Daphne Ledward, Garden Planner, Gardener, Author and Broadcaster

Muffin's Blog

Muffin finds deep joy     by Mr Muffin

November 2011

I’ve had no end of complaints about neglecting my blogs, but the truth is, so much has gone on this summer and autumn that I haven’t had a second.    First, there was Bluebell’s departure to Rainbow Bridge, and her funeral at the Patch, which sent everyone into a state of severe gloom for weeks – OK, I know she bossed me around and used to say some dreadful things to me, and in her last year the world went round her to the total exclusion and neglect of all us other dogs, but, like a sick headache, you missed her a lot when she’d gone.

Then there was Tom Barnaby (Detective Chief Inspector, Rtd).   I really didn’t think much of him at all when he arrived, especially as he got his home under false pretences – i.e. he should have only been with us for a week while his kennel at Fen Bank was getting a new floor – but these kinds of underhand things seem to happen all the time and there’s little you can do about them.

However, as you got to know him, he turned out to be quite a pleasant bloke; unlike Mr Paddy, he’s always ready for some fun and a whizz round the Patch with me – Mr P is a loner, and that can be very boring.   Mr Tom’s a bit fond of the sound of his own voice, but if that gets our meals quicker, it’s not always a bad thing.   I made him come with me to the Blood Donor sessions; the first time he was all tense and stressed and the nurses said if he was like that the next time, he couldn’t donate any more, but last time he was OK, so now we’ve both got red medals and bandanas and we make a very fine pair.   He can be a bit snappy if I go near him when he’s eating, but I ignore it and push him out of his bowl anyway, and he just shrugs his shoulders and walks away, so he’s already got the message as to who’s the boss of the household (in your dreams, Mr M – Ed).

Mr Tom and I were invited to a sleepover last month at Sapphire’s place near Peterborough.   Sapphie’s a great girl, and quite a looker in a brindled sort of way, but Milo, that Jack Russell she lives with, is a right pain.   He came to see us just before the sleepover and, would you believe it – he went for a swim in our pond!   The pond’s hardly big enough for fish, let alone a Jack Russell,  and in it he looked like a big white joint of meat swimming in watery gravy in a pie dish, waiting for the oven.   I told him if Daff saw him, she’d hold him under till the bubbles stopped coming; he casually pulled up a load of bog plants from round the edge and strolled off to wreak havoc elsewhere.   Now, if we’d done that, we’d have been candidates for rehoming.   If it happens again, I doubt he’ll get off as lightly.   I looked round at his place for a similar pond to modify, but there wasn’t one.   Tom said not to make waves as we were guests, but I’d love to have made a great big hole in their lawn – we were never alone long enough for me to make a start, though.

No sooner had we got Bluebell dispatched, the Old Girl (Sally – Ed) started to go downhill.   First, we thought she was going gaga, cos she just lay in her bed and stared into space all day; she couldn’t even be bothered to eat, which is a cardinal sin in our house.   Then she lost loads of weight and from being a roly poly dog she turned into something like you see in the RSPCA adverts.   Anyway, to cut a long story short, it turned out she had leukaemia.   However, with white sweeties and brown sweeties she’s a whole lot better; the specialist said she should have fifty per cent more food than normal (huh!) and so she’s packing on the pounds again.   She clears the whole bowl, every time, and never saves any for the rest of us, which I consider is really mean of her.   Problem is now, like a lot of old ladies, she’s started wetting her knickers when she’s asleep and her backside is permanently yellow.   Uncle Alan Vet’s put her onto some syrup stuff which has made her a bit better, but in my opinion she should certainly consider Tena Pants.   Nobody asks my opinion, though.  

I was quite tired after organising the dog show, so I was glad when John and Daff decided to have a week away at Fineshade Woods before the winter – the place where they got lost last year.   This time we made sure they stuck to proper routes and there were no serious incidents; Mr P, Sally and I had a little adventure of our own while we were there, but I’ll tell you about that another time.    There are craft units at Top Lodge and we met two charming ladies who helped their grown-ups to run them; a lovely, sandy coloured girl, and a black one who’d had an argument with a tree the previous week and had apparently opened herself up like a can of Butcher’s Tripe and Chicken (my favourite, incidentally).   By the time we’d got to meet her, she’d been repaired after a fashion, but she looked more like the results of a post mortem; she was also wearing a silly knitted coat of many colours with legs in it, but I suppose she would be feeling the cold as the vet had done a good job of turning her into a Skinhead, or I suppose in her case it would be a Skinbody.

And talking of sandy girls, you never know when Deep Joy is going to strike.   We’d just got home and I was looking forward to a long winter on the settee in front of the fire when Daff got an e-mail from Auntie Sandra.   Guess what – she’d only heard from Sandy, or at least his grown-ups.    And Sandy has only got my picture near my bed.    There were also photographs; Daff told Auntie Sandra she wasn’t sure whether she’d show me these as she thought it would only upset me, but Auntie Sandra thought it would be OK – how does she know the feelings of a poor crippled boy like me, I ask myself?   I got some printed off, and I’ve stuck them on the chest of drawers in our bedroom  (we three boys have our own room together;  Smelly Sally and Discit sleep with John and Daff).   My heart hasn’t slowed down since Sandra’s e-mail came.

In a way, I was rather disappointed, as ever since Sandy found a home I’d secretly hoped she wouldn’t settle and would eventually be back at Fen Bank – I was sure John would let her come here this time as we were six doggies for a short time in the summer when Mr Tom arrived and dear old Bluebell was still with us and there were no overcrowding problems then.  However, reading the e-mail, there’s no chance of this, so now I have to find ways of getting together with her again.   With the Christmas Party coming up, surely her dad and mum could be persuaded to bring her?   If so, I promise – faithfully – not to swear at Peter Bryan, however much he gets up my nose, and that’s a big promise, believe you me.

Oh, and Sandy, get the grown-ups to buy a 2012 calendar and have a good look at that handsome February fellow – how’s that for a dishy Calendar Boy?

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