Sunday, August 31, 2014

Psychopathic Devil Bird

It seems that my staff are slowing getting over my departure.  At least they can look at my photograph now without bursting into floods of tears.  I think they've accepted that I will always be with them in spirit and that I'll do my best to keep on eye on them from here, that is when I don't have something better to do like chasing lady piggies or munching through the endless fields of basil that the authorities here provide for us deceased cavies.  Nevertheless I can tell that when they glimpse the little carved box containing my ashes and some of my fur something squeezes their heart.  It may be only fleeting, but a guinea pig knows these things; especially a late one.  They wince briefly at the memory of the pain of my passing and I can tell they're thinking of me.  That's nice, I don't mind that. I'd rather they thought of me now and again than forgot about me altogether. That would be far sadder don't you think?

Anyway, life goes on and my male staff is still going out running most days, and most days he gets attacked by something. Certain birds are nesting at the moment, in particular magpies and masked lapwings and some of them get quite ratty if, in their estimation you get too close to their nest.  Australian magpies can be particularly disagreeable, though they are not magpies at all really - not in the European sense at least.  They're a different bird altogether; they have a heavier build, more like a small pied crow really and they have a very powerful stabbing beak with which they pull worms and grubs kicking and screaming from the earth. One Aboriginal word for magpie is parwan.  Now I have no idea of the meaning of the word parwan but I imagine it means something like "Psychopathic devil bird".

Australian magpie. "You looking at me?"

Some Australian magpies are so territorial in August and September that local councils put out signs
"BEWARE! SWOOPING MAGPIES".  It's usually the male bird who does the swooping. Pumped up on testosterone they dive from the trees squawking like demons on unsuspecting passers by - kids riding their bikes to school, postmen, joggers and best of all my male staff.  The thing is they don't just swoop, they also stab with that beak of theirs. People have been known to lose the sight of one eye in such attacks.  My male staff once received a pierced ear from one of the dive bombers and turned up back at home with a blood stained running shirt.  My female staff, rather optimistically thought he'd been shot. 

My male staff has tried reasoning with them. He stops running and stands with his hands on his head to protect himself while the angry bird swoops and dives and squawks inches from his face.
 "Look," he says as calmly as possible. "I'm just passing through. You see me here nearly every day and have I ever stopped to harass you?"  He pauses as if waiting for the bird to answer.  "No, I haven't have I.  Look, the last thing I want to do is climb that bloody great tree - without a ladder mind - and steal your eggs or eat your babies.  It's not going to happen, so how about you and I come to an amicable agreement. I promise to leave your nest alone if you swear not to try to peck my eyes out every time I run past your tree."  The magpie's answer to this was to bomb him with a large semi-liquid poo - about half a litre of it.  "I'll take that as a no then shall I?" said my male staff.  This time when he got home my female staff thought that someone had emptied a large pot of passion fruit yoghurt (bush yoghurt?) over his head.

And yet my staff have their own friendly family of magpies - Mary, Manfred and baby Matthew who drop in most mornings while my staff are having their breakfast on the deck.  They strut about happily and in a very friendly manner, (The magpies I mean, not my staff.) sharing my staff's meal, being hand fed and generally acting all cute and innocent.  Now and again, before I crossed the Rainbow Bridge I would join my staff for breakfast on the deck.  On such occasions I'd sit on my female staff's lap having registered my displeasure at being dragged from my warm bed at some ungodly hour by rumbling severely at her.  Our family of magpies would be there toddling around chortling happily as magpies do, hoovering up crumbs and depositing blobs of bush yoghurt on the deck.  I never did trust them though, particularly Mary.  She had a look in her beady little amber eye that said. "If you leave that fat furry thing unguarded for just ten seconds I'm going to find out what it tastes like."  Happily she never got the chance.


We all miss Uncal Billy very much, except for his snoring and his chooing his cage bars in the morning because his staff weren't kwik enuff with his breckfast. He made a hell of a racket and as a teenager I need my beooty sleep.  So now it's just me and Tom and Alfie. They live in wun cage and I live in another on my own, but the cages are next to each other so we can tork.

I don't think Uncal Billy ever reely introjuiced yoo to Tom and Alfie so I will do that now.

This is Tom. Uncal Billy always sed that he thinks Tom's Daddy must have been a pork-you-pine whatever that is. He's only abowt six months old but he's alreddy bigger than me.

 Alfie is the oldest piggy in the howse now. He's abowt fifteen months old. He says when I'm wun, a wheek from today he'll take me klubbing. I'm like dude I don't want to go klubbing, I hate vylence of any sort and he like rolls his red eyes and karries on eating his lettiss.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Seize The Piggy

You may remember that a few weeks ago I had a dream that I had passed away and crossed the Rainbow Bridge. ( ) Well, would you believe it? Here I am.  One minute I'm sitting in my cage minding my own business, chewing on a bit of corn husk, daydreaming about female piggies - you know how it is.  The next thing I know I'm drawn towards this really bright light, and just for a change its not coming from the open fridge door.  So I waddle towards the light, hesitate for a moment and then dive straight into it.

And there it is right in front of me; the Rainbow Bridge itself, and its a lot smaller than I expected. I thought it would look like the Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco, or perhaps the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but its not like that at all.  Its a rather quaint wooden structure, gently arched and with wooden handrails on either side, of course the rails were far too high to be of any use to me.  It is about two metres wide and spans about five metres. On the far side was a rolling meadow and blue sky dotted here and there with cotton wool clouds.  Then I saw them; my old friends Badger and Boris. They were standing at the far end of the bridge calling out happily. "
 "Come on Billy, it's wonderful to see you" They said. "Come and join us. It's beautiful here. You can run around in the grass all day eating dandelions, or you can raid the basil patch and nobody minds in the least, and as for the girlie pigs..........!

I started waddling across the bridge, but then hesitated. "What about my staff?" I called out to Badger and Boris. "I can't just leave them. What will they do without me? They'll fall to pieces and become even more dangerously insane.
 "You've come this far Billy." Called Boris, "You'll have to cross the bridge now. Your staff will be okay I promise. Remember how sad they were when I crossed the bridge, but they recovered didn't they because they had other piggies and Paolo the budgie to care for them. Well if you cross the bridge now, and I know you will, your staff will be well cared for by Baci, Tom, Alfie and Paolo. You mustn't worry, they know exactly what to do.  "In any case," continued Boris, "you can keep an eye on them from this side of the bridge. You can see everything they do, which is not always attractive I admit, but still, you can keep an eye on them. You can even send them messages if you like.  Mind you, most humans are too stupid to be able to interpret them, but you can at least try."

Then Badger spoke, softly as always. He'd been a quietly spoken piggy when I'd shared my staff's house with him.  "The best thing of all," he said, "is that you will be reunited with your staff when their time comes. Grandma Pig is already here and is so looking forward to seeing you again. You know how much she loved you - still loves you."

And so I crossed the bridge, stopping in the middle to gaze in awe over the side.  This was when I realised how the Rainbow Bridge came by it's name. The bridge straddles the very highest point of a beautiful, complete rainbow.  It arches away into infinity on either side and the colours are dazzling. I'd never seen anything so beautiful.  At last I tore my gaze away from this spectacle and looked up at Boris and Badger.  "Come on Billy, come to us." Said Boris gently.  I walked on and soon had all four of my feet on the cool green grass of the scented meadow. How beautiful everything seemed. How well I felt. The tiredness, aches, pains and the sadness that I had felt at leaving my staff all vanished and I just knew at that moment that my staff were going to be just fine.  Boris, Badger and I sniffed each others butts. (Yes, we still do that even here.)  "Let's go" Said Badger. "It's time to raid the basil patch, and there's a field of strawberries nearby too if you have room left for dessert."

I think I'm going to like it here.

Uncal Billy has like sent me a messij from the Raynbow Brij. I don't no how he dun it, but I was like laying in my pigloo finking about girlie pigs and chooing on sum hay when all of a suddun I gets this thort It was like getting a kneemail. I sed to myself  "that's funny I don't yoozually get thorts unless they're abowt girlie pigs." Then I realised it was a messij from Uncal Billy. Now, wot was it he wanted me to tell you all?  Wayte a second it'll come to me............................... Oh yes. I remember. He said that you are to stop playing with yourself, cos you'll go blind...............No, wait.....that messij was for me.  Ah yes. Wot he sed was that dying is nothing to be scared of because there is only happiness and peace on the other side of the Raynbow Brij.  All hoomins and their animal friends will evenchooly be reunited for eternity. He sed to tell his staff that it's okay to be sad for a wile, but to make the most of life because soon enuff we will all be together again. He also sed that Grandma Pig sends her love and that he sits on her lap most evenings for a cuddal and a sprig or two of parsley.
Last of all he sed to remember his favourite saying. Carpe Cavium. SEIZE THE PIGGY.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

One Sick Piggy

It's a long time ago now, more than two weeks since Grandma Pig passed away and as I remember it was on that very day that I decided that I no longer wanted to eat anything.  Not even basil. Because I wasn't eating I stopped pooping. It has to go in to come out, right?  I've lost an awful lot of weight and whenever anyone picks me up they always remark on how they can feel my bones under by fur.  Thank heavens I had a really good layer of solid muscle before I became ill, that has at least given me a little breathing space.

Anyway over the last two weeks I've been in and out of hospiggle several times.  More than one hospiggle too.  I even had my back teeth ground down a little because the vet thought they might be hurting my tongue when I try to eat. They found a couple of ulcers in my mouth which probably didn't help, but overall nobody seems to know what's wrong with me.  Still, I can't complain about the standard of care I've received.  I insisted that my staff drive me to the Albany Creek Vet Surgery in the northern suburbs of Brisbane - almost two hours away.  This surgery does a lot of work for the Queensland Guinea Pig Refuge where Alfie and Tom came from, so I know that they are au fait with guinea pig issues.  I am now ensconced in the boss vet's house for the weekend so that they can keep a constant eye on me.  There are other guinea pigs living here, so I have people to talk to.

Despite all this nobody knows what the hell is wrong with me. Maybe I'm just pining for Grandma Pig.  Whatever it is that ails me I keep exciting the vet and my staff by eating a little and looking as bright as button so that they think I'm on the road to recovery, but then I stop eating again and resume my depressed state so that everyone feels deflated once more.  I even missed Grandma Pig's funeral because I was so poorly.  That really made me sad.  I'd saved her a bunch of basil to put on her coffin, after all, I didn't feel like eating it.

Then yesterday, Saturday, my staff arranged with the vet to visit me at Albany Creek. I was looking forward to seeing them because I hadn't seen them since Tuesday when I was admitted to the hospiggle.  I suspect that they might of been anxious to see me too because I like to think that they quite like me - at least a little, despite me being a rather strict boss sometimes.  So they decided to drive down in Grandma Pig's Mercedes as it gives a more comfortable ride than the Getz even though you have to take out a mortgage to fill it with petrol.

It had been fine and dry for about two months, but Saturday was wet, cold and miserable. The sombre grey clouds were hanging lower than a guinea pig's testostricles.  Rain was pouring down and spray was swishing up from the big trucks as they drove down the Bruce Highway towards Brisbane.  About halfway there the car started to feel "funny", it became sluggish and then suddenly veered violently towards the median strip.  I think that had I been on board it might have cured my constipation.  It certainly had that effect on my staff.  Luckily my male staff was able to haul the Mercedes back into a straight line and then gradually braked and pulled off into a slip road some twenty metres off the Bruce Highway.  Having removed his soiled underwear he stepped out into the rain muttering darkly. (By the way, I think Muttering Darkly is the name of a village in the English Cotswolds.)  It was a puncture. Yes, it's amazing isn't it, even German efficiency has yet to put puncture proof tyres on a Mercedes.  It was time for my male staff to utter one of his favourite expressions "Faaaaaaaaaark!"  It was wasted though, lost among the hiss of tyres on the wet road and the roar of passing trucks.

So while my female staff painted her nails and read about the latest royal and celebrity scandals in a glossy magazine my male staff jacked up the offending wheel and removed it along with generous amounts of skin from his knuckles.  He then fitted the spare tyre and tightened the final bolt.  It wouldn't tighten. "Perhaps it's cross threaded" thought my male staff and tried to remove the bolt in order to try again.  It wouldn't come loose.  Now it would neither tighten nor undo.  It was time for another "Faaaaaaaaark!"  It didn't help though and my male staff wasn't prepared to drive for an hour to the vet surgery and then another two hours home with a bolt not securely fastened on the driver's side rear wheel.

With rain dripping off the end of his substantial nose he climbed back into the car, admired the colour of my female staff's newly painted fingernails and called the RACQ Roadside Assistance.  He explained to the "deaf imbecile" on the phone that the care was situated just off the Bruce Highway on a slip road and gave the approximate location.
  "We can't send a patrol vehicle because you're on the Bruce Highway.  It's too dangerous for the patrolman to work on your car there. We'll have to send a tow truck to get you off the highway first" Said the deaf imbecile.
  "But I'm not on the Bruce Highway," said my male staff. "I'm on a slip road about twenty yards from the Bruce Highway."
  "Okay sir.  There'll be a tow truck with you in about half an hour."
  "Wait!" Said my male staff. "I'm not on the Bruce Highway, I'm on a slip........." Drrrrrrrrrr. The line went dead. "Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!" said my male staff and my female staff looked up from her magazine and tutted.

An hour and a quarter later the tow truck arrived.  "You don't need a tow truck" said the rather moist, irate tow truck dude. "You need a patrolman. He'll be able to fix that little problem in no time.  Why didn't you tell them you were safely off the highway?"
My male staff glared at him. "I did bloody tell them. Anyway, can you help removed a jammed bolt?"
The tow truck dude sucked the rain filled air through his teeth. "No, I don't have the tools. I'll call a patrolman for you."  The tow truck driver made a call. "Okay" he said. "A patrol man will be here in about an hour. He'll soon have you on your way."
  "Well I certainly hope so," replied my male staff. "We have to get to Albany Creek to see a sick guinea pig who could pass away at any moment."  The tow truck dude backed away from my male staff as though he though him a dangerously deranged lunatic and scrambled back into his truck before screeching off with undue haste.

An hour and a half went by and a patrolman turned up.  My male staff left my female staff touching up her lipstick and went back into the teeming rain to greet him.  Having explained what the problem was he watched as the patrolman sucked the rain filled air through his teeth. "Oh dear." He said. "You've used the wrong bolts."
  "What do you mean I've used the wrong bolts? I used the bolts that came off the original tyre."
  "That's what I mean. There should be a special set of short bolts than go with the spare tyre on this model of Mercedes.  If you use the original bolts you'll damage the brake on that wheel. I'll tell you what. I'll removed the bolts you've used, you look in the boot for the other set."  Sure enough, using a special tool the patrolman managed to removed the jammed bolt.  Meanwhile my male staff had located the other set of bolts in the boot and sure enough they were half the length of the originals.
  "Silly isn't it?" Said the patrolman cheerily.
  "That's a frigging understatement." Said my male staff somewhat less cheerily.  Five minutes later the patrolman had reattached the spare tyre using the short bolts but he was sucking in air like crazy.
"I'm not happy with this wheel." He said. "I think you've damaged the brake by using those long bolts.  It's up to you, but I wouldn't drive this car if I were you.  At any moment that wheel could lock up while you're travelling at 110kph and send you spinning across the median strip into oncoming traffic where you are likely to be mashed and incinerated by an twenty three ton oil tanker."  Well he didn't actually say those exact words but my male staff got his drift.
  "So what do you suggest?" Asked my male staff.
  "I'll call a tow truck for you.  Where do you live?"
  "Cooroy."  The patrolman tapped a few figures into his smartphone thingy.  The RACQ cover the first fifty kilometres of towing but Cooroy is seventy five kilometres away.  It'll cost you $185."
My male staff sighed.  "Okay, call the tow truck. They can drop the car at the RACQ Service Centre in Cooroy and then give us a lift home."
  "I'll call the tow truck but he won't be allowed to give you a lift home once he's delivered the car to the service centre.  You'll have to get a taxi." Obviously by now my staff had realised that would not be able to see me after all.
  "You do realise that this means we won't be able to visit our sick guinea pig?" Ranted my male staff, "And if he dies without us seeing him again I will be writing to my member of parliament."

The patrolman made a hurried call and said that the tow truck would be along in about an hour. Then he too scrambled hurriedly back into his vehicle, looking over his shoulder all the time to make sure that my male staff wasn't following him wielding an axe.

In ninety minutes another tow truck arrived with a different driver and the Mercedes was hauled up onto the back of the truck while my staff climbed in out of the rain. An hour later the car was locked away in the yard of the Cooroy Service Centre and my staff had called for a taxi.  After an hour of waiting my male staff decided to chase up the taxi booking.
  "Sorry sir, we're just trying to get someone to come out to Cooroy for you." The dispatcher told him.
  "Bloody hell! Cooroy is only ten kilometres from the nearest taxi rank, not ten kilometres from Timbuk-frigging-tu! Pointed out my male staff, not unreasonably.
  "I'll get the driver to give you a call with an ETA."
Fifteen minutes later my male staff's cell phone buzzed.  "Hello." said an irritatingly cheerful voice. I'll be with you in about half an hour."

I wonder if I'll ever see my staff again.