Introducing Gizmo, the writer. It occurs to me that now my blog is opening out to people who don’t already know and love me, many may not know exactly who I am and how and why my voice translates to the page.
I am a Welsh Fox Terrier from Tony Pandy, where the speaker of the House of Commons Lord Tony Pandy, came from – a close neighbour you know. I came to this farm at eight weeks of age, met my close friend and sister, a locally bred sheep dog collie called Skylark who is two weeks my senior, and we lived together at first in a splendid makeshift home on the back terrace of our farmhouse. We spent our days eating, growing, playing, learning, scrapping, sleeping, peeing and poohing, chasing anything and each other, ripping toys and the old sofa to rags, making ourselves absolutely indispensable to our family of farmers and all the other dogs and sheep that live here, to say nothing of the wildlife. It was all such fun that even the learning we had to do felt like a game!
Back then, when we first arrived, we had two older dogs to teach us stuff: Hattie, a lovely big gentle black lady with long scraggy hair, the kindest and most gentle of creatures, who taught us respect and affection, and Jack, her companion and I think half-brother. He was a magnificent big tricoloured collie cross, with big sad eyes and very long legs. He was the sheepdog really and he really knew what he was doing – Skye concentrated hard and learned well from him ……I tried but I am a little short in the leg and slow of learning, as I find things a bit difficult to understand until I have had it all explained about twenty times, and few people have both the time and the patience at the same moment to help with that…..although Jack tried and tried, bless him. Eventually he used to give up the explaining thing and went to get on with whateveritwas all by himself, but he was never cross and loved us both quite equally, even if Skye managed better with the sheep work than I did.
Then Hattie died. I was terribly sad. Then not long after, poor Jack had some terrible fits, and he died too, and I was even more sad. So that just left Skye and me. We made a plan then. We decided that to stop our family from being lonely without Hattie and Jack, we should move into the house full time, get acquainted with chairs, sofas, cushions and beds and stuff and see what we could do to help generally about the house and the farm. We enjoyed every single moment of this infiltration, as can be imagined, and we found out that we each have quite exceptional talents in a variety of directions. Skye is brilliant at border control, she is very fast out of the door, she is good at getting the flock together and moving them under control from hither to yon. She is the most kindest person imaginable, loving and attentive, but basically completely crazy, living life at very high speed…..which means she cannot do things slowly, she cannot sit still, she cannot think hard for any length of time about anything, and will rush from place to place bumping herself, bumping into other people and things – like trailers for example – and yelps out of the way saying “that wasn’t there a moment ago”, and how dare it move into her way. This is all very well, but it leads to a life full of surprises for her which makes her a little nervy sometimes.
As for me – well, I am an excellent sou-chef, a good cleaner of dishes to prevent clogging of the pipes and filters, I am loving and giving, superb at warming laps, an excellent scoffer, a patient person at the hairdressers, a good researcher into mice and stonking smells all of which I am proud to bring home for inspection. I am resigned by now to all my efforts culminating in a wash, and prefer the warm shower type of ablution to the cold yard tap. However. My ultimate talent is in the organisational managerial side of life on the farm. I am amazingly good at it, which is astonishing really since the only training I have had has been on the job, and I have to say that Skye is completely useless at it, being such a dizzyhead. Nowadays of course I am ably assisted by OC, our fabulously bright and serious Only Chicken.
I have to explain the circumstances of my landing such a good job. We had another dear member of the family who loved me so much, took me out on long walks with her, played with me, photographed me, talked to me, sang to me, cuddled and cared for me, washed me and trimmed my hair, and was the most important person in the whole world to all of us. She was the deputy manager of all of us at the farm, strong as anything on Health and Safety issues regarding the workforce. Well, sadly, she became iller and iller, more and more tired until she too left us, to go and be with Jack and Hattie I expect. But before she left, she told me I had to be good, and to distract me from my enormous sadness she trained me to cover all health and safety aspects, what to look for, how to avoid accidents, how to encourage the use of the back supports, gloves, hats, waterproofs and ear defenders, and how to try to encourage rest as well as work. It was all a lot to take on board. I told her I would prefer her to stay with us to do all that work and I would just continue to be a slightly annoying but very lovable terrorist. She said that sadly it was not up to her……if it had been, she would never never have left, but she could not stop it happening however hard she tried, so I agreed to step up to the mark and take over. She is still everywhere about the farm, round every corner, up every hill, behind every tree, sitting in the chairs, just in the corner of my eye, and she is always whispering in my ear when I am confronted by a puzzle or a conundrum which is terribly comforting. I am very grateful for her advice and guiding hand, and on the whole we do a pretty good job I think. I was a puppy of three years of age when she left me in charge, and I am now about five I think, older, wiser, more experienced and capable than I was when she went, and I think she would be really really proud of my progress.
So my job is to keep on top of all the projects, to keep everyone safe, to try not to forget or lose too much stuff, to keep a keen nose and sharply pointed pencil ready at all times to document life around us for anyone that might care to know.