’d do lots of charitable work too.

Thinking about it - I guess I could do charitable work now because I’m not exactly rushed off my paws am I? Mum reckons I spend most of my day sleeping. But if I did charitable stuff that would mean me spending time away from home and mum, and I wouldn’t like that. I guess it’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Good intentions - I’m full of them, but I guess it’s better to be full of good intentions than bad ones.


* For those who're new to me – Fingers of Fun is when Uncle Hugh dips his fingers in wine or beer and lets me lick it off.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This clip makes me think of my mum

This is funny and reminds me of my mum, you need the sound up – French Fancy time to unmute.




If mum knew I’d said that it reminds me of her she’d go mad. She’d say, “I do not look like a fookin’ panda you cheeky little beggar.” No, she doesn’t but she’s ever so jumpy. Mum jumps at the slightest noise or unexpected event. Mum jumps when the toast pops up out of the toaster. Mum jumps when she receives text messages. Mum sometimes jumps when Uncle Hugh walks into the same room as her “Why are you jumping?” he’ll say, “Who did you think it could possibly be other than me? You daft bugger!”

Uncle Hugh and I don’t jump at ANYTHING. I told you before - I even like fireworks, which apparently isn’t normal for dogs. We are so laid back, maybe mum is jumpy for both of us.

Mum says that the biggest jump she ever had was when she was a very little girl one Christmas morning. Mum used to get so excited around the festive period she used to vomit every Christmas Eve (Yummy!) and she and her bigger brother could hardly sleep and would end up sneaking down really early in the morning to see what presents Santa Paws had left

One Christmas they snook down very very early. Just as they were opening the door of the lounge her dad shouted from upstairs “What the bloody hell are you two doing at this time? It’s only just gone midnight. Get back to bed - NOW! Santa’s probably not even been yet…” as he said that mum said she sneaked a peak into the dark lounge and saw a huge figure sat on the sofa next to her Christmas sack – she screamed, jumped about four foot into the air and peed her pants – convinced she’d caught Santa in the process of doling out her presents. Mum said she's never moved so fast in her life. She said they were back up the stairs at warp speed. It turned out to be a huge teddy dressed in Santa gear.

By the way, mum doesn’t pee her pants now when she jumps – honest!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'd like more than just memories, mum.

This could have been me as a pup - but it isn't. Mum's not camera friendly. I’ve been trying to persuade her to get a digital camera so that I can occasionally post some photos on my blog. It’s difficult trying to persuade someone to do something without being able to speak to them. So I’ve been doing it surreptitiously – I keep striking cute, funny and appealing poses, I leave newspapers opened up at adverts or articles to do with cameras – ditto with websites on mum’s computer. My campaign has failed up to now. Perhaps Uncle Hugh will get her one for Christmas, I do hope so.

This could have been me too, mum says I looked just like that. Isn't it amazing how cameras can freeze time? You see, due to mum’s aversion to cameras there is no record of my early years with her and Uncle Hugh, and mum says I was seriously cute. It didn’t bother me when I was younger, but as I’ve grown older I’ve started to feel more nostalgic about my youth. I would like more than just memories now. I want something to look back on when I get very old.

Mum says she got me due to what she calls a ‘Mid Life Crisis’. She’d had a dog, Sam, in LBM (Life Before Me) but it died and upset her so much she swore never, ever to get another dog. Then one day she found a lump in her boob and being the type of worrier that she is, she was convinced it was a nasty lump that would kill her like the nasty lumps that killed her parents. Anyway, it turned out not to be a nasty lump but she said the experience turned her life upside down and made her start to think. So she thought, and she decided to get me. Mum said that was also when Uncle Hugh and she started to work towards leaving the UK.

A digression - I did some research on the Internet about this ‘mid-life crisis’ thing and found out that it can happen to men too. In fact, it seems to happen to men a lot. But they tend to do slightly different things than women do. When in ‘mid-life crisis’ mode the things men tend to do are i) buy a new sporty or similarly impractical type of car, ii) have hair implants, iii) join a gym, iv) buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes that would look better worn by their son, v) run off with a teenage girl (well nobody else in their right mind is going to it) or v) do all five of the above.

I’ve got lots of memories of my early years but my most vivid is when I was just 11 months old and mum and me were driving to our first new home, in Switzerland.
I remember she’d been worried about leaving me in the car when she got on this really big boat, but I was fine. I’m not easily fazed. I made friends with a nice man in a bright yellow jacket who kept coming to check up on me. Anyway, when the big boat stopped, mum and me drove off it and mum told me we were in a place called France where they drive on the wrong side of the road (to me it’s now the right side – in both ways).

It was a bit of a problem for mum ‘cause she was in an English car at the time and on the motorways there were a few toll booths which were on the left of mums car, and mum was sitting on the right. So she couldn’t just wind her window down, she had to get out and walk round the front of her car to pay at the booth. Well, one time she did that I noticed she had left her door ajar so decided to sneak out too, ‘cause I was bored. So there I am having a sniff at mum’s back wheel and was just thinking about having a pee on it when mum drove off.
I’ll never forget seeing mum’s little silver car driving into the distance on that big motorway in that strange land. I was, literally, gobsmacked. I remember looking desperately at the lady in the booth, then she looked at me in a rather shocked fashion - mouth open, eyes wide, and then we both looked at mum’s disappearing car.

I thought my heart was going to break. I started howling, the lady started shouting in a strange gobbledegook, the car behind me was honking it’s horn for dear life. It seemed that the entire world knew what had happened except mum. I watched her car turn into a pinprick as it left me behind and totally alone in a strange, scary place.

Then the pinprick suddenly started getting bigger again, there was lots & lots of honking in the distance, I could see cars swerving, there was a strange screeching sound – like an engine that was at it’s absolute limits – and mum’s car was once again becoming visible as she reversed at great speed back up the motorway – back to the booth where she’d left me. It made lots of other drivers a bit mad that mum was reversing up a motorway, and I’m sure she shouldn’t have done it. When she finally reached me she dove out of the car - her face all red and hot looking - she was screeching and crying, and she grabbed me and hugged me so hard I thought she’d squashed my insides to a pulp. THEN she had the cheek to scream
“WHY THE FOOK DID YOU DO THAT YOU STUPID LITTLE ANIMAL?”

EXCUSE ME!

Well, it’s all water under the bridge now, I wasn’t mentally scarred or anything. But it would have been nice to have some photos of those early days – perhaps not of that particular one though.

I found the clip below on YouTube about a little fella who mum says looks very much how I used to, in fact she says of all the Schnauzers she’s seen, he could be my brother, except that he’s much better groomed than I am and is a bit blacker. She says we share the same expressions. Personally, I think I look more like Bagel his friend in the last shot:) At least it will give you an idea as to what I was like when I was young. (You need to have the sound on FFancy - it's a nice tune and is sent to everyone with ......:)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Forbidden Question


If this post offends I’ve decided to go off and commit ‘harakiri’. The picture sums up how mum and me feel after my ‘faux pas’ yesterday. Oh well, move onwards and upwards as Uncle Hugh would say. Mum was getting all maudlin anyway. It happens every month this 'maudlin' business. It usually starts with her getting up in the morning and staring in the mirror for about five minutes. Then she’ll say, “Look at my wrinkles Henry.” Then she’ll say, “I’m fat and ugly.” Then she’ll say, “What’s it all about Henry? Why do we bother?” Then she'll start to cry. That’s when I know it’s gonna happen very soon – Uncle Hugh will ask ‘the forbidden question’.

Except it won’t happen this month (big sigh of relief) ‘cause Uncle Hugh is in the UK until the end of the week and her maudlin has already started. It usually only lasts for a couple of days, then she’s fine again. So by the time he gets back, mum will be her usual self - thank God Rex for that.

Normally when Uncle Hugh’s around and mum starts being maudlin I can feel a tension starting to form in the air between them. Us dogs are very sensitive to stuff like that – subtle changes in body language, sharp verbal digs, little huffs and puffs. And then I start to feel ‘the forbidden question’ forming insidiously in Uncle Hugh’s mind and I think “OH NO!” I sometimes wonder if he knows himself that it’s happening, or if it’s some kind of involuntary thing.

At that point I start to project really strong thoughts into the ether, hoping that his brain will pick up on them – like a radio picks up radio waves – “DON’T ASK THE QUESTION UNCLE HUGH. DON’T ASK! DON’T! DON’T!” (excuse the exclamation marks Braja) I stare into his eyes and think really hard, “DON’T ASK!” I think it so hard, it makes my head hot. But it just ends up with him saying “Why is Henry staring at me like that?”

Then I try ‘diversionary’ tactics. I try to divert his thoughts from uttering those words. I put on my best and brightest “PLAY WITH ME” face. I run frantically round and round the room with my tug toy – encouraging him to chase me. I find my tennis ball and throw that around too. I get my toys one by one and place them at his feet. I try everything in my power EVERYTHING to try and stop him from asking ‘the forbidden question’. In fact, I throw myself around so much I wear myself to a bloody frazzle and STILL it pours forth from his mouth EVERY SINGLE BLOODY MONTH WITHOUT FAIL – THE QUESTION YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER ASK MY MUM:

“Have you got PMS?”

Talk about ‘red rag to a bull’. Mum turns into a raving, shrieking banshee and all hell breaks loose. Every time. Every month. Without fail. Is the man thick? I ask. Is it another ‘Man Thing’? I’ve no idea what this PMS is but I decided to scour the Internet to try and find something that might help Uncle Hugh and give him some advice about what he should and should not do around mum at ‘maudlin’ time, and I found the video below. I still don’t know what PMS is. It’s a big puzzle to me, but the guy in the video seems to know what he’s talking about. Do you think Uncle Hugh will listen to him?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I deleted my last post because it upset Lady Jicky

Just to let you know that I deleted my last post 'cause Lady Jicky & Rosie were upset by the howling puppy.

I'm pretty mortified because I don't want to upset anyone - it is absolutely the last thing I want to do. I'm very sensitive to how people react to what I post. I agree with Lady Jicky and Rosie that it's not good for folk to make animals do 'cute' things just for entertainment. However, in my defence I didn't think that the little pup was doing anything unnatural at all and did not look distressed in any way (I would not have used the footage if he had). He seemed to be joining in with the pack 'howl' - something I have done many times - particularly when I was a puppy. My mum finds any form of animal cruelty abhorrent and it goes without saying that I do too.

Today I realised that it is so easy to upset folk without any 'mens rea' whatsoever. To those I have upset - I apologise. Perhaps it's my lack of sophistication, foresight, insight, empathy, whatever. It is also difficult to please everyone - as you can see I’ve changed my template again ‘cause you folks voted that I should change from the green (9 to change, 7 to stay green, 2 to revert back to the old one) I’ll give this one a go for a while but already (before I deleted the post) there were people commenting that they liked it and some who said that they didn't. (Henry shrugs shoulders and sighs) I guess I ought to just go in my basket at this stage and have a good night's kip.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Give me more 'Man Things' - and I'm SHOUTING OUT too

I got inspired today by some of my blogging pals. I’m doing a double post. I’m going to do a Happy Christmas SHOUT OUT – think that’s how I should write it – in capitals – to show that I’m shouting. Then I’m going to ask you guys about ‘Man Things’ because I was inspired by some comments left on my previous post. I honestly thought that Uncle Hugh was the only man with this condition (see previous post below) but it seems not. Now I’m itching to know what other ‘man things’ there are out there.

So here is my Happy Christmas SHOUT OUT – (I hope there aren’t any hard and fast rules for this – if there are then bugger them – anyway, I’m a dog so rules don’t include me)

I want to SHOUT about some bloggers who have really inspired me, made me laugh, taught me stuff and made me cry in equal measure. I can’t possibly list all of you because I’d be here all day so I thought I’d choose four, cause four’s my lucky number.

Firstly, to the wonderful Braja who told me about SHOUT OUTS. She is just lovely, has a wicked sense of humour and her blogsite kept mum entertained all day on Saturday when she should have been doing Uncle Hugh’s laundry. It’s funny and fascinating – go back to the beginning of her blog and find out about her fabulous experiences in India.

Then there’s French Fancy . You’ve GOT to read the post on 4th December about her wonderful dad. It’s one of the loveliest posts I’ve ever read. I love French Fancy ‘cause her comments make me laugh and she reminds me of my mum. I’ve never met her but I have mentally, if you know what I mean.

Then there’s A Curates Egg. Lee has the ability to be at times poignant, deep, funny, sharp, dry and naughty. He’s obviously got a good brain – which is what mum always wanted but never had, until she met Uncle Hugh – so now she has one by proxy, so to speak.

And finally, but it’s not finally – because there are so MANY others out there that I love and visit nearly every day if I can. Anyway, finally for me ‘cause I’ve limited myself to four is Diane. There’s an earthiness about her, which also reminds me of mum. She has a great way of looking at life, and she’s back after a few days' break. She is DEAD funny. Hello Diane, in case you’re reading.

Right – on with the post. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT OTHER ‘MAN THINGS’ THERE ARE. I want to make a big list.

Until I posted yesterday, I thought it was only Uncle Hugh who had what mum calls ‘man things’. But I found out that there are others.

For starters

1. Taking forever to find the right spot to poo (that's my personal 'man thing' according to mum, but I know other man dogs have it too). Mum says "Here we go again - searching for the hallowed ground")

2. Refusing to ask directions when lost.

3. Dropping wet towels on the floor instead of putting them back onto the heated towel rail,

4. Taking off socks and then smelling them.

5. Pretending to be dying when they wake up with a sore throat. Called 'Man Flu' (Parisgirl gave me that one)

6. Leaving the bathroom floor resembling a swimming pool after taking a shower (a French man thing apparently - Parisgirl gave me that one too)

(Parisgirl - I can’t include all of yours because my mum is guilty of the ‘restaurant’ one and she’s a girly)

7. Grumbles that there is no food when there is tons.

8. Leaves drawers and cupboards open in the kitchen (those last two given by Detroit Dog)

(Detroit Dog - I can’t use the other two ‘cause mum is guilty of them:)

I have remembered two more ‘man things’ that get on mum’s nerves

9. Hogging the TV remote control

10. ‘Flicking’ channels mindlessly when the adverts come on.

I'm trying to make a big list, 'cause I find it funny and interesting - then perhaps we'll do a list of 'women things'. But that might be VERY VERY long.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's about time Uncle Hugh improved his French - n'est-ce pas?

Mum says it’s about time that Uncle Hugh improved his French. Mum has been having lessons for a long time now and she meets with her friend Stephanie at least once a week to practice speaking it. Uncle Hugh has NEVER had a lesson. He simply refuses. He says he studied French when he was at school and that’s enough. Mum says that he can’t possibly remember all of what he studied forty years ago. Mum says it’s a ‘man thing'.

I don’t know what a ‘man thing' is. It must be something only men catch – like a virus. Mum says that refusing to ask directions when lost is also a ‘man thing’, as is dropping wet towels on the floor instead of putting them back onto the heated towel rail, as is taking off socks and then smelling them (something I can definitely relate to). Perhaps this ‘man thing’ is not a virus. Perhaps it’s a mutated gene or something?

Anyway, I’m digressing. Uncle Hugh has lots of French friends. He’s that type of guy. People like him. But mum says his French is crap and that it’s caused lots of problems in the past. Uncle Hugh says he gets by well enough and that he speaks ‘fronglay’ (whatever that is) and that his pals understand him well enough. “Yes but you don’t always understand them” shouted mum “...look what’s happened in the past.”

Here are a few things that have happened because of Uncle Hugh’s crap French:

1. Telling mum he was going to Biarritz for the day in his flying car with Le Fred and his other friend Laurent. It turned out to be Santiago in Spain and it was for a week. When he got back mum said his underpants had seen better days.

2. Telling mum that they’d been invited for a quick coffee at his friend Denis’ house at teatime because Denis wanted to show them photos of his new flying car. It turned out to be a ‘grand repaswith forty people to celebrate Denis’ wife’s 50th birthday. Mum turned up in her shorts and flip-flops - no card or present, just a very red face. Luckily, Denis and his wife thought it hilarious that Uncle Hugh had got it so badly wrong.

3. Turning up at the WRONG airport on the WRONG day - to pick his friend up from a trip to Paris.

4. Delivering a birthday present to Denis’ dad on 13th November. Uncle Hugh thought it was his 75th birthday. Denis’ dad turned out to be 77 and his birthday was on 24th June. To this day they have NO idea how Uncle Hugh got that one so badly wrong, but it caused much merriment and continues to be a subject brought up at their dinner table, or at weddings, funerals and such like.

5. Finding out that he’d agreed to purchase the field next to us from the farmer who owns it. Uncle Hugh thought he’d simply said it was ok by him if the farmer built a barn on it. That was a difficult one for mum to get him out of whilst remaining friends with the farmer. The farmer ended up with a bottle of single malt whisky and a firm promise that if the credit munch went away Uncle Hugh would definitely purchase the land.

Nowadays, mum checks and double checks everything that Uncle Hugh tells her if the arrangements were initially made by his French friends. It goes like this

“Are you sure they said Thursday? You definitely heard ‘zhurrdee’?”
“Yes, definitely.”
“You’re sure? You heard ‘zhurrdee’?”
“Sure!”
“And definitely 1 ‘o’ clock? You heard ‘trezzhurr’”
“Yes, definitely.”
“You’re sure? You heard ‘trezzhurr’?”
“Sure!”


Despite all that, she always ends up ringing the French person who made the arrangements and double checking with them.

I think Uncle Hugh should take lessons. After all, if he can agree to purchase something without realising it, he could agree to sell something without realising it couldn’t he? I mean, mum could get home one day and find me gone! Sold!

Yep, I think it’s about time he took this French thing seriously. I’m having lessons from Claude the Yellow Labrador aren’t I? And I’m just a dog. So there’s really no excuse is there? If I can do it, so can he.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My mum sometimes growls at big dogs!

You might not believe me, but in this part of France where mum and me live people don’t walk their dogs. Honest. I’m not kidding. Not once have we ever met another dog walker whilst we’ve lived here. Instead they let their dogs out to wander around alone. The local folk actually think it quite quaint that mum takes me out every day, and mum is now known as “the woman who walks the dog”. I’ve heard her say to Uncle Hugh “...I know they think I’m a sad bastard, especially when they drive past me and it’s bucketing down with rain and the wind’s howling around me. They look at me as one would look at an injured puppy…”

Mum wouldn’t DREAM of letting me go out on my own and between you and me - I’d not really know what to do if she did.

I’ve never been anywhere on my own. I can’t imagine walking without mum. Goodness knows what trouble I might get into. Take cars, for example. Sometimes I’m so engrossed in a nice smell I only know that one’s coming because mum instructs me to ‘Stay!’. So I freeze, which is what I’m programmed to do, and suddenly a car’s shooting past and I’d never even heard it before then. Sometimes there are some really good smells in the MIDDLE of the road where something has been squashed and I can spend ages having a good sniff at it. Imagine if I were on my own? Imagine if mum wasn’t there to drag me to the side of the road when a car is coming? I’d end up squashed too, wouldn’t I?

Usually we walk where there aren’t any cars and I can wander around without the lead, but we generally have to go on a road to get there.

In the UK, we used to meet lots of other dog walkers – that’s when mum found out that I had a few issues. The main one being what mum calls ‘littledogitits’. I call it ‘let me get to the bastards’. What she doesn’t realise is that some big dogs (and it’s only big dogs, not big bitches) put my hackles up because they give me that ‘look’ which says “Hey small fry – come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough…” so I have to show them who’s boss. Uncle Hugh says "..if he got his oats from time to time perhaps he wouldn't be so aggressive..." I don't know why he says that. I've no interest in oats. Oats are for horses. What have oats got to do with aggression?

Anyway, I’m digressing. I was telling you that they don’t walk their dogs around here – instead they simply let them out to wander around. It’s only a problem if the dog wandering around happens to be big, and a dog. Mum thinks she has to protect me from them, so she carries a big stick around with her wherever we go. She doesn't realise that I don't need protection - she should be protecting them from me!

It makes me laugh ‘cause mum reckons I’m aggressive, but you ought to see her when we end up face to face with a dog like Pierre, the local Mastiff/Rottweiller cross. He’s often wandering around barking and if mum would just leave me to it, I’d sort him out - but no. She tries to put me behind her then she bares her teeth, growls really loudly, shakes her stick and starts charging towards him – still growling. He runs like the clappers (and so would I if I were confronted with that) and I’m left in hysterics, hardly able to move I’m laughing so much. Then she says “My goodness, Henry. I truly hope nobody ever sees me do that, they’ll think I’m a nutter. I’ll end up with the nickname ‘the woman who growls at dogs’. Don’t tell anyone

Don’t worry mum, I won’t:)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mum wants to be a WAG



My mum told Uncle Hugh that she wants to be a WAG. She was reading the newspapers online again on Monday and read an article about a guy called Wayne Rooney, who kicks balls around for a living and his wife called Coleen, who’s glad that he does. It’s here if you want to have a read: Wayne & Coleen's cash.

For those who don’t know, and from what I’ve seen in the press, a WAG is someone who is dating, engaged or married to someone who kicks footballs around for a living and who also i) has orange skin, ii) has an IQ of 25 or under, iii) has the ability to spend oodles of other folks’ money, iv) has a shopping addiction, v) has big boobies or is very skinny or both, and vi) can turn a blind eye to boyfriend’s/hubby’s frequent indiscretions. Being blonde also helps but isn’t mandatory.

Mum wants to be a WAG because she says it would be the end of her money problems, but having seen and heard this Wayne Rooney bloke, I reckon it would be the beginning of her emotional ones. He’s certainly not anywhere near as handsome as Uncle Hugh, and he’s thick (I can say that ‘cause I’m a dog). I don’t think he’d keep my mum entertained for long, and I don’t think she’d like to share her basket with him. Also, mum doesn’t fit the WAG criteria, other than she’s blonde.

Mum says that WAG Coleen gets paid loads of money, more than £10 each month, for doing virtually nothing. Some folk don’t get that much for working for a whole YEAR. Apparently, she gets this money from a magazine called ‘OK’ and all she does is write something that’s not funny or interesting and she does it four times a month. Imagine being paid more than £10 a month for doing that? That sounds dead easy to me. I could do that. I’m thinking of contacting this ‘OK’ magazine and telling them that I can do it for less money – I’d do it for about £9 a month. AND I’d write about something interesting. AND I think it’d be funny having a dog do a column for ‘OK’ magazine. True, I don’t know much about ladies frocks or handbags or anything, but I’m a quick learner. Then I could make sure that my mum lived happily ever after, with no more money worries.

WAG Coleen also got paid more than £10 for writing a book about her life. It can’t be a very big book ‘cause she’s only a pup, so it can’t be more than 10 pages. I ask you, what could she write a whole book about? “Once upon a time I was born, then I went to school, then when I left school I got a job in a Supermarket, then I met a boy called Wayne who kicked balls around for a living, then I made my own perfume and exercise DVD, then we got married.” I could do that. I could write my autobiography. It might not be as long as hers but it’d be more interesting.

I don’t want mum to be a WAG because I want her to stay with Uncle Hugh. I wouldn’t want Wayne Rooney as my Uncle. He’d probably keep all the Haribo Jellies to himself, he wouldn’t give me ‘fingers of fun’, AND I think football is for sissies.

So, I think it’s time I came up with a plan to make some money for my mum.

Any ideas????

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I've been given an award

I’ve been given an award by the very lovely Diane, whose blog is really good fun and makes me laugh.

I’m not very good at inserting things, and wasn’t quite sure how to insert the award into my post but I finally managed to get it placed on my blog (lower right, under my blog list). Mum tried to help me but I did it myself in the end because she’s crap at technical stuff (see photos - say no more), and she’s blonde.

Anyway, it’s quite a macho award (note the tape measure, which I think is supposed to project connotations of rugged ‘builder’ types with calloused hands and lumpy biceps) and I thought it was only for men, but it can’t be ‘cause Diane got one. But I reckon Diane’s one of the lads, so that explains it.

I don’t have to pass the award on – phew! She knows I’m a bit funny about passing things on. But I do have to list six ways in which I measure success in life and/or as a blogger. So here they are

1. When Uncle Hugh succumbs to my “Aren’t I a seriously cute dog?” look and throws me one of his Haribo Jellies.

and

2. When mum doesn’t notice him doing it!

3. Finding a new blog that makes mum laugh, or cry or both. Similarly, if I occasionally brighten someone’s day with my blog, or make someone smile – that’s success.

4. Sneaking up behind little kids then barking sharply. It really makes them jump (I know that’s cruel but I can’t help myself sometimes – it’s the beast in me)

5. Scaring Rottweillers and making them run away – because it makes folk think I must be dead hard – that’s success. (What folk don’t realise is that Rottweillers are sissies and are the biggest scaredy cats in the whole world, it’s unfortunate that some end up with bad owners).

6. When mum looks into my eyes and says, “Henry hound, I love you” for no particular reason. Not because I’ve been good or anything, just because I’m me. That’s success.

I’m also supposed to say something nice about a man in my life – now that’s not difficult. It’s Uncle Hugh, of course, who always finds time to play with me (even when he’s busy), who gives me fingers of fun and who accidentally-on-purpose drops his food on the floor when he’s eating so that I can hoover it up.

Thank you Diane, I love your blog and will keep visiting.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My blind date from Hell - Part II

I got set up again Saturday. I was going to tell you about it yesterday but I'd experimented with the 'Scheduled' posting option when I was messing about on Friday, and it worked! So what got posted yesterday I actually wrote on Friday. Good eh? Anyway, am digressing.

It started in the morning. Mum and Uncle Hugh were doing ‘getting ready’, which I knew would mean that I would either be left 'home alone', or I would have to go somewhere with them in the car. It would all depend on where they were going and how long they expected to be away for.

‘Getting ready’ is the opposite of what they normally do in a morning these days and is usually a precursor to them doing something. It’s often done at night before they go to a restaurant or something like that. In the UK, when mum and Uncle Hugh worked together ‘getting ready’ was a fraught affair carried out at great speed very early in the morning, and invariably ended up with me being thrown into the back of mum’s car with her briefcase, laptop and my favourite toy. Mum and Uncle Hugh would then shoot off to work in their respective cars and I would spend most of my day in her office being given the occasional chew as a bribe to be good. I was still a very young pup and can’t remember much, to be honest. I do remember, however, being ‘baby-sat’ by mum’s colleagues if mum had meetings to go to and I got awfully spoiled. I miss that – being spoiled.

Anyway, I’m digressing. So, it started with mum and Uncle Hugh ‘getting ready’ and then I heard the ‘C’ word, and I don’t mean ‘Christmas’. No, I heard mum mention the dreaded ‘Chloe’. In case you’re new to this blog – read about the first time I met Chloe here: My blind date from hell!

I was filled with dread as I KNEW they were setting me up for another date. My fears were realised when I heard mum whisper to Uncle Hugh “He’d better not nip her again. I’d be mortified.” Uncle Hugh said, “I don’t think you should blame him entirely. I wouldn’t be surprised if she wound him up. You know he doesn’t like kids so why should we expect him to like pups?” Well thanks Uncle Hugh for your perception, spot on! How come you didn’t stick up for me the first time round?

I’m thinking NO WAY! NEVER AGAIN! NOT IN A MILLION YEARS! I AM NOT HAVING ANOTHER DATE WITH THAT BITCH FROM HELL! So my brain started whirring frantically wondering how I could get out of it, and then EUREKA! I decided to play ‘poorly paw’ (because when I did have a poorly paw mum made me stay in the house and wouldn’t let me go out). Anyway, I was really good at pretending. I even surprised myself. Mum was totally convinced. TOO convinced, she started talking about that dreaded ‘The Vets’.

AAAGGGHHH! OH NO! NOT ‘THE VETS’. I decided ‘poorly paw’ could turn out as bad as meeting Chloe again so I stopped limping dramatically and ran round and round and round in ‘crazy dog’ mode as fast as I could to show mum that ‘poorly paw’ was no more. Mum looked puzzled and said “That soon cleared up, it must have been a cramp attack…” I swear Uncle Hugh gave me one of his cynical looks but he didn’t say anything.

As it turned out they’d arranged to meet Stephanie and her hubby at the place where Uncle Hugh’s flying things live and go flying in Uncle Hugh’s new flying bus because Stephanie’s hubby wants to learn to fly. And…surprise surprise….they turned up with Chloe. The spawn of Satan.

She looked at me with her usual contempt and spat “If eet isn’t granddad greybeard. How yous going deeekhead?”

I decided not to rise to the bait. I decided to play it cool. She is, after all, a mere pup. I am much more mature than she is. Instead, I decided to play the absolute gentleman. I even greeted her in my newly learned, correct French – not the rude French I was taught by those naughty bitches in the kennels that time.

I said “Bonzhoor Chloe, sa va? Zherr swee conton voo ruvwoirr,” which I think means – ‘Hello, how are you? I’m happy to see you again’ (which was a big lie) I know it’s not exactly how French folk speak but it’s hard learning French off a bilingual dog with issues – one day I’ll tell you a bit more about Claude the fat yellow Labrador.

She said “Fook yous. Yous onglish.”

Now look here,” I said rather self righteously, “I’m trying to hold out an olive branch, I’m trying to be polite and what’s more I’m trying to speak French. What more can I do?”
Yous call that French?” she said with a voice laden with venom. “You speak lerr fransay like a Spanish cow,” then she simpered in mum’s direction and mum started fawning all over her as usual.

The morning went on like that. I would say something, Chloe would strike me down with her vicious tongue. No matter how hard I tried, I remained her target. I could not avoid the sniper’s bullet. It was a miserable morning.

And then my prayers were answered. I’m a great believer in Karma.

When it came to the trip in the flying bus, Stephanie didn’t want to leave Chloe with me in mum’s car THANK YOU GOD REX so it was decided that Chloe would go with them in Uncle Hugh’s flying bus. I’ll never forget the hugely smug look on Chloe’s face as she went off with everyone whilst I watched through the back window of mum’s car.

Life is fun sometimes isn’t it? Guess what? Chloe didn’t like flying. No, actually that’s an understatement. CHLOE DETESTED FLYING, HAD A HUGE PANIC ATTACK AND POOPED ALL OVER UNCLE HUGH’S PRECIOUS FLYING BUS.

The shivering, sweating, wild-eyed, terrified babbling creature that returned to terra-firma was quietly but firmly transported home by a rather embarrassed Stephanie.

Mum was mortified. Uncle Hugh was in a dark mood. “Well it doesn’t bother Henry,” he said. “I don’t get it. Henry doesn’t give a damn.”
Not all dogs are like Henry,” she said. “We keep forgetting. He likes watching firework displays for goodness’ sake. How abnormal is that for a dog? When he was a pup, he slept all the way through a fighter jet display and didn’t even wake up when that Harrier Jump Jet landed next to us. Remember? I think they broke the mould when he was born.”

Yes, I think so too:)

I also think that may be the last I see of Chloe, at least for a LONG time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What's your 'pet hate'?

Actually, just looking at the title to my post, I think I should re-word it. Mum says ‘hate’ is a very strong word that it is used too often. Mum doesn’t like it, so I guess I shouldn’t use it. And I’m a pet, and pets are cute – so ‘pet hate’ kind of feels wrong. I guess I mean ‘what niggles you?’ or ‘what gets on your nerves?’

With me it’s when people scoop their dogs’ poops. Mum doesn’t like it when people DON’T scoop poops but it gets on my nerves when they do. I mean, how on EARTH are us dogs supposed to know who’s hanging around if we can’t have a sniff at each others’ poops? That’s why I like France.

Another thing that really niggles me is when mum doesn’t eat all her dinner and then SCRAPES IT INTO THE BIN! Why oh why doesn’t she give it to me? I know other dogs who get their owners’ leftovers, but not me. No. What a waste.

Another thing that gets on my nerves is graffiti. I don’t get it. I also don’t understand why they are called ‘graffiti artists’. I don’t know what’s artistic about someone’s obtuse message sprayed in three foot letters on the wall of a beautiful 400 year old building, which is what happens a fair bit in the ancient little town close to where we live.

Quite a few things niggle mum. Particularly when she’s driving. Mum doesn’t like it when people drive too close to her back bumper, and they do that a lot in France. She hisses under her breath “STOP KISSING MY ARSE”. Mum doesn’t like folk who drive at 50kph in a 90 zone. Mum doesn’t like folk who can’t maintain a constant speed. Mum doesn’t like folk who overtake her then cut her up when they pull back in. Mum doesn’t like folk who don’t use their indicators. Basically, mum doesn’t like French drivers. Uncle Hugh calls mum ‘intolerant’, which makes mum shout.

Another thing mum doesn’t like A LOT is when people throw their litter around. She calls them litter louts. When we lived in the UK after we’d been for a walk, her pockets and her rucksack would be bulging with stuff that she’d picked up along the way. Then there are folk that she called “fly tippers”. I don’t know why. Maybe they had flying cars like Uncle Hugh has. Anyway, the countryside in the UK is lovely, but these “fly tipper” folk don’t seem content with that – it seems that they’re only happy if there is an old mattress or an old cooker or an old fridge or an old sofa or lots of black bags or old toys or tyres or something else dumped on it.

Also, in the towns in the UK, there used to be these bins for rubbish and stuff, but whenever mum and me went into town I noticed that the bins were virtually empty and all around the bins, on the ground, there was always lots of rubbish. I used to see people throwing stuff on the ground quite a lot. Perhaps they didn't know what the bins were for.

In France, people are content with having the countryside as it is, they don’t need to litter it to be happy, and the bins in the towns are full of stuff, instead of it being on the ground. The funny thing is - in the UK, whilst they don’t put rubbish in bins, they do put dog poo in them. Bizarre isn’t it? Putting the good stuff in the bin and leaving the crap hanging around. Only in the UK I reckon.

Mum doesn’t like “litter louts” and she says that if she were in charge she’d make sure that “..they were disembowelled by a blunt, rusty knife and then hung slowly by their entrails until dead..” I may be wrong but in my view that seems a tad extreme. I know mum’s in charge of me, but I’m kind of pleased that she’s not in charge of the world.

What niggles you?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Is it a popularity contest?

I read this a few days ago Better cyber friend than real one? and it made me think about friendship. I mean, how can anyone have thousands of REAL friends? I’m not saying that you can’t have cyber friendships. It’s just that in my view, a real friend is someone who is i) there when you need a shoulder to cry on (be it ‘virtual’ or real), ii) someone whose company you enjoy (be it ‘virtual’ or real), iii) someone you can confide in, and iv) someone who you make time for. So how can anyone have thousands of those?

Mum won’t join Facebook because she says that not only would she end up as the sad bastard with only two friends but that she simply doesn’t want to be a part of it. To be honest I think she’s also a bit nervous about the possible consequences - she doesn’t want to wake up one morning to find 400 people camped on her lawn just because she happened to mention on Facebook that she was having Stephanie round for dinner that evening.

Nevertheless, mum still gets people inviting her to be their ‘friend’ on Facebook, or Myspace (or that other one I can’t remember the name of) and it always leaves her feeling bemused because they are invariably invites from people she doesn’t really know. Last week she got an invite from a guy who she hasn’t seen since she was nine years old “…I mean, why on earth does he want me as his friend when the last time we saw each other was at Junior school and I called him ‘poo breath’? I guess he has 199 friends and he’d like to get to 200...” Mum says most of them are ‘shameless Facebook hussies’ who aren’t at all interested in being her friend, they simply want to make up the numbers. They want to appear popular.

Now I know that LOADS of you humans have adopted the attitude that it doesn’t matter what people think of you. Apparently it’s a very admirable attitude to have and folk are often ridiculed for caring about what others think of them: “Take me or leave me”, I’ve heard that one before and “I don’t care what others think – I’m not courting popularity,” and “Does it matter what people think of you?” and, “It’s not a popularity contest is it?”. Isn’t it? I wonder.

You humans are lucky if you can survive in this world by doing your own thing, even if it makes you unpopular. Us dogs can’t. In the doggy world being liked, being popular, being appealing is a matter of survival. And I ask you, what’s wrong with wanting to be liked? Why is it considered a weakness? It started eons ago - imagine prehistoric men sitting round their campfire gnawing on their hunks of mammoth flesh and thinking “Now which little doggies should we throw the bones to? The cute ones wagging their tails enthusiastically and looking at us as if we were Gods? Or the morose ones looking at us as if we were mammoth poo?” Yep, you got it! The waggy-tailed cute dogs would have always ended up with the bones.

If us dogs didn’t remain appealing, we simply wouldn’t survive. Who would want to keep us?

A small digression here: that’s why I can’t understand why folk are attracted to cats. Cats are a complete conundrum in my view. I mean, they peruse everyone and everything with a look that is literally oozing with disdain but people still keep them and grow attached to them. It’s bizarre.

Back to main post: I wonder if lots of folk who declare that they are their own person who couldn’t give a damn what others think are simply full of bravado, when deep down they’re thinking “…please, please, please like me. I SO want to be liked…please, please, please…” I’m wondering because despite the pervasive attitude that it really doesn’t matter what folk think, the growing popularity of sites such as Facebook, the growing horde of folk who are seeking fame in one way shape or form through the growing number of reality TV shows and the growing status of the ‘Celebrity’ seem to scream otherwise.

I do care what others think of me and don’t mind admitting it. I want to be liked, because I don’t think I’d be a happy dog if I wasn’t - I don’t have rhino hind and I’m quite a sensitive soul. Saying that, I don’t need thousands of friends either, apart from the fact that I can only count to ten I reckon it’d be bloody tiring.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Addictions

I told the very lovely French Fancy that I would blog about my addictions – five of them in fact. At first, I thought it would be a hard thing to do until I read about French Fancy's addictions and realised that an addiction isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the past, when I thought of an addiction, the term ‘weakness’ trickled into my mind along with visions of drug addicts and smokers and such like. Then I read French Fancy’s blog. Then I looked in the Dictionary, where it says that ‘addicted’ means ‘1. dependent on something as a habit: unable to do without, or 2. devoted (addiction to football)’ yes, it did say football. That’s from the Concise Oxford 8th edition.

So with that in mind here are my five addictions:

MY MUM – I’m addicted to my mum because I love her to bits. She feeds me, exercises me, plays with me (sometimes), she’d kill anyone who tried to hurt me and she loves me too. The only thing is she’s horrid to me when I’m ill Mum's a Nasty Bitch (Sometimes). But that’s the only downside.

SMELLING – I love to smell things. It’s what makes me a dog. Dogs live through their noses and without a sense of smell life would be very one dimensional for us dogs. In fact, I can’t imagine life without one. You try it. Without smell, there’s no taste either. But you humans haven’t got anywhere near the capacity for smelling as us dogs have, so it’s hard for you to imagine. Close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, hold your nose and breathe only through your mouth – I think that must be the closest you can get to what it is like for a dog who can’t smell. No fun.

FOOD – I love to eat. I’d eat anything, even the really smelly, rotting stuff, but mum’s strict and only lets me eat my Royal Canin or treats that have her prior approval i.e. REALLY BORING ONES. Thank goodness for Uncle Hugh. He’s a very messy eater and drops lots of food on the floor when he’s eating. Mum says he does it on purpose and no matter how innocent he tries to look, she never believes him when he says he doesn’t. Also, she always knows when he has been feeding me sweetcorn, even when he does it behind her back. I sometimes think she’s got ESP or something.

FINGERS OF FUN – that’s when Uncle Hugh dips his two fingers in his beer or wine and lets me lick it off. Mum shouts at him for doing it, but he doesn’t do it very often and it is only two fingers. She should lighten up. I’m hardly going to turn into a brawling, vomiting binge drinker on two fingers am I?

And finally…..

BLOGGING – of course. My new addiction. I never realised how enlightening, educating, amusing and moving some of the blogs out there can be, or how lovely the blogging community is. I have to be careful sometimes because there are some bloggers who think it beneath them to respond to a blogging dog. They think it stupid. But that’s their prerogative. Also, I tend not to comment if the blog or a specific post has a sad or very serious message, because they might think that I’m being facetious – being a dog and all that. It’s difficult. Through my blog, I’m trying to get you humans to look at the world from a slightly different angle – a dog’s eye view of life – because sometimes looking at the world in that way and the things that are going on in it can lighten the load, make you smile or stop you from taking yourself that bit too seriously. Or, you can think, “No, that blogging dog is a prat, this blog is stupid and I’m not coming back here.”

So there you go. My five addictions. Thanks French Fancy, I quite enjoyed doing that.

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?