Talk Like A Pirate.

Christmas gnome self-portrait. Thanks to Annie for the improvised headgear. - B&W

My great-aunt Agnes was a pain in the arse; possibly even a grumpy old hag.

At least that’s what I thought when I was seven years old.

As a family we visited her house a number of times be before she died, aged 103.

I was too young to go to the funeral.

I stayed home and played with my Matchbox car collection, and kicked a football in the backyard with my older cousin who was designated to keep and eye on me.

Great Aunt Agnes smelt nice, which was unusual.

When you are a kid old people smell strange.

My world was full of old people at the time, and thinking about them now memories of antique dust, woollen jumpers, eucalyptus lollies, disapproval, annoyance, mothballs, walking sticks, furniture polish and old dogs, come flooding back.

Great aunt Agnes had a walking stick and I’m pretty sure that she poked me with it at least once — possibly twice.

She obviously liked expensive perfume and she had a great name— Agnes. In all my many years I’ve only known two people named Agnes, and only one of them actually existed. The non-existent one was really named Rachael. Her brother was my friend and he nicknamed her Agnes just to annoy her — it worked, so he kept it going. I was never sure why she was insulted by being called Agnes, I liked the name.

I didn’t realise how cool my great-aunt Agnes was — I was young.

All little boys love pirates — Captain Blood, Bluebeard, Captain Hook. They all spell adventure, but they all lived so long ago; so far from the world of a twentieth century little boy.

At least, that’s what I thought.

Great aunt Agnes had a huge, carved wooden box at the end of her enormous bed. The lid was almost too heavy for a young boy to lift, but not quite.

All small children are born with an inbuilt sense of the right time to go exploring. My great-aunt would produce the ‘good china tea service’ and brew a pot of fragrant tea. Plates of biscuits and cakes would magically appear and I knew better than to reach for one of these sweet delights before the adults had placed a selection on matching plates and had begun to sip from their elegant cups.

There was always the temptation to hang around for ‘seconds’, but if I did that I would miss ‘the moment’.

The moment when all parents feel that their children are displaying the appropriate behaviour for visiting relatives.

The window of opportunity was small and the possibility of adventure beckoned.

Great aunt Agnes’s bedroom was at the other end of the hall and the box at the end of the bed was full of wondrous things but most of them were incomprehensible to a seven-year old boy.

One item caught my eye.

It was a tattered old journal.

The leather-bound hard cover looked like it had been dragged behind a horse and cart, the way that cowboys often were on TV.

It was thick and heavy and the page edges were marbled so that when the book was closed there was a swirly, colourful pattern visible.

I’d never seen such a book.

I opened the cover and inhaled that beautiful dusty book smell that all lovers of old books will recognise.

Inside the front cover there was an ornate ‘ex libris’ plate. The script was probably in Latin but I recognised the name Agnes Annabel Leigh. My great aunt’s name was Armstrong, just like mine, but I was old enough to know that women changed their surname when they married.

This journal was from a time before she married my great-uncle, who had died many years before I was born.

The first page was blank but the next page contained the beginning of a story about a girl who falls in love an impoverished young man — not exactly interesting for a seven-year old boy, but it did occur to me that there might be other stories that would appeal to me.

The next story was also about another girl falling in love followed by a story about a horse, which was a bit more interesting, followed by a story about a cruel aunt and an orphaned little girl — boring!

Then I hit the motherload; a story about a pirate — bingo, now we’re talking.

I almost skipped over it because I was expecting more of the same.

But no, it really was a story about a pirate.

There was a note at the beginning saying that the story was inspired by letters my aunt had read which belonged to one of her ancestors.

Say what?

She had an ancestor who fell in love with a pirate?

It didn’t take me long to work out that this meant that I was related to someone who fell in love with a pirate.

My seven-year old brain was well advanced for its age but it was not up to imagining little illegitimate pirate children running around on the Poop Deck — but I am.

The story was long and exciting and I hung on every sentence.

Despite my fear of being discovered by my parents or my great aunt, I was instantly transported into the story; probably as one of the pirate ship’s crew.

I was prepared to put up with all the ‘lovey-dovey’ stuff because the story was so well written and the descriptions were dripping with salty spray. I imagined my callused hands from pulling on the wet ropes. I could hear the songs that the crew members sang. I could taste the salty food and I could feel the roll of the ship.

I didn’t get caught but it broke my heart having to put the book back in the box.

There were more stories to read and I wanted to know more about my pirate consorting ancestor.

But, not long after my discovery, my great-aunt died and I had missed my opportunity to ask her about her youthful writing pursuits. I never got to find out why she wrote such exciting stories and never showed them to anyone. I never found out why the journal was so heavily worn. Did she take it out every night and read about young love and salty adventures?

I couldn’t bring up the subject with my parents without giving myself away.

I was too young to know what happened next but I guess that my great aunt’s stuff got divided up or thrown out; that’s usually what happens. I never found out who got the big wooden box and when I bought up the subject many years later, no one seemed to know.

Some idiot relative probably sold the box to a dealer and threw out the contents. My pirate story most likely ended up as land fill. I can see the pages fluttering in the cool afternoon breeze.

So much of life is luck.

I found the stories but was too young to be able to do anything about it. My great aunt’s talent lay hidden in a trunk because she was born at a time when women were not expected to do anything other than look after their boring husbands.

Not everyone can lay claim to a pirate as an ancestor; I can but I just can’t prove it.

Once a year, at about this time, I celebrate ‘talk like a pirate day’.

Everyone has a great time and a lot of parrot jokes do the rounds, but for me it means a lot more.

Once a year my timbers are shivered and my plank gets walked.

Great aunt Agnes might have been a grumpy old bastard, but she had a very good reason for being that way, and somewhere there is a pirate who is wondering why no one remembers him.

.

Author’s note:
My talented son and I celebrate ‘Talk Like A Pirate Day’ every year at this time. This year he suggested that I write a Pirate story. So I did. Part of it was written on a very fast-moving train and part was written while waiting for my wife to finish work so we could celebrate my son’s birthday, and the final bit was written while sitting in bed with my two dogs waiting for my wife to come home from the ballet. So this story has travelled a bit. I hope you enjoyed it and I say thank you to Matt for inspiring its creation.
Terry

http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

Book Review: The Long Weekend: Creative Frontiers.

The following is a book review from the kind souls at Creative Frontiers……. thanks folks.

Buy ‘The Long Weekend’. Soon. OK?

The Long WeekendTerry Barca’s introductory novella about Sam and Scarlett Bennet wafts us around the bars and restaurants of Melbourne very much in the old Hammett style.

We’ve got plenty here: a dead body (mysterious circumstances, of course); a flat-footed dick; a glamorous, wise-cracking couple in direct descent from Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man; doses of single malt and lots more.

And all crammed into a novella.

Phew.

Just as the Pelecanos books have you reaching for a map of DC to follow the action, and the Crais books do the same for LA, Barca’s trawl around Melbourne has you itching for Google Maps so you can join in the action.

Sam’s the star, because he’s cool, solves the murder and already has the beautiful girl, but Melbourne puts in a competent challenge. Here also, The Long Weekend, plugs into crime-thriller literary tradition as illustrated, for example, by McBain’s star billing for New York.

The dialogue crackles on the page like bacon in the pan. The descriptives illustrate that unique Barca style as found in other posts on Creative Frontiers. Read’em and weep .. with envy.

But for all this talk of tradition, The Long Weekend’s architecture corresponds to the modern style of crime work, text or movie. We have a beginning and an end, but the middle bathes us in the kaleidoscopic light formed by different aspects of Sam’s life, Scarlett’s and their relationship. In the end, although we get satisfaction by knowing the murderer’s identity, it’s almost the mint at the end of a thoroughly indulgent dinner.

C’mon, Terry. Send this dynamic duo away for another weekend break soon, please.

 

You can find The Long Weekend for sale on Smashwords and Amazon.

See also here and here.

Terry relaxing with friends

Socks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA lot of things have changed since I took this photo.

Some of those socks have gone missing.

The deck has been replaced.

The ancient ‘walk around phone’, that my son is using was eventually ‘put out to pasture’.

The possum that made the scratches on the wall above the washing machine has been evicted from our roof and now lives in a possum box on the side of the house.

The roof has been replaced as well, but it is just out of sight in this shot.

Two and half grandchildren have begun their existence.

All of our children have moved out of home, and a second dog moved in.

We lost a neighbour and are about to gain a new set.

A lot of things haven’t changed though. We still live here, in this amazing little tumbling down house and we are very happy…………… oh yes…….. and the ghost moved on………. he loved the house as much as we do, but he had to go.

Blue Smoke.

Blue_Smoke_by_shandorj

This story leads on from these two stories and it will enhance your reading pleasure if you read them first…..

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/rufus-goes-to-the-country/

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/rufus-finds-a-body/

I didn’t tell her straight away.

How do you tell your mistress that her boss, the person who helps her to get the money to buy dog food, pushed someone out of a window.

I have no idea why he did it, and it probably wouldn’t help even if I did.

Dogs understand that killing is serious. We only kill to obtain food and to protect our pack.

Humans, on the other hand, seem to kill for all sorts of reasons; sometimes, even for fun.

That I will never understand.

After I found the body in the garden all hell broke loose.

Pretty soon the house and the gardens were swarming with men in uniform.

I heard someone say that they were policeman.

I’d only met one policeman up until then.

His name was Officer Eric, and he was very kind. He worked in the police station in the village where we lived.

He knew my mistress and he saved me from the new dog catcher.

The old dog catcher knew me very well and he would scratch me behind the ears when he saw me walking by. He knew that I always went home when I was finished traveling, and he also knew that I don’t cause trouble.

The new bloke didn’t know me from Adam; or Eric, for that matter.

He grabbed me.

Now, normally I wouldn’t let anyone get that close without giving them a ‘back off’ bark, but he confused me. He smelled like the old dog catcher; he must have been wearing his uniform; that’s why he got close enough to grab me. I would have bitten the bastard but he had this long stick with a loop of rope on the end and I couldn’t get at him.

Officer Eric must have been driving by when all this kicked off because he came over and said something to the new dog catcher.

He had to raise his voice a bit and point to his policeman’s badge but eventually the new dog catcher let me go. That was my opportunity to bite the cheeky bastard but I thought better of it and went and sat next to Officer Eric. He gave me a pat and told me it was going to be okay. The new dog catcher gave me one of those looks, and I knew I was going to have to keep an eye on him in the future.

Officer Eric gave me a ride in his police car.

I love riding in cars.

He even turned on the siren which made me howl.

I wasn’t upset or anything, I just need to howl when I hear a siren.

Officer Eric often turns on his siren when he comes to visit, just to watch me howl. Sometimes he even joins in.

I like Officer Eric. He saved me, and one day I will get to return the favour.

Officer Eric wasn’t called to the house with the dead body but a lot of other policemen were.

They asked a lot of questions, but they didn’t sniff anyone which seemed silly to me.

It took me a little while to find the person I had sniffed when everyone came to see the body.

I’m still a bit annoyed that they would not let me keep it; I found it after all.

My mistress explained that humans don’t think like dogs, and dead bodies have to be examined [whatever that means] and then buried in the ground.

That bit I understood.

If you don’t bury stuff in the ground other dogs might come along and steal your stuff; so at least humans understand that bit.

I got to thinking about how long it would take to dig  a hole big enough to bury a human in and I worked out that it would take at least half a day. That’s a lot of time, and I think that I would be very sleepy and very hungry by the time I had finished. Fortunately, they didn’t ask me to bury anyone; even though I could have if they’d asked me.

By the time that the short, chubby, French sounding gentleman with the funny moustache had gathered everyone together in the library most of the humans had changed clothes and bathed.

This made my job a lot harder; but not impossible.

On a good day, if you breathed on me after eating Spaghetti Bolognese, I could tell you what all the ingredients were, and whether or not you used enough Oregano.

I’m that good.

I thought I had narrowed it down to two people but I was hampered by not being allowed to wander around while the short French-speaking gentleman was talking. He got quite annoyed when someone called him ‘an annoying little frog’. Personally, I didn’t think that he looked like a frog at all.

I thought he looked more like a large possum but apparently he thought that he looked like ‘an annoying little Belgian’.

I’m not sure, but I think that is some sort of Hedgehog.

I was a bit confused by all this, but very soon I got my man.

I heard it before I sniffed it.

The sound was very soft.

The sort of sound that only dogs can hear.

My mistresses’ publisher farted.

My mistress calls farts ‘blue smoke’, which is silly because they don’t have a colour but they do tell you a lot about the person, or dog, who lets one go.

Roast beef, potatoes, peas, rice pudding, and a Cuban Cigar for ‘afters'; not to mention a rather nice Port.

But it was the Cigar that gave him away.

It was the same as the smell that I picked up when I found the body.

He was the only one who smoked a cigar that night.

I remember him making a big deal out of how much they cost.

“One of these would keep you in dog biscuits for a month boy”, he said to me. I considered peeing on his shoe, but I thought better of it.

I wanted to warn my mistress, but in the end I didn’t need to.

The little Belgian shaped person actually asked me who I thought had committed the murder.

I looked at my mistress and she said, “It’s okay Rufus, you can tell him”.

So I did.

I walked over and put my paw on the publisher. He looked at me with a mixture of amusement and horror.

The small Belgian shaped person said that he agreed with me and went on talking about it for fifteen minutes after which two policemen took the publisher outside.

Amazingly, the small Belgian shaped person never once mentioned how the killer smelled.

I just don’t understand humans.

My mistress was very happy with me and we went on an extra long walk.

I thought that she might be a bit upset that her publisher was the murderer, but she said that she was happy because it meant that she didn’t have to write anymore annoying romance novels. Now she could write crime novels and her first effort would be based on this weekend.

“We are going to be able to afford the large bag of dog biscuits when my new book gets published Rufus.”

I was very pleased to hear this but I wondered who was going to publish this book if her publisher was in Goal.

I didn’t wonder for long because that’s not my job.

My job is to protect my mistress, and I had done my job well.

I could hardly wait to get home and tell the other dogs in our neighbourhood about our adventure.

But first there would be that delicious ride in my mistresses’ Lagonda.

Only this time I had to ride in the back because the little Belgian shaped person was coming with us.

He needed a ride back to town.

I wanted to ask him what a Belgian was but it would have taken too long, so I let it go.

I wasn’t very happy sitting in the back seat, but what can you do?

 

lagonda1

 

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

By now, you probably know that Rufus has an interesting life for a small black dog. He has been on many adventures and you can find some of the here…..

http://barcaupthewrongtree.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/rufus-and-millie-not-a-love-story/

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/rufus-goes-to-the-country/

http://barcaupthewrongtree.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/rufus-finds-a-body/

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/rufus-and-the-mysterious-case-of-the-missing-dog-biscuits/

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/3-minutes/

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/rufus-and-the-blackbird/

What Came First?

old-timey-wtf-12

It’s hard to say.

I’m pretty sure that the chicken was there when we arrived.

I’m not sure if I was the prop, or the chicken was there to make me look good.

Either way it didn’t work; for either of us.

Obviously someone thought it was funny.

I didn’t; I was fed up and I don’t think the chicken was any too pleased either.

I’d been in what was laughingly called ‘show business’ for a bit over eighteen months.

It was my mum’s idea.

She entered me into one of those baby contests that were all the rage back then and I aced it.

You probably think that the cigarette was a prop; part of the gag, but it wasn’t.

I was a two pack a day kid by then.

Everyone thought it was so cute.

They didn’t have to put up with the cough.

Frankly, I preferred cigars, but my mum said I looked ridiculous.

This shot is an ‘out-take’ of sorts, and also the only shot that survives from the session that seemed to take forever.

I still don’t know how they got the chicken to stay in frame for so long. Personally, I think it was pissed.

I remember that Hitchcock had a lot of the birds drugged with grain soaked in alcohol.

I’ll bet that this chicken was on single malt whisky.

Her fee was more than I was getting for making silent movies and I was a star.

A very small star, mind you, but a star none-the-less.

I guess cute little kids were easier to find than a chicken who would stand still for hours and take direction.

She didn’t even need a dressing room and there was a bloke employed just to clean up after her.

What a life.

Permanently off her face on expensive whisky; she must have enjoyed being a chicken.

I, on the other hand, was fed up with show business.

I’d made twenty-eight movies that year alone and it was only August. My dead-beat-dad would run off with a script girl in a few months and take with him, all the money I had earned.

A few years later they found him naked and passed out next to a dead starlet in an expensive house in the Hollywood hills. The starlet was wearing only a smile and the studio paid a fortune to hush it all up.

My dead-beat-dad took the rap and died in prison when a very large convict fell on him during a particularly rowdy bout of Yoga.

I made a couple of hundred movies the next year but my career went down hill when sound came in.

Apparently my voice sounded strange, and mix that together with my growth spurt and I was out of a job.

I limped along for a couple of years doing cigarette commercials but it wasn’t the same.

I missed the big-time.

Within ten years I’d been forgotten and most of my movies went up in flames when the studio used them for special effects in ‘The Burning Of Rome’.

The photo you see here is pretty much all that is left of my early career. There are still a few old posters floating around but none of my films survived.

I heard that the chicken’s owner invested wisely and ended up running the largest chicken ranch in the south-east.

I’m gonna look him up and see if I can get a job.

I like chickens and it seems that they like me.

THE LONG WEEKEND.

addtext_com_MDIwOTM1MzY2NDU2

It is with considerable pleasure, I announce the publication on SMASHWORDS of my first Novella [baby novel].

It is titled ‘The Long Weekend’, and in answer to your next question it is a crime, detective, love story and not necessarily in that order.

It is the first in a series of ‘Sam and Scarlett Mysteries’.

It will be available on Amazon [Kindle] and iBooks and Google in the next couple of days, but I will annoy you about those as they happen.

But for now, if you have a glass of something nearby, please raise it and ‘wet the babies head’. She has been waiting patiently to be born and now, here she is…………… to ‘THE LONG WEEKEND’.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/474933

1956

IMG_2750

It’s May the 8th 1956.

It’s my birthday and I have absolutely no idea who some of these people are.

That’s my first girlfriend on my right.

In about two years time we will get into trouble for playing doctors and nurses.

I love her ‘space ship’ party hat.

I remember being reasonably miserable on the day, although I look happy enough in this shot.

The girl in the back was my next-door neighbour.

Her dad had a station wagon and it was a great cubby house when he wasn’t actually driving it.

I’m wishing I knew who the other kids are but my mum is no longer around to fill in the blanks.

Thanks for throwing the party mum……. every little kid should have a birthday party photo.

I’m guessing the boy on the far right grew up to become stock broker or a used car salesman.

The little girl next to him became a cook in a big hotel and had five kids; non of whom still talk to her, but they will be there when the Will is read.

The boy on the far left would have become a doctor and specialised in plastic surgery, if he had not been drafted and went missing in action in the Vietnam War.

Me?

I grew up and did many things including making shit up about people in very old photographs.

78 rpm.

wright

I was getting on a bit but everything still worked the way it was supposed to; just a wee bit slower.

Our local council, in a bare-faced attempt to get reelected, brought in a scheme whereby old-timers like myself were given access to one visit a week from the professional of our choice.

Some people chose ‘meals on wheels’ which had disappeared with the last round of cuts to essential services. The bloke over the road chose to have his lawns mowed every couple of weeks. The crazy cat lady who lives on the corner decided to have her house painted.

I took a different tack.

I saw an advertisement for a service called, ‘Young woman with Record Player’.

Catchy name for a business.

“Are you old and shut-in. We can help. Here at ‘Young Woman With A Record Player’ we know how hard it can be, so we provide a service that is guaranteed to cheer you up. All our ‘young women’ are young and pretty. They carry a fully functioning wind up record player and a comprehensive collection of 78 rpm records. You’ll think you are back in the days of your youth. All we ask is that you keep your grimy hands off our highly trained operators.”

I rang and made an appointment and bright and early on a Tuesday morning there was a ring on my door bell.

I opened the door dressed in my best and there stood a beautiful young woman dressed in a purple dress with teal green edging. Her top button was undone revealing exactly what you would think it would reveal, and they were perfectly proportioned, while being supported by a black lace bra. She was wearing black open toed high heel shoes and her blond hair was down almost to her shoulders.

The record player and her collection of disks were trailing behind her in a neat little cart which folded up into a space-saving shape when not in use. I’m assuming that her underwear was also black lace but at this stage I could only surmise, but later, when she bent down to pick up another record, my supposition was confirmed.

This beautiful young person had a remarkable knowledge of swing and jazz from the late 30s through the 1940s. I wondered where she should have obtained such insight. She explained that her grandfather was a musician ‘back in the day’ and he had passed on his love of music, as well as his record collection.

She visited me for several months and I counted the days until her next visit.

The local council was defeated at the election and the new council, which was elected on an austerity platform, promptly cancelled the program that had brought this beautiful young lady to my door.

I miss seeing her sitting on my couch.

I miss the sound of the old wind up record player.

I miss the occasional flash of her black lace bra, and I miss her gentle conversation.

Rufus and the Blackbird.

female~and~male~blackbirds~crop~600

Having a Blackbird for a friend is a little unusual.

I know it.

I’m not ashamed, and when you know how it came about I think you will understand.

Her partner disappeared in the middle of last spring and she was left to bring up her two chicks all by herself; not an easy task.

She managed it very well and they flew off into the world happy and healthy and a little bit wise. Not too much though; you know how young ones are.

She had been mated to George for several years and each spring he would risk his life to bring back enough food to feed his insatiable family. I couldn’t understand why they did it, year in and year out; it seemed like such a hassle.

I’ve seen exhausted blackbird parents run into windows and get hit by cars. Blackbirds seem not to care about their own safety when they are feeding their little ones.

I don’t have any pups; at least, not that I know of.

I’ve never been partnered up with a bitch; I’m a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of dog.

Mind you, I nearly settled down with Sophie.

She was a gorgeous little blond Maltese and she lived quite close by. Her mistress wouldn’t let her out of the yard but I often went around there anyway.

We would sit by the fence and I would imaging making love to her, doggy style, of course.

She was up for it.

That’s one of the good things about being a dog.

If we see someone we REALLY like, we suggest it, and if she is willing, we get stuck in, so to speak.

I don’t have to buy her dinner and she doesn’t expect me to call her the next day but she does expect me to find a good, juicy bone and bring it by.

It’s the least I can do for a pretty bitch.

But, there was none of that with Sophie; I just couldn’t get at her. It was driving us both nuts, but I was too short to get over that fence, so now I just dream about her.

Her mistress moved away and Sophie went with her.

That’s life I guess.

I suppose you are wondering about the blackbird I mentioned earlier. She was different to all the other birds.

For starters, she didn’t steal my fur when I was sleeping in the sun.

She would fly down and sit on that plant pot that is just by the pond and tweet very softly so as to wake me up gently. “May I please have some of your old fur so that I can line my nest?”

How could I refuse such a polite request.

“Sure thing lady. I’ll try and keep the bits that fall out in one place, and if that isn’t enough, just let me know and you can have a little bit of the fur that hasn’t fallen out. But just a little, mind you.”

“That won’t be necessary. The bits that fall out will be sufficient for my needs.” She spoke beautifully.

I could tell that she was well-educated.

It was sad when George didn’t come home that night.

She waited for him for days and days.

She must have been very hungry but she was frightened to leave the nest in case her chicks got cold.

In the end, I had to do something, so I stole one of my mistresses wooly socks.

The nest was not too high up but I can’t climb for shit so I yelled out, “Hey lady. Take this sock and put it on your chicks and then go and get something to eat while you still have enough energy to fly.”

I pushed the sock as high up the trunk of the tree as I could but she was too weak to fly with it.

Fortunately, it was late in the day and the flock of cockatoos was close by. They come our way late in the day. They make a terrible noise and I tend towards the school of thought that says we should bark a lot and frighten them away, but today I needed help.

The problem with cockatoos is that they all look the bloody same, and I needed to find one particular cockatoo.

Jeremy wasn’t born in the wild.

He escaped from a backyard cage and joined the flock a couple of years ago. He told me all about it one sleepy Saturday afternoon and it’s a hell of a story but I don’t have time to tell you that one just now.

It took a little while but I eventually found Jeremy.

I told him what I was trying to do and he said he would help.

He’s a big bird so getting the sock up into the tree was no bother for him.

He’s a bachelor, like I am, so he doesn’t get the whole ’family’ thing but he’s a mate, so he doesn’t mind helping out.

When he first escaped he didn’t know much about looking out for himself and he got pounced on by a large tabby cat.

He lost a few tail feathers and was putting up a pretty good fight when I stepped in.

Cats don’t mess with me, they know I mean business.

I’ve got a reputation.

Jeremy was a bit embarrassed about the whole thing and he said he could have taken that cat on his own, but he did say thank you, and we have been friends ever since.

I introduced him to the flock.

They don’t like me much due to all the barking and the chasing, but they took him in anyway; which was good.

The sock did the trick and the Blackbird got stronger and the chicks got bigger.

You can still see that sock if you look really carefully, it’s way up on the right; in that fork.

Do you want to know the nicest bit?

She brought me the longest piece of red thread, just to say thank you.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with it but I was very touched.

Maybe I’ll loan to her so that she can dress up this years nest, and if she doesn’t need it I know this Robin who collects red threads.

Blackbird female with berry Stokesay churchyard cu 3 1 09  IMG_0538

By now, you probably know that Rufus has an interesting life for a small black dog. He has been on many adventures and you can find some of the here…..

http://barcaupthewrongtree.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/rufus-and-millie-not-a-love-story/

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/rufus-goes-to-the-country/

http://barcaupthewrongtree.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/rufus-finds-a-body/

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/rufus-and-the-mysterious-case-of-the-missing-dog-biscuits/

https://araneus1.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/3-minutes/

You Will Come Back. Won’t You?

IMG_1349Taking the dogs for a walk presents certain challenges. I like coffee. But, if I’m on my own I have to attach the dogs to something while I order. When Honey was young, and the only dog in the house, she once dragged a cafe table into a Bakery because I took too long coming back! These days, now that there are two of them, and one of them is Zed, who is part dragon, they attract a lot of attention; mostly from children and little old ladies……. and Zed hates children and little old ladies, so leaving them tied up can be a bit stressful. The photo above is one of the few place that I can leave them for a few minutes without much chance of incident. On this particular day no one died and coffee was consumed. It’s one of life’s mysteries that the best coffee is always in the places where I cannot tie the dogs up without precipitating world war three.