Spindle and the Pedicure

I had applied my front paws to my hips, pointed my lithsome limbs in the air and began to pedal towards the ceiling. I had noticed, during my pandemic hermitude that I had begun to let myself go a little. This would obviously not do as a Spindle has her standards, so I had decided to begin a vigorous exercise routine to try and combat the extra padded bits I had acquired and to invigorate my mind with feelings of well being. 

It was whilst I was in this, some might say, vulnerable position, when out of the corner of my eye I saw the pair of human slaves edge their way towards me. They were the embodiment of furtiveness. A small alarm bell rang in my ear when I spotted that Muvver was clutching what looked like a pair of torture pliers…Hector was also holding something and I at once knew what this was about…It was pedicure time. 

I am quite resistant to having my claws trimmed, as I have exceptionally ticklish and sensitive paws so it is usually done by a vet nurse, who is experienced in the way of the vibrating hound. I can remember the times that me, Muvver and the vet nurse, ended up on the floor in a tangled heap, backed up in the corner of the room. I was not happy, and they were not happy. 

When we exited the room, everyone in the waiting room stared at us, wondering what all the banging and shouting was about. Muvver looked like she had been doing aerobics in a hurricane, and I was feeling very put upon. I think it was more alarming that the nurse was not seen again for some time. To add insult to injury I was called several names which are not suitable for repeating.

However, due to the galloping lung virus we had not been to the vets in a while. Muvver had half heartedly attempted a trim, but I outwitted her easily. Now it would seem, they meant business. 

I flopped onto my side and peered at the pair of them, who were smiling lovingly at me. Before I knew it they were crouched at my side, with a glint of determination I was not entirely happy about – and so it began.

I have discovered that one of my best features in a gentle fracas is my Spindle-some limbs. They are a superb deterrent when I flail them about, one limb is effective…all four can be a weapon of mass destruction. There began my reclined reenactment of River Dance. 

After a frantic few minutes we all rested for a moment, all of us panting and the loons trying to reclaim any shred of self respect they had left. (Incidently this went years ago but I didn’t think to mention it at the time). I ignored a whispered conversation between them about orbital sanders and huffed my displeasure at them. 

A look was exchanged between them, then out it came. The game changer.

My nemesis – cheese.

Well this was unfair. My mind became muddled as I breathed in the piquant and alluring aroma of the cheddar morsel that was wafted in front of my pointy face. Hector began to croon gentle words and affirmations of his love, and wasn’t I a good girl (pfft!) and then Muvver went at my paws like a demented Edward Scissorhands. All that could be heard was a gentle pinging, as bits of my claws ricochetted off anything within a 2 metre radius. I then began the mournful lament of my fellow hounds and whined, conveying my distress and decrying the indignity of the situation.

I will admit to you all now, I didn’t feel a thing. Well, that isn’t true. I felt a deep sense of shame that I could be controlled so easily by a cube of cow product. It is my downfall however, and proves irresistible to me. I liked it when Muvver worked in a farm shop deli, as she always came home reeking of gorgonzola and Stinking Bishop. I haven’t mentioned that I still get a whiff of it occasionally, even though she no longer fondles cheese for a living. 

Five minutes later we all sat back, dishevelled (them) and in a cheese coma (me). 

I stared at them with my best reproachful look, but they had the audacity to just grin at me, drunk with victory. 

What was even more annoying was they did feel much better having been trimmed. I no longer dramatically skittered over the wooden floor as I chased piggy pig. I had regained a proper purchase on flooring. 

By this point I had no enthusiasm or energy left for exercise, so I changed into my floral house coat, poured myself a large Dubbonet and bitter lemon and kicked back my newly tidied trotters for a well earned rest.

Until next time my lovelies…

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Spindle and the dinner party

My dearest pals, radiant fellow life adventurers! I write to you today in buoyant spirits. The spirits are not to be found in a handy brown paper bag encased bottle either! These spirits are the kind that sometimes fill your heart with the techno beat of euphoric jauntiness. Today, jaunty is my middle name! Actually it is Esme, but for today’s purposes I shall fly in the face of convention of my designated title.

Following a recent twitter discussion that revolved around the purposeful imbibing of cockles and tripe (I was very much against such chewy morsels) I have decided that it is time I stretched and flexed my cooking muscles again. You may be familiar with a previous blog in which I made sausages entitled “ Spindle Hound – Sausage Wrangler”, which told the tale of when I successfully managed to fashion a “five foot long, distended, misshapen porcine draught excluder”.  As I held forth this beast of exceptional porkage, muvver went off in some dewy eyed reverie, Hector locked himself in the bathroom to escape and the visiting Sister Josephine crumpled to the floor in a faint. Clearly, this was a huge success, a success to build upon. I was fairly sure that I would be unable to surpass the sausage, so I would have to do something different. 

As we were still mostly Covidly confined at home, I had decided to try to elevate the mood at Spindle Towers and create a sumptuous dinner party for the inhabitants/inmates. Food really seems to be the only way to keep the rabble here happy. I put my thinking trilby on, cranked up the Super Spindle Summer Mix on the digital music device and The Isley Brothers wafted around my ears. 

I began my ‘pre cook plan’ warm up by swaying and sashaying around the kitchen, holding aloft my cheeky glass of Pinot and generally circumnavigating ones groove around the room. This turned out to be thirsty work, so after another glass of liquid loosener, I felt suitably liberated from the shackles of sobriety to begin the alchemy of menu arranging. 

I needed to do some research if this was going to be special and this is how I discovered the full range of Fanny Craddock’s finest moments on the internet. Well, what a startling and thorough creature she turned out to be! I was of course aware of her, however this full immersion into her world was rather alarming.

It was an especially dark moment to see a clip where she made doughnuts, and afterwards her husband, Johnny, excitedly decried,  “May all your doughnuts turn out like Fanny’s”. This was then followed by a clip of her gleefully forcing her bejewelled gnarly mitts up a traumatised ex chicken, and proved too too much for me to bear. 

I had therefore sworn off poultry forever. A lesser known Spindle fact – I am actually allergic to chicken. This was discovered when I had just moved to Spindle Towers, the shock of which upset my delicate constitution a little. Naturally they fed me chicken and rice to help my digestive system recover, however this inflamed the issue and dramatically worsened it. The kitchen, then the garden was temporarily transformed into a faecal themed swamp. Similarly sausages were off the menu, as one must never return to ones former victories. I had firmly decided to go 1970’s retro in theme, the provisional menu being:

Melon, carved into a yoga posed prawn (downward shrimp)

Vesta Beef chow mein with deep fried crispy noodles, with avocado jus

Arctic Roll with custard flip

I proudly surveyed my plans and felt that this was going to be a night to remember! Naturally it was at this point that Nelson shuffled in to see what I was up to. He was delighted and very excited about a forthcoming dinner party, but having perused my menu he went very quiet. According to him, the menu didn’t really shout out anything other than a pinched and austere dreariness, something we were keen to avoid.

Then his little furry face lit up and off he scuttled to fetch something from his handbag. This something was a coverless, tattered copy of Nelson’s Home Comforts by Mary Hooper. Emboldened by the name check he began to chatter how much more interesting it would be to use a cookery source from the 1900’s. Naturally I was dubious at one of Nelsons ideas, but I sat down with him and we looked through the book. I was not convinced, being especially discombobulated at what a Dutch Flummery was, which I suspected was really a contraceptive method, written in code. 

We stopped reading the pamphlet when we found a page extolling the virtues of ‘Nelson’s albumen’ and ‘Nelson’s extract of meat’. Our appetites had now totally escaped us, and taking the only action we could in these circumstances, we reached for another bottle of Pinot to rethink matters. More planning was clearly necessary, but I will of course keep you posted.

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SpindleQuiz

My glorious pals, you are my precious beacons of light in the chaos of lockdown life. I am turning to you with the desperate hope that you can provide me with the sanity and clear thought that I am clearly not getting from the incarcerated idiots in Spindle Towers. 

Spindle Towers has fallen prey to a phenomenon that is seductively insinuating itself into the nations psyche…yes, the zoom quiz.

Friday night has turned into our main quiz night, where several of the Tiny Terror and Hectors’ merry band of friends come together in a frenzy of hilarity and heckling. 

The wall of beaming faces collectively appear on screen, as our friend Beth commented, like a cross between Blankety Blank and The Muppet Show. 

Each household is contained in a small screen area, gurning at each other and clutching either beer, gin or tea – and in some cases all 3.  Rumour has it that last week, one of the rowdy rabble was found gently snoring, limbs out flung like a stunned starfish in the snug at 3am, such was the excitement of the proceedings and possibly the liberal application of ale helped too. 

Although there is much horseplay, it is taken fairly seriously, there is even an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the scores, and Hector was reprimanded for unauthorised crisp packet rustling and unjustifiable crunching, during the movie theme round last week. 

It is unfortunate that the laptop in Spindle Towers is so old that it is rare for it to last the entirety of the quiz…on one or two occasions it would not even start. Hector has to wind up its circuit board propeller and grease up the contact points. We did wonder whether Brian Cant might be up to his old tricks again, taking possession of the laptop, but it seems he is more at home residing in the printer, which we have all come to terms with and are happy for him to stay. (If this confuses you, then you probably need to read some previous diary entries). 

The quiz rounds in question have been of varying quality in my opinion. There have been some really rather clever ones and hilariously funny ones and then unfortunately the ones penned by the inhabitants of Spindle Towers. I normally spend my Friday afternoons relaxing in the garden with Nelson. He can usually be found behind the greenhouse, continuing to attempt to divine water using his lucky coat hanger. He has unfortunately become a little anxious during the lockdown, so much so, that he has taken to wearing the dreaded buttock toupee again. Naturally we have been lending him the support he needs, and we have at last succeeded with getting him to discard the winter toupee (tog rating 20) for a lighter summer toupee. He is a sensitive soul, but really a balding bottom does not define a hound these days.

I myself was spending the warm afternoon lounging, having kicked off my sling backs, poured a Campari and Soda, and was nestling in the papery company of Agatha Christie.

It is then that the tiny terror, my haphazard muvver, comes crashing through my reverie like a crazed hippo, waving her arms and a piece of paper about…which means she wants to practice her questions on me. 

So far we have had varied offerings, and still she maintains interesting and important things can be learned. All I learned from this week was that a former British MP came a cropper in 1881 when he fell off a horse, landed on a turnip and died. What I am supposed to do with that nugget? Last week we had to endure Unusual Medical Treatments through the Ages, which quite honestly was a bit unseemly in parts. The second round of today’s practice was Anagrams of Venereal Diseases, which I must admit was almost humorous in parts. 

As it turns out, it seems that there is no limit to how funny anagrams can be, especially after a few drinkies. This then led us to look up anagrams of other names and things…including me. These were some of our favourites…

SPINDLEHOUND:

Nude Dolphins

Huddle Nips On

Idled Posh Nun

Piddles Oh Nun

Noddles Uh Nip

Puddle Shin No

Undid Hen Slop

Odd Hen Lupins

Dud Nelson Hip

I await this evenings quiz offerings with some trepidation, so I shall go and prepare myself with another Campari, I may even break out the twiglets.

This is where I will leave you today, my dear pal. We have to go and de-fluff Hector’s quiz fez. Until I see you next time, keep you lovely self safe and healthy.

Pip pip mon amie!

Me resting during the quiz             Me wearing the answers

Spindlestink and the exploding duck…

My dearest pals, there is no greater joy than that of finding a mildly festering pile of fox poo on ones daily perambulations. No words can convey the utter joy of body slamming down onto the sweet smelling lumpsome offering, a quick shoulder slide, then an extravagant back stroke through it….then repeat. Then repeat, until the shouting and waving human approaches with a look of impending horror on their sad little faces. Then, we troop back home, me, with a jaunty spring in my step and them, shoulders slumped in resignation, breath held.

What comes next can only be described as a punishment, but for what I have not managed to work out. Bath time. It takes two of them to perform this act, both muttering and retching as they lather me up. All that hard work of working the poo right into my delicate earflap folds and saturating and impregnating my collar and I only had half an hour of benefit.  The last time this happened, I was sulking in my nest after my vigorous waterboarding experience when they dragged me out again as they could still detect a whiffette of Basil Brush.

Eventually, after a good towelling down, we settled back into the parlour, ready for a gentle evening of televisual entertainment, snack scoffing and considered debate. To try and placate me they offered me my bear and my all time favourite nest mate – duck. It was at this point that the second calamity of the evening was discovered. It would seem that my best duck has spontaneously exploded. I have no idea how this happened, but most of its insides were outside now, like wispy little clouds of duck innards.

It is also not the first time. A pang of guilt flitted through my mind as I remembered our last Spindle-duck tussle where it had given me a thorough beaking and I had, in retaliation, amputated its foot and chomped a hole in its head. 

The Tiny Terror inspected it and she said a few choice words…she then had a brilliant idea! So inspired is she by The Repair Shop on the television apparatus, that she will stitch it herself, channeling the Repair Shop’s zen like calm and brilliance of the two ladies who resurrect much loved furry fellows. Ten minutes later she had stitched its beak to her cardigan sleeve.

Yes, it would seem that whilst she can, quite competently, stitch together and make a book, ducks are beyond her remit. Hector on the other hand has a long history of needlework and sewing with his collection of Singer Sewing machines, and he sprang out of his chair, reached for his sewing fez and set to work with that frenzied glint in his eye of a fanatic.

Some time later we looked at the deformed and forlorn creature with some sympathy. We then shifted our gaze from Hector and peered at the duck for inspection. It would seem that Hector does not excel in duck repair either. It had not gone well. Now the duck had all the correct body parts, but they were not necessarily fixed in the right order.

Watching with an interested gleam in his eye, was Nelson. He chirruped from his yoga hammock that he had had a brilliant idea. We all closed our eyes in silent prayer and took a moment to ready ourselves. From our experience this could involve anything from a snack delivering dirigible to an automatic tassel twirling device for his best sequinned leotard. 

He scrambled out of his netted lounging scoop and scuttled off to find his electronic tablet device and within a blink of his beady eyes, Vlad the Tailor was filling the screen with his wrinkly little face.

*For those of you who are now confused, Nelson had introduced Vlad the Tailor  to us during a terrifying tale in the last diary entry, The Vampiric Tortoise, which had upset everyone considerably and led to several bladder malfunctions. Vlad appeared before us, wearing his casual evening cape, rifling through a packet of frazzles. The problem was explained to him, and he abandoned the packet with great excitement. 

He also loved the Repair Shop. There began an hours verbal worship of each expert in turn, there was as they say, something for everyone, and particular attention was paid to Steve and his magical hands. Eventually we remembered the reason for the call and I showed Vlad the duck. Apparently it looked very like an old friend of his, Igor. He rattled off advice and tips which Nelson took careful note of. 

It was a joint effort, but we finally got there. I was eventually handed an over plumped, squinting duck. I gathered it to my loving breast with my paw and held him gently. Duck and I had been through a lot together. 

Silence fell in the room as the opening credits of The Repair Shop began, somehow life seemed far more reassuring when we caught sight of Dom wielding his angle grinder. 

Stay safe and fox poo free my great pals, it only leads to unpleasant water based purification and buffing. 

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Spindle and the vampiric tortoise

The new challenge in our lives now seems to be how to entertain ourselves without leaving the comfortable confines of our homes. This is certainly true for the merry band of lounge lizards at Spindle Towers.

Many suggestions had been floated around the kitchen table as we breakfasted one morning. We immediately discounted the ironing, on account that a global pandemic still wasn’t a good enough reason to approach the huge and overflowing basket that was locked away in a cupboard. We were all in agreement. All housework and DIY pursuits were put on hold, as we felt it was our duty not to succumb to a hideous broom or hammer inspired accident and unnecessarily burden the NHS. 

More tea was poured, more bacon sarnies were scoffed. More ideas were pinged back and forth between us.

We eventually decided that it would be a jolly diversion to have a virtual evening of terrifying ghost stories, where we could gather together the friends of Spindle Towers, and mistily remember when we used to go out and actually meet each other in person. We were surprised at how much we missed people as we had always thought ourselves as being naturally hermitally inclined. We were instead very grateful that modern technical wizardry allowed us to meet up, via the laser display board, or rather phone or computer screen.

Preparations were made, invitations were issued, snacks were assembled and a surprising number of alcoholically inclined bottles were conjured from a secret hiding place (inside the back of Hector’s sewing cupboard).

Once we were all virtually gathered, the first stumbling block was deciding on the story. We jointly agreed we were not ready for “Things that go hump in the night” which was suggested by our dear friend Sister Josephine (who was attending via video link with Mother Nonna Assumpta, from their disreputable club, The Velvet Marmoset). Interestingly, we had just discovered that Sister Josephine was the sister of the infamous Isobel, known occasionally to make love upon national monuments. There was a respectful silence as we all thought about this. 

We also had in attendance, Lady Hester and Miss Harriet Arbuthnot, who were appearing from the ancestral home of Lady H. Their Spring wedding had been sadly postponed, however they were facing this with their usual show of determination and fortitude, decreeing that as they were in love they were already entwined by the universal ring of dedication and devotion, and therefore already accepted by any Gods and Goddesses who were worth worrying about. They would happily wait for the big party as long as they were together. I suspected that the heady heights of marital cohabitation were slightly different from the reality of being quarantined together for weeks on end, but I knew that Lady Hester had a secret cigar smoking and Martini quaffing bunker for such emergencies. 

The first issue was that Nelson had refused to come out of the camper van as he had had another undisclosed waxing crisis, so we had to set up a speaking tube fed through the window (a discarded bit of vacuum cleaner hosing) as he had taken it upon himself to be the tellee of the tale, and was unprepared to relinquish this tenuous and fleeting grasp on power.

Eventually, after some muffled, high pitched shrieking (Nelson) the rustling of crisp packets (Hector) the laboured and predictable joke about unexpected ghoulies (Tiny Terror) and finally the sound of a vegetable being lovingly polished (Sister Josephine – and not a euphemism on this occasion, she is inordinately fond of aubergines), we began.

And then Brian Cant joined us. Last week, the ghost of the great Brian Cant (much loved children television box presenter) had reached an agreement with the TinyTerror. Yes, he could continue to manifest himself at Spindle Towers, but on the proviso that it was between the hours of 8pm and 6am, therefore not disturbing her as she worked during the day. 

As it turns out Lady Hester has a certain sensitivity for these sorts of things and picked up on him immediately. She was delighted and asked if he could perhaps persuade Terry Wogan to also join us. Sadly, Brian explained that Terry was currently on a celestial golfing trip, but he would be sure to pass on her best regards on his return. 

We eventually settled down, ready for Nelson to thrill us with his terrifying tale of doom and despair…and he began to read the front page of the Daily Mail. This was unexpected, but we all agreed by the time he had finished we were suitably drained of hope and humanity.

All was not lost though as he then tooted a little fanfare (we shall gloss over this tooting, as it was not intentional) and then he began in a strange, strangled voice to recount to us the Tale of the Vampiric Tortoise. 

After he had finished, there was a stunned silence, then a thud. The thud was the aubergine as it rolled off Sister J’s trembling lap. Harriet was sobbing and had to be led away by Lady H and even Brian Cant had wafted off in a state of shock.

My dear pals, it took an hour for everyone to regain their sense of gentle reality and unburden themselves from the mental images that Nelson had evoked. Our evenings entertainment had been cut short due to everybody feeling quite upset and unnerved by the tale of a multi dimensional, part time seamster, blood sucking tortoise, brought to life so vividly by Nelson. Nelson swore that he could introduce us to Vlad the Tailor if we wished, as he had run up a few tweed gentleman pouches for him in the past. We declined and reached for the single malt, it had been a long evening. It had been a long few weeks in lockdown.

It was decided that next time we would chance “Things that go hump in the night’.

Sweet dreams my dear pals, keep safe.

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Spindle Stays at Home

Dearest friends, I hope you are all keeping well. Hector, myself and the Tiny Terror (muvver) are still at home, with the addition that Nelson is self isolating with us. He had been living by himself in a flat above the specialist magazine emporium, but it was decided that we would gather him under our flappy bingo wings during these strange times and move him into Spindle Towers. He is always safer when under observation, so is staying in Mavis the camper van, who is parked forlornly in the garden. The main reason he is in the garden is that I was keen that my reputation would not be sullied by rumours of Nelson based hanky panky. Considering that we had only just glacially arrived at second base, in our case this was Nelson showing me his buttock toupee collection, it was unlikely to be an issue, but that was not the point.

He arrived with a small case of belongings, a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and a family size box of Jaffa cakes. He was clearly relieved not to be isolated on his own as he can’t get to grip with any technology, thus rendering any attempts at video calling futile and frustrating…and on one horrific occasion, nude. This was especially upsetting as it was a group conference with the local WI that he is…well…was a honorary member of. I shall not comment any further on the honourable member…as it certainly wasn’t on that occasion. He did wrote a letter of apology, but as yet he has not been reinstated.

The other reason that Nelson was banished to Mavis is that he has a large collection of unsavoury foibles that he has amassed over the years. We can forgive most of these (usually) but he is now learning the cornet. As yet he has only managed two notes with any degree of confidence, we concluded that the haunting strands of the Last Post  emanating from Mavis, was not helping our mental well being at the moment. 

In turn, Nelson was quite used to the usual sorts of daily happenings here, so he was not in any way alarmed when the spectral manifestation of a beloved children’s television presenter began to rear its head again, the day after he moved into Mavis.  

For those who are initiated in the way of previous diary entries, you will be familiar with the notion of Brian Cant haunting the office printer at Spindle Towers. For weeks, his printed obituary kept randomly popping out of the printer to great consternation of all inhabitants. Muvver was quite pleased in a way as he had been a great favourite of hers as a child.

Anyway, it would now seem that Brian Cant has now infiltrated her laptop. I merrily tootled into her work area to see her wrestling with the laptop, muttering outrageous oaths and generally flapping her arms about. I decided to do the right thing and ask her what had happened. It would seem that whilst she was working with great diligence and fervour, the laptop would intermittently launch into ‘And she was’ by Talking Heads. Now I know she is fond of this tune so I was perplexed as to why it was a problem. She explained it was more the manner of the suddenness of each performance, and also the excessively high volume level that was bothering her pulse and testing her bladder muscles. I myself have been exercising my Pelvic floor muscles for years and continue to snap shut like a well oiled purse, indeed it has been the envy and talk of many a dinner party.  Just a moment of contraction and concentration a day can ward off unexpected dribbles, and keep the vet away.

Being helpful, I handed her a rolled up bath towel and left the room, as the beginning boings began signifying “Psychokiller” and she attempted to try and contact Brian through the ether, to kindly request he stop until she had finished working.  

I had described the inhabitants at Spindle Towers as ‘slowly marinating in an isolated madness’ on my twittersphere page, and it seems this may be the best description I can muster for it.

Nelson and I have noticed several changes in our daily lives during lockdown. Biscuits (Hobnobs and Kitkats) have garnered great importance, and meal times now delineate the day, much like in a hospital…or in fact any institution of your own choosing.  The apparel also seems to have changed, and is now may I say somewhat sloppy, haphazard and mostly elasticated. 

More distressing is that my walkies are now randomly timed. This has the effect that my body clock has similarly altered and I have been needing to make a steamy sacrifice to the altar of squat and drop, at quite uncivilised times of the night. Naturally, once I am up and I have performed, I feel ruddy marvellous and full of exuberant beans, but my excitement fails to enthuse anyone else at 2am. I have begun to slink off to my nocturnal nest with my best duck and make it quack until one of them huffs, gets up and removes it from me. 

All in all things have changed at Spindle Towers, but it seems a very small sacrifice to make in the grand scheme of things. We have been out banging saucepans (one of them was being worn by Nelson at the time) and clapping to try to convey how grateful we are to the wonderful people who are working very hard while we hibernate.

I shall leave you, as Nelson and I are soaking up the sun in our garden, laying like discarded bagpipes, with knotted hankies covering our sensitive portions. 

Until next time, keep safe and well my great pals.

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Spindle’s Self Isolation

I am reporting to you some bewildering changes to life at Spindle Towers. My daytime activities have been severely hampered as it would seem that the Tiny Terror and Hector have both decided to dedicate their lives to hermitude and isolation, and I fear I will never be left alone again! I casually questioned them about this new turn of events and it is because there is a virus circulating and the tiny terror is apparently vulnerable, she said she was venerable, but I heard venereal. A mild scuffle broke out as she fought to protect her good name. Words were exchanged. 

This news was quite alarming and I had to hurry and telephone to cancel all my week’s arrangements that I had made thus far. I have been an enterprising Spindle and have been hiring out one of the bedrooms for Nelson’s new hobby/business. 

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and alternate Fridays, he becomes Mystical Nelson, keeper of furtive secrets and all round fortune conjurer. It was his idea but I quickly saw the merit in it and agreed to host and split the profits. We had gone all out to set the scene and I had draped a beautiful rich red velvet around the walls, festooned the room with candles and had set up a large leather chair for him to perch in. 

I must say he looks very authoritative as he inhabits this persona, bedecked in a billowing gold cape and a ruched satin cap with a sumptuous tassel (all discovered in Hector’s wardrobe I may add). Thankfully Nelson’s errant appendage is now under more control with the aid of a specially commissioned pair of industrial strength lederhosen.

It had been rather illuminating so far. Sister Josephine had been a frequent attendee, as had an incredibly dashing chap called Eggy Elton. I must admit that his jaunty bonhomie and all round endearing smile had made my knees tremble and I have taken to wearing reinforced bloomers when he attends, lest I reveal myself. There have been queues of excited customers, clamouring for his attention, which he naturally loved. 

After a good hour of ringing around I congratulated myself on such a speedy saving of the situation. That was until the doorbell rang and I heard a familiar ‘cooeeeee’. I had forgotten to tell Nelson and he had wafted through into the kitchen in full costume, clutching his beloved crystal ball and a portable smoke machine.

There was a moment of intense silence as we all stared at Nelson, and then, the loons fell about laughing, until brown paper bags were needed to calm them down. The sudden shock of this unexpected reveal caused Nelson’s paws to loosen their grip and his ball dropped to the ground with a crash, as a sad little puff of smoke was emitted.

Poor Nelson, there he stood, my love, robbed of dignity and his favourite divining props. I knew he was upset when he called Hector a canker arsed chump and flounced out of the room. I hurried after him to soothe his feelings, the hoots of laughter still echoing in my earflaps as I went.

It took quite a long time to cheer Nelson up, but he eventually perked up when I waved a plate of custard creams and a bottle of Merlot in front of him.

Fear not though my dearest pals, Sister Josephine has promised that she will employ Nelson in the Velvet Marmoset, who for the uninitiated is a glorious nightclub of some reputation, as can be seen by its marketing:

Any earthly worries, you will forget

once safe inside the Marmoset

Give in to it my dears, to all it has

your unbridled desires, leather clad

The point of this unfortunate tale is that it would seem I will be having company at Spindle Towers for the foreseeable future. It may well be the same with you, my dear pals. If so, then we shall have to keep our spirits up, support one another, and most of all keep ourselves safe.

I will write soon, until then my dear, dear pals

Pip Pip

Hound note: This is my 70th diary entry and I therefore believe I deserve a congratulatory sausage for unwavering commitment and services to writing.

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The Spindle Flop

I heard the rat a tat flap of my private post box (not a euphemism in this instance dearest pals, fret not, I remain secure and rattle proof thus far in middle age) which was installed due to the sensitive nature of some of my correspondence. I can’t recount the full horror when Hector inadvertently opened my subscription of ‘Clackers for the Uninhibited’, which was unfortunately the collectors edition with full colour photographs…it being the ‘Year of the Clacker’ of course. He sidled away with a furtive glint in his beady little eyes and wasn’t seen again for several hours. 

I forced open a sleepy eye, slowly unfurled a limb from my duvet nest and extracted the contents. On opening my missive I discovered it was actually an internal summons…an official meeting had been called at Spindle Towers and attendance was obligatory. These meetings did not happen very often and they normally signalled that some household regulation had been breached in an audacious or unseemly manner. Previous reasons had been trivial matters such as:

1 mashed potato heat sealed to the kitchen ceiling 

2. incorrectly loaded dishwasher

3. wiping sardine smeared furry chops on the duvet

Naturally I knew that my own conscience was as clear as consomme, so I emerged in a jaunty fashion and trotted through to see who was in the deep doo doo this time. Hector peered down through his executive pince nez at me, and I thought how creased and thoroughly jaded he looked. The Tiny Terror, who was doing an inelegant faceplant in her bowl of coffee, had a similarly frazzled countenance. My best guess was that realising how they had been short changing me on snacks, they were overawed with guilt and were about to make unfettered reparations in the nom nom department.

I was wrong. The cause of the meeting was me. Things were rather sombre (at times they were weeping gently with fatigue) as it turns out that I have developed a new nocturnal habit that has been waking them at night. I flicked through a number of scenarios in my mind… precarious tennis ball storage? 

I was guilty of extreme sleep flumping. Naturally, as a self respecting hound I had eventually wheedled myself onto the bed, and it now seems that I had taken to standing up, shuffling over to either one of the loons, then dropping on my side, on top of them. 

Think a cross between Big Daddy and a felled oak, this is the impact that a 23kg Spindlehound can have. I had no idea I had been doing this. Apparently it was utterly terrifying and also quite non-conducive to sleep. After giving it some considerable thought, I begrudgingly agreed that it would be stressful and discombobulating, and it was very unfortunate that it may have mirrored the effects of a major cardiac event for the receiving ‘flumpee’. 

I listened carefully as I had to admit that this was not the way to conduct oneself at night. I had always pictured myself at rest as being graceful, serene, practically beatific in fact. There was an alarming turn of events when they said they were going to zip me up in a sleeping bag, or I was to be bundled into the wardrobe and hang upside down like a hound bat. The mental combat began and Sister Josephine was called over for tea and to act as an unofficial umpire and general calming influence. She was also rather forthright when she had her hands on a rolling pin.

Some time later, Sister J witnessed me signing a promise on the back of an envelope that I would cease to launch myself unexpectedly between the hours of 10pm and 7am. Trauma over, I scuttled away and left them both snoring and dribbling on the kitchen table. Sister Josephine was last seen ferreting through ‘Clackers for the Uninhibited’…

Pip pip my glorious pals

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Spindle Interrupted

Good evening and may I welcome you to another perambulation around my pointy head. Draw up a recliner and settle down for some sublime Spindle time. I will begin by offering you todays events at Spindle Towers.

As someone who would not be particularly inconvenienced by snow, indeed, someone whose life experience of snow peaked at the heady heights of 7 inches, the Tiny Terror absolutely loses her brown stuff at the mere suggestion that it is on its way. Living in  Southern England now though, it does not happen with the regularity that it did when she was an ankle biting Northerner. She remains hopeful however and haunts any weather website as the white stuff is apparently ‘magical and ethereal’. I disagree, as my experiences of snow are not as serene. Need I mention the troublesome habit of snow collecting in ones paw pockets. Or the ridiculous clothing I have to put on. It is agreed at Spindle Towers that I do not leave the confines of my duvet nest unless it is above freezing…and sometimes then only after a gently assisting ‘knee up the hindquarters’.

 The Tiny Terror (Muvver) had a phone vision chat with her dotty sister today, who was bouncing about with excitement as they, up t’North, were on a yellow weather warning for snow. We however are not. After the conversation ended she moped about the kitchen for an hour before deciding to cheer herself up. Still subdued, she donned the cape of consolation and shuffled off to her studio to draw some bats. Finally, I was then left in peace to contemplate life.

I had decided to give my head noodles an airing, well not so much an airing and more like a vigorous work out. I pondered and extended a nimble limb, and whilst nibbling daintily on my toenail, it came to me in a flash – I would write a novel! This would give me a new purpose which I wholeheartedly need. This was an important moment and in reverence to it I put down my biscuit. I suddenly envisaged myself reclining on a chaise longue, entirely bedecked in pale pink, a feather boa, rouged cheeks and a jewelled turban.

My reverie was shattered with a thunderous knocking at the door which indicated the ever exuberant arrival of Nelson, keeper of my heart and all round lolloping darling-chops. He bounced in through the door, clutching a gold edged envelope in his furry mitt. Initially I thought that he had a glitzy court summons, but it turned out to be something altogether more exciting!

It was an invitation to Lady Hester and Miss Harriet Arbuthnot’s forthcoming marriage! We knew that they had been enjoying a certain romantic understanding, as myself and Nelson were also slowly colliding towards, but we were rather surprised at the speed of acceleration…however we were comparing it to us…our pace was more glacial. 

The loved up pair met in rather an odd setting a few months ago. Lady Hester and Camilla were out replenishing their stock of gin when they had a slight collision in Waitrose’ car park between the Bentley and a 2CV. The owner of the 2CV stuck her head out of the window and accused Lady H of being a “mewling, flap mouthed strumpet”. Incandescently irked as one would be, Lady H put down her sausage roll, passed Camilla her handbag and exited the car for a fracas. However somewhere, violins played and a cherub skewered them both with the same arrow.

Lady Hester, one of Nelson’s failed romantic endeavours, remains good friends with us and we often bump into them at various social soirees. She is usually guzzling special brew out of her slingback by the end of the night, which is when we help her into a taxi.

This was indeed happy news, however before we even begin to think about the wedding day, we have the hen night, Nelson being an honorary hen. Not at all perturbed by this, he clapped his paws together in glee and started to plan his outfit. This hen night has the additional bonus that both brides will be present and all in all it promises to be a bit of a hoot! The evening is to be in The Giddy Kipper, a lovely little pub, neatly positioned a mere scamper away from Lady Hester’s picturesque cottage. Camilla has promised to be the door woman, content with an evenings’ supply of cigars and a copy of Llama Weekly.

By now all thoughts of my novel had gone and I furtively swept aside my toenail nibblings and poured out a cup of Earl Grey for Nelson and myself, as we argued about our proposed sartorial choices.

Until next time, dearest pals.

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Stormy Spindle

I can’t fully express how completely discombobulating it is for a delicate hound to go out in stormy weather. The very thought is an outrage in itself. It is January and therefore I understand that my evening perambulations will be done in the dark. This is acceptable, as one can button up ones ‘stepping out’ cape and polar tog muff to warmly enjoy the evening scamper sniffs. What I object to most strongly is having to venture out in the wind and the rain. For those who may not know this, a sighthound (other hounds are available) can in fact snap one’s bladder shut like an old fashioned purse if the situation dictates. The hermetic sealing of the undercarriage can respond to varying weather phenomena from mildly cold to artic freezy, especially if you are forced to move your sorry, furry behind from out of a warm and cosy duvet nest. 

If ones plumbing pressure does become bothersome then I can always find a handy boot or bobble hat to water. The point I am trying to make, is that no hound should have to go out in the wind and the rain. Ever.

I was idly flicking through a copy of Hamster Fanciers Weekly, when a rolled up ball of paper sailed through the air and gently pinged off my pointy head. Peering over my spectacles I came face to face with a grinning yeti, or as I came to understand, Hector, fully togged up in his walking gear. 

After consulting my watch I agreed that it was indeed time for a gentile strollette so I rewrapped the custard cream packet and off we went. The first clue to the adverse conditions should have been when he strapped me into my winter all weather coat. It even has a little peak for a cap and I think I look rather fetching and regal in it. The back door was opened and promptly blew straight back onto Hector’s knee, which I must admit did make me chortle. This was the second clue. We finally managed to leave the house on our third attempt and stepped straight into Kansas. Nothing ever prepares you for the first strong, cold, gust up your bracket. The neck fastener on my coat had loosened itself and my hood immediately inflated with the wild air and I nearly sailed head first over the shed. We looked at each other and through an entirely non verbal, yet explicitly understood conversation, it became clear to me that we were not going back in until I had…well…performed the necessary ablutions. 

Have you ever tried to engage evacuation protocols in a storm? What followed was a dreadful scene of lashing rain and muttered profanities, as we both pursed our lips and squeezed our eyes tightly shut for differing reasons. Eventually I claimed victory and succeeded in my quest. 

I stepped back and looked down to see Hector fighting with a small, trembling black poo bag, very much like watching Tommy Cooper and his brown paper bag act, as it fluttered in the wind and rain. Well, my dear friends, hilarious doesn’t even begin to cover it. It was a little like one of those Japanese endurance shows that Clive James used to present many moons ago. Utterly priceless. Grinning in success, he held the filled bag aloft like a prize Trout and it promptly blew straight back in his face. At this point I allowed the wind to carry me as I fell backwards, helplessly crying with the sheer joy of it all. We bravely fought out way back to the door, wrestled it open, and flung ourselves inside the porch as if our lives depended on it. 

I eyed Hector disdainfully as we both dripped on the mat. He had turned an unusual hue since the ‘bag in the face’ bit. No amount of treats could make up for this attack on my sensibilities so before he could grasp me in his grubby mitts for a cleansing towel down, I legged it and rolled on the carpet. There is now a muddy Vitruvian hound to mark my place.

The moral of this short tale, is that NO hound should ever have to endure a walk in a storm.