The Tyke

There’s been a lot of broken sleep at Fortress Mamea the past month or so. Broken sleep means there have been some arguments heated discussions over the most trivial things. Broken sleep means conversations suddenly halted as one or the other speaker racks their brain for words like ‘soup’ and ‘confectionery’. Broken sleep means a puppy undergoing toilet training.

Meet The Tyke, aged four months.

The Tyke

After The Dog’s passing, we thought that a reasonable and respectful length of time should elapse before looking for a second dog. We hadn’t counted on The Puppy, though: she took The Dog’s absence very hard, having long sleep-ins, being rather lethargic, and — most worrying — losing her appetite.

We visited the local SPCA a few times. Contenders were shortlisted. Candidates were interviewed via play, cuddling, and licking (by the interviewees, not the interviewers). We put our name down for a couple of finalists, playing the odds. We thought we’d have a month or so as we were on a waiting list, and we needed to show the SPCA inspector that we were of good character and that the property was suitable. After just one week, we  got a call to say we had a new hound to collect.

The Puppy doesn’t have a chance to sleep in now. (Nor does anyone else.) Once she’s been licked and pawed and nibbled awake by The Tyke, they play together, their yipping and (play-)growling a welcome sound to the household. And The Puppy’s appetite has definitely recovered as she soon found that the new arrival was more than happy to finish her food if she didn’t want it.

At times it’s exhausting and frustrating as we get up for the billionth time that day to shape her eventual good behaviour, and the moment she sees us and she wags her tail, whatever reprimand that was on the tip of our tongue instantly transmutes into an If you weren’t so goddamned cute… remonstration.

She has taken up the figurative and symbolic bone left by Ella. And we welcome her.

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Ella 2003–2017

Ella. Rated for 250g of Whittakers chocolate.

The Dog — actual handle Ella — was farewelled by the Mamea aiga today.

She was loved, and she loved us. There’s nothing I can write here that I haven’t already written.

May there be plenteous rolled roasts and Whittakers Peanut Butter Chocolate wherever she is now.

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Melbourne

Melbourne was fun. Hard to believe it was only a month ago that the Lovely Wife and I were across the ditch.

She had Her stuff.

Ikea, Richmond. (Photo: JP Kyle, weekendnotes.com)

I had mine.

Forges of Footscray.

Yeah, it’s been almost a decade since my last budget-blitzing-blast at Forges, so it was naïve of me to think it’d still be there, the passage of time and all.

Otherwise we saw family and friends, we bar-hopped, and tried the local fare. We do so like Melbourne.

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Wayback

Photo: www.pinchmysalt.com

Last Friday was pizza night (yes, we still have a pizza night), and I was chopping onions when Bobby Brown’s Every Little Step came on through my headphones.

I was happily chopping and singing — including each and every whoop and holler — when I realised half-way through that I knew every goddamned word of that song and it must’ve been at least twenty years since I last heard (and danced) to it.

The moral of this post? Some things can not be un-remembered.

Bonus moral? Don’t bust any dance moves whilst holding a kitchen knife.

 

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Lop

I was working in the keep the other morning when I turned in my chair and saw a large grey shape in the doorway and thought, [EXPLETIVES], that is one big [EXPLETIVES] rat!

Then it lopped away at my big girly gasp which roused The Dog and The Puppy, and after some running and hopping and hiding, the interloper was captured alive.

Nice one, Stu.
The interloper, dubbed Stu, in captivity.

We’re not sure how the rabbit got into the fortress. Presuming it gained entry through the cat flap by the dining hall, it made it past our presumably sleeping guard hounds (their performance against their KPIs will be noted accordingly) to reach the keep which is at the opposite end of the building. I suspect The Kitten brought it in for some playtime but the rabbit is unmarked.

Anyhoo, we have a rabbit in Fortress Mamea. And it’s a cutie.

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Poultry Deja Vu

Ghost Dog and Friends
Ghost Dog hangin’ with his shorties (circa 2014).

You’ve already been introduced to our resident rooster, Ghost Dog. He does a pretty good job of looking after his girls: he points out food that he finds (whereupon he’s winged aside by his female companions), and now that we’re out in the country, he keeps an eye out for trouble.

There was something familiar about him and his harem that nagged at the back of my brain for some time.

And then I flashed on this:

Kid Creole and the Coconuts, “Tropical Gangsters” (1982) (Pic courtesy www.musicstack.com)

Of course.

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Dog Cuts

Back in the Big Smoke, The Dog and I had a basic three-mile running route that I called, with writerly flair, the fleur-de-lis.

Fleur-de-lis: ‘X’ marks the start and finish point.

(I’ve just remembered I usually referred to it as the cloverleaf route but fleur-de-lis has a certain ring, yes?)

The first iteration of Fortress Mamea being in suburbia, the route followed roads and was all asphalt, so the dog ran on a lead. (We had another couple of routes, five and seven miles respectively, in the Waitakere Ranges where she could run off-lead.) The routes and distances were fixed, and for over a decade we ran those three, five and seven mile distances together.

The current Fortress Mamea is on a piece of land large enough to allow the dog — and The Puppy, now — to run off-lead without worrying about automobiles or newly-relocated townies who think all dogs should be on leads with muzzles. After a few months of getting to know the property, we have a running route that I have dubbed the corazón.

Corazón: I know the heart-shape only really applies to the loop-de-loop on the left there but most of my running time is spent in The Wood.

The corazón runs through two wooded areas (The Wood and The Copse) that are separated by paddocks, meadows, and the fortress itself. The running surface includes long grass (that can obscure uneven terrain), half-hidden tree roots (that can still catch a foot or toe), and loose sticks (that can stick, stab or trip you up). The wooded areas are pretty cool to run through (they make me flash on the opening minutes of Silence of the Lambs) — check it:

The Wood: from within.

At first, The Dog ran the full route with The Puppy and I.

Lately, she has taken to running more efficiently:

Corazon: with dog cuts.

For me, my fitness regime of, in effect, running around in circles, is more of a journey-rather-than-the-destination kind of thing.

For her, it’s a social thing: she still gets to run (mostly) (kind of) with the pack. Since she has twelve years and several thousand kilometres under her collar, I think she’s entitled to conserve her energy for other pursuits.

Photo1281 - Version 2

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