I had just settled down in front of the TV to watch an episode of Endeavour. I like Endeavour. That doesn't say as much about Endeavour as it does about the shit Marcia watches all the time but I think even in a civilised country, Endeavour would be a good way to lose an hour or so. It's only on once a week, is not repeated at various times on other days and the series is only a few episodes in all so it being on seems to be a signal for the rest of the family to take up new, highly inventive ways to distract me. Background noise no longer bothers me. If I can't turn the volume up enough, it doesn't matter, I have learnt to lip read.
Anyway, there I was in front of the old flimmerkasten, coffee table shoved up to the TV table and my chair dragged close in so as to prevent people walking between me and the box, when Marcia decided to ring my brother in Germany. Well, it's New Year's Eve, isn't it? And of course he says, why doesn't she Skype him to save her credit? He was being polite. There he was with his family about to tuck into their Sylvester fare and now he had to Skype. There I was watching Endeavour but now I had to set the laptop up and log on. She'd buggered both our evenings.
Since he was there being polite and I was there being polite, we thought we might as well make the best of a rum deal and stick the kids on. I got another ten minutes or so of young Detective Constable Morse before I was called to the video link to translate something Alex had been trying to explain.
'He's saying his cat was killed by a stray dog the night before last,' I said.
Micky in Germany squirmed a bit, rolled his eyes expressively and pointed furtively at his boy. Well, it wasn't expressive enough, either that or I was being thick, because I missed his point entirely so carried on with some more detail that Alex hadn't yet got around to sharing.
'Yeah, the kids accidently locked the cat out. I heard it screaming about two in the morning but by the time I got out the dog had bitten its head off,'
'There was loads of blood!' Alex added, clearly pleased to see how excited Michael found the story, 'so Daddy said he was going to poison the dog…' 'Oh God' squeaked Micky, '…with rat poison' continued Alex delivering the coup de grace.
I have to confess, I was pretty bloody annoyed with this dog. It was one of Charlie's bitches, the small harem he has worked up for himself. Around here, dogs are treated pretty miserably. As soon as a kid can totter, it learns to throw stones at dogs. Not surprisingly, the strays, and there are many, are bloody vicious. I placed a blanket ban on throwing stones at any dog that happened to stray into my garden so in the case of the Cat Killing Bitch, I had probably been hoisted by my own petard. The others of Charlie's flock were really nice, very timid and bereft of evil intent. This white bitch, though, was mean and worse still, streetwise. this dog put the capital 'C' in Cun… ning. Every time I planted a sapling, it would dig it up. I laid new pathways, it shits right in the middle of them. Alex leaves a toy out on the veranda, it chews it. If I put food out, it tears into the others and wolfs the lot. And it always stays exactly one pace further away than the maximum effective range of whatever weapon I might have to hand. So when it mauled the cat to death, I did decide to poison it. Its own greediness would ensure I poisoned only it, none of the other dogs would get a look in.
'It's an awful way to go,' Marcia pointed out to me.
'About as bad as having your head torn off,' I agreed.
As it happened, I did have second thoughts. Not because I came over all squeamish at the thought of the dog bleeding out of its eye sockets as its guts turned to slush, I had actually calculated the dose needed to incapacitate it enough so that it would still be alive but unable to escape me so that I could have the pleasure of running it through with my sword before burying it under one of my saplings. No. I had second thoughts because in my initial anger, I had let slip in front of Alex my intention to poison the dog. If I am to be a responsible parent, I suppose I ought not to set an example which suggests it's perfectly OK to kill anything that annoys me, although, after the annus horribilis I have just endured, I would have difficulty arguing against such a precept with any discernible sincerity.
So the dog continued to dig holes in the garden and chew Alex's toys not realising how close to awful death it had been while I quietly fumed and waited for the dust to settle before digging out the best recipe from the Weird Sister's Cook Book.
This evening, being a holiday, would not have been complete without a visit from the two starving local Police Commanders. So confident was I that they would not let me down, I had their places set and waiting for them. The horrible demise of the cat has clearly left an enduring impression on little Alex for he jumped at the opportunity to perform his civic duty and inform the Police.
'Charlie killed the cat?' said Chief Inspector Denis eyeing a comatose Charlie sprawled contentedly in the corner.
'Not our dog,' I said, 'a stray dog, one of Charlie's girlfriends.'
'Oh,' said Denis, 'can I have some more beef?'
'Help yourself,' I said as I watched him helping himself.
'Why don't you shoot it?' he asked going for the vegetables.
'If I had a gun, I would,' I said. I could hardly admit to having a gun, non resident foreigners are not allowed to own firearms and with neighbours like mine, if I used it to shoot a dog, the police would soon know all about it.
'Why don't you shoot it for me on your way out?' I suggested. Both policemen were armed, the black gleam and cross check of their pistol butts visible in their holsters. Everyone laughed, Marcia especially, giving me that pitying look wives reserve for use on their husbands in public.
With all the dishes and platters clean and the last of the stock of alcohol free beer that I had been saving for midnight tossed down their necks, the two bobbies decided they had to get back to keeping the place safe for people like us. I accompanied them down the path towards the shop and the way off my property.
'There it is!' I exclaimed. The bloody bastard was digging a fucking great hole under my potting table.
Denis pulled his Makarov, cocked it and slotted the dog. Charlie, who until a nano-second earlier had been loping alongside with his tongue hanging out and a big stupid happy grin all over his face fucked off sharpish, the sand flying out from under paws scrabbling frantically for traction. From the direction of the shop veranda came the sound of chairs falling over and a noisy, but quickly receding, slapping of flip flops as all Marcia's customers did their best to catch up with Charlie.
I can't tell you how pleased I was. I was delighted. Surprised but delighted. I can't expect the police to hand their weapons over at the door so have to put up with them carrying their weapons in my house. The fact that Denis had to cock his pistol before firing, though, meant that at least they were making their weapons safe before sitting to table and that is a consideration for me that warmed my heart.
I agreed with Micky that perhaps I had unintentionally crossed a line of sensibility so neatly drawn in European health and safety approved sand, and that details of the cat's death were inappropriate in front of children. This spoilt the fun for me somewhat. Knowing that he had not yet eaten, I was itching to discuss with Michael the best way to clean congealed brain, skull fragments and tufts of fur off a concrete pathway.
Happy New Year everyone, normal service will resume shortly.
I was wondering a few weeks ago if you were still alive. Glad you are still kicking and Happy New year.ReplyDelete
Kicking requires too much energy. I just twitch now and then.Delete
I look forward to cleaning tips.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year!
Boy on the end of a hose, another boy on the end of a yard brush.Delete
OMG OMG OMG ~ brilliant to see a blog post from you come through and read your words again Hippo. Here's to Twenty Fifteen as it is already being referred or 2015 for the rest of us.ReplyDelete
What about those who prefer two thousand and fifteen? Or MMXV? For people trying to do business in Angola it is YOLD 3181.Delete
Out of the night that covers me,ReplyDelete
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul. Invictus
Welcome back, you have been missed.
Me, I cried my eyes out and screamed for my Mummy.Delete
Great to hear from you and, by the sounds of things, little has changed in your world. Look forward to catching up.ReplyDelete
Little has changed. How true. How depressing!Delete
Well I'll be a monkey's uncle! Talk about mads dogs and Englishmen out in the mid day sun.ReplyDelete
That's exactly where I have been, digging a swimming pool...Delete
I trust that means you are still bi-pedal. Though I would not put it beyond you to be out there one legged, hobbling about on crutches scratching a great big hole in the sand using garden trowel. Please do elaborate on this choice to put in a pool despite having a property with a river on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other.Delete
We did keep tabs on you; all the G2 fit to disseminate. Glad you're back; hope you buried the dog with a choice plant for headstone, and finally, happy new year.ReplyDelete
G2? Military Intelligence... an oxymoron if ever I heard one!Delete
What a pleasant surprise! You are alive!! When I skimmed by "TV" table and wasn't so sure, I misread it as IV table. An understandable mistake.ReplyDelete
Happy new year!
You only skim read my posts? Still, that's better than nothing!Delete
Nice to see you back in Blogland, Tom! You've been missed.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year to you and yours.
I may have been missed but the cat killing bitch wasn't...Delete
How very reassuring to see those pale I's again. Now get back to work. Cro xReplyDelete
How very nice to be reminded of them!Delete
The first blog I've read in the New Year is a (long overdue) post from Mr Hippo!ReplyDelete
This must be a sign of a good year to come!
Happy New Year! :)
With me your confidence for the coming year is tempting fate!Delete
Good to know you're not dead yet. Happy New Year!ReplyDelete
Do I owe you money?Delete
Happy New Year from this mad place to yours; may it be an annus mirabilis!ReplyDelete
For both of us. That would be nice.Delete
Glad you're back buddy! Happy New year!ReplyDelete
To you too. I must update you on the workshop.Delete
So good to see you back. Happy new year to you and your family hopeReplyDelete
it is spectacular!!
I would be grateful for just 'normal'!Delete
Glad to see your post ;-) Happy New Year, may 2015 be a better year xReplyDelete
I am glad you could see it. Until my new glasses arrive I can only barely see it!Delete
Hippo New Year to you!ReplyDelete
To you as well, have another glass of champers...Delete
I've missed these tales. Happy New Year to you (and Charlie).ReplyDelete
I'd come up with more but I would soon run out of dogs.Delete
Good to see you back Hippo. I would have been annoyed at missing Endeavour as well - great programme!ReplyDelete
I am still trying to see the first series!Delete
This is really sad news about the kitten who I met just a week ago. But glad to hear your fig trees are now safe from that miserable white dog.ReplyDelete
You may perhaps understand how angry I was.Delete
For far too long Hippo on the Lawn sat at the bottom of my chronologically-ordered list of blogs, waiting to pop to the top with a new entry. What an absolutely delightful surprise to see that you haven't succumbed to the endless dangers that menace your world.ReplyDelete
If a dog had to die to make this happen, so be it.
The catalyst was actually a frank email exchange with a friend.Delete
I have a book to finish, it would be awful to think each chapter required the death of anything (although finishing it might be the death of me at this rate!)
Yay your back!ReplyDelete
Happy New Year Tom and Family!
What's wrong with my back?Delete
Nice to see your still alive, was beginning to wonder if you had kicked the bucket or what. Happy new year ya old git ;)ReplyDelete
That 'or what' sounds nasty.Delete
very nasty, just lucky it isn't contagious, hope your well mate :)Delete
I only kept checking back in case your executor had posted an amusing summary of your fascinating and grisly death for our entertainment. Almost disappointed you are still with us, but since you are could we please have at least the odd 'I'm still alive' post every few weeks next time you go AWOL? Thanks awfully old chapReplyDelete
Hardly AWOL if I have to keep checking in. Strewth, worse than me bloomin' Mum!Delete
How come this kind of stuff never happens on our suburban Sheffield street? Mind you, the other day one of the binmen accidentally knocked over Mrs Waterfall's blue plastic and glass recycling bin. I wonder if that would make a good story?ReplyDelete
Send me the details of any houses for sale in your street and we'll soon change that...Delete
From the local vernacular: What the hell, dude?! Glad to see you are alive. Also glad you had some frank email conversation with some friend via email...ReplyDelete
I'd wish you an annus mirabilis, but I don't quite know what that means; instead, I'll wish you an Anas platyrhynchus.
Your return encourages me, perhaps I'll post to my own blog.
I fuckin' hope I'm not out for a duck in 2015 as well...Delete
I had to look that one up; apparently, there's a faintly popular ball sport in some other parts of the world...Delete
I just thought the scientific name was funny -- it's no Bubo virginianus, but it's still funny.
We held a First Annual Kilted Snipe Hunt in early December, and for some reason I thought you'd like to know it. The hardest part was not, in fact, getting the tiny kilts.
The dog deserved to die...glad to see you back even made a 50 plus flu ridden Yorkshireman smile...ReplyDelete
I'm surprised God allows flu into his country.Delete
I've just had a look at your blog and all the pictures. It really is God's Country, isn't it? But don't tell that Pudding I said so, he's too bloody cocky by half as it is.
Not "God's country" my dear Gowans but "God's county"...or am I being cocky again? "Cocky" is a good word. Better than being an ex-pat "pussy".Delete
How heartless to remind me of my poor dead pussy...Delete
Well, how good to know that you are still alive and busy! It's been a long 5 months without your interesting posts…..sad about the cat ( and the dog that had to go!) I hope it won't be another 5 months before we hear from you again? Happy( and healthy) New year to you and Marcia, and the boys. XReplyDelete
Does this, my acknowledgment of your kind comment, count as hearing from me again?Delete
I guess it does! Just re read the post , as I rushed through it the first time…..eager to hear how you all are. That dog definitely needed to meet its maker, and good that it was a quick demise. (Your way would have been horrid, but you knew that. )It might have hurt Alex next time. A friend of mine recently had her rescue dog put down after it killed twice ( cats). She was so distraught to have to make that decision, and not helped by the rescue society not backing her when she told them after the event. They thought they could retrain the dog, but he just wasn't reliable at all. She also sustained a deep scratch to her hand while trying to help the first feline victim, which eventually caused her to have quite a serious liver problem…..she was yellow for ages! Anyway, I have missed you and your stories…just kept checking every so often in hope rather than expectation . Off out now for a dog walk in the pouring rain. Don't leave it so long til next post..please. XDelete
i'm such a woosy city girl, i would die at the thought of having to destroy a dog. i have gotten to be good at making the decision to put an animal out of a miserable illness thoughReplyDelete
You are a multiple divorcee as well, then?Delete
Hurrah! You are back :)ReplyDelete