Daphne Ledward, Garden Planner, Gardener, Author and Broadcaster

Muffin's Blog

Muffin sees a ghost    by Mr Muffin

July 2012

I‘m getting complaints that nobody hears from me these days, but, frankly, I haven’t felt much like writing anything recently.   First, it’s taken me a long time to get over Gordon – would you believe, I even went into the garage AGAIN this morning to look for him, even though I really knew his bed was moved out ages ago.  All the others came trooping in with me – I don’t know what they were looking for, or what they thought I was looking for, but at times like that a chap doesn’t need an audience.   Prats, the lot of them.

Then, this ruddy weather’s getting me down.   Racing round the Patch has been reduced to a couple of times a week, to fit in with any short, dry spell that may occur, and when we do go down there, the wet gets in between my poor, crippled toes, my back feet go all red and tender, and I almost need help to jump into the car and go home.   It’s enough to give a chap Seasonal Affective Disorder (I don’t really know what that is, but I heard Daff say the other day that she’d got it, so it must be something to do with the horrible summer).

Practically every weekend there’s been some public event to eat into my valuable time, and you know I’m not a very social chap.   First, there was the Teddy Bears’ Picnic at the Patch on Jubilee Saturday.   Daff was doing teas, and I forget what John was doing, so we were left in the charge of Auntie and Uncle Whyers – but I suppose that was OK, because I got a lot of fuss (we all did), and the children who came to the Picnic stroked and tickled us a lot.   Actually, we got the only decent weather that holiday – how I laughed when I watched the River Pageant next day on the telly!

Then there was a disastrous dog show a fortnight ago.   It was pouring with rain again, with an icy wind, and the judge really should have gone to Specsavers, so after an hour or so, Daff took the decision to come home.   Mr Paddy told me he had rheumatics for days afterwards.   Anyway, it gave me a good idea how NOT to organise things when it comes to MY dog show on September 9th, and I’ll make sure that whoever judges it will have had a recent visit to the optician beforehand.

The vets’ Open Day last Sunday was reasonable, I suppose - if anything to do with vets is reasonable - cos we had the only fine day in weeks, so I could stretch out on Auntie Stella’s sleeping bag and get a good kip, although since Faune the Three Legged Wonder joined us she gets all the sympathy and attention, and nobody notices how disabled I am, apart from the odd, “That dog’s limping!” when I stand up to stretch my legs.   They have NO IDEA how hard life is when you’re a special needs dog.   Just because I don’t flaunt it……..

You’ve no idea how promiscuous Faune is, either.   She became violently in love with PC Plod a few weeks ago (how COULD she, I ask myself?) – he tried to oblige but didn’t really know what was going on, but afterwards she went round telling everyone she was going to have his babies – at least ten, she said – and Daff said if she went on like this, she would have to buy her four bras.   I think she realises now she was talking rubbish, and with a bit of luck, she will have had a major op before the next time anything like this occurs.

To cap it all, we’ve had another funeral.   Poor Smelly Sally developed a tumour on the bone of one of her back legs; because she already had lymphoma it was inoperable and on May 16 she went to Rainbow Bridge.   Daff and John laid her to rest in the garden here, not at the Patch, which is so hard to dig in as most of it’s full of roots now, although Faune the Wonder Dog manages it all right with her one front leg, and Daff planted a rather tasteful Photinia ‘Pink Marble’ on top (new and very unusual, she said; she likes variegated stuff like that).   It seemed funny without her (Sally, I mean, not Daff – fat chance!) for a while, as she was always there, lying about, except for when she made a beeline for her breakfast or tea (funny, that), and Daff missed her badly cos she’s been on one sort of special treatment and medication or another since last August and mealtimes suddenly became so quick and easy.   But we got used to being five again, as we were before Faune the Legless arrived, and Daff said she wasn’t going to fill Sally’s bed as she had enough to do with us, and the fact that she’s got a writing job again, which means we might get more treats when the invoices get paid.

Which brings me to what I was going to tell you about.    One day, a few weeks ago, Daff and John had to go to the Sanctuary to pick up some biscuits for us (not before time, too as I noticed the biscuit bin was almost empty).  We wanted to go too and see all our mates, but John said there wasn’t room for all of us and the bags of biscuits as well, and it wasn’t fair to take some and not others (that’s the trouble with being one of a large family; most of the time we ALL lose out).

Anyway, we settled down to amuse ourselves at home – Faune decided to embellish a chair leg and I found Daff had left the lid off the rubbish bin so the rest of us set to making confetti, and eventually the biscuits and John and Daff came home, like they always do.   I heard them talking to someone in the garden, but as one of the bits of paper I was tearing up contained the (albeit minute) remains of a cream cake, I decided to stay indoors and finish the job.   Faune was adding the finishing touches to her chair leg, and the others were asleep.    Eventually I needed a wee, and on going outside, I saw the most terrifying apparition.

There, by the back door, was Sally’s ghost – not Sally as she was latterly, all thin and poorly, but Sally as I remember her when I moved in nearly seven years ago, stocky and chubby, with a thick coat and pearly white teeth.   Well, I don’t mind admitting it, I started to pant and shake, nearly as much as when there’s a thunderstorm, and with the same overwhelming feeling of doom and gloom.   Then Faune came out, and I’ve never heard language like it – she must have learned those words in her coursing days, if she ever did any coursing before she was dumped, that is.   She backed off down the path, teeth bared; obviously she recognised a ghost when she saw one, too.   It’s about the only time I’ve felt any real empathy for her.

Then the rest joined us, sniffed the apparition, and laughed.   “Don’t be ridiculous,” said Discit, who is ALWAYS RIGHT.   “That’s not Sally.   Sally had a long tail that nearly reached the floor, and a wide parting.”

Well, I’m sure, being female and noticing such trivia, she was undoubtedly correct, but you can’t blame Faune and me - especially Faune, who didn’t know her all that well - thinking it was Sally risen from the grave.   It took us several days to be convinced that it was actually someone from the kennels called Meg, and even now she’s known as Sally-Meg cos no-one, particularly the groan-ups, can tell the difference.

She’s not bad, the newcomer.   Got a mind of her own but never argues with any of us other dogs and knows her place with us, although she does reduce Daff to shouting at her sometimes, even though it makes no difference.   If Sally-Meg wants to do something, then she will.   Likewise, if the groan ups don’t want her to do something, she’ll just carry on in her own sweet way unless it’s in her interest not to, and I admire that kind of attitude.   And now she’s got the Mark of Muffin on her ear (that’ll teach her to poke her nose in my breakfast), she’s really one of the pack.

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