My morning began quite normally, with Ziggy bringing me a cup of tea in bed just before he watches the 08:00 news on the telly. It is customary for me to take my daily medications with said tea before settling back down for another half hour’s kip, depending on what time I went to bed the night before. In this instance it was 2:20am so at least another half an hour was called for.
Ziggy’s next move is to go down onto our plot to water his vegetables. The instant he picks up the keys to the gate, which leads from our top garden, JD and Marti, our Labrador and Mastin, will leap up to follow him down the steps.
They usually mosey around the plot for a while then go for a wander around the neighbours’ unfenced land, Marti to check out anything of interest and JD to go avocado scromping.
But today had an addition. We’d had our son’s dog Choco staying with us for the night. We think he’s a Staffie crossed with something a bit bigger, and he’s a youngster of about two years so is still very excitable. However, he’s not yet as well trained as JD and Marti and we can’t rely on him to return when we call him. As a result, when he tried to follow Ziggy and our dogs on their morning constitutional he wasn’t allowed to join in. Ziggy shut the gate behind him to thwart the dog’s exit.
That was when the whining, crying and barking commenced at full volume.
Another change in our routine at the moment involves Leon. He’s working down on the coast at a beach restaurant, 12 hour shifts which only see him return home just before 03:00. By the time he’s unwound from all the excitement of working it only gives him a few hours to sleep before rising at 11:20 and leaving for work two hours later. The last thing he needed was to be wakened by a yowling dog at eight in the morning.
So I leapt out of bed and dashed off down the garden to shut Choco up. The only way to do that was to bring him inside the house, but then he’d be dashing back and forth between the door and windows with the same vocals. So I was obliged to confine him to my bedroom.
I climbed back into bed to try and resume my slumbers. I know. Don’t say it. I know what you’re thinking!
And I might as well have stayed up because the little bastard now started whining at the glass door which leads from the bedroom onto the pool area. Various vocal commands on my part went unheeded so I tried to block out the noise by hunching my head down between my shoulders to keep out the noise. Fail. Then I tried wedging wadges of the bed sheet into my ears to act as earplugs, but that didn’t work either.
He eventually quietened down and I was just drifting off to sleep when he started up again. He’d heard the rattle of the gate indicating the return of his friends. So I got out of bed and let him out. Peace at last.
Well, for five minutes, then I could hear a scrape at the door. I recognised it as Marti wanting to be let in. I figured she’d give up if I didn’t respond so I ignored her, but she was having none of it. Her keen sense of smell told her that Choco had been into that bedroom in her absence and being very protective of me, demanded entry. I let her in.
NOW I could get some sleep. Except you have to remember that this dog has been running around the countryside, culminating in a climb back up the 34 steep steps from the plot. And she’s a very big dog, covered in a thick double coat (goes with the breed), and it’s a Spanish summer’s day. She lay by the foot of my bed panting like a steam train.
Then Choco started pawing at the door too, so she moved even closer, to the side of my bed and continued with her huffing and puffing. After five fruitless minutes of non-sleep I gave up. I got up.
I should mention here that the bedroom is not very big. There is not much space between the bed and the fitted wardrobes. In fact, when Marti is lying with her back against the bed her toenails are touching the cupboard doors. So when I got out of bed I only had a couple of feet (in both senses) in which to get dressed.
As I reached for my underwear the dog whispered. So as I hopped around on one foot trying to put on my pants I found myself engulfed in dog fart. I can’t remember the last time this dog farted. She is not a frequently farting dog. But she had to fart now, of all moments!
I couldn’t move away from the fart because the dog took up my exit route, and she was going no-where. Putting on shorts requires a little bending forward, so that brought me in even closer proximity to the source. It is not easy, if you’re an overweight almost-69-year-old, to get dressed in a two-foot cubicle when you’re trying not to breathe!
Consider yourself lucky (I do) that I’m still here to tell the tale.