Archive for the ‘It's a dog's life’ Category

Meh

Despite my best efforts, including sausage and eggs for lunch, today is not turning out to be a particularly cheery day so here’s a cute photo of Midge in lieu of any words of wisdom from this end.

Midge - 1 April 2010

Midge - 1 April 2010

“Normal” business will resume as and when.

Hope you’re enjoying your Bank Holiday.

Doggy emergency

Earlier this afternoon, I had to perform an emergency operation on Snipe and removed a thorn from her pad.

We were walking in the top paddock when I noticed that she was limping. Much against her will, since she knew what was coming, I persuaded her sit down and had barely begun to examine her foot when she started whining and whimpering in her classic I’m-not-a-wimp-but-it-would-hurt-less-if-you-just-cut-off-leg style that she saves for occasions such as this.

Eventually, it all became too much for her and she lost the use of all four legs, rolling over onto her back, telling me that I had her permission to do what I must, she wasn’t going to survive anyway…

I quickly plucked the offending thorn from her pad and the relief on her face was almost human.

She celebrated by going completely insane and raced back and forth in the way that only Labradors who have been plucked from the jaws of death are able to.

In fact, a bit like this video I took of the two dogs last May:

Everyday, I hope that Snipe will do something to refute her image as the world’s most idiotic dog.

Still, I guess tomorrow’s another day…

Online … at home!

I spent yesterday and today up in Oxfordshire, visiting B (my ex) and the cats, Mac and Horatio, who are looking sleek and positively radiant. It was lovely to the boys – and B! – and we spent a lovely evening curled up in front of the TV, stuffing our faces with curry and watching Up on DVD. And can I just say that if you haven’t yet seen Up, then get yourself a copy RIGHT NOW as it is simply fan-tastic.

Anyway, after a lovely 24 hours up in the ‘shire, I headed on home and was almost knocked over by Snipe and Midge, who I’d left with Ally for the duration. It was the first time they’d spent a night away from me for two and a half years so it was both good and bad to discover that they’d been absolutely fine during my absence and hadn’t pined at all 🙄 😆

But even better than doggy-kisses was the discovery of a parcel on my doorstep …

I am thrilled to report that TalkTalk, the bastards, have finally sent me my router and connected my broadband.

Yes, you read that right. It may have taken them six weeks but I am finally online and can officially state that anyone in possession of their right mind should do anything, anything rather than sign up with these gits.

But … I’m just happy to be re-connected to the wibbly web at long last. I’ll be even happier if they make good on their promise and give me two months free line rental to make up for their ineptitude!

Dogs! Who needs ’em?!

I am not talking to my dogs. On Monday, Snipe rolled in fox dung for the second day in a row. She stank to high heaven. So I plopped her in the bath.

Snipe - 1 March 2010

Snipe - 1 March 2010

Luckily, I was forward thinking enough to strip down to boxers and t-shirt beforehand, as the drying process left me as soggy as her! 🙄

Midge - 1 March 2010

Midge - 1 March 2010

We had a few pleasant days, but then yesterday, Midge did a runner when Ally kindly took them for a lunch-time walk and didn’t come back until dusk.

Then, this morning, they both did a runner! Snipe eventually came back, but without her collar. There’s no sign of Midge and I don’t suppose there will be for several hours.

I. Am. Not. Impressed.

Dog 0, Ornamental Cat 1

As I have said on any number of occasions, my dog Snipe is somewhat lacking in the brain cells department. In fact, the older she gets, the more obvious it becomes that she was at the back of the queue when they were handing out intelligence. And common sense. And grace. And dignity… Ok, I know she’s a Labrador, but even so!

Jo and Snipe - 6 September 2009

Jo and Snipe - 6 September 2009

On Sunday night, however, she exceeded herself and surpassed all my previous (lack of) expectations.

I knocked on my landlords’ door to drop off my rent and started chatting to them and a friend of theirs, who was visiting for the day with his dog, a Border Terrier. He asked if he could meet my two, so I popped back to mine (not that far to go – my flatling is an annexe to the main house!) and let them loose in their living room.

Midge made herself at home, jumping from lap to lap whenever she thought a better offer was on the cards. Snipe was your typical stupid Labrador, bumbling about and generally charming everyone. “Oh, what a pretty head, what a lovely colour” and so on. H even remarked on how sweet and clean she smelled (Fairy Liquid, which was a darn sight better than the fox poo incident that morning, hence the washing up liquid and its fragrance).

Suddenly, Snipe caught sight of an ornament low down on the bookshelf. A cat. A rather large cat. A rather large ginger cat, not that much smaller than a Border Terrier, now that I come to think of it.

Snipe started growling at the feline statue. It stared unblinkingly back at her. Her hackles went up. No response. In fact, the more it ignored her, she more scared she got and slowly backed away. By this time, she was shaking. So were we, but with laughter! M started making cat noises, which made Snipe cringe and jump away. Then their visitor took the cat off the shelf and put it on the carpet. Snipe practically wet herself at this, especially when the cat “pounced” and shot forward in act of unprovoked aggression against a poor, defenceless Labrador.

This went on for a good ten minutes before Snipe plucked up the courage to get close enough to sniff it. Even then, she failed to tell the difference between china and cat and backed away hurriedly, lest its painted claws scratch her eyes out.

Poor old dog, I love her dearly but I was crying with laughter by the end.

Seven pounds the poorer

It is Saturday afternoon and I’m in my living room, torturing the dogs by refusing to let them in (they’re sitting at the French door, whining and generally being pathetic) and wishing that Talk Talk would hurry up and switch on my broadband as having an internet-less house is doing my head in. Look at all the Twittering I’m missing out on: “12.30pm Beans on toast for lunch, nom nom”, “1pm Wow, the washing machine is HUGE – looks like I can get away with fortnightly laundry days!”, “2.30pm Why do the dogs insist on jumping on MY bed for a better view whenever anyone knocks on the door?!” and “2.20pm Just had flying visit from @chez_ally and B. Lovely to see them. Really must get big comfy sofa”.

Anyway … I’m enjoying the fact that today is turning out to be a damn good one.

For once, I had a decent night’s sleep – I think one of only a handful over the past few months. I fell asleep at half past ten and slept through until half past six this morning – no nightmares, no waking up, just peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. Bliss.

Unfortunately, I woke to a distinct lack of milk and bread in the house (I’ve been hiding at Ally and B’s for the past week) but it was ok – I had a plan. Laze around in bed until 8, get up, have a bath, take the dogs for a walk and then go to the Co-Op in the nearest village and stock up. Eight o’clock came and went. Half past eight. Nine. Nine-thirty. Ten…

Eventually, at eleven o’clock, the lack of caffeine in my blood overtook the temporary paralysis induced by panicky thoughts of going to the Co-Op and I found myself running a bath. Very nice it was too. The snow and subsequent rain stopped by time I was dressed and the sun was shining, so the dogs and I had a lovely meander round the orchards and then I quickly dropped them off at the house, grabbed my keys, wallet and rucksack, jumped in the car and drove off before I realised what was happening.

Sadly, I cottoned on to what was happening before I reached the Co-Op and ended up driving through it three times before I was able to talk myself into pulling over and parking. Of course, despite my anxiety, everything was fine and I came away seven pounds poorer but all the richer for having stuck it out – not to mention the milk, bread, three jars of pasta sauce (tomato and chilli, my favourite, on offer) and a couple of packs of pasta (also on offer)!

The euphoria of actually having done it gave me quite a high, so not only have I devoured some beans on toast (nom nom!!!!), I have also done the laundry and given the flatling a quick tidy (surfaces only, no hoovering) and organised all my paperwork, such as the endless letters from the DWP regarding my incapacity benefit etc.

So far, so good!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the washing machine has stopped attempting to take off, which I assume means it has finished, so I now need to wrestle with a fortnight’s worth of clean socks and jumpers. Etc.

Update at 3.30pm

I’ve hung all my clothes up to dry and in doing so have come up with an additional list of jobs (such as de-poo the garden). But I’ve also been contemplating how drastically things have changed in my life. At university, I was actively involved in the students’ union, so major accomplishments varied from getting a motion passed through the monthly SU general meeting to actually getting my work handed in on time (getting a good mark never seemed as important as the thrill of making it to the administrator’s office before the 12pm deadline!).

Then, when I was an elected officer in NUS, I did all sorts of things, from appearing live on the lunchtime news to public speaking, from writing and delivering training to politicking and hacking. Scary stuff but I did it without thinking, even giving a speech at the Labour Party conference one year.

Being a smallholder meant taking responsibility for animals’ lives and well-being. Newborn piglets, sick chickens … It’s a lot to deal with but I did it. I can kill, pluck and draw a chicken – and then cook it! I can tell you when a pig is ready to go for slaughter and produce them so they have the right amount of fat in the right places. I can load pigs into a trailer without any gates. I can inject them and tag them. And so on. And that’s before I think about dogs, cats, horses etc.

But now … oh, how things have changed.

I felt as much of a thrill for having gone to the shop to buy milk on my own as I did when I got a standing ovation for giving a speech in defence of Holocaust Memorial Day at my last NUS Conference, as much as a thrill as when my first litter of piglets was born.

Funny, isn’t it, how our priorities change over the course of our lives?!

Today, I learnt something important. Doing as much as you can do, giving it 100%, no matter what “it” is, is what counts. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t. But you have to keep trying – because when you do succeed (and you will), you suddenly realise that the trying is what makes the success so sweet.

Here endeth the lesson.

Update at 7pm

Am round at Ally and B’s. Again! This time for deep-fried Camembert. Mmmmmmm 😀

Settling in

Now that I’ve unpacked, the dogs are starting to settle into their new house and routine. Snipe loves the orchards, which my landlords have said I can walk the dogs in. Midge, on the other hand, is in disgrace as she took herself off for a walk the other day … into the neighbouring farmer’s field! So she is now resigning herself to life on the lead, not least because there’s easy access to both the main road and the railway line!

Snipe - 11 February 2010

Snipe - 11 February 2010

Midge - 11 February 2010

Midge - 11 February 2010

I took them on a three mile walk yesterday and was pleasantly surprised this morning to discover that my legs don’t ache at all. I consider this a victory, though I admit I took a downhill route…!

Tree in the orchard - 11 February 2010

Tree in the orchard - 11 February 2010

My bad days consist of hiding under the duvet. Better days involve watching DVDs, attempting to read (I have concentration issues 😦 ) or playing Civilisation IV to distract myself. Good days involve walking the dogs aimlessly, enjoying my new home in the Somerset hills.

Sunset over the orchard - 11 February 2010

Sunset over the orchard - 11 February 2010

Quite what I’ll do if it buckets down with rain on a good day is anyone’s guess!