Sunday, October 27, 2013

Camp Salmonella

Those of you who read last week's post will remember that my male staff, Boris, Baci and Paolo the budgie and I had foolishly been left to fend for ourselves by my female staff who had deserted us for five days while she went to a belly dance and drumming retreat somewhere in the Gold Coast hinterland. Well, she had such a dramatic, exciting time that she didn't seem to notice the fire brigade packing up their hoses outside our house when she returned. Mind you, it's really not that unusual for her to go away for a few days and return home to find the emergency services present.  It so happens that it was the fire brigade on this occasion because my male staff misread the instructions on his frozen TV dinner. It wasn't supposed to be heated in the microwave on high for three hours and thirty minutes. It should have been three minutes and thirty seconds. Anyway, it only took one hour for the Thai green curry and rice to explode and redecorate the kitchen and start a small fire in his hair which thankfully my male staff had the presence of mind to prevent from spreading to our hay by pouring his beer onto it - his hair, not our hay I'm please to say.

Other emergency services to become all too familiar with our house are the police, (When male staff saw an incredibly ugly prowler outside on the deck one night. It turned out to be his reflection in the window.) the ambulance service twice in one night, (When my male staff decided that he couldn't breath. It turns out he was sleeping face down on his pillow the first time, then two hours later he fell asleep while reading and almost suffocated under Colleen McCullough, an incident that might have scarred him mentally for life.) and on one occasion the army, though to be fair that wasn't really his fault. He'd picked up my female staff's spectacles instead of his own and mistook an armoured personnel carrier for his Hyundai Getz. It was the army's fault for parking next to the Getz and leaving the key in the ignition. Anyway, the officer who came and asked for his armoured personnel carrier back - Major Cockup I think his name was - was quite reasonable about the whole thing and forgave my male staff when he offered to let the entire battalion give me a cuddle and feed me basil.

Anyway, as it happens, the fire brigade were not the first emergency service my female staff had encountered on her trip. Two days into the retreat, other participants started to get sick, at least my female staff assumed they were getting sick. It could just have been that the girls couldn't stand the snoring in the dormitory and decided to spend the night laying on the floor in the communal toilet while now and again crawling to their knees to call for their friends Ralph and Huey down the big white telephone. In any case an ambulance turned up the next day and carted half a dozen people off to hospital. Then some folk from the health department arrived to inspect the kitchen and make certain recommendations.

1.   The chef should stop peeing in the sink.
2.   Cockroaches should not be added to the muesli unless there is a shortage of sultanas.
3.   The dishwasher should not be used to clean the resort manager's colostomy bag.
4.   Mould killer should not be sprayed on cheese that has passed its use by date.
5.   Kitchen staff should wash their hands properly after using the toilet,
      not merely wipe them on a tea towel.
6.   Kitchen knives should not be cleaned by spitting on them and wiping them on an apron.

As it happens none of these precautions were enough to prevent the ambulance being called a second time the next day. There were few male dances there, but the few that there were tended to be the macho body building, bicep kissing, reflection admiring, middle eastern type. Two of them had to do a dance routine which involved a stick fight. The dance teacher taught them the moves and told one of them he was to back down in submission at the end of the routine, but of course being the macho body building, bicep kissing, reflection admiring, middle eastern type that he was, he refused.
 "No! There's no way I'm backing down." He said pointing at his foe with his stick. "He can back down. I'm not, no way, forget it."
  "Look, it's just a dance." The teacher pointed out. "It's not a real fight." She turned to the other dancer. "Okay," she said. "Will you be the one to surrender?"
  "Me!" The other dancer was outraged and started waving his stick aggressively at the first. "You asked him to back down. I'm not backing down, not in front of all these women."
  "Don't wave your stick at me like that." Growled the first dancer.
  "I'll wave my stick at whoever I like." Said the second, stepping forward and poking the first dancer in the chest with his stick.

Ten minutes later both were bruised and bleeding from thwacking each other with their sticks and had been separated and held back by a dozen middle aged ladies in belly dancing outfits. The teacher called the ambulance and they were trundled off to hospital to join those who had departed earlier for the gastro ward. It was generally agreed that the fight routine was one of the best performances of the entire five days.

Boris' Bit

Ich bin ein champion Schnuggle pig und ich bin lookink forvard to beink schnuggled by ein entire battalion of ze Australian Army. Ich only hope zat Herr Billy does not keep alles der schnuggling soldiers for himself.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Boy Racer

It is most entertaining to sit on one of my staffs' laps and watch the antics of my new housemates Boris and Baci. Like most rodents they like to run close to walls. I must say that I have never really understood this, but then of course I am not "most rodents". I run where I damned well like, straight across the middle of the room, over rugs or tiles, it really doesn't matter to me. I also do something that neither Boris nor Baci would dream of doing. I stand on my hind legs on my staffs' enormous feet and rest my forepaws on their shins. They find this particularly endearing and if I add a pleading look with my liquid brown eyes it often elicits a treat of some sort. Of course if they don't happen to have a treat on their person at the time, I have to endure a rather precarious and bumpy ride on their foot as far as the fridge while they walk lopsidedly like Quasimodo to the kitchen. Then with the treat safely in my mouth I hop off and run straight across the middle of the room back to my blanket upon which I can safely consume my treat.

On the other hand, while Boris and Baci are obviously keen to explore, they confine their adventures to the perimeter, never venturing into the centre of the room at all. Can you imagine what the world would be like if early human explorers had done the same thing? In Australia there'd be no Mount Isa, no Alice Springs. In the USA there'd be no Detroit and no Las Vegas. Africa would be without Nairobi and Johannesburg, while in Britain there'd be no Leicester or Luton. Come to think of it, maybe just exploring the periphery is not such a bad thing after all. Anyway, I was just saying how much fun it is to watch Boris and Baci run around the walls of our lounge room. Boris always leads and chuffs along at his own speed, like my male staff in his car - almost always observing the speed limit, (If not actually the road.) while Baci follows close behind - half an inch from Boris' backside like an impatient boy racer stuck behind my male staff's car on a one track lane. The problem is that now and again Boris likes to stop and sniff, and he does this with no warning, meaning that Baci crashes into him every time. He glares at Boris but does not overtake. He simply waits for Boris to move on and then repeats the same mistake time and time again.  Like most boy racers, he's not terribly bright.

My female staff has been away since Wednesday at a belly dance retreat. Apparently someone is teaching her news ways to move her belly. My male staff finds new ways to move his belly every day without having to spend a week away. She comes back later today and I think the whole five days will have been a bit of a shock for her. Firstly, she is having to sleep in a dormitory - in a sleeping bag - without room service - without an en-suite bathroom. This is a woman who thinks that staying in a three star hotel is like camping. Secondly, she may have trouble persuading her roommates to get up and make scrambled eggs with Parmesan cheese for breakfast for her to eat sitting up in bed with a good book and a cup of tea.

Meanwhile, we five boys have been left in charge of the house - never the ideal situation at the best of times. It's been fun. My male staff has never spent five days wearing only his underpants before, and we three guinea pigs can deposit bush chocolate wherever we like with virtual impunity. It has to be said though that my male staff has got his work cut out for him when he tries to find it all before my female staff gets home, especially the ones I left in her favourite coffee mug. We'll probably get away with it all unless Paolo the budgie squeals. He sits there on his perch peering through the bars of his cage with an oh so superior look on his blue face. I expect he'll try to blackmail my male staff, threatening to tell my female staff what we've been up to unless his millet ration is doubled.
 "Squawk! Poop in the mug. Poop in the mug. Squawk!"


Guten tag. Zis ist now mein vierte "Boris' Bit" and ich sink you vill agree zat mein Englisch is coming gooder und gooder each time, nein? Ich bin learnink all ze time useful new vords und phrases like "busch chocolate" und "vheek". Anyvay it ist true vat Herr Billy says. Herr Baci is alvays doink der runnink sehr close behind me, und vhen ich halt ich bin gettink ein wenig brown, sharp, nose up mein bottom passage. Sometimes it is gettink stuck zere und Herr Billy's staff haf to pick us both up und remove Herr Baci's nose from mein bottom passage. Ven zis happens it comes heraus mit der poppink sound like ein bottle of champagne. Zis ich bin not mindink, but ich do object to Herr Billy's staff yellink "Cheers!" und proposing ein toast every time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Naked Macarana

This has been an entertaining week.  A while ago my male staff was advised by his doctor to change his anti-depression medication. It had become less effective over time and he was having more frequent depressive episodes. It was however decided that it would be better to wait until he returned from escorting his safari group through Kenya and Tanzania because if the new medication didn't work he might frighten the animals, or depress the wildebeests so much that they'd simply throw themselves at the lions, yelling "Please eat me. Anything, just don't make me spend another second with this strange virtually hairless, pale, depressed primate."

So, as soon as he returned he went to the doctor and declared himself ready to try the new loony pills as he likes to call them. This involved gradually cutting back on his current medication and then starting on the new stuff. All went well for the first week and a half of cutting back and then it started. Boris, Baci and I could tell that all was not how it should be when on a Tuesday evening not long after taking his first new loony pill my male staff stood up from his armchair and staggered about  as though it was a Saturday night and he'd just consumed his customary bottle and a half of chardonnay. He was slurring his words in a Saturday night-esq mannner too. My female staff asked if he was okay, to which he replied.
  "Sure, aahhmmm fahhhn. Jusssshhhht uh little dishy thatssshhh awwwl." He sounded like John Wayne and I didn't think he was at all "dishy".  He staggered off to bed, bouncing of the wall as he went like one of those silver balls in a pinball machine.

By the morning, most of his "dishyness" had passed and he'd stopped slurring his words. He made my female staff breakfast as usual and then set to work on his computer in the office. After an hour or so it became plain that all was not well. The swearing coming from the office was much louder, more frequent and much more profane, heartfelt and bitter than usual. I can tell you that both Boris and little Baci learned some good old English words that morning. Words that they would be better off not knowing, especially one of Baci's tender age. Almost every word began with either the letter F or the letter C and were repeated loudly and often. It was as if Ozzy Osbourne had been given a guest appearance on Sesame Street. At one stage it actually became worse than when my female staff practices on the piano, that's how bad it was. I've become accustomed to new lyrics and notes being added to traditional tunes as my female staff hits the wrong key. "All BOLLOCKS! bright and beautiful, all creatures great and SHIT!" or "Onward Christian BASTARD! Marching as to F@#k!"

It all came to a head on Thursday morning. My female staff had a day off, so she and my male staff slept in for a while and had breakfast in bed. (After feeding myself, Boris, Baci and Paolo the budgie of course.) Then they relaxed and read their books for a while. My female staff moved and jogged my male staff's book and he lost his page. It was as though an utter disaster had just occurred that threatened to ruin his life. With a cry of  "Oh well, it was a stupid book anyway." (Probably true, it was a Dan Brown novel after all.) he threw it across the room and buried himself in the blanket and kept repeating the words "I don't want to be here." This appeared to alarm my female staff because she came and scooped us out of our cages. She then returned to the bedroom with her arms full of guinea pig cuteness and thrust us all under the blanket where my male staff was hiding, curled up in a foetal position in a vain attempt at attaining oblivion. Instinctively we all knew what to do. Boris made straight for the back of my male staff's right knee, I went for his right nipple and Baci, being the least experienced biter of the three of us went for the end of his most tender bit. We all sank our teeth in simultaneously and my male staff leapt from the bed howling. Looking back the this incident I can only marvel at the gallant effort my male staff made at trying to stem the blood from three wounds with only two hands. Not surprisingly the wound inflicted by Baci received most of his attention, but his hand still flew rapidly between the back of his knee and his nipple too. If you've never seen a naked middle aged man doing a demonic version of the Macarana you haven't truly lived.
  "Well," said my female staff. "you said you didn't want to be there. Well, now you're not."

I'm am pleased to report that my male staff has since changed to another different drug and is doing quite well, except that when he pees, it spouts out from all the Baci inflicted holes like a watering can and it takes him half an hour to mop the floor of the toilet. Now he's complaining of a stiff back from all the mopping. Never mind. The doctors says the extra holes will soon heal and that will mean his back will get better too.

Boris' Bit

Guten Tag vunce again everybody. Ich haben been sinking lately zat it vas not such ein gut idea to come and live vis dis crazy volk. I sink Baci Und Ich vould haf been better off stayink put at ze rescue centre und being rescued by somebody else. Even if it took zwei or drei jahre.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Waiter! My Cake Has A Postcode

I bet you're are sitting in front of your desk top, lap top, tablet, iPhone, crystal ball, Ouija board, tea leaves, or whatever other device you use to commune with the outside world, wondering where this week's blog post has got to. Well, here it is, a day late I know, but better late than never, and I do have a very good excuse. You see, yesterday four humans decided to take a leap of faith and get together for a long, boozy, public holiday Monday lunch at our house. Many of my regular readers will already know the two lady humans responsible for the @Whatdoingdugal and @clingycat Twitter accounts. Well, they indicated to my staff that they would be in our area and would like my staff to pass on the message to yours truly that they would like to get together. I suggested to my staff that they should invite them to lunch, which they did, and guess what. Neither of them were axe murderers, despite one of them coming from Adelaide. They were two very nice ladies who arrived with a car load of cats to whom the Twitter accounts belong. 

There was Dugal, Wicket, McGonagall, Jazz and Captain Wormsparrow. Seeing all these cats pouring out of their staff's car one by one I began to worry about the safety of poor little Baci - our baby guinea pig who's diminutive size and large ears make him a dead ringer for a mouse, apart from his obviously tailless butt, but I don't think cats would notice that small, but important difference. I shouldn't have worried though because the cats behaved with great decorum and anyway, my staff always wanted to have curtains with that freshly shredded look. The lady from Adelaide said that it is the very latest fashion in all the best houses in Adelaide and everyone knows what a progressive city Adelaide is.

So, while the cats chased Baci up a tree (If you've ever watched five cats chase a guinea pig up a tree, and lets face it, who hasn't, you'll know what was an entertaining sight that can be.), my staff, the cats' staff, Boris and I sat down to a sumptuous lunch of quiche (whatever that is), salad and a cake so big that it had it's own post code. Zip code if you are an American. Believe me there is nothing zippy about Australia Post. Finally I slurped up the last bit of lettuce and emitted a soft, gentlemanly burp. Lunch was over and it was time to see how Baci and the pussy cats were getting along. Very well as it happens. Baci had made his way to the very thinnest twig of our big paperbark tree . The five cats obviously thought that he would be most comfortable there, not to mention safe from predators. Dugal and Wicket were on the nearest branch that would hold their weight. They said they were making sure nothing could get Baci while he slept on his twig and Jazz, McGonagall and Captain Wormsparrow were on the ground looking up at him "in case he slipped" as they explained.

My staff "sprang" into action. I use the word "sprang" reluctantly because my staff don't rally spring as such. More sort of...... ooze, if you know what I mean. Anyway, you get my drift - they were anxious to help. My staff oozed into the bedroom and oozed out again carrying a bed sheet. The four humans carried it into the garden and held it spread out, one human at each corner - all yelling at Baci to jump into it. But Baci being only eight weeks old does not yet understand the weird noises that humans like to call English and so he stayed put. Dugal's human suggested that my male staff should throw me up to Baci's level so that I could explain the situation to him. I gave her my best glare and vowed to pee on her the very first chance I got. In the end, as luck would have it Baci yawned and stretched and fell off of his twig, landing neatly in the centre of the bed sheet along with a surprisingly large amount of bush chocolate for such a small animal. Obviously the fall frightened him. So that just left Dugal and Wicket and neither of them had the slightest intention of jumping into a bed sheet held by humans, and lets face it, who can blame them. Two hours later the humans were still there, hoarsely calling "Here kitty kitty, jump down now. It'll be dark soon." Dugal and Wicket just stared balefully at us all and refused to budge. Finally my female staff said she'd call the fire brigade. This she did, and within half an hour a fire engine turned up and spewed out half a dozen hunky fireman which made the human ladies go all girly and swoony while my male staff tried to suck in his stomach and almost gave himself a hernia. In less than ten minutes the fireman had the cats out of the tree and were on their way to accident and emergency to have their wounds treated.

The sun was setting behind the paperbark tree as the cats and their humans crammed themselves into their car and drove off into the dusk. I turned to my pal Boris and smiled. "Wow! What a great day," I said. "We must do it again sometime."
 "Ja." Said Boris. "Ich bin vollkommen einverstanden."
Jeez! I hope his English starts to improves soon.

Now then. There is not a single guinea pig on earth who is not concerned by the shut down of the government of the United States of America. If you think there is I bet if you look a little closer you'll find it's a beaver or a mongoose or something less sensible. Now I'm not saying that this IS what has happened. All I'm saying that this is how things appear to be from beyond the borders of the good ol' USA, and I'm sure if this is not correct someone out there will tell me.

Barak Obama spruiked "ObamaCare" before the last election.

Barak Obama is fairly comprehensively re-elected by the majority of Americans - or at least those who could be bothered to vote.

The Democrats proceed with "ObamaCare" and it passes into law.

The Tea Party influenced Republicans spit their dummies because they can't stand the thought of Mr and Mrs Average being able to get good quality medical treatment, saying that the nation can't afford it. Yet I'm willing to bet that most of those nice Tea Party folk would be only to happy to spend trillions of greenbacks bombing Syria or any other nation who have the temerity to actually use the chemical weapons that the USA sold them, back to the stone age.

Now, in most democracies here's what would happen. The Republicans would concede that the electorate voted for ObamaCare or Folk-I-Don't-Agree-With-Care or whatever you like to call it and not have a hissy fit which threatens the American economy - and the rest of the World's come to that.

They would go to the next election with a promise to repeal the ObamaCare legislation and then follow through with that pledge if they are elected.

Then if the Democrats threaten to block that legislation they can point to the fact that they went to the election with a pledge to repeal ObamaCare and therefore have a mandate to do so. That is democracy isn't it? Maybe not. Please tell me.

Boris' Bit
Ich bin sehr grateful zat most of Billy's readers said zat zey could understand mein last scribblinks.  Ich bin trying very hard to improve mein Englisch, but ven ze only vuns you haf to practice on are ein acht wochen old baby und ein hairy lump of lard it is sehr difficult.