More Helping (unappreciated)

Pio was here today.  Pio is the man who comes when the Girl has extra jobs or heavy work.  Pio is great.  He can do plumbing and electricity and mending things, and once he gave me some lasagna when the Cook gave him too much at dinner time.  He didn’t know that the Cook gave me my own lasagna.  The Girl didn’t know that either of them gave me lasagna; she thinks she’s the only one who feeds me.

This morning I was rambling round the garden checking up on things, when I noticed a door open that is never open – a door into the house.  I was on burglar alert immediately, but sniffing indicated that it was Pio and the Girl.  So I tracked them.  I tracked them up a stairs, up, up, up, and the stairs was a bit slithery for me so it wasn’t very easy, but I kept my nose down and didn’t lose the scent.

Up, up, up the slithery steps, and eventually I came out on the terrace at the very top of the house.  Pio and the Girl were there, arranging old furniture and boxes and suitcases and all the other things that had been stored in the attic.  There was even the cow and the donkey from the crib that they couldn’t find last Christmas.  And someone’s old shoes, and a shopping trolley with a broken wheel, and a mouldy blanket!  It was very exciting!  So many smells, some of them really old!

Pio saw me, but he didn’t say anything.  He kept talking to the Girl about what things to keep and how she would have to wait until something that he put on the walls of the attic was dry before putting the good things back, and the Girl was saying how it would be hard to bring the things for throwing out down the stairs, and it was a pity that the lift doesn’t go all the way up to the terrace.

I was behind an old cupboard, but my tail thumped against  something and the Girl heard and whirled round.

“Murphy!” she exclaimed.  “How did you get up here?  What on earth do you think you’re doing?”

“Rodent control”, I replied quickly.  “I thought you might find rats up here, so I came to deal with them.”

“Don’t be silly, Murphy,” she said.  “There are no rats up here, nor even mice.  Only a nest that some bees made last year, and the bees themselves are gone now.  Go downstairs at once.  You know you’re not supposed to be in the house!”

“This isn’t in the house,” I pointed out.  “There’s no roof here, it’s all open.”

“Murphy…”

“Are you sure I can’t help?”  I offered quickly.  “Give me some things that need to be brought down, and I’ll run down the stairs with them in my mouth.”

“You’re a great dog, Murphy,” said the Girl.  “But Pio and myself will manage everything.  Now, off you go.  Stay down there and keep the burglars out.  Thanks.”

The stairs was even more slithery on the way down.

I don’t know why Pio was laughing so much.

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In which I Tell the Girl’s Fortune

Yesterday the Girl was cross and cranky because Mr. Facebook kept telling her about a site where she could get a Free Tarot Card Reading, and she is Not Interested in Tarot Card readings, Free or otherwise.

[Editorial Note: I was not cross and cranky; I simply wondered aloud, in a manner most civil, why anyone would think I might be interested in a tarot reading.  Sorry, I refuse to capitalise it, unlike Murphy, who has gone completely overboard with captials today.]

“Is a Tarot Card Reading the same as telling your fortune?” I asked.

“Hmm, well, kind of, it’s complicated,” she said.  That’s what she says when she doesn’t know for sure.

“Look,” I offered, “I’ll tell your fortune for you, without any cards at all.  Wouldn’t that be better?”

“Don’t be silly, Murphy,” came the response.  “You have no fortune-telling ability.”

“My dear Girl!”  I laughed.  “Of course I have!  I can tell you, right here and now, three things that are going to happen to you today!”

“Three things, Murphy?  Okay then, go on.  But they must be things that don’t happen every day.  Anyone can predict that I’ll eat dinner and brush my teeth.”

“Number One,” I said, “you are going to help your wonderful dog, Murphy, the Writer, with a blog post.  You don’t do that every day.”

“Hmm, well, okay… I might.  Go on.”

“Number Two: You will take your lovely dog, Murphy, for a long walk, then when you come home you will give him lots of water to slake his thirst.  Then you will give him at least two dog biscuits.  And then you will give him a lovely fresh bone.”

“It’s not the day for a fresh bone, Murphy,” she said.  “And this seems to be more about you than about me.  So what’s number three?”

“Ah, Number Three.  I foretell that very shortly now you’re going to get Facebook messages and blog comments from people telling you what is the difference between Tarot Card Reading and fortune telling.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That was this morning.

We’ve been to the park for a walk; I got loads of water and two biscuits (meanie wouldn’t go any higher); and the blog post is done.  The Girl is rooting in the fridge, and I suspect a bone is on its yummy way.  And any minute now Number Three is going to happen.

I should go into business as a fortune teller.  It’s pretty easy, really.

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Doing research, I found this

Oh look! I found a drawing of one of my ancestors in an ancient book – down at the bottom of the page, a dog with a halo:

St Gallen dog

I think he was chasing burglars away. I’m from a line of helpful dogs.

(Original image – http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en/csg/0902/94)

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The Girl’s Civic Duty

Last week there was thunder and rain and lightning and rain and rain and rain and thunder and rain.  All the drains in the street got clogged up with leaves and pine needles and other rubbish, and the water had nowhere to go so it just made big pools in the road.  The cars driving through them made a lovely squishy swooshy sound, and splashed water on people on the footpath and made their clothes dirty.

The Girl came out of the house with a sweeping brush in her hand.  Sweeping brush doesn’t usually mean a walk, but I asked anyway.

“Are we going for a walk? I’m ready!”

“No, Murphy,” she said.  “We’re not going for a walk.  I’m just going outside the gate.  You stay inside, please.”

So immediately I followed her out onto the street, to make sure she wouldn’t be kidnapped.

She turned the sweeping brush upside down and started poking in a pool of water with the handle, to move  the leaves and the pine needles and the other rubbish.

“What are you doing, my dear Girl?” I inquired.

“I’m doing my Civic Duty,” she said, self-righteously.  “We can’t expect the Council to come and unblock every single drain.  If everyone just did their…”

I was going to tell her there was an easier way to do it, but just then my nostrils twitched because Bazzo, the spaniel from down the street, came out of his house.  We hadn’t seen each other for ages, at least not since the day before, so I ran off down the street to greet Bazzo and catch up with his news.  We had a good sniff at each other and I learned that he’d recently been in contact with Lidia, the Boxer from further up the Via Laurentina.

Then I noticed that there was a really big pool of water in the road right outside Bozzo’s house.

“Come on, Bozzo,” I cried, “Follow me!”

I jumped into the water and started digging with my hind legs to move all the dead leaves and pine needles and other rubbish.  Bozzo jumped in beside me and did the same.

“What are we doing, Murphy?” he asked, digging and kicking enthusiastically.

“We’re doing the Girl’s Civic Duty!” I cried, as we both kicked and splashed and had a great time.

Then Luigi, Bozzo’s man, called him, and Bozzo went away, and just at the same time the Girl came legging it down the street.

“Murphy!” she said, in that voice she keeps for outside when she’s pretending that she’s not shouting.  “What on earth are you doing?”

“Your Civic Duty!” I cried.  “We can’t expect the Council…”

“Thank you, Murphy,” she said, “but now go home at once.”

“Okay,” I said, and jumped onto the footpath beside her and gave myself a good shake.

Then I ran home, leaving her squealing that I’d got dirty water all over her clothes.

I’ll never understand why Humans wear clothes, when they spend so much time getting them dirty.

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H is for seven things about Me (Murphy)

Here are seven things about Me (Murphy), that all begin with H.  I thought of them all myself, with no help from the Girl.  Maybe you know them already, but I bet you never saw them in a list like this before.

  1. H is for Helpful.  I am a very helpful dog.  I help the Girl all the time, especially by protecting her from being kidnapped when she takes the rubbish out at night, and by guiding her to take a longer walks when she forgets and tries to come home the short way.  I also help the Cook to keep the kitchen clean if there are any spills.  She spilled some fried potatoes the other day and I was immediately there to help clean up.  What would she do without me (Murphy)?
  2. H is for House-minding.  That is my chief job.  I mind the house and don’t let burglars in.  I watch out for strangers and growl if I see them.  Sometimes if I’m not sure whether it’s a good stranger or a bad stranger I just give a bark or two or three.  Once or twice I even had to stay here all on my own for an afternoon to mind the house, and that is a big Responsibility.  (It was also a bit boring).
  3. H is for Handsome.  All the girl dogs think so.  And they are right.  I am a very Handsome dog.
  4. H is for Hopeful.  Every time I hear someone coming out of the house, I hope they are going for a walk.  Or else coming to feed me.  My hopes are not always met, but that doesn’t stop me being hopeful the next time.
  5. H is for Happy.  I am a happy dog!  I wag my tail loads and loads and loads, and I jump and play and eat and drink and walk and lie down and get up again and mind the house and it is all great and I am very happy!  I think that makes others happy too.  Though the Girl said one day that maybe I overdo it a bit.  But how can you overdo happy?
  6. H is for Hungry.  With all the work I have to do, all the minding and the taking people for walks and growling at strangers and being helpful and jumping and everything, I need lots of food, and I am always ready for more.  A dog who is not hungry can’t be healthy, I say!  Always ready for the next meal, that’s me (Murphy).
  7. H is for Holy.  Well, I must be holy because I have no sin.  I just am the way I am, and that’s good and holy.
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G is for Gnellie

“Excuse me, Murphy,” said the Girl, “but that’s not how to spell it.”

I wish she wouldn’t interrupt me before I’ve even begun.

“What’s not how to spell what?” I asked.

“Giannelli,” she said.  “It’s G-I-A-N-N-E-L-L-I.”

“Giannelli?” I wondered.  “The fruit and vegetable people with the stall at the end of the road?  Why do I need to know how to spell Giannelli?”

“You’re writing about them, aren’t you?”  It was her turn to look puzzled.  “You say it in the title of the blog post: G is for Giannelli.”

No,” I said, emphatically.  “It’s not Giannelli, it’s Gnellie that I’m writing about!  Why would I want to write about the fruit and vegetable stall?  I’m much more of a meat-eater myself, you know.”

“That’s for sure,” she conceded.  “But Murphy, there’s no such word as Gnellie.

“There is so! Gnellie is my friend!  But… maybe you’re right.  Maybe it should be Gnelli, without the “e” at the end.  That would be more Italian.”

“Gnelli?” said the Girl.  “Gnelli?  Gnelli?  Murphy?”

“I’m here,” I said, “but it’s no good calling Gnelli, she’s gone home ages ago.”

“Murphy,” said the Girl.  “Please go back to the beginning and start again.  I’m lost.”

(Of course, if people wouldn’t interrupt me before I even begin, we could have a proper beginning at the beginning, and said people would be less likely to get lost).

So I tried again, beginning thus: “Gnelli, my friend, is a golden labrador.  She li…”

“Oh, you mean Nellie!” cried the Girl.  “Nellie, the golden labrador, who liv….”

“Yes, of course that’s who I mean.  But I want to spell her name the Italian way, so I’ve decided to write Gnelli.  I think it’s much prettier like that, don’t you?”

“I, uh, ah… well, isn’t it a bit confusing?” suggested the Girl.

“Only for you,” I replied.  “I have no problem with it.”

The real name of Gnelli (or Nellie) is Nelly.  But there’s no letter “y” in Italian, so Maria (that’s Gnelli’s, or Nellie’s, or Nelly’s, Girl) decided that she would be called Nellie.  And then I decided that she would be called Gnelli.

“Stop, Murphy, stop!” pleaded the Girl.  “It’s much too complicated, this story.  Why do you say that her real name is Nelly?”

(Because it is, that’s why.  The Girl is a bit slow sometimes.  Not always the best at following the plot.)

“Because she’s called after the pony – or maybe it’s a horse – in Gone With the Wind,” I explained.  “Gnelli told me that when she, Gnelli – that’s Nelly, aka Nellie – first got Maria as her Girl, Maria was reading Gone With the Wind, and there was a pony in it called Nelly, so she – Maria – decided that would be the name of Gnelli.  Nelly.  But there’s no letter “y” in Ital…”

“Yes, yes, you already said that,” cut in the Girl.  “But really, Murphy, could you write about something else?  This is just too confusing.  No one will be able to follow it.”

(I’m sure they would, really.  Not everyone is as slow as the Girl.)

I thought for a bit.

“It has to be a G is for… post,” I said.  “So, okay, how about this: G is for Gone With the Wind.  I’ll say that in Gone With the Wind there’s a pony – or maybe it’s a horse – called Nelly, and…”

“No, Murphy, no!” cried the Girl.  “Please Murphy, write about something else altogether!  Go on, that’s a good dog!”

“Something else altogether?  Let me think. G is for…   G is for… I don’t know.  G is for… Oh, I’ve got it!  G is for Good Dog Murphy!  How about that?”

“Murphy,” groaned the Girl, “you’re unbelievable.  Look, I have to go down the street to pick up a few things at Giannelli’s, and…”

“Can I come?” I asked, hopefully.

“No, Murphy, not to the fruit and vegetable sellers.  But when I come back, we’ll go for a walk.”

“Great!” I said.  “Good Girl, Girl!”

“Good dog, Murphy,” she said.  “Good dog.”

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F is for the Four New Bins

I have a lot of new work.

The bins that the people from AMA (that’s the Council) gave the Girl last July are being used, at last!   They gave her four big new bins on wheels, for different kinds of rubbish, and they said they would take away the big bins on the street that everyone used up to then.

But they didn’t take them away for a long time.  So the new private, replacement bins just sat in our garden, in the corner inside the gate, unused, smelling of new plastic.  No one went near them, except for a few ants.  They weren’t very interesting, after the first day.  And also maybe the day the Girl painted the number of our house on them.

But last week AMA took away the big rubbish bins in the street, and now our rubbish goes into our own private bins!  That’s much more interesting!  Every time someone comes out of the house to put rubbish in a bin, I run over to see that they’re doing it properly.  There’s one bin for food rubbish, one for paper, one for plastic, and one for broken cups.  After they’ve put the rubbish in the bin, I have a good sniff to make sure they’ve done it right.

Every day the Girl has to put different bins out on the street for the truck to come and empty them.  It’s very complicated, but she’s getting the hang of it.  Food is Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.  Paper is Wednesday and Saturday nights.  Plastic is Tuesday and Friday nights.  Broken cups is Monday and Thursday nights.  The Girl has to put them out on the street at the right time.

Of course I go with her to protect her, in case she would be kidnapped out in the street on her own in the dark.  If I notice anyone in the street that might be a kidnapper, I bark at them and they don’t dare try anything.

The Girl has to bring the bins in too, of course, and I help her again then.  The ones that go out at night are brought in the next morning, so they have a lot of new smells on them that I have to investigate.  Last Friday the bin men didn’t empty our food bin, so that had to come back in full, and wait until Monday

It’s pretty responsible work, minding the Four New Bins, but I’m happy to be of service.

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The Girl is back!

TheGirlIsBackTheGirlIsBackTheGirlIsBack!  She was away for two weeks doing a thing called a retreat, which means doing nothing (I don’t see why you have to go away for that), and she visited some other people too.

I was sniffing around outside the back door yesterday evening when the car pulled in through the gate, and as soon as the door opened I knew she was there so IGallopedRoundTheSideOfTheHouseAtTopSpeedAndScreechedToAHaltAndJumpedUpOnHer except that I didn’t put the brakes on soon enough so I galloped into her and when I jumped my face was a bit closer to hers than she was expecting and she said “Oh Murphy, will you get down, you silly dog!”  But then she gave me a big pat and a hug, so I jumped up on her lots more, with my tail wagging really fast.  I nearly knocked over her suitcase and people told me to go to bed but I ignored them.  TheGirlIsBack! JumpAndLick! JumpAndLick!

One day while she was away I got two dinners.  The others weren’t sure whose job it was to feed me that day, so two people did it.  I ate everything, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings.  But that won’t happen now that the Girl is back.

I hope she hurries up and unpacks her suitcase – she said we can’t go for a walk until that’s done.  Humans have silly priorities.

TheGirlIsBack!  Woof!

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Value-added dog-sitting services

The Girl and I were out for our Sunday morning walk.  In a street near here we noticed a poster with a picture of a dog on it.  So we hurried over to read it, expecting that it would be about a missing canine.

But no, it was an advertisement for dog-sitting services.  If you can’t mind your dog, or your puppy, when you are at work or on holidays, let us do it for you!  We will feed, water, take for walks…. Phone us at this number, etc.

“My dear Girl!”  I exclaimed, “That’s a great idea!  You could do that!”

“I could give you to someone else to mind?” she wondered.  “Why would I do that, Murphy?”

“No, no,” I said.  “I mean you could be a dog-sitter.  You could advertise for dogs to come, and we could go for lots of walks, and I could boss them around and show them who’s king.”

“Don’t be silly, Murphy,” she said.  “That’s not the kind of work we do.  And anyway, it’s hard enough for me to manage one dog, given that it’s YOU.”

“But we could offer a different kind of service!”  I was getting enthusiastic now.  “We could teach the dogs how to use the computer and set up their own blogs, and I’d advise them on their writing!  We could You could charge a fortune for that!”

“Thanks for the suggestion, Murphy,” she said, “but I think I’ll give it a skip this time.  Now, come on, heel up!”

It’s a pity that the Girl is not open to new ideas.  But, as we dogs often say, “You can’t teach an old Person new tricks.”

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No jargon on this blog, please

“Murphy!” said the Girl, rather sharpishly, “were you in the refectory?”

Uh-oh.  I could see where this was leading.

“Excuse me,” I replied, “but I can’t answer that question.  You said that we would have no monastic jargon on this blog.  So a question which includes the word ‘refectory’ is not admissible.  Sorry.”

“Very well, Murphy,” she said.  “Let me put it another way.  Were you in the dining-room?”

“The dining-room?”  I enquired.  “The big room upstairs where you eat your meals?  The one you call the refectory?”

“Murphy….”

“Why, yes, I think I have been in the dining room!  When I was a puppy and I didn’t know my way around, I ended up in the dining-room a few times, and someone would soon come and march me back down to my puppy-quarters.  So, yes, I’ve been in the dining room.”

“Today, Murphy.  There are indications that you were in the refectory today.”

“Indications?  What kind of indications?”

“Muddy paw-prints, dear.  That kind of indication.”

I stayed silent.  She’d never believe they were some other dog’s paw-prints.  And anyway, they weren’t.

“Did you find much to eat?” she inquired, but with more sarcasm than genuine concern for my well-being.

“Nothing!” I voiced my indignation.  “Nothing at all!  The place is terribly clean and tidy!  I even put my front paws up  and gave a few of the tables a lick, but there was hardly a crumb!”

“I’m glad to hear it, Murphy,” she remarked, drily.  “But tell me – how did you get in?”

The truth is that one of the others left me in, deliberately, because of the thunder and lightning outside that I don’t like.  That person may not exactly have intended that I make my way to the refectory: I just used the occasion that presented itself.  But if I say that she left me in, there will be trouble.

“Umm… I think the door blew open in the wind,” I said.

“Wasn’t it locked?” asked the Girl.  “That door should always be locked!”

“Don’t worry!” I reassured her.  “Burglars won’t get in while I’m around!  It doesn’t matter if the door isn’t locked, I’m here to mind the place!”

“It matters significantly,” she said.  “Especially if it blows open in the wind.  I’ll have to take a look at it later.  But now I’ve got to go and wash the tables in the refectory.”

Why on earth is she washing those tables?  They’re perfectly clean, I can vouch for it.

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