Monday, February 24, 2014

The Irate Seagull

Please accept my insincere apologies for the late appearance of this weeks blog post. Still, I suppose twenty four hours is not really that long to wait for a few words of wisdom in the overall scheme of things. Let's face it, Tony Abbott has been the Australian Prime Minister since September and we're still waiting for him to say something even approaching half baked. Still, we live in hope that one day he'll haul his religion addled brain out of his budgie smugglers and accept the overwhelming science that human activity is causing climate change, and that it's not all "absolute crap". We guinea pigs, and I suspect even my staff in their own simple and innocent way, know that this is the most important issue facing the planet today and yet our Prime Minister is more concerned about keeping a few desperate asylum seekers away from Australia. Hey ho! We're stuck with the silly sod for at least another two and a half years. Does anyone else have a buffoon for a leader? One at a time please.

Now, the reason this blog post is late is that I was so appalled by the standard of my male staff's typing yesterday that I waited until he'd typed the final final stop and then reached up from his lap and hit the delete button with my tiny, cute, furry paw, so that he'd have to do it all over again, only this time so that it met my exacting standards. This produced a rather surprising reaction though.
 "What the faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!" He yelled. "Where'd it go? Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!" He sounded a bit like an irate seagull. I looked up at him and quietly explained in a very reasonable tone that his typing had fallen well below my high standards and that I had deleted his shoddy work and would like him to start again from scratch, this time trying to avoid the dreadful grammar and spelling. Not to mention the typing errors, but as usual all he heard was "wheek wheek wheek runble putt putt wheek" One of these days I must teach him Piglish. I have to say that my male staff's grammar has never been good. Sometime back in the middle ages when he was at school he said to his English teacher "Miss! My pen's runned out of ink. Can you borrow me one?"
 The teacher replied. "Yes of course, but where's your grammar?"
 "Oh," said my male staff. "She's dead. Dieded in nineteen sixty seven."
So you see what I'm up against. He looked around the back of his computer for some reason. I assume to see whether his work was hiding back there. "Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!" he said again when he discovered that it wasn't. This time though he stood up abruptly and catapulted me from his lap onto the laptop keyboard. As you might imagine, this startled me somewhat and I had a slight liquid accident which elicited yet another "Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!" from my male staff who grabbed me just before the laptop started to spark, fizzle, spit and smoke." This kind of thing runs in my male staff's family. Just this winter on a frigid, frosty morning in England, male staff's mad sister sent her long suffering husband a text while he was at work.
 "POUR WARM WATER OVER IT." He suggested.
Minutes passed then...........

Anyway, I found myself back in my cage before I knew what had hit me and male staff stomped off in a huff muttering darkly (which would make a great name for a olde worlde Cotswold village don't you think? Muttering Darkly. For all I know there may already be a place by that name. So, I sat in my cage chewing on some hay and watched as my male staff went out onto the deck to collect the washing from the rotary clothes line. Since we live on top of a dirty great hill it is often windy and yesterday there was half a gale blowing and as my male staff unpegged a sheet it wrapped itself around his head. I called Boris and Baci out of their pigloos to look because I knew that this was going to get interesting. None of of us were disappointed.

My male staff started frantically tugging at the sheet and staggering about the deck like the ghost of a drunken sailor, bouncing off the deck railings, his arms flailing wildly as the wind further entangled the sheet. "Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!" He shouted again, and this time what with all the arm flapping he really could have won an Oscar or something for his portrayal of an irate seagull. It was brilliant. An outstanding and quite moving performance - Five stars.  Finally with a clatter he tripped over the washing basket and disappeared from view down the steps. There was a moment of silence and then a rather pained and weak "Faaaa....aaaaa.....aaaar.......rrrk" Boris, Baci and I gave each other high fives. It was turning out to be a very good day.  

Boris' Bit

Ich sink zat it is wunderbar vot Herr Billy's male staff vill do to entertain us piggies, und ve are not even havink to ask him.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Champagne & Chocolates

Once upon a time, not long after Captain James Cook arrived at Botany Bay and made the locals really cross by pinching their country my staff went on a "Romantic Short Break" to Tasmania. "Including champagne, chocolates and a romantic picnic basket for two." Actually, the locals can think themselves lucky that the French didn't get there first, which they very nearly did or they'd all be eating strange things like duck legs in a creamy lard sauce and speaking a kind of mangled French/Aussie hybrid language.

 "Bonjour mon cobber votre corks on votre hat are looking tres bon ce matin"
 "Merci mate. Les mouches are bad today but.
 "Mais oui. Oolala!  J'ai never seen les petits bâtards so thick since old Henri fell into la septic tank et a dû walk all the way home because le chauffeur de bus wouldn't let him get on."
 "Ha ha ha! Sacre Bleau Sport! que c'était une bonne day wasn't it?"

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. My staff's "Romantic Short Break". They'd booked themselves into a bed and breakfast place, high on a hill overlooking the run down city of Launceston which didn't seem to have had any running repairs made since about nineteen thirty seven. The accommodation looked quite promising from the outside at least as they pulled up in their rental car. It was a large, probably late Victorian pile and it did indeed look moderately romantic if you ignored the large plastic garbage bins standing by the gate.

Once inside, my staff were greeted by a flustered looking middle aged woman and a man, presumably her husband who sported two days growth of whiskers on his face and an unidentifiable yellow stain on his shirt. At least he wasn't just wearing his vest, things could been worse. This pair led my staff into the breakfast room to fill out a registration forms. Cats were shooed off chairs and a tatty bit of paper was placed in front of my staff. Looking around the room my staff were surrounded by huge pieces of Victorian furniture. The dark wood loomed threateningly over them and every surface was cluttered with what seemed to be the contents of a charity shop. There was crap and cat hair everywhere you looked, from threadbare teddy bears to clocks with only one hand, chipped crockery and cheap china ornaments. Any space there was was filled with dust.

They finished completing the form and were led up a flight of creaking stairs to their room by the flustered lady. "This is our "Romance Room" she announced grandly and virtually shoved my staff in and slammed the door on them as though she was worried that they might change their minds about staying there. My staff could instantly tell that it was the "Romance Room" because there were large gold painted plastic cherubs strategically place around the room. There was one on top of the nineteen sixties wardrobe, a couple on the dressing table and one on the toilet cistern. My staff explored what was to be their home for the next three days. Everything seemed to be working, the bedside lights, the curtains and most important for a "romantic getaway", the television. They checked the fridge. It was working too, and there inside were their champagne and chocolates, except it wasn't champagne at all but a bottle of local sparkling wine called "Brute de Brute" with a picture of a Tasmanian devil on the label and a price tag of $7.95 stuck to the bottle. The chocolates were a pack of three Ferrero Rocher - that's one each and they'd have to fight over the third one.

The next day it poured with rain, so my staff decided to postpone their romantic picnic in the hope that the following day would be better. It wasn't. In fact it was worse. The rain was heavier if anything and now it was being blown in horizontally by a freezing wind from the Southern Ocean.
At breakfast my staff were informed by the flustered lady that they'd have to have their romantic picnic today because they'd be leaving tomorrow.
 "Collect your picnic basket at noon from the kitchen." they were instructed. My staff obeyed. It was a large basket too, and heavy. Obviously filled with goodies. They rushed through the rain to the car and set out, optimistically hoping that the rain and wind would ease and they'd able to have their romantic picnic at a nice scenic spot where they could munch on delectable little nibbles while gazing into each others eyes. After two hours of driving around the weather only seemed to be deteriorating, there was now some minor flooding and small branches were being snapped from trees.
 "This is ridiculous." said my female staff. "Let's just go back to our room and have the picnic there."
 "I suppose." sighed my male staff. "But I don't think I want to eat with all those bloody cherubs watching me. There's a lookout at the end of the street by the B&B, lets sit in the car and eat there."

So it was agreed. My staff parked the car at the end of the street where the lookout was, not that they could see anything because the scudding clouds were so low and the rain so heavy. Nevertheless, they tucked into their picnic, which as it happens was surprisingly good and plentiful. The car was rocking crazily, buffeted by the gale and the all the windows were steamed up because it was too foul outside to open one of them even a centimetre. My female staff was just taking a sip from her class of "Brute de Brute" and my male staff about to bite into his fourteenth sausage on a stick when there was a loud rapping on the drivers side window. My male staff pressed the button and the window whirred down allowing him to received a faceful of bitingly cold rain. A policeman peered into the car - a smug look on his face. "You can't do that sort of thing here sir." He said. This is a residential area and there are kids................ " The policeman clearly expected the rocking car and steamed up windows to be connected to something a little more romantic than what he was confronted with; a fully clothed middle aged couple sitting amid the detritus of a picnic, chicken bones, sandwich crusts, paper wrappers, cocktail sticks, eggshells and the like.
 "Cocktail sausage constable?" offered my male staff.

Boris' Bit 
Ich haf often heard der story of Herr Billy's staffs' romantic veekend. Ich only vish zat ich could haf been zere to offer mein help mit der cleanink up of der salad items in der auto. Und Schpeakink of romance, not ein Valentines card vas ich gettink. Not even ein from Baci. It vas ein sehr disappointink tag.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Putin On The Ritz

Has anyone been taking any notice of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? I've been forced to endure bits and pieces of it in the evenings because I often spend time on my staff's laps in front of the telly and I don't seem to get much of a say when it comes to which programmes we watch. Personally I'd rather watch something high-brow like a subtitled Iranian documentary on the role of women in Islam. It may not be that interesting but at least it is very, very short indeed, so that we can see more of my favourite commercials - the ones that feature a local, barely literate business man with an Australian accent so nasal that he appears to be speaking duck. No matter; what these businessmen lack in comprehensibility they make up for in volume.

But no, I have to sit there and suffer through the Winter Olympics. I note with interest that the Russian mafia boss, sorry President - Mr Putin has organised some special events for journalists who dare to express the slightest criticism of his government. These extra events take place after the main events have finished for the day and the crowds are kept away so as not to disturb the participants concentration.

There's the luge for example. The offending journalist is strapped naked to a sheet of corrugated iron and shoved head first down a steep icy slope. As these journalist are not elite athletes the risk of injury has been reduced by the construction of a large pool of icy water at the foot of the slope. It is up to the contestant to free himself from the corrugated iron before he or she sinks. Points are awarded for the speed of the retraction of articles critical of Mr Putin and the writing of something more favourable by whatever media outlet the journalist works for.

Speed-skating is another of these special events. The offending journalist is force fed a large dose of speed, given a set of rusty ice skates and is then shoved out onto an ice hockey rink containing a hungry polar bear. Points are awarded firstly for how long the journalist can stay ahead of the bear and secondly (And you'll find this is a common form of points scoring in these special events.) for the speed of the retraction of articles critical of Mr Putin and the writing of something more favourable by whatever media outlet the journalist works for.

A third special event is the Bi-athlon, so called because it is for bi-sexual and gay journalists. This is a real test of outdoorsmanship. The competitors are given one ski, one ski pole and a fifteen minutes head start. They are then chased through the mountains of the Caucasus by former KGB assassins wielding Kalashnikov semi automatic rifles. These assassins have a slight advantage in that they are on snow mobiles, so the event tends not to last very long. The former KGB assassins are getting on in years now after all and it wouldn't be fair to keep them out in freezing weather for hours at a time. The same points structure applies as per the speed-skating event.

The last of these special Winter Olympic events is the ski jumping. It is sponsored by Aeroflot. The competitors are dragged to the top of the ski jump slope and gently encouraged to slide down on a tin tea tray. The winner is the journalist who travel furthest from the end of the slope without parting with his tray. Extra points are gained by surviving. As sponsors, Aeroflot were initially going to hand out a million frequent flyer points to the victor, but this was withdrawn as it was thought to be a disincentive.

 An Aeroflot flight attendant checks on the wellbeing of his passengers.

Well sports fans. Enjoy the competition. I'm sure it will be fifty billion dollars well spent.

Boris' Bit
Ich much prefer der Summer Olympics. Ve cavies haf our own Olympic event. It is called "Der fünfzig metres sprint für animals mit no sense of direction." If you haf ever seen ein guinea pig runnink around you vill know vy ve are so good at it.

Instead of mein handsome face, here is ein photo of mein nephew Baci für ein change.


Sunday, February 2, 2014


Sheesh! What a weekend that was. On Friday night I went to bed as a three year old and I woke up on Saturday morning to be told by my staff that I am now four. For heaven's sake! How does that happen? Why am I suddenly a whole year older than I was just the day before? The strange thing is that exactly the same thing happened about this time last year too. And you know what the most disturbing thing is about this peculiar phenomenon? My staff act as though its a good thing, giving me treats and making a fuss and singing stupid songs to me. Anyone would think they are happy that my life is slipping away in sporadic leaps and bounds - staying three for a whole year and then suddenly becoming a whole year older over night. Still, the one consolation is that my male staff suffers from the same thing, and on exactly the same day too, but even that small consolation is tempered by the fact that I am catching up with him in terms of time spent alive. I have calculated that one human month equals about one guinea pig year. That makes me about forty eight in human terms. My male staff is now fifty six, so if the same thing happens on the first of February next year I will have overtaken the old goat and become an even older goat myself. He will be fifty seven and I'll be sixty in human years.WTF! to use a modern texting and Twitter term.

Anyway, to celebrate my male staff's slow but inexorable advance towards his grave, we all went to an Indian restaurant that my staff hadn't tried before in a nearby town. Female staff's mum came along too. For some reason people who own restaurants don't welcome rodents, so Boris, Baci and I  were stuffed into the biggest handbag my female staff has and for the fifteen minute car ride we had to entertain ourselves amongst the lipstick, used tissues, partially sucked mints, various credit cards (Which incidentally are quite satisfying to chew.), a variety of keys and foreign coins, a copy of "A Clockwork Orange", a photo of my male staff (Which was even more satisfying to chew than the credit cards.), a screwdriver, a torch without batteries, spare knickers (Presumably in case she gets run over and has to go to hospital.) and last but not least, several sprigs of basil put there to entertain us. Naturally the three of us made certain additions to the contents of the handbag. Decorum dictates that I don't specifically mention what they were. Suffice to say that my female staff will be generously handing out chocolate coated raisins to all those who annoy her for the next couple of weeks.

So, upon arrival at the restaurant we were released from the handbag as soon as the waiter turned his back and we scampered off under the tables to see if there were any stray salad items. However we soon discovered that salad doesn't play a big part in Indian cuisine. The closest thing I found to anything edible was a bit of onion bhaji. Young Baci found a lovely hot green chili though which he gobbled down with relish. Actually it wasn't relish, it was hot mango chutney. He spent the next hour zooming around the floor at top speed, wheeking like crazy and emitting an attractive blue flame from his bottom passage, kind of like an F111 lighting up the afterburners during a night time fly past. It was then that one of the waiters noticed Baci, let's face it, it was hard not to.
  "Goodness gracious me!" He cried. "There is being a flaming rat, he will be catching the whole place on fire." Then realising that perhaps pointing out a burning rodent in the middle of one's crowded restaurant is perhaps not the sort of publicity one necessarily wants, he tried to retract the statement, mumbling something about spicy ratatouille. But it was too late, most of the women, including my male staff had already climbed onto their chairs. My female staff stayed calm and quietly and politely suggested to my male staff that he get down off the chair.
 "Get your arse off the f***ing chair and catch Baci before someone squirts him with a fire extinguisher you daft b******." I think were her exact words, but as I said, they were spoken politely and quietly. Obedient as always, my male staff did as he was told and cornered Baci under a table who's occupants (a group of well dressed corporate type women) were now all standing on their chairs. My quick thinking male staff dunked Baci's rear end in one of the ladies glasses of wine to extinguish the after burner, muttered an apology and stuffed Baci down the front of his trousers to conceal him from the waiter and ran from the restaurant before the waiter knew what was happening. As my female staff and her mum quickly gathered up Boris and I and crammed us back into the handbag we heard an agonised yelp coming from outside the restaurant and through the window we could see my male staff performing an interesting little dance which included a Michael Jackson-esque crotch grab. I assumed he was either dancing with joy at his narrow escape or that Baci's backside was still hot. Come to think of it, it was probably the later because I could see little wisps of smoke escaping from his fly as he tried to extract Baci. Either way, he was attracting quite a crowd, including several policemen. I made a mental note to tell him that next time he does that he should put a hat on the floor. He might make us a little extra basil money.

Boris' Bit
Zat does it. Ich am not goink aus to anuzzer restaurant mit Herr Billy's staff again. In future ich vill stay at home und eat mein sauerkraut.