Saturday, 31 March 2012

Death and Marriage

The mistress and master came home on St Patrick's Day wearing additional jewellery on their fingers.

She hadn't returned home the night before but my master hadn't been annoyed. At least not annoyed about that. He was still fuming because a faulty on-street parking meter had swallowed his money and when he phoned the helpline from his mobile to report it, he was thanked then told to buy another ticket from another machine or risk a fine. No refund, pay twice AND he was charged for the phone call. Triple daylight robbery!

So it turned out those rings signified that the master and mistress were now married. I hadn't realised I was living with sinners. Or that I had been rehomed out of wedlock. Not that anything seemed any different. We still travelled up to the cabin that evening. I enjoyed a sunbathe behind the window the next day then a walk in the forest. It was only when we came home again I realised marriage meant trees had to die.

'Congratulations' cards, wrapping paper, gift boxes. there was paper everywhere. For every card they received another had to be returned to thank the sender of the original card. Another tree gone. And all this from a secret wedding. What if it had been bigger? There would have been invitations and invitation replies and hymn sheets and confetti. Don't start me on confetti! Trees destroyed to throw over people to make it look like tree blossom or snow? What is the point in that? Littering: that's what that is. You get fined for littering but one little marriage licence and the world forgives you. I think all confetti should be made from recycled marriage licences from divorcees or banned altogether. Unless it was edible. Then I would love to live near Park Circus Registration Office.

I discovered today I had a pet cousin, who recently passed away. I feel a strange sense of loss for this family member, despite him being English and a cat, because I never got to chase him. He was old and I might have had a chance to catch him, unlike the moggy next door who taunts me by sitting on our kitchen doorstep then scarpers when he sees me on the other side of the opening door. I never quite make it to the fence in time before he's climbed to the top of it. I  must be giving him a real adrenaline buzz. But one day he'll make a mistake. One day he'll lose his footing. One day I'll finally... wait, I've just looked through the rest of their wedding photos and they've been to a park. Without me! This is not acceptable! First I'm not invited, then I'm not in any of the wedding pictures and now I discover they've been married near a park. I'd better be going on the honeymoon with them or I'll be applying for a place at the Dogs Trust. They like dogs who can blog.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Frog Watch

It's dark. My master and I wander along the road beside the pond at the holiday park and I can hear the Frog Watch going 'tick-croak, tick-croak' signalling it's time to mate. All around, male frogs sit erect, flexing their front leg muscles, hoping to hop upon a bulging bride and ride her until she pops her jelly spawn. We pass a drain grill and I hear an orgy of frog copulation splashing away below, croaking rhythmically. My master accidentally rolls over a mating couple with his shoe, the male's front legs still locked around the female's middle. They wriggle back over onto their front and decide to get a room away from the 'frog and toad'. He whips out his torch and sweeps the path. It's like he's uncovered a frog minefield. One wrong footstep and it's goodnight frog. A nearby trio of males all face in different directions on the lookout but I wonder if they're watching out for each other or for a female. Further on, a squashed frog with a bloody puddle exuding from its mouth reminds me how perilous this mating season is. I'm sure no one mentioned car tyres to them in biology class.

My master spots something different and takes out his phone. 'Click' as he captures the black camera shadow being cast by the torch, now in his mouth. Silly boy! Juggling my lead, the torch and a camera phone he struggles to get the shot he wants. He's spotted a newt and wants photographic proof. Whenever he looks down at the display on the phone, the torch also lowers, creating the shadow. Eventually he remembers the camera has its own flash. The picture quality may not be as good but you do the best with what you've got. 

I don't know if this many frogs on the road is normal for this area or if it's a biblical plague, another sign of the impending apocalypse. I don't think the frogs know either. They're just doing what comes naturally. I wonder what would happen if I licked one: would it turn into a handsome dog called Prince? I elect not to try. They don't smell appetising and I can live without a boyfriend.

The next morning we pass along the same route again and there's no sign of any amphibians, except in the drain. Those frogs are splayed out on the water surface, resting but also trapped I realise. Maybe those croaks last night weren't moans of passion but a cry for help. They'd better pray for rain so the water level rises sufficiently to escape; or maybe for a frog superhero leaping by, who could rip open the grill and offer them a leg up. More likely, though, they're going to be spending the summer as stay-at-home parents looking after their tadpoles. Not exactly the life either of them were expecting after a one night stand. Such are the perils of mating season. I'm glad I never go into heat if this is how it could turn out.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Bed Riddance

I've not been well this week. You know it's bad when you go through two beds in one day. I lost my beloved red tartan bed to an unexpected and prolonged night time squirt, leaving it beyond redemption and removed to the wheelie bin. The replacement daytime duvet I puked on multiple times and it had to go in the wash. This left me on the floor with a red throw blanket and newspaper for a bed. It was ridiculous. What was this? The NHS? Why had we run out of beds? I didn't know what was going on. The last thing you want when you've got a churning, chewing stomach is a hard, wooden floor to sleep upon. So I did everything in my wily power to sleep on the couch. That night the master waited up with me and rubbed my gurgling stomach while I grumbled softly. I wasn't acting. It did hurt. This lasted a couple of hours and two urgent visits to the garden until sleepiness overcame his sense of compassion and he ordered me to bed. Despite my best pained expression, he made me go. I guess he was too tired to notice. He had work that day. I didn't sleep at all.

Normally I get better in a day or two after a bug like this but this one lingered. For most of the week I'd appear to get better then be hit with a surprise vomit or runny poo. When the master spotted blood in my poo, I was rushed to the vet. He jabbed me with a couple of needles but didn't give me any treats! I thought we had an arrangement. He subjects me to some inappropriate behaviour, like one of those dog-o-philes you read about in the newspaper when you can't sleep, then rewards me afterwards with a handful of dry doggy nibbles. It seems those rules don't apply when you've got a gastric illness. Still, at least he wasn't complaining about my weight. There's nothing like a touch of gastroenteritis for losing that winter fat.

Afterwards I was sent to recuperate at the cabin with the master. He was convalescing too. He'd apparently gone all 'John Noakes' at work at the thought of my imminent death and was on the verge of a breakdown again. I decided to behave myself and let him sleep late. I took the breakfast antibiotic without any fuss. I even let him eat all the snacks himself. Even the ice cream. Only kidding. He's not allowed ice cream. And either am I. So, to be clear, nobody was eating ice cream at the cabin. And certainly not the half price Ben and Jerry's from the local Co-op.

I hope my stomach doesn't hurt tonight from all the lack of ice cream. I don't want to be ill again. To lose three beds in one week would be carelessness in extreme.