Spindle and the Shaftesbury Six

This morning I had to face the indignity of being coaxed out into the rain for my morning constitutional. I was not that keen. The tiny terror was keen however as she had books to make and things to do, so she took me out for a reluctant drag around the village. In her defence, she did croak out an encouraging ditty to facilitate the onslaught of the evacuation process. Sadly the tuneless din she made only served to constrict and tighten any resolve I had to keep my treasured offerings. Eventually we made it home, where I am now curled up on my chair. The reason for this tiredness? Well! We have just had an exceptionally spiffy weekend away with some dear friends of ours. We assembled in a pub (naturally) and as I sipped my Cinzano I surveyed the raggle taggle ensemble for the weekend. Naturally Hector and the Tiny Terror were there in all of their haphazard glory. There were also the dynamic twin combination of Mistress Beth and Bee, both raven hair moppets, rumoured to circumnavigate a dance floor in a way that leaves many temporarily speechless. They were accompanied by their respective spouses, grandmaster DJ Alan and the intriguing Haynes manual enthusiast Nick. The female participants were all chattering at the same time, waving their arms about to punctuate the discussion. More sedate and considered contemplation was emanating from the gentlemen of the group, who were all comparing their membership cards for Beard Topiary Today.

A provisional plan was set for the weekend, which we gleefully abandoned immediately as that was the sort of willy nilly mood we were all in. After visiting a sub zero emporium of precious antique articles, we sallied forth to check in to the pub within which we were going to be residing. They had the good taste to accept hounds, and I can also report they had a glorious fire, where you could extend all limbs upwards to the ceiling whilst you warmed your particles. As I watched the ladies do this, I contented myself to sit cross legged with a small glass of sherry.

Having briefly touched upon the subject of dance floors, it was declared in a burst of verbal excess that my lithesome limbs would lend themselves very well to a bit of retro shape throwing.  Having enjoyed several sherry and Dubonnet chasers by this point, I was encouraged to show them what I could do when I put my mind to it. When in doubt, you should always return to what you know, so I threw off my sling backs and launched myself into some stylish voguing. It was all going well until I misplaced a paw and careered off the table into the arms of the surprised chap behind the bar, who was busily polishing the glasses. He began to hear a violin begin to croon somewhere in the room, but before things progressed any further (there were unnecessarily lewd catcalls from the onlooking rabble) I had to explain about the true keeper of the key of my heart, Nelson. It was taken in good grace but I detected a droop of dejection. 

It was whilst we were basking in front of the bar that evening after a sumptuous feast, that a very interesting discussion developed about the indignity within which a hound has to do one’s tiddles in public. Yes, I can raise a leg daintily as I do so, but this does not detract from the fact that one’s delicate fairy is exposed in public. A moment which humans generally prefer to do in a private isolation. Also, an unexpected draft whilst siphoning can be very off-putting indeed. Alan’s suggestion was that a specially engineered poo tent that could be erected around me.  As we were a group of enquiring minds we took the idea of this and ran with it. Perhaps different sizes for different breeds, a range of appropriate designs and then we went into full theoretical production. We were determined that we would not out source, and that each one of us would display our own particular talents. There would be a plethora of tents. Would the plural would be poo-tenti? This then rapidly descended into the ridiculous as it tends to with this lot so I won’t discuss any further details, although I will profess to having some interest in Nicks idea for a nozzle that gently puffed out warm air to dry ones portions when finished.  

The following morning we gathered for sustenance, and they all had on their special quiet morning voices. A gaggle of cooked breakfasts appeared as several members of the group condemned themselves to the God of sausages and descended into a nommy pork coma. I am delighted to say that I was one of the lucky sausage samplers. 

The rest of the day was spent in the company of some new friends, they were both joyfully creative, especially gifted with thoughts and the appropriate words. I felt a little humbled when I thought of my own meagre diary offerings. They were very hospitable and provided cake and tea.

All in all it was a rampaging success, and I am hopeful for another one, perhaps Nelson would be permitted to attend…

So as the silken sheets of slumber gently envelope me, I wish you well, my dearest pal.

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Spindle’s poorly paws

If you are a regular reader of my modest diary offerings, you will be aware that my life has become romantically interesting lately. Whilst I continue to contemplate Nelson in his new starring role as heart warmer and all round companion,  I will relay recent events that do not involve Nelson, who is currently spreading his own brand of hairy mayhem in Oslo. He has a lifelong fascination with lemmings, and has an impressive collection of paraphernalia relating to these frenzied furry critters. He has gone on a spotting jaunt, armed with his camera, to seek out the Norwegian specimen. 

I have recently found myself enveloped in January/February gloom. Not one to wallow, I decided to try and drag myself, paws first, out of this maudlin abyss. Exercise was the solution, I was fairly sure of this. However I came a cropper after an unexpected (and entirely not my fault) incident where I became over excited on seeing a woodland beastie silhouetted in the distance. With no discernible hope of getting anywhere near the said beastie, I set off with great houndly haste and an unswerving positive attitude. 

After a short period of ineffective manic zooming and limb flailing, I returned to a waiting Hector. Hector was having his own difficulties. Having just become the proud owner of a pair of varifocal spectacles, he was stood in the field, peering all around him like a confused, bleary eyed, meerkat. 

I evidently came into focus as I shambled back towards him, and I noticed that he was sporting a distinct look of displeasure on his wee beardy face. I looked up at him adoringly, he looked at me with a look of dismay. It was then that he uttered a profoundly reprehensible string of expletives. I peered down to see what he was blethering on about….and it would seem that I had a slight paw owie. This curtailed our walk, and to be honest, I must admit that I had a bit of a twinge in them. 

Once at home I was made to stand on a towel whilst the injury checklist began. Apparently all lurchers and sighthounds have a special checklist owing to their natural ability to get into scrapes and speed related mishaps. I was naturally very brave and did not flinch once. The conclusion was that I had acquired multiple abrasions on all four pawski’s. One of which would not stop sneezing out scarlet tears…so off we went to the vets.

Thankfully, no stitches were needed, but I had to wear baby socks to let them heal without any nibbling interference. To make matters worse, it has been snowing here is deepest, darkest Hampshire, and so I had to go outside with my trotters trussed up in poo bags (unused) to keep them dry for my allotted short wee and food disposal outings.  I am not one to complain as you know and I bore the discomfiture with the quiet grace that you would expect from me. Not a peep did I make, and I definitely did not demand medicinal sausages. Or extra curricular chest scratches and ear twiddles. I did have my daily antibiotics in a bit of cheese though, which was rather nice.

As I was administered to in the kitchen, I spotted something rather splendid. I have my beady eye on a new woolly item that appeared in the house for the tiny terrors birthday. Hector outdid himself in the gift buying department with a brilliant snail tea cosy. The tiny terror was beside herself, it doesn’t take much. I have form with tea cosies and she carefully explained to me what would happen if I stole this one and ate the pom pom. 

On the subject of birthdays, Hector is trying to ignore a significant birthday that is fast approaching. The tiny terror is out of her mind with angst, as she naturally wants to celebrate this event, Hector…not so much. 

Her list of ideas, which circumnavigate his peculiar interests, so far have included:

Tank spotting with a picnic luncheon

Pocket watch fettling

Landrover gazing

A monthly subscription to Bifurcated Rivets for the Uninitiated

 As she now works from home, she is what she calls, slightly hampered by a modest budget that does not befit the enormity of the birthday event, she would need to modify her ideas. Therefore the prospect of tandem skydive turned into Hector leaping off the wardrobe whilst holding aloft a cotton hanky. This was then deemed problematic as the wardrobes are built in. I will naturally keep you posted. Thankfully my great pal grandad Tom will be staying with us, and he is the undisputed party tiger.

The other exciting piece of news is that we are toodling off for a weekend away with some marvellously spiffy friends very soon. The tiny terror has been bouncing about like a spring loaded ferret and Hector has suggested that he might well be cheerful, and, at a push, jaunty!

With so many things to consider I am going to go and polish my fossil collection and have a well earned cup of Earl Grey and a figgy roll.

Pip pip dearest pal.

 

Spindle’s Christmas surprise

My report of Christmas day at the Velvet Marmoset has been delayed. It has been quite some days since this occurred, indeed a whole year has even bid us farewell. It has taken me some time to process the events, I am of course quite quite well but…well…perhaps I should just recount the events first, then you might understand my prolonged reverie. 

I had been experiencing high hopes that it was in fact going to be a bit of a corker this year. Christmas can be unpredictable as we all know but there is something of a comfort in the traditions that some of us seem to plough through. It is as if we can say, yes, the world is going to hell in a hand cart in many ways but we will at least have a familiar day of knowing we are overeating similar food offerings, indulging in mild family fracas and wondering what day it actually is. 

We heard the festive hooter hooting as Nelson pulled up in his chauffeur driven charabanc  and we were unsurprised to see that he was already half way down a bottle of his festive home brew. He had made an effort and was sporting his best bow tie and optimistically had suspended a sprig of mistletoe from his tail (still delightfully free of buttock toupee).

Christmas at the Velvet Marmoset was promised to be a grand affair, so I had dug out and dusted down my prized Wang. Hector had poured his lithe limbs into his gold lycra leotard, very much influenced by the great Mr Mercury. Not wanting to be unnecessarily salacious or erotically obvious on a family day, he decided not to go with the feather boa, instead preferring to drape a sensible woollen scarf around his shoulders – shoulders may I add, which were heavily adorned with glitter body butter. I presumed the scarf was for some sensible added warming effect later on in the evening as the air was beginning to chill.

The mad muppet had decided to tone it down somewhat this year. She recently went to a Discworld themed party and suffered quite deep lacerations after her wizard’s sleeve got caught in the Kenwood Chef. Ever since then, any outfit that is being mixed with alcohol has no dangling flappy bits. Therefore she wore her tweed all in one catsuit with a sensible shoulder length cape. At her age she really shouldn’t, but not everyone can aspire to be a sartorial sensation such as myself or Hector. 

I must confess that nothing out of the ordinary happened until later on that day. We had all enjoyed a splendid feast and then had succumbed to the turkey induced coma, happily slumping in winged back chairs, in the newly furnished lounging chamber. This was newly decorated after the fireball incident, as described in the tale entitled ‘Nelson and the Flaming Hoop of Destiny’. 

The sherry magically appeared and we all began to enjoy a quiet and dignified post dinner drink, toasting Mr Cohen and Mr Bowie, as we went. This was followed up by a cheeky champagne chaser and then someone found the bottle of something that Sister Josephine has brewed in her vegetable shed. It was about 50% proof and contained, amongst other things, her prize winning parsnips. Some time passed. Drinks were drunk. We were drunk.

Giggling to ourselves, Nelson and I giddily traversed the room in search of a tasty morsel to help soak up the booze. We were strangely unstable on our trotters, so we linked paws and off we went. En route to the stuffing balls, I stubbed my paw and ended up tottering sideways, gathering speed, trailing Nelson behind me like a large hairy satellite. Gravity prevailed and we crashed through the pantry door, landing in an inelegant horizontal heap. 

I hazily looked up to see various tinned goods and glass bottles springing off the shelves, one I focussed on read ‘vitamins for the disenfranchised’, and it was then that things began to slide sideways in my memory…

The door was flung open by Hector, to find…well myself and Nelson…er…well…we had marginally transcended the boundary of ‘just good friends’ via the means of a gentle, shy peck on the cheek. Nelson was the pecker, I was the peckee, and the cheek was the one attached to my face. My handbag was initially twitching with the urge to hit him and protect my good name…but much to my surprise, I dropped it on the floor and tried to understand the warm and happy feeling I was experiencing. To make matters worse, or better, Nelson seemed as thunderstruck as I was. We both sat together on the floor, quietly thinking about what had just happened. However, our moment of contemplation was shattered fairly quickly. 

Hector, himself feeling the need for a scooby snack, had also skulked to the kitchen, had heard the almighty din and had come to investigate.  He stood, door handle in hand, staring at us open mouthed…we kicked the door back shut in his face so we could continue our thinking in private. 

Nelson was ever the gentleman hound and patted me on the shoulder, telling me that he was as surprised as me as to this act of sudden affection and was similarly perplexed – and happy.

This was going to take some contemplation. The problem with that, to perform some well thought out reflection, we still had to get out of the larder. The emergence of shame. We waited a good while until it fell quiet and then tentatively opened the door. We were met with the gaze of everyone present at The Marmoset, peering at us with great interest. They had found snacks, had formed a semi circle of chairs and were waiting to see what happened next. 

So I leave you dear reader with this report of a most unexpected occurrence. I need to consider things as I am not distressed, which would have been my first expected reaction. Instead, well I feel as though I have just found the one thing I have always been searching for, even though I wasn’t aware I had lost it in the first place.  I need a sherry. I need to think…

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Bobblegate…

It has been a while since I contributed to my diary. For this absence, I partially blame a troublesome crab apple which became unexpectedly wedged in my front left paw. It happened whilst I was scampering about one morning in the woods. This was really quite perplexing, as I had already had a ‘corn scare’ the previous week, and for one moment I thought I was being haunted by the ghost of the ‘corn that might have been’. I mentioned this to Hector after he had removed the offending fruit, but he merely shook his glorious silver mane and ignored my supernatural plight. It was this and a general feeling of forthcoming festive apathy that had seen me taking to my velvet lined bed chamber, armed with a packet of custard creams and the plans to make a time travelling teepee to bypass Christmas. I know you must think me a grumblesome hound, but quite honestly, after last years debacle, which centred around advocat, recalcitrant sprouts and Mrs Peterson’s aero dynamic knickers, I was feeling wary. To try and avoid any untoward festive chaos this year,  I have been gleefully informed that we have been invited to spend Christmas Day at the Velvet Marmoset…I know, what could possibly go wrong. Nelson is also going to be in attendance. 

Incidentally, I can now report that Nelson has finally come to terms with the ending of his relationship with Lady Hester. He has decided not to pursue his broken heart’s desire any further, after reports were made of a sighting of her and her new beau. To our great surprise, she was spotted slithering out on to the pavement, from Soapy Sid’s Ford Cortina the other evening, tiara askew and somewhat worse for wear. Surprisingly, Nelson has been quite upbeat following this news, and he has even decided to rid himself of his ridiculous buttock toupee. I am delighted to see this empowerment growing within him, there is only one Nelson after all, and this should be celebrated!

A lot has happened in the past few weeks, one of them being a visitation from people from The North! Amongst this raggle taggle band of adventurers/assorted family members was my good pal grandad Tom! As ever it was a joy to see him. Another unexpected visitor was Taz the lurcher. He is indeed a fine looking chap and I looked forward to a game of scrabble whilst we chatted about the problems of our respective humans. He however, had other ideas…and these ideas were of a most fruitsome and debauched nature. Quite honestly, I had a belter of a migraine coming on, so his advances were optimistic at best. He didn’t even ask me to dinner before he began whiffling about my lady treasures. I am afraid I was reduced to delivering a full and throaty bark at him as he made his final effort to traverse my hind quarters. After that he kept a more suitable distance, although he did keep giving me the saucy ‘eyeball’ now and again. 

I am writing to you today from a position of slight disgrace. I am in the bad books here at Spindle Towers. My copy book has well and truly been blotted. In my defence, a red bobble hat with generous ear flappage, very much resembles a squirrel, especially if you are basking in a custard cream induced stupor. My sighthound instincts are usually second to none, so on spotting this potential threat, I sprang into action, crouched Spindle, hidden ninja, ready to do battle with my tree dwelling nemesis. Well, I must say I really did teach it a vigorous lesson. It was only as I discovered that I had a mouthful of wool that I suspected there had been a misjudgement on my part. There has been not one scrap of appreciation for my bravery from the loons. I challenged the marauding devil squirrel and thus rescuing them for a certain fate of unwanted nut plundering. There is now an unfortunate and wicked rumour going around that I have a fetish for woolly bobbles. This is quite untrue. For those who know me well, will agree I am more of a tassel girl. 

The tiny terror is much distressed as she values her warming head wear, or a ‘head hug’ as she calls it. It also hides the nightmarish explosion that is her hair. She has taken to now wearing her one remaining hat, thinking that would stop me pilfering it. She has obviously not thought this through, she is 4ft 10 and I am Long Shanks the brave, lofty Lurcher hound burglar extraordinaire.

Speaking of headgear, I can report that Hector is currently sporting his winter flying helmet. He has disgarded his summer fez with rakish abandonment and has firmly buckled up the leather chin strap in place for the forseeable future. According to the Tiny Terror he looks ‘a dream’ as he strides purposefully around Spindle Towers in his hat and silken smoking jacket. She sometimes gets that look in her eye and he resorts to locking himself in the bathroom for his own safety. 

So as I finish this short update, I will bid you farewell. Nelson is on his way round for his final kilt fitting so I must prepare myself. Until next time, pip pip!

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Spindleknit and Betty

Inch closer to me my dear reader and let me tell you a story. What I have to relay to you is part mundane diary entry and part boot confession. It all seems to have begun when I met a new pal at the weekend. Betty Lurcher has allowed friends of ours to adopt her, gracious I think you can agree. I must say that she is rather good fun. We went for a countryside walk at the weekend and I spent all afternoon guarding her undercarriage from enthusiastic hounds who sensed she was at her most…beguiling. Anyway, whilst we were chatting, she began to tell me all about her collections. They are vast and eclectic, including a hypoallergenic sporran and an unidentified seed collection, belonging to Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort, the celebrated lady gardener of her time.

Betty has not broken the news to her new slaves that she comes with considerable baggage and that it is currently being shipped over from New Zealand. I listened with interest and a great deal of sympathy. Hector and the Tiny Terror both have a sordid history of collecting…well…everything. Spindle Towers is packed full of numerous adored artworks, medical apparatus of dubious origins and specialist leather goods (most boxed, mercifully). 

I myself am not a natural collector really. The closest I come to this is probably my flirtation with shoe hoarding. They are ideal to nibble on, hide things in, and in rare but emergency occasions, wee in. My favourite ones are the collection of Dr Marten boots that the Tiny Terror insists on stomping about in. Barely a day goes by when I don’t hear her muttering words that most good citizens would shy away from in horror, as she can only find one of a pair. The other is usually in my bed…or hidden in the garden. I just can’t help myself. I also sometimes do this to punish her when one of her errant musical playlist begins. For example, the one she called ‘A good hard bang’, began to screech away at me earlier. No, my dear Sir, I do not want to ‘Walk this way’, or indeed ‘Talk this way’. Why she can’t just get a grip and settle down to something more sedate I will never know. 

There other news is that I was assaulted by a roaming scamp of a pheasant on my evening walk! What a dreadful shock it was to me. I was ambling along, minding my own business, when I heard a noise from the nearby bush. The bush quivered, and being of a keen, enquiring mind, I went to investigate. What can one do when a bird simply flies out, straight into ones open, salivating chops?? I was literally spitting feathers and had to sit down with a small libation to recover my senses afterwards. My staff did not believe my of version events when I reenacted it with a cushion later, which wounded my feelings somewhat.

In other news I have to report that it is getting colder. I am not a fan of the cold. In an unspoken complaint about the lack of heating in Spindle Towers, I have taken to roaming around with my blanket still wrapped around me. This is one reason why Betty and I have decided to take up knitting. It is a peaceful, relaxing and warming pastime and also means that we can knit everyone something for Christmas, meaning we can save our pennies for our motorbike and sidecar. 

The Tiny Terror gets leg warmers, that is a given. She loves them and has a vast collection of these woolly tubes that encase her chicken legs. I am knitting Hector a cable knit tool belt, so he can keep all of his precious things with him at all times, never to be wrenched from his wrench again. Nelson is going to have…well…that is a rather delicate matter that I won’t divulge to you, he has had a difficult time of late. Betty is going to knit her dad a beard cape, he has a lustrous ‘Brian Blessed’ chin covering, warming his face and she thinks it should be celebrated with a cape. She is then going to knit her mum, the kooky little moppet that she is, a pouch to keep her fossil collection in. This way, she can whip one out at a moments notice if the conversation calls for it during drinks and canapes. 

We have set up a den at Spindle Towers for our wool based pursuits. I urge you to think of the skill that it takes to mobilise and coordinate our lengthy limbs to cast on neatly, let alone the heady mix of knit and purl. Betty is rather good I must say. Apparently she once crocheted a blanket for a convalescing tortoise she was quite fond of when he was suddenly struck down, in his prime, with a terrible case of influenza. Sven (aforementioned tortoise) recovered well I am pleased to report and is currently terrorising a selection of fresh fruit and prospective mates in Oslo. Whilst discussing this I relayed the argument as set out in the blog post ‘Tales from Kent’, about the correct pronunciation of tortoise/tor-toise/tortus, which did get quite lively at one point. Betty it would seem is very firmly set in the ‘tortus’ camp. I kept my counsel and did not pursue this madness, not wanting to sour a new friendship.

After hours of merrily clacking away however, we discovered that we were using the same ball of wool for our separate projects and had met in the middle, much like the meatball scene in The Lady and the Tramp. Unsure of what to do, and not wanting to waste hours of work, we decided to join our two respective garments together, and thus came up with the first ever ‘Tool Cape’ (patent pending). A cape to keep one’s tools warm and neatly packed away. Alongside this we also developed a self help book for hounds who wanted to knit, entitled, ‘Non perilous purl with a paw,” catchy I think, and yes, one is still a slave to alliteration. Or as has been unkindly suggested, illiteration.

So it is in a relaxing scene of wool that I leave you today, my dearest reader. I wish you well and trust that the sunshine of the day shall forever warm your ear flaps. Until next time, pip pip. 

 

The Errant Appendage

Oh my dearest and most esteemed reader! I hope I find you in good spirits and health. For the last few days I have been sat at my mahogany writing bureau, still trying to come up with my continuing and cunningly cunning plan to reunite Nelson with Lady Hester. I feel it is my duty as a good pal and also, I can’t afford the amount of Sherry he is getting through. Alas as the more time goes by it seems that this is getting less likely to happen.

He was still labouring under the weight of misery following his romantic break up and it really was a sad sight to see. He came over for drinks and a game of dominoes the other evening and I could barely get a smile out of him. He is, as you might imagine, in a state of delicacy and so I was treating him gently and with great houndly concern. This is why the current situation that had popped up, seemed all the more difficult to try and resolve. 

At a certain stage in life, a friendship becomes such, that you are faced with the reality that you might have to tell a good pal something that is sensitive, risking their eternal embarrassment and your own awkwardness in having to do so. 

We had already discussed the buttock toupee debacle in my last diary entry, delicate enough I think you will agree. I had now discovered another foible of Nelson’s that I had to address as a matter of great urgency, as I had no wish to so see him arrested or headlining the local news again. (I do believe some clips are still flying about the Interweb, of when he became inadvertently tangled up in the Toblerone protest march and ended up paw cuffed to a bollard.)

This issue has become more noticeable as Nelson has begun to trundle down the path of middle agedom. Thankfully, as a female of the canine variety, I fold up nice and neatly, and am not concerned with such perils.

How can I explain? Well, have you ever seen those toys for children, when you push one end in, the other then pops out to the great delight of the onlooking child? Well, Nelson is getting a bit like that. I first noticed it one lunchtime whilst we were enjoying a cup of Earl Grey in our local garden centre after a bracing walk together. I myself am a bit of a slave to a nice moist Battenberg, whereas Nelson prefers a nicely textured slice of carrot cake. Having secured our vittles, we found a suitable shaded table and settled ourselves down, and that it when I spotted it. Every time Nelson sat down now…well…his private appendage popped out.

This is not something that one feels is a common occurrence in a garden centre, and this assertion was born out when our mutual friend Margot popped over to say hello to us, took one look at Nelson, and bid a hasty retreat behind the hardy perennials. He seemed completely unaware of this, and was happily sprawled back in his wicker chair, indulging in some vigorous crumb hoovering. 

I maintained a desperate and almost fanatical eye contact and tried to convey my horror to Nelson through the medium of a horrified stare. This did not work as he was too busy scarfing down the remains of his cake. Finally, I had to point with my paw at the offending article. To my surprise, when he looked down and found it peering back at him, he shrugged and said, “Oh, yes, it does that sometimes,” and carried on slurping his tea. It began to dawn on me a little of the trauma that Lady H might have endured through their relationship. No wonder she was aways rushing over to see Camilla for gin and sympathy. I felt that a talk was needed, and I decided that Hector was just the chap for the job. 

I felt unqualified to advise on this sort of a thing, and it had come to my attention that Hector was a man who might know what to say. As an aside, I believe that my human acquaintances have been faced with a similar horrifying situation on holiday when a gentleman’s swimming shorts rode up and the essential netting did not entirely encase the contents. Sadly in this case, Nelson is not one for wearing trousers, preferring a long argyll sweater if the temperature really drops.

Now I have nominated Hector as the ideal man to help out, I would like to add a disclaimer (he made me) that to my knowledge, Hector has never suffered from an undercarriage malfunction, although his jodhpurs once split during his riding heyday as he swung his lithesome legs over Bowman, his rather wide steed, revealing scarlet underpants. (Hectors, not the horse). No, some things had to be discussed man to mutt. 

Later that evening I tackled Hector and asked him if he could assist me in re-educating Nelson as to the proper time and places to relax and air one’s wares. He reluctantly agreed after I invited Nelson in after our walk and made him sit opposite Hector. This seemed to galvanise him into action. Not wanting to hear any of this conversation, I had suggested they went out for a meal at our favourite little Italian restaurant, Tom’s, as they had very long table cloths so Hector would not be distracted from his mission.

As I watched them setting off together, I settled back with a battered Agatha Christie paperback and a very large sherry, It had been quite a trying day for a Spindlehound.

In concern for your viewing comfort, I have added a blue rectangular modesty cover. You are very welcome.

Nelson and the Flaming Hoop of Destiny

I feel compelled to tell you how our evening at the Velvet Marmoset ended. This was primarily with me being stretchered out of a singed, smouldering club and being carted off to have some emergency dental work. Naturally, as ever, I blame Nelson. It was naive of me not to expect that an evening with the component parts of the aforementioned miscreant, cocktails and flames would only really end one way, that is, the potential involvement of one (or more) or our most brilliant and underpaid emergency services. 

I left you with the announcement of the return to the stage of Mistress Webb, Spindlehound and the Flaming Hoop of Destiny…how prophetic that announcement turned out to be.

Our spiffy circus performance was naturally quite spectacular, and there were gasps, cheering and the odd uncomfortable silence at the appropriate moments as I leapt elegantly through my devoted Mistresses fiery hoop. There may also have been some interpretative dancing and mystical mime. It was afterwards, whilst the Tiny Terror and I were enjoying a celebratory ‘Ginger Minx’ at the bar, that my still smouldering hoop accidentally ignited Nelsons nether regions. 

His state of intoxication was such that he didn’t realise he had a flaming posterior until it was pointed out by a passing fellow Marmosetter. He peered round to see, and it was then that his keen canine nose detected the smell of burning fur. Well goodness me, he moved with a spritely turn of paw that quite surprised me.

We all looked on in interest as he hurtled around the room like a Wall of Death motorcycle rider. This was a classic school boy error in the face of panic, as I believe the correct procedure for this situation is the ‘drop and roll’. Sister Josephine, never one to miss any excitement, was poised to pounce with the fire blanket, but Nelson would not stay still. 

Straightening myself up and smoothing out my crumpled frock, I felt that immediate action was needed. I scuttled over to the bar area and as Nelson was making his third revolution of the room and I stuck out a spindly leg to trip him up. It did not go exactly according to my plan. His windmilling paws of panic fetched me a biff in the chops and I reeled backwards over the bar, just as Sister J deployed the blanket to smother his back end. It all went terribly quiet for a few moments and then some extraordinarily bad language was muttered from under the blanket. As it was slowly removed, a bedraggled Nelson was revealed, clutching a small blackened creature, himself surprisingly unhurt. He also had a bit of a shifty look about him, more than he usually did. 

Moments passed as I unfurled my limbs and dizzily turned myself back up the right way. It was with some trepidation that I looked to see what poor creature had perished in the inferno. It was very still, flat and done to a crisp. Nelson tried to furtively sweep the beastie under a table, but Sister J skewered it with her stiletto and poked at it with her other toe. It remained unmoving. As my drink addled neuron fired up things began to fall into place. I realised that the ex creature was not a creature at all.

It seems that Nelson had been wearing a buttock toupee. In this case it had served him well and had saved him from a rather nasty undercarriage injury, but it did beg the question, why?  We discovered that the buttock toupee had been the cause of the falling out between him and lady H. Worried that she would find out his secret, that he possessed a balding bottom, he had been refraining from any heavy duty, intimate sniffing action. Lady Hester assumed that he was therefore not entirely committed to her affections, hence the showdown on the fated camping trip. A buttock toupee though? That was a thing? Apparently not, it had been fashioned from a winter hat he found abandoned behind a radiator in a pub. To his credit the colour match was splendid. The flammable substance that ignited was the glue he had used to adhere the thatch of fur to his gentlehound quarters. It was clear that we needed a long chat about this, but I had not fared that well myself that evening.  

As I had been propelled over the bar, I hit out and caught a passing seafood platter with my outstretched paw, and as I fell in a sprawling heap, the dressed lobster bounced off my pointy nose, breaking my tooth, on its journey to the floor.

The good news is that I had a most comfortable and satisfactory visit to the vet, who mended my tooth and gave me a cheeky scale and polish whilst they were rummaging about in there. I was housed in the penthouse suite and I awoke in a drug addled daze, wrapped in pink blanket. As I began to emerge from the fog I turned my attention to my good pal Nelson. Now, what could I do to help him, in both his quest to win back Lady H, and also his own acceptance of his silky smooth botty…

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