Friday, September 30, 2011

My Male Staff's Mum

I think my male staff's mum is probably the bravest human I know. For one thing she had to put up with having my male staff in her tummy for ten months because he didn't want to be born so close to Christmas and thus be deprived of two lots of presents. He made the poor woman wait until the first of February before gracing the world with his somewhat tardy presence. He weighed almost eleven pounds by that stage. It must have been like giving birth to a watermelon. Rumour has it that the instead of slapping his bottom, the nurse had to give him his first shave.

Five months ago she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. The surgeons removed as much of it as was safe, but the evil thing had spread it's tentacles deep into her brain. I was sitting on my male staff's lap at her hospital bedside when the specialist oncologist nurse told her the prognosis. Without radio therapy she had three to four months, with radio therapy - six to nine months. She absorbed this news with great stoicism, it was a display of the Great British stiff upper lip at it's very best. There were no histrionics, wailing or gnashing of teeth that would have accompanied the delivery of such news to my male staff. She quietly chose to have the treatment that would keep the tumour at bay for just a few extra precious months.

She's at home now and getting on with life as best she can. My male staff's dad looks after her to the best of his ability, but his health is failing too and now his hair which was always as thick and healthy as mine has started to fall out in great clumps every time he combs it. My male staff's mum is now bald, the radio therapy saw to that. It's also left her thin, weak and tired, and she looks so small and vulnerable. My male staff says that she was always such a robust woman. He is able to walk tirelessly for mile after mile after mile, and he puts this down to pre-school training with his mum. As a toddler she'd take him and their boxer dog Jonathon for long walks in the English countryside in all weathers. My male staff would start off in a pushchair and Jonathon would trot along behind. Invariably Jonathon would tire first, and when he did, he'd just sit down and refuse to go any further. At this point my male staff would be turfed out of the pushchair and Jonathon would jump in to be pushed home in comfort while my male staff walked along behind on his chubby, but very sturdy legs.

Now she takes pleasure in small outings to garden centres and the like. She's always loved her garden and is proud of it even now. It's always full of colour and interest at any time of year. She potters about the garden centre with her stick and enjoys a sit down and a cup of coffee and a cake when she gets tired, which is all too soon these days. All this makes my male staff feel sad and helpless and even cuddles from Badger and I don't really help. He says it like having a photo of his mum - like the ones that Michael J Fox had in the movie "Back to the Future". The characters in the picture fades slowly away as his attempts to change history fail. My male staff says that feeling must be all the more intense for his dad after nearly sixty years of marriage. What must that feel like, to watch your life partner slowly fade away until one day there is nothing left at all?   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Writhing Blouse

Once again, on the plane from Dubai to London Badger and I were kept firmly under control. We were placed into our staff's seat-back pockets and ordered not to leave them. It wasn't too bad. If we wheeked loud enough we were hand fed limp airline lettuce to shut us up before the cabin crew found us. Getting us through security was a bit of an ordeal. My female staff decided that the best way was for us to be shoved up her blouse so that she looked like a typical fifty four year old pregnant lady and as such would not attract unwanted attention. We were advised not to wriggle about too much, but we hadn't been inside my female staff's blouse before so we were keen to explore. There were all sorts of lumps and bumps up there and a little hole with lots of fluff in. Anyway, our exploring must have attracted the attention of one of the nice security ladies because we heard someone say "Excuse me madam, Your stomach appears to be moving." My female staff said, " Oh. it's just my baby. I've had a curry and that always makes him kick a bit." The woman wasn't convinced and asked my female staff to lift her arms above her head so that she could take a closer look. My staff thought the game was up then and were convinced that we would all be sent back to Australia. However, just as the security woman was taking a closer look at my female staff's writhing blouse I poked my head out between two of the buttons. The poor woman had obviously recently watched the movie "Alien". Anyway, for whatever reason, at the sight of my furry face peering at her the woman passed out, and in the ensuing confusion my staff were able to step over her prone body and onto the plane.

Less than ten hours later we were at my male staff's sister's house and munching on some lovely fresh capsicum. The only downside of staying with my male staff's sister is that she has a large hairy thing with big teeth and a very smelly bottom passage. No, not her husband. She has a dog. Funny things dogs, they'll eat anything - including guinea pigs if they get the chance. Naturally I had to bite her tail at the first opportunity just to show her who was in charge. Once she understood the basic fact that guinea pigs are at the top of the food chain we got along famously and by the end of the day Badger and I were riding about the house on the dog's back. It was fun until she decided to roll over.

A couple of days later My staff, my male staff's poorly mum and his Auntie took us to lunch at a nice pub. We all ate heaps but the servings were enormous and there were plenty of leftovers which the daft humans decided to take home for my male staff's sister's dog. There were great chunks of chicken, a large piece of fish and about a kilo of chips. All this they wrapped up neatly in a couple of paper napkins. My male staff then asked for the bill, which was produced with alarming promptness. My male staff obviously looks the type to do a runner, not that anyone could possibly run after stashing away the amount of food that he just had. With a great show of reluctance he paid the bill and everyone waddled out of the pub. We were driving home when my male staff's Mum mentioned that we had forgotten to leave a tip. This alone wouldn't have mattered too much as tipping is not really customary in Britain, but the fact that we'd left the napkins filled with leftovers on the table made all the humans cringe a little. They all hoped that the poor waitress didn't think that it was her tip. In any case, the humans decided that they probably wouldn't go back there for a while just in case.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just Desserts

Will someone out there please called the RSPCA or some other animal welfare organisation please. My staff are being horribly cruel to Badger and I. They promised us a dessert safari, so we were all geared up for a feast of berries and apples and stuff. Badger even cleaned his teeth in readiness for the banana he thought he was going to get. In the end all we got was sand - in each and every one of our piggy orifices
We'd been warned to expect a bumpy ride in a four wheel drive thingy up and down some sand dunes on the way to the dessert place. Unfortunately Badger threw up in the hotel lift on the way down to the lobby. I'd warned him not to eat the entire bowl of tabbouleh at lunch time, but he wouldn't listen. He was resting in the crook of my female staff's arm. It was a crowded lift and there was a tall, elegant man wearing a beautiful, dazzling white robe standing in front of my female staff. Luckily he had his back to her because suddenly Badger's head started to swivel three hundred and sixty degrees a la Linda Blair. Then whoops-a-daisy, up came about a litre of bright green tabbouleh all over the man's back in a perfect green stripe from top to bottom of his robe. Amazingly he didn't notice and strode out of the lift, through the lobby and climbed into a nice Rolls Royce with beautiful white leather seats, into which he settled comfortably, totally unaware of the colourful surprise that awaited him at his destination.

So, after all that Badger was feeling much better as we sat in the vehicle swishing up and down the sand dunes along with a great convoy of other cars. Eventually we came to a big enclosure, outside of which were a dozen large snorting things with humpy backs. My female staff immediately squealed like a girl and ran over to them. Still clutching Badger she climbed onto the hump of one of these creatures and another man in a nice white robe led her around in a wide circle. Naturally I was concerned for the well being of the man's robe given Badger's proximity, but all was well and soon we were all ensconced within the enclosure. My staff were cross legged, seated on plush cushions at a low table piled high with barbecued meat of all kinds. It was disgusting. Meat and sand everywhere and but no dessert to seen. Then a rude lady came out and started waggling her belly around in time to music. I hate music and was forced to run up my male staff's shirt to protect my ears. Unfortunately it had been a hot sweaty afternoon and I soon ran back down again holding my nose. I don't think my male staff has heard of deodorant. He seemed to enjoy the rude lady, but my female staff didn't seem to enjoy the fact that he was enjoying the rude lady. I think she's been taking death stare lessons from Badger.

So, the upshot of this experience is that we've all learned valuable lessons. Badger now knows that it's not really a good idea to eat an entire bowl of tabbouleh in one sitting. My female staff now knows that my male staff shouldn't be exposed to rude ladies. My male staff has learned to pretend not to look at rude ladies if he is fortunate enough to be exposed to them, and I have learned to let the difference between a dessert and a desert.  


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Furry Gattling Guns

Badger and I had to spend the entire flight from Singapore to Dubai in our staff's seat back pockets because they didn't want a repeat of us chewing cables that made the plane go round and round in circles. We were comfortable enough but neither of us could see the movie screen. Instead we had to watch our staff sculling down litres of wine and goodness know much how much airline food. At least they fed us the odd bit of carrot and lettuce now and again.

Let me tell you. Dubai is a bad place for a hairy guinea pig, and not great for a little black, heat absorbing guinea pig like Badger either. This place is seriously hot and seriously humid. It's like being in an oven in which someone has left a bucket of water. (Probably my female staff - knowing her cooking.) My fur is as limp as a six week old lettuce and Badger is sweating like a.........well, like a pig actually. Anyway, we were all very tired by the time we arrived at our hotel. Our room is long way up with a big window that looks out across some roof tops towards the Burj Al Arab Hotel and the Gulf of Arabia beyond that. You might remember the Burj Al Arab Hotel. It has a helicopter pad on the roof from which Tiger Wood once hit a golf ball into the Gulf. Of course that was before his testostricles exploded and he went utterly insane and started cheating on his Scandinavian bikini model wife. I'm glad they didn't pick my male staff to hit the ball into the Gulf - he'd have missed for sure. Mind you, having said that, he would lose half a dozen balls in the water every round he played, so perhaps he wouldn't have been such a bad choice after all.

We'd barely settled into our hotel room when my female staff dragged the rest of us into the humungus shopping mall next door. Shopping malls have the effect of making my male staff's wallet shrivel up in the same way that my testostricles do when my staff mention the vet. Nevertheless despite much whining from him, Badger and myself we quickly found ourself surrounded by designer label shops like Tommy Hilfiger, Breitling and Calvin Klein - where you can buy a pair of  undies for the price of a small car. There was Christian Dior and Armani too. Try as they might my staff couldn't find a K-Mart. Walmart or Target store. What they did find however was a four hundred metre ski slope with real snow. This came as something of a surprise since it was forty-two degrees centigrade outside and a ski slope is not really what you expect to find in a shopping mall anyway.

It was facinating. The place had a proper ski lift and everything. There was even a cafe called San Moritz which had a synthetic log fire and served fondu. In a way, it summed up what Dubai is all about - artificiality. Never mind. Badger and I had a lot of fun. My male staff hired a snow board for us, took us to the top of the slope and gave us a shove. Badger closed his eyes and prayed, while I wheeked at the top of my piggy voice. Close to the bottom of the slope we ran into a lady in a burqa which sent us flying into a snowdrift - pigs really do fly. We were stuck fast, buried up to our hind legs which we wiggled frantically in a bid to get free and shot out bush chocolate like a couple of furry gattling guns. After what seemed like hours my female staff pulled us out and brushed the snow out of our fur. Boy did my male staff get a death stare from Badger. I wouldn't like to have been on the receiving end of that. We really have something to look forward to tomorrow. My male staffs says we're all going out to see the dessert. I can almost taste the strawberries, grapes, bananas, blueberries and watermelon already.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Next Stop Dubai

So, after an hour or two frantic last minute packing we finally set off to England to see my male staff's poorly Mum. I've refused to travel in the checked in luggage so Badger will be in my female staff's hand baggage and I'll me in my male staff's.  You may remember my last trip to England. I was in the checked in luggage then, which wasn't too bad on the way out. But coming back was rather unpleasant as I had to share a case with a big pile of dirty underwear and socks. I still can't get the smell out of my fur. Badger was jet lagged before we reached the airport, at least he had all the symptoms - puckered mouth, staring eyes, swollen backside. Mind you he always looks like that so who knows.

The flight stself was fairly uneventful. My staff let us out of their hand luggage so that we could scuttle around on the floor between people's feet. It was fun because many of the ladies had removed their shoes and squealed surprisingly loudly when they found small hairy rodents nibbling at their feet. I guess airline passengers don't often get that - not even on Qantas let alone a reputable airline like Emirates. We also whiled away the hours and assuaged our hunger by gnawing at some cables that Badger found. I think one of them might have been connected to the rudder because we went round in circles for ages before we finally landed in Singapore.  I've been there before, remember?

We had a short layover at Singapore Airport. Well, it was supposed to be a short layover, but my stupid staff didn't tell me we were only supposed to be there for an hour, so Badger and I decided to explore. Mostly because we were hungry. There was not a single vegetable to be seen on the plane (Apart from my male staff.) All Badger and I had to eat on the seven hour fllight from Brisbane was a handful of our own bush chocolate and some dead skin from people's feet. Anyway the airport was no more fruitful, but we had a nice time running up and down the vast expanses of carpet. We lost track of time though unfortunately. Well, how were we to know that our staff had most of Singapore Airport's security team out looking for us. They went through every passenger's bags, hoping to find us hidden within. They x-rayed each and every suitcase, but we were nowhere to be seen. My staff pleaded with the cabin crew not to let the captain take off without us. In the end they found us behind the counter at the Subway restaurant vacuuming up bits of lettuce that had fallen out of people's foot long thingies.

Jeez! What a fuss everyone made. The captain glared at us and tutted while tapping his watch, and the look that the other passengers gave us as we boarded the plane would have soured a cucumber. We were only four hours late for heavens sake. How were we to know that the silly airline has something it calls a schedule.
It didn't faze Badger in any case. He made sure he gave every single passenger an extra cold death stare before settling in the the seat back pocket in front of my male staff.  Whoo Hoo! Next stop Dubai.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Driving Around The World

What with all our vet visits lately Badger and I have been spending quite a bit of time in the car. It's a frightening place to be let me tell you. You'd be amazed at just how many awful drivers there are out there. I don't include my male staff amongst those. He's very careful, especially when Badger and I are onboard. He never drives any faster than a guinea pig can run so that we don't get carsick. The other motorists obviously really appreciate his careful driving because many of them queue up behind him to get a better view of what he's doing. I suppose they want to learn from him. Some of them toot their horns in support. We're very proud of my male staff.

Anyway I got to wondering how humans get the right to drive. What is the minimum requirement to obtain a driver's licence? For example, it used to be that to obtain a licence in Egypt, you had only to drive forward twelve feet and then reverse twelve feet. I did a little research concerning driving tests in various countries, and this is what I discovered.

Minimum Requirement for a Drivers Licence.

AUSTRALIA - The ability not to get dizzy while doing donuts. On no account should you attempt to reverse park. Drivers must be able to simultaneously control (In order of importance.) an open can of beer, a spliff, a mobile phone and the steering wheel. One must also be sufficiently dexterous to bend one's radio antenna into the shape of Australia.

GREAT BRITAIN - Must wear a flat cap at all times whilst driving. Also must possess a wife with blue hair. Elderly drivers must not be able to see over the steering wheel and must drive the wrong way around a mini-roundabout, preferably without indicating.

USA - Must be able to see at least as far as the end of the hood/bonnet (A bloody long way.). Must be able drive with at least two elk strapped to said hood/bonnet. Must be able to tell the difference between a car backfire and a hand gun shot.

SAUDI ARABIA - Must be in possession of a penis. Offenders caught driving without a penis will be stoned to death for adultery.

ITALY - Drivers must have at least one arm with which to gesticulate, preferably the left one so that it can be waved through the drivers side window.

INDIA - Drivers must have 20/20 hearing so that horns can be clearly heard. Vision is optional. Sanity is a definite disadvantage.

LUXEMBOURG & LIECHTENSTEIN - Must know the road rules of every other county in Europe.

RUSSIA - There is a strict sobriety test for potential drivers. Anyone blowing below .08 on a breathalyzer is banned from driving and taken to the police station canteen, where they are plied with vodka until they are unable to walk along a straight line ten metres long. Once they have achieved this level of inebriation they will be permitted to drive.

BELGIUM - Must have a high boredom threshold.

ANYWHERE IN AFRICA - Drivers must have the ability to improvise. For example it may be necessary to use chewing gum when wheel nuts have sheered off. It may also be necessary to bribe a baboon to sit on the bonnet and wipe your windscreen if the wipers break down. A bag of bananas should be kept in the vehicle at all times for such an emergency.

I hope you've all learned something from this, and if you're one of the nice people behind my male staff's car, admiring his careful driving while Badger and I are onboard, give us a friendly toot.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Squelchy Underwear

Almost every day since he was sixteen years of age my male staff has run an average of five kilometres. Lets say he has two days off a week. That means he's run a total of forty eight thousand two hundred and eighty five kilometres since he started. If you're really smart and really bored you can work out from these figures how old my male staff is. Last Monday's run was apparently one of the more eventful ones. His current running route takes him through some woods and as he was jogging absent mindedly along a large snake fell from a tree into the grass by the side of the track. He says it was a six-footer, but couldn't say whether it was a taipan or an eastern brown, not that it matters, you don't want either on your head. Both can kill you before you can stagger to the nearest house for help. Anyway, it was all good in the end because he did a personal best time, despite having squelchy underwear.

Another man who evidently suffered from SUS (Squelchy Underwear Syndrome) was Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere. I've been helping my male staff to read "The Fort" by Bernard Cornwell. I have to help because he has trouble with big words like "The" and "Fort". In any case I don't mind because he lets me chew some of the pages after we've read them. He says it doesn't matter because it's only a library book. Mr Cornwell's research led him to discover that this so called hero of the revolution - The War of Independence - was an utter plonker. Not a brave plonker either, but one with a broad yellow streak running down from the nape of his neck and disappearing into his butt crack.

Most school kids know Paul Revere as the man who rode from Boston to Concord to warn of the arrival of the British. Except he didn't make it. Other in his group completed the ride but he was captured. The only reason he became a much revered (If you'll pardon the pun) hero is because Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about him forty years after his death. This in itself is one hell of an irony because the afore mentioned poet's maternal grandfather was Brigadier General Peleg Wadsworth - the only senior officer to come through the total balls-up that was the siege of the British fort at Penobscot Bay with any credit to his name. Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere was there, commanding the artillery. Apart from Wadsworth, the other two senior officers were Commodore Dudley Saltonstall and General Solomon Lovell. To Wadsworth's unending dismay decisions on how to conduct the siege were put to a vote, and Saltonstall, Lovell and Revere all voted that they didn't like the idea of being shot at. Revere was the keenest of the three to give up the siege, which would undoubtedly have successfully defeated the British had they stormed the fort early in the piece instead of endlessly discussing the matter over cosy cups of tea.

It didn't help that Revere's artillery was so inept that the fort was barely damaged during the entire siege and then when finally British reinforcements arrived and the rebels fled in a most undignified manner Revere refused to rescue a group of his own stranded men because he didn't want to run the risk of the British capturing his personal baggage. Eventually he abandoned his men altogether and returned to his home in Boston where he immediately put the kettle on, donned a comfy pair of slippers and turned on the telly hoping to catch up with what had been happening on "The Bold and the Beautiful".

Not surprisingly, an inquiry into the whole fiasco at Penobscot Bay found Revere guilty of cowardice, but over the following years he hounded the inquiry committee so much that they succumbed and said that he had performed as well as any of the other commanding officers. Which, as Mr Cornwell points out, is not saying a great deal.

There. I bet you didn't expect that from a guinea pig blog. Next week - Why Davy Crockett spent part of his life with his head up a raccoon's bottom passage.