Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Seat Sniffer General

Today my male staff took Badger and I clothes shopping. The clothes weren't for us you understand. We have yet to grow out of our fur. No, my male staff was determined to purchase a smart new outfit to replace his current garb, which consists of cream and brown platform soled shoes and a lime green suit, complimented by a pink shirt with a collar so large that he has been known to lift several feet off the ground on windy days. All this is topped off by a wide newspaper print tie. In 1975 he was considered a snappy dresser. Now, in 2012 he's considered mildly insane and people cross the street to avoid him.

He hasn't worn his enormous 'Hand of Fatima' medallion since the day in the summer of 1976 when he was paddling in the warm but somewhat dungy Mediterranean, and the dead weight of his medallion dragged him under. His life was flashing before his eyes and threatened to bore him to death before he drowned. Fortunately his then eight year old mad sister dragged him spluttering and gasping from the surf and laid him on the hot sand, where he lay panting and heaving like a beached whale, right down to the constantly opening and closing blow hole. It was an episode which damaged his ego greatly. There is little that can be considered as undignified as being hauled in a panic from knee deep water by a small eight year old child in a 'Miss Piggy' front of dozens of beach babes.

And so it was with not a little trepidation that Badger and I sat on the passenger seat of his Hyundai Getz. We were hoping for a little music on the way to the shops. Badger wanted to show of his moon-walking moves to a Michael Jackson number, he even has one white paw just like the late, great peculiar man himself. But, no - it wasn't to be. We had to listen to the news channel. Even Michael Jackson couldn't have danced to that, but we did learn that West Australian state politician Troy Buswell has been promoted to the position of Treasurer. Australian readers will remember that Mr Buswell, not so long ago sniffed the seat of one female parliamentarian and snapped the bra strap of another. Badger and I thought it excellent that his efforts in promoting gender equality and respect have been rewarded. The seat sniffing aspect of the affair is particularly gratifying. Both Badger and I would have been proud of that, as would almost any dog in the world. My male staff says that had he done that to one of the ladies in his reverse people smuggling office he would have expected to been fired so quickly that his feet wouldn't touch the ground, rather than get promoted to the lofty position of  Seat Sniffer General. Things are obviously done differently in Western Australia.

Troy Buswell. Western Australia's Seat Sniffer General.                                                                                

Anyway, there was no dancing to done, so Badger and I entertained ourselves by competing to see who could most distract my male staff from his driving. I have to admit defeat. Badger climbed onto male staff's lap and piddled for all he was worth. It took a moment for the horrid reality of the situation to dawn on my male staff and then a look of dismay seeped across his face at about the same rate as Badger's nice warm piddle was seeping into the front of his trousers. Badger then hurridly joined me on the passenger seat just in time to hold tight as my male staff looked down in dismay at the wet stain spreading across the front of his lime green trousers and drove (fortunately quite slowly) into the back of the car in front.

The nice man with the dented Ferrari was quite good about the situation all things considered. He seemed a little cross to start with, but when he saw the wet patch on the front of my male staff's trousers he stopped waving his arms and issuing threats to "poke your stupid little car up your arse." He obviously felt sorry for my male staff and apologised, saying that he didn't mean to frighten him that much. Sadly that was the end of that little excursion. My male staff decided that he didn't need new clothes after all, which Badger and I thought a very silly decision since his best trousers were ruined, not to mention a little smelly. We thought it best not to complain about the smell though and sat quietly as my male staff performed a hurried three point turn causing the drivers of other vehicles to swerve wildly and hoot their horns in admiration of his driving skill. Ten minutes later we were back at home, we hadn't even got to the shop. Badger and I were placed back in our cages and though we waited hopefully for our customary post-outing treat of a green bean or a sprig of basil, none was forthcoming. I do think it's petty to hold grudges, don't you?

My lap piddling experience was somewhat marred by my getting wet feet.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Lassie Diet

My male staff can always tell when he has gained a couple of unwanted pounds. There are a few subtle signs. Firstly, his knees start to ache when he runs and secondly his belly hits him in the face when he jumps up and down. He also starts complaining that he hasn't seen his feet for a while, and other parts of his anatomy go missing too. Not that anyone will miss those.

My female staff also notices when my male staff realises he's putting on a bit of weight. She says he starts sucking in his stomach when what he considers to be an attractive human female goes past. Mind you, my male staff's opinion of what is attractive is a little odd. I've noticed that the female humans he likes all have flouncy hair and only two mammary glands, which stick out in front of them instead of dragging along the floor where they belong. They have clickety heels and virtually no fur on their butts. Still whatever turns you on I suppose.

There is a slight problem with this stomach sucking habit in that my male staff's trousers tend to fall down, nestling in an untidy heap around his ankles, frightening any nearby children and dogs and often causing the focus of his attention to call the police so that they too can come and admire his Thomas the Tank Engine underpants and his chubby white legs. Anyway, at times such as these he gets it into his primitive brain that he should go on a diet. He's tried several different types of diet. First there was the F-Plan. So called because it makes the dieter say things like. "Jeez! I'm F-ing hungry." and "Why can't I have a piece of F-ing cheesecake instead of this F-ing lettuce." Then he tried the Subway diet, but got sick of eating all his meals underground. Next came the Beverly Hills diet. One of his friends told him that it consisted of eating no food at all but snorting as much coke as you like. He gave this one up because he didn't like the feel of the fizzy bubbles up his nose. He tried Pepsi too, but that was no better.

So, what's he going to try this time? My female staff suggested that he eats a little less and does a bit more exercise. "Pah!" he exclaimed. "If that worked everyone would be doing it. No. I need something far more complicated and expensive." He did some research and came up with something called "The Mayo Clinic Diet." What initially attracted him was the word "mayo". He loves mayonaise and smears it on pretty much everything he eats - fish, salad, quiche, cherry pie - you name it. So you can imagine his disappointment when he found that the Mayo Clinic diet has nothing whatsoever to do with mayonaise. However, his disappointment was tempered by the fact that the diet allows the consumption of as much meat and fried food as you can eat. People have apparently been known to lose weight on this diet. Probably because they die quickly of a heart attack and start to decompose.

I'd like to see him try the Lassie diet. It's a very practical diet of my own invention which requires only the purchase of a savage dog. The dog is placed in the fridge as per the illustration below and is trained to bite the protruding belly of any porky human opening the fridge door for a snack.

This diet has the added benefit of discouraging my male staff's somewhat unhygienic habit of visiting the fridge in the nude.

It would be better to put Billy in the fridge. He'd eat everything so there'd be nothing left for his male staff to get fat on. I wouldn't go in there myself of course. I hate getting butter on my feet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Domestic Violence

Here's a scary statistic that I found in the newspaper that lines the bottom of my cage. I thought I'd misread it  at first because there was quite a bit of cucumber juice plastered over it. Apparently I'd trodden on the cucumber while searching for a bean that I was sure I'd seen lying around the day before. Anyway, here's the statistic. One in three women in Australia has experienced domestic violence. One in three! Ladies, that means that if you go out for coffee or a meal with half a dozen of your friends, two of your group is likely to have been assaulted by a family member. If you have twelve women in your workplace, four of them may have had the bush chocolate beaten out of them by their husband, father or brother. This is not Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. This is Australia in 2012. It gets worse too. The same newspaper article stated that one in five women in Australia has experienced sexual violence. What on earth is going on out there in this outwardly easy going nation.

I've heard people saying on our new telly that Australia is a racist country. I disagree. Australia doesn't appear to be any more racist than any other nation, less so than many. Especially if you discount a few politicians who attempt to revile immigrants and refuge seekers for their own political ends, in the hope that some of the less sophisticated members of the electorate will vote for them. Look up "less sophisticated" in your pigtionary. The definition is - Thick. Stupid. Bigoted. (See Barnaby Joyce).

 However, there can be little doubt that Australia is a misogynist society. How else can those figures be explained away. Badger and I can see misogyny in the way that women in power are treated. Yes, I know we have a female Prime Minister, but she has to put up with derogatory personal comments that no male politician ever has to. Her hair, her shape, her shoes, the way she dresses, the fact that she is not married, the way she speaks. Okay, she tells lies - she's a politician, get over it humans. John Howard, George Dubya and Toe-Knee Blair also told lies. Much, much bigger lies with far reaching consequences for the lives of millions pf people, but nobody ever whined about their choice of shoes or the fact that their blouse didn't match their skirt. The saddest thing is that many of those whines come from women who really should know better. Maybe it's due to some kind of abuse induced inferiority complex. I'm just a guinea pig, how should I know?

Anyway, I have a theory as to why so many women are abused. It's because animal abuse is not taken seriously enough. "Is this piggy mad?" I hear you cry. "Has Billy been ranting on about misogyny only to finish by comparing women to animals?" Certainly not, there's no comparison. We animals are far superior in almost every way to humans - male or female, though I admit we find it hard to make a decent cappuccino. What I'm saying is that early signs of violence in males often manifests itself in the form of animal abuse. There needs to be a zero tolerance approach to animal cruelty. Not just a slap on the wrist to some brat found beating their dog or torturing the neighbour's cat. It has to be made clear to you humans at an early age  that such cowardly behaviour towards the defenceless and the vulnerable is not acceptable. Maybe then we'll start to see those horrendous statistics move in the right direction.

I bet you didn't realise that I'm a feminist did you? It's hard to imagine a feminist whose testostricles drag along the floor when he runs, and who spends most of his time plotting to mount his best mate.Nevertheless I firmly believe in the equality of the sexes. My female staff is just as capable of chopping my vegetables as my male staff. Her cuddling skills are just as good, though her foot massaging has yet to reach the heights of those offered by Uncle Dan from Iowa. She trims my fur reasonably well. Certainly far better than my male staff who left a bald batch the size of a football field on my butt last time he did it. She cleans up my bush chocolate with as much alacrity as my male staff and certainly contributes more money to the household coffers than he does, enabling the purchase of vegetables and treats for Badger and I to consume. For these reasons I will be the first to bite my male staff's tender parts should he ever raise a finger against my female staff. On the other hand, my female staff is welcome to continue kicking and elbowing my male staff "in her sleep" just so that he knows who's the boss.

Billy's testostricles really do drag along the floor when he runs. He has to kick them along like a Premier League footballer.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hell's Kitchen

To the north of the new telly, beyond my favourite hunting ground - the fertile plain that is our lounge room floor lies a forbidden valley. To Badger and I it is known as "Hell's Kitchen". It is a place of sheer, towering cupboards, a place of foul smells and even fouler language. It is a mysterious place of eerie, roiling steam which seems to twist human personalities. My female staff enters "Hell's Kitchen" a normal, well mannered (for an Australian) lady only to emerge an hour later as a dishevelled, potty mouthed wretch with scalded fingers and a savage glint in her eye that dares my male staff to complain about the food she has just prepared.

Badger and I are forbidden to enter Hell's Kitchen. When we were younger a tall cardboard barrier was placed across the entrance to the valley, and though we sniffed and snuffled at this wall, neither of us had the courage to try to force an entrance. These days there is no barrier, but still an aura of evil hangs about the place and neither of us dares to put even a single paw onto it's glossy, cork tiled floor.

Legend has it that within Hell's Kitchen they lies a cool cave. An oasis of calm and plenty from whence comes all manner of good things to eat. It is even rumoured that there are unlimited supplies of basil and cucumber within. The entrance to the cave is sealed most of the day, but when one of my staff utters the magic words "Time for a snack." the entrance to the cave creaks open to reveal all the wonders therein.
Neither Badger nor I have seen inside the cave, but Paolo the budgie says he once glimpsed it's wondrous interior as he flew past en route to a collision with a window one day. Sadly that collision left him with concussion and he was unable to remember what he saw. His only recollection was that of a blinding light emanating from within the cavern and then all went dark as he collided with the glass.

 I have heard tales of an another cave situated not far from the cool cave. This is a hot cave though, and is so deep that it reaches the molten magma at the very centre of the earth. It is known as "The Bloody Oven". Now and again the putrid stench of burning flesh seeps through the house. This is a sure sign that my female staff has sacrificed some sort of animal within this hot as Hades hole. Once the sacrifice has been made, the cremated animal is withdrawn from the cave and my staff mutter and chant incantations over the smouldering carcass. From where our cages are it's hard to tell exactly what they're saying, but I'm sure I've heard the words "Oh bollocks! Looks like beans on toast again" uttered more than once.

One day Badger and I will summon the courage to mount an expedition into "Hell's Kitchen", and who knows? Maybe we'll even venture into the cool cave. We'll need another reconnaissance flight by Paolo first though, and that in itself is a problem because Paolo doesn't "do" corners. He tends to fly in a straight line until he hits something big and unyielding - a wall, a window, my male staff. Therefore he can't be relied upon to return unconcussed with reliable information about the lay of the land.. Still, all great adventures have to start somewhere. I doubt that Sir Edmund Hillary got his budgie to fly over Mount Everest before he made his historic ascent and yet he still made it to the top. On the other hand Scott of the Arse Antics or whatever his name was didn't instruct his budgie to fly over the South Pole and report back, and look what happened to him.

There's no way I'm setting foot inside "Hell's Kitchen". If Billy wants to go, he's on his own. I'll stay behind and tidy my cage thank you very much. I don't want to be sacrificed in "The Bloody Oven".

Friday, June 15, 2012

Crab Juggling

My female staff's frantic sister arrives today from Sydney. Male staff says she's like a "blue arsed fly". I'm not sure what he means by that because as far as I know he's never seen her arse and therefore he shouldn't have a clue what colour it is. Maybe he's taking an educated guess because it can get quite chilly in Sydney at this time of year. If that is the case then it's her own fault for exposing it in the first place. Sydney has enough congestion as it is without my female staff's frantic sister's causing more traffic chaos. She always seems to be doing something, rushing hither and thither. Whenever my female staff phones her and asks how she's doing, she always says "I'm frantic." My male staff says she's as busy as a one armed juggler with crabs. I don't think he means that she juggles crabs, though with frantic sister you never know. She's always doing some course or undertaking a new hobby. Maybe she's enrolled in a crab juggling course or something. I'll let you know when I find out. She'll be staying with my female staff's mum, so if she has brought her juggling crabs with her I expect she'll have to keep them in her bath.

Frantic sister's partner is called Toe-Knee. My female staff says he's an architect, but he never does any work. He spends most of his time drawing skeletal pictures of houses and trying to avoid the jobs handed out by frantic sister. The thing is the houses he draws never have anything nice in them like clouds or grass, and there's never a dog or a cat in the front garden. Not even a tree, and he he never colours anything in. It's all black and white. Maybe he's not very good at colouring. You'd think with a name like Toe-Knee he'd have been an orthopaedic surgeon rather than an architect, but then frantic sister is a nurse so that would give him fewer opportunities to escape her job delegation if they worked in the same operating theatre.

Dr Toe-Knee: (Up to his elbows in someone's hip joint.)   "Clamp please nurse."

Frantic Sister:   "Not until you've washed up that scalpel, and just look at the state of that gown. You've got blood all over it. Well don't expect me to wash it for you. I did the last one but I'm not doing it again. Don't forget to mow the lawn when you get home either."

It just wouldn't work would it? Anyway, Toe-Knee hasn't flown up with frantic sister this time, which is a shame because he gives a good foot massage and back rub. No doubt he'll be relaxing at home, drawing houses while he waits for someone to ask him to do some architecting and ignoring the housework with impunity, unless of course frantic sister has left him a list of jobs to be completed before she returns. In which case the bush chocolate will hit the revolving cooling system when she gets home and find that he's spent the whole weekend drawing.

My male staff's mum once told me that he used to love drawing when he was little. (That's hard to imagine. Not that he loved drawing, but that he was ever little.) In any case, one Christmas when he was about six years old his Sunday school teacher asked the class to draw a nativity scene. An hour later she inspected my male staff's finished masterpiece. "Ooooh!" she said, pointing to a bright blob in the sky above the stable which contained several matchstick figures and a giraffe. "Is that the guiding star that the three wise men followed?"
 "Naaah.." Said my male staff as if that was a ridiculous suggestion. "It's a nellycopta."
 "I see." Replied the teacher. So that line coming out of it isn't a ray of light then?"
 "'Course not." My male staff was clearly becoming impatient at the stupidity of the teacher. "It's baby Jesus on a rope. The ellycopta brung him."
Don't laugh. It's more feasible than a virgin birth don't you think?

I wonder if Dr Toe-Knee can make my white foot black like the other three. It feels rather left out and the others tend to bully it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Tale of Slam Dunk Kate

Australia has a legend.
A true blue sporting great.
A portly little wombat
Who’s known as “Slam Dunk Kate.”
Kate loved watching basketball.
Every weekend was the same.
She’d walk down to the stadium,
She never missed a game.
Her favourite team were animals.
They called themselves “The Brutes”,
But when you hear about the team
You’ll see it didn’t suit.
The captain was a possum,
As timid as can be.
Whenever the spectators cheered
He’d scamper up a tree.
There also was a bilby
And a bandicoot.
They hopped around the court a lot
But couldn’t really shoot.
Then there was an emu
Who was something of a glutton.
He’d stride up to the umpire
And swallow all his buttons.
Their star player was a python
Who couldn’t bounce the ball,
But if you stood him on his tail
He’d be seventeen feet tall. 
The other teams all laughed at him.
They though it very funny
That someone seventeen feet tall
Should crawl round on his tummy.
“The Brutes” had never won a game,
They’d never even scored
And sometimes when she watched them play
Even Kate got rather bored.
Then one day a challenge came
Postmarked USA.
“We’re the Harlem Globetrotters.
Would you like to play?”
“Any team that’s called The Brutes
Must be really good.
But if anyone can beat you
I think perhaps we could.”
And so the big game was arranged.
Globetrotter versus Brutes.
The animals were so excited
That they all bought brand new boots.  
Except the python naturally
For he wasn’t blessed with feet.
He needed boots about as much
As a dolphin needs a seat.
The day of the big game came around,
And the first one there was Kate.
She arrived just after half past one, 
Though the game didn’t start till eight. 
She made herself quite comfortable
And curled up on the floor.
Within about five minutes
She’d begun to snore. 
She slept and slept and slept and slept
Without so much as a though
That she was curled up in a ball
In the centre of the court.
When the teams were introduced
The Americans got a fright.
Five animals in boots and vests
Is really quite a sight.
The umpire when he saw the teams
Said “This will be a slaughter.
The Globetrotter will thrash the Brutes.
We’d better play just one quarter.”
The umpire blew his whistle
And the crowd all cheered with glee.
It was then the captain of The Brutes
Shot up the nearest tree.
The Globetrotters just laughed and laughed.
They laughed until they wept,
And in the excitement no one saw
Young Katie where she slept.
The Globetrotters eyes were filled with tears.
They couldn’t see at all.
Their captain picked up little Kate,
He thought she was the ball. 
He bounced her once and bounced her twice,
And with a shout of “Allez oop!”
He leapt with poor Kate in his hand
And slam dunked her in the hoop.
Meanwhile at the other end 
A great shemozzle followed.
The emu picked up the ball 
With his beak and swallowed.
The ball stuck in the emu’s throat,
A very comical lump.
It was then the possum leapt from the tree
And landed with a thump.
Upon the emu’s back he fell,
Which made the big bird cough.
The basketball flew from his throat,
While the possum just fell off.
The crowd watched in amazement
As with a graceful loop
The basketball sailed through the air
And landed in the hoop.
“Three points to nil.” The umpire called.
Now The Brutes were winning.
“Gosh! We’ve never scored before.”
Said the emu, grinning.
Meanwhile, at the other end
Kate still snored away.
She simply didn’t realize 
The part she was to play. 
Looking up from beneath the hoop
The teams could see her face,
While her hairy, chubby bottom
Pointed into space.
The Globetrotters knew every trick,
But everything they tried,
Every slam dunk, every shot
Just bounced off Kate’s backside.
The Globetrotters were very cross.
They said “Umpire, take a look.
Does it mention wombats
In your basketball rule book?”
Carefully the umpire read the rules
And finally he said,
“It doesn’t mention wombats
In anything I’ve read.”
Soon the final whistle blew,
The game was over and done,
And miracle of miracles,
The Brutes had actually won.
The crowd went wild, they clapped and cheered
And the possum ran off again.
The emu said, “How will Kate get down?”
Said the python “Hire a crane.”
So, that is what they did
And it wasn’t long before
The crane had gently lowered
The sleeping wombat to the floor.
They chaired the wombat from the court,
A hero of great fame.
It was then that Kate woke up and said,
“Oh! Did I miss the game?”

Bagpipes & Bats

Paolo is an old budgie now. He was with my staff long before Badger and I were even a strange tingling feeling in our father's testostricles. Health wise he's had his ups and downs, but he's outlived three other budgies. His first companion - Tikki arrived at the same time as Paolo and just a couple of weeks later was found in the bottom of their cage with his legs in the air. My staff then found him a new friend - Wiggles. Wiggles survived until he was about six years old, then his tummy grew bloated and despite treatment from the vet he went to the Rainbow Bridge while my male staff held him in his hand. It would have been most upsetting - especially for poor Wiggles. Now, as regular readers will know, Paolo's latest cage-mate Biggles has also gone to the Rainbow Bridge. He went while he was at the vet's surgery, taken by something nasty called coccidiosis. That same illness almost took Paolo too, yet he survived and is as chirpy as ever, if a little sleepy. When he's tired he lays down on his perch and tucks his head under his wing, twitching now and again as he dreams of everlasting millet sprays. He seems happy enough in his retirement though. Badger and I keep an eye on him from across the room. We're under instructions to alert my staff if he looks unwell.

Yesterday my staff and and my female staff's mum took Badger and I to the old folks home to see my female staff's dad. It was her mum and dad's fifty seventh wedding anniversary, and so my staff took flowers. Female staff's dad likes bright flowers. Unfortunately so do Badger and I and they were left on the backseat of the car, well within our reach. Very tasty there were too, the white roses were particularly good once you learned to spit out the thorns. Anyway my female staff's dad was very moved by the nice bunch of stems which she presented him with, mind you, the stems could have been longer too because we'd had a bit of a chew on them too. My female staff's mum had bought some very nice cakes and we all settled down in the communal lounge where her dad was cosily settled with some of the other residents watching a DVD of Andre Rieu's concert at New York's Radio City on an enormous TV screen. Female staff's dad loves Andre Rieu so we all sat with him and watched while my male staff ate all the cake and Badger and I polished off what little remained of the flower stems.

My female staff's dad who suffers from both an incurable form of bone cancer and the early stages of Alzheimer's disease pointed at the screen. He'd obviously watched this DVD before because he said.
 "See that woman in the front row of the orchestra? The one in blue with the bagpipes." We looked. Sure enough there was a woman with bagpipes in the front row. He continued. "She really is very good. I expect she'll play soon." Sure enough a few minutes later the woman stood and gave the most moving rendition of "Amazing Grace" a guinea pig could wish to hear. Badger had tears in his eyes, though admittedly that may have been because I'd just mounted him. We all looked at my female staff's dad who was still staring at the screen as the soloist received a standing ovation from the audience.
 "Wow!" Said my female staff. "That really was good. You were right Dad." He nodded, and on the big screen the orchestra began playing the next number.
 "See that woman in blue with the bagpipes in the front row?" Said my female staff's dad. "She's really good. She'll probably get up and play soon." My female staff's mum just looked sad.
 "Yes I'm sure she will." She said. The music played on, all but drowning out the soft snores of the other residents, our happy munching of the flower stems and my male staff's occasional contented burp.

Later that day my male staff told my female staff that she has his permission to suffocate him with a pillow if he is ever diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She promised to oblige. In fact she said she'd be quite happy to do it before the diagnosis. "In fact," she said. "I'll do it now if you like, but would you mind sitting in the garbage bin while I do it? It would make the whole disposal process much easier." I thought that was uncalled for.

So, at last after four coronial inquests it is now official that a dingo took Azaria Chamberlain from the tent at Ayers Rock thirty two years ago. My male staff has been storming about the house yelling "How is it possible that it has taken so long?" He reckons any reasonable person knew that that is what happened the day after the incident. He says it's just a shame that the Keystone Cops in the Northern Territory can't be described as reasonable. Well, I don't know anything about that, but now I'm bracing for an increased incidence of cruelty to dogs. Maybe it's just me, but Australia seems to have more than it's fair share of moronic cowards in it's human population. After Steve Irwin's death there were incidents of people torturing and mutilating stingrays. Now people are doing the same to flying fox bats because they are known to spread the lethal Hendra virus to horses, who then pass it on to humans. Jeez! I hope nobody ever discovers that guinea pigs sometimes escape from their cages at night to rip out the throats of people accused of animal cruelty.

I wondered why Billy sometimes comes home just before dawn with blood all over his feet


Friday, June 8, 2012

A Herd of Old Ladies

Almost every morning my male staff takes Badger and I into the nearby little town of Cooroy to do a bit of salad shopping for us and to get a cup of coffee and a newspaper for him, though actually the newspaper is for us really because it ends up lining the bottom of our cage.  He puts us in the child seat of the shopping trolley and wheels us around the little supermarket, occasionally knocking over towering displays of breakfast cereal and running into the back of other shoppers legs.  We like that of course, it’s always fun to watch elderly ladies hop around clutching one of their ankles while hissing curses at my male staff. It’s never his fault of course. It’s always the fault of the shopping trolley, which he claims has a mind of its own, which is more than can be said for my male staff.
Anyway today as usual we had to walk past the community hall to get to the shop. The door was open and music was wafting into the street along with what sounded like an extended heavy machine gun salvo. It was in fact a herd of old ladies hopping up and down in very noisy shoes. It looked as though my male staff had been let loose in an old folks home with his shopping trolley. More interesting still though, was the sign outside the hall. “COOROY’S GOT TALENT CONTEST” it read. I’ve seen these contests before on the telly. In Britain there’s “Britain’s got Talent”, while here in Australia surprisingly enough it’s “Australia’s got Talent”. I’m sure there’s one in the United States and I understand that even Pakistan has one. Osama bin Laden won that one a couple of years ago with a disappearing act. He was favourite to win it again this year too until the judges finally gave him three Xs. There's a "Saudi Arabia's  got Talent" but there are very stringent rules. For example each competitor - male or female, must have their own pair of testostricles.
The early rounds of these talent shows are usually the most entertaining, before the judges weed out the most talented people and we end up with a bland crowd of second rate singers and dancers. I love watching the contestants whose chief talent is incompetence. The fire-eaters who singe their nostril hairs, the magicians who leave a pool of blood on the stage when they saw their assistant in half and the gum leaf whistlers who accidentally inhale their gum leaves and have to have the heimlich manouevre performed on them. These are the truly talented types.
There’s a one thousand dollar prize too, so now my staff are wracking their feeble brains, trying to think  which category they could enter Badger and I in. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a “Poop Scattering” category or even a “Basil Munching” category. My female staff teaches belly dancing. She’s really good at that, so my male staff says she should enter. I think she should too. A thousand dollars would buy an awful lot of basil. She says she’d prefer to enter as a piano/singing act. Male staff said that he doesn’t think a small town like Cooroy should be subjected to that kind of abuse, and in any case there’s likely to be kids in the audience, so the strong language that my female staff uses when she hits a bum note wouldn’t be appropriate. (See my last blog post.) 
And so it’s down to my male staff so I fear that the prize money is well out of reach, especially if last year is anything to go by. He entered as a didgeridoo player. If anyone out there doesn’t know what a didgeridoo is, it’s an ancient aboriginal instrument, originating Australia’s Northern Territory. Basically it’s a long straight tree branch which has been hollowed out by termites. In the hands of an expert it makes a hauntingly beautiful sound that perfectly compliments Australia’s wide, brown landscape. A good didgeridoo player can make the instrument talk. My male staff on the other hand can only make it fart. Nevertheless at last year’s event he received a standing ovation when he got his tongue stuck in the hole and had to be freed by the local State Emergency Service with a chainsaw.

I once tried tap dancing but I kept falling into the sink.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I'm back to two full time staff again now, and already the level of service has dropped off. Breakfast is served later, dinner is always delayed. Sometimes we don't get fed until after Paolo the budgie. It really is becoming quite unacceptable. What can one do though? With this so called "mining boom" that we have in Australia at the moment it's very hard to get staff of any sort, let alone sane ones. You see the trouble is that the mining companies are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money to anyone who is willing to go and work for them, from project managers to tea boys. This means that small operators like myself with only two staff, (one male and one female) either have to go without staff altogether or have to try to match the wages offered by the mining companies. So far the two staff that I have have shown no interest in going to the mines to shovel dirt, why would they, when they can can stay here and shovel bush chocolate? That's one perk the mining companies can't offer. Still, I've decided reluctantly that I'll have to start treating them with a little more respect from now on as a precaution. That means no more peeing on their laps at cuddle time and no more (accidental) biting when I pull there clothes as a signal that cuddle time is over and floor exploring time is about to begin. I'm not sure how long this policy will last, we guinea pigs are not known for the quality of our memories.

Another disadvantage of my temporary staff leaving is that my female staff now thinks that it is acceptable for her to resume her piano practise. She asks my male staff if he minds if she practises "Will it disturb you?" As if he could get any my disturbed than he already is. However, she never thinks it necessary to ask us. Consequently Badger and I have to sit in our houses with our paws over our ears for an hour while she mangles various tunes on her ancient pianola. It's not only the tunes she mangles, but the words to songs as well as she sings along and hits a bum note on the keyboard. Her version of Imagine is a prime example.

Imagine there's no BOLLOCKS!
It's easy if you FUCK!
No SHIT! below us
Above us only GODDAMMIT!

Imagine all the BOLLOCKS!
Living for......AH! SOD THIS! 

Now, I don't know what half of these interjected words mean, but I'm pretty sure that they weren't part of John Lennon's original lyrics. Luckily at this point she usually slams down the the lid and storms off to do some sewing which will often cause more words that I don't understand to be ejaculated. Male staff tends to keep his head down at such moments. He's finally learned to not to say "That was a lovely rendition of  "Old Man River" only to be told in a bitter voice that..........."Actually it was the theme to Doctor Frigging Zhivago." Once again I have to say that the word "Frigging" was unlikely to have been in Pasternak's original title, but then my female staff is human so I'm sure she knows better than I do.

Today is an exciting day for this household. The new furniture that my staff ordered two months ago is due to arrive sometime between one thirty and two this afternoon. There will be two reclining chairs and a two seater leather couch. My male staff has already entertained Badger and I by moving the grotty old cane suite out of the way with more sweating, heaving and grunting than a Polish porn movie. The best bit was when he dropped the coffee table on his foot and then while hopping around cursing clutched onto the curtains for support. Naturally the curtains just aren't made to take this sort of weight and they collapsed, knocking over my female staff's favourite African violet, the only plant she hasn't managed to kill in the time I've known her.   "Oh fuuuuuuuaaaaaaaaaaar out!" He cried, remembering just in time that Badger and I were listening in. Scrabbling around on the floor he managed to scoop up most of the bits of African violet, and crammed them back into the pot. It didn't look too bad, and some of the bits were even the right way up. In fact to a guinea pig like myself it looked quite appetising

When my female staff arrived home from work her reptilian eyes scanned the room and soon alighted upon a pile of potting mix on the floor which my male staff had forgotten to clean up. Then ever so slowly she raised her gaze to her African violet, or what was left of it. "What happened?" she enquired sharply. My male staff looked a Badger and I, and we looked back at him. For a moment I thought he was going to blame us, but he thought better of it.
 "We had a bit of an accident." I thought to myself -what does he mean "we"? He obviously thought that spreading the blame would incur slightly less wrath. My female staff strode into the kitchen and returned with a pair of scissors.
 "This doesn't look good." I whispered to Badger." Badger just gulped and sat firmly on his testostricles. My male staff tried to do the same as my female staff strode towards him wielding the scissors. I closed my eyes, waiting to hear an agonised yelp. A minute passed and there was only snipping sounds, no screams.
So I opened my eyes. My female staff was cutting the dead and mangled bits from the plant. My male staff, Badger and I all breathed an huge sigh of relief, and I think I even heard one from the direction of Paolo the budgie's cage.

For a moment I thought I was going to get more than my toenails clipped.