Daphne Ledward, Garden Planner, Gardener, Author and Broadcaster

Muffin's Blog

My Christmas    by Mr Muffin

Christmas 2009

I had a surprisingly good Christmas this year.

Admittedly, it wasn’t as good as my first Christmas, when we all stayed at Auntie Pat’s and Mr. Paddidog got the squits.   The grown-ups went out visiting, and we were left in the hall, which Uncle Fred covered with The Sun in case Mr. P. had an accident - well, it‘s about the only useful thing you can do with The Sun in my opinion (other opinions are available).  He didn’t, so I tore all the pages up and filled the hall full of confetti.  We dogs thought that was hilarious, but the grown-ups were less impressed.

Anyway, I was surprised that we had a Christmas at all, because Daff (aka She Who Must be Obeyed) decreed earlier in the year that we were going to give Christmas a miss this time.

She’s been really Bolshie this year, ever since the Lincoln Incident in May.   I got the feeling that she thought I was entirely to blame.   Had I thought that opening the zip on the caravan awning and letting us all out would have resulted in our being threatened by the site owner (who was also the husband of one of Daff’s best friends – who needs friends like that, I ask myself?) with being shot, which then indirectly resulted in Daff’s being sacked from her gardening slot on BBC Lincolnshire, I wouldn’t have done it.

As it was, John had disappeared and I wanted to know where he had gone, and so did the rest of us.  I didn’t know he had only gone to find Mr. Trigger-Happy to mend a cable for him, otherwise I’d have stayed put in the awning.

The farm doesn’t have any stock, and we wouldn’t have chased it anyway (I’m scared of sheep ever since one swore at me through a fence, and the rest of us treat them with the disdain they deserve, totally ignoring them in the process) but the land is riddled with rabbits and hares, so it was only natural we would get side-tracked, but we didn’t catch any of them either.  In everyone’s opinion, it was totally unreasonable to threaten us with certain death, and it upset Daff a great deal.

She shouldn’t have drunk anything at the evening reception, because since she was poorly two years ago and had all her insides out, she can’t cope with alcohol, but she said she thought it would make her feel better, only it didn’t, and someone complained to the Managing Editor at BBC Lincolnshire, who kicked her out immediately.

I would have apologised for her, but none of us was given the chance, and for the rest of the year she’s been all bitter and twisted, especially when she sees the lies about her on the Web.

Anyhow, going back to Christmas, neither she nor John felt much like celebrating, even though we have kept telling her how much we love her.  I really thought she meant it when she threw Bluebell and me out of the Fen Bank Christmas Party, although she did explain afterwards that with regard to Bluebell, she couldn’t stand any more of her screaming while tied to a heating pipe, and apparently I swore at Peter Bryan, which was a bad mistake because Daff has a special spot for Peter and has often said she would have adopted him if she hadn’t got too many doggies already.  Sals, Pads and Discit came home with pressies, but Bluebell and I apparently missed out badly.

However, those of us who know Daff well suspected she would find it difficult to have an entirely Christmas-free year, and when the tree and holly wreaths came out and she came back from shopping with two packs of LED lights for the garden, we knew she had succumbed.   LED Christmas lights have a much smaller carbon footprint apparently, and Daff is very much into carbon footprints at the moment.   I’m not really sure what carbon footprints are, but I expect they are like what’s all over the kitchen floor at the moment.

From then on, things took a turn for the better – Christmas cards written in a hurry on the last date for posting, a mad wrapping of pressies ordered on line (Daff doesn’t like going out in crowds any more since the Lincoln Incident), and a hasty arranging of pre-Christmas visits to exchange gifts.

Then the snow came down and we all galloped around the Patch, throwing snowballs with our back feet.   I had forgotten how much better snow makes it for a poor boy with a crippled foot to chase around.  This was my first White Christmas, and I liked it very much.

The day before Christmas Eve, we had a very pleasant visit to Auntie Pat and Uncle Fred and Cousins Laia and Murphy at Sheffield.   Our cousins are GSDs and they weren’t sure they liked greyhounds at first because they thought we were inclined to show off, but now they have got to know us, we all get on well.   We went a long walk through fields with them after lunch; the snow was all crispy and nice to eat, and we were even allowed to go into the house afterwards.   Laia has a very nice bed in the hall, so I thought I would try it out.   Daff was worried in case she registered her disapproval, but she was much too busy entertaining the rest of the visitors in the lounge so she left me in peace and I didn’t have to tell her to clear off once – what a hostess!

I thought we might have some pressies of our own because we’d all had a good sniff round the parcels which were supposed to have been shut up in the office, but which we inspected every time an opportunity presented itself.   But we didn’t know just how many there were – it must have been an all-time record.

We were allowed to open our parcels on John and Daff’s bed on Christmas morning, and at one stage I wondered if they were ever going to stop coming.   There were lots of tripey, smelly things for us all from Daff, a big bag of gravy bones from Auntie Cath (Mr. Paddy’s favourite!), some big, hard biscuits from a new auntie and her GSD, Mary, who have come to live in Boston, a huge box of sausages and bones and stuff from Auntie Sandra and lots of other things – I’ve forgotten just who sent what but I expect I’ll remember as they come out of the cupboard, and then I can write and thank everyone.   It’s rather a chore, writing thank you letters, but if we are to get an even bigger haul next year, it has to be done.   I discovered that Daff had even brought our pressies from the Fen Bank Christmas Party, so we didn’t miss out, after all.

We even got our turkey dinner, which must have been exceedingly fine, as we all had squits on Boxing Day – always a good indication of how acceptable the festive fare was.   The turkey has, in fact, lasted many days, although in the interests of hygiene we are now rationed as to how much we are allowed at each meal.

Yes, I can honestly say we had an excellent Christmas – pity it only comes but once a year..........

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