Friday, December 15, 2006

Harry 4 - Christmas Tree 0

That's right folks - the total of baubles savaged by the great bagle of Arlesey (that's got a kind of ring to it actually) now stands at 4, and the tree is starting to look a little bare around the bottom.

Most worrying of all is the fact that he has now moved onto the crunchable kind of bauble and the shards that were found on the floor were not equal to the 2 baubles that were missing.

Cue phonecall to very understanding vet

Was he showing signs of wanting to throw up? - Tash looks across to a very smug and sleepy looking Harry who could possibly even have been poking his tongue out at me (possibly just the light though)

Nope, no signs of throwing up.

OK well then just make sure the plastic comes out of the other end then.

Great. Bring on the glittery poo!! If only the glitter meant it would smell less pungent eh?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Harry and the bauble

Well, after having tempted fate by saying that Harry wasn't interested in the baubles I made the fatal mistake of feeding him his Kong (rubber toy, hole in the middle, people stuff them with food to keep their dogs amused) with white bread and marmite, forgetting that wheat makes Harry hyper. Cerrr-lang!!!

After wearing out the carpet doing laps for a while he turned his attention to the Christmas tree and the bauble he had been happily bouncing for the last few days obviously looked very tasty. I had deliberately left just the plastic balls at the bottom of the tree (just in case) and it was lucky I did! The little goit grabbed a bauble and ran, dodging my rugby tackle in the process.

Luckily he didn’t have very far to run and we cornered him in the kitchen but by this time the bauble was well and truly wedged in the back of his mouth. Discussing options, we stuck him on his lead so he couldn't go anywhere and there he stood with the single most belligerent look I have ever seen an animal give. Stemming a rising tide of hysteria at a fast disappearing bauble, I grabbed a treat, Keith grabbed a piece of wood, (both usually dead certs for him dropping whatever he shouldn't have) and waved them fruitlessly under his nose. Daft bagle was actually drooling so much that there was a pool forming under his head and he STILL wouldn't give the bauble up.

I tried to prise his jaws but they were already so far open that I couldn't get the gap I needed to get to the bauble and all the time it's moving further and further back in his mouth. Eventually I decided the only option left to us was to be as stubborn as Harry, and we went back to the sofa while he stayed in the kitchen weighing his options. He dropped the bauble eventually, snaffled the treat and was giving the piece of firewood a good lick when Keith decided to try and ambush him to get the bauble back.

Now, I’m being generous when I say that while Keith may be built like a gazelle, but he certainly doesn't move like one and by the time he reached the kitchen, Harry had clocked him and grabbed the bauble again. Keith was not impressed

The next few minutes were pure Benny Hill. Both hound and man came running into the lounge and proceeded to play chase around the coffee table. Harry then decided he was REALLY unhappy with the situation so started trying to bark at us (me by association for having the cheek to sit on the sofa and laugh I think).

I say try because his entire gob was filled with bauble so it came out more like "uffff" than a proper Harry bark. Keith and I were on the floor with tears running down our cheeks and Harry, taking umbrage to this, started 'barking' even more, which (obviously) just had us crying even harder.

Eventually though Keith lost his patience and took Harry for a walk. I don't know what he did on that walk but eventually the two of them came back, Harry looking very crestfallen and a very unimpressed Keith holding the mangled remains of what was once a bauble.

That should have been the end of the story, but like so many things where Harry is concerned, ‘should’ doesn’t mean diddly. I would like to say that our guests will be able to gaze on our luscious tree come Christmas Day, but I’m not at all certain they won’t be faced with a woeful twig adorned with misshapen blobs. Simple fact is that Harry like digging and chewing ... or sometimes chewing and digging, he’s not fussy ... and his new favourite location for both these activities is (you guessed it) behind the Christmas tree.

For a dog of his size to fit into the corner behind the tree is a blatant thumbing of the nose to the laws of physics, but he can, and he does. Expect more updates over the next few weeks with photos of an ever decreasing tree ... or possibly an ever increasing Harry, it’s anybody’s guess at the moment.

Oh and finally, a big Hello and Merry Christmas to Pascalle, the sender of our first Christmas card (and shame on you people, it came all the way from the US!!). Harry would like to thank you for the compliment and wanted to send you a photo of just how cute he was. Unfortunately as you can see posing was too much effort for the little fella.

Actually, I’ve just remembered, house news!! (I’d nearly forgotten the point of the blog there!! lol) The kitchen is STILL not finished. Not news in the purest form I grant you but what is impressive is that it has actually taken a step backwards!!!

The dishwasher broke after a heady 2 months of use and we are now back at the mercy of MFI ordering systems to get a new one. I have the delivery pencilled in for around 2012.

In addition, the plate rack is still languishing in the barn because our kitchen fitter has stubbornly refused to answer his phone for the last month. Best of all though, my complaint to MFI corporate headquarters was answered by a lovely lady a few weeks ago. Apparently the entire kitchen based SNAFU is my fault because I missed the initial delivery that they didn’t tell me about.

So that was nice to know.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas is coming …

December has finally come, and in keeping with the impatient traditions of the mediterranean side of the FTC family, the Christmas tree was bought, installed and decorated this weekend. Unusually for FTC, this particular event went remarkably smoothly.

Early on Saturday morning, Keith, Bill and I went to the local chicken centre (which doubles up as our firewood supplier and purveyor of fine quality Christmas Trees) and walked the long avenue of bushy pines looking for that perfect specimen to fill the lounge with Christmas cheer. Luckily for all concerned, there were only two varieties of tree to choose from and after much debate about branch spans and furniture arrangements, the purchase was made, netted, bundled into the back of the car with Bill and driven home.

Keith and I were both real tree virgins and as such, fell into the common trap known as “tree looks small in shop but suddenly becomes enormous when taken home”. We spent some time moving tree, dog, and furniture before settling on the corner by the hallway. It looked perfect there, the perfect width, perfect height (although Keith would argue we should have got a taller tree) and definitely the perfect smell. As do most people who have grown up in an age of pine scented cleaning fluids and flatpack furniture, I had a strong aversion to the idea of anything even tenuously related to the pine family, but it turns out the smell of these trees is as much like the odour of ‘pine scented’ as a McDonalds hamburger is to a cow. You can keep your Ousts and your Glade plug ins, the gentle wafts of a warm pine tree are what it takes to mask doggy whiffs and have you reaching for the mince pies (which we also did incidentally).

I will admit that both Keith and I were very worried about the likely outcome of Harry Vs Christmas Tree and the smart money wasn’t on the tree. We decided to let him roam free in the lounge while we were decorating to see whether we would need to draw shifts to man the lounge round the clock with a cattle prod …. Turns out, we underestimated our bagle.

I unwrapped the first bauble and placed it gently on the lower branches, sitting back slightly to let Harry make his move. He wandered over sedately, eyebrows raised, nose twitching and a collective breath was held. His nose made contact with the bauble and SPROING!! The branch bounced away from him. YAY!!! thought Harry, a new fun toy all of my own, and proceeded to spend the next few minutes bouncing the unfortunate bauble by batting it gently with his nose. And that was it. There was no attempt to pee up the trunk, no superman style launch into the branches, not even a hint of teeth!! After a gently sigh, he turned away and resumed his place a few feet behind me to oversee the decoration from a distance.

Decorate I did, apart from a brief interlude to hold the dog when Keith showed an uncanny resemblance to a snake with an egg. I had no idea that baubles could implode with such ferocity.

So here we have it, the first Christmas tree of FTC, along with the hound who, as you can see, is proudly guarding his mum’s handiwork. I suppose there are worse things you could find under the tree.