Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Poor old Digger

Dan's dog Digger has come to stay. He's rather a charming old boy, with white chops and white rings around his eyes. If Digger were a man, he'd be about 6 ft 5, slightly stooped, a bit arthriticky around the knees, with a shaggy-eyebrowed Patrick Moore quality about him. As it is, he's a dog. He goes straight over to the carpet, buries his nose deep into the shagpile to get a good whiff of what must be the beguiling equivalent of Chanel No 5 (eau de Cinder, Hugo and Jemima's sleek young labrador), squats unmanfully over it and wees.

'Oh God!' says Dan. 'Digger! OUT! Sorry, Lize,' he shrugs helplessly. 'I can safely say he's never done that before.' They always say that, of course, like the owners of all those Staffies that used to attack Dusty in London. 'Never done that before!' they'd say.

Dan clearly doesn't trust me. He's bagged up the food in four individual daily pouches. Poor Digger is absolutely starving. His ribs protrude from his worn old coat. He only gets fed once a day, hence the instruction to give him his breakfast in two halves, lest he scoff it so quickly that he's sick. I dutifully follow orders. Digger inhales the first half in about 3 seconds flat, gagging as he goes. I wait a few minutes for him to compose himself, then give him his seconds, which he hoovers up in one. I send him out and, as predicted by Dan, a poo immediately pops out. Then he paces up and down groaning, throws up half his food, studies it for a moment and then eats it up.

Digger comes with an instruction manual and glossary. Dan was clearly traumatised as a young boy when we let him believe that the bath plug was called a 'plugout'. I think he was about 12 before he realised the truth. Now he's meting out his revenge on his poor dog.

Bastard! - basket!
Paid for! - you may now eat
Piddle! - self-evident
Dump! - self-evident
Bark! - self-evident
Safe! - stop barking
Goodnight - to be said several times in different intonations when retiring for the night
See you later - to be said cheerily when you go out and leave him

'What about when you want to stop him eating poo?' I ask, since poo-eating (not his own, but cow's, horse's, fox's, that kind of thing) is apparently one of his foibles.

'Kick him,' says Dan.

'Can I give him any treats?'

Dan frowns. 'He's doesn't have human food, if that's what you mean.'

'Dog biscuits?'

'He can have one at bedtime.'

'Can he have a chew?'

Dan inspects my bag of panatella-sized hide chews and hesitates for a moment before conceding. 'He can have a chew.'

Poor Digger. This will be a loving respite home for him.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Half-term industry

'Mum,' says Lily. 'I woke up at 6.30 today.'

'Really?' Since we were up till past midnight playing Scrabble, this is incredible news. 'Did you get up then?'

'No. I just stayed in bed till 7.30.'


'Thinking and reading and doing nothing - multitasking, basically.'

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Strict Connecticut

I've been getting comments from members of Lily's contacts list about her emails, which go something like this:

Hi, how r u? 
Love Lily x

To add insult to injury, these communiques are not even personalised; they are sent out to one and all, with the addresses on display in the 'To' line. Uncle Dan, Club Penguin, Godmother Franny, Godmother Rose and random friends. (Her mother is never included.)

In the car, going home for half-term, after hearing about the pop lacrosse near-triumph (they lost 9-15, but Lily always sees the positive side) and a few funny dorm stories (their matron says there's an invisible Wall of Smell between one half of the dorm and the other - I'm pleased to discover Lily is on the Side of Sweet Perfume and not Stench), I broach the email question.

'Now, darling, have you heard of netiquette?'

She looks blank.

'Have you heard of etiquette?'

'Nope. But I've heard of Connecticut. It's in Madagascar.'


'In the film, it's where Marty wants to get back to.'


There's a silence while I consider whether it's worth tackling the importance of the bcc at this juncture. I decide that, as ever, I would only be wasting my breath.

'Do you remember I told you Mattie has a pet scorpion called Fluffy?' asks Lily. 'It just died and they had it...'

'...cremated,' I offer.

'Nowuh!  What do you call it when you keep it and have it...'


'Nowuh! when you put stuff on it and it keeps it for ever.'


'Nooooo! It begins with muh... muh....'


'Nowuh! Varnished. That's what they did. They varnished it and put it in a translucent box with foam on the bottom and foam on the top, to cover Fluffy.'