Friday, 26 March 2010

The Dogfather made him an offered he couldn't refuse - part 5

Before we go any furvers I wanna say from da bottom of my heart dat I am so touched by wot ma pals all said bout ma bloggy yesterday. 

So where was we? Oh yeah, I had managed to escape from da boat and make my way to Atlantis! I stayed da night wif dem and they did make sure I was comfy and cosy as could be. I stay wif dem for a few more days until da man come back from his shift. The weather is bootiful and I make sure I stick to dem like glue and am nearby at all times:

Dad had telephoned da man to let him know what had happened and told him 'we need to talk'. Da man came straight over to Atlantis and took me away. Mum had spent all night fuming about all the fings wot had been happenin over da munfs. She was at her wits end and it was all she cud do not to beat da man over da head she say!

Dad and mum had already had conversation bout how she must keep her cool or she lose doggy forever! Dad reminded mum dat he deal with people all da time and he used to convincing people to do the right thing. Leave it to me he say. Don't worry he say (ha - as if she cud stop).

mum - What are you doing to do?
dad - I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse!
dad - Just don't say anything and leave it to me. Trust me.

As da man take me away up da steps, mum turn away wif tears and a heavy sadness in her heart. She trust dad wif all her heart. He will do what it takes. She must keep her mouf shut! Mum stand on deck so she can hear what they say and Dad follow da man. They stand at da top of da steps wif me between dem.

Dad - Listen mate, maybe it's all too much for you - Lexie you know - the responsibility. You know we love looking after her and Wendy has become really attached to her. Why not let us take her off your hands? You'll have more time for yourself, more time to go out with your mates (he single dad wot love going clubbin).

Man (i dussnt say his name) - No way, my kids still care about her and they'd kill me.

Dad - Well they're hardly ever here and when they are here they can come and see her any time (mum finks over my dead body).

Man - No. It's not going to happen. You can still look after her though.

Dad - No forget it. It's too painful for Wendy and it's not doing Lexie any good either.

Man - Ok well how about if I let Lexie have puppies and you can have one.

Dad (fuming) - What? No - Lexie comes and lives with us or we don't look after her any more. Fuck it (dad did swear!) - forget it - I'm going to get another dog for Wendy. Lex is not our problem any more.

Dad turn away and walk off down steps and back on boat. He grab mum and take her inside before she say anything.

Mum - WTF! Now we've lost her forever! That is it - I don't want another dog. How will she understand? We've done this. We've caused her even more pain!

Dad - Calm down! Trust me - he'll be back.

Three days passed. Mum could see me on da back of da boat and I did see her too. I wud stand on my back legs lookin over at her. Why she not come get me? She not like me no more? I bin bad? Man call me back - get down he shout! Come here he shout! He is angry I can hear in his voice.

Den I wakes up on da fourth day and everyfin as changed. I cannot finds ma bowl and da basket wot the man give me to sleep in. I sniff around. Come on, he says. I follow him off da boat (must be goin to the pub I fink). But no we go down steps to Atlantis. I see da man and da woman is there. Mum call me Lexie - come here, here girl. Hello Hello! She cuddle me, she kiss me! They seem bery eggsited and I gets very eggsited too!

I go inside ... there is ma bowl and basket from da ova boat. Mum come in and say Welcome home Lexie! I dusnnt know but I never goin back to dat boat.

I did not know but the man was goin on away for three weeks and he cud not find anyone to look after me. He knew if he left me, mum and dad wud report him to da RSPCA! His ex-wife refuse to have me, no friends would have me. He stuck!!!! Soooooo, he take me over to mum and dad knowin dat he have no choice! I am all theirs and they are all mine - my mum and dad!

For a long time I fort I was goin back to da man. Mum sorted lots of fings out pretty quick. First fing she dun was take me to da vets. They check ma legs and feet and do x-rays. They say is all fine and she can take me for walks but to build up slowly.

Den we go to place called Pets at Home. I get collar, lead, toys, another new bed, brushes, combs and all manner of fings!

They teach me swimmin, sniffin, meeting doggies, runnin, playing, fetchin, sittin, staying, waiting, stopping, layin down, rollin over and so many fings dat I never knew about! Oh and of course,tweetin! heehee.

I finds out about life on a boat. I learn about how not to look when dad is weldin (sofmink mum could don wif remembering), noisy machines and was soon to discover my love for extra strong mints, which, for health and safety reasons I am tightly rationed on, after I once ate a whole packet off the table!

Mum and dad finds out more bout me too! See above re extra strong mints (they refer to this as OODR = out of dog reach). They put in dog flap and taught me how to climb up and go down the stairs in da wheelhouse.  They show me dat when someone is shoutin it can be  because they is warnin you bout a dangerous fing or they is shoutin bout good fing. I did not like shoutin and always did hide under the table!

Well friends, you can see it worked out well for us all! Mum spent a good few months wondering if I was happy, sad, fed up, depressed and asking dad if he thought I liked being wif dem. Silly woman!

Now we can carry on wif da story of Atlantis in da knowledge that I is now offishully Ship's Dog!

See you later .. Ali Bongo out!

PS: Oh I forgot to say dat of course you will be finkin ow did mum and dad know bout all these fings was appenin to me? The man told them! He told them bout his boys and wot they did to me and how his ex-wife want me to be put down so he cud be hero wif his boys.

Den when I did move in wif da man he tell mum and dad bout all da beatdowns he give me (dat wot he call dem) to show me who is da boss! Mum and dad had to hold their tongues bout that til they knew for sure they had me!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Reasons to be cheerful - part 4

Well ma pals welcome to 2005! Was a cold winter and mum and dad did av some snow at da marina. Here's a picture of dad on da pontoon in da deep midwinter!

Lots of snow did land on Atlantis so dey did stay safely tucked away inside da boat wif da heatin on full blast. Now, this might sound lovely and cozy but when you got a boat her size wif no insulation, da walls run with condensation when da heat is on and when it is off dey gets ice on dem, on the inside!

Atlantis had no insulation at dat time; she has now though you better believe it ;)). During the really really cold times, dey av to leave da heat on all night else they wake up with frozen faces. The temperature dropped to bout minus 2 when the boiler was avin some problems. But dad being dad, would get up in da freezin cold early mornins and start da boiler again before he would let mum get up. Dey also used to put on da gas cooker in da kitchen and a friend told them bout puttin a large upturned plant pot (wot is made of clay) on da stove to warm da room up. It did work quite well. These drums has da diesel in wot has to be pumped:

Around bout dis time (which was bout February of the 2005 year) I was living at ma first ome. I had been given to a family as a Christmas present by their nan and I was livin wif da family who had three small boys. Dese boys was bit rough on da Lexie puppy so I spend lots of time hidin. There do be lots of shoutin at da Lexie and da only place I feel safe is under da sofa. Dey decide to pull me out from under da sofa one day and dey manage to pull me so hard they pull ma legsies out of they sockets. I ad to go to da vet and had operation on ma legs and pelvis.

When I come back home they fink is fun to tread on my little pawsies and manage to break ma toesies this time. I has to have ma feet bound up and vet say I won't ever be able to walk far and may have brittle bones. After all dat the boys was not interested in me no more and da lady who woz they mum got fed up cleanin up after me. (They never bovva house training me or gettin me jabs so I can go out).  She go mad bout me and say they gotta get rids of me - she want to av me put to sleep or put in sack and drownded.  I was only 5 munfs old den.

The boys dad wot did not live wif dem say dat he take the doggie becoz of da boys beggin him not to av da Lexie put down. He take me to his home so I start ma life in da new place! Dis funny place like noffink I ever seen before. They is not got houses there, they is livin on floatin fings wot is called boats I find out.

The man wot take me in was fireman and he did spend lots of time away from da boat at da fire station. I realise I gonna be spendin lots of time alone locked up in da boat. Dis man not take me for walks or take me to da vet or nuffink. I get lots of bowls of dog food to last me as long as they can while he at da fire station.

Dis man is nice to me most of da time exceptin when I dus bad fing wot is go to the toilet inside da boat. Fing is da man dus not understand dat I as no choice bout it. When I first go live wif him he put paper down so I go on dat. He say good dog and fings like dat so I fink is ok.

When he paintin his boat in da bedroom downstairs one day he put down paper so it not splash on da floor. When he go to work I see there is no paper for me no more but I members there is paper in da bedroom. I go down there and do ma poo and wee on it. When da man come home he bery angry wif da Lexie and he give me 'beat down'. Dat wot he call it. He hit me wif his shoe but I dussnt know wot dis be about!

I dussnt like it on da boat is dark and cold and scary. I as no-one to play wif and I feels so lonely. I cant elps it but I whine an cry a lot. There is some people wot live around who complain to the man bout my cryin. I try to stop. Maybe if I is a good doggie da man will like me some more.

While all dis happenin mum and dad be busy on their boat doin their next big job! Removing da wooden deck. The deck is made of ironwood, very thick wood which is good at absorbin up da salt water. Was perfect for fishermens not so good for your future gin palace! Here's a picture of dem taking up da deck:

In da background on the right you can see the boat wot I live on; the grey one wif da red paint on it.

One day, I see da man talkin to some people wot I saw on anova boat near to me. They is man and woman. He tellin them how he took me in but dat I is bad doggie. I hear lady say to dis man bout bringin me over to meet dem so they can say hello. So da man come and get me and take me to them. I as to be carried to them coz is dangerous for little doggies to climb and jump.

The woman grab me off da man and cuddle me up really tight to her. She even gives me some little kisses on ma head. How funny! She doesn't even know who I am and dat I is bad doggie. She dussnt even seem to care bout dat. We go inside their boat and the lady put me on her lap and cuddle and strokes me all night long! Is lovely. I fink I am gonna like dis lady. The man of dis boat gives me some tickles as well! Oh I like them, they smell nice and they as not shouted at me!

Da man take me back to the other boat and I look over his shoulder as we leave at the new people wot I just met. Dey look nice I fink I like dem a lot. Maybe I will see them again.

Next day da man go to work and leave me on ma own again. He dussnt put food down for me and I fink he must of forgotten. I fink oh well I just conserve ma energy and lay down. It will be all right. Bit later, I hear the door open on da boat. Oh no, maybe da man come back to tell me off! Maybe I hide under the table. Is not man! Is lady from last night! She callin ma name and her voice all softy softy and loving. I go to her and she stroke me. She give me a little kissy again!

Now she is liftin me up and carry me out da door and guess what? She tell me I am gonna stay wif her and da man for a little while. When I gets on their boat the lady put me down and we go on little exploration. I look around and sniffin fings. Da man come up to me and say hello. He tickly me on the chin and rub ma head. He smell nice.

Lady take me inside and there be a basket wif nice blanket dat she say is for me. Dere be some toys to play wif and a ball and some rope to tug. They also have got me some food and treats. I dussnt know but I stay wif dem for four days til the man come back. Mum and dad manage to persuade dis man dat he cannot leave me alone for days on end and they say they will look after me while he not there! In the end he agree, dad is good at persuadin I later finds dat out! I also find out they fall in love wif me da moment they see me! I fink I did fall in love wif dem too but I was too scared to even fink it. I dussnt knows it but soon dis will be ma forever ome!

Over da next few munfs mum and dad (to be! heehee) keep workin on da boat wif lots of fings they as given demselfs to do. Every time da man go away, lady come over to get me to stay wif dem. They has BBQs wif dere friends and I get to nom on sausages and ova nice fings. I soon start getting bigger! Here's me on dere boat at about 6 munfs old. I am in da wheelhouse which is where da lady like to sit and work so I be wif her. I bit scared of da stairs so they has to carry me up and down:

All dis time, they are lookin after me as often as they can get me. Mum convinces da man to put in dog flap so I can go on da deck and do poo and wee. I still aint bin for no walkies or to vet or anyfink. Lady try to get da man to let her take me to vet so I can go for walks wif her but he say no.

Dey is gettin more and more attached to me and me to dem too! Every time da man come to take me back I dus whine and cry. The lady does cry too and dad say he not sure dat lookin after da Lexie like dis is good idea. Is breakin her heart. The man wot I live wif on ova boat den start bein funny bout me goin to see ma new friends. He fink they gettin too friendly and close wif me. He decide to stop all dis. Mum heartbroken.

One night man go off and leave me alone again. I finks I had enuf of dis malarky! I manage to get out dog flap (he did lock it but I chewed it til I gets out). He had put a gate on his ramp wif a lock so no-one get on and I cud not get off. I fink bout dis for a little while. I know da man and da lady is not far away maybe I bark and they come get me. I bark bark bark but noffink appen. Is very windy and maybe da wind is takin ma bark away. Ok .. I got no choices ... ready!? One .... two .... free .... jump!  I jump overboard (even tho I is bery scared) and swim round to da steps near their boat.

I manage to climb da stepsies and get onto the boat they is next to wot is called Mamba! I jump over their boat and den stand outside their door barking as loud as I can! Da lady open da door and look out, she see me sittin there shiverin and all wet all over. She take me inside and they wraps me up in warm blanket and gives me cuddles and little treats.

Mum and dad (to be!) had cleared the decks and had some steel delivered ready to build the new structure on da back of dat boat:

The talk bout wot they will do. They decide that is it! Enough is enough. Dad decide he gonna have quiet word wif man and make it clear to him dat he is not cut out for havin doggie and is time to hand over Lexie to dem wot loves me and will looks after me.

Tune in next time to find out what happen! Did da man hand me over? Did I go and live with dem peeps? Was it to be ma forever home?

All I can say for now is ..... I'll be back......

Monday, 15 March 2010

If smell-o-vision was real you would be holding your nose - part 4

Now where was I? Oh yeah da year... 2004 da place .. MV Atlantis! We now moved into da second half of da year. The back deck has been cleared of all da steel that was cut off and taken away by da scrap man wot name is Michael. He took da metal to da scrapyard and it weighed in at 11 tons! The money he got for da scrap paid for da use of his crane.

Dad did buy a small hiab (also known as a knuckle boom crane to you machinery types) so he could use it to lift the new steel we needed for da back structure later on.

He also bought weird green boxy fing which happarently is a hydraulic power pack! But of course, we all knew that ;)). It is for many years later when he will be usin it for the crane,  thrusters and stuff like dat.

Now dus you remember back to da bloggy wot did be tellin you bout da stinky bedroom!? Well, mum and dad decide to have another go at it. They bin sleepin in da wheelhouse on a matress on da floor and fort it might be worth trying to get a bedroom fixed up!

It was July 2004 and Mum say dat wakin up in da wheelhouse in da mornin was like bein in a greenhouse! It was so hot they had to sleep wiv all da windows open and no clothesies on! Of course, my suggestion would have been some sort of fan and maybe some curtains!

Da first fing they had to do was to strip da bedroom back to its bare steel walls. So, lots of smashin and hammerin den dragging all da wood up the stairs. Dad did all the demolishin work and then mum would take the wood to the back of the boat and cut it up with a fing wot cuts up wood the name of which I forget! I check dat and let you know in a bit.

Getting the stuff up the stairs was quite difficult as you can see the stairs aren't proper stairs like wot you has in house! Note mum's amusing use of bath bomb to try to cover da smell of 35 years of rotten damp wood!

Ok dad did confirm that fing wot i mentioned earlier is called a jigsaw but is not like da puzzle is fing wot go chop chop chop really fast! Anyway, they manage to complete the strip-out of the room in about two weeks. Here's a photo of how it looked after the strip-out:

By da time August came around, da weather was cheerin up a bit so dad tell mum she can do some paintin. Although the bulwarks (dat is the sides to you landlubbers) were gonna be cut off dad wasn't sure when that would be, so he fink dat it be good to have a bit of paint on dem to protect em for a bit longer. It was nice sunny weather and mum had booked 3 weeks off work so they decide she could paint while he was working on da bow bedroom. 

First of all she had to chip all da rust off with chippin hammer (dis give you big biceps and make your arms tingle).Den she use da grinder to smooth off all da chipping (dis make you arms tingle too). Den she clean off all da grindings and paint da first coat of paint wot is called vactan (dis be wot we in da trade calls a rust inhibitor ;)). Den was undercoat, den was top coat in green . Dis photo show you some of the stages:

But wait ma friends guess what? It is the 12 September 2004 and you are all excited to hear dem words what does finally fall from ma lipsies! They are this: I WAS BORN!!!! Oh yes, I have come from ma mummy tummy and am a ickle puppy wot is snugglin up close to ma mummy wif my brofurs and sisfurs.

Of course mum and dad don't even know i has been born yet. Dey not meet me until after Christmas when I had to go and live on da boat behind them wot was called Jorja! I will tell you about dat next time!

Is nearly October and fings are startin to cool down a bit weather-wise. So they finks, what better time to start work on the worst part of da boat - the fishhold. Mum has managed to avoid goin into da fishhold for over a year but dad decide they are gonna clear it out by Christmas!

I wishes dis was smell-o-vision! 30 years of old stinky oil, dead scallops and heaven knows what else had permeated into da fishhold and it was a terrible place to go even for a minute! Dad decide to stop work on the bow bedroom and work on the fishhold instead to eventually turn it into two bedrooms, one with en-suite shower.

So they start stripping, clearing, hoisting and moving all da orrible fings out of da fishhold. Again, with a ladder that mum seemed to spend her life climbing up and down! Of course, to make matters even worse, the hold was lined out with the thing she hate more dan anyfink in da world - you know what is that? Is polystyrene! Here is the ladder:

and here is da hatch at da top of dat ladder. Look at all dat polystrene! Mum had to bag all dat up and touch it. Very hard for a polystyrophobic (i made dat up) but she did it. You would not believe da smell of that stuff either! It had years of dead fish and oil soaked up into it! This photo shows only one lot - there was about five times dat much which their friend Jim (with da one leg) took away and disposed of.

Once the hold was stripped they got the walls back to bare steel. They realise there had been a bad fire in the hold at some point. You can see this in da photo here:

Before the hold could be blasted and painted, dad spent two weeks up to his waist in oil and dead scallops in da bilge cleanin dem out. He would fill up buckets wiv da muck and can you guess? Mum had to carry dem up da ladder and pour dem into big container (what is called an IBC). Every evenin mum had to scrub dad down wiv scourer and dettol. Dat's love dat is! This photo shows da bilge. There are 10 separate compartments which dad had to climb down into and clear out!

Once the hold was all cleared out, dad used our new shotblaster to clear away all da rust from da walls, he sprayed da walls with vactan, den primer. Dis was da result and best of all - no more smell!

They had managed to complete da fishhold back to bare walls in record time and decided to have a break over Christmas, mainly because dad's skin needed to recover from spending weeks in da bilges and mum had to rest her newly acquired rugby player legs from all dat ladder climbin!

So they downed-tools and took some rest over Christmas. It would be only a few weeks after Christmas and they would meet me for the first time not knowing that I would one day become their beloved doggie!! Best known to you as Lexie Dogstoyevsky!

Well, that is another chapter completed! And as Arnie says I'll be back!

Friday, 5 March 2010

I can't stand up for falling down - part 3

Well here I dus be again wiv da next episode in da life of da Lexie (oh yes and mum and dad I supposes). Well guess what? It is 2004 and dis be ma year! Is true! I be born in September 2004. I don't be wiv mum and dad until 2005 though (booo) but I let you know all bout dat later onsies.

So, it's January 2004 and is bloody blinkin cold. Mum and dad are spendin their first winter on da boat and are findin out many fings bout life on a boat in winter, let me tell you!

Dad's job for 2004 was to cut down the a-frame and remove the winch room and winch. He worked over da winter usin da autocad software to design the new look for Atlantis - trawler to trawler yacht (or expedition yacht as he decided later coz it sound posher - or should dat be more posh!). Here is da a-frame wiv her supportin arms being cut off (you can see ma dad in da right hand side):

Mum was going back and forth to work each day (except Wednesdays remember!). The winter mornings were dark and cold. The evenings were ... yep you guessed it dark and cold!

Dad had to staple chicken wire to the steps leading up to da pontoon after mum managed to slip off da top step and go all the way to the bottom (10 wooden splintery steps covered in slimey mud) when she came home one night. If she had not been wearin her rucksack she would have gone straight into the mud! Luckily that and her ample bottom had ensured she got wedged between the steps and the boat moored next to us at the same wot woz called Mamba!

Here do be a picture of da deadly steps you can just see dem in the corner of da photo (this one was taken after dad had removed the A-frame, winch and mast):

After that lickle incident, Dad put chicken wire on da steps and they would meet at the the top each evenin to make sure she made it home in one piece!

Another fing wot they found out was dat in da mornins when was cold and frosty the pontoon wot they did walk on to go to work (dad did accompany mum for healf and safety to da car) woz very slippery! Mum would slip and slide along it. Is long way as you can see from the photo below. She would grip onto the white railings and sort of slide of her feet along so she not fall over. Have you spotted a theme? Mum is at olympic gold standard when it comes to fall into, off of, up, around, down and out of anything!

Layers, another thing they got used to doin. They had heat on the boat but where there was no insulation the temperature would get down to about -4 inside! You couldn't touch the walls in case you wud stick to them! So, they got to wearing four or five layers and got used to bein cold. Course, if they went to visit they friends in houses they would be sweatin coz they woz wearin lots of clothes. Becoz was cold and damp on da boat they would start steamin if they got anywhere warm!

In da mornins da water would be frozen so mum would fill up some big containers wiv water da night before so they would have water for washin and drinkin tea. Atlantis has got big water tank on but they didnt use it then becoz it had to be cleaned and av pump fitted.

Slowly, Winter turned to Spring and fings started to warm up. Dad worked out everyfin wot he needed to take down da a-frame, remove the winch room and winch. Dis was da first really big job dad had on da boat. They never ad da crane or any of da equipments wot they got now so dad start off wiv small metal cutter (wot is called a plasma cutter) and a small winch. They dus look back and larf now at how they managed it! Look at my dad sittin right at da top of da a-frame which is long long way up (he dussnt like heights can you believes dat!):

Dad did start to cut one side then da over side so dat the legs was freed from da middle bit. Let me know if I's gettin too technical for you heehee! Mum say her heart woz in her mouf when dad was up there! He did av harness on but you can't really see it in the pictures.

He worked on da left leg first and cut so dat it would fall down and land on da other leg. He had worked out exactly what was gonna appen, and ow it was gonna fall and everyfin. He had to be sure dat it fall where he want and not hit da boat next to us or da pontoon or any people! He did a perfect job as you can see in dis photo:

More cuttin and winchin and winchin and cuttin and stoppin and checkin and winchin and cuttin - phew I's gettin tired just writing it! Then da other leg was ready to go. Mum say da noise was incredible and people in da marina was comin out of their boats to see what as appenin! Timber!!!!!

The next leg lands safely:

Dad was ready to move onto the winch and winch room removal which you can see here. You can just see my dad in da corner using da cutting equipment:

Once the room surroundin the winch was taken away, he was left wiv da winch to cut apart. Dis was more difficult and he did use a fing wot he call a gas axe (is called oxy-acetalene cutting torch). Da winch was big and very heavy:

Dad cut it up into bits and our new friend dat we had just met who was good at gettin rid of scrap metal did take the bits away for us. His name is Jim and he has only got one leg but he is da most mobile person wot we eva met wiv one leg!

It took dem bout two munfs to complete. You might be wundrin wot mum woz doin during this time, apart from goin to work? Sunbathing on da bow dad said! Cheek! Was her job to firewatch, tidy up (dat is not polishing or vacuuming!) da steel and move it round da boat for pickin up. She had to take rubbish to da tip and make sure dad had plenty of cups of tea and big fings to eat to keep up his energy too!

I fink I might have to stop there. Dat is only half the year and I ain't even beens born yet! Maybe dis blog is goin to be a bit longer dan anticipated! I let you have breather! Fanx for readin.

So, as the great Dave Allen did say -  goodnight, thank you and may your god go with you.

Please let me know if we is borin you yet!