Thursday, March 13, 2008

Character Frenzy!

Dr. Doolittle sure doesn’t have anything on my family! Honestly, one would think that in general animals would behave just as they always have, but ours don’t. Our animals all have character, something quirky which sets them apart from all other animals of their kind.

Take, for instance, our chickens. At this moment in time we only have two, neither of which has a name. We call them Stupid Chicken, referring to them as a single entity although I suppose we could call the one Stupid and the other Chicken. One of these chickens has taken it into it’s little feather brain to lay its egg in one of our dog’s boxes. Normally this wouldn’t pose a problem but she doesn’t do it when the dog isn’t in the box, she does it when he is in there, trying to get some sleep. I don’t know how many times my mother or I have dashed to the door to see what the raucous is all about only to find that the poor dog has been chased out of his bed by a chicken that is one twentieth of his size! Its ridiculous the way she has him completely cowed. I find it quite shameful. The worst of it is that she will lay the egg and then scream and cackle blue murder for us to come and get it, however, when we do get the egg she will be furious because we got it and didn’t let the dog have it. Never mind that both our dogs are offended because they didn’t get the egg. Seriously, jokes aside, this is the truth. It’s almost as though she wants the dog to eat the egg because she laid it especially for him in his own box. What tragedy when we go and steal it for our breakfast.

Next there are the monkeys. No, these are not our pets, I assure you! They are, actually, quite a menace but food has been scarce lately and so they come and pick the figs off our fig tree. This wouldn’t generally be a bad thing and we don’t begrudge the little beggars some food, but they do delight so in teasing our dogs! They have perfected the art of literally barking down at the dogs and then after peeling their fig they throw the peelings down on top of the dogs’ heads. It is quite shameful the way they behave and taunt the poor dogs. Just this morning they gave me another reason to laugh. My parents bought some little rubber balls for the dogs to play with and one of the monkeys had discovered one of these balls on the front lawn. He sat there, completely perplexed, staring at it with his dreamy brown eyes. I stood watching him and after a few moments of contemplation he patted the ball with a cautious paw. I must mention here that the ball has spikes, and a bell in its center. The look on his face when the ball jingled was almost too much for me. I battled so not to laugh out loud because I didn’t want to frighten him away. His curiosity was amusing and reminded me of a small child discovering the delights of a new toy. I watched him in eager anticipation for his next move. He picked up the ball and shook it delicately and the astonishment in his masked face was just too much for me. My laughter bubbled out and I watched as he glanced my way and then held the ball close to his chest while he jumped over the fence and sat on the pole staring at me. Soon there was a whole troop of little monkeys sitting around the pole, listening to the curious jingling of the bell inside the ball. One of them tried to get the ball from the finder but he clutched it close and leapt up into the nearest tree. And the race was then on! All the monkeys started tearing from tree to tree, chasing the leader who held the mysterious blue ball. It was so funny to watch them and my cat and I sat for almost an hour watching their antics.

Our two new dogs are quite in a league of their own as well. They play by themselves and bark and threaten anything that doesn’t belong in the garden, including the worms and the spiders. This afternoon when I took them walking they were shouting insults at the monkeys but when a brave (or just a rather stupid, suicidal) monkey jumped down from the tree right behind them they tucked their tails between their legs, left puddles on the road and ran as fast as their dear, pudgy little legs could carry them! I nearly choked laughing because it was just too funny for words. Honestly, our pets are all completely insane! Perhaps it rubs off from their owners, who knows?

My cat seems to be the only one of our animals that hasn’t gone barmy. She is still as lovable as ever, provided I don’t doctor her wounds with oil or powder and don’t attempt to feed her de-worming tablets. She sits on my lap and purrs deep in her chest, putting her face up now and then for a pat or a kiss. She comes inside for her food in the morning and the evening, sits next to the fridge when she wants a drop of milk and follows me around outside. She still likes having a cuddle in the warm sunshine and loves melted chocolate and hot, buttered toast. And she is still adorable and cute and very much a huge comfort to me, helping me to settle in after being away for so long.

I read Gerald Durrell’s books again and how his family got referred to as a traveling circus. I wonder what people must think of my family and I? Perhaps it is better I do not know ~chuckle~
For better or for worse, though, they are my family and I love them!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Spooky Ghosts - A figment of imagination

When we first moved up to the farm, we stayed on one of the other farms whilst we waited for our house to be emptied. It was a lot of fun and we made a few casual friends over there with some of the other kids.

There was a lovely little pond in the back garden which is where we spent a lot of our time, monitoring the tadpoles and other little wrigglies. It kept us occupied for many a long afternoon and time always seemed to stand still for us there.

My younger sister and I would make a mad dash through our schoolwork so that we could go outside and play. I’ve never done algebra that quickly before ~chuckle~ I daresay I have never done it more incorrectly either! Being outside was so much more important to me that learning why x+y would equal z. To be frank, since graduating I have never used it again anyway, so I figure it was all a waste of time. Spelling, basic mathematics and home economics…now THAT has been useful to me all the time.

I digress, once again. Its becoming a habit, I am sure of it. Maybe I have digressional disease! Now that would be something. However, before I go into the wonderful impracticalities of such a disease, I shall carry on with the story. Now, where was I? Oh yes…play time.

My sister and I would do our schoolwork, finish our chores and then haul our bicycles out the shed, take identical running leaps onto them and pedal madly down the road. Halfway down the road we’d meet up with two of the neighbours’ children and from there we would go cycling around the whole farm. It was lovely to be hopping rocks, trying to wheelie down a straight stretch or just going as fast as was possible for our legs to go. Often times we would split up and see how long it would take us to relay around the farm. We’d spend about three hours cycling around and then out of mutual consensus we would stop at the creepy looking house down the road.

This house was really old and the gate creaked as you opened it. The latch was broken and so it was tied shut with a piece of rusty old wire. This was creepy and scary all on its own to a bunch of little kids, never mind that as you progressed down the pathway it became quieter and even the birds stopped singing.

On this particular day we had decided to play truth, dare or command. Unfailingly, we all chose dare and the big dare was that we were to go into the house and prove that we were brave and that there were no ghosts there. Popular rumour had it that the house was haunted by a girl and her grandfather who were supposed to have died there.

So, the four of us plucked up our courage, sucked in our breath and very bravely, knees knocking and hearts beating wildly, we walked through the little squeaky gate and crept up the pathway to the house. When we got to the front door it was touch and go but we decided we’d come this far already so we went inside.

It was extremely dark until our eyes got used to the murky darkness. In the first room we walked into (and the only room we walked into) there was a huge hole in the floor where someone had made a fire on the floorboards. Dumb or what?! The windows were mostly broken and boarded up with planks, which was why it was so dark inside. I was examining the fireplace and the strange white powder that was all around it, when a loud shriek was heard, followed by a grunt and in no time at all we were all outside trying to calm our rattled nerves and vowing never to go in there again.

We got on our bicycles and sped off, leaving a trail of dust and pine cones behind us.

Turns out that one of the guys thought it would be hilarious to let drape a reed over one of the girls and then let out a moan. It was enough to send her into shrieking hysterics which gave the rest of us a huge fright. Hilarious! Well, it wasn’t then but it is now. It’s amazing what sort of silly stories one believes when you’re young. The house never was haunted, obviously, it was just old. Also, we could have been seriously injured had we ventured into the next room because all the floor boards were rotten and if we had stood on them they would have collapsed and we would have fallen through into the basement, which had a lot of broken glass in it. So, just as well we got scared off!