I've been away more than what could be called acceptable with my job, but it's a new job so saying no would probably not be a wise career move when one is still firmly in the three-month trial period. The thing is, when I go away neither Lucy or Wizard seem to miss me very much and the welcome home at the front door is more of a lazy stretch followed by a very obvious "well, we'd better start remembering the routine then€. On the other hand, on the rare occasions when the lovely and inimitable Mrs. S is away chaos ensues with restlessly pacing hounds that insist on punctuating the normal sounds of the night with whining and whinging at the front door.

While we're on the subject of nights in general, we finally spent all the pocket money that we'd amassed and had a wood burner installed. Wizard and Lucy never seemed particularly fussed about living in a slightly chilly house in the past so we wondered how they would adjust to the same house but with their humans wandering around it in the middle of winter wearing nothing but jandals and underwear. It didn't take them long to adjust at all. In fact, within hours of the fire being lit for the first time, we once again had restlessly pacing hounds€¦until their beds we dragged out and put in front of the fire where they duly collapsed with what can only be called gratitude. Now when Mrs. S gets home the first job is to light the fire and make sure that Lucy and Wizard are suitably comfortable in front of it€¦just so that I can have the challenge of trying to prize them away from it for their nightly walk. I may have to buy a bigger crow bar.

Bedding has become another issue in our humble abode as well. Not because of a lack of bedding, but more because of the liberties that are taken with said bedding. Both Wizard and Lucy have a bed each in the lounge and one on either side of our bed as well, as they seem to object strenuously to being separated from Mrs. S for any more than 5 minutes at a time. All four of these beds are covered with fleece blankets€¦for at least 5 minutes of every day before Wizard decides that the blankets would benefit from being in a completely different part of the house. Apparently he has a keen eye for interior design.

Neither of the hounds are allowed on the couch at any time, which would explain why Wizard has been seen carrying cushions from one couch to another in order to make himself more comfortable for his daytime activities€¦or inactivity as the case may be. And they certainly don't sleep next to us on the couch of an evening, leaving us virtually no room to move for fear of having a hind leg forcibly inserted in to our left nostril at a moments notice€¦that's Wizards trick while roaching anyway. Lucy does roach but unfortunately for whomever she sleeps next to she's more of a sleep kicker. With force.

The couches are actually prime territory, particularly when Aunty Dennis and Uncle Jenny visit with Evie - 4 humans and 3 hounds all trying to fit on 2 couches at the same time invariably results in someone having a good sulk, or at the very least a master class in Yoga. The last time this happened, young Evie managed to get the prime position right next to Mrs. S which meant that both Denis and Wizard spent the evening looking slightly betrayed and less than happy with this turn of events.

The same rule applies to our bed. It's for humans only. When we're in bed both Lucy and Wizard are very good and manage to somehow resist the urge to get on to our bed. When we get up in the morning they cast a few longing glances in the direction of super-king sized comfort and carry on with their morning routine. Once they've had their walk and have been fed they generally go and lie down in front of the fire, waiting hopefully for a food related morning treat while we get dressed for the day and make the bed.

When we get home from work both the hounds are on the floor, or on one of their beds (but never the couch€¦heaven forbid) but in our bedroom you would be forgiven for thinking that either a very small and localised tornado had hit the bed or an interior designer had let themselves in to the house and taken mortal offence at our choice of bed linen and pillows, justifiably feeling the need to strew pillows, cushions and bedspreads across the room, leaving mysterious paw prints and hound sized indentations on the mattress. There are times when I wonder why we chose clean white bed linen over dirt brown.

On reflection, it seems that nothing has been clean or white in our house for very long at all this month, particularly for about a 3 days in the middle of the month. The high speed Internet has been installed in our neighbourhood and all the holes have been filled in and new grass seed sown on top. Lucy has immensely enjoyed sniffing this new soil, taking at least 5 minutes at each spot to make sure she has absorbed every possible piece of information from the site before urinating on it.

Wizard took it to the next level, as only he could.

For about 3 days he obviously had a very upset stomach, complete with room emptying, eye watering flatulence, not to mention enormous, almost uncontrollable bowel movements that involved, rather than the normal back yard "pooper scooping€, the use of an industrial pressure sprayer to remove. It wasn't until we were out walking one evening that I figured out what had done this to him. I stood up from picking up after Lucy on one of these walks to see Wizard standing there, vacant expression on his face, drooling slightly and happily chewing on a mouthful of fresh, rich, dark soil. I can say from experience that this soil will move through the greyhounds' digestive system at a speed not seen since Andy Green broke the land speed record.

So yes, it's been an interesting month€¦one where the hounds have made a mess, eaten what they shouldn't, been where they shouldn't and not missed me one single iota. It's times like this that I feel like petulantly waving their contract in their faces and letting them know exactly what their responsibilities are. Still, at least that fire has been keeping them warm and comfortable while I do the laundry and water blast the garden.

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