Thursday 30 September 2010

Dublin Bus (Bus atha Cliath)

Dad arrives home tonight to be met with a red London Routemaster bus parked almost blocking the driveway. That's all he sees first. He nips in, grabs us and our collars and we are off for a walk, heading up past the bus.
The bus proves to be two buses, the London bus blocking a bright purple double decker behind it which is, amazingly Dublin registered. It even has the 'Out of Service' banner in Irish language at the front. It is therefore presumably one of 'Dublin Bus's green ones now taken out of service and repainted.
The Irish bus has broken down and the boys have come out to repair it in the Routemaster. This is not unusual in our town because we have the renowned South East Coachworks company here who are for ever restoring old double deckers and converting them into rock band tour buses, political campaign buses and even the Union Jack one used in the Spice Girls movie.
Mum thinks the Dublin bus is a sign pertaining to the current uncertain nature of Dad's work and the possibility of a move to the Emerald Isle. Her chums off the internet, who are from Dublin are joking that the Dublin Buses were so often 'out of service' that the Dublin kids grew up thinking that there must be a destination out back of Steven's Green called "As Seirbhís".
Meanwhile, as the shrinking evenings start to compress dog walking into the short gap between 'end of work' and darkness, we are starting to meet up again with all the usual suspects from '1630 Dog Clubs' of old - springers 'LB and 'DK', Jack Russell Bindy, 'blue' shar pei Monty, cavalier Louis, my sis Ellie and so on. We are, inevitably, also joined by some new kids on the block, like 3 month old gorgeous Tibetan Terrier 'Lily'.
And, finally, our contact from the Cinnamon Trust, who shall be known as Moira rings to say she's sorry she's not been in touch but has been on holiday. The JR who may be known as Daisy is still available and we will be contacted over the next few days to arrange our house vetting visit
It's all go
(Slan abhaile)

Sunday 26 September 2010

Couch coug...cutitout..ough

Some nice hops... very 'Our Town'. The gang are off to Hastings today to visit the Pud Lady and family but go armed with food with which to cook lunch, and some serious gardening kit, with a view to some heavy pruning. The Pud Lady's garden is described by the more sympathetic as a "wild woodland" garden, and by the less sympathetic as a jungle glade, top billing going to a massive and old cricket-bat willow which towers a good 50 feet and has a girth of more than a metre.
This gnarly old beast looms over all the gardens in "The Crescent" like an ancient matriarch and the rest of the garden aspires to catch it up. Our mission is nothing like brave enough to take on the willow, but we are there to start off by taking out the top 6 feet of whippy dog-rose, blackthorn, ivy and Forsythia which is allegedly just this year's growth on the northern hedge.
Pud Lady puts my Dad and his brother Tom to work on this hedge, which Haggis and I rootle about in 'the jungle' (Dog Heaven, of course, and in my case I translate ' the jungle' to include any neighbouring gardens I can get to within the crescent (plus one over the road, from which I have to be retrieved by Tom, who spots me while retrieving some loppers from his 4x4). Mum goes to work creating a magnificent fish pie, but keeps an eye on the boys and gets a bit frustrated that they are pussy-footing and not getting really stuck in.
This, the boys argue, is due to them knowing "The History", in that the Pud Lady never lets anyone loose in her garden without hovering anxiously and stopping them if they snip more than about 3 inches off the end of anything, or more than a few leaves. Today though, with her increasingly 'autumnal' years she stays in her comfy chair and although she can see the tops of the afore-mentioned 6 feet of hedge (and watches happily as Dad and Tom lop and stack), she can't see anything lower down due to the window sill height.
Mum, hopping from foot to foot with frustration strides down the side path and chides them to 'get on with it'. Her ideal garden is a lot less jungly, and she would dearly love to get to grips with 'this mess'. At one point Dad is messing around gently with the front of the hedge and Mum appears to be having a coughing fit, but it's one of those 'stage whisper' words-disguised-as-a-cough things. Cough cough- cut it out cough! The boys gird their loins and start to hack back into the hedge reducing its billowing front back off the path, back off the long-buried spare washing line, and then downwards to clear nettles, brambles and eventually grass to expose a lovely former spring-bulb bank at the foot of the hedge.
Far from upsetting Pud Lady when she does come out for a tour of inspection, she is delighted, as she finds she now has room to perambulate her wheelie-zimmer down the wider path and can actually tour the garden as she has not apparently been able to do since May. Dad hadn't known that and is delighted to have re-opened the access.
The fish pie was superb too, according to the humans, washed down with pink wine and followed by 'Cartmel' brand sticky chocolate pudding or sticky ginger pudding with cream.
A good day all round

Saturday 25 September 2010

Greta Back in Town

The town had been looking a bit thin on the ground in the sailing barge department, but today we notice that our old friend SB Greta is back alongside, apparently taking shelter from a forecast Northerly Force 6.
Dad is involved today in the 'In Bloom' presentations ceremony, having to show up armed with wine, soft drinks and nibbles to feed the assembled masses, although the aforementioned Northerly 6 keeps most of them away and we end giving a lot of the stuff away in "doggie bags" and bringing some home. The house is full of doritos, macadamia nuts and Bombay mix. We get Diamond round to help us get through it all.
We head for the allotment for a weeding session and harvest a load of spuds. We are off to Hastings tomorrow to help out in the pud-lady's garden and we are going to contribute a fisherman's pie, for which we need mashed spuds.
This is the life

Friday 24 September 2010

Any Old Iron?

A quick picture of yours truly either admiring the sailing barge SB Orinoco, or possibly closely examining the mud on which she rests for its perfumic and beauty enhancing potential. Gotta look and smell my best for the house-vetting Lady from Cinnamon Trust.
Dad gets a day off today in lieu of working last weekend and we all decide to have a day of catching up on the chores. First up a goodly walk round the boatyard and back through town. Next we pull the back seats out of the 2CV (dead easy, two bolts, tilt the seat forward and it unhooks at the front and slides easily out through the rear door aperture. 2CV-ers regularly perform this trick in picnic mode and end up with a very comfortable picnic seat) and head for the allotments.
Here we must gather up the scrap metal, bits of old fence, chicken wire, angle iron, metal pipe and tubes generated by last weekends tidying purge and take it to the tip. While we're there we gather up a small pile from fellow-allotmenter Nick G who has done similar and take his too. We also gather up the small mountain of old carpet, pond liner, plastic fruit-cage mesh and the like to take that to the tip too. Oh, and the roll of carpet, old r*t chewed plastic compost "dalek" and 2 bags of holly leaves from the garden. 3 trips to the tip in all. We're tired and (some of us) sweaty!
Next job, we have Uncle Jim from next door round to help repair a broken off fence post. This proves to be rotted through where it used to be completely entwined in the enormous jasmine 'vine'. The boys use judicious force from a 14lb sledge hammer to persuade a chunk of angle iron down through the rotten post-base without damaging the original concrete, and the post top can then be strapped to this. Good as new. Well, close enough anyway.
...and we get a lovely email from a friend who lives in the famous Challock Forest (hey Rona!). We had all heard that we might need to be careful in the Forest from now as "wild boars" have finally arrived. This turned out to be a false alarm. The "boar" turned out to be a stupidly tame and soppy black farm pig of some heritage breed, which is now recaptured and living safely in Chilham Animal Rescue Centre chasing chickens and charming the visitors.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Daisy, Daisy?

Pictured here are boat yard mates Dylan (black collie-cross) and Dottie (red and white JR) scrounging food at the door of Dad's Swedish mate, Jan's motorhome.
Meanwhile, Dad is idly chatting with colleague and Night Shift Manager Shane about the possible need in the future for a chum for me as the H approaches the Autumn of his years. Shane mentions a charity with which his Good Lady is involved (volunteering), called the Cinnamon Trust whose mission in life is to help out with pets when their owners pass away, or become terminally ill, or are victim to some change of circumstances which preclude them keeping their pet (divorce, housing etc).
Dad gets in touch with these good people and has now heard back from a Lady we will call Moira who may or may not have a possible 'terrier sized' "friend" for me, called Daisy. The Cinnamon Trust, naturally, need to vet this house to see if we and our circumstances are fit to receive such a dog, so we guess we will get a visit and Haggis and I will be instructed to be on our best behaviour, and not allowed to eat the visitor. More on this when we know more ourselves.
It's all a bit traumatic round here anyway as Dad's work is going through what the Chinese would call 'interesting times' and there is talk of a possible sell up and move to Ireland, maybe to near where the Silverwoods are. Mum and Dad are poring over the figures, trying to get a handle on what the assets are worth and the debts, what comes due when and all that jazz. I may end up having to sell my body round the back of the Railway Station, but so far it's only the precious 2CV that's been "estimated".
Watch this space

Friday 17 September 2010

I made it to 4

Well! They all said I was too daft, feisty and annoying to make it to my 4th Birthday but here I am, 4 years old today and celebrating the event with the standard our-house dog birthday-cake of raw pork ribs. Yes, they told me if I carried on annoying the humans at this rate I'd die young, buried under the patio, if I kept on feisty-ing at other dogs, I'd get mullered for sure by a Rottweiler, and if I kept brainlessly pursuing prey animals with the 'red mist' before my eyes I'd end up under a car or some such, but I'm still here.

I will survive! As long as I know how to schlurrrrrp raw pork ribs, I know I'll stay alive.

Thank you, brother Archie for the birthday e-mail.

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to Deefski

Happy Birthday to Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Sorry I've been a bit quiet of late. So much going on.

The Deefs

Sunday 5 September 2010


It's Hop Festival time again in town, and the streets are crammed with wall-to-wall Morris Men and drunk people. It's no place for a dog (or anyone under about 5 feet) as all you see is sardines which are shoulder to shoulder next to you in the sardine tine which is Preston Street. Dad swerves this completely by manning the barge's viewing gallery all day - down at the creek side on the wharves we are well away from the madding croud's ignoble strife.
Our first warning that this is all kicking off is the clippety clopping of the Shepherd Neame horse drawn dray which which clatters past our house on the way down to be on show at about 09:00 causing we dogs to go into a frenzy of barking protest. It also does this on the way home at about 4 pm on each of the two days of the Festival.
Definitely no place for a dog

Saturday 4 September 2010

As a Newt

Let's hear it for J-M Silverwood when she was over, in the role of 'Hunter Gatherer'. We forgot to mention this at the time and we've just come across these pics when down-loading them to the PC. J-M is a bit of a one for the pond-dipping and spent quite some time sitting patiently on the bank of the pond armed with the tadpoling net.

On this occasion she got more than she bargained for, examining her wriggling net full she shouted for Dad. She thought she had tadpoles, which in a way she did. Dad fetched a beer glass and transferred the catch which you could now see were 5 young common newts, almost at the adult stage but still with gills, as you can see from this picture. Well done J-M! We knew we had newts in there but had not seen any babies.

J-M caught so many "children", she thinks she must have disturbed a class room in a newt-school, rounding up the naughty ones who were not paying attention at the back.

Obviously, no newts were harmed in the making of this picture and the children were returned to the classroom before "their Mummies missed them"

Go J-M !

Friday 3 September 2010

Sailing Widows again

On Thursday, Dad abandons us again, as he gets invited off for another evening's sailing with 2CV Llew and his mate Derek aboard the good ship Bonzer out of Oare Creek. Dad is delighted, not only at the sailing, but also at the fact that the Swale seems to be full of moored barges, as you can see from the pics, not only the SB Mirosa but also (new one on him) the SB Whippet.
The boys tell me they had a good run down the Swale westward (Dad can barely contain himself from using the sailorly expression 'west'rd' - these nautical types do love their apostrophes) and then came about and tacked back up the wind eastward.
Tonight I am in disgrace as, having been given a walk down through the boat yard via our new chums, Swedish 'Jan' and Jack Russell 'Dotty' ('Jan can be either soft J as in Yan or hard as in Jam, apprently) and having kept clean, I find some oily bright-pink stuff to roll in and end up not allowed indoors except on the lead and straight to the shower. I get shown off to the Angel B first in the absence of Mum, just so it is on record how pink I was! Now, of course, I'm silky, white and fragrant, which is no way for any self respecting Westie to be.
Have a good weekend