Saturday, 27 September 2008

Wining and Dining

It's been what Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother would refer to as a 'whirl of gaity' of late. But first up was a matter of work - meeting a woman with 2 Great Danes who wants me to come and house sit for her. One of the dogs is deaf, the other has a pace maker. The deaf one was neglected as a pup - forced to live in a small, 4 ft square area, with his only human contact being the ability to peer over a baby gate into the kitchen. Needless to say, he's now somewhat boisterous!

When I arrived, the owner greeted me pleasantly and led me into the sitting room. Through French doors I could see two small horses trampling over the small garden. When they caught sight of us, they roared up to the window and started barking in a quite ferocious manner. Even as unfazed by dogs as I am, I have to admit to feeling the smallest sense of unease at the sight of these enormous animals roaring at the top of their voices. But when they were let in, they were simple adorable. Truly the size of the dog is irrelevant. It's all attitude that counts. These two were as soft as butter - especially the older one, who came and sat next to me on the sofa, butt on the seat and paws on the floor, and leaned heavily against me. The other one was a little more excitable - but no hint of aggression at all. He did attempt to curl up on the sofa with us, but trying to fit his enormous frame into a space just about large enough for a small cocker spaniel proved a little too much for him.

These dogs are vast. Standing on hind legs, the older one is 6ft 7inches tall. He now weighs in at just over 10 stone, but in his youth he was a good 12. Looking after them poses a couple of problems - firstly, I don't like the fact they're not walked properly. Not the older one, who's not supposed to do any exercise, but the younger one is in desperate need of a good romp. The garden they have is far too small for them - as is their owner, who is simply not physically strong enough to keep a Great Dane under control. She's very knowledgeable, has had Danes for decades, so possibly she knows exactly what she's doing - but I did detect signs that this younger one was under exercised. Perhaps it was just that day, though. She said her husband takes him out, so maybe it was a one off. Just because they're bigger doesn't necessarily mean they need more exercise than an ordinary dog.

The only thing that's really putting me off is the strong smell of cigarettes in the house. The scent itself is pretty bad, but what I'm more worried about is getting used to it - and then deciding the one thing in the world I could really do with is a fag. I came across an old filofax of mine, with some of those sections in it that are labelled awful things like "Objectives" or "Achievements". Under the one rather hopefully labelled "Interests" I'd listed:

1. Fags

Smoking really was rather wonderful. On the other hand, the legacy of regular respiratory tract infections is less wonderful - and I'm very glad I've given up, in the grand scheme of things.

I'm getting tired and my train of thought is wandering. I was going to talk about the Whirl of Gaity, but got side tracked by pooches. I shall be brief.

On Thursday, Spar & Blar took us out for a really wonderful evening of fine dining at Wedgewood . It was a great night, kicked off by Spar actually dragging a moth-eaten tie from his wardrobe and looking proper swanky. As usual, Blarney decided to amuse herself by taking a topic of conversation she knows full well will set me off on a Class 1 rant and playing Devil's Advocate as only she can. 3 hours later, my throat dry, my nervous system an exhausted wreck, and the waitresses on the verge of mugging me with a tablecloth and bunding me into a waiting looney-van, I think I managed to change absolutely nobody's mind about the RĂ´le of Wimmin in Society. Especially not the large group of robust Aussie males on a nearby table - but they were having far too much fun with their 2 token birds to pay any attention to us, anyway.

It was a grand evening, and the following day Fisher and I were so buouyant we actually braved IKEA on a Saturday - and got some very productive shopping done.

On Friday night we were back in Edinburgh for Pro's birthday meal at Duck's, and very lovely it was, too. The menu was limited, but all the food was superb - especially the Sticky Toffee Pudding: surely the finest I have ever tasted. It was supposed to come with cinnamon Chantilly cream, but as I hate cinnamon I asked to have the salted caramel ice cream which accompanied a lemon parfait instead. It was perfect in every way. In fact, as I think on it now, I find myself salivating so unbearably I will have to stop.

Today we popped up to the G-Spot and saw that work is, at last, progressing at a visible pace. It was quite thrilling. We also took up all the tiles for My bathroom (they're so preeeeeetty!), much to Helga the VWs disgust. She creaked and croaked her way to Perthshire, groaning under the weight of 600 slate tiles - but not groaning nearly as much as we were when we had to unload them all at the other end.

All in all it's been a very fun, and also very productive few days. Next week I have to get my nose to the grindstone and make sure I'm prepared for my Therapeutic Massage exams in October - but I should be able to do a couple of hours a day and still pay Garry as serious amount of attention.

I'm a little pie-eyed at this point. I'm not sure how much sense this blog makes right now, so it's best for me to turn in. Apologies if this is the dullest thing ever.