Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Bingley consequences

No, this isn’t the name of one of our new pastimes, though there have been a few of those which I’ll tell you about later; but I thought that it would be interesting to reflect on some of the ways in which Bingley has completely changed our lives.

Our routine of course has been turned upside down! In fact it’s had to be utterly redefined. Jane’s always up early, but until Bingley arrived those three or four hours before setting off to work were used for writing letters and personal email. Now of course those few hours before work are spent Binging, and as some of you will have noticed those early morning emails have been replaced by late night emails, or no emails at all since by the evening we’re both usually too exhausted!

Bingley’s pretty independent but he still can’t be left alone all day, so at least one of us needs to be on stand-by. He’s down to two meals, but lunchtime is still Bingtime and one of us has to be here to take him out for a walk and toilet stop. So gone are those footloose times when we could, on impulse, pop down to York and stay for just as long as we wanted.

My nice & tidy work on the dog house has also been affected: it now no longer resembles anything like the place you saw in that early photo last year. Bingley’s a chewer; in fact he’s a dissector – he enjoys nothing more than assiduously dismantling one of his toys, especially if it’s meant to be ‘indestructible’. We’ve worked hard at discouraging him from chewing anything he shouldn’t, and that’s been pretty successful. But his dog house has taken a hammering: the skirting board and panelling have been well nibbled and the old kitchen units have bite shaped chunks missing – they look like something out of an episode of Tom & Jerry.

In order to channel this phenomenal need to chew (and to prevent our furniture being eaten) we’re spending a small fortune on toys, some of which only survive a few hours. In fact we’ve had to start rationing the amount of time he has with any one toy simply I order to extend the length of time it lasts before being turned into confetti.

Kong’s are the only toy which make it through the day intact. A year ago I had never heard of a Kong and when I first saw one I thought that they looked daft. Now we have a collection which I would never be without and I think that the person who invented them should be given the Nobel Pet Prize.

Toys aren’t the only expense we’ve incurred. A new vacuum cleaner became an essential purchase very early on. I can’t believe just how much hair Bingley sheds, and it gets everywhere! Before Bing, I could get away with a weekly vac & dust (hey, I had better things to do!). But now vacuuming has had to become a daily routine. It turns out that I might be slightly allergic to dog hair; certainly before replacing the old vac I was getting perplexing hay fever like symptoms which I’ve never had before. But a Miele HEPA took care of all that, as well as sorting out the bunny sized dust balls which seemed to appear on the staircase overnight.

And talking of ways in which my life has been affected by Bingley: without him I might never ever have been chased by a mean pony.

Jane’s been away to North Wales this weekend so I’ve been taking Bing out by myself. We were walking around the fields down by the Tyne early on Sunday morning; it was very cold, but with a glorious sky and a fabulous sunrise (and isn’t the bird song beautiful at this time of year?).

There are always ponies down there, but they’re usually tethered or enclosed. This Sunday however was different, and whilst Bingley was frantically squeaking his Wubba which I’d been throwing for him, one of the ponies wandered over to see what all this early morning ruckus was about. I don’t know much about horses but I know that they’re measured in hands, and this one was lots of hands and getting closer. Luckily Bingley didn’t spot this insurgent straight away, so I was able to call him over and clip on his lead. The pony meanwhile had stopped a short distance away and was sizing us up in a way that I found uncomfortable; but he was also blocking our exit, so I was going to have to go past him to get home.

By this stage Bing had noticed that he was being eyeballed (mean eyes, I thought; full of malice) and started to go into boxing kangaroo mode. Encouraged by this challenge Mean Pony started walking towards us again with a fixed expression: he meant business, I don’t doubt it. Urgently pulling Bingley along I managed to squeeze through the narrowing gap between the fence and this crazy equine and then picked up speed as the brute started to canter towards us. Bingley wanted in and was boxing his way backwards the whole time; but thankfully the pony stopped following us once we’d left his field and we were able to return home safely. It was a close shave though.

Taking my life in my hands, I went back down there today. Thankfully though, the only unpleasant encounter I had was with a slimy slipper which the Bing Bong Kid discovered in one of the scummy puddles. He loved it and took great pleasure in furiously shaking it about, covering me with a shower of green gunk in the process.

However, the biggest change which Bingley has brought about is that he’s encouraged us to think about moving house! At the moment the choice of walks is very limited, and for a long time we’ve been exploring the idea of moving closer to the coast. Bing has made it happen. I’m not going to say much more right now because of that thing called Tempting Fate; but I will add that we’ve found a nice place five minutes walk from the beach….and how much fun would that be?!

House hunting, by the way, is the reason for the lack of entries recently – I can’t believe how much time & energy it takes. But before I go I must mention that Bingley has started cocking his leg! Some of you, I know, won’t be interested in this; but I’m just so relieved that I won’t have to show him how to do it myself.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rob

I really enjoyed today's blog. Your stories about the Mighty Bing are like revisiting Harvey's youth. I'm very familiar with the boxing kangaroo mode!!!

Living by the beach is great fun. The sea air is fantastic and the swimming is excellent for tiring exuberant labradors. Best of luck with the house hunting!


Rob said...

Thanks Claire, it's nice to know that the Mighty Bing has lots in common with Handsome Harvey!

And yes, we're hoping that time on the beach will siphon off lots of Bingley's excess energy; but I'm also concerned that he might swim out to sea! He's started to sniff everything with an intensity I never imagined was possible, and given how sensitive his nose is I'm sure that he’ll soon sense something in Norway which proves just too tempting to resist. Bingley: last seen swimming out through the harbour mouth and heading for the fjords...