April brought about whole a whole new scenario. We usually travel to India, where for two weeks we are involved in a number of physical activities. My personal favourites include:~ Walking to the beach. Drinking on the beach. Sleeping on the beach. Eating on the beach. Reading on the beach. Fishing on the beach. I am Olympic standard at all. Once I even walked to another beach hut some 25 feet away.
My luggage on the way out on the last trip weighed 6 and ¾ ounces ( I must try and get some lighter flip flops) and consisted of ; shorts (one) khaki, shirt (one) white cheap/nasty and flip-flops (pair) yellow ~73p in 1981. I also (of course) have my male toiletries. Soap (one) bar Tesco Value, toothbrush (one) Spider-Man handle. I used the plastic bags they give out for liquids as my hand luggage bag.
Since the Monty & Lewis Show had moved in I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be holidaying in the back garden. Any beach activities would be restricted to sweeping up the bags of builder’s Sharp sand that Lewis had very kindly ripped open and distributed about the garden. The hounds new beach volleyball court was coming along nicely.
Imagine then, my reaction when a friend (Sean) said the immortal words, “ Why don’t you just go on holiday, I’ll have the dogs……………..”
I remember this and shall do for years to come. As Sean mouthed the words my entire world was drawn to his features. Everything slowed to the slowest slow-mo shot imaginable. I could see every syllable and vowel being announced. It was as if the slow-mo shot was deliberately over emphasising the shape and texture of every word. …. “ I w i l l h a v e t h e d o g s …”
My heart pounded. Standing in our back garden I turned, (also in slow motion) to Monty and Lewis. At the very end of the sentence both hounds stopped eating the very expensive garden flowers planted 23 seconds earlier. Lewis, with tomato plant and Monty, with banana tree turned to face me. The dust from their self appointed volleyball court was settling around their heads and rose in the warm air and sunlight. Monty smiled a demonic smile. Lewis spat out the tomato plant. He sensed a whole new awakening. A new garden, a new lawn, new furniture and new challenges. Monty crouched and considered the possibilities. Be afraid Sean…oh yes, be afraid……
Sean was sober, Sean had not taken any form of narcotic. He was fairly normal and yet he’d still said it. Part of me was afraid to ask the next question. This was the part that felt that out of politeness I had to ask it, but if I was an honest person, would admit to being afraid of asking it.
“ Are you sure Sean ? “ Pause, long gulp, oh dear have I sowed the seed of doubt in his head type thoughts.
Sean “ Absolutely sure. Just go.”
As the travel date got nearer my fear became greater. I conducted a home visit at Sean’s. Not to assess suitability, oh no. This was an intelligence gathering operation of a covert nature. I needed to know how much his furniture, carpets, garden and ornaments were worth. How much my holiday plus damages would cost me. Sean thought I was briefing him about the hounds. Oh no, nothing as simple as that.
Me “ Really nice carpet Sean I would love one of those, where did you get it?”
Sean “ I can’t remember it was ages ago.”
(Mental note. Cheap carpet…….check.)
Me “ So uh Sean, uh mate. Do all your internal doors close and stay closed, just wondering uh how much heat loss you suffer..?
Sean “ Yeah they all stay closed, the house is pretty good on heating actually.”
Me “ That’s good mate”
(Mental note. B*****ds won’t be able to escape.)
Me “ Lovely garden Sean. So uh , got much in yet.”
Sean “ Yeah loads. I’ve got potatoes in all kinds of stuff. I really enjoy my garden”
(Mental note. Sean’s garden is f****d. )
Me “ So uh, go out much lately Sean”
Sean “ You know me, fairly hectic social life”
(Mental note. Sean’s house is f****d.)
India Day got nearer. The pangs of guilt began to set in. I found myself not saying the words India or holiday in front of them. We referred to it as the ‘other work place.’ Sean was referred to as Special Uncle Sean and boy were they were going to have a good time !!
They knew. Oh yes they knew. I’ll swear Monty developed a limp. Lewis pretended he was agro phobic and refused to get in the car. Both decided that the official Basset wake up time was between 4am and 4.30am. Both decided that if you didn’t wake up too they would piss where they liked. They both decided that they only understood a little known Hebrew dialect from the 3 rd Century. Neither knew any form of the English language.
Commands were now a new form of sport.
Me “ Boys sit”
Hounds “ Wadda he say? Dunno lets piss in the kitchen”
Me “ Boys stay”
Hounds “ Lets run away and hide in that lady’s garden”
Me “Boys NO.”
Hounds “ Great, lets eat this fox shit and roll in that fish carcase.”
They both developed a new body odour, this despite my best efforts and extensive preening. They clearly had made a pact to smell like a mouldy kipper wrapped in a tramps undies. These two made corpses smell good.
I loaded the car. This included two Bassets. Two leopard skin faux leather beds. Each the size of Bournemouth. Four dog bowls, thousands of kilos of food, leads, dog cleaning shampoo, ear wipes, eye wipes, poo bags, treats , chews ,blankets and pillows ( yes bloody pillows). We looked like we had just sailed in from Sangate.
“Hello Mr Sean you very kind man.”
The hounds emerged from the car. Lewis mooched around the back and promptly dug up Sean’s potatoes. Monty (in a two pronged attack) went into the living room and helped himself onto Sean’s settee. Lewis had finished his starter. He moved onto a coconut. Sean did not have any coconuts in his garden. He no longer had any potatoes. Monty dropped a number two on the lawn. Not just any number two, oh no. He loosened one up to the texture and colour of a lentil broth. The only way that was going in a poo bag was through a straw. Sean went pale. I ran out and drove off. I switched my mobile off until the day before we returned.
Sean is still our friend . He tells me that the garden will grow back. The door and various parts ’just need a lick of paint.’ The carpet is ’shampooable’ and the lino will polish. The car can be valeted and most of the mud will wash off. The neighbours will eventually talk to Sean again and the Postie may come back.
Sean is considering our request for next years holiday !
(To Sean - thanks mate for enduring Houndsville ! To all who helped Sean our thanks and a special thanks to lunch time walkers. The Boyz miss yah Sean !)