This is Bilbo, Rowena’s superlatively intelligent and inimitably handsome Border Collie and the reigning ball chasing champion of the universe. Not that I boast. Rather, I’m actually surprisingly timid. Mum’s always telling people I’m like that reserved guy standing in the corner of the pub holding his beer. I need time to warm up. Not that I’m unsociable, or one of those whimpering dogs who hide under the house whenever someone comes over. Yet, I certainly don’t jump all over strangers either. I call that “respect”.
Anyway, despite my prowess with the tennis ball, I also have a way with words. Being a philosopher’s dog, I also ponder the meaning of life inside, outside and upside down until my rattling, rusty brain short circuits.
It’s been a long time since I last launched myself into cyberspace. I apologise for my long absence and could easily blame writer’s block, but I’ve been busy. That wretched posty still insists on coming round here every day delivering the mail. Although I’m now considered “elderly”, I haven’t lost my touch. Indeed, it’s a bold and intrepid posty who knocks on our front door with a parcel.
There’s been a series of macabre machinations around here, and that’s why I’m back. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it all and could use your help. Lady, my canine companion and troublemaker extraordinaire, keeps telling me that I’m over-thinking all of this. However, I have a scent for trouble and I smell trouble in capital, huge, bold letters with four exclamation marks…
So, let me run through the evidence, and perhaps you could help me make sense of it all. Please explain!
Actually before I launch into what the family HAS been doing, I thought I’d better eliminate the obvious. They’re not going on holidays. That’s the usual reason routines go out the window around here and pandemonium prevails. However, the suitcases aren’t out and instead of packing, they doing what I can only describe as “reverse packing”. All the crap’s being picked up off the floor, couch and even the kitchen table and put away. Mum won’t want you to know this, but much of that, was stashed in the laundry. I don’t think Mum’s planning on doing any washing for a month.
That might also be a clue.
The other bizarre thing was the magical appearance of a new garden out the front.
Now, I bet Mum hasn’t fessed up about her gardening disasters, but she’s a serial plant killer. I pity all those beautiful purple flowers and that striking plant with the colourful leaves, because unless I come to the party with my personal watering system, they’re going to die. Indeed, I’ve even heard her talk about the convenience of heading down to Bunnings, whenever we’re having guests to “buy new friends”. Mum might write a lot about changing the world and making a difference, but she’s supposed to be making a difference in a good way, and not leaving a trail of dead plants in her wake.
Next, Mister was mowing the lawn. That could’ve made it into the Guinness Book of Records, if they recorded personal greats and the rare occurrences when teenagers levitate out of their rooms, put down their devices and move. Indeed, I should be training those kids to take Lady and I for more walks. Find their true calling in life.
As you can see, the evidence is really starting to mount…reverse packing, a new garden and mowing the lawn…my super-sensitive sniffer was very suspicious.
Yet, I was still stumped.
Then, Mum got her Sunbeam mix master out and started baking. I’m always telling her not to turn it up too high at the start or she’ll end up with chocolate splatter paintings on the ceiling. But, does she listen to me? Of course, not! AND, the busier she gets, the less she hears until her ears completely switch off. Humph! However, she actually listened this time, which also meant that no mixture splattered on the floor either. Grr! Of course, all the food which falls on the floor is automatically mine, although Lady my canine companion, now thinks she has rights as well. I was here first and that’s all that matters!
By this stage, I’m starting to think the Royal Corgis are coming for a visit. However, why would they come here when they could go for a run off the leash at the beach?
Humph! As much as I delve into and grapple with humans, the pieces never fit together and none of the dots ever join up either.
What’s going on?
Well, on Sunday all this frenzied activity climaxed with an event of diabolical proportions.
Lady and I were given a bath.
While I understand other dogs have the misfortune of being bathed weekly and even endure the horrors of the dog salon, I can take care of my own coat and refuse to suffer the indignities of the hose. That’s why I make myself scarce when that excited anticipation of a walk, quickly turns south when my beloved leads gets tied to the dreaded clothesline instead. Indeed, I feel perfectly justified in getting narky and having what Mum has described to the Vet as a: “pathological hatred of the hose”.Well, by now the evidence was more than mounting. Indeed, there was a veritable mountain of paperwork outside my kennel, as I tried to sleuth my way towards the truth.
If it wasn’t the Royal corgis, who is it?
What if the Queen herself was coming?
The Queen of Australia…
Hang on. Who is the Queen of Australia?
I might be all-knowing, but there seems to be something wrong with the cogs in my brain…a breakdown of sorts. Who is the Queen of Australia? This brain of mine is a veritable Google, yet it keeps bringing up the Queen of England. Humph! It must need a restart. .
I was starting to ponder the philosophical ramifications of all that, when there was a knock at the door. Another knock and a whole pile of kids arrived. However, before I could even find my tennis ball, there was more commotion and I was back to defend the house. Be it the Royal Corgis, or even the Queen of Australia, they could still be a security threat. So, I dashed into position at the side gate. I’d keep the lot of them out if I had to.
Mum had clearly lost the plot.
Then, I hear them mentioning something about the barking dog messing up their sound recording and Mister grabs me by the collar and drags me away from my post with no appreciation whatsoever.
That’s okay. I’m used to it.
They might’ve got me out of the way but through a very complex interconnecting network of mirrors and reflective windows, I could still keep an eye on things. Moreover, despite being somewhat “senior”, my hearing’s just as good as it ever was.
All I could hear was: “Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!” and I was a bit concerned Lady might get confused. Before she came here, she was a farm dog and between you and me, she knows exactly how to prepare rabbit. Mum died a thousand deaths when Lady ate a rabbit at Palm Beach.
Of course, Lady needs to watch out. Eating humans is a dog’s one unforgivable crime. However, just this once, Lady behaves herself.
Rabbit gave Mum another book and I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. A book? You can’t eat a book.
Then this car pulls up and everyone goes hysterical, especially Mum. They’re all calling out: “It’s Julie! It’s Julie!”
I don’t know if this Julie is the Queen of Australia, but I know chicken anywhere and Julie has chicken in her handbag.
Meanwhile, while I was barking on high alert, Lady, my ever-unreliable canine companion, was swanning around with the royals being rather glam, while secretly plotting to nab the chicken. Of course, I’m no fool. I smelt the chicken too. What dog wouldn’t, but somebody had to keep a level head.
However, before Lady could strike, the chicken was put straight in the fridge. It was “dinner” and I didn’t need to be told it wasn’t my dinner. I already knew.
Well, this Julie might not be the Queen of Australia, but she’s definitely Queen of the Kitchen, because she was teaching Mum how to cook.
By the way, if this Julie character ever comes round to your place, you’d better be good. I saw the way she cut up an onion and trust me, I was being a very, very good dog!!
At this point, I also wanted to mention, that Julie was there showing Mum HOW to cut an onion. Not only that, everybody was watching that onion, as though it contained the very meaning of life. In all the years that I’ve been watching and interpreting humans and feeling completely out of my depth, that onion incident had to be the most confusing moment of all.
What does it mean?
And what is it about humans and onions? Day after day, Mum’s there crying as she’s chopping them up. I told you. Humans are crazy!!
Then, just as suddenly as this Queen of the Kitchen and the Rabbit person and al the camera people arrived, they were all gone and Mum and her friends were all huddled round the book.
Of course, they take me for some foolish illiterate. However, as I’ve said before, I’m a Border Collie of vastly superior intellect which stretches so much further than simply herding sheep, chasing my ball and getting rid of the posty.
I can read.
Humph…Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook. It just happened to open up to page 43…Roast Leg of Lamb and Lamb Chop Tray Bake. I can already taste that scrumptious lamb fat.
So much for reading, this dog is learning how to cook!
On second thoughts, it’s time for me to put my herding instincts to good use.