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A Dog is not just for Christmas...but these two could be!

I promised you some news about Rohan and India, so here it is!   The brand new book of stories about their lives at TURN Education is now av...

Friday, 1 April 2022

April Fool Minus One!

I haven't noticed many (if any) April Fool-type gags in the news and social media today, which I suppose is understandable.  There really isn't a lot to laugh at in the world, at the moment.  However, I rather think that Mother Nature has decided to play a few tricks of her own in the absence of any human endeavour.

This all started yesterday, March 31st, which makes sense as there is no logical reason why Mother Nature should find herself bound by the Gregorian calendar.  I wandered downstairs, in my usual bleary state, and opened the curtains in the cat's bedroom.  Yes, I know that sounds rather grand.  In reality, she has the run of the Dining Room at night and I'm sure she thinks of it in those terms.  Anyway, I pulled back the curtains and was greeted by bright blue skies and some very welcome Spring sunshine.  Nodding appreciatively, I shuffled into the kitchen to perform the same function.  I pulled on the cord to raise the roller blind and was greeted by...BLIZZARD!  All you could see was whirling snow.

Now, I like a laugh as much as the next person, but this was more than a bit disconcerting!

Later in the same morning, as I was enjoying a contemplative shave, I heard a quacking sound.  This isn't entirely unusual as we have what is grandly called a 'lake' just down the road from where we live but which is actually a duck pond.  From time to time, the residents of the 'lake' potter up our cul-de-sac to see what's going on.  What made this unusual was that it seemed to be coming from close to our bedroom window.  I looked out, and saw this:

 

  
Is it me, or what?  Surely ducks don't roost in the normal way of things?  They haven't got the right feet for perching on narrow ledges or, as in this case, the apex of our neighbour's roof!
 
Something is clearly going on and, from the evidence, it would seem that the ducks are in on it.  I await further developments.


Monday, 7 February 2022

"You've got to fight, for the right, to..."

 From time to time, I let my Undertakers comment on topical issues.  

This is one of those times 😉




Archibald Thurble took a deep breath, attempted to straighten his permanently lopsided jacket, gave up the unequal struggle and knocked smartly on the door of his employer.

“Come!” Josiah Oakshott intoned from the other side of the door.

Archibald peered around the door, as if expecting to be set upon by some unseen dark force.  Satisfied that the coast was clear, he shambled forward to the desk, on which Josiah appeared to be making a series of important notes.  The fact that this was actually his shopping list and that, apparently occupying himself with some important document or other, was a device that Josiah had long utilised to reinforce the pecking order when entertaining guests in his office, was something that Josiah intended to keep firmly to himself.

“Ah, Archibald!” Josiah glanced up from his apparently meticulous notes, at his employee, who took this as an indication to slide toward the chair opposite, “no, there’s no need to sit, Archibald, I won’t detain you for more than a moment” Josiah said, sharply.

Archibald, somewhat discomfited, aborted his manoeuvre and stood, tugging at the sleeves of his jacket.  Josiah completed his writing and looked up.

“Thank you for coming to see me so promptly, Archibald…”

“No problem, Mr. O.”

“I’m delighted to hear it.” Josiah gave a weak smile, “Archibald, I’ve called you in today because I must inform you that I will not require you to provide pall-bearing duties today or, for that matter, the rest of this week”

“You what, Mr. O.?”  Archibald looked more than usually puzzled.

“By which, I mean” Josiah sighed, heavily, “that you will not be required to be involved in any customer-facing duties for the remainder of this week”

“Well, I don’t usually face them, Mr. O., on account of I’m driving and they’re in the back!” Archibald protested.

“It’s just an expression, Archibald.  Not to be taken literally.  It means that I do not want you to be involved with our clients, in any capacity, this week.  Is that clear?”

“Oh, right” Archibald’s bottom lip quivered a little. “Any particular reason, Mr. O.?”

“Well, I would have thought that would have been perfectly obvious” Josiah snapped.

Archibald frowned in concentration as he attempted to figure that particular conundrum out.  After a considering a number of possibilities, each more unlikely than the other, he gave up and said,

“No”

Josiah sighed again, shook his head and explained,

“It is apparent to me, Archibald, that you have been engaging in fisticuffs!”

“Come again, Mr. O.?”

“You appear to have been fighting, Archibald”

“What makes you think that then, Mr. O.?”  Archibald looked perplexed.

“Well, the two black eyes, the swollen and bruised nose and the cut upper lip were something of a giveaway” Josiah pointed out, sarcastically.

“Oh, right, and you think I’ve been brawling!” Archibald chuckled.

“Well, haven’t you?”

“Nah, I’ve never had a fight in my life!” Archibald grinned, “this isn’t from fighting, it’s from drumming!”

“Drumming?  Really?  I had no idea it was such a dangerous occupation!”

“It isn’t, most of the time,” Archibald conceded, “it’s just…I can’t afford to have proper drumming lessons, see?”

“Yes, I’m with you so far” Josiah nodded, cautiously.

“So, I’m having to follow these videos what you can get online.  There’s loads of ‘em by all these blokes.  It’s mostly blokes and they’re usually American” Archibald explained, “They’ve usually got shaved heads and look like someone you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley but, any road, they all reckon they can turn you into a genius drummer if you just do this exercise, or that, or summat else, for five minutes a day”

“And how does this relate to your…” Josiah vaguely indicated Archibald’s facial injuries.

“Ah yeah, well I was coming to that” Archibald nodded, “there was this one exercise what involved doing summat really tricky by crossing your hands over so as how you were hitting stuff with your right hand what you would usually hit with your left and the other way about, if you get my drift?”

“I think I follow” Josiah nodded.

“Well, like I’ve said before, I get my left and right mixed up sometimes” Archibald blushed a little, “and this exercise what he had us doing was a bit complex, and you had to do it pretty sharpish otherwise it sounded like nothing on earth”

“I can well believe it” Josiah smiled, thinly.

“So, I’m trying to follow what he reckons we should be doing, only I get totally confused and I only finish up with one drumstick clouting me in the face and the other shoved up me left nostril, don’t I?” Archibald looked suitably downcast.

“I er, I can see how that might be somewhat unfortunate” Josiah sympathised, whilst trying to suppress a chuckle.

“I don’t reckon I’m going to do any more of his lessons, life’s too short” Archibald shook his head, sadly.

“Nevertheless, it is commendable that you have applied yourself to your studies in such a fashion” Josiah consoled him, “I’m sure you will find a mentor that better suits your particular learning style”

“Well, I hope so, Mr. O.” Archibald sighed, “’cause I was trying to get a few tricky bits under my belt, on account of how we might have this gig coming up”

“This would be your ensemble ‘Dead Set’, I take it?”

“Yeah, that’s right” Archibald grinned, with some difficulty given his injuries.

“I would have thought that, accepting a ‘gig’ of any description, might a something of a triumph of hope over experience, given that, as you previously informed me, your little ‘beat combo’ only know one song, and that imperfectly?”

“Well, that’s why I was practicing with them videos” Archibald pointed out, “’cause I was hoping to get at least a couple more tunes under me belt”

“Laudable though that may be, I would severely doubt that three tunes in all would be sufficient to warrant a live appearance?”

“Well, it’s not like it’s owt professional” Archibald shook his head, “it’s just a “work event”” He framed the words with the forefingers of both hands and grinned broadly.

“Is it some form of naked puppet show?” Josiah looked suitably puzzled.

“Nah!” Archibald giggled, “I mean “work event”, like someone’s party!  You know, it’s what everyone’s saying now… since that business at No. 10”

“Oh, now I understand” Josiah nodded, “you are referring to the unfortunate events that are alleged to have occurred in Downing Street during the recent pandemic restrictions?”

“Yeah, that’s it!  It ain’t right, is it Mr. O.?”

“I make it a practice never to discuss politics in the workplace, Archibald”

“Well, yeah but, what with parties for someone leaving, parties for someone getting the push, birthday parties and ‘bring your own bottle’ parties, I reckon they’ve had more parties in a few months than I’ve had in my whole life!”

“It would appear that there was a somewhat erm, jovial and relaxed atmosphere pervading” Josiah steepled his fingers and rested his chin on the result.

“And, on top of that, while they were having it large down in Downing Street, I’d got a bloke threatening to punch my lights out because he couldn’t have a ruck of people at his Mam’s funeral”

“Ah yes, you are referring to the unfortunate Mr. Blunt (see ‘From A Distance’) who had anticipated a large family gathering for his mother’s funeral but found he was restricted to six mourners” Josiah remembered, with a visible shudder.

“Ar, that’s him!  And you remember how you were all stressed out ‘cause you thought you might have to get some bouncers on account of the chance of hundreds of people turning up for funerals and you getting fined for it?” (see ‘The Thin Black Line’)

“I would acknowledge that these alleged gatherings would tend to grate, somewhat, with those of us who endured considerable privations whilst adhering to the restrictions appertaining at the time” Josiah mused.

“Me Nan’s fit to be tied!  She says she didn’t go for months without being able to go to ‘The King of Prussia’ just so that they could get rat…”

Josiah looked at him, quizzically.

“Erm, a bit merry?” Archibald suggested, lamely.

“Yes, I take her point.  However, none of this is currently proven and I understand that the matter is being probed by the relevant law enforcement authorities.  Nevertheless, leaving all this to one side, we must address your facial injuries”

“Oh yeah, sorry about that Mr. O.” Archibald looked crestfallen.

“Do not concern yourself, Archibald, I’m satisfied that your injuries are not the consequence of misconduct on your part”

“Yeah but, I don’t suppose you want me out there with the punters, do you?”

“I would prefer the term ‘clients’, Archibald.  However, you are correct in your assumption. Regardless of the origin of your injuries, our clients might well arrive at the same, albeit erroneous, conclusion as I did.  Therefore, I must, regrettably, ‘confine you to barracks’ for the remainder of the week” Josiah made the same ‘inverted comma’ motions with his hands, that Archibald had made previously.

“Hey, now you’re doing the naked puppet show thing!” Archibald chuckled.

“Yes, indeed.” Josiah frowned at his hands, “That is a habit I must shed with some alacrity!  For the rest of the week, you will focus on your duties within our workshop.  That will be all, for now, Archibald” Josiah returned to his shopping list.

Archibald nodded and set off for the office door, until a thought occurred to him.

"It makes you think, dunnit?"  He suggested.

Josiah paused his notation, lifted his head and raised a speculative eyebrow.

"In what way would that be, Archibald?"

"Well, if they were that sloshed all the time, how did they ever get owt done?  I mean, running the country and all that?"

"On the contrary, Archibald" Josiah returned to his writing, "I rather think it explains a great deal!"

“Hey up, now there’s no restrictions to speak of, is there any chance we might have a ‘work event’ here, Mr. O.?”  He winked broadly.

“I think we see quite enough of each other, within a work setting, Archibald, without further expanding our horizons” Josiah said, determinedly, without looking up from his notes.

“Right you are, Mr. O.” Archibald grinned and headed off to his restricted duties.

You can find a lot more from Josiah and Archibald in the two collections of their stories, available in Kindle format, "A Dubious Undertaking and other stories" and "Grave Expectations"

Sunday, 21 November 2021

An Introduction from India

 

As 19th November is PUBLICATION DAY for the new 'Waggy Dog Tales 2' book with both the Kindle and Print editions now available, India and Rohan are wagging their tails fit to burst!  So, to celebrate, we thought we would share the Introduction that India (well, mostly India) supplied for the book...

 


 

 “Hello!  I’m India and I’m a Learning Assistant here at TURN Education.  I know a lot of you followed the stories about me and Packham and we were really pleased about that.  Since we lost Packham, quite unexpectedly, when he became very poorly, I’ve…”

“Who’re you talkin’ to, Ninja?”

“I’m talking to the ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls who’ve been kind enough to buy this book of stories about me”

“And me!”

“Well, yes, and you but you need to go away because you’re not here yet”

“What d’yer mean ‘I’m not here yet’?”

“I mean you’re not supposed to be in this part of the book!”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s about the whole year at TURN and, at the start of the year, you weren’t here.  It was just me, at Christmas, managing on my own.  So, right now, you’re not here”

“Where am I then, Ninja?”

“Well, I suppose you’d still be in your mummy’s tummy?”

“Tho, right now, I’m in my mummy’th tummy?”

“Yes, that’s right, which is why we shouldn’t be having this conversation.  Now, as I was saying, since we lost Packham…”

“It’th bigger than I thought”

“What is?”

“My mummy’th tummy”

“How do you know?”

“Well, jutht look around.  Altho, it lookth a lot like our kitchen at home”

“That’s because it is our kitchen at home!”

“You thaid it wath my mummy’th tummy!”

“No, I said that at this point in the book, where we haven’t even started the year yet, you wouldn’t be here”

“Ok, where am I?”

“Oh no, not again!  Look, this is a book of stories about a year at TURN Education through the eyes of us dogs, right?”

“Right!”

“At the start of the year, there’s only me here, because Packham left us in October and you’re not here yet.  So the stories start with me on Christmas Eve…”

“Oh great, do I get to thee Thanta?”

“No, of course you don’t get to see Santa!  That’s the whole point of the story, there’s just me there to deal with things”

“Aww…I can help if you like”

“No, you can’t because you’re not here…and before you ask, I don’t know where you are, ok?”

“I’m jutht here, Ninja!”

“Yes, [sighs deeply] I know you are.  I’ve got your paw jammed in my ear, apart from anything else!  Look, I was going to introduce these stories to the readers but I think I might as well give up and just let them get on with it!”

“Ok, Ninja.  What’th a reader?”

“Somebody with a lot more patience than me, I hope!  Let’s get out of the way and let them get on with the book”

“Ok, Ninja.  Where are we going?”

“Just over there”

“What, here?”

“No, that’s not far enough away, a bit further”

“How about here?”

“Yes, that’s much better!  Now, as I was saying…”

“I’m back!”

“So I see, what happened?”

“I got lonely over there on my own”

“I give up!  Here are some stories about a year at TURN Education with me, India…”

“And me, Rohan!”

“We hope you enjoy them”

You can enjoy the Kindle version for just £1.99 - Waggy Dog Tales 2 Kindle

or the paperback for just £4.99 (makes a great stocking-filler) - Waggy Dog Tales 2 Print   All profits go to TURN Education to support their wonderful work with children, young people and their families.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

A Dog is not just for Christmas...but these two could be!

I promised you some news about Rohan and India, so here it is!
 
The brand new book of stories about their lives at TURN Education is now available as both a Kindle version and as a paperback. This is a book that will delight children and animal-lovers of all ages and makes the ideal stocking-filler. The Kindle version, just £1.99, is available for pre-order now and will be published on 19th November:
 
Don't forget, you can now give Kindle books as a gift!

The paperback version is available to order now from Amazon at just £4.99 but, we would much prefer it if you would order it directly from us as then we can maximise the amount that goes to TURN Education. To order your copy please send £4.99 plus £1.75 p&p to paypal.me/philwhiteland and don't forget to include the name and address you want the book sending to. If you would like the book signed, please let us know.

Enjoy a year in the life of Rohan and India and all of the animals at TURN Education 🙂
 
Here's the blurb:
 
A year in the life of the dogs (and other animals) at TURN Education. Beginning with the first Christmas without Packham and how India coped on Christmas Eve. Then introducing the newest member of the team, Rohan, and how he and India came to understand each other, along with everyone else on the care farm. Featuring an all-star cast of donkeys, goats, ducks, cats and, oddly enough, a wood louse! This is a book that animal-loving children of all ages will enjoy.
 

 


 

Friday, 22 October 2021

Packham


One year ago this month we lost this chap, leaving a huge Chocolate Labrador-shaped hole in the hearts of everyone who knew and loved him.

Ironically, we were just about to publish the first collection of stories about Packham, and his companion India, as a paperback to raise funds for TURN Education. Caroline, TURN's founder, decided we should go ahead, in Packham's memory.

The original idea was to sell these at Open Days etc. but the pandemic rather scuppered that! We wanted to sell them ourselves as that ensured that at least £2 would go to TURN, whereas sales through Amazon only generated a handful of pence! 

However, we are now making the book available as a Kindle e-book for the first time at just £1.99 (of which £1.22 goes to TURN, the rest to Amazon). 

You get a whole series of heartwarming and amusing stories about Packham and India that every child will love and, don't forget, you can now give Kindle books as a gift! This is the blurb for the book:

"A collection of amusing and heart-warming stories about Packham and India, the two dogs at TURN Education. Although written for children, we strongly expect quite a few adults will enjoy the jokes and situations that arise as Packham and India try to make sense of their world. Starting from when India was just a puppy and learning the ropes (although she always had the measure of Packham) through to them moving to the smallholding where they, and the rest of the animals, then lived. Finally, coming up to date and introducing some familiar faces around TURN. All profits from the sale of this collection go to TURN Education to help with their remarkable animal -related therapy work with children, young people and their families. Sadly, after a brief and entirely unexpected illness, Packham passed away just as this book was being finalised for publication. Caroline insisted that this book should still be published in memory of Packham and to celebrate his life, and the joy and love he brought to everyone who knew him. This is for Packham."

You can see more about the Kindle edition by following this link

Coming soon, and certainly before Christmas (hopefully) 'Waggy Dog Tales 2', the further adventures of India and Rohan (as seen on ABCtales)

 

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

From A Dithtanthe!

From time to time I've been publishing stories about the two dogs and all of the other animals at TURN Education.  You can find the latest stories on ABCtales, just follow this link.  For some unknown reason, I couldn't upload this recent story to that site, so I'm sharing it here.  Hope you enjoy it!

 


 

India was snoozing peacefully in her crate, warmed by a handy shaft of autumnal sunshine shining through the kitchen window.  She heard, but tried to ignore, the pad, pad, pad of Labrador paws progressing from the kitchen door across the stone-tiled floor.  Eventually the padding stopped and a shadow fell across her face.

“Erm” the shadow ventured.

“What?” India asked, crossly, with her eyes tightly shut.

“I don’t like to worry you…” Rohan (the owner of the shadow) began.

“But you’re going to, aren’t you?  Why is it that, when anyone says ‘I don’t want to worry you…’, ‘worry you’ is exactly what they do?” India grumbled, still with her eyes firmly shut.

“Only…it’th Mom” Rohan explained.  India jumped up, fully awake immediately.

“What about her?  What’s happened?” She asked, looking alarmed, and then, “what have you done?” She asked, suspiciously.

“Me?  Nothing!” Rohan was full of indignation.

“Then what’s the matter?”

“It’s just…the’th wandering around the yard, talking to herthelf” Rohan looked pleased to have got that off his mind, but also concerned.

India frowned more deeply still and thought about this for a moment.

“Come on, we’d better go an see what’s happening” She announced.

Rohan padded after her, out into the yard, only too pleased to have shifted responsibility for this problem onto his older playmate.

Once out in the yard, Mom could be seen at the far end, one arm outstretched, talking quite loudly.

“Perhaps she’s talking to the goats, or maybe the sheep?” India suggested as she sat and observed.

Rohan plonked himself down beside her and listened for a while.

“It doethn’t thound like thomething you would thay to the goatth” He commented.

“No, you’re right” India nodded, much to Rohan’s amazement, “it doesn’t.” She thought for a while, before, “You know, I think I’ve seen this before”

“What happened?” Rohan asked, “did they have to go to the Vet’th?” He suggested, gloomily.

“Of course not!” India snapped, “people don’t go to the Vet’s”

“There were loadth of people there when I went latht time” Rohan pointed out.

“Yes, but they would have been there with their animals.  People don’t go to the Vet’s, they go to a Doctor”

“What’th the differenth?”  Rohan asked, reasonably.  India thought, furiously, about this for a while.  Eventually,

“You don’t have to pay at a Doctor’s” She said, delighted to have thought of a difference.

“Why do you have to pay at a Vet’th?”

“Well, that’s obvious!” India snorted, “we’re clearly very valuable, so it’s very expensive to make sure we stay well”

“And they’re not valuable?” Rohan nodded toward Mom, in the distance, still talking to her outstretched hand.

India looked at him for a while, and then shrugged (which is very difficult for a dog to do).

“Anyway,” She said, “I’ve seen this before”

“Tho, what happened?”

“Well, nothing really.  It stopped after a bit.  It’s something to do with that thing she’s got in her hand”

Rohan and India peered into the distance.  Dogs’ eyesight isn’t anywhere near as sensitive as their sense of smell, but they could just about make out the dim outline of something in Mom’ hand.

“What ith it?”

“Well, it’s that thing she sometimes stares at.  You know, it lights up every now and then and sometimes makes a noise.  Whenever she looks at it, she either gets cross, and says a rude word, or sometimes she laughs”

“Oh, yeth.  Flynn’th got one ath well”

“That’s right!  Packham, who was here before me, he used to say that it was something they could use to see and talk to people who were a long way away”

“Like Flynn’th telethcope?”  Rohan suggested.

“Well, no, not exactly” India frowned with the effort of thinking. “You can’t talk to people through a telescope”

“Otherwithe you could talk to the Man in the Moon” Rohan grinned.

“There isn’t a Man in the Moon” India snapped.

“There ith!” Rohan said, indignantly, “I’ve theen hith fathe!”

“Fathe?  Oh, face!” India chuckled, “it’s not a face”

“Lookth like one” Rohan said, grumpily.

“It’s not a face!  It’s other things like…like…mountains!” India dredged that up from something Flynn had told her ages ago.

“Don’t be thilly!” Rohan giggled and rolled on the floor, ”how would you get thomething ath big ath a mountain on thomething ath tiny ath the Moon?”

“It’s not tiny, it’s…oh, never mind!” India shook her head, despairingly, “Anyway, if Packham was right, she’s talking to someone who is a long way away”

“Ith that why the’s thouting?”

“I suppose so” India conceded.

“Do you think we thould go and thee if the’th alright?”

“Yes, that would be a good plan” India nodded, and set off across the yard, with Rohan in hot pursuit.

“Oh, and here are our dogs here at TURN!” Mom announced to the thing in her hand, “hello lovely boy and lovely girl!” She scratched Rohan’s head with one hand whilst the other pointed the thing at the two dogs.

“Who did the thay that to?” Rohan asked, rolling over to get his tummy tickled.

“No idea!” India admitted, bustling in to get her chest rubbed.

“Are you thure the won’t have to go to the Vet’th?”

“Shush! I’m listening” India cocked her head to one side and listened intently.  “Ah, now I think I know!” She smiled and looked very superior.

“What?”  Rohan looked perplexed.

“She’s not just talking to one person, she’s talking to lots of them!  She’s doing it so that they don’t all have to come here to see us”

“Aww!” Rohan complained, “how can I lick them and get cuddleth if they’re not here?”

“Not everyone wants to be licked by you!” India said, sharply.

“Yeth, they do” Rohan said, confidently.

“Well, anyway, it’s not a very big place, so if everyone came to see us, at the same time, there wouldn’t be room for everyone, would there?”

“Humph!” Rohan grumbled.

“Well, would there?”  India raised one eyebrow.

“Thuppothe not” Rohan conceded, testily.

“So, this is a way for lots of people to get to see TURN and all of us here”

“Through that thing?”

“Yes” India nodded.

“Tho, if I licked that thing, I’d be licking loadth of people?”

“Erm, yes, I suppose so” India agreed, uncertainly.

“Right, I’m going to lick it!” Rohan bounded over toward Mom.

“Rohan!” India shouted, “Don’t!  You’ll get in such trouble!”

“Rohan! Down!” Mom commanded, and Rohan dropped to his paws instantly. “What’s the matter with you, you great soft licky thing?”  She said in a softer tone.

“I told you!” India shook her head, sadly, as Rohan made his way back to her.

“Didn’t get in trouble though, did I?” He said, with a smirk.

“You didn’t lick it, either” India pointed out.

“I’ll get it when the’th not looking, later” Rohan grinned.

“You’re impossible!” India frowned.

“Thank you!” Rohan smiled, broadly.

“It’s not a compliment!”

“Come on, let’th go and lick a few duckth”  Rohan bounded away across the yard.

“They don’t want to be licked…oh, I give up!”  India sighed, as she lolloped after him.

 

You can see the video that Mom was making, and get a full virtual tour of TURN Education in the process (including India and Rohan), by following this link 😊

Don’t forget, you can buy the first book of ‘Waggy Dog Tales’, featuring Packham and India, and help support TURN Education.  Just follow this link and read the instructions on the pinned post.