Spindle and the troublesome hoop…

No, I refuse to do it. I clasped my paws over my eyes, eyes which were also tightly clenched, just in case my paws forgot what they were doing and slipped down.

As many of you know, sighthounds are of a sensitive nature and I was not prepared to endure the months of flashbacks I would undoubtedly have if I decided to take the brave step and observe the absolute buffoonery that was taking place in front of me. 

Muvver had, in a most unexpected turn of events, decided that she needed to increase her level of fitness. Considering that she scuttled and lurched around like an arthritic crab at the best of times, I was dubious. Impressed at her optimism, but mainly dubious. After some soul searching and a little sorrowful keening, she sadly put down her beloved breakfast pastry, and with a resolution that surprised both myself and Hector, she declared that enough was enough and marched out of the room.

This declaration caused Hector and myself to exchange alarmed glances over our steaming mugs of Earl Grey, as she had not made her thought processes clear to us in any way. We were bewildered and also slightly apprehensive at what she might do next as she can be a little unpredictable sometimes, especially after caffeine. After a hurried, guilt infused conversation between ourselves we decided that neither of us had transgressed recently in a manner that might merit actual eviction, so we relaxed and I speared her abandoned croissant with a beautifully polished claw. 

I forgot this dramatic breakfast scene and continued on my houndly duties of gentle walks around the estate (avec parasol to protect myself from unexpected ear and pointy nose sizzling), high level duvet nest building, food snaffling and of course snoozing. One afternoon, during an especially comfortable nap, wherein my limbs were arranged at Jarvis Cocker-esque angles and I had deployed my gentle puffed cheek inflations, the doorbell woke me. 

I slowly prised opened an eye, decided I really couldn’t be bothered so I closed it again and prepared to re enter dreamland again. I was happily surveying my field of a new breed of very slow moving, plumptious squirrels when I was reclaimed once again by reality by an animated Muvver, squawking and fondling a box that our smashing postman Nigel had just handed her.

She opened it with what Hector refers to as her ‘bony chicken claws’, unjust I might add, they are just a bit firkly sometimes, and it was with a trepidatious sigh that I then realised that she had bought herself a weighted hula hoop. 

Nothing good would come of this. Hector paled when he spotted it and began to gather up all his breakable precious things that were within swinging range of an out of control hoop, operated by an out of control wonderchump.

We are now back to the beginning of this little tale my good friends, me with my eyes closed and Hector reciting a little prayer to anyone that would listen. I assume the god of hoops? Was there such a thing? 

Eventually I could no longer ignore the clattering and sporadic sound of whirring air, and I surveyed the scene before me. I watched for some time and what surprised me was that after some false starts she was actually quite good at it! Who knew that she could move her hips in such a rhythmical fashion (not unlike Sister Josephine last week!). It was not necessarily with the litheness of Jagger…but nevertheless an excellent, exuberant effort. 

What was even more surprising was later that day, when I walked into the kitchen to discover Hector having a crafty go with it! He was magnificent! This was a shock to me as I had once seen him ice skating, and he looked like a tasered fish trying to reach the shore. This sporting excellence was all very unexpected and made me paws for thought. If they, a couple of uncoordinated lunatics could do it…then surely it would be a natural fit for a graceful and athletic hound such as myself? 

I must say that after my bell ringing efforts the previous week I was not that keen, but I felt that an unspoken challenge had been cast forth, one which I was duty bound to accept.

I attempted to do it standing upright on my back paws, once again returning to my heady days performing in a high octane circus troupe. I had cut rather a fine figure in a leotard and a top hat *sighs wistfully.

Sadly, through the passage of time my core strength had deserted me and I can, on a normal day only just about shimmy my way through a crowded bar in my special high heeled brogues without toppling over. 

Thus far the hula hoop had proved to be a step too far. Not wanting to admit defeat, I then decided to make the hoop smaller and try it, with all four paws firmly on the ground, using my houndly midsection to propel the hoop of doom in the recommended circular action. 

I believe my mistake was trying this on a tiled floor, which had historically caused me some difficulty of ‘purchase’ when scampering for a Scooby snack. It was with an enormous lurch, in which I expended a great deal of energy in the launching of the hoop, that my paws lost all traction with the floor and I shot across the tiles at great velocity, traversing the room in mere nano seconds and rocketing off out into the porch. I ended up tangled in a pile of walking boots and was instantly enveloped by a falling cagoule parachute. Yet again the hound had ‘had a fall’!

*Through the clouds of dust, a paw can be seen to bravely emerge from a heap…

Thankfully the verdict was that I was mostly unharmed if not a little shaken and sheepish, although I think we will all be happier if I stick to a gentle stroll to maintain my lithe and limber physique. I think we can also agree that the only hula hoops I am interested in should be eaten off your fingers/paws, one by one.

Pip pip my good pals, until next time.

A sideways Spindles view

Spindle and the unruly nun…

Dearest pals, after many days of laying in a quiet, dark room, with Muvver applying a medicinal cool flannel to my fevered brow, I am able to divulge the goings on of my bell ringing evening.

Greetings great pals and gather ye round

To hear the tale of a bell ringing hound!

I puff out my chest, full of Spindlesome pride

As my bell pulling power just can’t be denied

Delivered to the church in a mood of great haste

Left alone to an anticipated state of disgrace 

The loons scampered eastwards, public house bound

Siren called by a cold pint to cool them both down

I was heaved in the bell room by a system of pulleys

Emerging red faced, panting, knees scraped and bloody

The merit of skirt weights was now under question

As the strain had caused some digestive distention

Now fully installed in the bell ringing chamber

I turned to clap eyes on one of our neighbours!

Lover of vegetables, combat knitter of doilies

Sister Josephine, who was questionably holy

If my entrance was said to have caused a sensation

This was nothing compared to her hectic gyrations

Teeth clenched, legs braced, her midsection pulsed

It was clearly in lycra and not in God she did trust

A mere warm up she claimed, to loosen her hips

Yet dear Mr Claypole began to nervously twitch

This outward display was an education of sorts

As his partner was not known for her athletic jaunts

Called back to our purpose of bell based performance

The church warden began her pre ringing warm up

Her instructions were clear, we flexed and we limbered

And this was the point that Mr Claypole was injured

Somewhat distracted by more lithe athletics

It soon became clear that we needed a medic

HIs left leg hung limp, he had damaged a muscle

And getting him out would be one hell of a struggle

The warden declared an emergency extraction

And strapped a broom to his leg as temporary traction

We gathered him up and prepared to take flight

From what once was a space of grace and respite

But try as I might to grip on to him tight

My purchase was lost at great personal cost

The floor of the room had an adverse camber

Not designed for a straightforward scamper

I rolled down and over and then dropped through the hole

Sadly, still clinging to Mr Claypole

like haphazard clackers, we windmilled and fell

and the aforementioned limb began to visibly swell

My first and last visit to the bell ringing meeting

Was painful and lewd with a great deal of chafing

The moral of this story…well there is none

Just NEVER rely on a wayward nun

Spindle Rings…

Gather round my darlings as I have a tale of great personal, bell based peril to tell! 

When I moved into Spindle Towers, I was assured that quiet village life would be a relaxing experience. An existence in which I could kick off the old tattered sling backs and relax into my life as a hound of leisure. I have to admit to you that most of the time it is a peaceful, pedestrian lifestyle which suits me perfectly well.

Well, let me tell you that this bucolic idyll was shattered on this evening’s perambulations. It had been a tiring day, having exerted myself by sleeping in a variety of beds and impromptu Spindle nests. I had also made a nuisance of myself during dinner, so much so that I was rewarded/placated with a wafer thin steak slither at dinner. The steak distribution caused a slight fracas as Muvver and Hector both seemed reluctant to donate any of their succulent cow. Eventually, after several deals to the devil were made between the pair of them, I was allowed some from Muvvers plate. I have no idea what Hector had to do in recompense for this but she seemed delighted, whereas he just looked nervous and most ill at ease. 

It was because of this unexpected meat fest that my belly declared a walk was needed to provide the required oscillation to aid it on its natural pathway bottywards. 

So there I was, tootling about in my lace bonnet and evening pinafore, quite happily digesting away and contemplating what I might have for supper. The evening sun shone on my whiskers and I elegantly twirled my parasol about myself in a jaunty manner.

I was sashaying past the rather pretty village church when suddenly, and rather ferociously, there sounded an unearthly clanging which shattered the evenings peace. The shock to me was extreme, compounded by the unusual sight of two bats which were blown backwards by church bell backdraft. My pinafore inflated to its full volume and I skittered sideways. I hasten to add dear pals that this was also due to the bell backdraft and not the steak. 

Utilising my parasol as a wind break I settled my nerves and rested my trembling paws on a low brick and flint wall. It took a goodly few minutes to quieten my racing heart. Alarmingly the cacophany once again began to reverberate around the church grounds, and quite honestly pals, I legged it. It was mid scuttle that I realised and identified that Monday evening was bell ringing night and it was not a plague ringing call to bring out your dead. I must admit to still feeling a little digestional disquiet as I made my way back to Spindle Towers. 

I galloped into the kitchen to unexpected silence. This was annoying as I was all fired up and wanted to make my complaints known in a loud and vociferous manner to my staff. Perhaps this had something to do with the deal that was brokered over dinner…

Instead I poured myself a rather generous Dubonnet and bitter lemon, and began to wonder if perhaps I might be naturally talented in the way of bell ringing…I mean I am excellent at air hockey and my extreme crocheting has been featured in the weekend Guardian twice! 

Really the problem for me had been the noise which had fair rattled my poor ear flaps, and this was a problem that could be remedied by the swift donning of Hectors industrial ear muffs. 

After a quick phonemail to the church warden, I found myself booked into a taster session the following Monday. Feeling it would be prudent, I spent the rest of the week limbering up my lithesome limbs and performing extreme calisthenics whilst I watched the last episode of Taskmaster on the video machine.

I was determined that my performance would be steadfast, dignified and one of unexpected excellence. Hector was unnecessarily amused at the prospect of me bell ringing and kept showing me video clips of people pinging upwards towards the eaves as they misjudged the forces exerted on the ropes. To counter this Muvver and I spent an afternoon sewing weights into the hem of my tweed crinoline. 

Very soon, Monday evening was upon us again and after a light supper, I climbed into my outfit and was helped over to the church. The weights in my skirt were perfect in every way aside from when I had to move of my own accord, which I could not do. So there we were, Hector and Muvver either side of me, me balanced on a reinforced skateboard, being dragged churchwards.

I must say dear pals that I have high hopes of this endeavour and I shall report the results next time I pen you a missive!

Until then, do take care!

Spindle’s Scanties

Greetings my pals, today you find me gently melting at Spindle Towers. I have turned into a Salvador Dali clock. I am limp and droopy, and one lazy glance at the loons slumped over the kitchen table opposite me told me that they were also in a state of listless apathy. Very occasionally in this country we have a spell of weather where the sun drags its posterior out of the clouds to spread its heated tendrils over us. Our first instinct is one of joy, where we instantly engage holiday mode. Barbecues are brushed down and dragged out and summer wear is rifled through and squeezed into. The second instinct (an hour later) is to decry a heatwave and to flop about like a landed halibut. 

We were now three hours in to the sunny weather and were fanning ourselves with newspapers, magazines and envelopes from opened bills. 

I am sure I am not the only hound that struggles through hot days…or indeed cold days…sometimes mild ones too. Today however was proving to be a squelchsome and difficult, botty searing day.

Thankfully I have an extensive wardrobe of outerwear that I can rummage through if I need warming up, or cooling down, so I peeled my buttocks from the chair they had almost hermitically sealed to, and went to investigate.

Firkling through my wardrobe, I was horrified to discover that there is a huge omission of cooling undergarments. It is this sensitive subject – undergarments – that I would like to walk you through dear reader. 

It is very difficult for a hound of my repute, to find the correct balance between function and design in one’s selection of suitable under-crackers. 

Of course, those with common sense would posit that there is no need for a hound to wear underwear, but to this I wave my paw in a gentle reprimand. There are many reasons why a hound should pay close attention to the garments which so gently and lovingly encase ones particles. 

I have a preference for natural fabrics, especially in the summer heat. The law states that a hound is genetically programmed to spend ones day upside down with all limbs coquettishly pointed outwards, but occasionally one has to take precautions to protect ones delicate skin if outside.

On a warm day it can be most troublesome to apply sun tan lotion to ones nethers in a way that is not unseemly or open to misinterpretation. Thankfully the PCSO who apprehended me some time back in the application process was very understanding and helped me do the bits I couldn’t quite reach. Sadly however by this time unsavoury rumours were flitting around the local park and therefore on such an occasion I would favour a chic pair of uv protection bloomers.

These would have a tiny flap which can be raised like a side curtain when one needs to answer the call of nature. I also have hopes that it may decrease the amount of adventurous ticks that seem to like to latch on anywhere warm. There is nothing more undignified than ones staff coming at you with a tick tool and a determined look in their eye. 

I would also like to put to you, that there is nothing wrong with a little mystique and wonderment when observing another hounds…special and most private areas. I am aware that as a rule, we hounds tend not to care about our sensibilities – we are back to the roach phenomena and the traditional ‘flaps out friday’ photo celebrations on twitter – yes, this is a thing, but sometimes, a gal can, and should be demure on occasions. 

All in all, I think I can safely say that I have made a sound argument for the need for better delicate parts apparel. We then of course come to the subject of design. I see no need to be unfashionable when strutting ones stuff about town. If I am to sashay into a bar for a hydrating libation, I wish to do so with style and panache. Yes, I am a fan of a little lace embellishment, but I do not want to wander into Bo Peep territory. In moments of sartorial indecision, I ask myself, what would Miss Marple wear? 

You can blame my heat befuddled mind, but I put action to thought, grabbed a pen and paper and have devised a rather natty range of lingerie, which I have named Spindle’s Scanties. I like to think there is something for everyone. I am especially proud of my slogan ‘Spindle’s scanties, not just panties’.

Naturally the basic range is the cotton ones with the side curtain. I have sewn small pockets into some to pop in ice cubes/frozen peas for extreme emergency conditions. 

I have also devised a small range of pant widgets, ‘add ons’ that can maximise comfort at a small additional cost. For example, I have a bluetooth enabled fan that gently directs a blissful breeze at any hot spots. Thankfully I tried it out before launching it as I misjudged the placement of the fan and it proved to be a rather smarting experience. 

All in all I am rather pleased with my creations and I shall spend my humid evening putting together a spiffy, shiny catalogue that I can then distribute to the discerning customer who expresses an interest. Indeed pals, I feel a new venture coming on! 

Until next time, love and Spindly hugs.

A Soggy Spindle…

We’re all going on a spring holiday! It will rain of course, but we laugh in the face of these predictable British cloud dribbles. We have to laugh, we will most certainly have a long discussion about it, or at the very least make sure that we pack my multitude of wet weather outfits. A hound is not fond of the rain, indeed a mere droplet on an exposed paw can turn a calm, carefree, pointy nosed delight into a depressed and sad eyed victim of indescribable hardship. 

My staff have learned over the years that it is far more prudent to make sure I am fully equipped on outings with a comfortable mat, lightweight pacamac and my favourite waterproof walking out bonnet/cape combo. They did suggest little wellington boots, but I have seen a video of a whippet wearing shoes and I am not prepared to subject myself to the extreme hilarity that it caused in us all at Spindle Towers.

This was to be our maiden voyage with Florence the Eriba caravan. We were going to be explorers, adventurers! We were going to traverse the country and see such splendid sights, meet new people and hopefully eat a lot of cheese. We were all very excited.

The destination was to be deepest darkest Dorset, trundling along, singing a song, to a brilliant camp site near Charmouth called Monkton Wyld. 

When I was given a tour of Flo’s inside space, I was pointedly shown my own double bed (the staff conveyed much cheerfulness about this) but I think we all knew deep down that I would end up sprawling over them both on their bed at 2am. I believe there is nothing better than 23kg of pointy limbed hound folloloping over you, easing any human occupants into strange contortions and exposing legs/bottoms to a duvet-less chill. I love to see them clinging on the edge, white knuckles fighting gravity and the unmovable will of a hound that is asleep on a comfortable bed. 

As I predicted, we woke up the next morning, in a tangled heap of elbows and duvet, all on the big bed. I also provide a free fragrancing service whilst I sleep. I will occasionally puff out at random a little cloud of perfumed miasma, very much like those expensive air fresheners you can buy. I obviously have a superior aroma to those though. So much so, Muvver often needs a quick poot on her inhaler and Hector has to dab Vicks menthol under his nose.

So there we were pals, first morning of our little holiday. We showered, dressed, breakfasted and then packed our ‘any eventuality’ bag for the day ahead. 

We decided to go and have a scoot about Bridport as it is a most excellent destination, with unusual, independent shops, a whopping great vintage and antique market and a multitude of welcoming craft makers.

It is an unspoken rule (Muvvers rule, which was passed down to her from her mother and hers before etc etc)  that whenever we go out, the first stop has to be for a cup of restorative tea or coffee, with the additional option of a small morsel to top up our morsel levels. There is another unspoken rule (my rule this time) that this first stop of the day should be at a suitable eatery that will provide me with a holiday sausage as my post breakfast snackette. 

I am digressing slightly, or digesting slowly…but I am assured that you will be fully expecting this if you have read any of my other diary entries. 

It was only when we emerged from the cosiness of the cafe some time later that we discovered it was raining. With a pointed look from me, Hector scrambled to retrieve my polka dot pacamac from his travelling bag. He was practically inside the bag at one point, ferreting about with increased panic, and then he finally emerged with a look of horror on his face. I knew immediately that the great chump stick had forgotten my wet weather gear. I folded my paws and stared up at him with a baleful glance. Words were exchanged between the three of us. Some rather fraught moments later, a compromise was reached. Muvver abandoned her scarf and proceeded to fashion me a bonnet and cape ensemble to try and keep the worst of the rain off. As it turns out pals, I looked rather fetching and it did the trick. 

It was on our splashy splashy trundles that we then met a fellow hound on his holiday bimbles, a large brindle Greyhound, and I must admit to you, I very much liked the cut of his jib. After a brief chat/botty sniff with him, we made a casual arrangement to meet up later (the romanticism of the situation of course was knowing that we would not meet, but that we would both dream about the unknown possibilities had we met in other circumstances.) Think Barbara Cartland with a dash of Georgette Heyer…although my heart does of course actually belong to my great love, Eggy Elton – but it is gratifying to know I still ‘have it’…whatever it is.

The day really wasn’t that bad if I am entirely honest wth you. We had a splendid time roaming about and I ended up stuffed full of treats that shop keepers gave me and my ears were ruffled to a point of dishevelment. Eventually, we decided to return to Flo. She really is splendid with her fairy lights and cushions and blankets everywhere. We nestled happily together, hound and staff united beneath a duvet (which was kept firmly clamped down) and had a quiet evening drinking tea, eating biscuits and reading. 


Spindle debates cocktails and caravans…

It was a beautiful spring morning and I was enjoying listening to the birds cheeping and chirping in the garden, as I sipped my Earl Grey and nibbled on my Portuguese custard tart. We have a resident crow in our garden and an utterly demented pheasant who was always being trailed by his harem of adoring ladies. I was watching them with a benevolent eye, as the sun glistened off my splendid shiny coat. Top tip for a glossy coat here pals, sardines (to be eaten, not rolled in – sadly).

I was the only inhabitant of Spindle Towers that had managed to surface from our bed chambers thus far. This may have something to do with an impromptu visit the previous day to a spiffy new bar who were also expert purveyors of delightful cocktails. I am sure you have guessed that the pair of wallies who claim to own me (we all know the truth) enjoyed numerous exotic refreshments and were now having a careful and sedate morning recovering their equilibriums. I myself enjoyed a refreshing drink, but unlike them, I know when to stop so I can maintain my dignity. Seemingly I am the only being in the Towers who manages to do so. 

If you can picture the scene. 

One drink…A glowing sense of relaxation and well being, cheerfulness breaks through. 

Two drinks…A growing realisation that the world and its truths had been revealed to them in perfect clarity and they were in fact geniuses.

Three drinks…

Hector begins waxing lyrically about some peculiar new invention that he was going to make in his workshop, his arms wave about in the recognisable flailing ‘engineer’s animation’. He then begans to frantically make notes on the napkin with the waiters biro.

Muvver is curled up in her chair, wrapped in a thoughtfully provided fleece blanket and is tunelessly crooning Puff the Magic Dragon – as you will all know by now, her ‘go to lament’ in times of alcoholic perplexity. She begins to gently sway and a giant tear plops down her face as she experienced a fleeting vision of the beauty of the entire world.

Every time pals, this happens every single time they have as much as a sniff of booze. There is an upcoming family wedding and quite frankly I fear for the pair of them. These occasions are always recorded digitally, ready to provide hours of hilarity in the future. There is an infamous video of grandad Tom throwing some excellent shapes on the dance floor that is still spoken of in hushed tones and reverence. 

Back to today, Muvver eventually wafted very carefully into the kitchen, claimed a mug of emergency tea and informed me Hector was getting a tow bar fitted the following day. 

Well pals, I can barely begin to describe to you the images of this I had whirling through my pointy head. The first question of course was…where would he have it fitted…the various possibilities made me squint and my eyes began to water. The second question was of course couldn’t he have a collar and lead like I do? I began to formulate a reply, when it was explained to me that it was for the car, not Hector and was in readiness for….drum roll, ukulele twang and tooting trumpets…our new caravan – Florence! 

We had sadly waved goodbye to out faithful and beloved Mavis, Campervan extraordinaire and had drifted over to the dark side…to the world of caravanning! As we all know caravanning is the new sexy, and when I clapped my beady peepers on Florence, I was smitten! She is an Eriba, and is a dainty little thing like me. The best news of all is that I would have my own single bed in there, although I think we all know that I will end up on the big bed and my adoring staff will be sardined into mine.

There had apparently been some moments of confusion several days ago when Muvver mistakingly referred to the tow bar as a ball gag, which surprised the lady in the caravan shop. She kept a wide berth from Hector after that, although the nice gentleman gave us some free chocks as we left.

Naturally Muvver claims complete innocence in this wordy mistake. It was like the time they were in a garden centre, paying for their purchases and she asked Hector if he wanted her to hold his fat balls when he paid. I blame her gift for filth on an over exposure to carry on films at an early age…and her hero worshipping of Rik Mayall. Anyway, back to camping. We had planned our first trip away in Dorset and we were currently getting the important things sorted out…the soft furnishings, twinkly lights and a suitable snack store.

As we were off to the Jurassic coast, I was busy preparing my fossil finding outfit. I thought I would be traditional and stick to a hooped crinoline, button boots and a jaunty bonnet. Hector thought he might wear the same, although he also wanted a butterfly net for some reason. Muvver didn’t care what she wore although I expect she will look like a dishevelled bag lady in Dr Martens. 

So as the excitement is building for our next adventure, I must be off as it is time for my perambulation around the garden and to check the drainage in the lower field.

Until next time, pip pip!

Hector has a birthday!

What do we want? We want Hector, when do we want him? Now!

Muvver and I hovered outside the bathroom door, hopping from foot to foot and paw to paw with excited anticipation. You may ask why we were lurking in such a furtive manner, ready to pounce with gleeful abandonment whilst Hector performed his customary morning ablutions? It was his birthday!

*Somewhere in the distance a trumpet toots a tinny, celebratory fanfare

Naturally Muvver and I were VERY excited about this, however Hector seemed to want to keep it far more low key than we did. He grumbled when he awoke that morning to discover both of us perched by his side, eyeballing him, quivering with barely contained energy.

He briefly argued the case that he deserved a lie in, but our persistent prodding and unauthorised tampering determined that he would get up and enjoy this day of Hector based adoration. We were thrilled. He scuttled into the bathroom to do whatever alchemical things he does in there. We suspect he puts a chair up to the door so we can’t infiltrate his cleansing routine, it is that secret.

He later emerged from the bathroom with amidst a swirling steamy haze, very much like he was appearing in an episode of ‘Stars in their eyes’. If he were, then we suspect he would be rocking the Mick Fleetwood look from the Rumours album cover (without the dangly whatnots, although in all fairness we couldn’t tell as he was enveloped in a fluffy towel).

We were flapped out of the bedroom so he could get dressed without interference, so we popped the kettle on and waited for him in the kitchen – it was prize giving time! It was also Portuguese custard tart time, which I especially looked forward to, although the delectable pastry flakes could be troublesome to ones whiskers without careful handling.

The question of gifts had caused something of a problem for us. Earlier in the week Muvver and I had sat at the kitchen table, clutching steaming mugs of Earl Grey, wearing matching expressions of earnest pondering…ponderation…ponderfication.

Only a display of magnificence would do for our Hector.  As is his custom each year, he enjoys a day of celebration and unfettered worshipping, organised by our good selves. There would be cheering, singing and a grand prize giving when he would excitedly unwrap his loot. 

It is the question of the loot that had troubled us. Muvver was keen to get him something that managed to convey the deep respect within which we held him, and I just wanted to poke fun at him getting older. 

A Hector is a complex creature, with many facets and a number of bewildering and dubious interests. He is well known for his vast collections, which include Singer sewing machines, steam engines and Classic and Sports Car Monthly, which he has collected since 1984. Our shelves literally weep under the sheer weight of them.

HIs various addictions, Land Rovers, Fruit Pastilles to name a few had been generally fed and nurtured over the years. Perhaps it was time to gently steer him into a new direction? 

My magnificent houndly idea was to gently nudge him down the track of something different and out of his comfort zone. Perhaps a small specialist holiday where he could relax and kick off his sling backs? I found a lovely camping site with woodland crafts and a close community in a beautiful setting. It was however also a naturist site and Muvver became concerned that he may come a cropper with a band saw. She also pointed out that this would not be that unusual for him as on warm summer nights, Hector had been known to potter about the garden at Spindle Towers in the altogether…although he stopped this when he discovered next door had a security light on a motion sensor. 

Muvver was keen to introduce him to trying out some circus skills. I had to agree that he would look quite charming flying through the air on a trapeze, ponytail flapping in the air, sequins twinkling in the spotlight. His long and lithe limbs would surely add a certain natural elegance to any performance be it aerial or flame based. 

We then bandied about the idea of reforming the gang for a brief tour of our flea circus, but alas our work commitments stymied this. 

So what do you get a Hector? A man who has everything. Previous gifts have included subscriptions to Beard Topiary Monthly, Which Monocle and Collectors Anonymous. He also owns a spiffy collection of vintage medical apparatus and a small selection of oil cans. 

A debonair slipper shuffle announced the arrival of Hector, pink cheeked (under his beard) and freshly powder puffed. His gimlet eyes lit up at the sight of the custardy tarts of delight and the pot of industrial strength coffee. It was then my good pals, that we announced our gift!

We were going to take him on a mystery tour holiday jaunt…in our new Eriba caravan! 

We would traverse the beautiful country that we live in, see the grand sights and…although I hadn’t mentioned this to the loons as yet…I had high hopes of visiting in person, my paramour, the flutterer of my lacy petticoats…Eggy Elton!

Pip pip for now my dear friends

Spindle goes to the vets…

Today has been a day of duplicitous goings on, and I for one am not a happy hound. The day began quite well, as most days do with a frantic scrum for tea and toast. Today’s toast topping was eggy scrambles which is always to my satisfaction…although I must admit that it occasionally has a detrimental (depending on your outlook) effect on my wind production quota. 

Rather than our usual walk in the woods, muvver suggested that we could go further afield for our morning perambulation, and so we fired up the Yaris. I can imagine that the more suspicious of you might already have had a special warning tingle, but I am a trusting and simple hound, so I merely pressed my nose up to the window and made some snot swirls on the glass. The disadvantage of this creative endeavour is that I could no longer see where we were going. So imagine my surprise when muvver opened the door to the car….and we were at the vets. 

*Spindle crosses paws and purses lips channelling her best disgruntled Les Dawson.

Immediately my eyes narrowed in suspicion and my botty clamped shut in apprehension (a natural reaction to any sudden stress…unless it is a REALLY distressing situation, then the effect is somewhat reversed). As we made our way from the car, muvver attempted to go one way and I immediately made a break for the opposite direction. The lead became taut but however small and may I say ‘puny’ muvver is she can be annoyingly tenacious when she wants to be, so in a truculent zig zag, we made our way to the front door. 

This is when all hounds know to deploy extreme quivering mode. We vibrated our way to the waiting seats and the lovely staff all came to say hello to me – they all adore me in there. Muvver, sensing I was not entirely content, chatted to me in a soothing voice and then THE DOOR OPENED! 

Our lovely vet welcomed us in with a beaming smile, which didn’t fool me for one minute. What followed was what I shall call a thorough inspection “Excellent condition, considering my age”, I mean, how very dare he! Not content with this prodding and poking I then had my annual injection. I must admit that I thought it couldn’t get any worse…and that was when I discovered I was having a nasal inoculation next. 

I saw the vet approach from my left flank and I thought that enough was enough. I ignored muvver  who was now gently crooning Puff the Magic Dragon in my earsies and deployed battle tactics. Commence frantic hound Riverdance. 

What followed was a scrabble on the floor of me and muvver, which I was winning by the way, when the sneaky vet crept up and squirted me! It all went quiet and I glared at them both, then sneezed. 

After the indignities of this, I then discovered it was a two pronged attack as I was now booked in for a pedicure!

Muvver stayed outside for this one, and the nurse beguiled and hypnotised me into the room of doom with a snack. Naturally I trotted after her in hot pursuit of the offered sausage morsel…then the door closed. 

I shall never fully reveal what happened in that room. Reports from the reception desk claimed that ‘there were a number of audible huffs, a brief scuffle and then an overly dramatic whimper’ – and that wasn’t me!

I must hold my paws up now my good pals, as that in times like these, one can’t predict the exact time that a scrambled egg ‘tornado crop spreading event’ will occur. The nurse muttered something that I didn’t quite catch, as the sulphurous miasma engulfed us and then I was quickly ushered outback into muvvers loving arms. 

I gave muvver the look that conveyed we would be having a discussion about this on the way home. I reject the argument that it was for my own good. A Spindle shouldn’t be breached in such a manner, sausage notwithstanding.

We had all previously discussed the option of home clipping (once tried, never to be repeated) or even the purchase of a special hound pedicure Dremmel, but there was no way I was going to let either of those inept loons loose with it! I had visions of all four of my paws in slings and I wasn’t sure how I would navigate myself in such a circumstance. 

I spent the remainder of the day being stylishly aloof before I decided to welcome muvver back into the orbit of my affections. It is a wild rumour that this timing also coincided with our post dinner treat time. 

What a fickle beast I am, although I must admit that I don’t skitter and skid around the wooden floor as much now – but don’t tell them that. Between you and me pal, I don’t really mind it that much, it’s just how us sensitive, artistic hounds are! 

Pip pip for now my great pals!

Spindle Bakes…

My dearest pals, I have been very busy today! I began my day with a stealthy jaunt in the local woods, where I managed to sample a large quantity of natures maltesers (rabbit poo) as well as blowing the cobwebs out of my flappy lug holes. Muvver and I were chatting as we frolicked amongst the frosty fronds and twigs and decided we would have a baking session when we got back home. I don’t think I need to remind you that I am infamous for my cream puffs, as well as my apple turnover.

Muvver decided that she was going to bake for Hector, as a token of her undying love and adoration for him, beard and ponytail not withstanding. She had tried many times previously to bake bread for him, but he is of a gluten free persuasion, which tended to make matters more complicated. This time however she was adamant it would be successful…it was from a kit! 

Once home, we changed out of our tweeds and into floral baking pinafores, pockets as you can imagine are crucial. I keep little snacks in my pockets, whereas muvver keeps her fire blanket.

Of course we could not start until we had brewed a large pot of Earl Grey, and had rebalanced our biscuit levels with a cheeky custard cream or three. I had decided that I was going to attempt a baked Alaska as I was keen to master the blow torch.

We divided the kitchen into two distinct areas so we would not clash limbs – (be them graceful, lithe and spindly (mine) or short and chicken like (hers). Once we were arranged to our liking, we had a brief tussle over the music choice, finally settling on some jaunty Jake Thackeray and then we set to, keen to show off our culinary alchemical witchcraft skills.

Hector has been gluten free since he discovered that an excess of it was resulting in some quite lively digestive repercussions. The one thing that he really missed though was a nice loaf of bread, and muvver, keen to demonstrate her wifely prowess decided that she could create a loaf of greatness, a loaf of excellence, for him. 

I myself am sedate and elegant when I bake, I gently hum to myself and swish my skirts around the kitchen in a bid to emulate a cross between Fanny Craddock and Margot Fonteyn. Muvver on the other hand is sporadic at best, absent minded and just as likely to forget she was baking if she caught sight of her favourite crow Nick (after Nick Cave) in the garden.

Today though, there was no distracting her. She was determined to follow the instructions, something she never normally does, so she could triumphantly wave a loaf of splendour in Hectors face. Consequently she was unusually quiet whilst she was weighing and mixing, she even made a note of the proving times. This suited me very well, as there would be no ‘stove to air’ potato missiles or anything that I would have to dodge. I began by making my sponge which I made sure was full of gluten (more for me) whilst my ice cream chilled in the freezer. 

Then I myself chilled, kicked off my slingback’s and flicked through my subscription to ‘Which Muff’ as mine was in tatters after an especially cold snap before Christmas. Happy that my muff would soon be replaced with a new thermal version (lace edging) I slithered off the stool and made merry with my whisking. I would like to say at this point that a hound deserves credit, as a vigorous whisk can really take it out of oneself. 

By this point, our respective stirrings were popped into the oven. She was fan assisted, whilst I went old school in the other oven, or t’oven as her family says.

Her work was done and she scuttled outside to see if Nick was still there. However I still had the great ice cream sculpture to create and then my favourite part, the singeing of the meringue! I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that my efforts went without a hitch. Some time later, I proudly circled the mountain of joy that I had created. Even the application of the blow torch was faultless! Although Hector refused to enter the kitchen when I was waving this about, wringing his hands and muttering about the insurance premium of his rolling pin collection increasing. 

In conclusion, I had triumphed with my baking endeavour.

Now for the revealing of the loaf. Well, in her defence she did follow the recipe to the letter, but it would seem that baking was a skill that was well out of her remit. 

She plopped the loaf tin onto the side and we peered in. The aroma was most unusual, a bit mushroomy and acrid, both at the same time. She tipped the contents onto a cooling rack (it emerged from the tin beautifully) and it thudded on to it like a concrete torpedo. Alas my dear pals, it had not been a success. It was like a flat house brick. 

She measured the height and it was exactly one egg high. Hector loped in to see what the loud thunk had been. If nothing else, I will state that Hector is a gentleman. He cooed and trilled over the loaf, but I think we all knew he was laughing hysterically inside. 

After some cooling, he cut a slice and tasted it. I will quote him here “Hmmm…what a resilient crust…and such an… unusual flavour”. He then offered to buy her a matching set of kitchen serving chisels for her birthday and scuttled off to rid him self of the unpleasant morsel slowly revolving around his mouth. There may have been some sniggering.

Pip pip for now pals!

Paws for thought…

It is that time of the year once again great pals, when the inhabitants of Spindle Towers can dress as they like without censor or disapproval from the local council…I do of course, mean it was time for The Velvet Marmosets annual fancy dress ball.   

We cherish the time that we can frolic about in deepest Hampshire without a barrage of letters of complaints and restraining orders dropping on our doorstep. Just one wave of the gilt edged invitation would explain (and preempt the apologies we would undoubtedly have to make).

This time, however there was an added poignancy to the event. We were holding it in the memory of our dear friend Nelson, the big white bear of a hound, who sadly met his maker after an incident in his little home made laboratory in Mavis our camper van. 

He had been working on a new lacquer as a styling aid for his buttock toupees (firm hold), but unfortunately the naked flame, a naked Nelson and the lacquer had not been compatible. 

Mavis had to undergo several months of restoration to return to a habitable state. Sadly the same could not be done for Nelson. It was a dreadfully shocking event that had rocked Spindle Towers. 

We had slowly begun to reassemble ourselves and Sister Josephine had decided that the annual ball would be the perfect occasion to host a memorial event for him. 

And so it was, that we gathered in the kitchen this morning to discuss our respective outfits.

We were poised with notebooks, tape measures and enormous mugs of coffee. 

The usual quiet order of the polished tiles, rolling pin display and whistling kettle gradually evolved into an unholy cavern of chaos, as feathers gently puffed around the floor, sequins adhered to anything sticky and the light fittings were festooned with discarded items of clothing.

Tensions were running high so I trotted over to stop the kettle screeching (oh…as you were, it was Muvver) and asserted my houndly authority and called a cessation to the squabbling, ready to dampen all high emotions with restorative, soothing tea and a slice of Battenberg. Clearly the morning coffee had escalated their tendency for unruliness. 

Eventually the sobbing and huffing stopped (Hector) and Muvver relinquished control of the meat tenderiser. 

We had decided that we would all in some way pay homage to Nelson through the medium of our outfits. This began with us comparing notes on our respective memories of him. A good proportion of these were not fit for public consumption, but we eventually narrowed down our list. 

He was of course a most dapper chap and so Hector decided to go as Quentin Crisp, as we felt this would channel him quite well. Hector, being a slave to detail, decided to mix it up a bit and add some cowboy chaps, just as Nelson had done on one memorable night out. So there he was, Quentin Crisp on top of Clint Eastwood, which I think we can all agree is highly imaginative and most certainly a conversation starter.

Muvver sacrificed her usual outfit (Bat Marple) and decided to go as one of Nelson’s great favourites, Edith Piaf. He had been known to reduce a room to tears with his heartfelt, warbling rendition of her greatest hits. 

I myself had decided on my outfit as soon as the invitation from the ‘Marmoset’ had landed on the doorstep. It was through sheer luck that we managed to save Nelson’s buttock toupee from the lacquer incident. It came sailing over the patio and landed on the grass after the windows exploded in Mavis. Some may say it was a sign, well I certainly do. It even has its own special chair in my boudoir, a seated, furry shrine if you like. It’s what he would have wanted. 

Some hours later, there we were, all ready to go. 

We switched the lights off and closed the door.

We linked arms and set out for the Velvet Marmoset, to bid farewell to a dear old pal.