Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I was going to post about the classic car rally we watched and how Ziggy had settled and show you a picture of him quietly sleeping in his bed but I might have to do this another day because this morning I just have to unburden myself about my father in law.

Regular readers will know about my father in law and will remember last year's 'critical bread incident'. Not sure if that links you directly to the day but certainly to the month (just scroll down to the post!)

Having told oldest daughter that she had to be in on Monday 'because Grandad is staying and it would be nice to do something together as a family', Grandad announces that he doesn't want to do the day out that I had tried to plan - first I suggested Gainsborough's house in Sudbury, then the seaside, then a walk in the country (to which he said 'I live in the country' - yes, Graham but you live inthe country in SPAIN, which is quite different to ENGLAND!). So as we were getting ready to go out somewhere for the day and have a nice lunch 'all together' he announces he didn't feel like it and he would take himself down to town, wander about and then have a pint in a pub somewhere. Well! As he left the house he said 'Don't worry, I won't be long, about two hours'. Six hours later he pitches up! Drunk as a skunk, having been in the local pub all that time. I think the guy is an alcoholic. I didn't witness the home coming because I was in the cinema with the girls (Spider Man 3 actually, too long, not really my kind of film, thanks for asking). So, according to Andy, he pitched up, slurring, helped himself to loads of bread and cheese, leaving crumbs and cupboards open as he went, ate them, sat on the sofa with a blanket over himself and promptly fell asleep.

The film went on for ever and we didn't get in until half past eight, by which time I had decided not to bother cooking any supper - the girls had gorged on pop corn (and I'd had just a handful or two too!). So, I got in, the girls disappeared to their various spots inthe house and I sat with Andy at the kitchen table with a bottle of vino tinto between us. Andy said 'when my dad reappears he'll say he didn't have any lunch in the pub because he thought you were cooking tonight - that's how he'll turn it around and justify his tightness'. Ten minutes or so later, Graham enters and sits down with us. 'Aren't you cooking tonight?' he asks. 'No, it's a bit late don't you think?' I said. 'Oh, I didn't eat in the pub because I thought we were having a meal at home' he said. 'Oh, Andy said you'd had a couple of sandwiches when you got in are you still hungry?' said I. 'Yes' said he. He was still drunk. I asked him how his day had been 'Oh marvellous, I met lots of people, blah blah blah'

What I just can't understand is that we see this man once a year, he comes over every May for four weeks (luckily just three this year). He never has any contact with his only grandchildren (ours) or gives them presents or anything. And now, on the one day his only son has off he doesn't want to spend it with us. I'm feeling like a bit of a hotel actually. He's manipulative to the extreme. Yesterday, (this is a small point but they all build up) the butter ran out in the morning - the shopping is ordered for tonight so I don't like to go out and buy stuff I'd rather just make do without butter for 24 hours - I buttered his toast at breakfast and then said 'That's the last of the butter until the shopping comes tomorrow afternoon'. Last night when he was making himself yet another sandwich, he said 'where's the butter?' I said 'It's all gone' He said 'Oh why didn't you say I would have got some FOR YOU when I was out'. 'I DID say, Graham' I said. He does this ALL the time. He drinks the beer in the fridge (all 20 bottles) saying each time 'I'll get some more when I go to town'. When he comes back he says 'I forgot to take my rucksack so couldn't get any' or some other lame excuse which he has done deliberately.

I know this all sounds so petty, but these things build up. The worst thing about him though is that he does NOT take a blind bit of interest in us. He has not asked Andy about work, about his cycling, about our last holiday, about our NEW house or expressed any interest even in where our house is! Nor has he asked the children about their lives. He just sits at the table wittering on about what he's done. The sad thing is, is that he is telling us the same stuff as last year as if these things have happened in the last year, when I know that they didn't. So in reality the poor guy has got nothing to tell us, nothing has happened to him in the last year. He gets up, he goes to the bar, he comes home, he falls asleep in front of the telly. That's his life.

I feel sorry for him alot but my patience is wearing thin.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I took Ziggy to the vet yesterday morning to be weighed and checked out. Ziggy was very stressed out at the vets and barked the whole time he was in the waiting room and then when the vet asked me to put Ziggy on the table he kept trying to 'mouth' me when I tried to pick him up. The vet kept saying 'oh you're going to have to be careful with this one, he wants to dominate' which worried me somewhat. She said she could refer to a behaviourist if I wanted. Well, that got me worried.

Then to make matters worse, we took Ziggy for a walk across the fields yesterday and met a country couple with gun dogs who had owned a pointer. They told me that they had a friend with a pointer that was untrainable and had a hell of a time with him for four years until they contacted the German Pointer Gun Club for advice (not to have him shot!). Lo and behold they discovered that these dogs need specific training, blah blah, very intelligent, blah blah, need to be stimulated the whole time.

Another problem, my husband thinks he can dominate a dog by shouting at him even though the dog has a) no idea why he's being shouted at b)not understanding what Andy is trying to get him to do. Hence the dog put his head in the bin, Andy shouted and tried to get the dog into the utility room, the dog cowered under the table and put his hand out to grab him while shouting and got bitten. Andy then kicked the dog told everyone in the room to 'eff off' that he didn't want the dog in the first place, he was a dangerous and aggressive dog. I, on the other hand tried to tell him that a big threatening hand coming down on his head from a stranger threatened him and he was cornered. Andy won't have this, refuses to listen to me and is in a steaming bad mood. Things aren't so good in this household right now.

Not to mention the father in law, who, after Andy had sworn and gone off told me 'you're an intelligent woman but you rely too much on the book'. What? 'Of course I rely on the book, books are written by experienced people who know about things'. 'Ah, but you shouldn't rely on the book, you need to rely on experience'. 'What? I'm not experienced so I turn to a book for advice'. (and you 'eff off, I thought).

Big sigh. I have to admit, I'm slightly wary of my own dog now. The vet told me that I have to be able to touch him all over (the dog, not the father in law), look in his mouth and be able to pick him up. I have to keep my dominance over him, in a firm way.

He's having his cojones cut off on Thursday, which should help.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Well, here he is! He's gorgeous don't you think?
I think I'm in love!
Having a dog when you 've never had one before is like bringing your first baby home from the hospital! There is a feeling of mild (extreme) panic. What if I don't feed it properly? When does it need to poo? How do I discipline it? What if it turns into a mad, untrained dog and it's all my fault?
I've been reading things up on the internet. Things like 'how to be the alpha male',and 'how to make your dog do what you want!'. By way of bonding with the mutt I've been walking him four times a day so that he thinks this is a 'fun' household that he wants to stay in, instead of the 'completely stressful, father in law visiting, we're hoping to move in eight weeks, untamed children' kind of household. Father is bad enough without a dog but suddenly is a the font of all canine knowledge saying things like 'I've had a dog you know, I know, you don't'. Unfortunately, his school of thought is the 'let's just shout at the dog and scare him into submission'. So much so that when Ziggy put his nose into the bin, Graham shouted at him and tried to get him to go into the utility room as punishment, the dog cowered in fright under the work top and barked at Graham when he approached him! Alice keeps coming to me and saying 'Grandad's shouting at the dog, stop him!'. Oh dear.
Anyway, I'm happy to say that Ziggy seems happy (notwithstanding the father in law). My energy levels have increased with all this dog walking. I feel better in two days actually. My legs are aching from walking so much! I've met loads of new dog owners in the park and discovered that some of them are the parents of my oldest daughters' friends!
I could go on....about how the owners nearly wanted him back and it was a bit touch and go as to whether I would have to hand him back over, but they've decided they can 't have him, so he is now, officially ours. Hang on, do I need a dog licence? That's just occurred to me? Better go and check that out...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Calm, Calm, Calm

Thought I'd post a picture of one my 'Morning Glories' today I'm not feeling very glorious today.
Things have taken a turn on the house front. The owners emailed us on Sunday to ask us if we would put all the utilities in our name after the tenants move out at the end of May to save THEM (the owners) of putting it all back into their name for just one month and so that they have electricity and gas etc for moving out at the end of June (for just the four days they would be in the house). We thought this sounded like a bad idea. Take on the utilities of someone else's house before you own it? We don't know these people and frankly, I think that's just laziness on their part. So,we politely refused.
A day later, another email came saying that they had wanted to be friendly but as we now weren't (WTF!), they no longer want us to work on the garden and would I not go to the house? And that they would be taking legal advice as to their next step!! I just can't believe the pettiness of some people, I really really can't.
On another note. Regular readers may remember the dog we had for a day back in the spring (there's a photo of him on Lettie's blog!). Well, the owner of this dog wanted to get rid of him back in spring because he was too much of an untrained puppy for her three young children. I said we'd like him (that's the Royal 'we'. Andy doesn't want a dog.) But we can't have a dog in our rented accommodation but she couldn't wait to get rid of him so he gave him to the police to be trained as a drug sniffer dog (he's a pointer). Yesterday, I got a phone call from my friend saying that 'Ziggy' (for that is his name) has failed to make the grade (due to the fact he likes to sniff food more than drugs) and they want to get rid of him immediately. My friend wasn't prepared to have him back so she phoned me. The dog handler police man phoned me and I phoned the landlord. The landlord said 'yes' and so did 'I'! I presented this to Andy as a 'fait accomplit'. Well, I know of old that if I'd discussed this with him it would have been a 'no' because 'we just can't take this on before a move' is what he'd say. I don't agree. We have a opportunity of a young and (now) very well trained dog that is past the puppy stage, is a pedigree and is free! Not an offer to be passed up on in my opinion. Better still, Andy's dad arrives today for three weeks (which isn't so good) but he will be able to settle the dog in while we are all out at work and school!
We might not have a house to move into and my marriage may be over but we've now got a dog! (Nearly)