Friday, January 30, 2009

Inondations - that's "floods" to you and me

Whilst some of you lucky folk were having heatwaves, Lee, whilst some of you were holidaying at the seaside and being literally pampered to death, Braja (I did offer to do my ‘Super Dog’ impression and rescue her from the torture, but mum said she was enjoying it), us folk in this part of Europe have been having stinking weather. Gales and driving rain.

Last weekend in this part of France we had "bohcohdanondaseeons” – that means lots of floods to you guys who don’t speak French as well as me. And we had terrible wind at the weekend. (No, I’m not going to make a funny pun, that’s the type of thing puerile Uncle Hugh would do). That photo above is of a restaurant that mum & Uncle Hugh sometimes go to for Sunday Lunch. There’s normally a lovely patio, beautiful gardens and a car park at the back. I reckon there won’t be a Sunday lunch for a while n’est-ce pas? Here's a close up:

And this is photo is of the fields we pass on one of our walks – no longer fields.

Mum’s not keen on rain and she hates wind. I mean, REALLY hates it. She hates it so much it was one of the (many) reasons she was really happy to come and live in this part of France because we don’t normally get any. I think I’ve said it before – it blows her hair into her lippy and gets her all vexed. I don’t think it’s just that, I think it scares her too. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know how anyone can be frightened of weather – a mad axeman, yes, but weather – no. Unless, of course, it’s that extreme kind that they find in some places of the world. The type of weather those guys in The Big Storm Picture go and chase. Mum calls them ‘bloody nutters who want their heads looking at’; I think they’re dead cool. But honestly, here in France, we’re unlikely to get it as bad as they do there (and before you start, yes, I do know about that freak hurricane in 2000 that wreaked havoc over Europe, but it’s not a regular occurrence, is it?)

Anyway, this bad weather caused power cuts all over. We had no electric all morning on Sunday, and mum was having anxiety attacks thinking that she wouldn’t be able to use her dishwasher or her hair straighteners. I mean, I ask you, how can life continue without one’s hair straighteners? (Henry rolls his eyes, shakes his head and sighs) At the time of her anguish, I did think that there are folk in the world who haven’t even GOT electricity. Who’ve never heard of a dishwasher or hair straighteners, but who still manage to survive. Honestly, she is a bit of a wussy girl sometimes.

Our electricity came back mid-morning, but three days after and there were still lots of folk without it. As I said before, things take a long time in France, you see, they have to stop for two-hour lunch breaks – it’s obligatory. Nothing comes between a French workman and his ‘plat du jour’. Nothing! Mum has often joked that the worst time to have a house fire in France is between the hours of 12 and 2.

We still managed to go out for a walk though. Nothing comes between me and my walk. I INSIST on having my walk. Except that when it’s really ‘bucketing’ down, as mum puts it, the walk only lasts about ten minutes.

Here’s a little clip of me getting all excited about my walk (it's very short & you get to see mum's grey socks & messy kitchen):

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Likes and dislikes of a Celebrity Pooch

I was inspired to do this post by my pal Stubby, because now that I’m becoming famous (it having been leaked that Victoria Beckham is my number 1 fan) some folk are wanting more nitty gritty personal stuff. I don’t mind – it happens when one is on the road to celebritydom. Yes, that’s me on the cover of Vogue (thanks Braja). When Armani signs me up, I’ll be earning more than £10 a month and will be able to support mum so that she won’t have to go back to the UK.

So here goes for you folks who are hungry for more insight into my complex character and celebrity lifestyle.

Loves: Whatever mum and Uncle Hugh are eating. It always tastes better than anything else.
Dislikes: Grapefruit – it kind of makes my nose wrinkle and my eyes screw up tight.

Place to sleep
Loves: On mum’s knee (pictured below)
Dislikes: Actually, I can sleep anywhere, but I guess if I had to choose somewhere that I like least, it would have to be in the back of Uncle Hugh’s flying car, and that’s not because I’m afraid of flying. It’s just that it sometimes gets REALLY bumpy and sometimes I float, which can be a bit disconcerting!

Loves: My tennis ball and my new squeaky tug that I got for Christmas (pictured below)
Dislikes: Toys that won’t fit in my mouth – what’s the point?

Time of day
Loves: Walk time – of course. It means I get to spend time with mum and smell lots of interesting stuff, like fox poo and things that died a long time ago.
Dislikes: The boring bit in between breakfast and walk time when mum and Uncle Hugh are sat at their desks on their computer and not taking any notice of me. That’s when I start ‘playing up’ to get their attention – here’s a little clip of me doing just that.

Body position
Loves: Curled up all snug.
Dislikes: When mum puts me on my back and cuddles me as if I were a little pup. MUM I’M A BIG BOY NOW!!!

Loves: Between 0 and 55 degrees - perfect!
Dislikes: Summer when it’s too hot to walk. NOT good.

Loves: Eating, walking, peeing, sniffing poo.
Dislikes: Going to the “The Vets”, of course.

Loves: My chest being tickled.
Dislikes: My head being patted - grrrrrrr

Loves: Lady dogs, of course.
Dislikes: Most big male dogs (my blogging pals excluded) – they make me feel all prickly and want to show them who’s boss.

Loves: NOTHING. I hate being groomed – period! It should be outlawed. Mum tries to do it from time to time but I sulk so much and look so pitiful (I’ve perfected the art of looking pitiful) mum simply cuts the lugs out of my fur when they appear. However, I have no choice but to succumb when Claire, my groomer, cuts my fur off. Otherwise, I’d melt in the summer.

Loves: “Farting hands” – even though they scare me stiff and make me run away, I still run back for more – I can’t help myself. I also love “Kill Uncle Hugh’s Slipper”. It makes me all giddy.
Dislikes: Football – those bloody balls are simply TOO big.

Loves: Anyone who likes dogs.
Dislikes: Naughty human pups – they need their backsides nipping.

Loves: Thunder and fireworks.
Dislikes: “Farting Hands” – I know, I know – I voted it as a game I love, but let’s say I have a love/hate relationship with it. I get borderline hysterical.

Loves: Anything to do with Harry Potter. I’d love to be a dog Wizard. Now that would be cool. I could turn everything into food.
Dislikes: I’ve only read Harry Potter stuff, so I can’t really say.

So, there you are – for all my fans out there – hope it quenches your thirst for more minutiae of my celebrity lifestyle.

Actually, at the moment I’m in the doghouse. Mum discovered me eating something I shouldn’t have been eating and it gave me a bit of a poorly tum. I won’t go into detail – some of you may be in the middle of breakfast – but it was very old and very dead. Normally, I’m very good because mum has taught me NOT to eat stuff like that, or roll in things that are slimy or stink (like fresh cow poo), but sometimes….just sometimes….the dogginess in me simply takes over!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Are you a creature of habit?

Are you a creature of habit?

I got inspired to write this post by Profoundly Inarticulate, because it made me realise that my whole life and the whole life of mum and Uncle Hugh is governed by rituals and habits and routines. Mum is the worst when it comes to habits and rituals and routines. Uncle Hugh said she would be really easy to assassinate, if she were President, which she isn’t – ‘cause that’s Mr Obama. I think he was just making a point.

Every morning, it’s the same. Mum and Uncle Hugh get up at different times. Uncle Hugh (7.00), Mum (8.30). Uncle Hugh’s morning ritual is to have a big mug of tea in his old, trusty mug that he’s had longer than I’ve been alive (the one on the left of the photo), and then read his book whilst I snooze in my night-time bed under the table with my head on his foot. Then mum gets up and has a big mug of coffee in her own mug (the one on the right) that she’s had since she moved to France (her old one broke in the move and it made her anxious until she got a replacement). Then she reads or catches up with some blogs whilst she drinks her coffee. After mum has had her coffee in that mug, she has to have a tea in another mug – a plain white one. They take their mugs wherever they go. Even on holiday. Yes, they are sad bastards.

Then, they have breakfast, whilst I beg. Then I have breakfast. Then I snooze in my mid-morning and afternoon bed whilst mum and Uncle Hugh do things on their computers and talk to folk in the UK

Than Uncle Hugh and mum shower (not together).

Then Uncle Hugh goes to do things with his flying car.

Then me and mum go for a walk.

Then I come back and snooze in my afternoon bed whilst mum does more stuff on the computer for Uncle Hugh.

Then mum goes to the Supermarket to buy stuff for dinner and takes me with her for a ride. Whilst there, mum ALWAYS parks in the same place. ALWAYS. It’s nearly always free too ‘cause it’s about a five mile hike from the Supermarket itself. But mum doesn’t seem to mind the walk. It means that HER space is nearly always free. It’s a little space right at the end of a parking row and it’s a big space so it also means that mum’s car doesn’t get dented by people opening their car doors. (Borderline OCD if you ask me – this parking obsession thingy).

A digression - it’s obligatory in France to open your car door onto someone else’s car door and leave a little dent. Same as when you’re parking, it’s obligatory to ‘kiss’ the bumper of the car in front or behind. That means you’re parked. Mum doesn’t like this French custom. In fact, mum hates it. Which is why she chose a parking space far, far away from anyone. Now don’t think that mum is ‘precious’ about her car. Far from it. Mum doesn’t give a damn about her car. Mum’s car is the messiest, dirtiest car you’re ever going to see on the road. Mum never, EVER cleans her car. That’s why she always has silver ones – she says they never look absolutely filthy. Uncle Hugh says that mum would rather buy a new one than wash one. However, saying that, she hates those little dents that sometimes happen when folk open their car doors.

Mum always drives to the Supermarket on the big roads, and always comes back on the little ones (the scenic route she calls it). She never, ever does it the other way round. Why? (Again, borderline OCD methinks).

Then after mum gets back from the Supermarket, Uncle Hugh gets back from the aeroclub.

Then they open a couple of bottles of grape juice and start drinking that whilst Uncle Hugh cooks.

Then they eat , whilst I beg.

Then I eat.

Then it’s more drinking and ‘play with Henry’ time.

Then mum sits on her sofa, Uncle Hugh sits on his sofa, and I sleep in my evening bed whilst they watch TV or read.

Then we all go to bed after nighttime pee, which me and Uncle Hugh do together.

Then it starts ALL OVER AGAIN, the next day.

Why do folk have routines? Do you have one?

I can’t imagine mum or Uncle Hugh ever varying theirs.

Even when they go on holiday. I’ve heard mum talk about how they quickly set up a routine – when on a City Break, Uncle Hugh finds a bar to sit in whilst mum goes sight-seeing and she walks and walks. Or, if they’re doing a ‘beach holiday’, Uncle Hugh finds a bar to sit at whilst mum finds some shade and reads or walks and walks. Especially when on a ‘beach holiday’ they find themselves eating lunch and dinner at exactly the same time every day. After one holiday mum said that the folk at the resort were setting their watches by them. “I’m sure they were. Whenever they saw us heading for the restaurant in the evening I saw them glance at their watch just to check it was 7.30.”

Other little idiosyncrasies of mum & Uncle Hugh – they have ‘their’ side of the bed (and I know other humans do that too), they have a sofa each, and they’re exactly the same but even so, they would never swap – unthinkable.

Mum has all her toiletries laid out in her bathroom in the order she uses them and she KNOWS if Uncle Hugh has been in and touched anything.

Uncle Hugh can’t go to the loo for a number two without his mug of tea and a book - too much detail, I know, but hey! I'm a dog.

There are more but too many to list.

I do think you humans are a peculiar species. Saying that, since I first posted this, I've had time to ruminate and I wonder if mum & Uncle Hugh's routines are a result of them living in chaos for many, many years? Perhaps their routines make them feel safe? More secure? I don't know.

Talking of peculiar – here is Uncle Hugh doing ‘farting hands’ and scaring me. He puts his hands together and makes a strange farting noise and he gets me EVERY time. He always makes me think he’s holding something horrid in them - a horrid farting creature. Deep down I know he isn’t, but I can’t help myself. I get all hyper. It's short and it's a bit dark, sorry.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What did Bush's letter to Obama really say?

There has been quite a bit of speculation about the secret letter left to Mr Obama from Mr Bush. Mum heard something on the news this morning about a spoof one, which really made her laugh, and we've tried all morning to find it, but to no avail.
I was just wondering what you think he might have said in the secret letter. What pearls of wisdom would Mr Bush have thrown Mr Obama's way? What type of advice? Guidance? Counsel?

I reckon the best advice Mr Bush could give to anyone would be "Don't follow my advice."
Apologies to any Bush fans out there. Remember, I'm only a dog.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A trip to the Vets

I don’t like to say it but I think my mum has a sadistic streak. I wrote about it before, some time ago when I first started doing my blog.

Whenever I’m poorly, she takes me to this awful place called THE VETS It’s a horrible place where a nasty man in a white coat plonks me on a cold, slippery, metal table and then starts prodding and poking my orifices. She usually only takes me there when I’m ill. When I’m so ill I can’t bear all the prodding and poking. It’s downright cruel.

Well, yesterday she took me there even though I wasn’t ill, and I suddenly remembered why. It always happens around the same time every year, and visions of great big needles danced in my head and I thought “NO WAY. NOT THIS TIME. OH NO!” This is me looking shocked:

So, when mum parked outside the Vets and asked me to jump out of the car I decided to roll on my back. That didn’t quite work – she simply picked me up out of the car, plonked me on my feet and attached the lead to my collar. In desperation, I rolled on my back again. She started gnashing her teeth at that point and saying, “You little bugger. Get up!” I could tell I was getting her mad up so I employed another tactic. I started wagging my tail frantically and looking as sweet as I could, still on my back in submissive pose – it gets her every time. She’s a sucker for it – the waggy tail. She started giggling and saying “Come on, GET UP!” but she was laughing so I knew I was winning.

She pulled the lead, saying, “Come on Henry. Come on boy. Let’s go for a walk” in her bright “Let’s have fun!” voice. I knew she thought she could fool me. Well, mum, I wasn’t born yesterday. We were outside the bloody Vets for goodness’ sake. Does she think I’m thick? I remained on my back, wagging my tail and looking cute. She dragged me a few feet, but had started to get an audience at that juncture.

That’s when she simply picked me up and marched me inside. Bummer! I’d forgotten that I was tiny. I wished I was a Great Dane or a Rotty. She couldn’t have swept me up under her arm if I’d been a Rotty could she? All the folks in the Vets were laughing, but their poor pooches weren’t. They all looked petrified. They were all shaking and shivering with fear. Including me.

About five hours later (everything takes an age in France) I’d been prodded, poked and then injected with these huge – nay – HUMONGOUS needles. It was so painful. Honest. I’m sure it was. I can’t really remember to be fair because it happened so fast. But I’m sure it hurt. It must have. Then mum had the cheek to say, “Don't look at me like that. It’s for your own good sweetheart”. FOR MY OWN GOOD? WHY? WHY IS HAVING ME LIBERALLY PUNCTURED WITH NEEDLES A GOOD THING? WHY? I tell you. She’s downright cruel.

Anyway I was thoroughly spoiled yesterday evening and Uncle Hugh gave me lots of ‘Fingers of Fun’

Then I felt a bit sleepy.

This morning I felt a bit sore.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mum's going back to the UK

Mum & Uncle Hugh are going back to the UK, but not permanently. Not yet anyroad. They’re going back for two weeks every month starting in March, because they’re running out of plastic and Uncle Hugh needs to sort out his assets (whatever they are – I’m just repeating what I heard).

They talked about it lots and lots yesterday and I found it REALLY boring after a bit. I tried to distract them by stealing their socks, beating my basket up and rolling on my back in a cute fashion, but they simply ignored me. Here’s me trying to distract them:

Here's me being bored:

What is it about you humans that you have to talk about stuff ad nauseam? Why can’t you just take a decision then move on? Life’s too short. Mum was saying
It could be really unsettling for Henry, spending two weeks every month at the kennels. What if he becomes institutionalised?”

Mum, it’s not a PRISON, it’s James & Jane. I have fun with them. I get to “Hang out with mah bitches. Innit!” (I don’t know what ‘Innit’ means but it sounds cool).

At the kennels, I get to meet other dogs. I hardly ever meet other dogs here – other than Claude the Yellow Lab (who’s got issues) – and that isn’t very often. I’m starved of doggy company. However, when I’m at the kennels James & Jane let me mingle with lots of lady dogs and it is GRRRREAT! I had a ‘harem’ of six the last time I was there. I was in heaven. They were all fawning over me and commenting on my hairy chest. I felt as big as a Great Dane.

They don’t let me mingle with men dogs because I can be aggressive. Mum says I’ve got “Little Dog Syndrome” I don’t know what that is, but I don’t think it’s catching. Fifi, a cute lady Yorkshire Terrier I met last time said I should sign up for “Anger Management” classes. Cheeky madam! ZoĆ«, another cute lady dog who was part of my ‘harem’ said I had too much testosterone. I don’t know what that is either but it didn’t seem to bother her. She was a terrible flirt and wouldn’t leave me alone. It was fab!

So, you see. I’m not worried at all if it means me spending more time with James & Jane over the next twelve months or so.

Mum was talking about taking me with her when she goes to the UK, but then decided it wouldn’t be practical. I wouldn’t mind going to the UK, as long as we don’t ever go to that Rotherham place. I think I’d rather self-harm.

Here is a little clip of me having fun with Uncle Hugh (It’s short, Lee). Mum says some really stupid, obvious things to Uncle Hugh like “Is that your slipper?” When you see the clip, you will know how inane that is. But as I said before, she’s blonde (and she doesn’t know how to take her voice off these recordings). I also think she’d probably had a few too many glasses of that grape juice. Uncle Hugh is in his ‘jim jams’ by the way – they aren’t his going out trousers. Just thought I’d clear that one up before you start thinking he might be a hippy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Victoria Beckham loves me - official!

Move over David Beckham, I’m the new guy in Victoria’s life. It’s official. It has to be because Braja sent this photo to me, so it must be true.

I’m so excited I don't think I'll sleep tonight.

I’m so excited because if Victoria loves me, then I might be able to make lots of plastic for my mum to spend because everything is now, officially, “Totally fooked” in the UK according to mum. And that’s where all her money is. I thought it was “Totally fooked” before, but apparently last year was just the tip of the iceberg. Today everything went crazy and 19th January has proven to be the worst day in the history of the UK – so there you go Lee, those ‘Blue Monday’ guys were right after all – at least as regards the Brits anyroad.

SO! Considering that all things ‘brand’ Beckham seem to attract lots of money no matter what date it is, I reckon my future is assured. After all, hasn’t she just been paid lots of plastic to pose in Armani underwear? And didn’t hubby David do an Armani underwear pose too? Well, Mr Armani – what about me? How about Victoria’s favourite dog posing for Armani too? I’ve worn a 'baby-gro' for goodness’ sake – I’m not proud. I’d be quite happy to wear some undies. As long as you don’t tell anyone. I could go under a pseudonym. Any ideas?

Yes – this is the DREADED baby-gro that mum made me wear for a while in November when I was shorn too short in the cold snap:

No, I don’t look happy, but as I said – I’m not proud – if it means me making money for mum then pride be buggered! I don't mind selling out.
Bring on Armani. Bring on the Undies. Bring on the Beckhams!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Say hello to Lady Jicky's new pup, Kenzo.

Isn't he a sweetie? He's a Maltese x Shih Tzu and when mum first saw his photos she squealed so loudly that she made Uncle Hugh jump.

Lady Jicky decided to get another dog so soon after losing Rosie and Oscar because I think she particularly related to what French Fancy and mum said about leaving it too long between dogs, and how, with retrospect, they both felt that they should have got one sooner. Mum's hoping that Kenzo will be perfect 'diversion therapy' for Lady Jicky. I'm sure he will be.

Mum said that whenever she lost someone close to her in the past, something happened to divert her attention from her grief. Something that provided a new focus and helped her with her bereavement. When her dad died, she met Uncle Hugh, when her mum died she met someone who encouraged her to take up horse riding - something she'd always wanted to do from childhood. That same person also encouraged her to take up squash and running. She soon found that she was so phyically involved with things, she wasn't dwelling on her mum's death. When her brother died, a huge and challenging work project was placed on her desk that she had to concentrate all her efforts on. When her other dog, Sam, died she bought a bicycle - but it wasn't enough. She said that she found it more difficult to get over Sam than anyone, and she truly believes that if she'd got herself a little puppy it would have been much easier.

I think little Kenzo will definitely help Lady Jicky get over Rosie and Oscar. Hopefully, when he can write properly ('cause he's only a wee pup), he can start visiting my blog and the other doggy blogs. Look - he's already got his eye on the computer:)

I think you did the right thing, Lady Jicky. The right thing for you. Everyone's different. We all have to deal with things in our own way, don't we? Some folk don't want 'diversion therapy'. Some folk don't want to be diverted from their bereavement - and that works for them.

Mum says that if anything happens to me, she'd get another Schnauzer, but a black one, so that she's not always reminded of me. I felt a bit hurt when I heard her say that - heard her talking about me dying and getting a 'replacement'. But then again, I was talking about finding new parents in my last post, wasn't I? In case I get orphaned. Mum says she could never find another me, and wouldn't want to. But she says that love is big enough to encompass lots of folk and animals in your life - it doesn't dilute, it simply gets bigger. I think I know what she means.

Welcome to our world, little Kenzo - I'm sure you'll be much loved by everyone.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Houston, we have a problem.

Houston, we have a problem” - the very famous transmission from Mr Lovell on Apollo 13. So famous, even us dogs use it. Mum says that when she was flying back to France over the English Channel at 14,000 feet in Uncle Hugh’s flying car, and the engine stopped, she suddenly understood how Mr Lovell and his pals must have felt.

Honestly, she is a right drama queen sometimes. Agreed, it must have been a tad scary, especially for someone who’s afraid of flying, but the Apollo 13 guys were floating around in space. Even at 14,000 feet, which is fairly high, Mum, Uncle Hugh, 'le Fred' and his girlfriend were much closer to the ground. True, they no longer had any power, but they were much closer to the ground. Saying that, I suppose it could be a bad thing – being in a flying car that no longer had a working engine and being close to the ground. Bummer! Better to be floating in space, I guess.

Anyway, I’m digressing. Mum said that after the engine stopped and Uncle Hugh got on the radio and said “Jersey Tower we are a Cessna 210 with complete engine failure. Request emergency landing” she said she thought “Oh dear!” (Actually, what she REALLY said she thought is totally unprintable – I didn’t even know words like that existed). Then she said that she felt like screaming and crying hysterically, but decided that shouting “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! WE’RE GOING TO CRASH AND BURN!” wouldn’t have brought anything to the table whilst Uncle Hugh was calmly trying to sort out the vectors with Jersey Tower. Instead, she decided to remain very still and say nothing. And that’s what she did – remained very, very still. Petrified – I think that was one of the words she used when she was telling her English friend, Amanda – along with some other rather rude ones.

Mum said that pilots are trained to do emergency landings and I’ve heard Uncle Hugh talking about glide slopes, rates of descent, high and fast approaches and stuff like that. However, mum says that it’s not really the same because in training if they get it a bit wrong, they can put the power back on, fly back off and have another go. Apparently all these thoughts were rolling around her head as they were doing a spiral descent over the little island of Jersey.

She said that she’d heard of people having their life pass before their eyes when they’re in a life-threatening situation. Not her. All she could think about at one point was that she’d wished she’d had the chocolate cheesecake and that second bottle of champagne the previous night, instead of being good and saying “No”.

Luckily, ‘le Fred’ is a super pilot and professional instructor with over 10,000 hours experience and Uncle Hugh has a brilliant brain and can do mental arithmetic dead fast, so together they saved everyone’s life, which is a good thing. They got the glide slope, the speed and their calculations just right and landed without a hitch. Mum didn’t see any of it ‘cause she had her eyes closed. She even closes her eyes when she’s landing in a plane that works. She said when she finally did open her eyes she couldn’t believe it.

There were about ten thousand huge fire engines, a thousand ambulances and an enormous crowd of people on the viewing gallery. The firemen looked terribly miffed, actually. Their hoses were literally dripping with anticipation. The poor guys practice all their working lives for a serious ‘crash and burn’ and they rarely get one. I felt almost guilty that we weren’t even smoking. Saying that, if we’d had even a hint of smoke, we would have been drenched. They were chomping at the bit.”

The incident closed the whole of Jersey Airport for about half an hour.
You can actually read about it here. But it's not very exciting. Mum said that the local BBC TV people turned up but Uncle Hugh wouldn’t give an interview. He’s very private, like mum – she’ll never be a Victoria Beckham. She smiles too much and she doesn’t like attention. She said that she supposed it would have been quite exciting for the Island’s media, considering that not much goes on in Jersey. The last time she was there, “Lucky the black cat goes missing at St Brelade” was the headline in one of the local papers.

There you go – we may live in a sleepy, rural part of France but there’s always something happening with the folk in the ‘Henry’ household.

They got the plane mended. I can’t say what was wrong or whose fault it was because it might be investigated. But it’s fixed now. Some very nice men at Jersey Airport fixed it and made sure it couldn’t happen again. However, it took Uncle Hugh and 'le Fred' nearly two days to fly mum back home because she could only cope with VERY short hops – her nerves were all frazzled and frayed.

In the end, they had to ply her with copious amounts of alcohol otherwise – as Uncle Hugh said – “We wouldn’t have got back until February” That’s why I’m back later than I said I would be.

Mum’s a bit mad with Uncle Hugh ‘cause she thought they were going to go in his new flying van, which has got TWO engines. It was only when she’d turned up at the airfield that he’d told her they were going in the flying car. Mum had always told Uncle Hugh she wouldn’t go to the UK in the flying car but she didn’t want to let everyone down. Oh well. ‘Tis done. Life goes on.


The clip below is of me feeling good to be alive - having a good roll in the grass this afternoon and loving every minute of it (Yes, Lee – it is sweet and twee, but it is SHORT). It’s a ‘Henry’ thing. I sometimes do it next to mum when she’s doing her tummy crunches on the floor in the lounge. YES, MUM HAS FINALLY GOT A DIGI CAMERA. So something good came out of it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In memory of Lady Jicky's sweet Rosie - 2000-2009

This post is dedicated to Rosie. The very much-loved dog and companion of our blogging friend Lady Jicky. Rosie was a rescue dog and, due to years of neglect, she had lots of problems with her skin and her eyes. In the end, her problems were simply too much for her to cope with. Rosie very sadly died on Thursday 8th January and Lady Jicky is, understandably, devastated. To make matters worse for Lady J, she only recently found out that her other dog, Oscar, is also dying - of cancer.

Lady Jicky and Rosie have brightened all our blogs up with their comments – sometimes sassy, sometimes serious, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes hilarious, sometimes blunt. But Lady J doesn’t have her own blogsite, so I said I would post a tribute to Rosie, my dear friend, my dear little blogging buddy.

I’m not eloquent. I’m not poetic. I don’t do prose. I’m not a writer – not like some of you clever folk out there. So, this isn’t going to be a powerfully evocative or flowery piece, but it is from the heart.

There will be folk out there who have never had a pet and who may not understand the love and depth of feeling that folks can have for their treasured furry (or not) friends. To those, I ask you to stop and imagine how you would feel to lose your dearest, closest and most loyal pal and companion. Pets can be just that to some people. Whoever you are, whatever your experiences or depth of empathy this post carries a message that is relevant to everyone, and at the end of it I will be asking you to do something very simple, which may change your life. So please keep reading.

Rosie was ‘rescued’ by the lovely Lady J almost a year ago. Up until that point, she hadn’t had a particularly good life – Lady J reckons she spent most of it locked in a back yard with her sister. Her sister was snapped up fairly quickly, but nobody wanted Rosie because she wasn’t considered textbook ‘cute’. Luckily, she melted Lady J’s heart and the last year of her life was, finally, a very happy one and she was showered with love.

Actually, Lady J, I happen to think she WAS a cutie – so, you and me both, eh?

Lady J said that when Rosie first arrived at her house she was very fond of her old dog, Oscar, and wanted to sleep with him all the time. Yep, Rosie was a rather ‘fresh’ little lady pug (as I suspected all along) but Oscar sulked initially because his nose had been put out of joint with her ‘intrusion’ into his space. In the end, however, they became inseparable.

Rosie also had a ‘thing’ for Lady J’s husband (honestly, saucy little minx – bet she would have been a right man-eater had she been a lady). She would suck up to Lady J during the day and then as soon as her hubby arrived back from work she’d be dropped like a hot potato. Rosie would wait for him at the door and Lady J would say “Your boyfriend’s home Rosie” whereupon she’d go nuts - and the rest of the evening she’d stick to him like glue, poor Lady J forgotten.

That’s why I was nicknamed “Boyfriend”. Apparently, she used to get just as excited when visiting my blogsite;)

I first met Rosie on November 28th, when she left a comment on my post “What Floats Your Boat?” We found we had one thing immediately in common. Our doggy love of poo:

Hi Henry, I found you via French Fancy where my girlfriend Poppy is. Now , I kind of fancy a French boyfriend and your are it ! My name is Rosie and I am in Australia and its so great you asked about boat floating for my boat floater is Possum Poo! Yes - POO again. LOL Its delish , like little brown chocolates all over the backyard under the trees - free boyfriend! My Mother is not pleased for I have got my brother Oscar onto it - hell that boy has been living here for years and never cottoned onto it!I arrived here this Feb from a Pug Rescue. So - hop in a plane and come over and we shall float a boat together and wash it down with Possum Poo! Kiss Kiss

Well, it was kind of ‘love at first comment’ and Rosie became a regular contributor of fun to my blogsite. I used to look forward to her visits and would have been miffed if she’d ever passed by without stopping, which she never did. As I said, she could be a right saucy minx and often made comments about my furry chest and bushy eyebrows. I would have loved to have met her.

Only a couple of days ago Braja wrote a post about blogging friends being as dear to us as the friends we have physical contact with, and it moved me so much I featured it on my site. Actually, it was posted on the very day that Rosie died. Rather poignant, I think, that on that very day I lost a blogging buddy – my first loss.

My heart, however, goes out to Lady J for she is the one who will be feeling it the hardest, particularly as she has to contend with the fact that Oscar now has a terminal illness.

None of us know how long we’re going to live. None of us know how long our loved ones are going to live. What we do know is that all of us, one day, will experience the death of a loved one, or loved ones. Life is so fragile. So short. So precious.

I’m sad. I never got the chance to say goodbye to Rosie. I can’t remember if I told her that she was a good friend and that I really appreciated her comments and the time she spent reading my blog.

We all too often make time for the prosaic and practical elements of life, but sometimes make no time to say ‘I love you’, or ‘Thank you for being my friend’. If you can find the time to make a shopping list, do the ironing, write your blog, submit a comment on One Minute Writer, shout at your kids, grumble about your spouse, grumble about the state of the nation, then you can find three seconds to say ‘I love you’, or ‘I really care for you’, or ‘I appreciate you’, or ‘I don’t know what I’d do without you’. And do you know what? Now is the only time. Because you have no idea what the next day, the next hour, or in fact the next minute will bring.

What I would really like you to do is this. Think of all the people you love dearly. All the people you care about. All the people who you couldn’t bear to lose. And I want you to take time out today and every day to tell at least one of them how much you do care. How much they are appreciated. How much they are cherished. Because now is the time to appreciate them. Now, when they are alive.

Some of you may already do that -GOOD! WONDERFUL! HATS OF TO YOU! Some of you may think, “That’s cheesy.” or “I don’t need to, they already know.” And I say, “So what?” Tell them anyway.

And if you do turn to your loved one now and say “I love you” and they say “What on earth brought that on?” or “What are you after?” or “What’s wrong with you today?” or “What are you feeling guilty about?” Tell them that you just read something today about loss, and it made you think. Then go away and have a good look at yourself. Why were they so surprised at your outward show of verbal affection?

Do you ever want to be in a position where you lose someone and are left wishing you’d said things when you had the chance?

Because of Rosie, my mum told Uncle Hugh that she loved him today, and he looked as pleased as punch. It made her think she doesn’t do it enough.

Because of Rosie, I told mum I loved her – by looking at her as if she were a goddess, and licking her chin. She looked as pleased as punch too, and it made me think I don’t do it enough.

Thank you Rosie. Ours was a short relationship, but my life was enriched by knowing you.

And Lady Jicky – our thoughts are with you at this time. We cherish you as a friend and appreciate the time you spend reading our blogs and enriching them with your comments.

I’m on holiday now for four days, but hopefully Lady Jicky will be around to respond to your comments – as most of them, I presume, will be aimed at her anyway.

What’s been hard writing this post is using the past tense to describe Rosie.

Lots of love to you all.

Henry the Dog xxxxxx

PS: Lady Jicky is dealing with the comments whilst I'm away. See you all Wednesday. I hope.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My French is merde.

I had a French lesson with Claude the yellow Labrador yesterday when I was out walking with mum. For those of you who don’t know me that well yet, I decided to start to learn French after meeting THE DREADED CHLOE. Up until then I’d always thought that French folk were thick because they couldn’t speak English – I thought they could only speak gobbledegook. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as the French language. Of course, Chloe put me straight!

I only have sporadic lessons ‘cause it depends entirely on mum and which walk she decides to go on. If she goes on the one that takes us past Claude’s house then that’s when I get to see him because he’s always running loose, despite his mum being English (but his dad’s French so I suppose that explains it). Claude usually joins us on our walk and mum doesn’t mind because i) he needs the exercise (he has a liberal coating of adipose tissue), and ii) mum’s got a soft spot for Labradors.

It’s quite good fun walking with Claude ‘cause it means we can talk ‘man stuff’ and have a sociable pee together. Human men like to pee together too don’t they? It must be another ‘man thing’. Women pee all alone don’t they? I know that mum always pees in her own toilet with the door firmly shut (unless we go on a VERY long walk – then she sometimes finds a bush), but often when Uncle Hugh takes me out at night for my last pee he tends to join me for a pee against the tree at the bottom of our garden – but don’t tell mum, I don’t think she’d like it.

Anyway, I’m digressing. When I walk with Claude, that’s when I also have my French lesson and yesterday he told me that my French was ‘assay mal’, which means ‘quite bad’. He says I sound like an English dog speaking French, and I said “Well…duhhh…I am an English dog speaking French! What do you expect me to sound like?” He said it wasn’t good enough to just speak French, he said I had to adopt the accent otherwise I’d get mocked and get called an “Ongleesh”.

He said my ‘rrrrs’ are all wrong. He said I’ve got to say my ‘rrrrs’ by vibrating my epiglottis. I had no idea until that point that I even HAD an epiwhatever. He said, “Say them as if you’re trying to clear something from your throat.” So I tried and he said, “No, you’re hacking – that’s not the same. Pretend you’re a Glaswegian, they talk from the back of their throat.” A Glaswhat?

I’m starting to think that this French business isn’t such a good idea. I thought it would be easy to learn ‘cause all the little French kids can speak it ever so well, but now I reckon that all the French kids must be REALLY intelligent, ‘cause it’s not easy, believe me.

I mean, did you know that all French words are either men words or lady words? Yes, you heard right. I’m not joking. Honest, I’m not. It got my head in a right little tizzy when he first told me that.

Don’t talk bollocks,” I said, rather vehemently & copying mum (she says that a lot). He’d forgotten that it wasn’t so long back that I’d been duped by those little minxes at the kennels – I write about that HERE. I wasn’t going to be fooled again. “Come on Claude, you can’t fool me.”
I’m not fooling you,” he said – trying to look all innocent. “I’m serious Henry, it’s an integral part of the French language. If you don’t believe me check it out on the internet.”
Oh stop it Claude. The whole world knows you’ve got issues but that’s taking it a bit too far. Tell me this – how on earth can a word be a man or a lady? And who decides what sex a word is? Words don’t have willies or boobies, for goodness’ sake.”

Then he tried to explain but it was SOOOO confusing and hard for a little dog brain to comprehend. I got very baffled about it - I mean REALLY confused. My head ended up all hot and bothered as I tried to grasp it, and I started feeling quite dizzy.
Then I said, “If there are men and lady words then there must be gay ones…”
Claude looked at me in a kind of bemused way and said, “What are you talking about you daft bugger?”
There must be gay ones,” I said, my voice sounding a tad shrill – I think I was approaching borderline hysteria at that point because I’d thought about it too hard, “There must be gay words ‘cause if there are men ones and lady ones there has to be gay ones,” and my brain was beginning to whirr and my head spin, “…don’t you get my point?” I’m asking him. “There must be gay words,” I kept saying over and over and my brain got hotter and hotter.

At that point Claude started shaking his head sadly and looking at me as if I were something badly injured that needed putting out of its' misery. He put his paw gently on my shoulder and said, in a very measured way, as if he were talking to an old dog suffering from dementia, “Henry, we’re talking about gender here, not sexual orientation. Calm down son. I think we’d better drop that one.”

So we did drop it, and he mumbled something about it not mattering much ‘cause I’m not going to be writing it or taking any tests or anything and that he’d think of a way around it.

I’m glad he dropped it because every time I think about it, my head still starts to spin.

So, that aside, after him telling me my French was ‘assay mal’ I’m starting to think that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea - this French business, ‘cause after all my lessons I still can’t understand hardly any of what he says to me in French and I can’t get my ‘rrrrs’ into gear. Any tips?

The clip below is FUNNY – put your reading glasses on ‘cause the subtitles are quite small and you MUST read them to get the joke.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Please read Braja's lovely post

Most of you will probably know Braja and may already have read her latest post, but if there’s anyone hanging around here who hasn’t then please read it HERE. It is a lovely post, and it echoes what I feel about my blogging buddies. It’s weird, ‘cause I was going to do a post today along the same theme. Now I don’t have to and I can put my paws up all day and have a rest.
PS: Thanks you guys for being my buddy:)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Flying scares mum. What scares you?

As well as boating and sharks, one of mum’s big fears is flying (is there anything she’s NOT frightened of, I wonder?). It’s not a phobia. Just a fear. It doesn’t rule her life or anything. Do you have a fear of something?

Despite her fear, mum’s finally agreed to go to the UK in Uncle Hugh’s new flying van, and they go this Sunday for three days with his friend ‘le Fred’, so I’ll be staying with James & Jane at the kennels, which’ll be fab.

Uncle Hugh’s flying van is a bit bigger than his flying car, but it’s still not got a loo or those nice ladies who sell stuff and make drinks. It’s still REALLY small at the side of those big flying buses that mum normally goes on. She’s only going with him to save money ‘cause she’s got some things to do in the UK and Uncle Hugh was going anyway, so she’s kind of hitching a lift.

Mum’s worried about it not having a loo. Mum says she’s not sure she can go for nearly four hours without peeing. Uncle Hugh says she’ll simply not have to drink, or as le Fred says “pah der bwa pah der peepee”, which I think means “no drink, no pee”. I’m sure mum can hold on for four hours – it’s not long is it? I sometimes think it’s all in her head. Uncle Hugh said she could always use a She Wee and an empty bottle. I’ve no idea what a She Wee is, but it prompted mum to tell Uncle Hugh to “Bollocks!”

She doesn’t let other folk know she’s afraid, she’ll say, “I’m not particularly frightened of flying. I just don’t like it that much. It’s boring and something I’d rather not have to do but I wouldn’t allow my dislike of it to curtail my enjoyment of life, or stop me from travelling. It doesn’t terrify me.”

Rubbish! Sometimes it does terrify her, but she doesn’t like to admit it because she says that whenever she thinks of someone who’s scared of flying she has an image of a little old lady or little old man who’s never been anywhere further than the local village shop and who still points at aeroplanes when they see them up in the sky and say stuff like “It’s not natural. If we were meant to fly, we’d have been born with wings”. Mum doesn’t want folk to think she’s unsophisticated or simple, even though she is – simple anyway. Trust me, mum’s not a complex character. Not at all.

One of mum’s problems is the little bit of knowledge that she has about flying – she blames that on Uncle Hugh telling her stuff. Then there’s her verdant imagination – that’s actually the biggest problem. Whenever she’s up there in the sky in those big lumps of metal, filled to the brim with people, baggage and very combustible fuel she always has visions of the wings being ripped off by huge turbulence and the craft plummeting to the ground in a ball of flame – people screaming and flying around the cabin like flotsam as they fall thousands of feet to their deaths.

Also, she’s a frequent flier and she reckons that the more she flies the more chance she has of experiencing a bad flight. Most of her friends have their own horror story of the flight from hell - from seriously bad turbulence to the undercarriage not coming down. She even knows someone who remotely knows someone who was on that BA flying bus from Beijing that time, the one that crash-landed at Heathrow. Everyone but her, it seems, has a bad tale to tell so she’s simply waiting for hers to happen.

Mum actually prefers long-haul flying to short trips because she says that the most dangerous bits are the taking off and the landing – so with short trips she’s in a virtually constant state of worry and stress. At least with long haul she can relax in between and get topped up with champers until she’s virtually comatose and couldn’t give a damn by the time it does comes to land.

I’m dead relaxed about flying and so is Uncle Hugh. He says the science of flight simply follows the law of physics and that it’s the most natural thing in the world, he says it’s not unnatural at all. He says aeroplanes are simply doing what they are built to do, just like cars. Mum says that if her car breaks down she can simply pull up by the side of the road and ring the AA. I guess she’s got a point.

What’s your fear? I don’t really have one.

Here’s a very short clip of a little dog that went flying with his owners in their little flying car. Trouble is, they forgot to strap him in, and then decided to do some aerobatics. Said dog wasn’t harmed in any way, honest. Just a bit dizzy. A very similar thing happened to me once in Uncle Hugh's flying car when he topped out too abruptly after climbing, and we experienced what he called zerogee for a few seconds. I floated and so did all the dust and maps in the cockpit. It was quite cool. Uncle Hugh now straps me in.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cats - what's the appeal?

According to a survey in November 2008 by Tesco Pet Insurance, the dog was voted the most popular pet in the UK.

Not hugely surprising, although the cat has usurped us from time to time. The cat is still massively popular as a pet and I would like to know – what’s the appeal? I can appreciate the obvious attraction - they don’t take as much looking after as us dogs. I mean, you don’t have to walk a cat every day do you? It’s not as if they’re going to trash your house if they don’t get their daily walk, as some dogs do.

I can understand the appeal as far as aesthetics go too. I’ve never seen an ugly cat – I can’t say the same thing about dogs (French Bulldogs spring to mind). A cat can drape itself on a sofa and make the sofa look as if it had been plucked from the pages of Ideal Home Magazine. Saying that, said sofa will soon be liberally covered in shedded hair and ripped to shreds if said cat is left to its own devices.

I also have to admit that kittens are the cutest thing, but as LEE said once, they have to be. Kittens, puppies, babies have to be cute in order to survive – if they weren’t they’d be dumped on a much more regular basis – there’d be a baby or a pup or a kitten deposited on one’s doorstep more frequently than milk.

I’ve heard folk say that they’re easy to housetrain too. Show a kitten a litter tray and it immediately knows what to do. But there are plenty of anomalies. My mum has a friend whose cat will only use the litter tray once a day; the rest of the time, it goes anywhere it pleases. Being a cat, and therefore rather nimble, she will regularly find his deposits on the top of wardrobes, bookshelves, windowsills and kitchen worktops.
He’s so adorable,” she’d say when mum asked how she put up with his unsavoury antics. “He just looks at me with those big blue eyes and I melt.” In my view, cats tend to look at everyone with utter disdain and contempt, as if the object of their glare is the dirt beneath their feet.

They’re sneaky too. My mum puts birdseed out in the winter for the poor little guys and she used to put it on the top of a low wall that surrounded the patio. She kept finding dead birds and started wondering if the seed she was buying was poor quality until she noticed one day that her neighbour’s black cat was positioning himself in the undergrowth right next to the wall and waiting, unseen, for an unsuspecting little blue-tit to help itself to a sunflower seed or two. The naughty bugger would simply jump and swipe and ‘voila’ one dead birdie. Mum bought a bird-table.

That same black cat always gives me the finger when I go walking with mum. He knows she won’t let me chase stuff. He’s gotten wise. So he always manages to plant himself in a really prominent position whenever we walk past his house. He just sits there sneering and taunting.
Come on little rat face, come and chase me if you dare, dog-breath. But you daren’t dare you? No, because mumsy-wumsy won’t let you. You’re all the same you doggy-woggy thickheads. Under the thumbs of the humans. Trying to please. Pillock brain.”

I tell you he gets my hackles up something chronic.

Then my mum was sent this clip by her cat-loving friend and I must admit, even I thought it was funny and even I could, kind of, see why some folk might think cats are appealing. You may have seen it, but even if you have, it’s still good.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Should we ever be cruel to be kind?

I was reading one of Lee’s posts the other day – you can read it HERE and it got me thinking. Lee always manages to get me thinking - at least once a week. That’s a lot for a little dog. Anyway, his post got me wondering - let’s say you know someone who’s really not very good at something, but they keep doing it thinking that they are. Like someone who’s disillusioned about their talent – i.e. they don’t have any, but they think that they do. There were lots of those types who auditioned for X-Factor last year - and it was quite sad to see. Or, let’s say someone’s given themselves a totally unrealistic goal based on them thinking that they have abilities that they truly don’t possess. Should you ever enlighten them? Isn’t it kinder to protect them from disappointment?

An example – Claude the fat yellow lab who’s teaching me French decided that his New Year’s resolution was to become a Guide Dog for the blind. It’s a Labrador thing; they feel as if they have to work for a living. It’s bred into them. They can’t help themselves. They feel as if they have to be doing something all the time. They can’t just sit around being petted and loved all day like us sensible, intelligent breeds. No, they always have to have a mission. Anyway, I said to him.

Listen Claude. Number one - you’ve got no road sense AT ALL, that’s why you’ve got a dickey leg - remember the accident? Number two - you’re too old. Now I know that the saying ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is flawed, ‘cause you can, but these Guide Dog chappies start their training as soon as they’re born, almost. Number three – your own eyesight is crap. Number four – you’ve got major issues when it comes to housetraining – the fact that you refuse to be housetrained would not stand in your favour. Claude, you’d have more chance of becoming an Astronaut. Forget it. Don’t even go there.”

After my advice he was a bit down in the dumps for a while, ‘cause he’d gotten all excited about it, but he rallied and now he’s changed his New Year’s resolution and has resolved to learn German instead, which is a much more realistic goal ‘cause he lives next door to a Daschund. However, after reading Lee’s post I initially wondered if I should simply have kept my mouth shut.

I know Lee’s post isn’t about goals and New Year’s Resolutions or anything really to do with this post, it's about ‘Just doing it’ and not giving up merely because we aren’t the best at what we do. So, as I said, I initially thought I shouldn't have said anything to Claude. Then I started to wonder if, perhaps, we really should give something up when we’re not good at it or have no chance of achieving anything worthwhile with it, or if we’re 'inflicting' it on others.

My mum’s got a dear friend who writes in her spare time. Once upon a time, she wrote her first book and gave it to mum to read. Mum read it and loved it – so she told her friend she thought it was great. That made her friend get all excited because she’d not had much confidence in her writing before and she started believing that maybe it was her vocation, and that she might finally have a way out of the job she hates so much. Three years down the line, five more books and about 100 rejections later, she’s getting quite depressed. She’s just emailed mum another book to read and even though mum thinks her work is great, she’s wondering if it’s time she should tell her to stop thinking of it as a career option and perhaps tell her to knock this writing business on the head. Mum feels guilty that she might have given her false hope.
After all I’m no literary critique. I’ve no experience in the field of publishing. I’ve no idea what they’re looking for,” she said to Uncle Hugh. “I’ve got a bizarre sense of humour sometimes and a weird taste in everything. I don’t like normal stuff.”
Thanks,” said Uncle Hugh.
There might only be two of us on this planet who actually like what she writes – her and me, because all those rejections kind of point to that, don’t they?” she continued. “I feel responsible for making her so depressed. She truly thought that her writing would be a way out of her dead end job – because I’ve been so encouraging. It’s all my fault. I should talk her out of it and try and encourage her to use her time retraining instead.”

Should mum encourage her to do something else? Like I talked Claude out of wanting to be a guide dog? Should we ever be ‘cruel’ to be kind?
(After I posted this and after reading comments from Indi & Braja, mum's decided to keep her gob shut:) - thanks you two - you've helped her with her little dilemma - but I don't feel guilty for talking Claude out of his 'Guide Dog' idea - he would have been a liability;))

Lee, I wish you didn’t make me think so much. My little doggy brain simply can’t cope. I might take up Philosophy. Goodness no. What am I thinking of? (no pun intended) Learning French is quite enough for a little dog – more about that later.

Here’s a little video clip of one of mum’s very favourite cartoon movies ‘Happy Feet’ (mum’s a big kid really) about a little guy who did have a talent and didn't give up, despite being told to by his parents and despite it being very ‘un penguin’ like.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bread and boating - in that order

Thank you everyone who wished me all the best for the New Year. I hope you’re all feeling well. Mum and Uncle Hugh looked terrible yesterday. I think they ended up drinking too much of that grape juice on New Year’s Eve. I kept out of their way. They were all giddy and really shouldn’t have been in charge of a dog. At one stage Uncle Hugh took me outside for a pee, he had one himself then went back inside and locked the door – totally forgot about me. That resulted in a ‘mini row’ (mini rows only last five minutes) when mum shouted and said he was an irresponsible father. Honestly, bad parents or what?

Anyway, I’m digressing already. Well it’s now 2009 and when I looked outside yesterday it all seemed the same to me. It’s no different this morning either. The sky’s still where it is and when the sun does finally emerge, I reckon that’ll still be shining too. So nothing’s changed much has it?

Actually, I’m knackered this morning and it’s all mum’s fault. Mum & Uncle Hugh went to bed quite late, which isn’t like them. They’re normally snoozing by ten, but they were watching a BBC programme about three grumpy men in a boat – more about that later (as I said before – thread of suspense and all that – keeps ‘em reading). Then mum decided that we needed more bread (despite the fact that there are eight frozen loaves squished uncomfortably in the tiny freezer compartment above the fridge). She decided we needed more bread because she wanted to try out the ‘Delay Start Programme’ of her breadmaking machine*.

Won’t it be lovely to wake up in the morning to the smell of fresh bread?” Oh yes mum, how utterly divine.

At 4.00am sharp, I’m woken by the bloody thing mixing then kneading the dough. IT IS SO NOISY. It’s worse than the bloody dishwasher (ok perhaps not, but I’m used to the dishwasher). After about half an hour it stopped, and I’m thinking “Thank bloody God Rex for that.” However, no sooner had I started to drop off again when it suddenly starts up again. And I’m thinking “How is a dog supposed to get some sleep in this house?” When I finally DO get back to sleep, an hour later I’m woken by mum and Uncle Hugh - all bright and breezy and expecting me to be waggy-tailed and sparkly-eyed. “What do you think’s up with him this morning? He doesn’t seem too pleased to see us,” mum asked Uncle Hugh. Well what a surprise, mum!

Just going back to the boating thing that mum and Uncle Hugh watched on TV last night - it was about some grumpy men who try to get from one place in the UK to another place in the UK – by sea. Well it made me think about when we drove to Barcelona last summer where a friend of Uncle Hugh had invited him to spend a couple of days on his boat that he had moored there.

Mum HATES the sea and she HATES boats. Since she was severely traumatised by this film called “Jaws” when she was a young girl she’s always had a fear of both. She’ll paddle up to her ankles, and she’s quite happy going on river boats - but that’s it. So I’ve absolutely no idea why she agreed to spend a couple of days on a boat, on the sea. Looking back, I think she did it to please Uncle Hugh.

It turned out to be not too bad because the boat was actually moored in a calm marina. However, mum took one look at it then went and booked a hotel room. She said there was no way she was sleeping in something that rocked, whose living quarters were smaller than the inside of her car and whose toilet had walls that were paper thin and blue smelly stuff to flush everything that everyone on board had heard her deposit. Mum’s got a few issues when it comes to toilets.

She was quite happy being on the boat whilst it was moored and after a couple of glasses of fizzy stuff, she agreed to one trip out of the marina onto the real sea. However, it resulted in mum going all wild-eyed, white and rigid and emitting this strange, high-pitched whine. When they moored back up Uncle Hugh and his friend, Malcolm, had to prise her fingers off the deck rail in order to get her off the boat. That was the last trip for mum.

Me? I had a great time. I consider myself to be a rather seasoned seadog now. Uncle Hugh and I had lots of trips – mum seemed quite happy to be left in the marina drinking fizzy stuff. It won’t happen again though – the Credit Munch took that particular boat away and I don’t think Uncle Hugh has anymore boating pals.

However, I did have a skip around the Internet and found a boating clip to amuse you. I don’t normally laugh at folk falling and stuff like that ‘cause it’s not nice, but it is funny and I don’t think any animals or humans were seriously injured in the making of it. You've probably seen it before but if you've got time on your hands - have a peek.

* for those who may be new to this blog – mum got a breadmaking machine for Christmas.