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. 

 

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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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Return to the Velvet Marmoset

Today, dearest reader, I should like to discuss with you matters of the heart, the beating muscle that powers us, which can be broken, stolen and uplifted. It is this essential organ, sadly broken in Nelson’s case, that dictated the fire based shenanigans I shall now relay to you.

If you are familiar with my poetic ramblings on this electronic diary, you will be aware that my good pal Nelson has had a lovers tif, a spat if you will, with his beloved Lady Hester. I have to admit to you that I have been struggling with knowing what to advise him, as my own romantic history is somewhat disappointing, and should not be held up as a fine example to anyone. As an example for you, I met a really rather nice chap on my fateful speed dating evening, we swapped numbers and I had high hopes for a burgeoning friendship. I won’t upset you with the full details of our ‘parting’ but I shall say that I will never look at a pair of castanets’ again in the same light. 

Anyway, in a fit of desperation I decided that Nelson and I should have a night on the town, to help him forget his love related trauma, and for me to forget my continued spinster status.  

We decided that Saturday night was the night, and we were going to the grand reopening of the Velvet Marmoset! We were anxious and excited to see the transformation of the club since Sister Josephine had taken it upon herself to be the glamorous hostess and all round ‘activity activator’. Her aim was to carve out a niche, welcoming environment for the disenfranchised, hopeful and downright shifty. (Speaking of which, I am sorry to report that Mr Pendle had unfortunately been barred before it opened, sad but probably for the best).

It really did look absolutely splendid, I clapped my paws together in delight. If pushed to describe the Velvet Marmoset now, I would say it was a strange, yet beguiling union between a Victorian Parlour, Burlesque cabaret and underground circus. 

Whilst gazing around I spotted a huddle from the local W.I. playing strip scrabble in the corner, and then I saw Hector, sporting his best evening fez. He was demonstrating his miniature steam traction engine to gasps of wonderment from his audience. Whilst I was peering at his velvet smoking jacket in admiration, I noticed a swift movement, then a shadow pass over him, just as he had got up a tremendous head of steam.

I looked up to see the cause. Of all the things I was preparing myself to see, I hadn’t anticipated or expected to see my good mistress, the Tiny Terror, perched on a be-ribboned wooden swing that dangled precariously from the ceiling. She was dressed…well…I may have mentioned mid life crisis before in my accounts, but this was really screaming out for some kind of urgent therapy. She was sporting a fitted, full length tailored jacket, over a mere suggestion of a skirt, fish net tights and a pair of her long black DM’s. She had also ferreted out her top hat and was wearing it at a jaunty angle, complete with a large ruby feather. She spotted me and cheerily waved as she swung away from me back into the shadows. She looked like a deranged, feathered bat. 

I suspected that the night was not going to end well for us, she had that troublesome glint in her eye. Through a complicated series of mid air gestures, I gathered that she was due a break soon and she would join us. Oh good. 

Reeling from this fresh aerial horror, I tootled over to the bar to find Nelson ordering a large jug of ‘Woo Woos’, and two glasses with the contents of a fruit bowl bobbing about in them. We found a secluded table to inhabit and sat back to survey our glorious surroundings. Nelson was especially pleased to find a set of dominos, his favourite after dinner game.

In my defence, I had never been privy to a Woo Woo before, and I must say I found it more pleasing than I thought I would. After several glasses we then decided to try a ‘Tinkers Tackle’ and off Nelson went, weaving as he meandered to the bar. By this point we were both feeling much cheered. 

I heard a kerfuffle and a crash and then suddenly, the Tiny Terror was with me. She downed her ‘Nuns Pippin’, and began to gibber away at me. I blame the Woo Woo, as it puffed away all my inhibitions and metaphorical brogues, to replace them with my over the knee scamper boots of abandonment. Of course I was going to help her create a memorable finale to the evening’s entertainment! I am nothing if not a faithful hound, and I will leap (stagger) Lassie like, when needed, and tonight by jove, I was needed! 

As we waited in the backroom, I heard Sister Josephine begin to stir up the crowd as she announced that the time had come for…

”Mistress Webb, Spindlehound and the Flaming Hoop of Destiny”.

 

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Madame Spindle

It all began, as these things tend to begin, with a simple misunderstanding. It was finally the weekend and we had locked up Spindle Towers and sallied forth, ready to ride the waves of relaxation in Mavis the campervan. We were off for a cheeky and long awaited weekend away from the chaos of daily life. It is the law of sod however, that ensured that our chosen weekend had perilous weather warnings, for torrential rain and heavy winds. Naturally, either side of this particular weekend, the grey clouds had, and were due to, part like satin theatre curtains, to reveal a sultry Indian summer.

Nevertheless, we were all feeling especially intrepid (and fairly desperate) and were determined that our freedom would not be deterred by a matter of inclement weather.

We therefore burst out into the wonderful world of Wareham, which resided in the kingdom of Dorsetlandshire. Arriving without too much fuss, we spent a blissful evening of tea drinking and reading. I was working my way through Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole, and feeling peckish, I also had a nibble on some Dorset Blue Vinney. 

Awaking to a cloudy yet dry morning, I quaffed my Earl Grey and quickly packed my handbag with my essential items. As a treat we were going to have our breakfast out, and I was treated to a sizzling Saturday sausage! It was, I can report, a corker. It was well formed, had a glossy even brownness to it, and was stuffed full of porksome goodness. We enjoyed several pots of tea in the cafe, whilst I was complimented upon by several other ‘Saturday morning sausage snafflers’, and had my earsies gently stroked. 

We eventually unfurled ourselves from our corner and peered out of the partially steamed up window. To our dismay the rain was now lashing down, several hours earlier than had been forecast.  It was then that we realised our great folly at leaving my coat behind in Mavis. I was most distressed as it was my best fleece lined oilskin, with velvet piping and waterproof panniers for my custard creams. I looked beguilingly up at the pair of shambling numpties (AKA Hector and the Tiny Terror), and made it very clear I was not going out in THAT weather. It is just not done for a hound to be exposed to such dreadful conditions. Many things were silently conveyed between the three of us during the next five minutes, which ended up with sigh from the Tiny Terror and a resigned shrug from Hector – this was a victory shrug to Spindlehound! 

We ended up scampering into the nearest pet shop to see if we could exchange some of our best pounds into a houndly raincoat. After making our brief request, I was promptly encircled by a kindly woman who began wrapping me in various sartorial disasters, all of which would have had Nelson rolling around in the land of mirth. I cast my eyes to the heavens, then closed them anticipating further coat related humiliation. Trying to deduce the correct size, the kindly woman hollered “She’s a medium,” to her co conspirator in the stock room. This is where it all began to go totally teats up. You would have thought that no folly could conceivably arise from this. You wouldn’t though, would you? 

It took twenty minutes for Mater and Pater to convince the wild swivelling eyed harpy, that emerged from the dark corner of the shop, that I was not in fact a Medium, and in no way had ever been, or had any psychic experience. (This isn’t strictly true, as certain circles have requested my services to successfully assemble a roughly hewn love poppet out of nothing but a gentleman’s handkerchief, a dolly peg and a strand of private hair). 

The harpy was not convinced. “She has the sight!” she insisted as she waved her goat headed stick around in excitement. Now, dear reader, I must say that we are not strangers to unusual incidents occurring around us. I blame Hector, he seems to be a magnet to all things peculiar and mysterious. However, there are limits, and it was whilst she was rummaging in her voluminous bag for her bells (her ‘Telling Bells’ which would, she assured us, confirm her assertions) that we began to edge very slowly towards the door. The Tiny Terror was quite taken with her, and was quite keen to see the bells, but Hector took charge and flung the correct amount of coins at the counter and we scarpered. Unfortunately in our haste to escape, they had not properly secured my new raincoat down around my derriere, and as we turned the corner the wind inflated it, and I nearly ended up in Poole harbour. I have said it before my friend, and I will say it again, a hound does not like an unexpected gust up her tail.

Oh how we laughed about this later when we were snuggled up in Mavis. Well, they did. I was still reeling from the shock of wearing a wind propelled rain protector. I was placated with a custard cream and a rather nice glass of sherry which took the sting out of it a bit. 

It was, in conclusion, an eventful morning. Thankfully the rest of the weekend passed without incident, or any that I am prepared to commit to my diary anyway. Soon it will be time to return home. Now I was going to have to give some thought as to how I was going to cheer my good pal Nelson up He had recently experienced a ‘parting of the ways’ from his beloved Lady Hester. We need a plan…one that may or may not be cunning.

 

 

Camp Spindle

I have been absent from my diary for a little while, the reason behind this is that I have been resting in my dimly lit chamber, digesting the events from my recent camping holiday. Even as I type this my heart sags a little when I consider some of the more vivid memories of the week. The trip had been organised by Nelson, which is probably all you need to know to set the scene. The actual planning had taken weeks to sort out and was made difficult by the increasing numbers of participating ‘happy campers’, seduced by Nelson’s vigorous presentation in the village hall. A projector and a pointy stick had been involved, alongside an overwhelming sense of optimism. Finally, on a bright morning, we sallied forth for a few days of rest and much needed reality evasion. 

Camp cast:

Hector – driver of bus and camp umpire

Tiny Terror plus mystical crab (spiritual glass crustacian)

Spindlehound – prepared for the worst, hoping for the best

Nelson – hopeful for the best, yes, ever hopeful…

Lady Hester – accompanying Nelson, a splendid sight in gingham

Mother Nonna Assumpta – accompanying Sister Josephine and leader of Team Ogg

Sister Josephine – vegetable aficionado and leader of Team Aching

Mrs Peterson from down the road, known for her taut knicker elastic (see Christmas blog)

Mr Pendle – devoid of HRT patches and with a renewed interest in siege warfare.

The journey itself went far more smoothly than I had anticipated. I wondered whether I had been a little harsh in my premature assumptions of what the week was going to bring. Our hearts were full of happiness and it was all going down the traditional ‘Famous Five’ jolly outing route. We even had ginger beer. The holiday had begun!

Nelson and Hester had gone off in a carefree fashion, paw nestled in paw, armed with a picnic, blanket and a bottle of wine. Hector had gone to referee Mother Nonna and Sister Josephine as they began their annual ‘singles’ volleyball grudge match. Each player was sporting outfits for the purpose of this sporting event, both in their convent house teams, Ogg and Aching. Their names and houses were emblazoned on their racy singlets, in the green corner, Nonna Ogg, and in the lilac corner we had Sister Aching. Both were poised, ready to thrash several shades of compostable matter out of each other.

Hector had donned his best flannels and panama hat and was carrying a silver topped gentleman’s cane which was only to be used to separate the participants in extreme circumstances. Mrs Peterson and Mr Pendle were spectating, alongside a group of eager boy scouts that were staying in an adjacent field, their interest piqued at the unaccustomed sights playing out before them. 

I will not describe the dreadful scenes that followed, but both participants were eventually led away to the first aid tent and were not seen again that trip. They made their own way home some days later with a group of Morris Dancers they befriended, to whom they were invited to join, and were both bedecked with bells,sticks and owl feathers. The scouts were guided to a nearby recovery centre where they were wrapped in tin foil sheets, given sugary drinks and issued with a phone number for the Samaritans. Most worryingly of all however, was the disappearance of Mr Pendle and Mrs Peterson.

Mrs Pendle had declined her invitation to the trip, citing malaise and a general indifference to Mr Pendle. The trip had seemed to nurture in Mr Pendle, a burgeoning appreciation of Mrs Peterson, especially since he had been informed of the infamous aero dynamic quality of her undergarments. It was later explained to me that he was an avid subscriber to “Which Trebuchet’ and believed she might have the answer to some of his more complex twanging impediments. They were last seen scuttling off into the woods with a bag, bulging with tangerines. 

We switched from Enid Blyton to Agatha Christie in our analogy ‘and then there were 5’. Nevertheless we remained moderately contented campers. Unconcerned with the rapidly declining numbers we decided to picnic, so we strode out to enjoy the beautiful day. The day proceeded with the level of dignity that you might be expecting. The big news of the day however is something that I am very sad to report. Never in a million years did we suspect relationship tension between Lady H and Nelson. Concerned with maintaining some level of privacy for them to talk, Hector, Tiny Terror and I sidled off to closely examine a very interesting blade of grass in the next field. We suspected that negotiations had not been successful when a partially eaten scotch egg flew through the air and landed next to the blade of grass that we were studiously examining. 

Half an hour later, a shiny Bentley rolled up and collected Lady H to deposit her with her pal Camilla for gin and sympathy.

So then there were 4. The remainder of the holiday passed fairly quietly, but the mood was definitely more subdued than when we had first arrived. The journey back in the mini bus was a sedate affair as we all contemplated the latest drama in silence. The only noises to be heard were the muffled sniffles from Nelson, who had secreted himself in a forlorn heap at the back of the mini bus. 

So here I am recounting this tale for you, my dear reader. As yet, there is no reconciliation between Nelson and lady H, I will of course keep you posted. Until next time, my friend, pip pip.

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Tales from Kent…

You find me today, my dearest and most esteemed reader, reclining on the sofa, cradling a custard cream in my manicured paw and sipping a medicinal sherry. It is from this state of recumbent comfort that I report to you the latest goings on at Spindle Towers. The loons sat me down over our morning coffee and broke the news to me that they were escaping for a weekend away at a family celebration. I immediately began making copious notes about what to take with me. 

When we travel, I normally do so in the unofficial capacity of hand maiden to Hector. Duties tend to include beard nurturing, pocket watch winding and monocle polishing. The Tiny Terror doesn’t really need much looking after, preferring to roam through life like a confused, feral hobbit.

Hector leaned over and peered at the list with his gimlet eyed stare and began to shuffle uncomfortably on his chair. I was initially somewhat alarmed as to the cause of this postural posterial dance, fearing the worst, but I soon found out that this was in fact the ‘shuffle of guilt’. 

This is when I was presented with the news that I was not going to be travelling to the darkest depths of Kent with them. I was to bravely keep watch over Spindle Towers, and to help me fulfil this onerous task was my pal, the raggle taggle little scamp Barney, and his human retinue. I must say that I did experience a feeling of upset at this exclusion, more so at the unspoken lack of trust as I was also banned from having Nelson over for another card night. The last time we did this was meant to be the last. As ever, I blame Nelson for the fracas involving the Queen of Hearts, Sister Josephine and the upending of the standard lamp. Thankfully the mystical crab survived such folly!

The weekend drew near and was then upon us. The pair sallied forth to the spiffy land of Kentshire. It was something of a gathering of clans and promised much excitement. I felt a modicum of sadness that I would miss an opportunity to catch up with grandad Tom, my good pal and fellow crossword wrangler.

I am able to recount a thankfully shortened version of the weekend for you. They arrived in good time and settled themselves in a lovely pub garden. Several members of the Tiny Terrors’ family had already begun the festivities with joyful abandonment. 

Such frivolities continued throughout the afternoon and then the first of the exciting gatherings began. The host and hostess, her Aunt and Uncle, possess a beautifully idyllic home and the weather was kind. Once primed with a glass of something fizzy, they tottered off to mingle with the great and good of Kent and beyond. Accounts of the evening became a little garbled here, but in my defence, I sometimes don’t listen to her properly when she starts gesticulating wildly. 

She spent the evening in a state of entrancement with a very interesting man called Patrick, and all in all, the Irish contingency proved to be both excellent and very amusing company. The members of the Northern and Scottish contingents similarly meandered about and indulged in carefree chat and story swopping.

The only moment of potential peril was when grandad Tom struggled with a recalcitrant small potato. Unbidden, it shot off his plate and landed in the lap of the Tiny Terror. The potato was enrobed with a cardigan of mayonnaise. Apparently a rolling stone gathers no moss, well I can inform you, dear reader, that a rolling potato does actually gather not only momentum, but in this case also salmon. It bounced once onto the ground, this time gathering a coat of grass and landed firmly in a fold of her skirt. Oh what larks! It was a terribly good shot.

The following day dawned and a grand luncheon was attended by friends and family. The loons were sat on the naughty table in the corner with cousin Helen keeping a watchful eye. The lunch and celebrations really were a triumph. Helen has an infamously infectious laugh and the Tiny Terror and her recollected some of their childhood exploits (which apparently included suitcase tobogganing amongst other things, please note, during this they were actually INSIDE the suitcase)

She is also known for an outstanding sense of humour and mischief. On meeting her partner, they were delighted to discover she was similarly blessed with a propensity for mirth and possessed a joyful twinkle in her eye. Conversations included the correct pronunciation of the word Tortoise/Tor-Toise/Tortus. This caused unexpected hilarity and one lovely moppet became quite insensible with laughter by the end. This very same moppet also displayed an unrivalled addiction to cheese that had not been witnessed before in the Northern or indeed Southern Hemisphere. Here, they were introduced to the notion of getting “The cheese sweats” as a result of eating too much cheese. The weekend was by all accounts quite wonderful. Many new friends were made and I suppose it reminds us how important it is to keep in touch with more distant family. Not easy in the world in which we live, but a joy when it happens.

My own weekend was quiet, pleasant and mostly uneventful. Naturally we rebelled against orders and Nelson came round. We all played blackjack and helped to recycle a nice bottle of Malbac we found. We then spent a rowdy evening singing sea shanties, accompanied by Jen on the ukulele and Andrew on the squeeze box. I had to remove the triangle from Nelson as he became unpredictable with the striker stick. To finish off the evening we sang a rousing rendition of my favourite tune, Delaney’s Donkey for good measure. 

The loons returned back to Spindle Towers, full of stories and grinning like the chumps they are. I am however slightly aggrieved that I missed out of meeting some new friends, so they have promised me that we are going to have a road trip in Mavis to visit them. Hurrah!
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The Tiny Terror has returned into my loving paws. See her billowing cheeks *sniggers