Saturday 24 November 2007

Albertine and Stag Beetles

The gang have been off work today, so they've been catching up on a few tidying jobs around the garden, which is good for us, because we get to snuffle about "helping" eaten up by curiosity at some of the human antics. First job, it seemed was to trim the enormous Albertine climbing rose adorning the back of the house. This involves Dad scurrying up and down a ladder with secateurs and lobbing prickly bits of rose down to Mum on the terrace below. Her job is to gather these up and bag them in a huge "Builder Centre" one ton bag, before we dogs can get entangled in them.

Occasionally this also involves Dad getting entangled himself, as she is a thorny old girl, but I think calling her a "vicious, spiteful demon" is a bit unwarranted. Also this is the chance to rake out the old sparrow nests from the "sparrow terrace" (all 3 compartments used this year) and the other nest boxes among the Albertine.

Mum and Dad are fascinated by the building materials the spugs seem to use - lots of dog hair as you'd expect - still identifiable hanks of Megan's wavy belly-hair -, but also loft insulation lagging, bits of a green spongey ball they can recall me ripping to bits on the paving, baler twine and so on. Even a mummified dead dried up unsuccessful fledgeling buried under a 2nd nest (we dogs have grabbed that and run off, but we are spotted by Mum who yells and chases us, saying it's "gross").

Dad also digs up the buried B+Q buckets of shredded rotting wood, buried last year up to their rims as part of a Stag-Beetle survey for the People's Trust for Endangered Species ( . We rummage through the old wood but no stag beetle grubs this year

Our nice long walk takes us round the boat yard and back through town, where the loud speakers are now playing Slade Christmas songs and all is festive jolliness... Hmmm. We meet a couple who live up the road opposite where my Sis' Ellie lives. They have a 5 year old westie (Jock) and a "cav" called "Twig" (Twiglet?). Jock is always immaculate - bright persil white and always looking "just groomed".

This must be a high maintenance system, which is (in my unbiassed opinion (!)) bad for dogs and should be discouraged at all costs. We don't mind looking, by comparison, grey, shaggy and scruffed, Dad, especially Haggis who, despite being shampoo'd a couple of weeks back, looks like he's not been bathed for months.

The pictures? That's Megan on the left, haggis centre and me right. Felix is far left

Enjoy the rest of the weekend


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