During the winter months the dogs – well most of them, prefer the comfort of the kitchen to sleep in and mainly because its:

a) Warm
b) A Food source
c) Humans are available
d) It’s a food source
e) There is plenty of room for them – but there’s more in the conservatory?
f) It’s warm and
g) It’s a food source

However, with ‘most’ of the dogs in the kitchen at inappropriate times it becomes a little congested and making a cup of tea becomes an obstacle course and if biscuits are involved or slices of cake then a prior course in E & E (Escape and Evasion) is crucial to successfully getting back to the front room.

In fact, planning to make a cup of tea whilst already in the front room is much more sensible as you can (read I can) plan the strategy, plot the course and timing of events and cunningly work out the disguises for the cakes or biscuits.

Come on admit it? You’ve been there and although ‘you got used to it’ it’s easy with one or two dogs – but with 7 Spins and an arrogant French thing plus the ‘other two’ then at times things tend to get slightly out of hand!!

I have complained about this several times to The Dearest One that it is a hazard, and a dangerous place to have hazards in, after all, there are many potential accidents waiting to be sprung once you enter the twilight zone of the kitchen that is occupied with ever hungry dogs.
You could trip over one, you could drop a crumb from a biscuit packet and get knocked down by the umpteen mouths leaping up to catch the crumb before it hits the floor, one of them might grab a bucket of courage and jump up to see what’s on the counter and in reaching for the cloth to clean the counter you slip backwards on the retreating dog – you needed the cleaning cloth because it’s still raining outside and guess where they’ve been?

My complaining has finally paid off?

“I had a close encounter this morning with a rogue Spin in the kitchen and it got my toast” explained the Dearest One, “And it nearly got the milk carton as well”

“Were you making me a cup of tea as well then dear”? I enquired

“Yes, but poured yours into my bucket so I could maintain my own daily dosage” “and I had your toast as well”!!
“Gosh” I said calmly!!

She wasn’t finished?

She took a huge lungful of local oxygen and swallowing a huge amount of pride (along with my tea and toast) came the immortal words………”You are right” “We need to re-arrange the kitchen”

I feinted

When I came round a few moments later I felt I was in a dream world where I had been right – for once

I dared not ask her to repeat what she had just said for fear of being hit with a low flying fist, so I asked – still slightly dazed “And what would you propose WE do”

“We’ll get a new kitchen”

I feinted

“Strip this one out and have this up there, rip them out, build a breakfast bar, have a cupboard in the corner, cupboards here, here and here and put down a new floor and and and”

“Oh yes and you can strip out the old and in with the new”

I feinted

Then something quite religious happened……I got a call to go away again and only for few weeks this time. So before I left we went to our local ‘Kitchens are us’ emporium and viewed and reviewed options. Finally having made a choice a nice man in the emporium came to our house to measure and design and offer us options. After he had gone we were happy – read she was happy because there was work to do!! Or rather for me to do

It took him 20 minutes to measure everything and 2 hours to go round all the dogs stroking and petting them……What a sweet man!! “Oh God please make him go away”

The lead time for our bespoke ready assembled kitchen allowed for me to be away and for the old kitchen to be stripped out, which The Dearest One completed with a 4 pound lump hammer and a vengeance. Meanwhile I drew up a plan of works, things to buy and hire.

When I got back from my latest excursion we were ready for action!!!

I hired a hammer to get the old flooring tiles up and I have to say it went through it like a knife through butter. By the end of the first day the old floor was gone and new one laid.
The dogs came and went as the noise went from extreme to quiet. Some of the dogs came in and poked a wet nose in my face as I laid the new tiles. I smirked at them and just said they were in for a shock!!

To be fair, The Dearest One had done a great job in getting the old kitchen out and had had a lot of help from her Father. Or he had done a great job and The Dearest One had been a great help!!

Not sure which way round it was

Then the new kitchen arrived

I feinted

This was not going to be easy and although I have all the tools it’s about the preparation and the planning. The preparation was good and the plan was on course – the sink side would be completed first and here we came across our first delay – the plumber!! A local!

Brilliant at what he does, has a terrific reputation but lives in a different time zone and probably a different planet as well from what I understood of him – which was next to nothing “It wants a what”??

When he came we encountered a few further problems but nothing that could not be overcome, but in overcoming them I had to work late into the night. By the following morning we were slightly behind schedule – one day!! A potential disaster

But the base units went in easily enough, the top cut out for the new sink, the plumbing done, albeit with an air lock which was a nuisance, but otherwise we had the makings of our new kitchen.

The next morning I went to my workshop to get some tools and noticed The Dearest One’s Father in the garden – nothing unusual about this I thought…………(Oh God, now what)

There was smoke coming from the lawn

There was a small square white piece of board being wafted on top of the lawn

I stopped and leant on the fence to watch this rather unusual sight

There was The Dearest One’s sweet old Dad looking at me with a real vengeful look?

“Might I enquire what you’re doing” I asked

“Smoking these bloody moles out” he said

“Oh OK then” I replied

“Got this tip from a mate who said this was the best way to get rid of moles”

“Right, right” I said

“So let me understand then, just how does this work”

“Firelighter into the hole, cover the hole and slowly move the board up and down thus pushing the smoke down further and through the burrows”

“Right – and when is your mate due to be released” I asked

“He swears by this method” “And they never come back” he said

“No I’m not surprised either, I’m not sure whether it was the smoke or that the moles thought he was just a nutter and that is why they left”

I walked off. It wouldn’t be long before the men in white coats came for him as well I thought, and then him and his mate could share mole moving stories together from the confines of that nice home……

“Oh yes John those yellow pills are my favourites as well and blend so nicely with the purple one’s to give you that all round hallucinogenic effect”

“Colin” “Who are you talking to”?

“That mole on the sofa over there with the TV remote” “Why do you ask”?

“Just wondered, because I’m over here and the mole is called Maurice by the way”
“And Maurice won’t take any notice of you”

“Why’s that John”

“Because he’s too busy watching a documentary about the dangers of smoke inhalation”

“Not surprised really given the amount of fire lighters that were put down through his mole hill”

“But moles are blind you know”

“Then how come they see well enough to ruin my lawn and make small volcano effects all over the place”?

“And how come the moles are not with them and those dogs next door?”

“Because they see sense and recognise the dangers”

“Oh OK, so they can see sense and see enough to ruin my lawn and yet they’re blind”

“Pass me those pills again – these are wearing off”

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen

Between us we worked our way through the wall units and electrics and other bits and pieces along with our defining moment? The breakfast bar was carefully put into position. Then shortly after that The Dearest One put all the cupboard doors on. To perfection I might add – these last two events crowned a very busy and very hectic week, but we had done it, we had a new kitchen and – and we now had a terrific space under the breakfast bar where the dogs would take up a place – or several

Only the decorating and tidying up was needed and The Dearest One would take on that as she pointed out to me.

Oh yes – then there was this little gem?

“You are to provide me with sufficient funding for new pots, pans, ornaments, dishes, cutlery and anything else I might need – we have a new kitchen and therefore everything else must be renewed as well”

I feinted

Yes but what about the dogs I hear you ask?

Vet beds were laid down, the dogs were excited and when finally we were ready we let them in.

Our cunning plan had worked and they settled nicely under the breakfast bar. And stayed there?
We had our working place, they had comfort and all was happy again!!

Well OK then – happy once they had jumped up first to see what was on the breakfast bar – and the other base units, and in the cupboards and behind the cooker………..and the fridge

After an exhausting few minutes of settling them down “Get off there you jolly naughty doggies” everyone was happy……………………………Except the moles next door

We were kept awake all night from their coughing and spluttering…….from inhaling all that smoke

The next day………

The moles evacuated the in-laws back garden and found sanctuary – they came to take up residence in our front room!!!!

And yes there were two of them – in our front room

The Dearest One armed with an empty dog bowl grabbed them both and then proceeded towards the wood where she let them go…..she then gave them a map and a compass so they could find their way back to the in-laws back garden – a fact we were reminded of by ‘him’!! (The looney with the board and firelighters)

But the Viz was happy?

He of course is the root of all this trouble?

He is – as you may have read in previous BNs has an Olympic Gold medal for digging at mole hills and digging in general. That dog is the ultimate mole hunter and he does not need a firelighter, a piece of board and a nutty mate to tell him how to rid the garden of moles. But the issue here is that the in-laws garden is a mole safe haven – when the Viz digs they have to move on and guess where to??

Time will tell and I’ll keep you updated

As for The Dearest One’s Dad and his mate I will also let you know where they end up so you can send flowers and cards – but not with moles on!!

Imagine the scene at the home for retired mole hunters when they get the post delivered

“Oh Dude, this is so cool” “I got some big brown pills in a box and they’re called chocolate mix”

“I wonder if they’re as good as the yellow and purple pills”?

“Yea dude and I got big green pills on a small tree – they look like grapes but these are so cool”

“Come on John, let’s take one of each and chill out”

“Who they from”?

“It says on the card – all my love Maurice”

“I don’t know a Maurice, do you”?

“No, must be some underground pill supplier”!!!!

The dogs were kept occupied by some guests we had with us!!

“What?” “You have got to be kidding me”

The daughter was to stay with us for a while and she brought along a smaller version? We call this one a Grand Daughter.

And so it came to pass that all the coffee’s and tea’s were supplied by the aforementioned Daughter whilst the mini version watched the idiot box, annoyed the dogs, sorry, played with the dogs and generally had a thrilling and inspiring time with us away from the big city where they originated from (for ‘big city’ read – a small village similar to the one from the TV series “The League of Gentlemen”) Royston Vasey was the village for those struggling to remember the village name – I loved that series - mainly because I live it nowadays!!

Food was supplied via two mediums
1. We went out to eat of an evening or
2. We went to the in laws – oh no, not porridge again!!

The latter was a surreal experience?

The dogs were funny because they could not understand why we weren’t in the kitchen playing “First to grab the food”

This is a great game for all the family!!!

You get say, 6 to 10 dogs to meander round the kitchen while you’re trying to cook dinner for the evening. The game is simple…….you get out the ingredients and try your hardest to keep them away from the dogs. Then just when you’re winning the meat that was cooking needs turning over or stirring or adding fresh vegetables or whatever. Meanwhile the dogs have to get as many bits and pieces as they can and the winner is the one who gets the most food.

Just out of interest we have played 23, won 18, lost 2 and with 3 draws.

The daughter and mini version of course cheated?

They had breakfast every morning at ‘Grannies’ – but it was embarrassing for us stood outside looking through the kitchen window at them all munching away and enjoying copious amounts of Grannies special homemade porridge. Yummy………

And so The Dearest One and I had to be content with a cup of tea with cement dust, wood shavings and bits of old kitchen tiles. Yummier………

This is hopeless? I’ve digressed again haven’t I………..

During the hammer and vengeance session of taking out the old kitchen a pile of ‘old kitchen’ had been left outside at the back of the house and one morning I took time out to relocate it to my favourite place where I have my garden fires.

Everything burnable would be……..

I got the wheelbarrow and happily plodded around for a couple of hours clearing up……that is until?

I suddenly remembered taking ‘that piece of wood’ down to the fire earlier? Oh well, must be two of them.

Then a pipe reappeared

Then another piece of wood

And so it went on

Then suddenly a light came on in my head?


Duncan was helping me!!!

I took it down to the fire and he brought it back up

He was well pleased with himself, whilst I wasn’t

If that wasn’t bad enough JJ kept bringing me a piece of wood I was supposed to throw for him and in a moment of outrageous stupidity – I did

And now I was in trouble, Duncan fetching the ‘old kitchen’ back and JJ leaping around like a demented thing on yellow and purple pills wanting to retrieve that damned piece of wood.

Then the French thing joined in and after about an hour I threw myself on the fire…….

But I hadn’t lit it

Because there was nothing to burn what with Duncan taking the wood off it and JJ fetching anything by now that resembled a piece of wood and the French thing copying them. This was a disaster.

I trudged off up to Grannies and asked if Colin had any of those pills left……..

After a few days the new kitchen was in and triumphantly we celebrated.
There were bits and pieces left to do but essentially we had a new kitchen, the dogs had more space and the aforementioned food competition was now going to firmly swing in our favour?

The Dearest One had one last trick up her sleeve?

The kitchen had been planned so that a dog gate could be located at the far end that effectively kept the dogs out of the kitchen main area when we were cooking…..we were well pleased with ourselves.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the King and Queen of Smugness

The dogs were clearly shell shocked

They were devastated

The next morning we let them out for P & P and their usual constitutionals and all was quiet.

Too quiet

The next thing we heard were shrieks and screams and bad language from the cottage next door where those elderly folk lived…you know? Granny Porridge and Granddad Mole……

All the dogs had plotted overnight to take a mole each from our garden and fields and relocate them into the garden next door. We of course got the blame….

The porridge suppliers would probably go on strike and ruin a little girl’s life, how would she ever get over this terrible ordeal of no breakfast at her Grannies?


Have a tantrum…….it worked

I had a tantrum once you know and ate with the dogs that night – from the spare bowl!!

The Dearest One does not do tantrums

She is a ‘Motivational Speaker’!!!!!!

These moments of joy are both bowel moving and breathtaking in their intensity. The passion behind the speaking, the choice of words illuminating and the colours of the face are to be truly admired and I can tell you that the motivation to go faster, work harder and do more is an inspiring event. I have been so moved at times……!!

Once I downed tools just to listen to her and felt as if I was in the presence of a great Deity

Once I just downed tools and went off outside with the dogs as I was so moved

I once went to say something and was immediately bought down by the hand of this most inspirational of speakers

You had to be there

Or not!!!

I know? Another minor digression

The whole exercise taught me a lot about a number of things and remember. When you stop learning you die

But in all fairness it is a very significant undertaking to strip out a kitchen and to replace it with a new one. We had carefully planned it, discussed it and worked to the plan. 80% of it was spot on but next time we do this I’m going to allow a bigger contingency margin

a) Guests will do more!!!! Inclusive of the size of them

b) Guests will be assigned project work inclusive of being tea and coffee bearers

c) Moles will not be tolerated and relocated next door

d) Elderly people – older than us – will have their pills reduced to lower the effects of the hallucinations

e) Elderly peoples ‘mates’ with weird and very odd advice will be shot coming up the lane so they can’t provide drug induced advice to an equally odd couple at the top of the lane

f) The dogs will not be allowed out when I’m moving the rubbish down to the fire – several times

g) Porridge will be banned

h) There will be less ‘Motivational speaking’ and more work

i) The menu for evening meals at the old people’s home next door must be improved with more variety – Mole Stroganoff, Meat and mole pies (bit furry, but edible) Mole and firelighter in a red wine sauce, mole sausages, chips and mushy peas and my favourite – Mole Tikka and white rice – preferably steamed

j) And finally – the wine!!!!

I want to finish on the subject of the wine??

“And what’s this got to do with the dogs”

Well to be honest, absolutely nothing, but I just wanted to show you what I have to put up with!!

One night we went ‘up there’ to the house of very mature people- or, very immature people as it turned out………

Queen Mole had prepared a meat and porridge dinner for us – very nice, in an oaty kind of way

Meanwhile, King mole offered me a beer and or a glass of fine wine!!

We started eating our meal and toasted the new kitchen – how sweet

Now before I go any further and to get you into the minds of the downright unscrupulous, some time ago we went to the cottage where ‘they’ live and I had a glass of beer with them. All very sociable except for one thing?

I like a decent glass of beer, I also like a decent glass of wine. But on this night in question ‘The inscrutable’ ones had swapped my glass of beer for a supermarket version of a distinct lesser quality. I never said anything and my oh my how they laughed!!!

Caught me out and I’ve never lived it down. BUT……what goes round, comes round!!

On the night in question when we were eating our meat and porridge stew with a plaster cast casing over the top of it….no sorry that should read pastry over the top of it – I think……I was given a glass of beer and a glass of wine. The glass of wine was more like vinegar and not my usual expectation of what I determine as a smooth fruity wine. I drank the beer and said nothing – just grateful for the food……or its substitute!!

But the wine worried me?

I thought carefully – very – about my next few words

“Have you not sealed the top of the wine bottle properly”? I asked

It went quiet

“I think air has got to this wine and its going off, its bitter like vinegar…….”

It was still quiet

Then Mr Mole started to choke back laughing and claimed the food was going down the wrong way

Mrs Mole just said it was recently purchased and had only been opened that night, but I knew something was not right with this wine? Or a derivative of a wine

Anyway, I didn’t drink the rest of the glass and stuck to the beer – which was at least beer

There was then a moment of merriment and at that moment I smelt………a mole. The Dearest One kept a neutrality to be admired and clearly this was not a moment for a motivational talk.

Dinner was duly dispatched away and lots of thanks for the pleasant evening
I later learned that Mrs Mole of the unscrupulous clan had kept an empty bottle of a good wine, then bought a wine that was less than quality and poured the contents of it into the empty quality wine bottle and served it to me as a good wine.

The beer got me, the wine didn’t. I had a hint of what went on behind the scenes and have a good memory!!!!

Now it’s my turn to play……..and the moles will be back!!

But not as you know it!!

As for the house on the hill?

All is calm, all is well in our new kitchen and with only bits and pieces to do it’s going to be bliss?

The dogs will be kept at bay, they will now and forever only be able to look on in disgust at the deviousness and sheer brilliance of The Dearest One’s kitchen gate.

Peace has returned

That’s it and watch out for the moles……..



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