Saturday 29 January 2011

Keep your heads down, ladies

There's all sorts going on today, so we get our walk good and early with Dad, unusually for a Saturday, setting the alarm clock. It'll never do! Roll on Project Erroll!. Main event is the local Horticultural Society's annual dinner where Dad, as Treasurer, has to be around to round up the money from the few last non-paying stragglers.
Before that we need to move the 2CV down to Llew's workshop. Although the old girl passes her MOT every year, the floor pan and 'fire-wall' are becoming an embarrassing patchwork of welded-in metal bits and Llew advises Dad that it's probably time to start again with a major body job, ripping out and replacing inner and outer firewall, both sills and floor pans both sides of the chassis. Luckily, on a bolt-together 2CV it's not that difficult (or expensive) to lift the body shell off the chassis and get at the underside, cut all that lot out and weld in new. So 'Clara Bow' is away in hospital at present and the driveway is full of 'sensible' cars.
As main contact for the local branch of the 2CV club, Dad gets quite a few calls from would-be owners trying to buy, and would-be sellers trying to offload cars. Quite often these can be neatly knitted together, but Dad usually passes any 'for sale' cars onto Llew, and so it was the gang were off to Stelling Minnis, a village SE of Canterbury to see a car which turned out to be one we knew. 8-9 years ago this car was fully restored by a N Irish chum Sam. Sam then moved back to NI leaving the car for Dad to sell, in his wake. Sam's now back from NI and Dad wonders whether he might be a possible customer for his old friend.
Meanwhile as the Arab World lives in interesting times we have both Llew's some-time girlfriend (Jean) and Steak-Lady currently out there on holiday. Keep your heads down, ladies.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Sofa Back

Here is a girl who knows how to relaaaxxxxx, in this case in my favourite place, the back of the sofa while Mum and Dad are both in the room preferably watching a nice long TV programme or film. Only then do we (Haggis and I) seem to truly relax. Any other activities or positions, or having Mum and Dad not in the same room render us a bit fraught in case we miss something or one of them sneaks out without telling us.
I have to admit, I look a bit disreputable here but that was yesterday. She whos word is Law round here didst sniff of Haggis's ears and did declare unto Dad "These dogs ming and need a shampoo". That was it. No arguments are brooked. As soon as we got back from a run down to visit Pud Lady in Hastings, Dad laid the fire (so that we will be warm and dry out quickly after our bath) and then nabbed us one after the other for a trim of the aforementioned manky hair in our ears and then a shampoo to within an inch of our lives. Now we are white, fluffy and fragrant. It'll never catch on.
We hear that following the daring commando raid by Mr Silverwood and the abduction of Maxwell in the dead of Dublin night, Max's former owner may have been having a re-think and is possibly going to ask for the puppy back. Given that the pup is still only 10 weeks old and therefore as capable of pooing and peeing everywhere and eating the house, it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
Hope you had a good weekend.
Yours, Fragrantly and Lovelililily

Wednesday 19 January 2011

More on Maxwell

What kind of a sleeping position is that, Maxwell? Are you sure you are not letting the cats get away with a bit of mickey taking here?
Actually it’s a dog eat dog world out there and a boy has to learn fast how to survive and how to write a good email. Blimey – the chap is only 10 weeks old and he’s nearly as good as me.

“HELP!!!!!” (He writes) Baby R has me tied up in the top tower of her play house and when not there I am being guarded by Thomas the black and white cat and Jasper the white cat, who I am beginning to think is either really rude or just plain deaf. No matter how much I bark at him he just blinks at me, unless I get to close then I get a scratch to the nose, they keep saying something about white cats with blue eyes but I'm not buying that I think he is just rude, SEND HELP NOW, PLEASE”
Don’t kid a kidder, Maxwell. You wouldn’t come away with us even if we did come out and try to rescue you. You wouldn’t get out past Em-J, J-M and M Silverwood!
Maxwell continues, “Just a point to note as well, the basket is actually MINE, the cats (Thomas and Jasper) seemed to take to MY new dog blanket, but I did put up a fight when they tried to take it over completely.

Attaboy, Max! C*ts – we’ll show you what to do with them, when we’re over!

Monday 17 January 2011

Maxwell's Silver Hammer

I regret to inform my readers that the pup Maxwell, rescued so heroically by Mr S in his SAS drive through the night, in order to save him from a life of um..... abuse.... is now being abused egregiously by the Silverwoods, as you can see from this picture. Not only is he forced to live out his days in a PINK doll's house (believed to belong to J-M as she has cornered the market in all things pink), but also he is forced to sleep in a tiny corner of the cat basket, partly on top of the black and white cat (sorry - we do not currently know the names of these felines, so Mr S needs to enlighten us).
Seriously though, young Maxwell does seem to have fallen on his feet here, doesn't he (PINKness aside) and is obviously settling in quite nicely in his new home. We gather he was named Maxwell because at the time of his arrival, Mr S happened to be singing "Bang Bang Maxwell's Silver Hammer came down upon his head".
A treat for us tonight, as we all dash off down to Hastings to check on the Pud Lady, recently bereaved of the Stamp Man. She is OK and coping OK. We dogs get to chase about in her superb wild wooded garden in the dark - mmmmm... Badger smells!

Sunday 16 January 2011

Queen of Lists

Mum returns from her wedding in Derbyshire making record time down on the clear roads and arriving well before lunch. Dad is out. He's given us a good walk round the cemetery but then taken off to the SB Cambria to join the army of volunteers down there in the warm breezy weather slapping yet more undercoat onto the barge's flat belly. One new face among the volunteers today, Dad's 2CV chum 'Enthusiastic Pete'.
Mum has thoroughly enjoyed herself, being part of the wedding of cousin Danielle and meeting all the others. Danielle, she reports is a one for her 'lists'. Anyone who knows Mum knows she will make a list for any event - holidays, social gatherings, special meals, jobs and tasks as well as the run-of-the-mill shopping lists. This girl though, is in a league of her own, says Mum and family member, fellow guest and official wedding photographer, Ian had the list of required photo groups saved to his 'blackberry' and had to keep referring to it lest he miss one vital shot.
Talking of which, Dad is one for his photography and Mum is now gently teasing him into 'camera envy' having admired Ian's collection of Canon bodies and lenses. Dad says... 'look - there are worse sins and worse ways to spend your hard earned cash'.

Saturday 15 January 2011

2 Old Codgers

With Mum up in Derbyshire at the Cousin's weddin' and Dad's younger bro' in 'Project Manager' made organising Pud Lady and T-for-Tom into undertakers and funeral arrangements for the Stamp Man, Dad feels he has a clear day.

We get a lovely walk first thing and then Dad takes off to the SB Cambria where a gang of volunteers are gathering every Saturday and Sunday at the moment, racing to get enough coats of paint onto her before the Spring Tides on which the Project Team hope to re-float the old girl. Today it's Dad's turn down under, in the 3-4 foot space under the barge's bottom slapping on yet another coat of silver-grey undercoat.

A word to the wise, he says. When painting almost lying on your back, don't ever get tempted to splash a big aul' gob of paint into your right eye. It will sting like mad and have you scurrying around, half blinded trying to get up out of the lighter and off to a source of clean water to rinse it out. Ouch. I heard a rumour that safety goggles had been invented to prevent just such a problem, but what do I know? I'm only a dog.

Dad splits at 2 returning to sort us out and to grab soup and bread. Then we're off to meet Llew at the caravan down by the Shipwrights' Arms. This is a great place, with lots of nooks, crannies, old boats and outbuildings to check out. Dad and Llew share a coffee, then Dad invites Llew (and Rosie the Jack Russell) back here for risotto. The guys light a fire and settle down like a couple of old codgers to put the world to rights. We dogs are sprawled out everywhere, enjoying the heat of the fire.

Have a good weekend and, Mum, hope the wedding's going off OK


Friday 14 January 2011

Stamp Man

We're sorry today to have to report the passing away of the member of this cast, 'Stamp Man' who died peacefully in his hospital bed at 10 o'clock this morning. He was 85, Bless Him, so he'd had what Dad calls a good innings, and he went with no pain or trauma. Pud Lady says he looked like he was asleep.

Bye Bye Stamp Man; we will miss you. It will be odd you not being there when we visit Pud Lady in Hastings.

Meanwhile, we are all deserted this weekend by Mum who is off up to darkest Derbyshire to a (distant) family wedding. Dad has amazingly got away with swerving this on the grounds of too many girly cousins, and the need to babysit us. Nice one Dad.

Have a Good Weekend

Thursday 13 January 2011

Brand New Life

Dad finally gets given the letter he's been waiting for by his work, which signifies Project Erroll and what is now being called "Brand New Life" (BNL) has a green light. We have a significant date of Thursday 30th June (the significance of which will already be known by those who need to know). It's going to be an interesting 6 months, for sure but from June onwards everything is possible.
He admits to feeling quite relieved at this stage, to have a fixed date after all the shambolic uncertainty and scatalogical stuff produced since the first announcement over 6 months ago and the disappointing and completely disorganised ineptness of certain parties since, it is not a scene he wants too much to do with. 'Nuff said on that subject.
Meanwhile, we hear that the Silverwoods have inherited, at least temporarily (yeah, right), a westie pup. Again, can't say too much, but the dog comes to them from one in Dublin's Fair City whom we shall call Mr Tester. Mr T acquired the pup to "give comfort to his wife and small child while he worked abroad 6 months" and delivered it (surprise!) a few days before leppin' on an aeroplane and leaving Mrs T to it.
Mrs T may have thought this was a nice sweet thing to do, but Mrs T is one of those who keeps an immaculate house with white carpets and obsessive tidiness, like something out of vogue magazine. She doesn't "do" dogs and has no experience of pups, no idea how much potential for mess they can create, and not the first inkling on how to train them or how long it takes.
Only a couple of days into this project, therefore, she realised that the pup was A BAD IDEA but could not realistically change things while Mr T was still around. So she plotted with Mr Silverwood for him to kidnap the pup the minute Mr T's back was turned, and were this blog the plot of a film, there would now follow a superb sequence of military planning and skulduggery, cloak and dagger stuff, cars racing through the night along the darkened rain lashed streets of the city, secret assignations to hand over house keys, guilt-stricken mother distracting small son with trips to the shops so he'd be out of the house at the crucial time and more secret rendezvous to get the keys back. Your mission Mr S, should you choose to accept it......
Suffice to say the cunning plan went off successfully and the small white fluffy 9-week-old parcel is now in the Silverwoods's house being loved up by Em-J, J-M, M and R (plus, no doubt Mr and Mrs S and the 1-year old Yorkie, 'Coco'. He will definitely feel he has landed firmly on his feet. It is not reported how small-boy feels about this or, indeed, how the "phoning from abroad, missing you" conversations will go, or how long it will take Mr T to suss the cuckolding. The plot was so hurriedly executed that Mr Silverwood did not get time to ask name of small white fluffy pup, so on arrival he was renamed Maxwell.
...That's just between these 4 walls, right?

Saturday 8 January 2011

How do they do that?

I have taken to lying on the upstairs bedroom window sill, Queen of all I survey. I can look down across the garden, its paths and its currently leafless woody bits, and across to the boundary fences and into the territory of the Home for the Bewildered beyond the fence. I can also see into the Albertine rose and the honeysuckle which scramble all up the back of the house.
This means I can squeak like a loony whenever I see a likely prey animal in any of these locations, almost losing my mind as I try to decide whether to abandon my good viewpoint and chase downstairs and out or whether to stand on the window-sill twitching and squeaking. Here are a couple of pics of the newest 'likely prey animal', a ginger cat who has started coming round and whom I have, on this occasion, cornered in a tree while I stand on the one-time chicken house and suss out how to climb the beech tree. How do cats do that?
Dad's on weekend cover this weekend, so was gone this morning and returned via a nip to the barge to see how the volunteers are getting on but has now been back and chopped up the Christmas Tree and trimmed mightily the Albertine and honeysuckle on the back of the house. That was fun because there was a squirrel in it for part of the time, gradually running out of places to hide as Dad worked his way along the back of the house with the ladder, secateurs and shears. Eventually the squirrel bravely leapt to safety on the neighbour's conservatory and away. No mean leap, even for a squirrel
Have a good weekend

Sunday 2 January 2011

Painting the Barge

Just in case Dad ever tries to get out of the decorating by pleading that he doesn't like painting and is off to work on the barge instead, look at this little lot! With the hull of the famous sailing barge Cambria now almost complete, the volunteers have turned their attentions away from the PR duties of showing the public round the old girl, to slapping 7 coats of various paints onto the hull - all 91 feet long by 7 feet tall by 23 feet across-the-bottom of her.
A gang of 4-6 volunteers can do one coat in 2 sessions. The paint is applied using those narrow (4 inch?) rollers on the longer (2 foot?) handles, this being Master Shipwright Tim Goldsack's instructed method of choice to waste less paint and give a good finish. The undercoats alternate between 2 shades - both do the same job but it's easier to see where you've been if you don't use the same colour, so we the guys swap between a flat 'battleship grey' and what Dulux might have called a 'grey-with-a-hint-of-pink' which has now become fixed in the volunteers' heads as 'Rosy Glow'. Today there are a crowd of 6 of them down at the barge, which is enough to do one side and most of the bottom in a couple of hours.
Then Dad's back up here and tidying in the garden, picking up the rest of the hedge clippings remaining from 2CV Llew's trimming, chain-saw activities and raking up Paulownia leaves to reveal the fresh yellow-green points of snowdrops just emerging from the soil under the apple trees.
We get a nice walk through Cemetery and Rec, where a whole gang of us meet up by chance for the humans to chat while we mill about - 4 red and white Springers (DK, LB, Pip and Alfie), a German Shepherd (Bazz), 2 Jack Russells (Patch and a red and white we don't know the name of) and of course Haggis and I. Doggie chaos!