Friday, November 02, 2007

Ow (again)

Pity poor Mr Stuart, or to be more accurate, Miss Grendel, having to put up with two visiting cats for a while. It's always a disruption bringing another animal into the house - upsets the status quo and plays havoc with normal routine.

I know because all this week we have been spaniel-sitting for our near neighbours, whilst they swan off to Madeira for a week.

evil spaniel

Eilidh the spaniel is a nice enough dog, I suppose. Like most of her breed she makes up for lack of intelligence with an overabundance of enthusiasm. But she is a lady of advanced years and has an ongoing problem with her back leg. This means that she's not meant to run around a lot, but no-one's explained that to her.

Take Wednesday for example. I took spaniel and dachshund for a short walk into the woods - nothing too strenuous and about half the distance we would normally go. Even then, I had to constantly call Eilidh back to the path before she could go crashing through the undergrowth, up banks and down ditches. All was going more or less OK until a hare decided to up and run away from us.

It took ten minutes to get her back, by which time I was hoarse from shouting and sweaty from running. Mind you, that's nothing to what the DevilDog used to do when confronted by a hare. Fortunately, or sadly depending on your point of view, he can't manage strolls anymore. Yesterday was a no-stroll Thursday for everyone.

The chasing thing is, I think, hard-wired into the spaniel. I'd say hard-wired into the spaniel brain, but that would credit the breed with an organ it doesn't actually possess. Eilidh will go after anything that runs away from her, even butterflies, and this poses particular problems with Buddug the cat. Once bitten forever shy might be an apt aphorism, had any actual biting taken place. The first time the two met, however, Buddug did make the mistake of running away. If she'd stayed her ground and used just one of her claws, swiped swiftly across spaniel nose, then all would be well. Alas, that isn't her way. Timid is her way.

Now, whenever the spaniel appears on the horizon, the cat is off. Even Eilidh's owners turning up to see us, sans chien, is enough to spark panic in the fluffy monster. Once, we were chatting in the kitchen and I saw something large and furry hurtle downwards past the window, into the flowerbed below. That was Buddug deciding it was safest to leap from the bedroom above and thus make good her escape.

But our near neighbours don't just have a mad spaniel that needs looking after. Regular readers of this blog (you mad fools, I love you all) will probably recall that they have ducks, geese and horses, all of which require some form of attention. So for the whole of this week I have been making the journey, twice a day, to attend to their needs.

It's been quite a good way of getting myself back into the exercise thing. Each late afternoon this week I've run the three quarters of a mile up the house, locked up the ducks and geese for the night, checked the horses are all the right way up and still have the correct number of legs, and then carried on for another five miles or so through the woods. Often also in the darkness, but that's another story.

In the morning, however, I drive. I know it's lazy, but I'm damned if I'm going to run at that time of the day, walking takes too long, and frankly getting everyone fed and watered before I've had my own breakfast is quite enough altruism for me.

So it was that I headed up this morning, bright and early. Well, maybe not so bright, as I managed to get my left little finger caught in the gate as I was opening it. I would have been fine, if I hadn't then been barged out of the way by several tonnes of Highland pony, anxious to get to his food. At the time it didn't hurt much, but it was a pig trying to drive home without getting blood everywhere.

makes typing a pain

At least I was driving the Horse Doctor's car, not my own.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

Always drive your other half's car if there's going to be blood, sweat, shit, or explosives involved.

That's a rule I live by too.

November 02, 2007 6:01 pm  
Anonymous norby said...

You're both such gentlemen. I'm swooning.

November 03, 2007 6:02 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Quick, Stuart! Fetch a chair!

November 03, 2007 6:28 pm  

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