Lark’s Diary XIV

Things have been a bit scary and there have been lots of changes here at home which Archie and I don’t really understand. I am so glad Archie is with me as he’s a good brother except when he puts my head in his mouth but it’s just his way of showing me that he’s in charge. It does make my ears wet, though, and it’s a bit tickly. Firstly, Mum has been in bed for quite a long time because she is very tired and has been hot, too. I know she’s been sad because her Dad died and she cried a bit so I climbed onto the bed and gave her a long cuddle which she likes. She’s been on the telephone a lot of the time talking to people called “Dickheads”. I’m not sure what they are but apparently they’re not very nice people and it’s something to do with ‘insurance’. Another really annoying thing is that pigeons have decided to live in the virginia creeper at the front of the house, right between the windows of the front bedroom and the dressing room and they are always squawking and making noise but we can’t get at them as they are too high up. Another bad thing that has happened is the white and orange cat which belongs to Grandma. She can’t have him where she lives now so he lives with us, usually under the bed although I have seen him trying to climb out the windows to catch the pigeon. Maybe I should help him a bit with a gentle shove. He also shouts all the time and he is the greediest cat in the world. He keeps trying to hit me but he avoids Big Archie. Mum and Mark have been behaving strangely too,with big bags of clothes and we didn’t understand what was going on. One weekend we went on a really big walk until my legs nearly dropped off. There was a big ditch and because we were thirsty, I jumped in and then found out it was very deep and it went right up to my shoulders so I was covered in mud but it felt nice and cool.  Mum said I looked like a vagabond which might be something like a Dickhead but she didn’t sound so cross when she said it. Really Mum doesn’t get properly cross with us unless we do something really bad which is nice because I think it shows she loves us. By the time we got home we were nice and dry.

Anyway, the next day the gardener came over to see us and put our beds in the back of the car along with some toys and one of Mum’s cardigans and he took us away without Mum or Mark. Archie and I were scared although we like the gardener but Archie remembered when he had gone to stay with Uncle Phil once and Mum and Mark came back for us. He took us to something called ‘Kennels’ where there were other d0gs staying without their owners and I’m a bit ashamed to say I cried a lot and kept everybody awake for the first two days, singing the song of my people, but Archie told me that Mum and Mark would never leave us on our own and that we might make some new friends to play with. The gardener came to see us every couple of days and brought us Bonio and pig’s ears which kept us happy. Then one day he came and packed up our toys and beds and put us in the car and TOOK US HOME! It was the best day of my life when I saw the gates to the house and Archie was very excited, too. We played in the garden with Mark for a while and then he let us in the house to see Mum who was in bed and very tired. She told me she had been a long, long way away in a plane (that’s one of those things that buzz about the sky although I don’t know how they keep up in the air) to see Francesca who is Mum’s real baby. She said that Francesca had had a baby of her own although I can’t see how because Francesca only looks big enough to have a kitten. It’s all very exciting and I’m looking forward to sniffing the baby and giving it a big kiss (so long as Mum doesn’t see me do it).

So all is well except for the tv. Mum and I watch dog programmes together sometimes but the other day I looked up and there was a big plane coming towards us and it frightened me so much I fell off the bed. I think Mum might have laughed a bit. She has asked me to put in my diary that she will be back writing very soon and sends you all lots of love and a picture of the baby.

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PS I don’t think the baby is that fond of Mum yet 😦

A bird in the hand…

I have started the process to make my head space a bit better. This includes 2 sessions at the hospice where I melt down to the extent where I break down so far I cannot breathe and make a horrendous noise trying to force air into my lungs.I consume large quantities of paper handkerchiefs and then can’t find anywhere to put them other than in the hand of the nurse. She takes them without a word or grimace. We decide on a few groups I can attend, one of which is called Words & Pictures because she couldn’t think of anything else to call it. It sounds like a nursery class but I gamely go along, because it might be good and I generally get a good driver to chat to. The car service drivers are usually in their 70s and have a sense of humour and a long list of anecdotes which I like very much. There have been a spate of signs put up recently in red and white, saying ER and looking very official but no explanation. Apparently they are Escape Routes should we get flooded. Another driver took a different view and thought they were something to do with terrorist attacks. I query whether the escape routes are for the general population or the terrorists. The penny drops and we laugh.

Words & Pictures proves entertaining, too. There are two men who are wheeled in and who seem to have dementia and two ladies in their late sixties. I am made a cup of coffee by a lady who was once a client and I used to train for when I ran my own training business. She remembers me and it seems a surreal experience. We play games with words and pictures, as promised in the title, and it’s actually quite good fun. Then we are set homework, to write a poem about something that’s really important to us. I’m not sure how some of the group members will manage but they’re all lovely, smiley and twinkly. After the session I have my first hand massage which is so relaxing and finishes off the session beautifully.

We still have so many visitors to the house; some to do with Brenda, some to do with me, some are for Mr Mason and I and some are for Mr Mason alone. I can’t remember which visitor it is but I know Brenda, thankfully, wasn’t there. The woman sat in the sitting room and was loving Lark who was loving her back and obviously decided she deserved to see one of her jewels. Lark’s jewels are the things she buries in her crate, hides in the baskets of clean washing or buries in the garden. The woman merited one of her highest jewels. one from the garden. Mr Mason and I are in the kitchen making tea and so forth when we hear a cry “Your dog has just put a dead bird in my lap!” Amazingly, she does not have a fit or crawl behind the sofa but when Lark sees we approach with the intention of removing her jewel, Lark snatches it back and tries to bury it in her crate in the hope we won’t see it. Ha! Sometimes we are smarter than a dog and the small bird, presumably killed by Freya, is removed and given a swift burial in the garden recycling bin. Lark sulks for approximately 10 seconds and then is loving the visitor again.

Our second bird story involves Jan, our cleaning lady who has has a few shocks with the dogs in the house (remember the time Lark ate the conservatory blinds when Jan was in charge?). Mr Mason and I had gone to see Brenda and when we got back, Jan was quite twitchy. “We’ve got a bit of a problem” she said and then proceded to tell us that she had heard a noise in the big sitting roon and thought there was someone in there. The layout of the house means that the thick walls stop sound carrying. From upstairs, you can’t make someone downstairs hear you (or so Mr Mason tells me).  We cautiously opened the door to see chaos – china and pottery thrown about the  place and 2 enormous crows in the room. One was still trying to crash through the windows and the other was lying on the ground, dead. We closed the door wondering how on earth we were going to get the live bird out. I had visions of being attacked if I tried to move the dead bird – Hitchcock all over again. The bottom windows don’t close and repeated battering of the top windows, even when open, had resulted in one dead crow. Of course, at this point our trusty ex-SAS gardener arrives and immediately takes control of the situation.  He opens the front doors (which are double), stations Mr Mason at the bottom of the stairs so that the remaining bird won’t fly upstairs and shoos it out the front doors which is does as though trained for this moment. Mr Mason and the gardener set about cleaning up all traces of crow and another bird goes into the recycling bin. I bet the cats were kicking themselves for not ambushing birds trapped in their own house. The chimney breast gets stuffed with paper as far as it can and we hope we have no more visitors of that kind. Unless they get so far down, make a nest on the cardboard and then die of starvation…Hmm. I don’t think there’s an answer to this except to get some roofers to put cowls over the chimneypots.

You may have noticed that it’s been an age since I posted. Writing is one of the things I enjoy doing so it’s a shame I don’t get more of it done but one thing that prevents me is tiredness. You may relate to this. You’re sitting on tube after work or in bed after a long day and think you’ll just get a book out and have a look and before you know it, your eyes are closing and you’re breathing evenly and deeply, well on the way to sleep. It might sound strange but when I wake up, I’m well on my way to sleep. I spend quite a lot of the day trying to stay away. The oncologist says this is because I haven’t had a break from chemotherapy for nearly 2 years and it’s using up my reserves of energy. But I have noticed that I spend more days in bed these days – usually one or two – and the other days I have to go out, get some fresh air, walk around a bit, anything but lie in bed although it’s calling to be even now. Sometimes I’m writing and find my eyes are shut and my hands are still. but I can’t live my life asleep. So we go walking in the woods, trawl through antique shops and the 2 fabulous department stores nearby – Oldrids & D0wn Town and Eve and Ranshawe. The former sounds much more exciting than it is. The Down Town part is in an industrial estate on the fringes of the town and sells the lighting and obligatory furniture. I once went up to a desk to compliment them on a member of staff who had been exceptionally helpful and the two women behind the desk held up their handbags to ward off the evil spirits they thought I was bringing. The other department store, Eve and Ranshawe featured on a Mary Portas series on how to make your shop increase takings and how to find out which member of staff was really mucking the whole thing up by being a cow. Job done. Cow not seen since. My average waking day is around 6 to 8 hours although I do count resting hours in bed as sleeping, mostly because I can’t get comfortable downstairs and will definitely be asleep by 4, waking several hours later for a late supper. I’m hoping this is just a phase and that I’ll recover enough strength if I rest as much as possible, boring though it is.

So that’s the contorted and convoluted version of the last few weeks. I’ve left out loads, some deliberately and some by accident but I aim to write the next blog sooner. Night  night. Yawn……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


 

Lark’s Diary XI

Well, I’ve just found out it’s going to be Christmas although I don’t know what it’s about except lots of extra delivery men come to the door and leave boxes lying all over the place. Some packets are smaller and mum puts them in a bigger box in her office so it’s quite easy to steal and run away with. Then she gets a bit cross and puts on her cross voice which is one up from her disappointed voice but nowhere near her “I can’t believe you did that!” voice. That voice was used when I ate her new glasses. She has two pairs but I like one better and the chewy plastic arms have just the right consistency so when she left them on her bedside table when she went to have a shower, well, it was irresisible. The cats talk to us sometimes but we can’t understand exactly what they are saying enough to answer but we get their drift. 1. Don’t sniff a cat’s bottom (unless its asleep) 2. Rub your head on the side of the cat’s face if it’s feeling in a good mood. 3. If it hisses, back away politely.

We also have language which is more than just some old woof, you know. Whippets have a good range of language and my repertoire of moaning, sighing and groaning is extensive. Mum doesn’t understand all of it, of course, but she tries.

With all the parcels arriving, mum has invented a new game which I like. She finds something sticky and then sticks it on my forehead and I have to spin round in circles and rub my paws on my head until I get it off. It’s a good game to play indoors because we have to do lots of indoors things lately although we did have a good run in the woods yesterday and got really muddy. It was great fun. Mum and Mark are putting a new bed together in the annexe today and mum is also trying to wrap presents and sleep at the same time. Mark’s mum and dad are coming for Christmas and are Very Old so they are sleeping in the annexe so I can’t trip them on the stairs and kill them. Our other visitors are all quite young, at least, no older than mum.

We are still struggling with my claws. Again, some nosey woman said she thought my claws were a bit long and when we went home mum got the cutters out so she could trim a few. The thing is, it always feels like she is going to cut my paws off and I have dreams where she cuts them off and them sews them on her own feet so she can run really fast. Of course, she doesn’t cut my paws off and gives me Strictly Forbidden chocolate buttons while she does it. It doesn’t make it any better, though.

So, Christmas. There are lots of good food things coming into the house with 2 sorts of meat, smoked salmon and smoked eel, lots of very stinky cheese and way more than mum, Mark and his parents can eat so either the rest is for Archie and me or there are more people coming to expand the pack. I expect it’s the latter unless it’s the Christmas donkey who had the baby or the fat man dressed in red who seems very popular at the moment. I am hoping it’s Ollie and Fran with Becky and Rouzbeh because they play with us and run around. But even if it is the fat red man and the donkey with the baby, we’ll have a good time

So I hope you all have a good Christmas with plenty of stinky cheese and a big pack around you. If you get presents, I hope you appreciate them and the final words of wisdom from my mum is “Don’t give dogs sprouts”. I don’t know why; they’re quite delicious. And if they are worried about the fall out, I think this big black animal is far worse than Archie and me.

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Lark’s Diary X

I’ve been poorly. My mum took me to see Dr Bum and they were all very friendly and patted me and tickled me which was nice. But then SHE LEFT ME THERE! I wanted to go and jump right back in the car but Mum and Mark drove away. That surprised me and made me a bit sad. The lady took me into another room and then they stuck this sharp thing in me and I went to sleep. When I woke up, I still had my jumper on but I also had this big sticky thing on my tummy and it hurt. And I felt sooooo sleepy. Mum came and collected me and I couldn’t jump into the car because my tummy hurt so Mark had to pick me up and put me in. When we got home, Archie sniffed me all over because I smelt funny. Mark had to carry me upstairs because it hurt to climb up and then, when I wanted to go down again, I felt all funny and had to lean on Mum but she said “Slow and steady” to remind me not to hurtle, which is what I usually do. Normally I start off quite quickly at the top of the stairs and then get faster and faster until I get to the bottom. It’s very exciting but I didn’t want to do it with my poorly tummy. Every morning, Mum gave me some medicine which helped my tummy but I still don’t like running round the garden with Archie as my tummy feels tight and strange. I hope it stops soon as I’ve had to stop being in the Pigeon Catchers Club for a while in case I hurt myself. Archie keeps putting my head in his mouth to try and make me play so he’s been told off a bit for doing that. I’m still not sure what happened at Dr Bum’s but I don’t think I’d like to go there again.

But more exciting is that we’ve got more animals in the pack. We went off in the car and Mum and Mark put some wooden boxes inside that were really stinky. I looked at Archie and he looked at me but it was worse than any smell we’d ever made. Mum says they are hedgehogs and I haven’t seen them but you can smell them all over the garden. They have special food which is not really special because it’s dog food but they also have biscuits which are supposed to be for hedgehogs but they taste just like cat biscuits to me. Not that I really know what cat biscuits taste like because I’m not allowed to steal the cats’ food. Ahem. Anyway, the lady who gave Mum the hedgehogs liked dogs too and she spent ages stroking us. I didn’t get out of the car because I’m not well but she stroked my ears and scratched my head a lot which was very nice.

Then, the pack increased even more (but just for a little while)! Mark went out in the car and it was a huge surprise when he came back with Ollie and Becky! I think they must live a long way away as they don’t come here every week. Ollie is Mum and Mark’s son and Becky is his girlfriend (hee hee). Becky has pink hair. I wish I had pink hair because I would look even prettier and everyone would know I am a girl. But I got some new pyjamas with pirates on and everyone asked if it was for Halloween but I don’t think you have pirates at Halloween. I thought it was all ghosts and stuff. Anyway, I looked very smart and now Mum can wash my red jumper because she said it’s stinky.

Archie and I put new bandanas on this week. They are a burgundy red, Mum says. Mine came off twice and Mum put it back on for me and then it came off in the night and when she went to change my jumper, she let me run around nude in the garden! I didn’t have a collar on or anything and it felt all tickly and funny but then I got cold so she put my new jumper on which is very soft and Mum says it’s tartan.There are some funny things growing in our garden which Mum says I’m not to eat or I’ll go all peculiar. They just look so tasty, though.

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I am getting better with my house training. Now, when Mum takes me out in the back garden, I know what she wants me to do! Once or twice I’ve remembered to tell her I want to go outside but she says I have to tell Mark, too. If I have to run around telling everyone in the house I need a wee, I’ll have wet myself before I get outside! I think she really means ‘tell the nearest person’ because mostly when I’ve told her, she’s been upstairs and has to come all the way down to let me out. I’m still not keen on ringing the bell, though, but Mum says I have to learn. She’s been leaving me and Archie on our own a bit more, too. I don’t like it. When she goes out, I have to bark and go “Ooooo oooo oooooooooo”. I don’t know why. It just starts bubbling up in my throat and I have to let it out. And as soon as she goes out, I always need a wee. I can ring my bells all I like but there is no-one to let me out then. She never tells me off if I have an accident. She just says “Oh, Lark” in a special voice and I think I’ve disappointed her but when I get it right, she shouts “Good girl, Lark!” and waves her arms around which makes me all excited. Then she rubs my ears and gives me a treat. The very best times, though, are when we snuggle in bed or on the sofa. She strokes my head and my belly and it makes me feel all nice. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s the best feeling in the world.

Hedgehog heaven

We go to see the oncologist who is as cheerful as ever. He tells me that my tumour markers have risen slightly but that is over a 3 month period so he doesn’t know if they’ve jumped quickly or just gradually increased. More blood tests to find out. He also orders a CT scan so we can see what’s happening inside. My biggest problem, as ever is fatigue and the idea that I can do everything I want to without consequences. It’s like I forget every time and then spend a few days in bed recovering and dealing with the pain. My sleep has been weird, too, and I’m often awake for 4 hours or more in the night. It’s a good time to do Christmas shopping but I really would rather be asleep. I finish a couple of books, that way, too.

Chemo on Monday is a little different as Mr Mason is away at a  meeting in London. I have booked transport to the hospital which turns out to be a man in a car with casual racism and a dislike of anyone moving into the area. We find things to talk about on the journey although it does feel strange to be without Mr Mason, even though he is not allowed in the chemo suite. I am called in quite quickly which is a novelty and am soon plugged into my portacath. The woman next to me starts to feel unwell and goes red in the face. Her heart is hammering away, she says, so we call a nurse over. She is having a new treatment which I guess is Herceptin as it can have those effects, but I’m wrong. We fall into conversation and I tell her we have only recently moved to the area. She says she lived in London until 13 years ago. “Aren’t you glad to get away from all those ethnics?” she asks. I’m a bit taken back and explain that I think that’s the one thing Lincolnshire lacks. She says angrily that she was mugged and burgled before she moved away but she didn’t say the kind of people who did it. I agree that’s a horrible thing to happen to anyone but my experience had been quite different. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses but how we loved the diversity of food shops, being able to buy ingredients for pretty much any nationality and the great international community. Then I drop the bomb. “My son in law is Iranian” I say, “and here it’s more difficult to find ingredients to cook Iranian food whereas that wasn’t a problem in London”. She goes a funny colour and ends the conversation. I just like saying “My son in law” anyway.

There is a bit of kerfuffle about giving me Domperidone, the anti-sickness drug. It’s not been prescribed but I am used to asking for more when I need it and here, things are obviously done differently. The staff scurry around and come back from the pharmacy with the medication but unfortunately it’s been made out in a name similar to mine but not mine, therefore I cannot have it. I wait outside for the car driver who tells me he can’t leave until 2 other patients are ready. Eventually we depart at 3.15 and I sit in the back with a lady who, the driver tells me, “don’t speak any English”. Luckily I get dropped off first as the dogs have been on their own since 9am and will be going ballistic. They are mightily excited when I get in, jumping up as if they haven’t seen me for years and Lark has disgraced herself on the kitchen floor whilst Archie has held on. He does have an amazing bladder capacity, similar to that of Austin Powers.

The following day we take Lark to be spayed. She is wearing her new red jumper to keep her warm and walks into the vet’s surgery without a care in the world. They make a big fuss of her but when we leave her, she’s confused that she’s not coming with us and I spend the day worrying if she’ll be all right. Anaesthetising a sight hound is a different game to other types of dog due to their large chests (or so I’ve been told). We ring at 2pm and she is fine, lying on her back asking for her belly to be tickled and ready to come home. We go to collect her and she is clearly spaced out. Mr Mason has to pick her up to put her in the car and to get her out again. She goes straight to her crate and sleeps and sleeps, just waking to have tepid scrambled egg spooned into her little mouth. What a princess! Archie spends the day fretting over where his little sister is and gives her a good sniff when she comes home. It’s difficult for him because she can’t run around or wrestle with him and the first time she goes down stairs on her own she is hesitant and gives a little “Oooh” when she gets to the bottom, gravity getting the better of her. For the first couple of days she is clearly in pain but she soon starts to heal up. She doesn’t show much inclination to race around the garden yet. I suspect it feels tight where her stitches are but they come out this week so that should feel better and then they can have a celebratory race around the garden.

My new appointment with the speech therapist comes around and we head off to Lincoln County Hospital. When we get there, we just can’t find the right place so ask at reception. They point out that my appointment is at Louth Hospital. Sigh. I cannot be trusted these days to get anything right. I phone Louth and they say they will tell the therapist so we hit the road again and arrive at a hospital which is clearly old (for anyone in Ealing, think the original St Bernard’s) and therefore confusing in its layout. We ask a random woman at a clinic reception desk and she says “It’s by the entrance” which is rather unhelpful as there are lots of buildings clustered around the entrance. We rush off and eventually find the place which I am sure is in the same building as a clinic entitled Sexual Diseases. Luckily our therapist is in reception at the same time as us and ushers us into her office, even though we are 40 minutes late. She is brilliant, taking notes and giving me tips on how not to choke when I am eating and drinking. We make another appointment for a couple of weeks’ time in Horncastle which is much nearer to us. She thinks I should be seeing an ENT specialist, too, so she asks my GP to refer me to one and will be working on my voice, my swallowing and eating.

The following day we go off to collect our hedgehogs. I didn’t think we’d be able to home any this year as we left it rather late to offer but the hedgehog lady called and has a mum and 3 babies for us. When we get there, she also has a lone hedgehog called Linda who tried to hibernate in a pub cellar. The rescue centre is a warren of buildings with washing lines full of towels drying. And it smells! We once had a hedgehog who came into the conservatory back in Ealing. It hid away and every time we went into the conservatory, it defecated in fear. We had forgotten the smell! The woman who helps us is clearly devoted to hedgehogs and dogs. She brings the mum and babies out first, telling us the mum was savaged by a badger. She was with them for 3 weeks and when they went to clean her out one morning, found she had 3 baby hedgehogs with her. Clearly uninhibited, she would lie on her back suckling her babies and didn’t mind who came to have a look. I suddenly think, stupidly, that we haven’t brought anything to put the hedgehogs in but we are given a little wooden house with 2 rooms, one with mum and babies snuggled into a towel and the other with a messy white towel where the entrance is. We are told the hedgehogs like the smell so they don’t get cleaned out, as such, but poo is removed and that’s that. Mr Mason will clearly be on poo duty yet again. We are also given Linda in a separate house and told she will likely leave us quickly. The babies might also go as they have been born in captivity and don’t know what the world is like but will probably be very curious. We put them into the car, hoping they won’t prove curious as we are driving home and the dogs look aghast as the smell hits them. They look at each other, silently blaming the other. Back at home we put them in the hedgehog hotel we have built and provide food and water and leave them to it, not before taking a quick peek, though.

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So these are the latest members of the Mason household; Linda, Hilde, Athelstan, Wulfrun and Ethelfrida, all good Viking names (apart from Linda, obviously), in honour of the Viking heritage here.

Finally, if you have spare time on your hands, you might like to make this delightful mobile I saw in a magazine at the Hospital. It will amaze your friends and make them green with envy. All you need is a plastic basket lid and the lids from air fresheners, apparently. It is truly unique.

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Lark’s Diary VIII

It’s very nice having friends to the house. It means I get extra cuddles, get my belly rubbed and get more treats than usual and I know my Mum and Mark like having friends visit. What I don’t understand is why they don’t come more often. I’ve been thinking about it and worked out that they all live in Boston because that’s where Mark goes to collect them from and then he takes them back after a couple of days. We only have a few friends who come in a car so the rest must live in Boston. I don’t understand why we don’t go to see them there or they don’t just pop over during the week. They don’t have to stay so Mum won’t get tired but we could have fun in the garden or go for a walk or just sit and cuddle together. It would be nice but Mum doesn’t seem to have thought of this so most people come and sleep here. I’ve decided I like Boston, especially when the market is there. When I was little, it frightened me and my Mum had to carry me round but now I’ve found you can get free food there and no-one seems to mind me taking it. Last week I found a delicious stalk from a cauliflower and ate that quickly but no-one told me off. Then we were sitting at the cafe and the lady next to me was eating a bacon roll so I watched her carefully because sometimes you get treats that way. She took a piece of bacon out of her roll and cut it into small pieces and asked Mark if I could have it. Yes, please! I gobbled it down in 2 bites in case Archie saw. After that I looked at her even more. If you prick your ears up and put your head on one side, people often like that, especially if you watch them intently. It’s called “Looking cute” and I think I’m quite good at it. Anyway, she took another piece of bacon and cut it up again and gave it to me so in my opinion, it’s always worth having a go.

The other day we went to the beach with some friends who were very good at cuddling. We had a nice walk and chased about and I even had a little paddle with Mum although I don’t like the way the water chases me. Archie went in right up to his belly! We always like to say hello to the other dogs we meet as it’s polite and sometimes they want to play with us. There was a very big dog with a very big man at the end of a big lead and Archie went to say hello and the dog said something very rude to him. I was cross and ran over to help my big brother but then the big dog decided it wanted to bite me! It was huge and it made me cry out so I went and sat with my Mum and she put my lead on and cuddled me. There were other very big people with the very big mean man and his very big mean dog and they seemed to think everything was our fault and started coming out of the water at us looking very mean but Mark put Archie on his lead and we walked away so they walked away, too. All the time they were on the beach, the big mean dog was watching me and I didn’t like it. It was so rude! We still had fun, though and got some extra cuddling in which was nice. I don’t understand why some people let their dogs be mean to other dogs. I don’t think that dog would be very nice to people, either, as it was on a long heavy chain lead. I expect the big mean man didn’t know any better and perhaps if he had more cuddles he would be nicer to dogs and people. You’d have to find someone willing to cuddle him first, though, and that might be difficult.

I am officially a Superdog! Mark went to London for a meeting and usually Mum stays at home with us but this time she said she had to go to the hospice. I think it’s a bit like a hospital but I’m not sure in what way. She put me in my crate with water and lots of treats and a treat puzzle ball which is great as Mum can hide treats in it and then I have to find them (and eat them). When she went out I cried a bit, even though Archie was there, and thought I would try and escape from my crate, even though I like sitting in it. I pulled and pushed at the bars and bent quite a lot of them and even pulled one out. I did so much damage that when Mum came home, she couldn’t open the door. Luckily there is another door in the side so she let me out of that one and then I was happy again. While she was out, the window cleaner came and Archie shouted and shouted at him but I didn’t because I thought it was rude and also that he might be going to come in and cuddle me but he didn’t. I couldn’t take a photo of the work I did on my crate but obviously I am not alone so I am showing you a photo of a husky who had destroyed his crate. Maybe my Mum will take a proper picture.

I expect you want to know how my house training is going. Some days are good days and I remember to go outside. Other days I just forget because there are so many interesting things to do and look at – bushes, grass, dead voles, flies, ants, butterflies, pigeons, dead shrews, worms, digging, chasing Archie, pretending to chase the cats, rolling on the lawn, cuddling, eating catfood, chewing plastic, stealing clothes, stealing Mum’s slippers, snoozing – the list just goes on and on and in between all that I’m supposed to remember to go outside to have a wee. It’s a hard life.

Lark’s Diary VII

Normally in the country it’s a bit quiet. When the sheep were in the field opposite they shouted at me sometimes so I barked back at them, although I don’t know what they were saying. They didn’t seem to talk Dog. At night we hear owls which I think are a bit scary but I just snuggle up to my Mum a bit closer and then I feel OK. Sometimes a car will go past although more often we have tractors and then every day we get horses. They make a funny noise and smell a bit funny, too, so I just bark from the fence in the back garden in case they try to come and get me. We also get fast planes that whizz by overhead. Sometimes they are so fast you can’t even see them. Now I’ve said it’s very quiet I have made it sound very noisy but it’s nothing compared to a town, especially somewhere like Boston where there is a big market. Whenever I hear my Mum say Boston I always think “Oh, no!” and hope I’ll get left in the car to have a good snooze. They have a bus that drives through the market very slowly making a horrible loud beeping noise and it’s always trying to run me over and then I get tangled up with Archie and Mum and Mark and they all say “Oh, Lark!” My Mum did pick me up once when I was scared and that was nice but now she says I’m a Chunky Monkey. I’m not sure what that means but she doesn’t carry me about so much these days. I do have a monkey which can fly through the air for me to catch but she never says that monkey is chunky. It also makes a funny screeching noise which is not in Dog but I expect it’s saying “Please don’t bite me, Lark” or “You are so fast and clever, Lark” or something like that.

Anyway, the other night it was quiet until all these machines started making a noise. There were lights and lots of tractors kept going past. Archie didn’t like it and he barked so, of course, I had to bark with him as it’s one of my favourite things and if Archie doesn’t like something, then I worry because he’s such a tough dog and knows so many things. Mum said it was the farmers bringing in the harvest and working overnight which I think is a bit rude, ruining my sleep. Mark brought one of my beds into the bedroom so Archie could sleep in that and I snuggled between Mum and Mark. Archie even got on the bed at one point but he stood on my head and I nearly died so he had to go back in his bed. The other bad thing is that when a field is harvested (that’s the proper word), you get all these horrible little black flies called thunder flies and they make you itch like crazy. I thought they would make a noise like thunder which would be a bit alarming but they are just silent and itchy. Very, very itchy. Hrrhhmmnph. That is a Dog noise you make when you are very itchy.

Every so often, Mark goes into the garden and takes a big machine out which cuts the grass. I don’t know why he bothers because it’s nicer when the grass is long and you can hide in it and eat it. It’s also good for hiding things in. It looks like a bit of a boring job so I thought I would make it more fun. He has green slippers and I thought they were perfect for hide and seek so I carefully took one down from the bedroom and popped it into the machine while he was taking a break. When he started it up again, it made a funny noise, and so did Mark. He made quite a lot of noise, actually, and said my name a lot so I expect he was saying what a good game it was and how clever I was to think of it. Mum says she is going to buy him a new pair which I think means we’ll have more to play with. Unfortunately his slipper now has a big hole ripped in the side of it so he won’t be able to wear it again but it was such a good game, I don’t think he minds one little bit.

I like lots of different foods but there is one thing which is yucky and that is cheese with blue stuff in it. Mum was giving me a chewy thing that she wanted me and Archie to eat. I ate one and Archie had to eat 2. I gobbled mine down quickly and Archie ate his first one but didn’t want to eat the second. I thought I would get it but my Mum took it away and wrapped it in blue cheese. She cut me a piece, too, just to be fair, but honestly, it must have been created by pigeons because it tastes so foul and only pigeons are stupid enough to make something to eat which is not nice. Archie ate his in one bite, including the bit he thought was yucky but I expect he couldn’t taste it with that horrible cheese on it. Who would have thought there would be horrible food in the world?

dolcelatte_cheese_16x9This is the yucky cheese and these are the noisy planes.