Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Year Of Leaky Eyes

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Actually around here it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas by the middle of September, at least in the local shopping centres. In our house it still doesn't look anything like Christmas. My staff steadfastly refuse to have anything to do with it. There is not a single strand of tinsel anywhere in the house. The only concession to the festive season is a sparse display of Christmas cards, most of which are for Badger and I.

If you are reading this then you'll know that those silly Mayans were wrong about the world ending on December the twenty first. My staff were very disappointed to wake on on December the twenty second to find that the world was still there and that they'd have to buy each other Christmas presents after all. Humans are odd things. There was a rumour put about (Probably by the Quilpie shire tourism office, if such a body exists.) that Quilpie and one or two the the surrounding hamlets was a safe zone, and as such would be spared the fate that was to befall the rest of the planet. For those who are not familiar with Quilpie, it is a small outback town in south west Queensland, Australia, miles and miles from the nearest McDonald's or anyone who is not wearing an Akubra hat.

A typical Qulipie parking lot. The camel has just eaten the men's Akubra hats.

Anyway, for weeks now the town has been swamped by crowds by funny folk counting down the days to Armageddon, looking forward to being able to thumb their noses at the rest of the world and say "See, I told you." Don't you find it rather ironic that so many people would go to the end of earth to survive the end of the earth. I doubt that it was the Mayans themselves who predicted that Quilpie was your best bet for living beyond December the twenty first, 2012. As far as I know they were blissfully unaware that Australia existed. Heavens above, they didn't even have rotary washing lines or Speedos. So the world plods on, ever more rapidly getting warmer thanks to gutless politicians, greedy multi-national companies and a complacent population. Cor Blimey! Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. These bastards could teach old Nero a thing or two.

It has been a year of leaky eyes in this household. Two of my best online buddies passed away, so I'd like to make special mention of Steve and Sparty. The world has never know two finer guinea pigs. I hope they're up there now sitting a a guinea pig shaped cloud munching on their favourite treats and peeing on Jesus' lap.

Paolo and Biggles - our budgie housemates became very ill this year. Poor cheeky Biggles passed away and my staff had to bury him under the evodia tree in the garden. There were tears that day. My female staff said it felt almost sacrilegious to put such a beautiful green bird in the ground. Paolo lives on though I'm happy to report, and he's as insane as ever. He loves to hang upside down in front of his mirror and admire his blue tummy while talking to himself. I think he learned that sort of behaviour from my male staff, but let's not go there.

My female staff's dad passed away after a long, difficult illness, and my male staff's mum went too.
My male staff spent much of the end of 2011 travelling between Australia, various parts of Africa for work and England to help with the care of his mum who was slowly dying from an inoperable brain tumour. Then in early December 2011 he decided that he need to get back to Australia for a while to try to resurrect his travel business. He wasn't feeling well at the time, and a visit to the doctor when he reached Australia told him why. He had two lungfuls of blood clots from all the long haul flights, which lead to a week in hospital in the intensive care ward. It also mean that he was grounded and was unable to return the England. He never saw his Mum again. She died peacefully in hospital about six weeks later. The day before she died he lay alone on his bed in the dark. His mad sister was at their Mum's bedside. She handed the phone to their Mum and although she couldn't speak, my male staff was able to say goodbye and tell her how much he loved her. He wanted to crawl down the phone line and hug her, but instead, when he had run out of things to say he simply said, "See you soon Mum." and hung up, laying in the dark, brimming with frustration and guilt, too sad even to cry.

There were tears more recently when I became ill. I stopped eating and pooping, lost weight and became about as lethargic as my staff are on a Sunday morning after spending Saturday night guzzling wine. Naturally, like all good animals I decided that the best time to become dangerously ill was at the weekend when no emergency help is available. On Sunday night my staff carried my cage into their bedroom and they both gave me a cuddle before they went to sleep. There was no way that I could get any sleep because my fur was too wet with all their tears. Anyway, much to their surprise I was still in the land of the living in Monday morning, so I was rushed to the vet and the rest is history.

Today my female staff decided that we needed one or two things before Christmas, so she shoved Badger and I into the Hyundai Getz and we set off for the little supermarket in town. It was only after we'd driven through two shallow creeks and across a cattle paddock, watched with idle interest by a group of brahman steers that I noticed that this wasn't the way we usually drive to town.   Even my male staff manages to keep mostly to the road, with just the occasional excursion onto the verge to avoid killing butterflies. It was then that I remembered my female staff's cataracts and made a mental note to myself not to travel with her again until she has them fixed. Nevertheless, we got there in one piece. (Though the Getz was a bit spattered with cattle dung.) Once in the crowded shop we were plonked into a shopping basket.

My female staff then made the very basic error of putting lettuce, cucumber and celery into the basket with us. We didn't complain of course, we just munched quietly and deposited bush chocolate onto the floor through the holes in the wire basket. At one point I was interested to hear an announcement over the shop's PA system. "Assistant to aisle three please. Required to clear up a large spill of chocolate raisins." It was particularly satisfying to note that a bratty little kid who had been having a tantrum was already cleaning them up and popping them into his mouth. His mother let him do it, just pleased that he wasn't screaming for a couple of minutes.

It was slow going with all the people milling in the aisle, yakking away to each other, oblivious of my female staff who trying to get in and out of the shop in a hurry. By the time she'd reached the front the the long check out queue we'd eaten all the vegies and were sitting alone in the basket burping quietly. It wasn't until the check out chick had scanned Badger and put him in a plastic bag that she realised what had happened. We were left at the till with the rather surprised check out chick while she went to collect another basketful of salad.

The drive home was fairly uneventful, though it was punctuated by my female staff's dark mutterings about the fact that if she owned a supermarket she's employ someone with an electric cattle prod to zap anyone aimlessly milling or standing chatting in the aisles for more than ten seconds at a time.

Since Billy has neglected to do so, and because I can't think how to link his ramblings with my feet, I will simply wish all our readers a very, very merry Christmas. Ho Ho Wheeeeeeeeeeeeek!


  1. Great summary of the year Billy. Nice to hear you and the household still can smile. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Love Homeslice and Steve

  2. Merry Christmas Billy. You are such a strong little piggy! You are definitely in my thoughts.