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Sunday, July 19, 2020

How to Relax on the Weekend

Original by Pinky!

Four legs good, two legs bad. 

I ponder Orwell’s chant as I begin my weekend wind-down from a hectic week.

A warm, convivial sun prickles my arms, and sighing with joy at the quietude, mandatory coffee in hand, I gratefully pick up my dog-eared copy of Animal Farm.

I hear my chihuahua down the side garden barking at the neighbour’s labrador for the tenth time this morning. It is blind, the labrador, and must wonder what it did to deserve the bitter diatribe spewing from the chihuahua’s foaming snout. My dachshund and fox terrier join the fracas, one deep, throaty bark alongside the tenor tones of the smaller dogs. They harmonise like an enraged boy band. Should I get up and yell at them or will they just think I am adding impetus to the acapella trio? I am saved the trouble by my neighbour, who stomps out, wild-eyed and manic, and threatens the innocent labrador with a rolled-up newspaper.

The three recalcitrant amigos hurtle back to me, ears back and tongues lolling. The dachshund alights on my lap with the grace of a baby hippopotamus. Animal Farm slides to the floor, newspaper broadsheets scatter and my coffee slurps over the rim of my mug, the mug bearing the slogan, Relax, Replenish, Revive.

From my patio couch, I spy one of my chickens pecking at the Lobelia seedlings I planted last weekend and then I remember why we stopped growing flowers in the chook yard. Pity. I’d been looking forward to their blue petals contrasted against the greenery. Gathering my weary body, I limp down to chase them way from the planter boxes, wincing against prickles and sharp stones under my bare feet.

My idle, non-laying chickens are on thin ice. Only one of them manages to produce the odd egg, which is usually snaffled up in the dachshund’s velveted jaws, carried delicately into the house, smashed on my kitchen tiles and promptly licked up, leaving only shards of shell and a few yolky streaks behind. She has a very glossy coat, my dachshund. I stroke her now, breathing in the spicy scent of the curry plants she has been rolling in. A curried sausage… that is what I tell her she is.

With its tail pointing stiffly skywards, the cat meanders through the cane legs of the patio chairs, eyeing the chihuahua with cold, blunt defiance. Old enemies since the spirited and bloody Battle of the Doona, the chihuahua’s whiskers tremble ominously. It is at once apparent that all animals are not equal in this house. A sudden flurry of scrabbling claws, vociferous snarling and a sense of urgency ensues, resulting in finding myself with a mouthful of dog hair, a palpitating heart and coffee splattered over my lap.

Retiring my hopes of a peaceful, agrarian morning in the natural surroundings of my backyard, I withdraw inside, choking on dander and bitterly questioning whether I might have had more peace and tranquillity in my classroom surrounded by a cacophony of eight year olds.

Sometimes four legs not so good.