Spindle and the Muff Warmer…

It was only several weeks after our fabled trip to the land of the North, that we decided to once again, bravely explore life outside of the house, with a trip to Kent, in Mavis our beloved and somewhat lumbersome camper van. 

I am delighted to say that we had several unexpected adventures during the trip which were only made possible with the kind loaning of a car from the fabulous moppets, Claire and Heli. You may remember them from our adventure in Kent in a previous diary entry. Heli has infectious mirth flowing through her veins and Claire has the most enviable hair, so wild at times it has its own postcode. They also oversee the loving care of Hendrix the Poodle, who singlepawedly managed to demolish our fruit cage in a moment of over-exhuberence last summer, whilst we were indulging in a rather tense display of how well we can deploy our brakes after a zoom. He managed to style it out fairly well I must say, so there were no hard feelings, especially from me as I won the challenge.  

On collection of the lovingly loaned car, Hector made Muvver and I both promise not to shed too much dander and clinkers over the upholstery – an outrage to even suggest this I think you will agree, although Muvver did sit on her coat just to show willing. This transport was a holiday saver though as it was quite hot for a Spindle to go on buses and roam around without air conditioning, and muvver was having issues with pesky Arthur and his Itis, and was moving in a most mysterious way.

Driving up to the campsite, we were engaged in a warm chat from the owner of the site, a most jaunty of gentlemen, so I decided to go off for a sniff and to appraise the possibility of furry tree critters to chase.  I only left them for a few minutes but when I got back the man was trying to persuade muvver to take a cocktail of complimentary medicines that he had successfully treated his wildly savage peacock with. Apparently the drugs were deployed after a particularly severe beaking from the unrepentantly querulous resident fowl.

He was quite earnest in his recommendation so after twenty minutes or so we nodded brightly and began to slowly back away citing an imminent date with some Jaffa Cakes and a brew. 

*We went to inspect the peacocks later that evening, and I can confirm they were indeed sedate and well behaved, with no evidence of trailing human gizzards, which was nice.

One particular highlight of the holiday for me was a scamper along Camber sands. Oh the feeling of sun on my paws as I scampered through the sand, wind in my tail and breeze through my feathery whiskers. All the beaches I have been to thus far have been pebbly, which causes havoc with the old trotters and a hound has to care for their paws, don’t you know. The sand was also a revelation for Hector when it came to the business of picking up my back flap botty offerings. The sand enabled him to roll it around to give a thin but even coating (much like a croquette) which ensured clean and easy scoop action. Noting this, I decided to make sure that I reversed onto a thicket of thistles next time, as that always causes foul language, and if I am lucky, a tattered bag and a moistened wellington boot, think Rorschach for beginners. 

The highlight of the trip for Muvver was a lovely day spent in Tenterden. We had lunch with the smashing Kent side of our family and I myself had a most interesting chat with my pal Brian, who I must say is rather a jaunty and interesting chap. I also made friends with a new pal called Millie, who was on hand to distribute tea, coffee AND everlasting ear twiddles! 

Having reached optimum tummy level of fullness, we went our separate ways and we decided to have a look around the town. It was spiffy, loads of independent shops and antique shops to root through. It was then that muvver found the find of the century.

I was happily sniffing a stuffed squirrel when I heard a strange peeping noise from her. She was gazing at a cabinet, with a look of pure unadulterated joy. What could cause such a reaction? Well, to be fair it could be anything but on this occasion it really was a cracker. Staring out at us was a beautiful ceramic bottle, emblazoned with “The Dainty Muff Warmer”. I think you can all imagine the childish hilarity that this find caused. Sensing we were interested, the shop owner did say that if we bought it we could have the muff and its special muff box for free. Sadly it proved to be too expensive for our jangling reticules, so regretfully we had to leave it where it was. In a bid to cheer a most forlorn muvver up, Hector declared he could fashion her a more effective warming device in his special shed at home, but a) that was missing the innuendo filled point, and b) we were unprepared (and alarmed) to see what he would come up with. 

As you can imagine though, it lives in our collective memory in the same way as the Victorian signature stamp (bearing the name ‘Fanny’ in a beautiful and elegant script) we found, and I would imagine is telling of the level of humour at Spindle Towers.  

Our final day saw us venture forth to the atmospheric landscape of Dungeness, where we began in style with a generous helping of fish and chips and a cup of tea. Hector lost his heart and soul to this mysterious place, muvver chirruped with excitement at the art studios and I wrote a letter to Nelson, who was currently enduring a well needed residential break at the clinic after the incident with Sister Josephine* and the fish slice. 

* She has recovered well. 

Alas, it was eventually time to come home, so once again I find myself reclined on a deck chair, nursing a Dubbonet and Bitter Lemon, waiting for the next adventure to wash upon the shores of Spindle Towers.

Spindles and the haunted pint…

A tiny, tinny, spluttery parping is heard in the background…and this fearsome noise announces, with much excitement, a new diary entry from Spindlehound!

It has been a while my good pals, and I must admit that things have not been easy in these times of great galloping plagues. I have been quite quite well in myself, but I have been devoting my time to the constant supervision of the bipedal inhabitants of the Towers. I have coaxed them out of their fetid duvet nests, banished their ill advised and unflattering lounge wear and have insisted, insisted most vigorously, that they needed constant outdoor adventures in the woods…with me…and the squirrels.

It was agreed, rather begrudgingly I have to say, that I had been an excellent motivator for them. 

I do have news though! We have been out of the house and up to the land of the North – well…the hallowed corners of the ‘South of the North’, to see…my grandad Tom. You may remember him as chief word wizard and all round jaunty rabble rouser. People still talk in hushed, reverential whispers about his exuberant performance on the dance floor at an infamous family wedding. We had had to content ourselves with seeing him on the internet video screen for the last year, but, as restrictions allowed us to, we sallied forth to see him in person.

The great occasion was his birthday, and we decided a discreet, informal and small family outing to the pub would be just the job. I think we all know how this was probably going to turn out. Shockingly, I myself was NOT included in this alcoholic frolic, so I planned to make my feelings known, via my undercarriage watering system and the kitchen floor. 

Happily though, before I had to implement this, my mate Tina and I decided on a night of gin cocktails, Wotsits and scandalous gossip! (Sprinkler system valve thusly re tightened.)

A clattering at the door announced the pub goers haphazard return some hours later. 

The reports of the evening were incomprehensible. When asked to clarify, there was an immediate cacophony of warbling voices and the waving of arms and flapping of unsightly bingo wings, which I took as an indication that something was afoot.

Donning my tweed patchwork detecting cape and fez and setting aside my knitted bat outfit…(we shall mix metaphors and our detecting heroes here) I leaned forward to hear what tall tale would burble forth from the uncoordinated, shambling articles that stood in front of me. 

It would seem that all was going well through the dinner with occasional loud and high pitched squarks (from Muvver and her sister mainly, although Hector got very overexcited when he set his gimlet eyes on his calorific pudding), they claimed that there had been something of the supernatural about their merry gathering that evening…

The chattering had wound down to a mild muttering, and as the reprobates paused to draw breath, six pairs of beady eyes fixated on a pint of beer that was, seemingly, slowly traversing the width of the table…without aid or encouragement from anyone. The movement was almost imperceptible, so much so that the merry band of cavorting loons assumed that the alcoholic fumes had unexpectedly overcome them. The glass remained static, unmoving for several seconds…and then…it recommenced its slow, balletic traverse over the table…towards Grandad Tom! 

They immediately accused him of harnessing his psychic powers, and encouraging the ale to wend its way towards him, his own pint having been drained to his satisfaction.

Now I am a big fan of the unexplained and of course I would have loved the prospect of a phantom pint. Sadly I could not tolerate their squabbling for much longer so I had to scientifically squelch their fanciful notions that the pint was being moved by – and these were the top runners and riders in their list of explanations… 

  1. A Brian Cant haunting
  2. A Terry Wogan haunting
  3. The mischievous appearance of my nana from the other side of our heavenly ether, dropping in to say hello
  4. Grandad Tom was in fact a Spiritualist Medium

Grandad had decided that it was not 3, as he felt that she might have directed the pint away from him if she were to manifest in such a way.

The explanation, as I told them, was that the pint of beer had been coaxed away on a small lake of table beer, and in essence it was aquaplaning towards Grandad Tom’s, by this time, outstretched, welcoming hand.

Naturally this explanation was not accepted by any of those fortunate to actually see the spectacle (not that I am still holding a grudge, and my tiddle, about not being included). Although in their defence I was treated to a surprise sausage the following morning at breakfast, which I think we can all agree is a splendid way to start the day.

It was, all in all, really good to see Muvver’s family again, and a small step towards a more normal existence I hope. I shall now take myself to my writing bureau, as I have another adventure that I feel should be told…

Until next time my good pals…Spindle out!

Hector reveals all…

Gather round you beautiful creatures, I have another instalment of life at Spindle Towers to tell! Perhaps like many of you, our new ‘working from home’ routine, was proving satisfactory, although we tended to get up much later than before, the lure of a warm bed proving difficult to resist.

This particular late morning, Hector, Muvver and I were exchanging our usual witty repartee whilst hoovering up dippy eggs, thickly buttered bread soldiers and industrial strength coffee. 

Hector had been complaining of his intermittent tinnitus and was bemoaning the continuous high pitched whine he could hear, I suggested that perhaps it was actually Muvver, but all that hilarious joke earned me was a Paddington cold stare from her and an eggy snort from him.

We each laid out our plans for the day, and not having any immediate chores myself I decided to take several turns around the garden. I have been trying to make sure I get plenty of fresh air during lockdown, also I was getting increasingly bored with the choice of our destinations – oh how I longed to frolic along a beach! 

After a goodly time I felt satisfyingly limber and returned to harass the pair of loons in their respective work areas. What I have to tell you my friends, may upset those of a more sensitive nature…it has certainly unsettled me. Sometime dear friends, there are some sights that once seen cannot be erased from our horrified, traumatised retinas. 

No warning was given, to the sight I was about to behold as I casually swished into the studio space to chat to Muvver about upping my custard cream allowance.  I found her working away at her easel in a state of her usual dishevelment and disrepair, John Cooper Clark hair complete with several pencils nesting in it and charcoal smeared Scooby Doo pyjamas. This is not an unusual thing to find, thus far I remained bemused but not alarmed….yet.

I noticed she had a peculiar and triumphant look of concentration of her face, as she scrutinised the object of her wild scribblings. This is when I peered behind me and discovered she was actually drawing Hector…and Hector was…sans pantaloons! 

How she had managed to persuade him to divest himself of his Sunday tweed scamper suit and brushed cotton under-onesie was one of many questions and musings I had, which in no particular order included, “perhaps the curtains should be closed?”, “Surely the perspective is not accurate” and “We don’t need to purchase a sun dial now”.

The tableau was unexpected, but also strangely dynamic, in a gothic manner of total over exuberance and powerful emotion – muvvers signature style in life.  There may also have been the guest appearance of his tricorn hat, but I feel the less said about that the better.

I applauded the inspired positioning of his lithesome limbs and muvver and I discussed the interesting effect of gravity as we age. Sensing that this really could be a cracking source of entertainment, I pulled up a chair, settled myself comfortably and watched on with interest.

“It’s very cold today I notice”, I said to Hector who promptly threw a discarded, rolled up sock at me. 

Muvver, the ever hopeful temptress dropped her charcoal on numerous occasions but Hector (thankfully) did not stoop to pick it up for her. After the fifth attempt, he declared that he was not a mere plaything for the artists gaze, grabbed his silken paisley house coat and flounced off to the kitchen in a huff. “Don’t worry about him’, muvver said ‘The food shopping delivery failed to deliver his easter egg yesterday and he has been a bit tetchy ever since.” 

*For those who may be concerned at this, please be assured that Muvver ventured out to buy a replacement egg for him, heaven forbid he should share ours!

Casting down her various implements of mark making she sat next to me as we shared a restorative pot of Earl Grey and a cheeky pre lunch Hob Nob. One question that I was keen to have answered was how exactly she had persuaded him to actually cast aside his security undercrackers with such ‘giddy abandonment’. Perhaps this is over egging his sense of enthusiasm in indulging in unexpected daytime nudity, this is my artistic licence I am afraid, and he has made me confirm that he was more of a reluctant ‘shy, fluttering, bright eyed fawn’. Pfft.

It turns out that Muvver had persuaded him to do this in a moment of vulnerability as he gleefully unwrapped his birthday gift – a much yearned for Dremmel. A mistress of timing she had calculated that he would be highly susceptible whilst he was cooing over it and pounced with her request. 

I was congratulating Muvver on her cunning when Hector, having appeared with an empty mug, suggested that he could utilise the Dremmel on me for an impromptu Spindle pedicure, which wiped the smirk off my face I can tell you! Instinctively drawing my paws back under my house petticoat, I shot him my best haughty matron stare and returned my attention back to Muvver. 

She in turn re directed her beady, persuasive eye on me and ten minutes later I was reclined on the sofa, wearing my best tiara and a strategically placed modesty mitten. I am fairly relaxed and happy with my Spindlesome self, but I, unlike Hector, know the merit of “leave them wanting more’, so to speak, hence the mitten positioning. I insisted the only thing that should twinkle should be the tiara. 

I must admit that I really rather enjoyed the whole experience, perhaps I should pursue this as a new career opportunity. Something to ponder…

Until next time great mates, take great care of yourselves.

Spindlehound – The Cinzano Years

Today marks an exciting day pals! It is exactly four years ago that I was politely encouraged into a capacious car boot with a furry toy pig and was driven to a pub for a tasty snackette.  All of which seemed to be a good sign of things to come I think you will agree. After some awkward small talk about the weather, we eventually trundled on to a ramshackle place in the country that was to become Spindle Towers, my home. 

We have been reminiscing about the early days and I think none of us knew what to make of each other, as we eyed each other warily. From my perspective, Hector appeared to be a fine upstanding chap with a lively interest in Land Rovers, beard conditioning and Fruit Pastilles, and the Tiny Terror, my marauding muvver, bounced about a lot and had a fondness for Dr Martens, sock suspenders and an unquenchable tea habit. 

After I had delivered my rather witty summing up of their adorable foibles it was my turn to wear the cardigan of verbal love, from my beloved staff. Which didn’t go as expected.

They looked at each other and there then came forth a barrage of insults, all of which are quite, quite untrue, and in nine out of ten cases, the incidents were all Nelson’s fault. We no longer talk of the one incident which was my fault, although I have apologised to everyone involved, several times, and have promised never to use the sausage maker again. 

I decided fairly early on after arriving in my new home that I would make note of the day to day experiences of me adopting two haphazard humans. This has since turned into a long running blog which I think has surprised us all!

Looking back on our escapades, I must admit that we have had some splendid times, I shall refer to them as The Cinzano Years. I have had a quick flick through my past missives, and I am staggered to realise there are 84 diary entries/blogs in total so far! 

Strangely they do seem to feature recurring themes…Nelson and his unwieldy appendage and buttock toupee, disgraceful nights in the Velvet Marmoset, dubious poetry attempts and my custard cream dependency. *Please note I am now a member of C.C.A. and I am receiving the finest treatment available to hound, although I still continue to eat them with wilful abandonment so I suspect it isn’t working…

Like many people, the national lockdown is having a strange effect on those that lurk within the confines of Spindle Towers. Boredom and lethargy have silently crept in through the double glazing and kidnapped our usual sunny demeanours.  Instead we have all begun to flump about the house in our pyjamas, indulging in mid meal snaffling frenzies, and may I also say, the standard of housekeeping has dropped considerably now that nobody comes to visit us and bear witness to their habitation conditions.

Hector is especially grumpy today as The Tiny Terror accidentally pulled a thread on his new, favourite jumper when it got caught on her tooth. She has yet to provide a satisfactory explanation for why she had her gnashers were bared in close proximity to his jumpered area. Suffice it to say, she is very bored with staying at home and has taken to harassing him whilst he is trying to work. 

As we were recovering from the jumper assault, we received some worrying news from our favourite night time haunt, the Velvet Marmoset. The VM is a very small venue, of which we have a vested interest, financially and emotionally. 

It caters for those with specialist notions of life, and has previously been described by me as a ‘beguiling union between a Victorian Parlour, Burlesque cabaret and underground circus.’ We have had many a splendid night there, as my diary occasionally reveals, and we really do miss going there.

Sadly it was now struggling after many months of restricted opening and we had decided to help out, it was our duty! The club was now run full time by Sister Josephne, who has cast aside her vegetable collection and moral fibre to involve herself without distraction. She had lamented upon the sad demise of the now online courses she had been running for years, which included ‘Stripping for the uncoordinated’, ‘Castanets for the Unwary’ and ‘100 ways with bicarbonate of soda’, even trying to introduce some new classes, namely, ‘making socks sexy again’, but the pandemic was really biting at the funds and it quite simply wasn’t enough. If Sister J was worried, then so were we.

After we had spoken to Sister Josephine, we decided to come together on the video chat link device and come up with a devilish plan to raise some money for the club. As you may imagine, such virtual meetings had been run with a varying degree of success in the past, which necessitated clause 167 to be added to the October minutes, which specifies that no alcohol could be drunk during a meeting again. Ever. There would also be no nudity which I think we all assumed would be the case anyway, until the surprise appearance from Mr Pendle one summer evening last year. 

Initially, this emergency committee would comprise myself, Hector, The Tiny Terror, Sister J and Nelson. (Mr Pendle still being banned.) 

On the subject of Nelson, he was confined to his caravan yet again having recently endured compulsory fumigation. He would be able to join us virtually and at a safe distance from the deep depths of his dodgy domain, we were rather pleased actually as he often emitted a strange miasma following his treatment. Nobody was surprised he had a technical difficulty with the link, he always does. We were however not expecting for him to pop up as a Elvis avatar. Sister J then popped up in front of our eyes and the meeting commenced. A plan was to be concocted!

I will naturally keep you all posted my dear pals, but until then, keep yourselves safe and well.

SPINDLE AND FOXY LADY’S BIRTHDAY CAPER

Greetings to my most devoted pals! Gather round me you beautiful creatures as I have a tale to tell! Refill your Cinzanos, plump up the scatter cushions and make yourselves comfortable! This tale is one of excitement, merriment and a jolly birthday scamper with some good pals of mine. For the purpose of maintaining anonymity and not overexciting the general public, I shall refer to them as The Ancient Mariner and Foxy Lady. 

It all began whilst I was flicking through my biscuit catalogue that I heard a soft thud on the hallway carpet, so I sprang up to investigate. I was fully expecting to see The Tiny Terror sprawled out in a gin infused heap again, however as I rotated my ears correctly I could hear her crashing about the kitchen causing flame based havoc with her flambé torch. (The very same torch that has been hidden on the top shelf by Hector for the past few years. She can’t reach it but she enticed me to get it down for her with the promise of a new fleece lined winter housecoat.) 

Instead, I found on the doormat a lovely postcard from Foxy Lady asking if I would like to go out for an adventure with them both the following day. A scamper romp beckoned! Well yes of course! She was rather fond of sending postcards so I popped it into my box of precious things.

Alas, due to current plague restrictions, we were not able to go to their favourite destination, Diddley Door, so instead we decided to go for a splendid hike around the jaunty Hampshire countryside by way of our own travelling trotters. Speaking of which, the one thing I must remember is that both of my dear pals have…how can I put this…little legs, so I have to adjust my spindlesome long strides or they have to trot behind me…which is apparently undignified I am told. 

It was at this moment that I had a brilliant idea! I rummaged around my sequinned reticule and found my pair of emergency Spanx. (For the uninitiated these are under cracker garments that very tightly grasp your mid section, for a smoother silhouette.)

It has been noted on previous raucous nights out with Nelson, that my steps…in fact any movement really, is severely inhibited when I wear these. Rather than my usual elegant gliding, I tend to be more…robotic and have to take tiny steps. To be honest it also takes quite a while to get into the blighters, but they seemed to be the perfect answer to the spindlesome stride problem today.

I had heard on the village chatter that it was in fact Foxy’s birthday the next day and that put a totally different focus on the occasion altogether! There must be vittles…there must be sumptuous delights which we could fall on like feral, starved castaways! 

I thusly propelled myself towards the fridge, to see what I could gather together for a picnic. I sighed and reflected that a limp iceberg was not going to thrill either of them that much. I strapped myself into my tweed shopping panniers, and set forth for the village shop, where I stuffed my pocketed person with scrumptious treats and nibbles. I got a little over excited and bought so much that I ended up popping the kendal mint cake up the sleeve of my pacamac. 

The meeting up time for our adventure the next day was 11am and was to be situated at the newly installed poo bin by the entrance of the village bridleway. After a quick flannel flick and a dainty squat and leg lift, I was ready, so I popped my backpack on and off I went to meet the devoted duo, who were waiting patiently for me. 

The Ancient Mariner and Foxy Lady are regular, semi professional roamers of the countryside, indeed I suspect they both might have a touch of the ‘woodland sprite’ about them. The Ancient Mariner appeared to be headless on first inspection, but it turned out he was inspecting a tree for any perilous signs of disease or damage…(he is also a tree whisperer).

We exchanged socially distanced greetings and I presented Foxy with the card I had made her. She accepted it graciously with an incline of her head. As well as being gracious, she was also polite enough not to mention the unidentifiable oily stain in the corner of the envelope. In my defence, I have now accepted that there are limits to my multitasking, and let’s leave it at that!

We set off with a purposeful stride, in no way knowing what was to befall our walk. In my defence, I had never worn my Spanx out when there was a risk of an unexpected squirrel before. Indeed this was a lesson I would take heed of! You may notice pals that unexpected squirrels seem to plague many of my jaunts out…it is a peril only a hound will understand.

It was going terribly well, we strode out and my fellow wanderers tootled behind me, hand in hand, which is their romantic way. We discussed many topics which we had a shared interest in. They are both very fond of reading, and so we had a spirited debate on the future of independent bookshops, marshalling our thoughts and responses in a calm and civil manner – mostly because we agreed I have to add. 

Foxy was in the middle of an impassioned diatribe – she was waving her arms around and everything – when I spotted the furry, bothersome brush tailed nemesis of my people…the squirrel. To make matters worse, it was Malcolm, and we had history. He still owed me money for the time he…well…never mind that. 

My ears assumed the position of battle and derring do and I sprang forth! Well…no I didn’t did I, because I was wearing these blooming Spanx. 

Momentum met the resistance of lycra and I executed a perfect head plant into the bush. 

There I was, held fast by creeping Ivy and bothersome twigs, my Spanxs upturned for all to see. My fellow frolickers were speechless. I suspect they were not expecting a Lurcher to be wearing Spanx. 

Moments passed by and then I heard a high pitched hyperventilating…which was of course them laughing at me. No, they did not come and rescue me. They simply sat on a nearby log, watching with interest and devouring the crumpled kendal mint cake that had shot out of my sleeve as I fell. 

It took some time for them to shake the kendal crumbs off and gather themselves, at which point they grabbed a back leg each and gently reversed engineered me out of my woodland prison. Not a word was uttered, all with the unspoken understanding that we would never speak of this again.

In all fairness we did have a rather fun day out, aside from them spotting Malcolm flicking the V at all us as we left the scene of the bush incident. 

After a really lovely time, we said our fond farewells…I am sure more adventure beckons some time soon. Until then my dear pals, stay safe….and…

Happy Birthday Foxy Lady!

Spindle the Conkerer

It’s that time of the year again pals!! 

Autumn has beckoned us with it’s crisp, leafy hands…Yes! It’s the Spindle Towers Annual Conker Championship!

* Spindles pauses for the excited chatter to cease.

There was an unexpected air of panic, and a deep concern was voiced when the flyers were first handed out amongst ourselves. It turns out that the computer device had auto corrected the title to ‘Spindle Towers Anal Conker Championship’, which, as it turns out, nobody seemed that keen to take part in. Once everyone was reassured that there would be no moral misuse of conkers, a general flurry of excitement began. So far, Hector, the Tiny Terror and Nelson had signed up – and myself of course. I must admit to you that I have something of a reputation with a freshly polished conker! 


We all had our particular methods of pre match conker conditioning. The rules stated that each method must be declared in the warm ups, to allow for transparency and a general attempt at good will and fair play. This rule was decided upon after we discovered that last year Hector had secretly dipped his conker in resin which quite frankly was not very sporting at all.

I had foraged for the perfect specimen whilst out on my morning scampers a few days ago. I spotted the brown shiny jewel as I was evacuating a brown shiny jewel of my own, a moment of perfect equilibrium in our great universe.  (I suspect my own offering would not stand the rigours of a conker competition however, not having the requisite consistency/properties, also being difficult to attach a string to etc etc)

After my impromptu morning tail trembler, I trotted over and picked up the conker for full examination. It was indeed a beauty so I quickly secreted it in my autumn reticule before any other thieving herbert tried to get their grubby mitts on it. 

You may think this is stepping into the realms of paranoia, but in response, I draw your attention to the great conker scandal of 2018, when Nelson was caught red pawed, secretly foraging in my winter muff. After an impromptu gathering in our temporary court room (kitchen) we extracted an apology from a petulant and sulky looking Nelson, who agreed (with some reluctance) never to investigate a ladies muff without prior consent, and most certainly NOT in the pursuit of conker subterfuge and snafflement.  

A light sentence of community service was also dished out as he had also stolen my emergency pack of custard creams. The details of this community service can’t be disclosed I am afraid, all I can say is that it took place in The Velvet Marmoset*, under the watchful gaze of Sister Josephine and involved a glitter ball and a defunct soda stream. 

* For the uninitiated, the Velvet Marmoset is a dodgy nightclub of some notoriety, which also happens to be our much beloved local night time haunt).

Getting back to the conkers, the reason for my interest in my new conker was that I had something of a reputation as a champion of this great game. My winning method was all in the pre match preparation, a method discovered by accident when I accidentally tiddled on my conker. Once again, Spindle’s finest worked as an all in one hardener and preserver, a chemical compound that could, if I wished, be sold to shadowy figures for a large sum of money. Thankfully I am not motivated by such unimportant, trifling things as money – although truth be told I would indeed do anything for the merest whiff of cheese.

We were going to turn the garden into the Arena of Excitement, for the first round and  I could see my fellow competitors limbering up in readiness, with a flurry of star jumps, squats and unpleasant to watch lunges. Movement was hampered by the safety gear that we had through experience, learned to wear. Hector had his old riding hat and boots on, the Tiny Terror was sporting shin pads under her leg warmers and Nelson was fully encased in biking leathers, the origin of which was uncertain. 

We can exactly pin point the moment that it all began to descend into farce and tepid violence. It was when Nelson’s conker flew off the end of his string and shot through the window of the greenhouse. We all looked on as the glass tinkled over the withered and entirely extinct plants inside. 

The tiny terror was slightly irked by this as she had spent a good deal of time and effort to continue her unblemished record of assassinating any plant or living object she touched. This also explains why she is only allowed to approach Hector for a hug when wearing her gauntlets. She was very much attached to the greenhouse, as indeed were the weeds that had grown up the supports. 

With a strangled yell, she set upon Nelson brandishing her conker with menace. Thankfully she was not gifted in the sport of conkering/conquering and was soon found floundering in the bush, having been skilfully deflected by an accidental outflung paw as Nelson also fell onto his leather clad botty. After a moment of surprise, they both crawled towards each other and continued a slight enscufflement.

Hector and myself watched on with interest, unsurprised really as we seemed to end up in a undignified scrap every year. We left them to it, a floundering, whirling ball of leather and wool, and went inside to pop the kettle on. 

Pip pip for now pals, may all your conkers stay firm and victorious in battle!

Spindle V Housework

Darling pals, today I am being jet propelled by caffeine. I do not normally touch the stuff, but I accidentally inhaled around 2oz of the best ‘Colombian eyeball opener’ as I made my morning kitchen floor inspection. I shall insist that an ‘accidental’ inhalation is a perfectly respectable defence as it has been used by many a president and politician.

Since then, I had been very productive indeed. Congratulating myself on the tasks I had completed before my morning sherry, I kicked off the sling backs, cast aside my floral house coat and settled into my meditation hammock. 

I was however isolated in my sense of achievement. There was a slight verbal kerfuffle (with some mournful gnashing of teeth) going on in the kitchen so being an inquisitive hound, I pottered over to see what was going on. It would seem that enough was enough. I was unsure what the tipping point had been, perhaps the danger of a gravity driven clothes avalanche, the sight of Hector sporting his 1990’s pedal pushers or the very real danger of a semi clad Tiny Terror scampering about the house. I soon discovered the source of the ‘word sparring’.

We all stepped back and peered up to the peak of the mountain before us. The Eiger of ironing, which, in its current precarious state had accumulated a sprinkling of snow on its peak. Gloom immediately descended on Spindle Towers. “It is TIME” Hector intoned in resigned wail, it is time the ironing must be tackled. We had all been pretending it wasn’t there for weeks and weeks. I myself am not affected in any way, as most of my garments are crease free. I had noticed however that the staff of the Towers were beginning to look a little bedraggled of late.

This is not the first time that this has occurred. It happens with a depressing regularity. I really don’t see what all the fuss about housework is…and I may have said that out loud. What folly! Immediately the staff rounded on me and began to tell me how much of their day was taken up by clearing up the Spindle detritus and dander that I spread around the Towers. Well, I am sorry but those hound officiandos amongst you will know that hounds do not emit an odour that speaks of their presence…unless of course one has imbibed one too many scooby snackettes and one can turn into a one hound wind machine, ready too inflate a dirigible at a moment’s notice. We are also very clean, I myself pay particular attention to cleaning my paws and undercarriage many times a day. This has been commented on rather salaciously but I really do insist that cleanliness is next to being a happy, clean clam. Because if there is one thing I really like to do, it is to mix my metaphors with abandonment. 

I was given a challenge, that I should pop back into my housecoat and commence ‘Operation Househound’. Well…I hold my paws up now to you all my dear pals, it is not as easy at it looks. 

I had to be bodily extracted from the contraption that the wet clothes were limply collapsed over. The blasted thing snapped shut and tried to encase me in its metal grip. I was unhurt, I am after all quite a hardy hound, but it proved to be difficult to release myself from its bite. Hector wiped a tear of mirth from his gin flushed cheek and prised open the clothes dryer to allow me to make my dignified escape. I would also like to make a complaint about clothes pegs, which can deliver a very nasty nip to the lug hole if not kept under suitable control. Onwards I struggled.

The ironing board had been lowered to a height that I could approach with confidence. I was half way through my first travelling cape when it struck me how truly boring it all is, and it made my back ache…AND the steam button had accidentally been deployed and it had made my ears droop embarrassingly. I had no idea that domestic engineering was so hazardous. It was clearly not for me. 

Yes, enough was enough. I toddled over to the telephone directory on my electronic telephone device and phoned the only person I knew who could wield an iron with a majesty and magnificence that was unrivalled, yes, surprisingly I called Nelson.

Twenty minutes later he arrived at the door, fully kitted out in his police issue, zip up paper body suit.  This was apparently to prevent any shedding of Nelson, and also I suspected to keep his botty warm. I am delighted to say that he is still sans buttock toupee, however the autumnal days have bought about a chill that upsets him. Within a few more minutes he had fully administered himself to my favourite Wang and was going at it with enthusiasm, rocking his tufty tootsies to Transmission Vamp playing in the background. 

The human contingency of Spindle Towers watched with nodded approval from the door. This seemed to be an agreeable solution to our household woes. Nelson was happily helping us out in exchange (for Nelson always had a price…) for a large bowl of roast potatoes and a Dubbonet and Bitter Lemon chaser.

Until next time, may your ironing baskets be forever empty.

Spindle and the Hedgehog

I shall begin this tale in a dramatic way, because my dear pals, it has been a dramatic day for us all at Spindle Towers. I am telling you this as I recline in my evening hammock, the velvet lined one. One spindlesome limb is flung out to the side, with a glass of something potent clutched in my paw. I feel rested and refreshed enough to begin my torrid tale. It has a little bit of everything in it I think, buttock clenching drama, high emotion and also Hector’s beloved Land Rover Series 3…Leroy. The name is absolutely nothing to do with us, we inherited it, the moniker of the large, growling, thirsty, rusty, love of Hectors life. 

So sit back and relax, close your beadsome eyes and imagine a visual fading of reality – very much like the special effects on Dr Who in the Seventies and Eighties. 

…Wibblewobble Wibblewobble…

“STOP”! Muvver screeched from the depths of her puny asthmatic lungs. Leroy swerved precariously and we were all flung to one side, and then, as Newtons law of motion would dictate, we pinged off to the other side. The mechanical beast came to an abrupt halt and we all exhaled slowly, so we could gather our wits and any outlaying body parts that had become disarranged. Nobody seemed to have noticed that I had been upturned in the emergency stop and was in need of assistance to return myself to a sensible and more ladylike position.

Hector was the first to recover and as you would expect, enquired as to the cause of the unexpected squawking from the tiny terror. These were not his exact words I am afraid, yet again (and as often happens in the Land Rover for some inexplicable reason) his terminology becomes intermittently forthright and a tad abrasive. 

Muvver, now recovered had begun waving her arms about in a state of some distress. It was a while before we could decipher her garbled twitterings, but eventually we made out the word ‘hedgehog’. Hector and I looked at each other in the way people do when they are afraid that a family member is verging on an emotional collapse, apprehension and perhaps a sad little shake of the head, that they had been expecting this, although perhaps not quite so soon. 

Hector made her breathe in and out of an unused poo bag as we had no brown paper bags to hand. A top tip here, poo bags don’t seem to work as she just inhaled the entire bag in her capacious gob as she breathed in.  After careful bag extraction, one chorus of Puff the Magic Dragon, she was calm. She explained to us, that we had driven past a hedgehog that had succumbed to the wheels of a car. A battle within which a hedgehog will never prevail – unless of course someone tinkers with them genetically…then who knows!

Thankfully it was not our car, or as Hector grumbled a reminder that a Land Rover is not a car – it is a lifestyle. Nether the less, she was devastated. A slight digression here. Hedgehogs are the most wonderful creatures…unless of course you sit on one whilst having your night time widdle (me, on this occasion). They really are very rare these days and we are all big fans of them. We once rescued a baby one, and since then we have been self confessed hedgehog saviours. 

We were all rather upset by her news, a little tear plopped down Hectors cheek (facial) and we said a little prayer to the Goddess of Hedgehogs. This wasn’t enough for Muvver though. She claimed that it was disrespectful for a hedgehog to be left in the middle of a road, where other tyres could add insult to injury….and when I say insult, I mean a severe flattening. 

Within five minutes we had rummaged around in the depths of the Leroy and located an empty box to put/pour the hedgehog into, oh and two fruit pastilles to gently pop onto the hedgehogs eyes to pay the Goddess for her time and effort and ease safe passage into the next world.

Hector reversed Leroy and we toodled back up the road to pay our respects. We trooped over towards the final resting splat of the hedgehog, our heads lowered in reflection and respect, fruit pastilles and box at the ready. (A Marks and Spencer’s sandwich box no less, which we all felt was a fitting and quite moving tribute)

It was as we edged towards the sad little heap, that we discovered that it wasn’t a hedgehog after all…it was a small, soggy pile of straw that had fallen off a tractor at some point. Muvver simply said “Oh…” There was then silence for a few heartbeats, and I must admit that at this point I was sniggering behind my paw, revelling in the fact that absolutely none of this was my fault this time. 

As a mark of his exasperation, Hector ate the fruit pastilles, sighed and retreated to his beloved Leroy. We joined him shortly afterwards, in a jubilant mood. Once again we had saved a hedgehog! Hurrah for us!

Remember pals, look out for those prickly little darlings, pip pip until next time.

Spindle and extreme picnicking…

Gather round glorious pals of mine, it is time for another diary entry. I am afraid that this tale is partially wee related. Apologies for those of you hoping for something more highbrow, more intellectually stimulating. To be fair, by now, you should know what to expect. 

It all began whilst I was savouring my soft boiled eggs and buttered soldiers one blustery morning. My elegant dipping was interrupted by the rallying cry of  “Let’s go for a picnic”!  This excitable proclamation came from the shambolic staff of Spindle Towers, and they were clearly enthusiastic about it. I could see the anticipation sparkling in their gimlet eyes and muvver was vibrating like a finely tuned hamster. 

There would be fresh air, the possibility of a scamper, and the opportunity to debut my new tweed pinafore ensemble (with matching cape). All would be low risk, high reward and totally socially distanced. There would be food and I could kick back my paws, fill my stomach with sumptuous morsels and watch the world go by. Perhaps, if the muse so took me, I might bang out a poem or two! I could almost feel a touch of the Barratt Brownings’ coming on in anticipation.

Preparing for a picnic turned out to be a right faff, although not for me and I just laid back and watched from my meditation hammock. Eventually, we all piled into the car and the mood was one of abandoned jauntiness. The journey contained a lot of tomfoolery and general messing about – there may also have been singing.

Some time later we pulled into the carpark of our destination ‘Old Winchester Hill’, and for those not acquainted with it, it is an area of beautiful rolling hills, overlooking an ancient hill fort, within the midst of Hampshire. 

The view was quite breathtaking. Something else that was breathtaking (literally) was the howling wind that seemed intent on conjuring up a magical portent around us. We tentatively clambered out of the car, wrestled the door closed behind us, and were all blown straight back onto the side of the car.

My tortured ears were nearly blown away, swirling and flapping about my head like demented bats. I turned into the headwind and my cape immediately detached itself and sailed over the hedge. Gritting our teeth, we pretended that none of this was happening and trudged on to bag us a sheltered spot. We were lucky and found a lovely nook which we settled into and after a slight commotion and tornado of tortilla crisps, the feast began!

The problem really began when both myself and muvver felt a simultaneous call of nature and excused ourselves to find a sheltered spot in which to have a tiddle. I myself had no problem as I wasn’t really bothered if it were sheltered or not. Muvver on the other hand, was more concerned to find a secret woodland clearing as she said some things are best not being a spectator sport. 

We bravely forced our way into a secluded tanglement of trees and she began the preparations for her tiddle. Here I could see the benefit of my pinafore which could be raised up easily, a tweed drawbridge so to speak. She was sporting several layers of leg coverings and I am fairly sure had she been wearing a skirt, then none of the following would have happened.

In my defence, the squirrel was totally unexpected. For one brief second, the tableau was frozen in time, suspended animation for us all. The squirrel, sat on the ground and considered us curiously. We in turn, considered the squirrel. Muvver at this point, was in quite a vulnerable position, mid flow so to speak. Time stopped for us, and so did her concentration…and as a consequence her flow. 

It was then that I remembered my houndly duty to chase all fearsome furry blighters and off I went, ‘skirmish ears’ engaged and right paw cocked in readiness. As I leapt towards the squirrel, it scarpered up the very same tree that muvver was using to maintain her precarious balance. There was a strangled squawk, some foul and toothsome language and muvver was spun around in a flailing of limbs and leaves.

Unfortunately the unexpectedness of this movement kick restarted her flow and she weed down her trusty Dr Martens. If I have to own up to some responsibility, it was forgetting she still had hold of my lead. 

After I was sure my bushy quarry had gone, I remembered muvver and came back to help her up and remove the twigs from her hair and generally dust her down. I am grieved to report that she blamed me for the whole debacle, which was in fact, clearly her fault for not wearing a crinoline. Happily I was reunited with my tweed cape, which was resting on a nearby twig.

We trudged back to the picnic site in a tense silence. Luckily, I am completely adorable so this didn’t last long. The rest of the day was drama free, although there was a moment of sadness when we discovered that we had put the bag of foraged blackberries into the bin and not the well stocked poo bag Hector was clutching.

I sincerely hope they won’t persevere and turn it into a crumble. No amount of custard would ever make that palatable. On a similar theme, I must leave you now to go and telephone my Grandad Tom. Wild rumours are swirling about as to his abundant, and allegedly magnificent, plums…until next time, pip pip!

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Spindle and the grasshopper – the return

Gather round me, my dear pals, I have a tale of mediocre derring do, with a smattering of insect based intrigue. This tale is of scuttling floor crawlers and air flappers…oh and the dogged persistence of the furry winged night butterfly. Not an imaginary menagerie from my sub conscious brain compartments, this is based on events at Spindle Towers within the last day!

It has been very hot in deepest Hampshire, and I am not a fan of the heat. I have been systematically kept in from outside frolics, had a damp tea towel draped on me and been forced to lay on my cool mat. The numpties are worried that I might choose to sprawl on the lawn and bake myself into a stupor like a spatchcocked Sunday roast. What folly! The sultry air that envelopes me is not a friend of mine.

One problem with the hot weather is that we fling open the doors and windows at Spindle Towers, to try and encourage a cool through breeze. This works and is actually rather pleasant to have the breeze whistling through my sizzling undercarriage, but it also means that every single scampering critter enters through the windows of mercy.

We have all been besieged!! The Tiny Terror has been set upon my persistent flappy moths at night, orbiting her head whilst she tries to read her Kindle, which is backlit. Then we have the grasshoppers….and according to Hector you are only allowed to say that word in the style of The Master to David Carradine in Kung Fu.* As a side note, it seems you can pronounce most insects in a comedy voice, another example being ‘moth’, in the manner of Inspector Clouseau.

This evening I suffered a full on assault from a grasshopper that interrupted my sweet slumber by launching itself (without invitation or due care) onto my pointy head. The shock of waking up in such a beastly manner (did you see what I did there?) really was very upsetting. 

Never have I moved so fast, my heart thumping in my Spindlesome chest. I heard a prolonged, high pitched shrieking, which turned out to be me. Kerfuffle doesn’t even begin to cover it. All hell let loose and I ended up then over rotating my limbs and getting them entangled in my duvet which then tried to eat me as I fell over. I noticed that the humans were naturally very upset by this, until I realised their fevered shuddering and snorting was actually laughter, and not the tears of distress that I had expected.

I was calmed down by muvver. She gently cradled my little furry face and chirruped soothing words into my lug holes whilst Hector ran to get the medicinal cheese cubes for immediate application.

This is not the first incident I have had with a grasshopper. * See blog ‘Spindle v Grasshopper’ which recounts my nocturnal struggles with the little blighters. 

The truth of the matter is, that it can’t be overestimated how sensitive a hound can be to external stimulus. A surprising number of things can cause genuine, buttock clenching terror within our tender souls. I myself have a problem with fluttering bunting. This is not an unpleasant medical condition as it may imply, but the terrifying garden decorations that quiver little ominous, colourful flags of doom.

I have also been taken by surprise by a lone runner bean that I found lurking on the kitchen floor (snake) and once when an empty poo bag floated past me (jellyfish). 

An acorn becoming unexpectedly trapped in the gap in ones paws can also be very upsetting. When this happens to me I merely stand with the affected paw held up limply, waving in the air and I whimper until someone removes the acorn for me.  

I have merely touched upon the surface of some of the perils that a hound may encounter, no matter how intrepid they are.

Hounds are often accused of over reacting and being drama queens, but I reject this as mere fluff. We are merely victims of our own delicate constitutions and highly sensitive natures, natures which should be cosseted and fed cheese during any emergency.

It is with this thought that I will leave you all, until next time…

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