Sunday, 25 November 2012

Black Friday

My master is feeling his age. His vision is blurry without his glasses, his lower back is permanently aching and the skin of his knuckles is peeling and cracking. 

The mistress is falling apart too. Her asthma cough is waking the whole house during the night and no one is getting much sleep as a result. She's had to take time off her work which means it must be serious. 

I was fine though right up until last night.

They decided not to go up to the cabin on the Friday night, partly because of their ailments and partly because the weather had been atrociously wet. Many places had been flooded during the week, including Aberfoyle. The Scottish news had shown images of people wading through two feet of water along the Main Street (The Forth Inn will be shut for at least four months due to the water damage). 

Instead they intended to travel up in the morning when they could see better the conditions on the road. So we all watched a film at home and snuggled together on the couch. Afterwards they went upstairs, the mistress to bed and the master to his computer to play a game, leaving me dozing alone.

Later, half asleep, I slumped off the couch to join them upstairs but landed awkwardly, injuring my leg. It didn't seem real at first. It was only painful when I tried to put my weight on it. When I lifted the leg the pain stopped. Painful, not painful. Painful, not painful. I must have looked like I was dancing the okey-cokey. 

And it didn't ease after a licking either.

It was ridiculous. I'd jumped off that couch a thousand times before. What had happened this time? My knee was aching a bit now but I wasn't going to let it get the better of me. Not while there was no one around to sympathise. I needed to get upstairs for that.  

I managed to hobble up the stairs. Three legs were working so as long as I hopped it was okay. I paused outside the bedroom to draw the master's attention. I think he thought I'd had a stroke as I stumbled into the bedroom door. He leapt off his chair and had reached the room just in time to hear me yelp as I jumped onto the bed. Both owners scrutinised the leg and I whimpered when they stretched it. No marks, no swelling, no cuts; just a bit wet where I'd been licking it. If it didn't improve I was getting taken to the vet. I sighed and hoped they'd let me sleep in the bed with them. They didn't.

Getting down the stairs was a lot harder than going up. I'd to gingerly bounce from step to step without gaining too much momentum.

Lying in my bed in the kitchen I remembered what day it was. In America they call it 'Black Friday': the day after Thanksgiving. It was a black Friday for me too. The day my age started to show. I've reached middle age. What can I expect next? Menopaws? ('lame' pun)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Try This At Home

With autumn giving way to winter cold, here's a tip for all dog kin out there to keep warm: make full use of your human hosts. 

Traditionally, humans like to relax on their comfy sofas, eating snacks, drinking tea and watching telly. Sometimes we dogs are allowed to join them but usually just beside them. I've come up with a move that benefits us more. 

When they're sitting on their couch, invite yourself up beside them, then nudge your way behind them, moving all the way round their back so you can rest your head on their leg. This way your body gets their heat as you act as the meat in the sofa-human sandwich  If they resist, give them your sad eyes, perhaps huff a time or two, but be persistent. The mutual heat benefit is amazing. But beware pawing at their back too much as ripping the couch cover will give you a one way pass to the doghouse.

They won't be very comfortable but sometimes you need to be a little selfish. Life's too short for us. Why should they always be the top dog?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A Scottish Fireworks Night

Last night was fireworks night. You probably expect this blog to be a 'light the blue touch paper and stand well back' kind of rant but I'm remarkably chilled about the matter. And it's not because of any anti-anxiety medication that vets dish out to my quivering pals because I'm not on any. I don't need it. I'm used to loud bangs and whizzing zooms because my master listens to lots of heavy rock music.

Okay I was a little miffed about having to change route twice during my evening walk last night because parents were setting off fireworks in the public park. Plus the local youths were building another bonfire on the path out of old clothes, two mattresses and a cardboard box and one of them was embarrassed in front of the lassies because his lighter had run out and his cooler pal was ignoring the incessant shouts to borrow his because he was too busy feeling up a girl behind a tree and wasn't capable of multitasking. But on the plus side, the master mistook my midnight barking to be a sign of distress and let me back upstairs under the bed covers for another hour until the noises had subsided. I was just complaining about the late hour and didn't they have beds to go to but I wasn't going to argue with him. Double treat night for me.

The thing about Guy Fawkes Night that confuses me is why do Scots bother about it. It commemorates a thwarted plot to blow up the House of Lords in 1605. Okay, I understand Fawkes and his collaborators were English and the person they were trying to kill, King James the First, was Scottish and that any English failure would give any Scot ample reason to party. But it was a Catholic plot to blow up a Protestant king and that sounds a bit sectarian to me. Aren't we trying to eliminate sectarianism from Scottish society?

What we really need is our own reason to party: a Scottish Fireworks Night, and I think I've come up with the perfect occasion, which parallels events of 400 years ago.

Just five years ago we had a failed attempt by another religious group to blow up a Scottish building. June 30th, 2007, the day Glasgow Airport didn't go up in petrol and propane flames: wouldn't that make an ideal date for a Scottish Fireworks Party Night? All the kids would be finished school and could stay up late to watch the displays. They wouldn't need to wrap up warm because it would be summer (not a guarantee: it is Scotland!) and then everyone could fly off on holiday through the very same airport afterwards. 

If anyone knows Alec Salmond email address maybe they could pass this suggestion onto him for his Independence manifesto. It could be a real vote winner!